BOSTON, MA - The last time Torey Krug had scored, he was firing off the goal horn in overtime, playing hero in a win over Pittsburgh back on November 25.
Twelve games later, on a Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, the defenseman fired in two goals and put up an assist for the first three-point game of his NHL career.
His No. 1 Star effort helped the Bruins take a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, and set them up well for their upcoming road trip through California, facing three of the West's toughest teams.
"He was terrible…two goals, one assist," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien jested to media following the win, when asked about Krug's play.
"No, he played well," the bench boss went on. "When he’s on top of his game offensively, he makes things happen."
Krug is now tied for the league lead in goals by defensemen (for yet another time this season) with 10, up with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Nashville's Shea Weber. Zdeno Chara comes in just behind him with nine goals.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice for practice on Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, Torey Krug was the only player absent from skate.
Head Coach Claude Julien attributed it to a "maintenance day" for the defenseman. As for his availability for Saturday's 1:00 p.m. matinee against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden, Julien said, "we'll see how he is tomorrow, and if he's good to go, he'll go."
If Krug is not able to go, Kevan Miller (who was the healthy scratch on Thursday night against Nashville) will likely slot in.
Loui Eriksson continued skating with the team for the fourth straight day, and remained the only player in a green jersey, as he hasn't yet been cleared for contact. He did take part in battling drills, though, to an extent.
"He's just skating so he's a way's away still," Julien said two days prior, on January 1. "He's not close to doing any contact and we're just putting him in for practice just so that he can be around players."
BostonBruins.com - Dougie Hamilton just turned the page on his first calendar year in the NHL. The year brought many new experiences for the 20-year-old - his NHL debut, his first goal, his first postseason, and, his first injury bout.
It was a short-term injury battle that caused him to miss 10 games, after he first sustained the lower-body injury in Toronto on December 8. He was set to make his return to the lineup against Nashville on Thursday night (January 2).
Hamilton had experienced time as a healthy scratch during the 2013 playoffs. And when he was with the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara Ice Dogs, he spent 10 games out of the lineup due to suspension.
But this was the first time he was ever forced out of the lineup due to inability. Sidelined for the past three and a half weeks, it was a new progression for the defenseman, who had to leave the team on their Canada road trip.
But they'll also get another addition to the lineup, with Niklas Svedberg set to make his NHL debut after being recalled Thursday morning from Providence.
The netminder has earned the opportunity. In fact, his debut was supposed to come last Saturday, in December 28, in Ottawa, before the Bruins had to make two injury callups with Zdeno Chara and Carl Soderberg sidelined.
"Sveddy was supposed to play and Tuukka was supposed to back him up and then Johnny [Chad Johnson] was supposed to do some extra and not dress and then all of a sudden as we went along…we had to take Sveddy off [the roster] and tell Tuukka ‘you’re in’ and tell Johnny he’s backing up. It was one of those days where things like that happen and everybody has to adjust."
"Certainly one of those busy days where as a coach you’re scrambling trying to keep everybody informed and then trying to get everybody ready for that game that night."
BOSTON, MA - On Thursday morning, prior to the Bruins' game against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden, GM Peter Chiarelli announced that goaltender Niklas Svedberg had been recalled from the Providence Bruins.
Svedberg joined the team and will be eligible to play in Thursday night's game.
He has appeared in 22 games for the Providence Bruins this season, racking up a 13-5-3 record with a 2.87 goals against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout.
The netminder received his first NHL recall last week, on December 27, and dressed as Tuukka Rask's backup against Ottawa that night.
BOSTON, MA - Like many of his Bruins teammates right now, Chris Kelly is on the mend. The alternate captain continues to recover from his broken right fibula suffered on December 7 that has caused him to miss 11 games.
And, as of now, he's on track in his rehab, with no setbacks.
"Yeah, everything's on track," Kelly confirmed on Wednesday, speaking with reporters in the locker room for the first time since he sustained the injury.
"Obviously 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. So [the staff has] been really good at doing what's best for me."
The injury occurred just before the Bruins' road trip through Canada. It had happened from a slash in the second period against Pittsburgh at TD Garden. Kelly played the entire game in the Bruins' 3-2 comeback win that night.
BOSTON, MA - December was not kind to the Bruins, with plenty of injuries and adversity to go around. But as the recoveries continue, two members of the Black & Gold, Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton, are expected to make their returns to the lineup on Thursday night at TD Garden, as Boston hosts Nashville.
Soderberg has missed the Bruins' past two games, with an undisclosed injury. When he hit the ice for his second straight practice skating with the team on Wednesday morning at TD Garden, he was sporting the grey jersey, playing on the third line with Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser. He took part in contact drills.
Forward Nick Johnson, who had filled in during Soderberg's absence, was assigned to the Providence Bruins.
"Carl's been cleared," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice. "Should be in the lineup tomorrow, and I would say that because you never know, you could come in the next day and things have changed."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins didn't end 2013 the way they wanted to.
Hosting the New York Islanders on New Year's Eve, the Black & Gold jumped to a 3-1 lead before allowing four straight goals to ultimately fall, 5-3.
It was fairly self-inflicted, with the Bruins allowing an uncharacteristic four power-play goals, in what ended an eight-game winning streak at TD Garden.
"I think when we took the 3-1 lead, we kind of relaxed and they came back hard and they kind of got the momentum back and we couldn’t regain it," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters postgame.
"They made their own breaks and they made their breaks by getting some good bounces and got themselves back in the game but in the third period, they were the better team."
