BostonBruins.com - How quickly circumstances can change.
About one week ago, the Bruins were hitting the ice for practice following a shootout loss to Carolina, one of three straight losses in overtime or a shootout.
They felt their game was coming around, but still, they weren't getting the desired results. There was plenty of talk about evaluation, "unacceptable" play and a beyond disappointing first half of the season in the ensuing days.
Fast forward a week, and the Black and Gold are on a three-game win streak, having strung together victories over Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Apart from the 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins, the Bruins' wins over the Devils (3-0) and Flyers (3-1) were in more commanding fashion.
And just like that, a frustrated group that was struggling to find its confidence has now shifted to a group that stays on the ice for extra 20-30 minutes after the team stretch that usually wraps up practice, smiling and hooting and hollering with their teammates.
The always low key Patrice Bergeron even let loose during Monday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. When Dennis Seidenberg threw a point shot towards the net right off a faceoff, Bergeron moved into place and deflected a perfect tip past Tuukka Rask before the netminder could even see it coming. No. 37 immediately reacted (along with the group), jokingly putting his stick back in its holster.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins were back on the ice for practice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning, following their 3-1 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday.
With three straight wins over Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Philly, the Black and Gold are gradually building back their confidence.
They're also providing Head Coach Claude Julien with more stability throughout the lineup, and the ability to keep the current lines intact, even if they're not the usual trios the B's, fans and media are used to seeing.
David Krejci continued to center Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak during practice. Patrice Bergeron was between Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille, while Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson flanked Carl Soderberg. Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Craig Cunningham and Jordan Caron rounded out the other line.
"Well, they've stayed together so far, because you know, we're getting the results right now," Julien said following Monday's skate. "So when the time comes, if I need to make some changes, I will, but right now, we're getting results out of those lines."
BOSTON - On Sunday, the Bruins gathered at TD Garden for the first-ever Bruins Game Show Live, in which they interacted with Premium Club season ticket holders and participated in interactive game show contests.
After three games in four days - and three straight wins - the Bruins had Sunday off from practice, but made time to spend time with thousands of fans.
"I think that's the main thing about a day like today is interacting with the fans on a personal note, more laid back type of note," smiled Milan Lucic. "Usually we're on the ice and they're in the stands and they interact to how we play but today is a good laid back atmosphere and we're going to have some fun doing it."
The private event kicked off with an hour-long VIP photo session for the fans with the entire team.
"They're the ones who cheer us on in the good times and the bad times, and they're super supportive, that's what we need," said Gregory Campbell. "So to actually meet them face to face is we're appreciative, as are they."
"It's a cool feeling to be able to talk to them and enjoy that so we're pretty happy to be here," said Dougie Hamilton.
"It's awesome. There's obviously a ton of fans here and we're pretty lucky to have the support we have here in Boston. I think it's a positive time and a lot of fun and a lot of smiles so we're having fun and we'll hopefully have some fun later, too."
"We'll come together as a team and hopefully have some fun and see what happens later on."
"It was something new, you know?" Pastrnak smiled, thinking back on the moment. "Some new feeling is what I got after the goal. Yeah, it was nice, I can't describe it."
Pastrnak had just backhanded in a rebound off Krug's shot on the power play to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead over the Flyers on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
It marked his first career goal in the NHL, in his seventh game.
Pastrnak would later add goal No. 2, off a give-and-go with centerman David Krejci, to give the Bruins more insurance en route to their 3-1 win.
"Means a lot you know, first NHL goals," Pastrnak said after the win. "And it's even better when we won and we got two points."
The Bruins picked up a third straight win for the first time since Nov. 15-21. It is just the third time this season that they have won at least three in a row.
BOSTON - With a 3-0 shutout of New Jersey on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins picked up two straight wins for the first time since Dec. 21 and 23.
They were coming off a 3-2 overtime win in Pittsburgh the night before. They had entered the night with a 1-5-1 record in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
Head Coach Claude Julien needed to see his team "play closer to what we're capable of."
The Black and Gold had shown spurts of strong play against the Penguins, but struggled significantly at times.
Luckily, the Bruins showed their confident side on Thursday night, dictating nearly the entire 60 minutes, outshooting the Devils 43-14 and earning Niklas Svedberg the 3-0 shutout.
