WILMINGTON — Through 30 games, the Bruins are 17-9-4. In their last 12 games, they are 9-1-2.
They have been improving and consistently finding ways to win. Their game is not perfect, but on most nights, they’re getting the job done.
That doesn’t mean there’s a sense of comfort or feeling of accomplishment around the room, though.
“No, I think that’s the dangerous part,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “For us, it’s — again, I said it the other day — I think we’ve done OK so far, but there’s still lots of work to do.”
“There’s still areas we feel we have to improve and as coaches, until the season’s over, you should never stop trying to make your team better. If you don’t want your players satisfied, then you can’t be satisfied either, so I don’t think we’re sitting there happy with what we’ve done, more than we feel that we’re seeing improvement and I guess the potential to improve even more is there.”
WILMINGTON, MA — David Pastrnak has not been ruled out for the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
The international tournament will take place from Dec. 26 — Jan. 5.
Pastrnak has missed 20 games over the course of nearly seven weeks in his recovery from a fracture in his left foot that he sustained blocking a shot.
He has been skating with the team since Monday, and although he won’t be traveling with the Bruins to Pittsburgh for their matchup with the Penguins on Friday night, he’s been progressing towards a return.
With the amount of time Pastrnak has spent out of the lineup, it will be important for him to get his conditioning up to speed — whether that comes from playing for the Czech Republic at World Juniors or possibly getting into AHL games in Providence.
BOSTON — Every year, the Bruins bring holiday cheer to hundreds of children around Boston by delivering toys, Bruins’ gifts and plenty of smiles.
Hall of Famer Ray Bourque started the Bruins Holiday Toy Shopping and Holiday Toy Delivery tradition when he was captain, and the event has continued on for decades.
For the sixth straight year, Patrice Bergeron spearheaded the effort. All of the toys were purchased through donations from the Bruins players, coaching staff and the Boston Bruins Foundation.
The entire roster went up and down the aisles shopping for toys in November, and then delivered them to six Boston hospitals on Dec. 15 after practice. The gifts will be given to more than 600 children who are unable to celebrate the holidays at home.
Split up into groups, the players visited Boston Children's Hospital, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Franciscan Hospital for Children, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and Shriners Hospital for Children & Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
BOSTON — The Bruins should have had two points on Monday night at TD Garden.
The way they controlled the game for most of the night — and put 49 shots on net — more than two goals should have made their way past the Edmonton netminder Cam Talbot.
The end result for the Black & Gold, though, was a 3-2 loss in overtime to give the Oilers their sixth straight win.
Brad Marchand’s night served as a microcosm of Boston’s night as a whole. He started the game with a prime scoring chance just 44 seconds into the first that Talbot held, and then he tied the game at 2-2 with 4:38 left in the regulation to force extra time when his ninth shot on goal finally went in.
But the Bruins couldn’t translate their domination — and determination — onto the scoresheet in the column that mattered the most.
“The bottom line is we fell into a 2-0 hole early on,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. “They got a couple of good breaks there, and we had to fight our way back.”
“They had a good goaltender. I thought we played well enough to win the game, and, you know, unfortunately some of those nights don’t always go your way, so we come out with one [point] when we should have come out with two.”
Boston started the game outshooting the Oilers 7-1. An early power play put the visiting team further on their heels.
BOSTON — David Pastrnak skated with his teammates on Monday morning for the first time since the end of October.
For the past seven weeks, the forward has been recovering from a foot fracture that he sustained when he blocked a shot on Oct. 27 against Arizona at TD Garden. Pastrnak played two games following the injury. Initial X-rays on the foot had come back normal, but then a CT scan revealed a small, non-displaced fracture in his left foot.
The injury has caused Pastrnak to miss 18 games and he is expected to miss his 19th on Monday night, when the Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers.
There is currently no time frame for his return.
“No timeline yet on him,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said Monday morning after the team’s pregame skate at TD Garden.”
The bench boss was also asked by a reporter if it was possible for Pastrnak to go on a conditioning stint in Providence once he’s cleared to play.
BOSTON — The Bruins are 8-1-2 in their past 11 games heading into Monday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Boston’s lone regulation loss was a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Dec. 7. Suffice it to say that the past month has been a good one for the Black & Gold.
