ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Bruins are comfortable playing close games. They can play from behind, and grind out wins, even when that's never the approach or the ideal outcome.
Their strict defense, which has allowed just 10 goals in six games since blowout losses to Toronto and Montreal, dictates that.
But rest assured, they are looking for more offense from their club as they begin a four-game road trip out West starting with the Ducks on Monday night at the Honda Center.
In the Bruins' past eight games, they have scored more than two goals just once, coming back from an 0-2 deficit to take a 4-3 shootout win in Columbus on November 21. Their only other win since Columbus came from grinding out a 2-1 overtime win against Winnipeg on Friday.
"I think we’re stuck in that situation where we’re not scoring many goals right now - we are having some chances on certain nights, but they’re not going in there as much as we’d like them to," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
"I don’t think we’re going in there saying, ‘Let’s keep it a real low-scoring game.’ We take pride in our defensive play, and when you’re missing a key guy like Zdeno [Chara], it certainly is a bigger challenge — and [Adam] McQuaid is another big body that defends well. So we certainly have some guys who have stepped up and done a good job on the back end there to help us out."
"But at the same time, we’ve had to move players around our forward lines, and sometimes it takes a little while for chemistry; sometimes, once they start gelling together — which is the case with [Milan] Lucic with [Carl] Soderberg and [Loui] Eriksson — they produce."
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Bruins flew out West on Sunday to kick off a four-game road trip that begins against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
After a full morning and afternoon of travel, the Black and Gold went right to The Rinks Anaheim Ice, the Ducks' training facility, to get in a practice.
"We’re so far away right now. If something was to happen, we want to make sure we’ve got enough players. That’s why we called him up," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters in Anaheim on Sunday.
Cunningham started the season with Boston, marking the first time in his fourth year pro that he made the big club's opening night roster. With Campbell sidelined by a core injury, that opened up a spot, and the Bruins deployed a fourth line of Cunningham, Bobby Robins and Daniel Paille for the first three games. David Krejci's return in Game No. 4 caused the lines to be re-worked and Cunningham was assigned to Providence.
This is his first time back with the time since then.
"It's obviously exciting anytime you get called up, and to be on a road trip like this," said Cunningham. "I don't know what's going on [with my role], but it's exciting to be here and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Krejci missed 10 of the past 12 games, including four straight, with his undisclosed injury. Head Coach Claude Julien said last week that Krejci had taken a step back with his injury. He'll now miss the next four games, along with Zdeno Chara, who is staying back around Boston to continue skating and working on his rehab.
"[David's] staying behind, going to do the same thing as Zdeno," Julien said following Saturday's practice at Ristuccia Arena.
While Chara won't be back within the next week, he keeps making progress with his knee injury that has kept him out of the lineup for 14 games. He skates every day prior to practice with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides.
"You know, we're gone for eight days now, so I can't predict what's going to happen after eight days. You'd like to hope [he's close to returning], but I don't know," said Julien.
"[The trainers are] going at the stage here where they didn't think it was an advantage to bring him with us on the trip and he'd be better served staying behind and rehabbing and skating here on his own with Krech."
Krejci was the only forward missing from practice. Chris Kelly made his return to the lineup in Friday night's 2-1 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets, after missing the previous two games with an undisclosed injury.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Chris Kelly was back practicing with the Bruins on Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
The alternate captain missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. It was his first time back skating with the team since he sustained the injury in Columbus on November 21.
When asked about the injury, Kelly could confirm it wasn't related to his back (a herniated disc in his lower back kept him out of the 2014 postseason and caused him to have offseason back surgery), or his head.
"I think we thought [it was] better to be on the cautious side of things," Kelly said following practice. "It was exactly kind of how we thought it would be. And it felt good today, and we'll see how it feels again [on Thursday]."
When pressed about what he 'thought' the injury was, Kelly jested, "I thought it was 'hurt feelings,'" before designating it as "upper-body."
"He was only light contact, so I'll see how our medical staff evaluates him here in the next few days and we'll take it day-by-day," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
With Kelly back, David Krejci was the lone Bruins forward missing from Wednesday's practice.
BOSTON - There was one message that the Bruins heard loud and clear from their head coach for Monday night's tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.
Drive the net. Drive the net. Drive the net.
"You just have to battle more, throw pucks to the net - you have to sacrifice more," Reilly Smith said prior to the matchup. "That's definitely the biggest factor we're focusing on."
It could be solace for the Bruins that they played what they preached, and picked up a point. But they unfortunately came out on the losing end, falling 3-2 to the Pens with Evgeni Malkin providing the dagger 32 seconds into overtime.
