Bruins

What we learned: Winnable one gets away from B's

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What we learned: Winnable one gets away from B's

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center on Tuesday night ,where the Black and Gold failed to collect at least a point in what will likely end up being the most winnable game of the three-game road gauntlet through California:

1) Not even close to good enough from the Bruins third line

Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes totaled just one shot on net for the evening and were on ice for the tying goal from Brent Burns. It was a tough break for them given that it was a pretty rough line change getting them on the ice and the Burns goal was a trailer shot from inside the blue line that ricocheted off Spooner’s stick. But Hayes brought nothing to the table on Tuesday night with zero shots on net, and even worse hurt the team with the illegal check to the head penalty in the third period that led to San Jose’s game-winner. Hayes has one goal in his past 17 games, so he needs to step up immediately within the high-intensity, competitive environment of late-season hockey, or another young guy such as Frank Vatrano (sent back to Providence Wednesday) might come in and seize his spot. In general, though, the third line needs to be much, much better than it was against the Sharks.

2) Reappearance of 'Playoff Krejci' encouraging

The playmaking center was banged up enough that he missed Monday’s practice and one still wonders if he’s been nursing an injury this season, but Krejci has been elevating his game since the trade deadline. He has a goal and six points in eight games in March and finished with a goal and two points, along with a plus-2 rating in Tuesday night’s loss. He was the best player on the ice for Boston and the 20:50 of ice time would seem to signify that: he jumped on the rebound of a David Pastrnak shot for Boston’s first goal, and then gave them an early lead with a slick PK pass that led Loui Eriksson in for a short-handed goal. Krejci, Eriksson and Pastrnak are really coming together as a line this month and giving the Bruins another viable offensive line to count on. Unfortunately, we learned again against San Jose that the Bruins need more than one line going if they’re going to have success against good teams.

3) Watching Brent Burns another reminder of what the Bruins don’t have

Burns scored his 26th goal of the season to set a new record for defensemen with the Shark, and tied the score after stepping in as the trailer with a shot that was aided by a deflection off Ryan Spooner’s stick. The All-Star D-man’s production is no accident and was part of a whopping 12 shot attempts that Burns fired on net in his 26 plus minutes of ice time. The 31-year-old is on pace for 31 goal and 76 points this season and is a hulk of a No. 1 defenseman in the prime of his career. He can move the puck and obviously score, but he’ll also play the heavy, shot-blocking game that’s sometimes needed by San Jose as well. The Bruins have 38-year-old Zdeno Chara playing a pretty solid level right this moment, but they need a No. 1 D-man in his prime like Burns on their roster as soon as possible. They won’t Cup contenders without one. That is much easier said than done for the B’s, and that remains the challenge for Don Sweeney in the offseason.

Plus

*David Krejci finished with a goal and two points, five shot attempts and 10-of-18 faceoff wins in 20:50 of ice time, and now has a goal and six points in eight games in March while picking up his game at crunch time.

*Loui Eriksson finished with a short-handed goal, four shots on goal and was very good in a whopping 21:56 of ice time for the Bruins as the chemistry comes alive with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. He has three goals and five points in his last three games, and is catching fire again after a slow stretch right around the trade deadline.

*Brent Burns was a beast all night with a goal and two points, a game-high 12 shot attempts as a constant offensive threat and a massive 26 plus minutes of ice time as the linchpin of San Jose’s D-man corps. He’s one of the best in the league and set a San Jose franchise record with his 26th goal as a defenseman on Tuesday night.

Minus

*No shots on net and no offensive presence for Jimmy Hayes. Even worse, he took a couple of penalties including an illegal check to the head call in the third period that led to the game-winning, power-play goal for the Sharks. It’s one thing if Hayes is going to disappear as a 6-foot-6 forward, but it’s infinitely worse when his penalties and mistakes are costing the Bruins.

*Dennis Seidenberg was on the ice for all three goals against, was a minus-2 for the game in 15:07 of ice time and had a tough night in the defensive zone against one of the big, heavy teams the B’s will face on this trip.

