BOSTON — One week ago, as the Bruins prepared to set off on a three-game road trip, the sense of urgency was at a premium.
Now that they have returned — and have three out of a possible six points to show for that trip — the sense of urgency remains.
“It’s not the way we wanted it to end," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "We all just wanted to come home with five points out of six, but we just didn’t play well enough. We didn’t play well enough at all in a few of the games.
"There were spurts where we kind of played the way we wanted to, but overall, the consistency is still lacking, and again, we have two games left before Christmas, and our goal is to get maximum points."
ST. PAUL, MINN. — For three straight games, it has all come down to overtime.
In all three of those games, the Bruins were dominant in spurts. In all three of those games, the Bruins had leads they couldn’t hold on to.
In the first two games, the Bruins went home with heartbreaking shootout losses. There was no way they were going to let that happen a third time.
On Wednesday night, after the 60th minute had expired and the score was tied, the Bruins rediscovered their resolve, and it got them a 3-2 win over the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
“You definitely want to get back on the winning column, and that extra point was really important for us,” said center Patrice Bergeron. “We definitely talked about it, even before the third period, to find a way and to battle. Even though we couldn't do it in the third, we still stayed with it and we found a way to get that point.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for us.”
ST. PAUL, MN. — Day by day, David Krejci has been working himself back into the Bruins’ lineup.
He started skating with the team just over a week ago. On Monday, he joined the team for its three-game road swing through Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg. He was not in the lineup for Tuesday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Predators, but finally, on Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center, he could be sporting the Spoked B when the puck drops.
“He’s a possibility tonight,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told the media on Wednesday afternoon. “He’s skating out there, and we’ll see. Again, it’s really hard to make a decision on him, and so we’re just waiting for the word here.
“I would say a possibility. That’s better than [Tuesday], when I told you guys he wasn’t going."
BOSTON — For about a week, David Krejci has been skating with his teammates. He hasn’t gotten into game action since the Bruins faced St. Louis on Nov. 18, but that could change during Boston’s upcoming road trip through Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg.
After Monday’s practice at TD Garden, Head Coach Claude Julien said Krejci will travel with the team for the three-game swing, though whether or not he will play remains to be seen.
“I can’t guarantee that,” Julien said. “I hope so.”
Nobody on the Bruins would deny that Krejci’s return would be a boost. Coaches and players alike have contended that they cannot rely on one player to be the team’s savior, but Krejci certainly brings an offensive spark that this team is currently lacking.
In Krejci’s absence over the last 10 games, the Bruins have gone 3-7 and have been unable to score more than two goals in two of their last nine contests. The hope is that when Krejci returns, he will bring some stability to this offense — and some stability to the line combinations, which have frequently been shuffled, either due to injury or in an effort to produce a spark.
“With David, he's our offensive force,” said forward Daniel Paille. “He creates a lot of opportunities for not only our power play, but 5-on-5 as well, and having him out there, it's good to see. Hopefully that's a good sign for him that he is coming [back] soon, and we're hoping that he comes when he's ready.”
BOSTON — The effort was there for the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.
The energy was there. The fire was there. But the finish was not, and that, as Head Coach Claude Julien said, rendered their effort just average.
And average was not good enough to defeat the Senators at TD Garden on Saturday, as the Bruins fell 3-2 in the shootout.
“Just like Coach said, we’ve got realize where we are and look at the standings,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “Right now, it’s not what you say; it’s what you do.”
Early on, it seemed as though the Bruins had set themselves up for a win. They didn’t allow their mistakes to end up in the back of their own net, and they refused to be victimized by a couple of early penalties to Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand.
In fact, they managed to capitalize on one of those miscues. With Marchand in the box for a trip on Cody Ceci, rookie Craig Cunningham manned Marchand's customary spot alongside Patrice Bergeron on the penalty kill. When a bouncing puck came his way in the neutral zone, Cunningham pounced on it, took it to the right circle and fired it on net, where it got through Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner.