"It was a hard fought game, especially in front of the net," Tuukka Rask said postgame. He stopped 30 of 33 shots between the pipes. "We just fell short in the overtime, but a pretty good hockey game."
"It reminded me a little of playoff hockey there at times because it was hard fought around the creases," Rask added. "And it’s a bounce here, it’s a mistake here and there that ends up deciding the game and we fell short, so it’s disappointing but at least we got the point. I guess we’ve got to take the positive out of it."
BOSTON - David Pastrnak has waited for the opportunity to suit up in his first NHL game with Boston, and that chance may come on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pastrnak was recalled on Monday morning, and joined the team on the ice for pregame skate.
Head Coach Claude Julien deemed Pastrnak a game-time decision, as the Bruins have question marks with their lineup. While David Krejci and Chris Kelly remain out due to undisclosed injuries, Brad Marchand could be ready to return from his own undisclosed injury.
Jordan Caron was also recalled with Pastrnak. The transactions reunited three P-Bruins who have played together on Providence's top line this season: Caron, Pastrnak and Alex Khokhlachev, who remains with Boston on an emergency basis.
"I'm happy I got this opportunity to come here and it's - I don't know if [I'll] play, but practicing with those guys and everything it's great, so I'm just trying to enjoy it," a smiling Pastrnak said from the locker room following pregame skate.
Pastrnak found out he was getting his first NHL recall on Sunday, when he was set to play in Providence's afternoon game at the Dunkin Donuts Center, before he was given the news.
BOSTON - The Bruins have game-time decisions on Monday night as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.
The Bruins are capping off three games in four nights, after earning a 4-3 shootout win in Columbus on Friday night, before falling 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
David Krejci remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury that will see him miss his third straight game and his ninth in the past 11 games. Chris Kelly is also out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury suffered during Friday night's game in Columbus.
Brad Marchand has missed three straight games with an undisclosed injury, but he was out on the ice for pregame skate on Monday morning, and is a game-time decision against the Penguins.
David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron were both recalled from the Providence Bruins and are available for the matchup. Pastrnak would be suiting up in his first NHL game. It would mark Caron's first NHL action of the season.
BOSTON - The Bruins' play on Saturday night at TD Garden against the Montreal Canadiens may not have warranted a win, but it also didn't necessarily merit a loss.
Playing with injuries up front to David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, in addition the well-documented injuries on the back end, the Black and Gold worked hard. They didn't head into their second game of a back-to-back against the heated rival who's had their number already this season ready to fold.
In the end, the Canadiens took the 2-0 win and handed the Bruins their first loss in four games.
It wasn't a pretty game, but it also wasn't as ugly as Head Coach Claude Julien would have liked, around the front of the net.
"If there’s something we’re going to critique here it’s probably the fact that we didn’t put enough pucks on net and get some net-front presence," Julien told reporters postgame. "We tried in the third to rectify that and did a little bit better, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and the goaltender was standing tall for them."
"We’re not scoring goals easily these days, so we’ve really got to get our noses dirty in front of the net and throw some pucks in areas where we can jump on those loose pucks."
The Bruins outshot Montreal 33-23, and had another 31 attempts that missed the mark or were blocked, and it takes plenty of bodies and jam around the net to beat Carey Price.
BostonBruins.com - Brad Marchand skated in Thursday's practice at TD Garden, but was not expected to travel with the team to Columbus later in the afternoon.
"He skated but I don’t think we’re going to bring him on the trip," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following practice. "We’re going to give him some more time. But he felt much better, so he’s doing better. Day-to-day."
Marchand has been deemed "day-to-day" since last Saturday's game (November 15) against Carolina, in which he didn't finish out the third period. Thursday marked his first lengthy skate of the week. He missed practices on Monday and Wednesday, and only took part in Tuesday's morning skate for a few minutes before leaving the ice and not suiting up against St. Louis. His situation is undisclosed.
Dougie Hamilton was also back at practice after missing Wednesday's skate with the flu.
Defenseman Zach Trotman joined the group after being recalled from Providence Thursday morning, in light of Wednesday's news that Adam McQuaid is out six to eight weeks with a broken thumb suffered against St. Louis on Tuesday night.
BostonBruins.com - The new ProShop powered by Reebok at TD Garden will officially open this Saturday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m. prior to the Bruins-Canadiens game. The ProShop serves as the official team store of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.
On Thursday morning, Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs was on hand for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, along with Bruins President Cam Neely, Boston Celtics Team President Rich Gotham and Reebok General Manager of the Sports Licensed Division John Warren.
"I am so happy to have this done, and I expect our fans will really enjoy this new experience," Jacobs said. "This ProShop is roughly twice the size of our old footprint down in North Station, and it should be a great experience for our event-goers, whether it's Celtics, Bruins or a concert."