*Rookie fourth line Noel Acciari was on the ice for two goals against in 8:58 of ice time. He’s largely been pretty good for the B’s since getting called up at the trade deadline, but he was guilty along with Seidenberg and John-Michael Liles of leaving “the house” open on San Jose’s first goal of the game. Big breakdown all-around.

 

 

Bruins wowed by scrimmage turnout: "Not many other cities where that would happen"

Bruins wowed by scrimmage turnout: "Not many other cities where that would happen"

BOSTON – The final score didn’t matter, and truth be told the identities of the goal-scorers and the assist-makers didn’t really matter all that much either.

The only things that really mattered during Thursday night’s Intra-squad scrimmage at TD Garden were that all the Bruins players got out of the exercise healthy (they did after a brief scare with Brad Marchand), and that an amazing 16,000 plus Bruins fans filtered through the gates as paying customers to watch a glorified night practice.

Certainly it was a good night for David Pastrnak scoring a couple of goals, and David Backes kicked in a couple of scores of his own. It was a little less than stellar for Tuukka Rask giving up a couple of goals in his 25 minutes of work, and David Krejci never even made it on the ice after running a fever earlier in the day on Thursday.

But the biggest winners of all were the Bruins fans that got to see their Bruins for a $20 fee going to the Bruins Foundation, and showed exactly the kind of support that the Black and Gold get from their hardcore fan base.

“I thought it was great to be back in front of our home crowd. They had good energy. I think the guys fed off that a little bit. It’s nice to be appreciated I guess or cheered on in these circumstances, but we’re trying to get our work done. That was the message. We can’t get out there and have it like a summer hockey league game,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You’re going to make some plays but try to stay detailed as best you can.

“Sometimes in these environments, you want to do a little more, so we got a little bit of both, but we got our work done. Thanks to the fans for coming out. Supports a good cause and got to see some decent players playing, getting ready to go into the Final, so it’s a win-win.”

It showed just how hungry Bruins fans are for the Stanley Cup, and just how frenzied the following is with Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final scheduled for Monday night against the St. Louis Blues at the Garden. Bruins President Cam Neely saluted the fans ahead of the two-quarter scrimmage on Thursday night, and B’s leaders Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron addressed the crown after the two teams produced eight goals during the game rehearsal.

It all added up to an impromptu love-fest with a Bruins team that’s exceeded expectations and hopes this season, and could bring a second Stanley Cup back to Boston in the last eight years. All of that good mojo was apparent to the Bruins players as they talked it about after scrimmaging for 50 minutes in front of a packed house.

“I was saying to my dad or somebody that I hope [the fans] remember that we still have one more series to go. They showed up and it was great. Not many other cities around the league where that would happen,” said Torey Krug. “It was fun to get out there and extremely beneficial for us to get out there in some game-type situations.

“We have the type of locker room that gives 100 percent all the time whether it’s a practice or a game, and that’s what we tried to do tonight. Looking up and seeing the upper bowl was pretty full, that’s pretty special.”  

Some will say that the game day simulation with the night scrimmage was odd, or that it didn’t really make much of a difference with the 10 days off between the Eastern Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final. Certainly those both might be true, but the B’s had to try something to keep too much rust from gathering on their game prior to puck drop on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Now all that’s left is to count down the days until the Cup Final begins in earnest on Monday evening, and the fans really get a treat with the Bruins and Blues facing off after Thursday night’s scrimmage appetizer at the Garden. 

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Breakfast Podcast, May 23, 2019: Bruins play Intra-team scrimmage 3 days before Stanley Cup Final

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Breakfast Podcast, May 23, 2019: Bruins play Intra-team scrimmage 3 days before Stanley Cup Final

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE

01:35: DJ Bean, Michael Holley, and Danielle Trotta react to Bruins decision to have intra-squad scrimmage three days before the start of the Stanley Cup Final. Although no one was injured, there was a close call in Brad Marchand.

05:25: Kyrie Irving was named 2nd-Team All-NBA, Chris Forsberg joins DJ Bean and Danielle Trotta to react. Was he named correctly? And Dan Gilbert comments on Kyrie Irving trade saying, “We killed it.”

09:50: After Bruce Cassidy commented on Patrice Bergeron’s legacy as a Boston athlete, Michael Holley and Rich Keefe rank the top ten most beloved Boston Athletes. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.