Bruins

Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

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Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

SACRAMENTO Kevin Garnett would love it if the Boston Celtics had one of the best records in the NBA right now, steamrolling over foes like they did back during the C's 2008 championship run.

But this Celtics team is far from being that dominant; not even close, truthfully.

However, these troubled times for the Celtics have a bonding affect that in a weird way, Garnett kind of likes.

He has always been about the team. And these are the times when those bonds are put to the ultimate test as the C's find themselves at or near their lowest point in the season following Sunday's 118-96 loss to Sacramento.

"These are dog days," Garnett said. "This is really where you really see who's with you. Ain't nobody cheering, ain't no lights on us and I love this right now. Because this is where all the plastic people melt right here."

And those that have the mental toughness to fight through this rough patch, will stand out.

"We gotta play better," Garnett said. "We gotta have some self pride in ourselves. Gave up 100 and something points three games in a row, and it ain't been close. We gotta at some point take it personal, you know?"

And don't think for a minute that Garnett is pointing fingers at any particular player or players on the C's roster.

When asked about the Celtics' overall effort, Garnett refused to go Dr. Phil-like on the subject and instead brought the conversation back to who he knows best - himself.

Even though Garnett is winning the popularity vote among Eastern Conference big men with what may likely be another All-Star appearance as a starter, he sees plenty of room for self-improvement.

And he's hoping that his 14 teammates all take a similar approach to the next few days without any games on the docket until a home game Jan. 2 against Memphis.

"Like I said, look at themselves in the mirror including myself and better what I can do," Garnett said. "And try to figure out what I can do better to help this team."

For starters, the Celtics could be more mentally tough, something that is among the many things that separate this team from the C's squads in recent years.

"We built something here," Garnett said. "I'm not living in the past or nothing, but the reason why guys came back ... is because of what we built here and what we're known for, to defend. For some reason we got away from that, so we have to go back to our origins and figure it out."

Indeed, the Celtics seem too consumed by playing well offensively. So when it doesn't happen, the defense in a word, sucks.

"Everybody shows up to compete," Rivers said. 'But I think a little bit of frustration breaks certain guys - not every guy - but it doesn't take but one or two a game. And the frustrating thing this year is it's been different guys. A guy will get frustrated because he's not making shots. I think a lot of it is that. If our offense isn't working, our defensive spirit goes down and we end up losing the game."

Rivers added, "guys get frustrated and they give in. We have to figure out how to fix that. Guys get frustrated and they start hanging their head and then their compete level goes down."

And throughout the course of a long season, there are going to be games like that from time to time.

But it has been like that throughout the bulk of this season for the Celtics.

And while they maintain that there's still a lot of season left to be played, at some point the C's have to turn the corner.

Otherwise, all the dreams and hopes they had for this season will be just that - dreams and hopes with no shot at ever being fully realized.

And the road to redemption for the Celtics begins this week, one man at a time.

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

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Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose. 

Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

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Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

NOTES: Sharks F Danny O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.