Bruins

Talking Points from the B's 3-2 win over the Sens

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Talking Points from the B's 3-2 win over the Sens

Here are my Talking Points from the Bruins' win over the Senators . . .

GOLD STAR: Danton Heinen has struggled through long portions of this season, and just Saturday afternoon he was being implored to shoot the puck more at the net by his head coach. So it must have been sweet for the young winger to throw a puck at the net from the slot that David Krejci was able to put a tip in on redirect past Craig Anderson for a game-winning goal in the final minute of the third period. Heinen finished with the assist in 18:17 of ice time with three shot attempts, a hit and a takeaway, and showed some much-needed confidence and decisiveness with the puck on the game-winning play. Hopefully being part of that game-winning play can spark something in Heinen’s game to get him to go on a bit of an offensive spree.

BLACK EYE: Local kid Colin White is having a pretty big rookie season for the Senators, but the former Boston College standout didn’t do much in front of his friends and family at TD Garden. White finished with just a single shot on net, and was just 1-for-4 in the face-off circle in 17:23 of ice time. White wasn’t really much of an offensive presence and certainly didn’t do much in any other categories to be a factor in the game as well. There will be other days for White and surely he’ll have one of those big games at his hometown NHL rink one of these days, but it wasn’t meant to be on Saturday night for the talented youngster.

🏒 BRUINS 3, SENATORS 2

TURNING POINT: It looked like it wasn’t going to be the Bruins night when Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and Noel Acciari all hit posts and crossbars in the first 40 minutes of the game, and the Bruins had given up a goal in the minute after they had scored the initial goal in the second period. But for the third straight game, the Bruins pulled things together in the third period, scoring a pair of goals and winning the game in dramatic fashion with a winning score with less than a minute to go in the game. Interestingly both teams managed just five shots on net in the final period, but the Bruins capitalized on those few chances that they had.

HONORABLE MENTION: Chris Wagner continues to put together a strong season for the Bruins, as he scored his career-best 11th goal of the season, and did it in pretty rugged fashion. The fourth-line winger won a battle for position with Ben Harpur for a shot in front of the net, and Wagner was then able to put a stick on Torey Krug’s point shot that ended up tying the game for the Bruins in the third period. In all, Wagner finished with the goal, a plus-1 rating, two shots on net and two hits in an energetic 13:57 of ice time. Credit Wagner for continuing to step up his game in the second half of the season, and really helping to lead the B’s fourth line with his aggressiveness and production.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the combined number of shot attempts (6) and hits (5) for Brandon Carlo in an extremely active game where he was providing offense and physicality in 20:33 of ice time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s not luck when you find ways to win over and over again, so obviously, we’ve got some good players in the room [that are] stepping up at the right time. It’s a sign of a good team because we need it.” –Bruce Cassidy, on the Bruins pulling out another comeback win to make the 19th consecutive game with a point.  

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Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

With the return of John Moore to good health and a general lack of tight focus to the team recently, the confluence of events pushed the Bruins to make a move ahead of a four-game road trip next week.

The Bruins announced that they have waived veteran defenseman Steve Kampfer at noontime on Sunday for the purpose of sending him down to the AHL. It was clear the B’s were going to opt for the 31-year-old Kampfer rather than Connor Clifton, who just a couple of weeks ago passed the 60 NHL games played barrier that would also require waivers for him to be sent down to the AHL.

There’s a far greater chance that a team would put a claim in on the 24-year-old Clifton, who has two goals and a plus-5 rating in 24 games for the Black and Gold this season.

The final straw for Kampfer was the healthy return of Moore, who missed the first 28 games of the season coming back from shoulder surgery. But Moore has played in back-to-back games for the Bruins and collected an assist in Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Avalanche while showing that he’s all the way back from an injury suffered during last spring’s playoff run.

Kampfer has played in just four games for the Bruins this season as their seventh defenseman after putting up three goals and six points in 35 games as their spare D-man last season. While there’s a chance that a team could put a claim in on Kampfer, the likelihood given his age and experience level is that he’ll head to Providence to stay sharp for when another round of injuries inevitably hit the Bruins on the back end.

