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.”
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 — Defenseman Kevan Miller was absent from Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, as the Bruins got back to work following Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden.
Miller left Tuesday’s game in the third period and did not return. His last shift ended with 10:44 left in the game.
“Right now, all I can tell you is he’s got an upper body injury,” Head Coach Claude Julien said following practice. “I don’t know the details of what’s come up with the assessment, and we’ll try and give you guys some more when we do. So right now, I don’t have more other than to tell you he’s upper body.”
Besides Miller, the rest of the group hit the ice for an hour skate.
BOSTON — The Bruins were feeling optimistic after their 3-1 win over Detroit on Saturday night. They played a 60-minute game, they played solid defensively and they minimized their mistakes.
The potential was there to put up back-to-back wins for the first time since a stretch of four straight victories at the end of October.
But they didn’t carry that plan through, following up the victory three days later with a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
“It’s really frustrating, it’s things that we’ve talked about and it keeps happening,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Obviously we wanted to build on the last game, it’s not even close to the effort that we want.”
The defeat leaves the Bruins 2-6-1 on home ice this season. The Black & Gold were already on standings watch, sitting two points back of Detroit, Florida and Tampa Bay entering the game.
BOSTON — Defenseman Colin Miller is available for Tuesday night’s game against San Jose at TD Garden.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The blueliner was back at practice on Monday with no restrictions after a lower-body injury kept him out of Saturday’s game against Detroit and Friday’s practice.
“We’ll see what happens tonight here,” Miller said after Tuesday morning’s pregame skate at TD Garden. “I felt good, so we’ll just wait and see.”
With Miller healthy and Dennis Seidenberg’s recent return from his back injury, the Bruins have eight healthy defensemen available to play, and all vying for time in the lineup.
WILMINGTON — Ask any Bruin — or Head Coach Claude Julien — about the team’s inconsistency, and they’ll all point to a distinguishing factor.
“I think right now, it is mental,” Patrice Bergeron said following the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday. “It’s details, and it comes down to mental mistakes and bearing down.”
The Bruins dropped a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night at TD Garden after having an early 2-0 lead, with a tie game after the second. They fell to 1-5-1 at home and 1-4-0 in their past five games.
“I think the work ethic’s in here and we just need to find that — I think it’s more of a little bit of a mental thing,” said Kevan Miller. “A mental hurdle we need to get over.”
“Well, it is mental. It is mental. No doubt about it,” reiterated Julien. “When you can’t sustain your game for that long, it’s always more mental than anything else.”