"We seemed like a real focused and energized team," said Julien, whose squad outshot New Jersey 18-3 in the first period for their largest "shots for" disparity of the season in single period.
"I think the biggest thing we did was we executed the way we were asked to execute and I thought coming in late last night [from Pittsburgh], the first period it was so important to get our legs under us."
"But what impressed me the most was how hard the guys worked to get back and the layers were there, so we didn’t give them much room or too many opportunities. So that was the kind of game we like to see our team play."
BOSTON - The Bruins host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at TD Garden in their second game of a back-to-back set.
It marks the second of three meetings on the season for the Eastern Conference opponents. The Bruins took the first game 4-2 back on Nov. 10.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Black and Gold are coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. It snapped a three-game losing streak, with all three of those losses having come in overtime or the shootout.
Boston has picked up at least a point in five games straight, and in seven of their past eight. It hasn't necessarily felt like that for the Bruins, though.
The victory in OT, thanks to Patrice Bergeron's winner, gave them much-needed relief.
"It wasn't perfect by all means, but definitely a good effort and we found a way to get the big win," Bergeron said on Wednesday night following the game.
PITTSBURGH - There was at least one phrase repeated by every Bruin in the visiting team locker room on Wednesday night at the CONSOL Energy Center.
But it didn't necessarily matter the the Black and Gold didn't put forth a perfect game, because they flew back to Boston with a 3-2 overtime win over the Penguins.
The much-needed win was a relief, even if it took a few extra minutes for that relief to kick in.
Most Bruins began to celebrate, and some even headed down the tunnel to the locker room, but not so fast.
After video review, it was inconclusive whether the puck hit Despres' glove or Bergeron's stick. Both were determined to be at or below the height of the crossbar. The call on the ice was a good goal, and it stood. Good goal Boston. Game over.
It was the break the Bruins needed.
"I thought it was inconclusive and they had a good goal on the ice, so usually that's what happens," Bergeron said postgame. "Hard to turn back, so I was pretty confident that I was below the crossbar."
PITTSBURGH - There's been a shift in attitude taking place in the Bruins' locker room this week.
A disappointing season has seen frustration snowball from game to game, and even practice to practice. That frustration breeds negativity within and around the team. Their shootout loss in Carolina on Sunday added further frustration to the mix.
On Tuesday, newly named CEO Charlie Jacobs made forthcoming statements regarding the current state of the team, 40 games into the season and out of a playoff spot.
"For us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable," Jacobs said. "Everybody in the executive offices is fully aware how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process and it’s fluid right now. I can’t say at any moment we have a final decision other than to say that it’s been an utter disappointment and a failure, complete failure."
The words weren't taken lightly by the team. They know their current level of play is unacceptable.
But continuing down the path of disappointment and anger isn't going to lead them in the right direction.
PITTSBURGH - David Pastrnak can play four more NHL games before the Bruins have a decision to make.
Once he suits up in Game No. 10, his entry-level contract would kick in for the 2014-15 season. He's already played in five games, against Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
While the Bruins' brass can evaluate his play in Providence this season and at the World Junior Championship, the evaluation time at the NHL level is limited.
With two games in two nights on tap for the Bruins on Wednesday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, and then on Thursday in Boston against the New Jersey Devils, the organization has opted to not burn two of his games with the back-to-back.
"He's not going to go tonight [against Pittsburgh]," Head Coach Claude Julien said on Wednesday morning following his team's pregame skate at the CONSOL Energy Center.
"He'll be going tomorrow [against New Jersey], as the organization has decided to obviously evaluate him with four games before they make that big decision on his contract status."
BostonBruins.com - David Pastrnak traveled with the Bruins to Pittsburgh on Tuesday after being recalled from the Providence Bruins.
It marks Pastrnak's second recall to the big club this season after he made his NHL debut on November 24 against the Penguins at TD Garden. He has five NHL games under his belt, with his first career assist coming on December 1, when he assisted on Brad Marchand's tally against Anaheim.
"It's exciting to be here and I have a second shot to be here with the guys," Pastrnak said after practicing with Boston on Tuesday.
"I had the one practice with David and it was - you know, he's a great player, so but everybody here is good and I'm happy for every minute I be on the ice," said Pastrnak.
While he's on the road trip with the big club, the plan for him moving forward is still yet to be known. With five NHL games, Pastrnak can play four more with Boston before his entry-level contract would kick in.