BOSTON — The 2015-16 Bruins may still be searching for consistency in their game, but they’ve been consistently generating one trend lately: finding ways to win.
The Black & Gold picked up their fifth straight win on Friday afternoon at TD Garden with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers, a team who ranked third in the League entering the game and went a month this season without a single loss.
Twice, the Bruins found themselves trailing by a goal, and twice, they found a way to tie it up.
“This is a hard-working team right now,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. “I think that attitude of this group is they want to do well — whether they do it every night, their intentions are good. When they go out there and compete like they did tonight, it’s a lot of fun to coach these guys.”
BOSTON — The Bruins have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
“I’m thankful for my teammates this year,” forward Zac Rinaldo said following a half hour tune-up on Thursday at TD Garden. A group of 11 Bruins hit the ice for a brief practice before enjoying the rest of their day.
The Black & Gold will host the New York Rangers in a Black Friday matinee (1:00 p.m. ET, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Rinaldo may be Canadian, but he’s sharing in the thankfulness with his American teammates.
“I’m happy for my teammates and the position that our goalies put us in,” Rinaldo smiled. “They did a great job this week, and I’m thankful for my goalies."
Rask and Gustavsson each notched a win on the recent road trip. The Bruins needed their strong goaltending as they found ways to win in Toronto (4-3 in the shootout) and Detroit (3-2 in overtime).
DETROIT — With 1:28 left in overtime at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night, Frank Vatrano raced in and deflected in a shot pass from Colin Miller from the top of the crease to grab the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Red Wings — and give them their fourth straight win.
Those in red were stunned on the ice and on the bench.
Those in Black & Gold fled on to the ice and sandwiched a smiling Vatrano between themselves and the glass.
“It was kind of a blur,” Vatrano smiled postgame from the visiting team locker room. “It was an awesome feeling. I just remember the puck hit my stick and everyone coming off the bench, so it was a great play by both Beleskey and Colin Miller.”
Matt Beleskey had come out with the puck following a battle along the boards during the 3-on-3 overtime, feeding Miller inside the blueline, who then set up Vatrano streaking towards the net. Vatrano was glad to get the shift during extra time.
DETROIT — The Bruins cap off their two game road trip on Wednesday night in Detroit, looking to pick up their fourth straight win.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Black & Gold began their trip with a 4-3 shootout win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday. The victory wasn’t necessarily the all-around game they would have liked to see for 60 minutes, but they got the result.
They’ll particularly look for their NHL-leading power play to produce or at least generate momentum, unlike they were able to do in Toronto.
The Bruins have won five straight games against Detroit, and a sixth on Wednesday night would put them one point above the Wings in the Atlantic Division standings. Boston enters the game at 23 points and a game in hand, with Detroit sitting at 24 points. A win would put them out of a Wild Card spot and into third place in the division.
DETROIT — The Bruins hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena for practice on Tuesday afternoon in Detroit, after earning a 4-3 shootout win in Toronto on Monday.
Winners of three straight games, including back-to-back victories against the Leafs, the Bruins find themselves in a playoff spot with 23 points and just one point back of the Red Wings, stressing the importance of this stretch of divisional matchups.
“Hopefully we thrive on that and we take advantage of our situations given to us,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “And it would be nice to see us move up in the standings.”
The Black & Gold will play the Wings on Wednesday night, right before the all-important Thanksgiving marker.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Jimmy Hayes said following practice. “People preach that it’s early in the season, but put yourself in a position to be in a good spot early and hold onto that spot — continue to develop our game and continue to stay in the picture and in the playoff hunt.”
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.”
BOSTON — The Bruins celebrated back-to-back home wins for the first time all season, as “Dirty Water” pumped through TD Garden on Saturday night.
It came as a result of a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they followed up Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Boston had alternated a win and a loss for six straight games before breaking the trend. They capped off a five game homestand at 3-2-0.
“We keep using the word consistency,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “I think it’s a real good win — we’ve just got to keep trying to play the same way night after night. If we play that way every night, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The game remained remained scoreless through 40 minutes, with solid goaltending at both ends of the ice, thanks to Tuukka Rask and James Reimer.
Zdeno Chara broke the stalemate with 3:43 left in the third period, when he walked in from the left point with time, stayed patient and ripped a shot through Reimer’s five-hole as David Krejci provided a screen.
Bruins defensive coach Doug Houda had given him the tip to pick that spot on the Leafs’ netminder, who was 5-0-0 in five straight starts coming into TD Garden and had gone 23 straight periods without allowing more than one goal.
BOSTON — Forward Frank Vatrano remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will be unavailable to suit up for Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at TD Garden (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Vatrano sustained the injury in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota, when he was hit hard into the end boards by the Wild’s Nate Prosser. He did not practice on Friday.
“Yeah, Frank will miss tonight,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed pregame on Saturday morning. “He’s still day-to-day, but will miss tonight. He should be practicing with us [on Sunday] is what I presume. So that’s how close he’s getting.”
With only 11 forwards (defenseman Joe Morrow helped fill at forward during Friday’s practice to compensate), the Bruins recalled Max Talbot from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis for Saturday’s game.
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.”