BOSTON - In a span of just two minutes and 34 seconds in the third period on Thursday night, the Bruins struck for three goals to flip their fate, and pick up their fourth straight win.
Down 2-1 to Edmonton early in the final frame at TD Garden, Loui Eriksson careened in a bouncing puck for the equalizer, before the Bruins power play went to work for two straight tallies from Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton.
Hamilton added two assists and a goal in the barrage, and Milan Lucic powered in an empty-netter as the Bruins took a 5-2 win from the Oilers.
"With our team, we never quit, so there’s not going to be a lot of third periods where we’re getting out played and quitting," said Hamilton, who put up his third multi-point game of the season in less than three minutes.
"That was our strength last season and the seasons before that, it was always the Bruins' strength to win those games," said Soderberg.
The Bruins had entered the third period with the game knotted at 1-1. When they have their confidence going, especially on home ice, they put those games away.
It was something they had failed to do a week prior against Minnesota, when they dropped a four-goal third period in the loss.
"When we were struggling, we didn’t have that confidence to finish off those games and get a win," said Soderberg. "So hopefully we get more confidence and can keep winning those games in the future."
BOSTON - As the Bruins were set to host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at TD Garden, they were winners of three straight and four of their last five games.
But the wins didn't come easily.
The Black and Gold needed overtime to get the job done against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, in a game where the team and their coach felt they had to fight through average puck movement on their part.
Two games before that, in Buffalo, the team fought with the same issues, but pulled out the win in extra time. Brad Marchand had both overtime winners.
After facing inconsistency to start the season and working to find their identity as a team, they've now been consistently finding ways to win - and that's a fine identity to have, especially when battling through injuries to Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.
"Well, we're finding ways to win hockey games," President Cam Neely said on his weekly call-in with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday afternoon. "We've got to kind of keep our head above water here. And the work ethic's there - it may not be pretty all the time, but we're finding ways to get points."
That quality has been part of the Spoked-B's MO for years. It was something they were missing earlier in the season.
"We’re trying to get back to it," said Reilly Smith. "It’s a tough start, and it seemed like last year, no matter any time we were in that situation, we kind of always came out [on top]."
"We’ve got to keep it going in the right direction, because it’s still so early in the season and things can go South pretty quickly. We have to do a better job playing a full 60 minutes and I don’t think [Florida] was our best effort."
BOSTON - David Krejci took part in the Bruins' optional pregame skate on Thursday morning at TD Garden and is questionable for the night's game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Krejci has been out "day-to-day" with an undisclosed situation and has missed two straight games as a result. The centerman skated before the team's practice on Wednesday as well.
"We’ll see after he gets off there," Head Coach Claude Julien said while Krejci was still on the ice.
Depending on how Krejci feels, he could take warmups.
"If he does [take warmups], there’s a chance he’ll play obviously," Julien said.
If Krejci plays, Chris Kelly would likely slot back in alongside Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. If not, Kelly would assume the role he's been playing as the center between Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.
Defenseman Torey Krug also joined in for the well-attended morning skate. He suffered a broken finger nine days ago on October 28 against the Minnesota Wild. His recovery was estimated at two to three weeks.
BOSTON - For the second time in three games, Brad Marchand was the overtime hero.
His arms stretched up and his smile drew wide, as his Black and Gold teammates left the bench and gathered around him in celebration of of a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Just two games prior, Marchand had lifted Boston to a 3-2 win in Buffalo, scoring the game tying goal and the overtime winner. The winger now has four goals and two assists in his past three games.
After the game, as he was announced as the game's First Star, he skated across the ice and sent an autographed stick up into the stands for a lucky fan. Skating back to the bench, he watched as his game-winner was replayed on the video board above center ice.
The replay showed Marchand flying into the Panthers' zone on a quick regroup, with a touch pass from Dougie Hamilton in the neutral zone.
Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson had started going off for a line change, and Marchand took his open ice over the blueline, blowing past the Florida line of defense, dangling around defenseman Dylan Olsen in the right circle, and roofing one over Robertu Luongo high blocker at 3:27 into the extra frame.
Even he was impressed by the effort, shaking his head and looking up to the fans with a smile.
"He had some great looks, I thought - all night - and we all stayed with it as a line and it was a great play by him on that overtime goal, and great finish," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored the game-tying goal to make it 1-1 in the second period.
BOSTON - Shawn Thornton is back in Boston, this time dressed in red.
With the Florida Panthers in town to take on the Spoked-B on Tuesday night, Thornton was back in the confines of TD Garden, settling into the visiting team room for the first time.
As Bruins have come and gone from the 2011 Cup squad, their impact has always been remembered. A few weeks ago, Johnny Boychuk made his return. Last season, the likes of Andrew Ference and Tim Thomas, among others, all made their first returns to the place they called home for so long.
Each former Bruin meets with Boston reporters, and flashes a smile about the excitement of being back in Boston, because he genuinely means it.
