Bruins

Notes: McQuaid, Chara missing from practice

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Notes: McQuaid, Chara missing from practice

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Zdeno Chara was given a day off on Thursday after his man-sized Game 3 against the Flyers that featured a pair of goals and 28-plus minutes of punishing defensive hockey. Adam McQuaid was also absent from the TD Garden practice ice for the second straight day after suffering a strained neck against Philadelphia in Game 2 of their playoff series, but everybody else was on the ice practicing for the Black and Gold.Steve Kampfer practiced with the Bruins for the first time on Thursday in a no-contact session, and is still some time away from being ready for game action. I think right now he just started skating yesterday for the first time, Coach Claude Julien said. He felt good enough to skate with us today. We had no contact in our drills, so it was a good skate for him. Were moving forward as were being told by our medical staff. Hes looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it. But hes not ready.With McQuaid still day-to-day and off the practice ice, that means itll probably be Shane Hnidy again on Friday night for Game 4 after he played only 2:38 of ice time while the other five defensemen basically rotated with one another. The real talk of the day was obviously about the Bs being up 3-0 in the series against the Flyers, and sitting on the precipice of an Eastern Conference Finals berth just as they were last season before the roof caved in on them. The Bs coach and his players are all holding firm to turning the page on last year and focusing on winning one more game to put down a Philly team thats proven they wont quit.Right now I like where we are, said Julien. The biggest think will be putting the past aside and thinking about the present. Living in the moment. Thats what has enabled us to stay focused. There was a report in the Boston Herald two days ago that Marc Savard would be attending Games 3 and 4 at the Garden in his first visit back to Boston since announcing he was going to sit out the rest of the season. A team source checked in with CSNNE.com on Wednesday and informed that Savard was A) not in Boston and B) not coming down for either of the games. The Bs center is still battling the post-concussion syndrome symptoms that have plagued him since his latest head injury suffered in Colorado, but hopeful he can make it to Boston during this postseason run if the team keeps on winning. Hnidy played less than three minutes in Game 3, and Julien said that the power plays and special teams time never got to the point where using his sixth defenseman was a necessity. With McQuaid very unlikely to play on Friday, count on Hnidy to play at least a slightly bigger role in the Bs defensemen corps.He was ready to go and he still is ready to go, Julien said. We have confidence in him, but we also understand the fact that he hasnt played much this year. Right now the guys we have in our lineup are capable of sharing our ice time.

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

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.