BOSTON, MA - When the Bruins lead after two periods, they own a 20-2-0 record this season.
Their stretch of three losses in their past four games, not surprisingly, have all come from being down heading to the third period.
Their most recent defeat came on Tuesday night at TD Garden, falling 4-3 to Toronto Maple Leafs.
We've seen opportunistic play from the opponent get the better of the Black & Gold at points throughout the season, and outshooting the Leafs 41-26, the Bruins couldn't tip the "lucky break" scale in their favor.
Trailing 3-2 heading to the third didn't help. When the Leafs made it 4-2 just 1:00 into the final frame, thanks to a James van Riemsdyk fire, it was yet another deficit for the team to climb out of again.
BOSTON, MA - Dougie Hamilton was absent from the ice on Tuesday morning at the Bruins' pregame skate at TD Garden. He had also missed Monday's practice, while being evaluated by team doctors.
"Dougie was diagnosed with a mild concussion so he’ll be out for a little bit," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters Tuesday, following the team's pregame skate before hosting Toronto.
"I don’t anticipate it being too, too long."
Hamilton played in Saturday's 1-0 shutout win over San Jose. He had been back in the lineup for five games after missing 10 games due to his recovery from an MCL sprain. That month-long rehab marked the first injury bout of his career he had to tackle.
Through 33 games in 2013-14, Hamilton has four goals and six assists for 10 points with a plus-9 rating.
The defenseman is the third Bruin to miss time due to a concussion this season.
Daniel Paille left the team's Western Canada trip in Calgary with concussion-like symptoms and ended up being out of the lineup for seven games from December 10-23.
BostonBruins.com - Before the puck drops on Tuesday, January 14 against Toronto, the Bruins will be honoring special friend, Sam Berns, with a moment of silence.
Sam passed away on Friday, at age 17, due to complications from Progeria, a rare genetic condition that produces rapid aging in children.
The Massachusetts native was a longtime Bruins fan, who was as much a part of the Black & Gold as those who wear the Spoked-B.
On November 9, Sam helped host Progeria Awareness Night at TD Garden, dropping the ceremonial puck, serving as Assistant Equipment Manager for the team, and watching their warmups from the team's bench.
To anyone who met the young man, if only for a brief moment, his charisma was infectious.
Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara knew it right away. The pair first met during Zee's first season in Boston, after a game in which he scored.
WILMINGTON, MA - Johnny Boychuk couldn't keep the smile from his face on Monday morning after practice at Ristuccia Arena.
The defenseman had left the team's California road trip in Los Angeles after the game against the Kings to head home. On Monday morning, by the time 3:00 a.m. rolled around, Boychuk was a proud father of twin girls.
"They came this morning, at around 2:30 and 3:00 and then I went to sleep for maybe two hours and came to practice," he smiled.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the team reported to Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning, following their California road trip, there was a welcome sight before they hit the ice for practice.
Chris Kelly, about five weeks into his recovery from a broken right fibula (calf bone) sustained on December 7, was skating on his own, under the guidance of Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides.
"He started last week, mid-week, and just started skating on his own," said Bruins Head Claude Julien. "He's not close to returning here, there's still lots of time for him to continue to heal, so just basically more getting him to stay positive here. It's a frustrating injury that's going to take a while."
Still, it was a great sign to see him skating and smiling, even if he's still a ways away.
"It's one of those injuries you have to be careful with; you don't want to push it too much, because it can set you back," Kelly had said back on January 1, speaking with media for the first time since the injury, which he suffered on a slash during the game against Pittsburgh. "So [the staff has] been really good at doing what's best for me."
BostonBruins.com - It was what the Bruins needed.
After dropping their first two games of the road trip through California the had been labeled on more than one occasion as a "challenge," the Black & Gold pulled out a gutsy effort, shutting out the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Saturday night.
"That was Bruins hockey," said Tuukka Rask, following his fifth shutout of the season. "That's how we get points in this league. Sometimes we slip from it, but [this game] was a great example of how we need to play in order to get points."
"Tuukka made the big saves when we needed him and so he was back to being himself as well, but again, he plays well when everybody else plays well in front of him," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "It was a team win, from the back end to the front end."
One goal was the difference maker, in a game that was scoreless until 12:25 into the third period, when Carl Soderberg put home his sixth of the season after Loui Eriksson's shot deflected to the winger who made sure to be around the net.
Eriksson was making his return to the Bruins' lineup, having missed 15 games while recovering from his concussion. Shawn Thornton was also back in the lineup, returning from his suspension.
Patience has been the focus with Eriksson, and he and the team worked steadily to get him back to 100 percent following his second concussion this season over a month ago on December 7. He's been skating with the team for the past 12 days, and taking contact since Wednesday.
"He says he's ready to go so he'll be in our lineup tonight," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's morning skate at the SAP Center.
"It's been a long time, it feels like," Eriksson said after the skate, with a sigh. "So it's going to be nice to be back."
"My head is feeling good, and my body, I've been having a lot of practicing the past week here, and I've been skating and feeling good, so I'm ready to get going."
BostonBruins.com - For the second straight game, the Bruins found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
But unlike in Anaheim, when the Bruins came out with a dominant start and found a sustained effort, they never found their spark agains the Kings on Thursday night, falling 4-2 at STAPLES Center.
"It took us a period and a half to get going," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame, making the quick differentiation between the two efforts.
"Certainly not the same scenario from start to finish, and, again, puck management, missed assignments, those kinds of things are going to end up costing you, and we're getting exposed in those areas right now where we've got to get better."
The Bruins were outshot 13-5 in the first period, but the Kings were only up 1-0, with Jeff Carter taking advantage of a turnover.
The Spoked-B needed to come out with fire in the second, and that didn't happen. LA made use of a power-play opportunity, just 44 seconds in. A minute later, a Kings' faceoff win led to a quick-fire goal for the 3-0 lead.
BostonBruins.com - Milan Lucic should be back in the lineup on Thursday night, as the Bruins face the LA Kings, looking to earn their first win of the three-game road swing through California.
The winger missed Tuesday's game in Anaheim due to illness. It was the first time he was sidelined all season.
"Probably food poisoning and hit him at the wrong time, and feeling much better, so we anticipate him being good to do," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice in Southern California on Wednesday.
"So hopefully it's just a 24-hour thing and I'll be recovered and ready to go," Lucic said, after taking part in the team's skate.
The Bruins made due without Lucic in Anaheim, with Carl Soderberg slotting onto the top line, and the team rolling out 11 forwards and seven defenseman. They pulled out a dominant five-on-five performance against the top team in the league, but lost the special teams battle in the 5-2 defeat.
While they managed it well, there's no doubt a healthy Lucic will add a boost Thursday night in LA.
EL SEGUNDO, CA - It's been a steady, patient process for Loui Eriksson, coming back from his second concussion sustained on December 7, but the Bruins winger has been cleared for contact.
"He's feeling good, he's been cleared for contact, now it's just a matter of time of him working through that and getting himself back in the lineup," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice at Toyota Sports Center outside Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.
Eriksson hit the ice in a gray jersey, shedding the green no-contact jersey. It marked eight days since he first started skating with the team on December 31.
It's now been a month since he suffered his second concussion in 45 days. He first came back on October 23. He missed just under two weeks out of the lineup then. This time, he's missed 14 games out of the lineup, and won't be ready to return to game action just yet.
"I'd say probably doubtful for [Thursday against LA]," said Julien. "It's his first day with contact, and having been through what he's been through, I don't think you want to rush him too much."