"I'm excited. It will probably settle in a little more tonight when I get here," Thornton said on Tuesday morning, as the Panthers went through their pregame routines at TD Garden. "It was a little weird walking in the other door, but it's good, it's good to be back."
Wearing his red Panthers' workout shirt and hat, Thornton agreed with Boychuk's obvious-but-still-worth-noting assessment of being back - it was "different."
"Yeah, there's no other way to explain it I guess, it is, it's just different," said Thornton, who spent seven seasons in Black and Gold. "It's part of the sport, you move on, you go to different places, but coming back here, after seven years and the success we had, it is, it's different being on this side."
BOSTON - David Krejci is not expected to suit up for the Bruins on Tuesday night, as they host the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
"Yeah, he’s not going to play tonight," Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed following the team's pregame skate. "He’s going to be out tonight, but we don’t think it’s a real major issue. He should be back soon."
Krejci has been deemed "day-to-day." He missed Tuesday's morning skate, in addition to Monday's practice and Saturday's game against Ottawa. His situation is undisclosed.
It's no easy task to play Krejci's role, but the versatile Kelly helped the team not skip a beat in a 4-2 win over the Senators on Saturday, and Julien took notice.
"For a guy like him to just be told 10 minutes before the game, 'you’re playing in Krejci’s spot,' and going out there and playing the way he did -- he played hard, he was responsible, made some good plays, passes and that line was good -- I think, speaks volumes," Julien said.
"He was there last game, he’s been on the wing, he’s been a centerman before, he’s been bumped everywhere and still he responds with solid performances. Those guys are not easy to find."
BOSTON - Captain Zdeno Chara has missed four games to injury, and will miss his fifth on Tuesday night, as the Bruins host the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
He suffered a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) of his left knee 12 days ago on October 23 when landing a hit on the New York Islanders' John Tavares.
Players are not usually made available to reporters during injury recovery, but Chara took the time to speak with reporters on Tuesday morning in the Bruins' locker room for the first time since his injury.
"I feel alright," Chara said, sporting a grizzled beard that he'd grown since the last time he spoke with media. He didn't admit to feeling any pain or soreness.
Wearing a brace on his left knee, he has to keep the leg immobile for a period of time. He's been able to do upper body workouts in the meantime.
"There is not a timeline right now. I wish I could tell you guys exactly when I'm going to return," said Chara. "But as this point, it's really such a slow process, that who knows when the day is going to be."
The conservative time frame General Manager Peter Chiarelli originally gave on October 24 was four to six weeks. The good news was that the tear was exclusive to the PCL, and no other ligaments were affected.
BostonBruins.com - In his eighth season, Head Coach Claude Julien has been at the helm of the Boston Bruins for 650 games.
Out of those games, 553 have come during the regular season, as he gets set to coach Game No. 554 on Tuesday night at TD Garden, and 97 have come in the postseason.
There should be plenty more nights behind the Spoked-B's bench moving forward.
On Sunday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Julien had been signed to a multi-year contract extension.
"I'm happy to be here," Julien said following his club's practice on Monday at TD Garden. "Because as far as I'm concerned, this is a great team here, we have an opportunity every year to at least be contenders for the Stanley Cup, and I feel just as hungry this time around as I was before we won the first one."
"So I'm excited to have an opportunity to have a team that can compete for that, and be part of it."
Since Julien was hired as the 27th coach in team history on June 21, 2007, the Bruins haven't missed the playoffs.
They are the only team to have advanced to at least second-round play in five of the past six postseasons. Their 53 postseason wins during that span are the second most among all NHL teams.
BOSTON - David Krejci was absent from practice when the Bruins hit the ice on Monday morning at TD Garden.
The center was a late scratch for Saturday night's game against Ottawa after taking part in the morning skate.
"Day to day, according to our trainers - that's what I'm getting from them," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Monday's practice, on Krejci's status.
Saturday marked the fourth game Krejci has missed out of the Bruins' 13 games played heading into Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers. He was sidelined for the first three games of the season with an undisclosed injury.
There are no further details on Krejci's situation expected. "I said after last game, I'm not going to comment on his injury," Julien said, when he was pressed for more information.
BOSTON - For the past five games, when the Bruins hit the ice in the Spoked-B in front of an arena of fans, Matt Fraser has been back near the locker room pumping away on the stationary bike.
That's the nature of being the odd man out.
While the team sweats it out on the ice and the crowd's cheers filter down from the stands, you sweat it out on the bike during the first period, slide your suit back on and watch the final two periods of action from the press box.
Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden was trending that way for Fraser, until David Krejci was a late scratch after taking warmups.
"I thought he was going to play," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said of Krejci. "And he came in and [we] decided that, as a group, that he wasn’t well enough to go."
Cue Fraser getting into his first game in two weeks, having last suited up in 4-0 win in Buffalo in which he played 6:45 as the fourth line right wing.