There’s also no question that a player being put on waivers that’s been with the Bruins for the last couple of seasons might be enough to also shake the complacency out of a B’s group that’s been sleepwalking against opponents over the last couple of weeks. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, of course, but they have needed a handful of third period comebacks after making slow starts the norm as of late.

There’s also the chance that the Bruins need the cap savings associated with Kampfer’s $800,000 cap hit after Moore’s $2.75 million cap figure was added back onto Boston’s books once he got healthy earlier this week.

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Bruce Cassidy: 'We've just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities'

Bruce Cassidy: 'We've just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities'

BOSTON – It was only a matter of time before the Bruins got burned for playing like they could flick on a third period switch and beat everybody across the NHL.

After a number of third period comebacks and salvaged points over the last couple of weeks, the Bruins couldn’t pull the same trick against the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-1 loss at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was the first regulation loss on home ice for the Bruins this season at TD Garden and it was exactly what Boston deserved after managing just nine shots on net in the first two periods while making some simple mistakes that led to goals against at inopportune times.

“For us, [it was a] lack of urgency. We talked about it the other night, again tonight, some of that is definitely in our game early on. If we’re on our toes, I think we’re cleaner. I’m not going to say that we’re not going to execute from time to time, but it’s been an issue for us I think. Some of the unforced errors — I just look at the play, Grizz [Matt Grzelcyk] takes a hit, [Danton] Heinen goes back with the puck. If we’re playing the right way, we’re in and out of our end. We’re gone,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We go back with it and all of a sudden [it’s in the net]. We win a faceoff to start a period and we ice it instead of making a play. Now we’re in our end and there’s just a lot of details that are working us against us now. We’ve just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities in those situations, and live with the result.

“[It] doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I think we’re leaving plays on the table because our lack of urgency or understanding that teams are coming after us. They’re good teams. We got away with it for a while here, good for us, right? It’s a results-oriented business. But against the better teams, I think at some point, they will close out games. [The loss to the Avs] was a great example of that.”

The Heinen play really was the killer as it came midway through the second period, led to the Bruins running around in their own end and then ended with Ian Cole rocketing a slap shot past Jaroslav Halak from the top of the face-off circle. Then Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk botched defensive coverage in transition at the end of the second period, and that led to Andre Burakovsky scoring the insurance goal right at the end of the period.

At that point, it was over despite Boston outshooting Colorado by a 12-6 margin in the third period, and the Bruins have to hope that it was a lesson learned at this point. It may take a few games for the Bruins to snap out of some of their current bad habits, but there’s also that overall malaise that might be an unavoidable part of the team’s commanding 13-point lead in the Atlantic Division.

That being said, Brad Marchand spoke for all of Boston’s team leadership in knowing that the current state of being for the Black and Gold isn’t something that can sustainably bring success.

“It’s a losing game. You can’t continue to go down by a couple of goals, especially to good teams,” said Marchand. “Teams like that know how to win and how to keep a lead. No matter how many times you come back, it’s going to eventually catch up to you. We’ve had that, especially early on [in games]. We tend to be much better when we’re behind. I think then it’s a bit of a wakeup call and we all have to play good in order to come back.

“But we have to play that way from the first shift of the first period. If you want to win, if you want to be a good team and if you want to have a chance in the playoffs, you have to be able to do that all game along. It’s tough sometimes because the season can get long. That’s no excuse. We have to realize the mistakes that we’re making and improve if want to continue to get better. That’s what good teams do.”

It would behoove the Bruins to get things in order quickly with a slate of important games over the next week including a mid-week tilt with the Washington Capitals, and a pair of divisional games against Tampa Bay and Florida later on in the week. But there really isn’t any worry coming from the B’s about anybody distantly trailing them in the standings right now while 8-1-1 in their last 10 games overall.

Instead it’s about the Bruins themselves becoming the best hockey team that they can be and getting back into a groove where they are paying attention to details and doing the little things that lead to winning hockey.  

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