Talking Points: Bruins 'deserved better' in second period


Talking Points: Bruins 'deserved better' in second period

GOLD STAR: A 39-save effort from Ducks goaltender John Gibson was one of the big difference-makers in the game. He made a sweet, spinning double-stack pad save on a Riley Nash bid in the second period, and then stoned Nash on a breakaway in the third period as well while infuriating the Bruins attackers. On the other hand, the Bruins didn’t consistently get traffic to the front of the Anaheim net and really settled for the perimeter for the most part, and that was a big factor in the season-high 41 shots on net for the Black and Gold. Still, the Bruins had some good chances when it was still a close game in the first couple of periods, and Gibson was up to the task in holding back the Boston offense.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins actually played a decent game all things considered, but a mental mistake for Zdeno Chara definitely hurt their cause in the second period. Chara was whistled on a delayed penalty call on a Corey Perry drive to the net, and then took a look at the official behind the net while play was still ongoing. Josh Manson took advantage of that split-second of distraction from the Bruins captain, and threw a centering pass off his skate that ricocheted past Tuukka Rask for Anaheim’s go-ahead goal. Chara finished a minus-3 at 25:33 of ice time in the loss, and the Bruins are going to be hard-pressed to win many games when their top defenseman is on the ice for that many goals against. The overall performance plus allowing himself to get distracted for Anaheim’s second goal were both big-time negative factors for Boston.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins outshot the Ducks by a 15-3 margin and dominated for nearly the entire period, but they still watched Anaheim score a pair of goals on the three shots. It was a couple of tough breaks for a Bruins team that really did play well over the course of the period, but that’s all small consolation for a team riding a four-game losing streak where it could get a lot worse before it gets better. The Bruins need better results when they actually play well, and that was the disheartening part of Wednesday night.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give Noel Acciari a ton of credit for suiting up under difficult circumstances and playing a great game. Acciari scored a rebound goal at the end of the third period, had a couple of shots on net in his 16 plus minutes of ice time and finished with a game-high 10 registered hits. The goal was Acciari’s first score of the season after beginning to generate his own offense at the end of last year. Acciari also blocked three shots and did everything you could hope for from an energy forward that’s just a couple of games removed from a badly broken finger. Acciari played with heart, emotion and energy. You’d expect nothing less from the ultra-competitive kid from Rhode Island.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the season-high number of losses in a row for the Bruins as they face an uphill climb on this road trip through California with tough match-ups waiting for them in Los Angeles and San Jose.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought our second period was excellent and we deserved better, but it didn’t work out for us.” – Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, on a middle 20 minutes where they outshot the Ducks 15-3 but were outscored by a 2-1 margin. 

A return "imminent" for McQuaid after two-month absence


A return "imminent" for McQuaid after two-month absence

BRIGHTON, Mass – It sounds like the toughness quotient might be going up quite a bit higher for the Bruins in the near future.

Adam McQuaid may be cleared to play as soon as Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, or at least later on in the week if it doesn’t happen against the rough-and-tumble, Metro Division Blue Jackets. The 6-foot-5 hard-nosed defender has been out for nearly two months with a broken right fibula, but has been back skating with the Bruins for a couple of weeks.

“I don’t know if Monday he’ll be cleared, but he’s getting close. He’s practicing with us, so it’s imminent for him. I just don’t want to pinpoint an exact day,” said Cassidy of McQuaid, who was one of a handful of players along with Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Frank Vatrano, Paul Postma and Anton Khudobin that skated on Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena.

There certainly may be some rust in McQuaid’s game after missing the last 24 cgames dating back to the Oct. 19 injury. Ddding another tough customer and D-zone warrior certainly won't hurt the Bruins. In the short term, the presence of McQuaid could protect some of B's top players like Brad Marchand who has received some questionable hits over the last couple of months. In the long term his presence adds more size, strength and toughness in the defensive zone.

In terms of pairings it would be logical to swing Kevan Miller back over to the left side, and potentially pull rookie puck-mover Matt Grzelcyk out of the lineup once McQuaid is ready to play. But Bruce Cassidy indicated it won’t be that simple, and there may be times when the Bruins roll seven defensemen given their strength in numbers once McQuaid comes back.

“If you take the last guy in, Grzelcyk, [out of the lineup] then you’re back to your four righty [defensemen]. We had mixed levels of success with that, and then it’s a matter of who on the right Is going to come out if he stick with the three lefties,” said Cassidy. “That’s an internal discussion that we’ve already started to have. He will definitely help the penalty kill. It could be a different lineup every night where we go with six D one night, and then go with seven D the next night. It will create good competition.”

McQuaid wants to temper the excitement now that he’s on the verge of a return, and is simply putting in work until he’s given the green light to play. The busy NHL schedule and the lack of quality practice time isn't the perfect scenario for the 31-year-old defenseman to return, so it’s simply a matter of doing what’s best for player and team.

“I’d like to get back as soon as I can obviously. I’ve missed a lot of time, but it’s a process. I just try to approach it like I’m not getting my hopes up too much,” said McQuaid, who had an assist and a minus-3 in the six games he did appear in. “We’ll have a better idea tomorrow. The more and more game-like situations you get in [can help].

“We haven’t gone too far down the road so I don’t know exactly [when I’ll return]. I’m just out there trying to get closer, but I’m excited about where I’m at and the possibility of moving forward. It’s been fun watching the guys, but I can’t wait to get back in there and be part of a winning hockey team again.”


Morning Skate: Senators kind of a mess right now


Morning Skate: Senators kind of a mess right now

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while I still remain pretty conflicted about my thoughts on the Last Jedi. See yesterday’s morning skate for the full review.

*Happy Holidays from the Boston Bruins, who all wore spiffy Christmas-inspired suits into TD Garden for Saturday night’s game against the Rangers. The clear winners are Christmas Elf Brad Marchand and bedazzled Patrice Bergeron, but everybody is a winner when they’re in the holiday spirit.

*Here’s a blueprint for all 31 NHL teams to get an outdoor game next season if you’re really looking to run the concept into the ground.

*Everybody loves a goalie fight, and the Providence Bruins had one last night even if it was more like slightly angry hugging than actual fighting.

*This quick snippet from an Ottawa Senators radio broadcast this weekend is one of the oddest things I’ve heard in a while. No idea what took them down that path.

*Speaking of the Senators, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says he has no idea why the Sens are having such big attendance problems at their arena. I can think of one reason: location, location and location.

*Larry Brooks goes over the Sean Avery memoir just in time for Christmas for all those looking for a stocking stuffer, or just looking for the perfect gift for that hockey rat in your life.

*Hacksaw Jim Duggan dropping the puck for a minor league hockey game is definitely something to brag about. Ho!

*For something completely different: 20 years later, the crazy story of how the blockbuster Titanic ultimately got made.