WILMINGTON — Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver didn’t sit well for the Bruins. But after having a day off on Wednesday to decompress, they have left it in the past. Now, it’s on to New Jersey.
“I think we’re happy with how we’re playing and improving and stuff, and I think it’s just about scoring goals,” said defenseman Dougie Hamilton following Thursday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “We have to stay confident and positive, and keep trying our best to score goals, and hopefully, that will win us games.”
Of course, there are some elements from the game against the Canucks that the Bruins would like to take with them to the Garden State. There are elements from the last several games, in fact, that the B’s would like to hold on to. They peppered the net with shots. They played sound defensively. There were no lengthy lapses in effort.
Now, the B’s just need to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net.
BOSTON — The Bruins had chances on Tuesday night. Lots of chances.
But as Head Coach Claude Julien said after a 2-1 loss to Vancouver, they just didn’t take advantage of them.
“I think that the only thing we talk about here is pretty simple: It’s not the offense; it’s the lack of finish,” Julien said. “I think when you come back from a long road trip like we did, we all know that that first game becomes a challenge, and I thought our guys handled it well. I thought we came out there, skated, worked hard, dominated the game.
“[We] had lots of shots and scoring chances, but the inability to finish is the only reason that we’re sitting here tonight with a loss.”
BOSTON — About 10 days ago, when the Bruins last faced the Canucks in Vancouver, they were not at their best.
They intended to kick off a five-game road swing the right way — with a victory — and return to playing the way they had throughout January and at the beginning of February.
Instead, though, they came out flat and ended up dropping a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Canucks.
“We didn’t play a very good game at all, and we know that,” said forward Brad Marchand following Boston’s morning skate on Tuesday. “We didn’t have the jump that we normally have, and we had a few very costly turnovers, so we just want to worry about playing the way we did the last couple games when we finished the road trip. If we can do that, it should be a good game.”
BOSTON — The 2014-15 season hasn’t gone the way David Krejci wanted it to, or expected it to.
But now, there’s nothing he can do about it. After sustaining a partially torn MCL in his left knee on Friday in the second period of a game against St. Louis — and after learning, after a visit with team doctors on Monday, that it will keep him out for the next 4-6 weeks — there is nothing he can do but try to stay positive, stay in shape and get back into the lineup as soon as possible.
“It is frustrating, but I’m trying to focus on positive things and just really be happy, and try to do the best I can to come back as fast as I can,” Krejci said on Tuesday at TD Garden, speaking to the media for the first time since sustaining the injury. “That’s all you can do. There’s no point to be down on yourself; just stay positive and try to be happy around the guys and make them feel comfortable and happy. That’s all I can do.”
BOSTON — Nobody will deny that Boston’s five-game road trip through Western Canada and the Midwest didn’t go quite as planned.
But that being said, Sunday’s dominating 6-2 win over Chicago was the right way to end it.
“Obviously, we struggled during this road trip, but it was a good, convincing win,” said Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli, addressing the media after Sunday’s game. “Again, it's not up to where we should have been on the overall road trip, but if you look back to the last period of the Edmonton game [on Feb. 18], I think our legs and hands are coming around. I liked the way we skated with the puck in the St. Louis game [on Feb. 20], and [in Chicago], too — so some promising signs.”
BostonBruins.com — Ryan Spooner could have obsessed over the big club — who was doing well, who wasn’t, who was injured, when his opportunity for another call-up might arrive. As a third-year (full-time) pro and a player with 32 games of NHL experience under his belt, he had to suspect that if the Bruins were looking for a spark, he might be the guy getting a phone call.
But Spooner didn’t obsess. He didn’t allow himself to constantly wonder when he might be getting that much-anticipated call. He didn’t even get cable for his house in Providence, which made his mission — to focus, 100 percent, on his job with the P-Bruins — even easier.
“I would check the stats online and see [how the Bruins were doing], but for the most part, I just kind of focus on the stuff I’m doing here,” Spooner said earlier this week, following a practice at the Rhode Island Sports Center. “And if I get a call, I get a call. I’ll just kind of go with it.”
Earlier today, Spooner was — as promised — fully focused on an out-of-the-ordinary P-Bruins road trip that would take the team on a week-long tour of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The team left on Thursday after practice, and in its first game on Friday night, it was Spooners’ two second-period tallies that sparked the team to victory.
Spooner was in the zone. He was committed. He was doing exactly what he set out to do.
That, of course, is when the call came — when he least expected it.
WILMINGTON — For all of January, the Bruins were fully committed.
For the most recent four games of this month, they said they haven’t been.
Those four games haven’t been all bad. Boston won one of them, and there were spurts of character and resilience in the other three. But the moral of the story is that there hasn’t been enough of a commitment, and it has shown in the final score on each of those nights.
So when the Bruins hit the ice for practice on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, there intent was to renew their commitment to the system because it was that commitment that brought them so much success last month.
“To me, if we can get that intensity and that commitment carrying into our games, we're going to be OK,” Julien said. “We've hit a bump here, and I don't want it to be any longer than it already has been, so we need to up our intensity and our commitment and go out there and know it's going to be a tough battle.”
BOSTON — “Disappointing.” “Sloppy.” “Unacceptable.”
Those were the words the Bruins used to describe Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars at TD Garden.
But perhaps David Krejci said it best.
“We have to play a full 60 minutes, and we have to be sharp in every area of our game, and we were not today,” he said. “We’re still losing games, and we’re not playing a full 60 minutes. If you don’t put the full 60-minute effort together, then it’s going to be hard to win hockey games in this league.”
The Bruins entered Tuesday’s game knowing what they had to do. They hadn’t been putting their best effort forth for three straight games, dating back to a Feb. 4 loss to the Rangers. There have been mental mistakes. There has been a lack of commitment to the system. There have been intermittent lapses in effort.
BOSTON — The Bruins have one last order of business to take care of before they head off on a five-game road trip: The Dallas Stars.
Coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss to Montreal on Sunday night — when the Bruins lamented a spotty, inconsistent effort — it becomes even more imperative for them to get the job done at TD Garden on Tuesday night and close out this three-game homestand on a high note.
“We’re not going to be home for a couple of weeks at least, so we wanted to make sure we come here and have a good win and have a good road trip,” said forward Daniel Paille.
Though the Bruins didn’t practice on Monday due to yet another snowstorm, they had a longer-than-normal morning skate on Tuesday, and following Sunday’s loss, they did the off-the-ice preparation to ensure that the same mistakes that haunted them against the Habs — sloppy play in the neutral zone, losing battles — don’t crop up again against the Stars.
BOSTON — On a night when members of the Super Bowl XLIX Champion New England Patriots were in attendance, the Bruins had no intention of losing. They had no intention of failing to do their jobs. And they certainly weren’t going to go down without a fight.
“Guys were excited about seeing the [Patriots] players out there, and shaking their hands and everything else, and they came out strong,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “[The Islanders] scored [the first] goal, and we got that goal back, but then the game just seemed to — once it got even again — die down from our end a bit.
“I liked the way we handled the third. We came out there with a little bit more determination, and it showed on the shot clock.”
For the second time in just over a week, the Bruins trumped the New York Islanders — this time, with a grind-it-out, down-to-the-wire 2-1 victory in the first game of a critical back-to-back that demonstrated their character, and their resilience, as much as any victory this season.