Bruins

Haggerty: Here we go again

191545.jpg

Haggerty: Here we go again

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA, Fla. The Bruins have been here before, and it wasnt even that long ago.

They carried a 3-2 edge over the Montreal Canadiens into Game 6 during in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but couldnt get the deal done in a 2-1 loss at the Bell Centre.

The story was similar here Wednesday night when the Bruins took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning but wound up losing, 5-4.

Anytime youre playing against a team thats fighting for their lives its always harder to win, especially when youre on the road in their building, said Brad Marchand. With the crowd and everything else, the crowd can get to you a little bit. That was a tough atmosphere . . . Both games against Montreal and against Tampa Bay were a couple of tough scenarios for us.

That Game 6 in Montreal was an eminently winnable one-goal affair that the Bruins couldn't capitalize on because of an avalanche of mistakes, frayed concentration, a stagnant power play, and multiple man-advantage situations for the Habs. It was a similar story in Game 6 against Tampa Bay.

Now the series heads back to TD Garden for the win-or-go-home matchup Friday night.

Weve had the experience of it," said coach Claude Julien. "We need to take the experience and utilize it again."

That experience also gave the B's a taste of the pressure they'll be facing Friday night. A first-round loss to Montreal would have been the Bruins' third consecutive postseason disappointment under Julien, and speculation was rampant that jobs -- Julien's certainly, but perhaps even general manager Peter Chiarelli's -- were hanging on the balance of that game.

"I think we had a lot of pressure on" against Montreal, Julien said.

Everyone is probably safe no matter what happens Friday night, since a berth in the Conference Finals is a fairly noteworth achievement. But the way this series has played out -- Bruins unable to hold a 3-0 lead in Game 4, unable to hold a 2-1 lead in Game 6 last night -- would still leave a sour taste if the B's are unable to close the deal in Game 7 on Friday.

Also disconcerting is the fact that we're now 17 games into this playoff run, and the problems the Bruins have had from the beginning have yet to be resolved. The Bs shot themselves in the foot again Wednesday night with a power play that -- despite scoring one goal -- only mustered five shots on net in five different chances, and similarly couldnt get it done one more time on the penalty kill despite shutting down Tampas PP 11 straight head times coming into the game.

"I thought tonight our guys competed fairly well, but those penalties ended up costing us," said Julien. "Our power play ended up costing us. We need to minimize that stuff and come out hard next game."

They also need to maximize their discipline. The Bruins were hit with too many avoidable penalties, leading to four Tampa Bay power plays . . . and the Lightning capitalized three times.

Now it's another elimination game.

This is it. This is a chance that many of us will not see for a long time, said David Krejci, who led the Bs with a hat trick Wednesday night. Its there for us, but weve got to go get it. Theyre not going to give it us."

The Bruins, need we remind you, are only 3-7 in elimination games under Julien. Still, they've proven theyre a different team this year. They've responded to challenging situations all season -- they shook off the Game 6 debacle and finished off the Canadiens in Game 7 -- and will need to summon that spirit and mental strength one more time against the Lightning.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself

canadiens_max_pacioretty_121216.jpg

Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching the Montreal Canadiens crash and burn in the Atlantic Division.  

*Max Pacioretty is certainly falling on his sword up in Montreal calling himself “the worst one on the ice” as the Habs really struggle to get going this season.

*Brad Marchand was on the Twitter machine after Thursday night’s win and having some fun with what his video game controller probably looks like when he plays hockey.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the Erik Gudbranson boarding hit on Frank Vatrano from last night that looks like it’s going to get the Vancouver D-man suspended.

*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still adjusting to the changes that are taking place with the Arizona Coyotes as they struggle in the desert.

*The Maple Leafs are looking and acting like contenders early on up in Toronto, and that would be a very good thing for the NHL.

*For something completely different: The Backstreet Boys are going country? Now I’ve definitely seen it all.

 

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

BRIGHTON, Mass – Another serious injury has hit the Bruins in the first few weeks of the season.

Adam McQuaid’s right leg is broken, he'll have surgery Monday and he’ll miss some significant time after he blocked a shot that knocked him out of the Thursday night victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The rugged, stay-at-home defenseman took multiple pucks of in successive games off his leg in the past two games against the Golden Knights and the Canucks.

MORE BRUINS:

Bruins GM Don Sweeney, in a Bruins statement released after practice Friday, said McQuaid sustained a broken right fibula and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday at Mass. General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.

It’s a tough blow for McQuaid, 31, after he was able to play 77 games last season before missing the playoffs with an injury and has consistently battled injuries in his career while playing a hard-nosed, fearless brand of hockey.

“Adam [McQuaid] is seeing the doctors as we speak, so there will be an announcement about him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier Friday at practice. “With Bergie [Patrice Bergeron] it’s a maintenance day where we felt it would be better after 20 minutes of ice to let it rest, and the same with [David] Krejci. Miller is a maintenance day as well. He got whacked, but he should be fine as well. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, but we expect all of the [maintenance players] to play.”

Bergeron, David Krejci and Kevan Miller were all missing from practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was maintenance days for all as they’re expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuukka Rask is out indefinitely while in the concussion protocol after his practice collision earlier this week, but the good news is that Bruins goaltender was up and around at the practice facility on Friday rather than at home convalescing in a dark room.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Black and Gold with a few bodies missing from practice:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork

DeBrusk-White-Pastrnak

Agostino-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McAvoy

Postma

 
Khudobin

McIntyre