Bruins

Notes: Paille scores his first goal of the season

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Notes: Paille scores his first goal of the season

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

RALEIGH, N.C. It might have taken longer than expected, but Daniel Paille finally scored his first goal of the 2010-11 season, leaving Adam McQuaid as the only Bruins regular without a goal.

Paille opened the scoring in the second period when he tipped a Zdeno Chara slapper past Carolina All-Star goaltender Cam Ward. It was his first goal in 25 games, dating back to April of last season.

It hasnt been the easiest of seasons for Paille as hes been a healthy scratch on many occasions and a victim of inconsistent playing time, but the winger seems to find a good groove when coach Claude Julien is able to find ice time for him.

With Marc Savard out indefinitely, it would appear Paille has a place in the lineup on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell for the time being and hes beginning to take advantage of it, with a goal and 4 assists in 24 games.

Thats the kind of goals that Dan can score for us because hes quick, hes capable of getting there and hes a strong enough kid to hold his position there, said Julien. It was nice to see him get rewarded there, and I think thatll be good for his confidence.

The hotel workers in Raleigh at the Bruins team hotel gave Mark Recchi a chocolate birthday cake for his 43rd birthday on Tuesday another milestone for the oldest player currently still skating in the NHL and the winger made sure to bring the cake with him onto the bus and team charter to share with his teammates.

Recchi celebrated by dining on Monday night with teammates, including Tyler Seguin, who turned 19 on Sunday.

Rex marveled at the fact he can still play the game he loves and the highest level as he turns 43, and was more than happy to celebrate it with the youngest guy on the team.

Its amazing to still be playing. I never ever imagined would last this long, said Recchi. And I love to help young guys. I had some great guys help me when I was youngster.

Milan Lucic had his first fight since October when he dropped the gloves with Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison after a little pushing and shoving in front of the Hurricanes net.

Mark Stuart was the healthy scratch for a Bruins team that found a cohesive six-man defense unit while he was out with a broken right hand. It was the fourth straight game he was a healthy scratch.

Hockey sources indicated to CSNNE.com over the weekend that Stuart is being sought after on the trade front, and it could be only a matter of time before hes dealt in a pure salary cap clearing move in anticipation of another deal on the way.

Julien said it was all about the six defensemen playing at a high level currently, and that includes McQuaid supplanting Stuart as a tough, physical presence around the Boston net in a bottom D pairing.

I dont think its a reflection of his play any more than its what the other six guys have given us, said Julien. Anybody thats watched us knows that the tandem has played well and been pretty steady. For the most part the pairs have been reliable, and for the most part its a numbers game and hes been a victim of that.

When youre in a numbers game you just bite the bullet a little bit and eventually things will work out. I know its not easy for him. To his credit hes always been a team-first guy, and as much as he wants to be in there and wants to play, he also doesnt want to disrupt whats going in the room. Hes not thinking about No. 1. Hes thinking about team and whats best for it, and thats a credit to him.

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

Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

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Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

LAS VEGAS -- Even though it's only five games into a new regular season, it feels like the Bruins are in danger of going off the tracks.

They finished their three-game Western road swing Sunday with an aimless 3-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, which came on the heels of a wretched defeat in Colorado and a victory over the winless Coyotes. Sunday was particularly disheartening, as they never tested their ex-goalie, Malcolm Subban, putting only 21 mostly harmless shots on net against a player they gave away on waivers just a few weeks ago,

They may only have three losses in five games, but it sure feels like there's trouble starting to brew in Bruins land.

“It could be a lot of different things,” said Brad Marchand about the loss to Las Vegas. "We may not have been as mentally prepared for that game as we thought we were. They wanted it more than we did. They out-battled us in a lot of areas and they were the better team. We were making it hard on ourselves. We were trying to do too much with the puck, and not directing enough of the pucks toward the net. You can’t get rebound and you can’t get bodies there if the puck isn’t going there.”

That is a lot of different things. A lot of different problems:

-- They couldn’t fight to get to the front of the net against a rugged Vegas defensive group that was going to make them battle to get there.