Boston and New York went to the third tied at 3-3, before the Isles scored just 32 seconds in, when John Tavares banked the puck from behind the goal line off Tuukka Rask and in.
"It’s just a bad break on that fourth goal on the first shift. He’s behind the goal line and that’s just an example of how the night went for us," said David Krejci, who scored his 100th career NHL goal to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the first.
"We felt like we could have scored a couple more goals, we felt like we could have defended a little better and we also felt like we could have had a couple more power plays. So it was just a tough night for us."
"Obviously it’s disappointing but we have to regroup and move on and we have our next game in a couple days so we have to be better."
The game got away from the Bruins, in a building where they take a lot of pride in being dominant. They hadn't lost a home game in regulation since a 4-3 loss to New Jersey on October 26, another game in which they allowed an uncharacteristic four power-play goals.
"We lost because I think it was, like you said, probably self-inflicted," said Julien. "We took a lot of ill-advised penalties that at one point caught up to us and I didn’t think our penalty kill obviously was very good tonight."
The Bruins ended up with 28 penalty minutes on the night, 14 of them coming to Milan Lucic late in the third period, with the Bruins trailing 5-3. He ended up being assessed a boarding penalty, along with unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct.
But the Bruins' penalty trouble had begun earlier in the game, especially in the second, when they took three straight penalties that result in two man-advantage goals for the Isles and a 3-3 tie heading to the final frame.
"Some of those penalties are penalties that ended up hurting us a lot on the road so we have to take ownership of that," said Julien.
"I’d say we did get comfortable after we had the two-goal lead," added Lucic, who admitted the frustration from those power-play goals allowed and a few bad bounces allowed them to get frustrated and undisciplined.
"They capitalized on their chances and got their breaks and say what you want at the end of the day, you make your breaks so like I said, it sucks to end of the year of 2013 this way, and we have an opportunity to bounce back on Thursday."
The Bruins didn't ring in the New Year as they had wished, but this is a team that hasn't lost more than two straight all season. It marks only the third time in 2013-14 that the B's are on a two-game losing streak.
"Obviously you’ve got to give credit for the good game but a lot of it is our own doing; not playing the way we should and taking too many penalties," said Patrice Bergeron, who notched his 10th of the season with a power-play tally to make it 2-1.
"We knew they had a good power play and we didn’t do a good job on the PK and, like I said, we can give them credit but still, we could’ve played a lot better."
The Bruins are back in action on Thursday night against Nashville, and will use it as a chance to bounce back, like they always do.
"Well you’re going to have to want to do something about it," said Julien. "We’ve lost two in a row now. We don’t like being in that situation so hopefully we get a positive response from our team on Thursday."
So, can they move on easily from this game, and start 2014 off right?
"We have no other choice," said Krejci. "We have to have a good practice tomorrow [Wednesday] and come out from first to the last minute on Thursday."
In the loss, the centerman reached a milestone, scoring the 100th goal of his NHL career, all in Black & Gold.
"It’s just a number," remarked Krejci, who - like many players - would prefer not to keep track of stats like that. "It’s nice to get 100 goals, hopefully there will be 100 more in my career but it’s just a number."
Many of those goals have come alongside Milan Lucic, who Krejci has been a full-time Bruin with since the 2007-08 season.
"It’s a big accomplishment," said Lucic. "It would have been nice to have gotten the win with a 100th goal. He’s been playing really well as of late, he’s been real consistent throughout this year and hopefully he can keep it up."
BostonBruins.com- The Bruins host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at TD Garden for a New Year's Eve matchup, and Zdeno Chara will be in the lineup.
The Captain had missed Saturday's game in Ottawa due to an undisclosed injury that was termed "day-to-day."
"I think that, as long as you feel confident that you can help the team and play through it, then you have to play," Chara told reporters following the team's morning skate.
The Bruins played Saturday without Chara, but also without Dennis Seidneberg, who they lost to a season-ending ACL/MCL tear in his right knee, and without Dougie Hamilton, who remains out with a lower-body injury.
"Obviously we do miss some big guys but that’s just the way it is, you know?" said Chara. "And you can’t really control what’s going to happen as far as injuries go."
As for his injury, it's not necessarily something he needs to monitor more moving forward.
"I wouldn’t want to go out there and be kind of a weak link," he said. "I can still contribute and play my game."
As we've seen before, players in this sport often aren't fully healthy, with the amount of toughness and contact in the game.
"If you look at it, it is not always the case that you’re going to be 100 percent," said 'Big Zee.' "I mean, a lot of players go through that on every team probably and that’s just the way it is. You’re going to have to battle through some aches and pains but I think it’s pretty common in this sport, or any kind of sport."
BostonBruins.com - For the past two weeks, Shawn Thornton has been around the locker room and practicing with his teammates. It's been business as usual, and the Bruin doesn't want that to change.
On December 31, the deadline came and passed for the second appeal of the 15-game suspension issued to Thornton by the NHL Department of Player Safety and upheld by Commissioner Bettman.
"I decided not to take it to the independent arbitrator," Thornton said on the 31st, speaking with reporters for the first time since December 7, as the process had still been ongoing. "It’s been a long process and to be quite honest…I’d rather not be a distraction around here and I’d rather just focus on getting ready for January 11 – it’s twelve days out now."
"So it wasn’t - I’m not going to lie to you - it wasn’t an easy decision, I had been thinking about it for probably the last 36 hours, not much sleep. But I feel, for the team, it’s probably the right thing to do at this point, not going through the whole process again for the third time."