“Well, I think our guys are realizing more and more, game after game, we just have to bring what’s made us successful,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team’s pregame skate on Monday. “You know, let’s not look too far ahead, let’s not look behind. There’s some games that were extremely poor, we pushed that aside and focused on the next one and had a better game.”
“So, again, there’s no secret — most teams will do the same thing as what I’m telling you. We just have to make sure that we’re focused on a game to game basis. Simple as that.”
MONTREAL — By the time the Bruins hit the ice before puck drop at the Bell Centre, the boo birds are always in full effect.
That’s what matchups between these two rivals provide — an already established backdrop of ill-fated opponents, no matter the eventual outcome of the game and no matter how heated the current rivalry.
Such was the case on Wednesday night in Montreal, as Boston entered hostile territory and came away with two victorious points in the teams’ final meeting before the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
The Bruins’ 3-1 win marked the first time that they had won in the Bell Centre since Mar. 12, 2014 and just the second win against their longtime rivals in a stretch of 13 games.
“It’s been a long time, you know, and the last time we were in here I thought we had a great chance to win and we foiled it there at the end,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “But I thought we played well enough that we could have won the last game here, so we weren’t coming here discouraged or on our heels. We were coming here determined and hoping to get a better fate than we did.”
MONTREAL — The Bruins face the Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday night in the teams’ final meeting before the much anticipated 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
Boston is looking to change its fortune against the Habs, while also getting back in the win column following Monday’s 3-2 loss to Nashville.
“I want to see a good effort for 60 minutes,” Patrice Bergeron said after pregame skate at the Bell Centre on Wednesday morning. “Obviously, I think when guys are going hard and playing our system, I think every time we do that — the Vancouver game was a perfect example — I think when you play within your strengths and you worry about what you can bring as a team, good things happen.”
The Bruins have kept referring to the 4-0 shutout of Vancouver on Saturday as a recent benchmark game to draw on. The fatigue factor no doubt set in on Monday against the Predators in Boston’s quick pitstop back at TD Garden, and that led to an undisciplined night spent far too often on the penalty kill.
The PK was also the story the last time the Bruins faced the Canadiens, back on Nov. 7 at the Bell Centre. Boston led 2-1 in the third period, before Lars Eller tied the game at 2-2. With the game all but headed for overtime, a late power-play goal from the Habs gave them the slight cushion they needed before potting an empty-netter for the 4-2 win.
BOSTON — The Bruins went right back on the road Tuesday after their quick stop back at TD Garden on Monday night that ended in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
They next face the Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday night in the teams’ final matchup prior to the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
Most of the Bruins did off-ice work on Tuesday morning before traveling. A group of 10 players hit the ice with Assistant Coaches Joe Sacco, Doug Houda and Bob Essensa. The group included forwards Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo, Tyler Randell and Landon Ferraro, along with defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Colin Miller. Both Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson were also on the ice.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien disclosed to media that forward Joonas Kemppainen would not be making the trip to Montreal.
A few hours after Julien addressed media, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced via a team press release that Kemppainen had been placed on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
Kemmpainen left Monday night’s game early in the second period and did not return. He logged only 3:04 in ice time, taking just three shifts in the first period before leaving the bench, and then two in the second frame before his night ended.
BOSTON — Playing the day after returning from a road trip out West is hard enough, even if NHL players are built for it — being highly conditioned and often well prepared.
When the Bruins faced off against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Monday night, they had their legs going early. They didn’t look they were playing their third game in four nights. They took a 1-0 lead just 4:13 into the game. They even went up 2-1 midway through the second. The game was tied at 2-2 late in the third. They could have at least squeaked out a point.
But too much time in the penalty box plagued the Black & Gold, as they dropped a 3-2 loss that snapped their season-best point streak that had seen them go 6-0-2 in their last eight.
The 26 penalty minutes handed the Predators seven power plays, including a 4-on-3 situation. They converted twice and ended a stretch of 13 straight kills for Boston.
The Bruins weren’t using outside elements as any sort of excuse. In fact, their effort was there. They just made it exponentially harder on themselves by playing down a man for most of the night.