-- Once again they had too many passengers along for the ride, with both Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano failing to even be a blip on the game’s radar screen. Spooner suffered a lower body injury midway through the game, but while he was out there he was a non-factor once again. 

-- It felt like there was no flow at all to Boston’s game, with breakouts dogged by sloppy passing and players who weren’t hard enough on the puck.

-- When they did get a chance to create something they either missed the net with their shot, or opted not to even take the shot in the first place. 

-- They lost 67 percent of the 57 draws taken during the game, and saw Spooner, Riley Nash and David Krejci and Ryan Spooner go a combined 8-for-29 in the face-off circle.

-- They chased the puck for long stretches and certainly didn’t ever put together anything approaching a consistent, driving pressure in the offensive zone.

Missing stalwart veterans like Patrice Bergeron and David Backes certainly isn’t helping. It makes the Bruins a much smaller group up front that can be pushed around by bigger, stronger defensive units.

But even so, there’s a sense the Bruins can’t consistently bring their 'A' game to the rink with them and don’t seem to have much fight when they fall down by a couple of goals. Trailing by just two goals going into the third period, the Bruins had four shots on net for most of the final period until a late flurry produced a score by David Pastrnak.

Perhaps of more concern, though, is the growing feeling that the Bruins aren’t all on the same page.

Marchand vaguely referenced that the Bruins weren’t prepared to play Sunday, and Tuukka Rask said he’ll no longer comment on anything except his own goaltending. Rask has always been candid and willing to be frank about any shortcomings after Bruins losses, but it appears that’s not something that is any longer welcome inside the B’s dressing room.

“I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on,” said Rask. “I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

Meanwhile, Krejci was similarly short in his postgame thoughts and started talking about avoiding pointing fingers after a frustrating loss.

“There’s no reason to point fingers," he said. "Yeah, we lost a game and it was a frustrating loss. But it’s just the fifth game of the season, so we don’t need to make a big deal out of it. We’re going to back to Boston, we’re going to work hard in practices and we’re going to get ready for the next game.”

Clearly, the fact this stuff is coming to the surface just five games into the season is a cause for concern. But it makes sense, given the way the Bruins are letting an easy portion of the season slip through their fingers.

In their first 10 games of the year, they're facing only one team that made the playoffs last season and they've got plenty of spaced-out stretches in the schedule to get off to a strong, healthy start. Instead they’re losing to subpar teams and highly unproven goalies, and doing so with a real lack of energy or purpose on the ice.

Certainly management would be smart to think about shipping underperforming players like Vatrano back to the AHL in place of Peter Cehlarik or Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. And a few more games like Sunday’s snooze-fest could advance trade talks for a player like Matt Duchene.

But there aren’t going to be any easy answers. It comes down to hard work and hunkering down together as a team, and Sunday’s pitifully inept loss in a very winnable situation was yet another sign the Bruins aren't even close to being there yet.

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS -- The Bruins are already missing a handful of players to injuries, and they may have lost a couple more in Sunday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ryan Spooner was knocked out in the second period with a lower body injury, and Adam McQuaid was lost in the closing seconds of the third period when he was hit by a Colin Miller rocket from the point in his leg. McQuaid had to be helped to the dressing room after staying down on the ice for a few long moments, and the hope is that it’s the same kind of mostly harmless “dead leg” hit that allowed Kevan Miller to bounce back immediately from his Friday incident in practice.

McQuaid was spotted up and walking around in the visiting dressing room area postgame, so hopefully it’s nothing serious with one of the few Bruins giving everything he has on the ice each and every night.

Spooner finished with just eight shifts and 6:42 of ice time while failing to generate much offense, and went 1-for-4 in the face-off circle before getting shelved for the rest of the game. He just has a single point and is a minus-3 in four games this season and is once again has been pretty hard to notice on the ice during 5-on-5 play. It perhaps wasn’t a huge loss for the Bruins, given how much Spooner has been struggling to find baseline consistency, but the Bruins can’t continue to sustain injuries to their center men without those missing bodies beginning to take a toll.

The Bruins already have Paul Postma on hand if they take any injuries on the back end, but any more losses up front could mean the B’s dip into Providence where Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Kenny Agostino are all off to hot offensive starts.