CHICAGO - Fourteen days and six games had passed since the Bruins last felt that winning feeling.
Any win, any which way, would have sufficed. It could have come in a shootout, in overtime, by a goal, by four goals.
The Bruins opted for the latter, as they stunned the Blackhawks in Chicago with a 6-2 win on Sunday at the United Center. It marked their first six-goal win of the season, and their first in Chicago since Feb. 21, 1999.
Six different Bruins scored the goals and 12 players recorded at least one point, with Patrice Bergeron recording a three-point game and kicking off the scoring just three minutes into the first period. Nearly the entire roster recorded a shot on goal.
The fourth line chipped in, with callup Brian Ferlin playing in his second NHL game and earning his first NHL point, when he controlled the puck down low and centered a feed for Gregory Campbell to give the Bruins 4-1 insurance.
CHICAGO - David Krejci traveled with the team to Chicago from St. Louis on Friday night, but did not take part in Saturday's practice at Johnny's IceHouse.
Krejci left during the second period of Friday's game against the Blues, after a hit on Alexander Steen at the blueline, and did not return.
"He’s still with us. Obviously, he’s not going to play [Sunday against Chicago]," Head Coach Claude Julien said after Saturday's skate. "We won’t have an update as far as the severity of his injury until we get back home and see our doctors."
The center's injury is something that could be treated by the trainers on the road.
"So he’s staying with us and will come back with us [Sunday]," said Julien, who confirmed that the injury is "totally different" that the one that Krejci dealt with to start the season.
"Obviously it's a big loss when you lose a player of his caliber," said linemate Milan Lucic. "He's been an important player for us for the last number of years, so I mean, he's definitely one of those guys that are hard to replace."
"But at the end of the day, you still have a job to do, and you still have to do it well. Just because one guy's out of the lineup can't change the whole focus of the team or the psyche of the team or the psyche of one player, as a linemate. So, sometimes, that just means you have to find new chemistry with guys and work a little bit harder to find that and hope that it comes."
ST. LOUIS - When Malcolm Subban dreamed about his NHL debut, Friday night wasn't exactly how he envisioned it to be.
After facing only three shots through the first 20 minutes, with his first save coming at 12:14 into the game, Subban saw three go past his glove just over five minutes into the second period.
The Bruins eventually dropped a 5-1 loss to the Blues in St. Louis.
"It's not the way you want to debut, obviously," a soft-spoken Subban said postgame, clearly disappointed in himself. "You know, your team's in a tough spot right now, you try to give your team a chance to win, maybe spark the team a bit, but you don't want to do the opposite. I feel like that's what I did today."
"So it's tough for the guys, and I couldn't come through and give them a good performance."
The 21-year-old netminder was keeping the night in perspective, though. This is the goaltender, in his second year pro, whose first NHL preseason action at TD Garden in 2013 resulted in an 8-2 loss to Detroit and him running the arena stairs afterwards to work it off and clear his mind.
"I've just got to recap and look at the stuff I did wrong and learn from it. Being a young guy, you can't let it rattle you too much," said Subban. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, so I'm going to take that approach to tomorrow and the day after."
ST. LOUIS - Malcolm Subban is expected to make his first NHL start between the pipes for Boston on Friday night against the St. Louis Blues.
Subban joined the team in Edmonton and has been awaiting his debut.
"He’s going to start tonight," Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed following the team's pregame skate at Scottrade Center. "He’s a good goaltender. We’ve watched him in Providence, we’ve watched him here in practice, and I anticipate our team to play well in front of him."
The netminder spent a week with the team earlier in February and was recalled again on Feb. 16. He's in his second pro season with Providence after being drafted 24th overall by Boston in 2012.
"If I’m him, I’m pretty excited because I’m only in my second year pro [and getting an NHL start]," said Julien. "And with goaltenders, you like to be patient with them. I know our organization has been, with goaltenders in the past — Tuukka’s a good example of that."
"In his second year, he’s getting an opportunity here to play because he’s progressed well, and what happens from today on depends on a lot of different things, here, but I think he’s made some real good adjustments to his game."
ST. LOUIS - The Bruins flew to St. Louis from Edmonton on Thursday morning, with a quick turnaround from Wednesday's 11-round shootout loss to the Oilers.
After a week of travel, the team did not hold a full practice at Scottrade Center, with rest - mentally and physically - the priority.
The Bruins may have picked up a point in consecutive games, but their three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the second Wild Card spot heading into Thursday night isn't much of a cushion.
They're a frustrated team that has dropped five straight losses, including three straight to start an 11-day, five-game road trip.
"I think guys are feeling the heat, feeling the stress of the expectations and stuff like that, so I’ve been trying to get these guys to not relax," Head Coach Claude Julien said from the Scottrade Center. "As far as the game is concerned, we’ve got to play better, but just mentally, they need to be a little bit more relax in order to be able to execute and think properly out there."
"You can see guys trying to do too much, guys missing open nets. We’ve got an open net, and you can see the frustration there [in Edmonton] when Looch came back to the bench. It goes to show, it’s not because guys don’t care; right now, we just, it’s about finding the right way to turn this thing around."
EDMONTON - The Bruins certainly aren't where they would like to be, with 25 games remaining in the regular season.
They're hanging onto a playoff position by three points. The important third point came in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Oilers at Rexall Place on Wednesday night.
That slight cushion is little consolation, after the Bruins fell down 2-0 early in the game and had to battle back to tie it up 3-3, before the longest shootout in Bruins' history - with 11 rounds - ensued.
