WILMINGTON — There is no doubt that there will be relief in the Bruins dressing room once Monday’s Trade Deadline has expired.
“There’s uncertainty with every team,” said forward Brad Marchand following Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “But I think when we are done with today and we can move forward knowing this is our group, and this is what we’re going to make our run with, then I think we’re going to be excited and relieved and just excited to get back to playing hockey and that being the only focus.”
There has been ample opportunity for distraction on this team leading up to this year’s deadline. Some players have found their names in trade rumors and projections daily, and regardless of how accustomed they are to tuning out the noise, there will be a sense of calm restored once the clock strikes 3 on Monday afternoon.
BOSTON — The Bruins were frustrated coming out of Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
They were frustrated because they dropped another game at home, this time to a divisional opponent they will most likely be battling down the stretch for a playoff spot. But moreover, they were frustrated because self-inflicted mistakes cost them.
“That’s part of the story, I think, tonight – the self-inflicted mistakes that we made, the amount of breakaways and those kind of things,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “And special teams tonight – the penalty kill wasn’t good enough for us, and then the power play, although they did generate some chances, we didn’t produce. There’s no doubt their goaltender was solid for them tonight, but at the end of the day, it was a big game, and we needed to be better than we were.”
BOSTON — With just under 20 games remaining on the docket in 2015-16, the Bruins have their work cut out for them.
And their work begins with a divisional battle against Tampa Bay on Sunday at TD Garden — yet another game with huge postseason implications.
“This is a big division game,” said forward David Krejci following Sunday’s morning skate at TD Garden. “There’s lots of points in play, so games likes this, we have to win if we want to stay in the top three.”
As it stands, the Bruins and Lightning are tied points-wise at 74. Technically, the Lightning are in second place in the Atlantic because they have a game in hand on the Bruins, but with two points tonight, either team will gain some separation.
BOSTON — On paper, this game wasn’t necessarily a must-win for the Bruins.
But for all intents and purposes, it was.
The B’s knew they needed a win at home, particularly coming off a disappointing 6-4 loss to Columbus two nights earlier. Their last victory in this building had come on Feb. 6. They knew that all they had to do was play the way they play on the road — where they have had so much success this season — and that was all it would take.
Then, they went out and did just that against a team gnawing at their heels in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We came out hard, strong, we kept the shifts short, we were jumping all over the pucks, and that’s how we have to play every single night,” said forward David Krejci following Boston’s 5-1 win over Pittsburgh. “But mostly, we played a full 60 minutes, which is important in this league.”
BOSTON — The Bruins know they have to play better at home.
They also know they can play better at home. They have it in them. They have shown it consistently on the road.
But for some reason, when they get back to TD Garden, their game changes. There have been flashes of that simplified road style, but the B’s have been unable to be that team night in and night out on the home front.
Their quest to rectify that begins once again against the Penguins on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to keep it simple,” said forward David Krejci following Boston’s morning skate. “Just got to pay attention to the little details, and if we do that, then we’re going to have a good chance to get two points tonight.”
BOSTON — The Bruins fought on Monday night, and they fought till the end — just like they did two nights earlier on the road against Dallas, and just like they did throughout the bulk of their six-game road trip that had ended less than 48 hours earlier.
They fought, but on Monday, they didn’t have enough finish.
“Definitely, we want to win when you come home and play in front of your fans, and we’re not playing like we should,” said forward Loui Eriksson following a 6-4 loss to Columbus. “I think we play a much better game style when we’re on the road — we just keep it simple, and we’re playing hard and not giving that many chances to the other teams. It was another disappointing game, to give up as many goals as we did, and losing like we did.”
The Bruins could have chalked up Monday’s loss to fatigue. Doubtlessly, there was some of that lingering in the aftermath of a road trip that took them through six cities in 11 days. But the Bruins didn’t want to make excuses — not for this one.
BOSTON — The Bruins haven’t been back at home for long. They haven’t had much time to recover from the grind of a six-game, 11-day road trip that ended on Saturday night in Dallas.
But they know they can’t dwell on that as they prepare for yet another game on Monday night against Columbus.
“Every time you come off a big road trip, the first question is, ‘First game at home is going to be a tough one?’ And it’s true — it is,” said Head Coach Claude Julien following Monday’s morning skate. “It’s a tough one, especially when you get in at four in the morning on Sunday, and even though you want to get some rest, it’s a very awkward time to get in, and not easy to get your rest.
“So we need to suck it up tonight and be ready to play.”
BOSTON — Embarrassing.
That was the word the Bruins used over and over again to describe Tuesday’s 9-2 loss to the L.A. Kings.
“I feel like we got absolutely embarrassed,” said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. “Obviously they played a really good game, but we had nowhere near the game that we needed to play and it was embarrassing.
“There’s obviously things that are going to stay inside this locker room, but basically, we need to be better. We need to perform better. We’ve had a few stretches that we played well [this season]; we won some tight games and big games, and then we were facing some challenges, or some teams that are on top of the league, and we didn’t follow up with the performances that we had previous games. That’s, again, tonight’s case. So yeah, it was embarrassing.”
BOSTON — When Milan Lucic returns to the TD Garden ice for the first time as a member of the opposing team, he has no idea what type of reception he will receive.
He’s certainly put some thought into it — and of course, he hopes it’s a good reception — but he has no idea.
“I’ve actually thought about it a lot, especially in the last week, and what it’s going to be like,” Lucic said after the L.A. Kings skated at the Garden in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Boston. “I felt like I had a really good relationship with the fans, and we’ll see what the reception here is like tonight.
“I know when Gregory Campbell came back, he got a real great reception for what he did here, so we’ll see what it’s like here tonight.”
By all indications, Lucic’s should be just as rousing as the one Campbell received a couple of weeks ago.
BOSTON — The Bruins didn’t like the way they went into the All-Star Break, but they like the way they have returned from it.
Since ending their pre-break schedule with a disappointing 6-2 loss to Anaheim, Boston has earned five of a possible six points against Toronto and Buffalo. The B’s have moved into third place in the Atlantic Division and fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and they find themselves just a single point behind the third-place Rangers.
If they earn another two points against Los Angeles on Tuesday night at TD Garden, they could pull themselves back up to .500 at home before they head out on a season-long six-game road trip.
“We’ve gotten five out of six points after the break, so it would be nice to finish strong and get seven out of eight and go on the long road trip,” said forward David Krejci following Monday’s practice at TD Garden. “It’s going to be a big game for us. [The Kings] have a really good team. They’re big and strong. We have to bring our A game.”