WILMINGTON — It has been a while since Chris Kelly dropped the gloves — the last time, in fact, was during the first round of the 2013 postseason, against Toronto’s Leo Komarov — but Kelly picked a good time to do it again.
In the third period of Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, Milan Lucic had just taken the puck the length of the ice to set up Torey Krug’s eventual goal. After dishing the puck to the front of the net, Lucic took what Kelly perceived to be a late hit at the end boards, and after a lengthy scuffle, he and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw went at it.
“Looch can defend himself -- everyone knows that," Kelly said on Friday after the B's practiced at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. "I don’t think it was about that. I think you want to be there for your teammates.
"Although it was probably a clean hit, I just didn’t like it, or whatever. But fighting’s part of the game. It’s two willing people fighting, and that’s really all it was.”
The fighting major may not have sparked the Bruins to a victory, but it did inspire them. That much was obvious from their comments after the game on Thursday, and the next day at Ristuccia.
“We need that in our game, and we’ve always thrived off that kind of stuff,” said forward Brad Marchand. “We feed off it as a team, and it brings a lot of energy. When you have guys sticking up for your teammates, it builds confidence within the group, and it was great to see that last night. Hopefully we can continue to see that.”
BOSTON — Nothing is set in stone yet, but by all indications, David Krejci is getting closer to returning to the Boston Bruins’ lineup.
The center, who has missed eight consecutive games and 14 of the Bruins’ last 16 games with an undisclosed injury, has practiced with the team for two straight days, but still, the question remains: Will he be in the lineup when the B’s take on the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on Thursday night?
“Obviously, I would love to play, but we have to discuss it with the doctors,” Krejci said following Wednesday’s session at TD Garden. “I feel much better. It’s been a good week. We worked hard [last week], and the last couple days I was skating with the team, it was pretty good. So we’ve got to talk to with the doctors, and we’ll see.”
BostonBruins.com — At just about this time last year, Reilly Smith emerged.
Prior to December 2013, Smith was a prospect who came to Boston in a blockbuster trade the summer prior. He established himself as one of Boston’s brightest young players during training camp and earned himself a permanent spot on the Bruins’ roster.
But then Loui Eriksson went down with a concussion on Dec. 7. It was Eriksson’s second concussion of the season, and it would keep him out of the lineup for over a month. Boston needed a right winger to complement Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Smith stepped in, he excelled and he never looked back. And now, almost exactly a year later, Smith has once again stepped in and excelled when the B’s truly needed him.
BOSTON — The Bruins are gearing up for a four-game tour that will take them through Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Arizona.
Heading into Friday night, they were coming off two losses — one in regulation, one in overtime — against two of the toughest teams in the Eastern Conference.
They knew, therefore, that on Friday against Winnipeg, they desperately needed to get off to a good start and garner two points before they hit the road.
“We talked a lot about it,” said defenseman Dougie Hamilton. “For a while there, it was pretty frustrating, and the coaches definitely weren't too happy with us. We really didn't show up.”
So when regulation expired and the Bruins found themselves in the same position they were in just a few days ago against Pittsburgh, they knew they couldn’t let the same story rewrite itself. This time, they would claim two points instead of one.
WILMINGTON — For the Bruins, Thanksgiving Day marks an important milestone.
With a little less than two months of the season under their belts, the Bruins consider themselves satisfied if they are in the playoff picture — relatively satisfied. As of now, they are in the mix for a postseason spot, and while that is obviously a positive, they are the first to admit that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Historically, teams that are there at the time stay there, but guys on the fringe move up and down,” said General Manager Peter Chiarelli after Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day practice at Ristuccia Arena. “But it’s a good milestone for us, and this year, the amount of injuries the amount of roster fluctuation that we’ve had — I’m relatively satisfied with where we are now.
“I think what I look at when I assess a team and assess the games, game by game — it’s effort and work ethic, and I think the system will eventually come into place and the proper personnel will eventually be in place. Those first two things have been good, I’ve found. So we’re in a spot where we say we want to be in that kind of area, where historically you’ve made the playoffs, if you’re there at this time.
“So we’re there. We’ve reached an interim goal, and relatively satisfied.”