ST. LOUIS — By the time the puck had dropped in St. Louis on Friday night, the Bruins were tired of answering questions — about their desperation, their commitment, their missed chances and inability to finish.
They entered the night 1-6-0 in their past seven games. The Blues were coming in on a five-game win streak, during which they had collectively allowed just one goal. They also had run going of 11 wins in 13 games. Brian Elliott had won straight nine straight game between the pipes for St. Louis.
The task seemed daunting, but the Bruins were up for it — until the final buzzer.
At the end of 60 minutes, they had earned themselves a 6-5 win over the Blues, and a huge two points. With the victory, they stayed third in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Red Wings, who earned a 3-2 win over the Wild.
Patrice Bergeron fired in the game-winner late in the third on the power play to reach his third 30-goal season.
“I’m happy I was able to to get it, but at the same time, was definitely more happy to get that extra goal and ultimately it ended up being the extra goal that we needed,” Bergeron said postgame. “So I was happy for that.”
Seidenberg and Connolly missed their second straight practice on Thursday with undisclosed situations when the Bruins convened at Ristuccia Arena. Connolly did not play during the final two periods in New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Spooner and Krejci rejoined the group on Thursday after being absent from Wednesday’s practice.
“Obviously you like to be 100 percent in games, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Krejci said. “So, felt really good today and ready to go for [Friday].
The Bruins’ two-game road trip will have them facing the Blues on Friday night in St. Louis, and then the Blackhawks on Sunday in Chicago.
NEWARK, N.J. — The chances were aplenty for the Bruins on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
They threw 64 shots towards New Jersey’s net, with 40 hitting the mark. Only one shot found its way by netminder Keith Kinkaid.
Despite outshooting the Devils 40-15, the Bruins fell 2-1 in a game where they desperately needed the points.
“It’s disappointing, frustrating, whatever word you want to use,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “We could have put that game away in the first period with the outnumbered situations we had, I think we had three 2-on-1’s, we had a breakaway, we had a power play. Nothing to show for it.”
“So, you know, you can look at it whichever way you want, but you’ve got to look at yourselves and blame yourselves for this loss. You can say you tried, but at this time of year, it’s not good enough.”
“The situation that we’re in, we expect better from ourselves,” Julien continued. “So, certainly not pleased with this outcome, and there’s a lot of things that can look encouraging — the number of shots given and the number of shots taken — but at the end of the night, it’s the win that counts, and we didn’t get that.”
NEWARK, N.J. — The countdown to the end of the regular season continues as the Bruins face the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The message engrained in the Bruins down the stretch has been that they control their own destiny.
“We put ourselves in a good position,” said Lee Stempniak. “It came down to eight, seven, now six games left to the playoffs.”
“At the beginning of the year, if you could play six games or seven games and have to win those to get into the playoffs, you’d take that.”
Since being acquired from the Devils at the trade deadline, Stempniak has been part of this team’s final push, which included a 3-1 win in Toronto on Saturday night that snapped their five-game losing streak.
The team gathered for practice at Ristuccia Arena in the morning after a day off on Sunday that came following their 3-1 win in Toronto on Saturday.
Neither Spooner, nor Liles, were present for the skate.
Spooner left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury and did not play in the third period.
“He’s not making the trip,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “So I’m going to label him as day-to-day right now, but not making the trip. Neither is [John-Michael] Liles. Liles skated today, is getting better, but those two guys won’t be making the trip.”
Liles missed the Bruins’ game against Toronto with a lower-body injury. He sustained the injury last Thursday against the Florida Panthers.
TORONTO, Ont. — Though the Bruins had been trying to keep it light heading into Saturday night’s matchup with the Maple Leafs, they no doubt felt weighed down.
Their last victory had come two weeks prior, with five losses in between.
Patrice Bergeron helped lift that weight with a tying goal on the power play in the second period. Zdeno Chara followed suit three and a half minutes later, and Matt Beleskey gave relief to his teammates when he powered home the empty-netter in the final minute for the 3-1 win at Air Canada Centre.
“We knew it was going to turn around eventually, but it had to be quickly,” Bergeron said postgame from Toronto on Saturday night. “And we’re happy it was today.”
“We were playing the way we want to play, and I think it was about just believing in ourselves a lot more and trusting our instincts.”
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had a sense on Saturday morning that his leaders would come to play, and lead the way. In addition to Bergeron’s and Chara’s goals, David Krejci picked up two assists. Beleskey assisted on Bergeron’s power-play tally before scoring his empty-net goal.
TORONTO, Ont. — The Bruins have a simple objective on Saturday night as they face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre: get back in the win column.
Yes, playing the right way, to their strengths, will likely breed success — but no matter how it is done, the Bruins need to find a way to get results.
“I think it’s to keep plugging at it, and really having confidence to get results — and going out there and making plays,” Patrice Bergeron said following the team’s pregame skate on Saturday morning.
“Bottom line is making sure we play our game, we stay confident, we realize, yeah, the standings are tight, but we’re still in a playoff spot and it’s in our hands and we have to take it a game at a time.”
After Friday’s action, Tampa Bay moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with a 7-4 win over the New York Islanders. The Bruins remain in third place in the division.
Veterans like Bergeron will help keep the group focused — not on the big picture and the standings and the pressure, but just on playing a solid game that’s worthy of two points.
BostonBruins.com — Defenseman John-Michael Liles did not travel with the Bruins to Toronto in advance of their Saturday night matchup against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
Liles left Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers late in the second period with a lower-body injury after getting tied up with Garrett Wilson along the boards.
On Friday, before the team left for Toronto, Head Coach Claude Julien gave an update on the blueliner.
“We’re doing further evaluation on him today and he won’t be joining us on this trip,” said Julien.
Liles has played in 12 games for Boston after being acquired at the trade deadline from Carolina.
BOSTON — The past two weeks have been frustrating for the Bruins, to say the least.
After picking up points in seven straight games, they have now gone pointless in their past five, with their most recent win dating back to Mar. 12.
Their latest loss, 4-1 to the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Thursday night, was just as frustrating — and closer than the final result showed.
Patrice Bergeron thought he had tied the game at 2-2 just over eight minutes into the third period, when he chopped a loose puck towards Roberto Luongo. “No goal” was the call on the ice. The play was reviewed by the NHL’s Situation Room in Toronto for a lengthy amount of time. The puck appeared to cross the goal line near the post.
The official ruling was that “video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck completely crossed the Florida goal line. Therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - no goal Boston.”
When further replays were shown on the Garden HDX video board, the crowd broke out into a boisterous round of boos.
“I think we all saw that replay and I was shocked,” said Bergeron. “I guess it looked — to me, it looked like it was in — but I don’t know exactly what the rule is and what they were not sure about.”
NEW YORK, N.Y. — A brief “Hen-rik, Hen-rik” chant broke out at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night after an incredible save sequence by New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist and his teammates on the penalty kill.
The Bruins were pressing, with a 3-1 deficit.
Playing from behind, every chance carries an ounce more of weight and an injects a greater dose of frustration.
“It’s disappointing, to say the least,” Head Coach Claude Julien said Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden following the defeat. “We played much better in California. We didn’t play well tonight at all, so whether it’s one of those off games, we’ll find out soon enough tomorrow night when we play Florida.”