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."
NASHVILLE - Tuesday night in Nashville ended on the same note for the Bruins - just a touch short of pulling out the extra point, as they fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Predators.
The Bruins' last three games have been one-goal games. They've earned a point in their past two, but still sit out of a playoff spot with eight losses in their last 10.
This game could serve as something for the Black and Gold to build on, as they continue their three game road trip with a quick turnaround against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul on Wednesday night.
But losing doesn't feel any better, even if the effort earns a point.
"It's constantly the same thing," said Reilly Smith, who tied the game at 2-2 in the third period with his eighth of the season. "It seems like we're getting there, we're getting close, we're playing hard, we're battling till the end, but we're coming up short in a lot of these games where we need to get some extra points just to give us a little more hope in the standings."
"So this is an important road trip for us and it would have been really nice to get that extra point."
NASHVILLE - When the Bruins went out West two weeks ago, there was urgency. They needed to try and find consistency in their game, and there was no better test than a string of tough games against the Western Conference's best.
Once again, they find themselves in a similar situation.
The Black and Gold have lost seven of their past nine games, and desperately need points, currently sitting just out of a playoff spot.
They kick off a three-games-in-four-nights road swing on Tuesday night in Nashville, before facing Minnesota and Winnipeg.
While the road trip against Pacific Division opponents Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose didn't produce any points for the Bruins, they at least got solid efforts in two of the three games. The Bruins need better results on this Central Division trip, which proves to be just as daunting of a challenge.
"This trip is no different. We've got to play well, but at the same time, we've got to come up with some points if we want to call it a success," Head Coach Claude Julien said following his team's pregame skate at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday morning. "It is about winning hockey games - I think we should sense the urgency of it, and it starts [against Nashville]."
NASHVILLE - Center David Krejci will not be in the lineup on Tuesday night in Nashville, as the Bruins face the Predators.The hope is still that Krejci will return to game action amidst the Bruins' three-game road trip. They play in Minnesota on Wednesday, before finishing off the trip in Winnipeg on Friday.
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 Bruins are 2-5-2 in their last nine games, and clearly not where they want to be.
It goes without saying that this hasn't been a fun stretch for the team.
As the Bruins hit the road Monday for three games in four nights against Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg, the urgency was felt from the group.
"There's nobody in that dressing room that is enjoying losing. There's nobody in that dressing room that enjoys seeing us where we are right now," Julien said before the team traveled to Nashville. "So, don’t think that those guys don’t care."
"I think what we have to find here is a solution - not wondering whether they care or not - and the solution is we've got to be able to find a little bit more out of everybody and we need to step up. And that's what you got to do when you’re in that situation. That's what all teams have to do when they’re in that situation, so there's no real mystery or surprise there."
"It’s up to us to battle our way out of it. Nobody’s going to do it for us."
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 - With the Bruins trailing 3-1 nearly eight minutes into the third period, Milan Lucic went barreling end to end, past four Blackhawks, before muscling through to the opposite end boards, maintaining control of the puck and feeding Torey Krug down the middle for a fire that pulled the team within a goal of tying one of the hottest teams in the League.
Lucic took a shot from Andrew Shaw into the boards after the goal. Chris Kelly jumped in and squared off with Shaw, Krug tangled with Klas Dahlbeck. Sticks and gloves flew. The crowd rose to its feet with a deafening roar.
Boston's third period push wasn't enough, ultimately falling 3-2 to Chicago at TD Garden on Thursday night. The Hawks picked up their eight straight win in the process.
If the Black and Gold would have had more fight and more finish, like on that sequence, they could have found themselves winners of two straight for the first time since mid-November.
"Awesome effort. Those are the kind of efforts we need to win some hockey games here," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "So we need more of that."
'From him in particular?' a reporter followed up.
"From everybody," said Julien.