Bruins

Impressive record set by the Detroit Red Wings

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Impressive record set by the Detroit Red Wings

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- Red-and-white clad fans haven't seen the Detroit Red Wings lose at home in more than three months. The NHL has never seen such success at home in one season. The Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Tuesday night for their 21st straight win in Detroit -- breaking the single-season mark of 20 set by Boston in the 1929-30 season and matched by Philadelphia in 1976. During the final minute of the latest home win, the crowd showered the Red Wings with a standing ovation -- and chanted, "21! 21!" "In the end when they were really cheering, before and after the buzzer went, it was a pretty cool feeling," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. Zetterberg and Brad Stuart scored midway through the first period and Detroit went on to surpass the long-standing record. After time expired, the Red Wings went to goaltender Joey MacDonald and then skated toward center ice to thank their passionate patrons by raising their sticks. Detroit extended the streak with three wins in shootouts, which became a part of the league in 2005 after the lockout and has led some to downplay the significance of this record. In the past, the Red Wings would've had to settle for ties and an unbeaten streak instead of a winning run. "There's really no way to combat that argument," Stuart said. "But still, it's an incredible accomplishment regardless of what you're going to compare it to." Since the shootout eliminated ties, the longest previous home winning streak was 14 by Boston during the 2008-09 season. Detroit's run began after a loss to Calgary on Nov. 3. Adam Burish, who scored for Dallas, said what the Red Wings have done isn't watered down by the fact they have chances to win games that used to end in ties. "I think it's harder than it was in the 70s, just because of the parity," Burish said. "There are no games where you can just show up and think you're going to win." Detroit has an NHL-high 39 wins and 80 points, but the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers are just a point behind and have played three fewer games. "Anytime you're in a race like we are, you need the points," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. The resurgent St. Louis Blues, steady Nashville Predators and talented Chicago Blackhawks won't make it easy for the Red Wings to win the Central Division, and top seeding in the West will likely be closely contested with the defending conference champion Vancouver Canucks. That is why the Red Wings have been more focused on the standings than the streak. "It's something we're going to cherish, but we've talked about getting more points to stay where we are in the standings," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. MacDonald made 20 saves, filling in again for the injured Jimmy Howard, and was 32.8 seconds away from his third NHL shutout. Kari Lehtonen stopped 34 shots for the Stars. The Red Wings' next two games are at home -- Friday against Nashville, and Sunday when they host San Jose. That will give them a chance to break another record by the Bruins. Boston won 22 straight home games, spanning two seasons. The Bruins closed the 1929-30 season with 20 victories at home and then won its first two in Boston the following season. "That's something I didn't know of, but we'll refocus again and go to work again for Friday," Lidstrom said. The NBA's longest home winning streak in a season is 37, set by Chicago during the 1995-96 season. The 1978 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1988 Boston Red Sox both won 24 straight at home for baseball's longest single-season, home-winning streaks since 1919. The Miami Dolphins won 27 straight at home from 1971-74 for the NFL mark. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said before Tuesday's game that the team wouldn't make room for a banner in Joe Louis Arena's crowded rafters if a record was set against Dallas. Holland said the club can hoist four banners each season for winning the Stanley Cup, the Presidents' Trophy, and Western Conference and Central Division titles. Detroit hopes it doesn't follow the path of the last two teams to win 20 straight at home. The Bruins eight-plus decades ago and the Flyers nearly 36 years ago were defending Stanley Cup champions and went on to lose in the finals. Detroit essentially finished off Dallas in the first half of the opening period. "We started on time," Babcock said. "I actually thought their goaltender was really good. Without him it could have been worse. "If you can play with the lead, you're always a better team." Zetterberg scored off his own rebound on the power play 7:57 in, and Stuart's wrist shot sliced through traffic from the top of the right circle 1:18 later to make it 2-0. "We made it real hard on ourselves," Burish said. "They're too good to have to chase." After the Red Wings held onto the lead rather comfortably, Jiri Hudler slipped behind the Stars on a shift change and scored with 4:49 left in the game to give Detroit a three-goal lead. NOTES: The Red Wings are shooting for Howard to return on Sunday. Howard has missed six games with a broken right index finger. ... Dallas, which is not among the top eight teams in the West, has lost three straight after winning four of six.

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

BOSTON – The Bruins returned Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to good health and their lineup on Thursday night, but they also saw a few more players get banged up in their win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

David Krejci exited Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Canucks with an upper body injury after scoring a power play goal, and Adam McQuaid also had to leave the game after dropping to one knee to block a shot with his right leg. McQuaid was also already banged up after taking a shot off his knee in last weekend’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so taking another shot off the leg certainly wasn’t a helpful development. 

“He blocked a shot, so he’ll get evaluated tonight or tomorrow. I don’t know how serious – he blocks a lot of shots. This one stung him obviously so we’ll see how it turns out. Adam [McQuaid] has been doing that for years around here. He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He actually manages the puck very well. He’s not a flashy player. He’s not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs an Adam McQuaid. We’re certainly fortunate to have him.”

