TAMPA — Just as Colorado, Arizona and New York were good to the Bruins, so was Florida.
The Bruins capped off their first back-to-back of the season with 3-1 wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and the Florida Panthers on Friday.
They are now 6-0-1 in their past seven games, including a 5-0-0 record on the road to stay undefeated in opponents’ buildings.
“I really feel good about this win for different reasons,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said from Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday night. “ It was our first test of back-to-backs, against a team that was waiting for us here and a team that’s a good hockey club.”
“We just seemed to keep getting better all the time and I thought our forecheck, our determination, our battles, and everything seemed to be there,” Julien said. “The decision-making was really good, putting pucks in and not turning those pucks over that much, got great goaltending again, so I thought it was a really good effort.”
With the game knotted at 1-1 entering the third period, Brett Connolly broke the tie with a power play fire to give Boston a 2-1 lead. It marked his fourth goal of the season, with all of the goals coming in four of his past five games.
TAMPA — The Bruins are 5-0-1 in their past six games and are coming off a 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Friday night.
They are getting set to face the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday night for the second leg of their first back-to-back of the season. Game time is 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The last time the Bruins faced the Lightning on Oct. 12, the 6-3 loss capped off an 0-3 start.
Those three games saw them give up 16 goals and score seven. Since then, they have put up 29 goals and allowed 14, gaining more and more confidence at both ends of the ice. They have allowed just one goal in their past two games — with the 3-1 win in Florida and 6-0 shutout of Arizona at TD Garden, both featuring Tuukka Rask between the pipes.
The Bruins are playing with pace, working hard and looking like a team findings its groove.
What exactly caused the turnaround?
SUNRISE, Fla. — Tuukka Rask stopped 30 of 31 shots on Friday night as the Bruins earned a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center to kick off their first back-to-back of the season.
Boston will next face the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
The only goal Rask and the Bruins allowed came during a Panthers’ 5-on-3.
“Tuukka was outstanding in my mind,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “He made some big saves and certainly made our penalty kill look even better.”
His most impressive save of the night came after the Bruins had taken a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. With Jimmy Hayes in the penalty box for hooking, Rask pulled out a double pad stack and stretched his glove up to rob Jonathan Huberdeau, who tried to quickly snap one blocker side.
It was so impressive among the 30 saves — that Rask needed some reminding postgame.]
SUNRISE, Fla. — The road has been good to the Bruins, who remain undefeated in opponents’ arenas heading into Friday night’s tilt with the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Black & Gold are 3-0-0 on the road, where they have grabbed decisive wins.
After struggling out of the gate and putting themselves in an 0-3 hole with three straight home losses to start the season, the Bruins re-established their play during a six-day, two-game road trip in Colorado and Arizona that saw them earn 6-2 and 5-3 victories.
With another road win — 5-3 over the New York Islanders — and a 6-0 rout of the Coyotes on Tuesday night at TD Garden for their first home win of the season, the Bruins are 4-0-1 in their past five games and feeling confident about their game at both ends of the ice.
“We had to find a balance there between the two, and I think in the last game, even though [Arizona] had played a lot [on their road trip], I thought we really managed to do that well,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team’s pregame skate at the BB&T Center. “We didn’t give them much, and I thought we generated a lot, so it’s about that mind shift, going from offense to defense and back and forth, and I think our guys are adjusting a lot better to that.”
BostonBruins.com — Brett Connolly has three goals in his past three games.
The right winger has upped his play skating with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, after a numbers game left him as the odd man out in Arizona on Oct. 17. Since sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch that night, Connolly is showing why he likely won’t be out of the lineup again anytime soon.
Those three goals make up the bulk of four points on the season, with an assist also on the stat sheet through seven games.
“He’s been scoring some goals and he’s been a good fit so far on that line,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “His skill level is starting to show right now. He’s got a good shot – we’ve said that all along - big body, good skater. It’s nice to see him pick up his pace.”
Connolly takes his scoring touch into the Bruins’ back-to-back this weekend against the Florida Panthers on Friday and his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Saturday.
WILMINGTON — Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg skated in his first practice with team this season on Thursday at Ristuccia Arena.
Seidenberg had been skating on his own for close to two weeks in his recovery from back surgery that repaired a lumbar spine disc herniation.
Thursday marked exactly five weeks since the surgery on Sept. 24 that caused him to miss the Bruins’ entire training camp and start to the season. His estimated recovery time was eight weeks, initially pin-pointing a possible return around mid-November.
The defenseman did not take any contact or take part in the Bruins’ 3-on-3 battling drills, but the skate was still a significant step forward.
“For him, it was more to get him a little bit more encouraged by being with other players out there,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following practice. “He just did the line drills, the puck-moving part of it, so he still has a ways to go — definitely can’t take any contact, but just the fact that he’s able to be out there with us, is definitely encouraging for him.”
BOSTON — The Bruins made a special Halloween themed visit to Boston Children’s Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, dressed as characters from the “Despicable Me” movie series.
The Bruins went from room to room at the hospital, “reverse trick-or-treating” as they delivered goodie bags to the children, signed autographs and took pictures.
“We went around and put some smiles on children’s faces and it was just awesome,” said Krug. “We dress up, and take their mind off whatever they’re going through and just put smiles on their faces — it’s a lot of fun.”
The highly anticipated annual visit to Boston Children’s has become a hit for both the Bruins and the hospital.
WILMINGTON — The Bruins held an optional practice on Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena, following their 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night that marked their first home win of the young 2015-16 season.
All three missed time towards the end of Tuesday’s game for precautionary reasons, given the score against the Coyotes.
Miller went awkwardly into the boards with about five minutes left in the second period after getting hooked. The blueliner returned to the bench and took two shifts at the end of the second, but did not play any minutes in the third.
Kemppainen (undisclosed) only took four shifts in the third period and left the bench for a while, though he came back to finish out the game.
Pastrnak got hit with a shot towards the end of the third and his last logged ice time came with about nine minutes left in the game.
NORWOOD, Mass. — “I come to work every day with a smile on my face.”
“I have a positive attitude.”
“I’m always on time to work.”
“I don’t quit.”
These are just a few phrases highlighted in the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress’ new public awareness campaign, Your Next Star, aimed at opening the eyes of employers to the power of people with Down syndrome in the workplace.
John Dunleavy, an employee with TD Garden — a subsidiary of Delaware North — for the past five years, stars in the campaign’s video, along with Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation Bob Sweeney. The video features individuals with Down syndrome and their employers.
For their work with the initiative, Dunleavy and the Bruins recently received the “Exemplary Employee Award” and “Exemplary Employer Award” during UMass Medical School’s “Work Without Limits” conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, Mass.
BOSTON — With confetti flying and hundreds of fans cheering, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask streamed through a high-five line, unveiling the Bruins’ jersey for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.
The old-school logo, a throwback to the Bruins’ first year in the League in 1924, was revealed at the “Tailgate With The Team” event at Seaport World Trade Center on Saturday, Oct. 24.
In preparation for the Winter Classic puck drop on Jan. 1 at Gillette Stadium against the Montreal Canadiens — and hockey heading “Back Outdoors” — the tailgating themed event featured the entire Bruins’ roster meeting with Season Ticket Holders and Premium Club members while taking photos, serving tailgate style food and playing cornhole.
“It’s very beautiful — honestly, it’s very simple, but right to the point,” Chara said of the jersey. “Like Cam [Neely] said [when introducing the jersey], this is based on the very first jersey from 1924 — obviously the colors are the current colors but the crest is basically what it was right from the first time the Bruins started playing, so it’s so much history and so much pride and passion in that jersey, that makes it very special to wear it.”