TORONTO — At the end of the year, when all is said and done, it won’t matter how the Bruins won their games.
The only thing that will matter is that they won those hard-fought, grind-it-out games, and that is precisely what they did at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.
The Bruins surrendered a 2-0 lead and a 3-2 lead, and they fought through six penalties for an eventual 4-3 shootout win over Toronto, marking their third straight win and their second win over the Maple Leafs in three nights.
“It really didn’t matter how you win as long as you get the win, and they’re not all going to be pretty,” said forward Brad Marchand, who scored twice, including once shorthanded. “We’ve got to learn to win games like this, and we did that tonight, so we have to be happy.”
TORONTO — The last 24 hours have been a bit stressful for Landon Ferraro.
The forward was waived by the Red Wings on Saturday. A knee injury had landed him on injured reserve earlier in the month, and when he was due to be reactivated, there wasn’t room for him in Detroit.
Thus, to the waiver wire he went, and 24 hours later, Ferraro was a Boston Bruin. He jumped in a car, and three hours later, he was in Toronto, ready to join his new team for its two-game road trip.
“You go from being really disappointed and just trying to think of all the options that can happen, to getting a call right at noon from [Red Wings General Manager] Kenny Holland in Detroit saying that Boston picked me up, and then talking to [Boston GM] Don Sweeney right after that,” Ferraro said following Monday’s morning skate at the Air Canada Centre. “And then after that, I mean, my phone just didn’t stop going.
“They gave me the choice to fly or drive [to Toronto], and I picked the car service so I could just get there and just relax. I turned my phone off for a bit and just tried to unwind a bit. It was a stressful 24 hours, but it ended well, and I’m happy where I am.”
WILMINGTON — The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster for the Bruins.
There have been ups — the win at Brooklyn, the win over Detroit, and of course, Thursday night’s 4-2 victory over Minnesota — but surrounding all of those ups have also been downs. There was the late-game collapse at Montreal. There was the blown lead versus Colorado. There was the run-and-gun loss to the Sharks.
Following Thursday night’s decisive win over the Wild, therefore, the Bruins’ mission is simple: Keep it going.
“For us as a group, we’ve been able to respond, obviously, after losses,” said defenseman Torey Krug following Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “Then after wins, for whatever reason, we kind of have an emotional letdown and all of a sudden, teams come into our rink and they take two points from us.
“The question becomes, how do we respond to that? This group — we have to grow and we have to learn, and I think what we’ve gone through so far has definitely been tough, but we’ll see how we respond [Saturday]. We have a group that’s paying attention to that, and we’ll take it from there.”
BOSTON —The Bruins knew they needed to be better coming into Thursday’s game. It wasn’t an option; it was a necessity.
The focus had to be there. The urgency had to be there. And the defense had to be there.
The Bruins needed a better effort — a much better effort — in those facets of the game in order to get a win in the penultimate game of this homestand. So they simply made sure they were better in those three regards. And as expected, it got them a win.
“I think all the things we talked about were better,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following Thursday’s 4-2 win over Minnesota. “We know we can score goals; I think it’s about keeping them out of our own net. Our penalty kill was good tonight, and our defensive play was good as well. We did a good job of collapsing and taking away some of those opportunities, and our D’s did a great job of blocking shots when they had to.”
BOSTON — There have been two different versions of the Bruins thus far in 2015-16.
One version focuses for a full 60 minutes and tends to come away with victories. The other version has trouble maintaining that focus for a full game — particularly at home — and it costs them.
As Boston prepares to face Minnesota on Thursday night at TD Garden, Head Coach Claude Julien is hoping he will see Version No. 1 of his team come puck drop.
“I don’t think the guys have shown a real poor effort; we’ve been inconsistent with our game,” Julien said on Thursday morning. “Sometimes, when you don’t play well, it doesn’t look like you’re working hard; I think it’s just we need to work better. We need to make smarter decisions.”
BOSTON — For Chris Kelly, the moments immediately following his injury were the scariest.