It didn't matter who Boston was playing, having lost the first two games on their five-game road trip, and four straight. It also didn't matter the Bruins had picked up a point in Calgary with the loss there coming in overtime.
They needed to play like a desperate team.
"When you look at the outcome, it certainly doesn't look that way," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "I think there's a lot of frustration right now. I think the guys, everybody's feeling the heat we feel that's been put on us, and it's up to us to work through this and find ways to overcome those kinds of things."
"It's part of being a professional, it's part of the game. So it's up to us. We have higher expectations. In that dressing room, coaches and ourselves, we have higher expectations than what we've shown right now."
"So we're not going to hide behind disappointment and stand here and think that we're doing OK," Julien continued. "We're underachieving right now and our game's got to get better. I still feel we've got the group in there to make it better, so it's up to us to take charge."
EDMONTON, Alta. - Malcolm Subban could be making his NHL debut against the Oilers at Rexall Place on Wednesday night, or Tuukka Rask could start his third straight game and make his 24th appearance in the Bruins' past 25 games.
"Well that's the million dollar question," smiled Head Coach Claude Julien. "Keeps you guys interested."
It's certain that Subban will start his first game on this road trip. After the Oilers, the Bruins finish their five-game swing against St. Louis and Chicago.
On his second stint with the club this month, following a 10-day stay in early February while Niklas Svedberg spent time with Providence on a conditioning loan, Subban is ready for his opportunity, whenever it comes.
"This is the second time we've brought him up, and if he wasn't [ready], I don't think that we'd be calling him up," said Julien. "We'd leave him down there, but - we said at some point, we'll see when - he will be playing this time around."
"Last time he was with us and got a good experience being around our team, what's expected, but this time we brought him up and we said we would play him at some point, so we'll see when that is."
The Bruins are in situation where they have lost four straight and two straight to start the trip. The Black and Gold showed signs of progress in the first period against Calgary, then jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but a four-minute power play went for naught and then the Flames powered back into the game to win it 4-3 in overtime.
LEDUC, Alta. - Defenseman Kevan Miller was absent from Tuesday's practice at the Leduc Rec Centre, after the Bruins traveled from Calgary to Edmonton.
"He’s gone back home to be evaluated," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "That’s the update. He flew back today, so we haven’t heard anything else from that."
Miller left Monday night's game against the Flames during the second period, and did not return.
Julien clarified that Miller had re-injured his right shoulder. The defensemen first sustained the shoulder injury back on Oct. 18 against Buffalo.
"I don’t know to what extent his shoulder injury is, so that’s why he’s gone back home," said the bench boss. "It definitely is bad enough, so he’s not going to play the rest of this trip."
The Bruins have three games remaining on their road trip, in Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.
Following Boston's game in Calgary, Julien had said in regards to Miller, "we'll see what comes out of it, but it doesn't look good."
The blueliner's shoulder had been holding up prior to Monday night. On Feb. 7, he told reporters in Boston that there were "ups and downs, but it's been all right so far and still kind of progressing, so it's been good."
Given the stay-at-home defenseman's hard-nosed style, he had adapted this game upon returning from the shoulder injury that kept him out for 12 games and about a month of action as he recovered.
CALGARY - The puck traveled off Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie's blade, glanced off the shaft of Brad Marchand's stick, popped up into the air, bounced off Tuukka Rask's glove as he stretched out and reached for it, pinged off the inside padding of the back red bar on top of the goal, and then ricocheted off of Rask's back, and in.
By the time the puck crossed the line, the clock read 2.4 left in overtime. There was not much more that could have been done.
"First one of those in my career," a stunned Rask said postgame from the Scotiabank Saddledome, after the Bruins dropped a 4-3 loss to Calgary in overtime.
Though they ended the night with a point, it marked their fourth straight loss, including two straight on the road to start their five-game trip.
"Well yeah, when you're kind of struggling with your game, that's when kind of the bounces don't go your way and it's happened to us before this season and we saw it again today, so that's about it," Rask continued.
The Bruins carried much of the play in overtime.
"Yeah we did, and we picked it up again," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "I thought we had control of the puck most of the time, but again, when you don't score, you don't win."
This one stung. Boston had started the game with a 3-0 lead, striking first after five straight games of allowing the first goal. It was the Bruins' first time playing with a lead in four games.
They managed the puck well in the first 20 minutes. They didn't self-inflict the damage that had been plaguing them.
At 6:48 into the first period, Brad Marchand put home a setup from Patrice Bergeron for a shorthanded tally to make it 1-0. Less than five minutes later, the Bruins had a 2-0 lead, when a blast from Zdeno Chara quickly jutted in and out of the goal with Chris Kelly screening in front. Dougie Hamilton had wheeled the puck around the net before feeding the Captain all alone up top.
Rask, making his 23rd appearance in the last 24 games, preserved the lead when the Flames created point-blank chances and havoc down low.
CALGARY - The Bruins posted an 8-1-3 record in January, before winning just one of their last five games in the month of February.
They have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since a skid in early December. They have not lost four consecutive games this season.
So, is Boston the January team, or that December team?
"Well, I'm going to hope we're the February team," Chris Kelly quickly stated, following the Bruins' pregame skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday. "I don't want to look back and say we want to be this team, or that team."
"You need to live in the moment and learn from your mistakes. When you play 82 games, there's going to be some bad ones, and there's going to be some good ones. And you need to refocus and not have too many bad ones in a row, and come to work."
The Bruins are hoping to leave those bad ones behind as they face the Calgary Flames on Monday night in the second game of their five-game road swing against Western Conference opponents.