With Krejci it appeared that he suffered some back spasms after getting cross-checked, and that’s what ended up forcing him out of the win. Cassidy doesn’t foresee it being a long-term thing with Krejci, who finished with a goal and two points in 8:21 of ice time centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.  

“He has an upper body; he had to leave. He wasn’t feeling too terrific today, and then he got, I think there was a cross-check there. He tried it, but couldn’t continue [playing]. I think he had some spasms, but I don’t think there’s anything long-term there at all.”

It remains to be seen if either McQuaid or Krejci will miss any time with the bumps and bruised suffered on Thursday, but it goes without saying that the Bruins hope they can stay in a lineup that’s beginning to take shape with the full group. 

Haggerty: Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

Haggerty: Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the presence of Patrice Bergeron is a major game-changer for the Boston Bruins. 

Bergeron finally felt good enough to return to the B’s lineup after missing the first five games of the season with a lower body injury, and the impact was immediate and unmistakable with a goal and four points in a 6-3 win for the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was also a far-reaching impact with the Bruins center pumping life back in the B’s power play with a return to his bumper position, returning a top penalty killer to the Bruins rotation, bringing normalcy back to the forward group by slotting fellow forwards back into their rightful spots and simply giving the B’s their best all-around player back. 

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Clearly it was a joyous moment for Bergeron to get back on the ice and play after getting a couple of good days in on the practice ice leading up to Thursday night. 

“It’s hard no matter what it is. You know, when you’re missing games, when you’re missing time, it’s… you miss being out there with the guys and battling with them and going through what we have to go through as a team. It’s good to be back,” said Bergeron. “You don’t know what to expect obviously [after a long layoff]. You’re trying to hope for the best. I don’t want to say I was surprised [at his high level of play] because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork finally skated together for the first time after building chemistry all throughout training camp, and they finished with four goals, 10 points, a plus-6 rating and 13 of Boston’s 35 shots on net for the game. It was the way that the Bruins roster was drawn up headed into the season before they had a five-game detour due to the injuries, and the hope is that’s the way it will continue to look for the Black and Gold moving forward. 

“I mean it’s pretty evident, you know, the way [Bergeron] played out there. He just, it’s incredible the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long, you know?” said Brad Marchand, who finally has his longtime partner-in-crime back. “He’s just such a big part of the group. He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. He just does everything that a top guy does.”

Perhaps most striking of all was the emotion and organization that the Bruins played with having Bergeron and David Backes back in the lineup. The breakouts, reloading counter-attacks and defensive zone coverage all had more noticeable structure, and the Bruins were able to get the wave after wave attack from their forward groups that spurred on goals both during 5-on-5 play and when special teams were involved. 

Some of that is getting two highly talented players like Bergeron and Backes back from injury, and some of it is getting an important, tone-setting leader like No. 37 back for everything he does off the ice as well. 

Bergeron set up the important answering goal in the first period by firing a puck that created a rebound for Bjork to clean up, he did the same for David Krejci’s power play to close out the first period scoring, he created the turnover that led to Marchand’s goal in the second period and then he sniped home his own goal from the bumper spot to finally clinch things in the third period. It was clear that Bergeron is still navigating through discomfort and some level of injury while playing at this point, but his hockey IQ and his gritty toughness are allowing him to still be a highly effective player. 

“I think it was self-evident out there that the play on the ice, first of all, built a matchup against whoever we really want. The Power play obviously [was a] big impact there. I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Those intangibles, leadership, first shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and [he’s] kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. 

“[He’s talking about] finishing your routes on the fore-check and reloading all the way to our zone.

[It’s the] stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. When you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more. To have that back in the room and along with David Backes, those are guys that are just vocal players that bring a lot in that aspect. It’s generally, a quiet group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective and win as a quiet group, but it just helps sometimes to have a little bit of that energy.”

While it was a clearly a feel-good story to see Bergeron back in his proper environs on the ice, it was also just as apparent there’s still some lower body discomfort with the Bruins center. He looked like he was in pain or laboring at times out on the ice, and admitted after the game that the lower body injury might be something he’ll need to manage for the time being. That would tend to mean that once again this isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and Bergeron will again need to grind his way through the pain. 

“That’s the million dollar question, right? I don’t know what to say to that. I guess yeah, I mean I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron. “But there’s… we might manage a little bit for quite a while. But I’m feeling good and tonight was no issue.”

Clearly Bergeron and the Bruins will gladly take it if he can be a difference-maker like he was on Thursday night with a four points, eight shot attempts and plenty of hard-working shifts in his 20:58 of ice time for the game. They’ll just need to keep their fingers crossed that No. 37 can keep suiting up and playing at a high level, and that the 32-year-old can avoid any further problems after already sitting out the first five games of the regular season.