As he lay on the ice in front of the Dallas Stars’ bench in excruciating pain, he didn’t know much. He knew that he couldn’t feel his left leg; it was numb. He knew he could hear members of the Dallas Stars yelling at the linesmen to stop play. He knew he could hear panic in their voices.
He couldn’t see his leg, but he assumed it was bad.
“I wasn’t quite sure what had happened,” Kelly said, speaking to reporters on Thursday for the first time since fracturing his left femur on Nov. 3. “I knew when I was lying on the ice that my leg was kind of numb and I couldn’t feel it. When I went down, the play continued a little bit, and I could hear the reaction of Dallas’ bench kind of calling for the refs to stop the play.
“So I can’t feel my leg, and they’re kind of in a little bit of a panic mode on their bench, so for a moment there, it was pretty scary not knowing what my leg was looking like. But after the training staff and the doctors came out, I was able to regroup, and [Zdeno Chara] was able to help me off the ice, so it was good I was able to get off without a stretcher.”
EVERETT — It’s not quite the holiday season yet, but it certainly felt like it on Monday.
Every member of the Boston Bruins was on hand for the team’s annual Holiday Toy Shopping at Target in Everett, kicking off an annual event that each player looks forward to at the end of the year.
“We’re going to have a toy delivery closer to Christmas in December, so right now, we’re just kind of shopping,” said Patrice Bergeron, who spearheaded the event for the sixth consecutive year. “Kids sent us wish lists of things that they want — toys and games and whatnot — so we’re trying to fulfill those wish lists and make sure that we do it well.
“We’ll have the chance to actually go and meet the kids that actually ask us for those gifts, so it’s really special, and the guys are nice enough to all be here today.”
BOSTON — Everything about Boston’s performance against the Red Wings on Saturday night revolved around one mantra: Keep it simple.
In the offensive zone, with and without the puck, shorthanded and with the man advantage, the Bruins were focused on doing the little things right, and it paid off. But the area in which it paid off the most was defensively.
“I thought defensively, we were doing a good job throughout the game,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following Monday morning’s practice at TD Garden. “And we had to be a little bit better in the third [period] because of how hard [Detroit] pushed back, but no doubt, defensively can also be the neutral zone, and I thought we did a better job in the neutral zone minimizing their speed and their space that they like to have. Obviously, in the zone, we kept them on the outside for the most part.”
There have been plenty of instances this season in which the Bruins have been good in chunks but then have let up somewhere along the way. Particularly at home, the Bruins were quick to discover that was no way to win a hockey game.
BOSTON — Heading into Saturday night, the Bruins weren’t focused on the big picture.
They were focused on the little things. They were focused on taking each and every minute one at a time. They were focused on being focused.
And in the end, it served them well: They beat Detroit 3-1, earning their second home win of the season.
“We were far from being happy with how things were going at home,” said forward Patrice Bergeron. “We’ve got to make it hard for other teams to come in and play us, and tonight, I thought, was a step in the right direction, for that matter. I thought we played a strong, solid game, and the way we are supposed to play, and it showed in the result.”
In the recent past, the Bruins have had success against the speedy, offensively-gifted Red Wings, and they have done it by limiting Detroit’s time and space. They did just that in the first period on Saturday, limiting the Wings to a mere one shot on goal through the first 15 minutes of play.
BOSTON — The Bruins have made no bones about it: Their performance at home this season has been unacceptable.
That was Head Coach Claude Julien’s word of choice on Friday. On Saturday, Patrice Bergeron echoed the sentiment.
“It’s something that we definitely need to fix quickly, and it’s unacceptable, obviously, to have the home record that we’re having,” Bergeron said. “It’s one thing to say it, but we have to go out there and actually do it and take care of it. I think that’s the bottom line now: It’s about going out there and responding.”
Since a season-opening homestand in which they went 0-3, the Bruins have talked the talk regarding their play at TD Garden. Now, they said, it’s time to walk the walk.
“For a long time now, we’ve had a good home record, and this year, for whatever reason, it’s been a place that teams like to come in and play, and we have to change that,” said defenseman Torey Krug. “It starts with us as players going out and executing the coaches’ game plan, and that’s what we have to do.”