Bruins

Talking Points: Bruins 5, Senators 3

647120.jpg

Talking Points: Bruins 5, Senators 3

KANATA, ON The Bruins won the battle and made a statement against an Ottawa Senators team nipping at their playoff heels.

But it may have come at a cost.

The Bruins won a tight 5-3 grudge match over the Senators at Scotiabank Place that included a furious third period comeback and a potential injury to Johnny Boychuk after he was steam-rolled by Chris Neil.

The victory gives the Bs a five-point lead in the Northeast Division over Senators the with three games in hand, and ended Ottawas four-game winning streak in the process.

The Sens started out quickly with an Erik Karlsson bomb to get the early lead, but Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand responded with answers later in the period to push the Black and Gold back in front. Carter Camper added his first NHL goal in the second period to push things to a two-goal lead thats normally as good as gold for the Bs.

David Krejci notched another tally in the third period that seemed to be just the insurance the Bruins needed, but then Ottawa woke up. Neil crashed into Boychuk with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit when the Bs defenseman was caught with his head down, and then Zdeno Chara dropped the gloves with Neil.

That seemed to spark the Senators, who got a pair of Daniel Alfredsson strikes from perimeter shots to inch perilously close to the Bruins. Bergeron eventually salted it away with an empty net goal in the final minute, but it sets the stage for another hard-fought contest against the Sens on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron knocked down a pair of goals, finished with a game-high nine shots on net and did yeomans work in his 19:29 of ice time for the Bruins. With injuries to key players, other top tier players have needed to step up for the Black and Gold, and Bergeron did exactly that in a playoff-style game for the Bs. The first goal was particularly important given that it was a response to Ottawa scoring less than two minutes into the game. Bergerons rebound score on a Zdeno Chara shot brought the momentum back to Boston.

HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara assisted on a pair of goals and enjoyed his third straight strong game while snapping out of his February mini-funk. It was Chara's big shot that set up Patrice Bergeron's goal to get the Bruins off and running in the first period, and he was otherwise solid in 22:54 of ice time for the Bruins. Perhaps better than any of this he stood up for his defensive partner, Johnny Boychuk, when he dropped the gloves with Chris Neil after the Senators car-bomb forward trucked over Boychuk at the beginning of the third period. Chara showed everything that goes into the package of an elite defenseman in a big game that the Bruins needed to have.

BLACK EYE: Finesse players shouldnt try dipping their toes into the dirty side of hockey. Thats exactly what Kyle Turris did when he left his skates and targeted an elbow at the head of Joe Corvo in the third period that drew a two-minute boarding call, but could get Brendan Shanahan dialing the Ottawa center up on line one. The Bs defenseman was okay after falling to the ice holding his head after impact, but the Turris play is exactly the kind of play the NHL is trying to wipe out: targeting the head as the primary point of contact. No place for that in an otherwise entertaining, intense hockey game. NESNs Jack Edwards called it a chicken hit. Im not going that far, but Turris should know better.

TURNING POINT: It wasnt quite the turning point in the game, but there was no mistaking the swing in momentum when Chris Neil turned himself into a human missile while planting Johnny Boychuk. The Bruins got the next goal, but the Senators suddenly came to life. The momentum pull got even stronger when Neil and Zdeno Chara went toe-to-toe following the heavy hockey hit, and Neil lived to tell about it after absorbing a couple of hard shots from the Bs captain. But in the end the Bruins had built up too much of an advantage for the Senators to hurdle over. It will be interesting, however, to see if the Ottawa confidence from Neils hit carries over into Tuesday nights game in Boston, and if Johnny Boychuks status for that game is affected.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25-0-0 the Bruins record when holding a lead headed into the third period even if things got a little dicey in Ottawa after a pair of Daniel Alfredsson strikes.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Ive definitely been dreaming about that. Practicing in the backyard or on the ice by yourself youre always of that first NHL goal. I saw the puck go in, saw everybody celebrating and it didnt even really hit me until I got back to the bench. Pretty cool. Bruins rookie Carter Campers first NHL goal in the second period that helped the Bs cause in their 5-3 win.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

connor-mcdavid-jack-eichel-112117.jpg

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

bruins_brad_marchand_040516.jpg

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

MORE BRUINS:

If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin