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."
BostonBruins.com - Injuries haven't been too kind to the Bruins this season, and their woes became even greater on Saturday in Ottawa.
But that didn't stop them from grinding through, and coming back multiple times, before ultimately falling to the Senators, 4-3.
The Bruins announced prior to the game that Dennis Seidenberg, who left the third period in Boston on Friday night with an injury, is now out the remainder of the 2013-14 season with a torn ACL/MCL in his right knee that will take 6-8 months for recovery.
"[Chara] came this morning, and just couldn't play tonight. That decision was made after the morning skate," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media in Ottawa following the game.
"Our guys battled hard," said Julien, whose squad never led in the game, but kept working their way back, first from being down 1-0, then 3-1, before tying it up 3-3 off of Warsofsky's first NHL goal six minutes into the third.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are one of the most dominant teams at home in the NHL. The Ottawa Senators are a desperate team, fighting for a playoff spot.
Those two sides collided at TD Garden on Friday night, with the Bruins overpowering the Sens with a 5-0 shutout that included four third-period goals.
In the past three games, Boston has put up 15 goals, with 10 of those coming in the third period.
Against Ottawa, the game went scoreless through 20 minutes before Jarome Iginla found the back of the net on the power play late in the second period to give Boston the 1-0 lead.
The Bruins outshout the Senators 20-8 in that middle frame.
"The first was a little sluggish for us. We knew that they would be hungry and coming off a real strong win right before Christmas. We knew that they’d be ready," said Iginla, of an Ottawa team that had delivered their own 5-0 shutout to Pittsburgh before the league's three-day break. "Tuuks [Tuukka Rask] was able to keep us in again and as the second went on, we got better and better."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins recalled goaltender Niklas Svedberg from the Providence Bruins on Friday morning, before the team hosted the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
It marks Svedberg's first NHL regular season recall. He's in his second full season with the organization after being signed as a free agent in May of 2012.
When Svedberg drove from Providence to Boston on Friday and joined the Bruins for their pregame skate, he was fresh off his first shutout of the 2013-14 season, a 4-0 win over the Worcester Sharks on Thursday night.
Svedberg found out about the recall right after the game. The win wasn't a bad confidence-booster heading into his first time with the big club.
"We’re going to have a look at him in the next little while here," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following pregame skate. "Not tonight, but maybe tomorrow or the game after. I think he’s earned that. We told him that after having such a good camp, that we’d bring him up at some point and give him some games so that’s what we’re doing right now."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins return to action tonight against Ottawa at TD Garden, after the three-day NHL break to enjoy some much needed and well-deserved rest around the holidays.
One welcome addition to the lineup will be Daniel Paille, getting back into action against the Senators after missing seven games while recovering from a mild concussion.
Paille's return marks another positive step for the Bruins' forward corps, which is still without Loui Eriksson (concussion), Chris Kelly (broken right fibula) and Shawn Thornton for an extended period of time.
Still, amidst a month of December with injuries, illness and adversity, the Bruins went 7-3-0 in their 10 games prior to tonight's matchup.
"That three day break I think was a welcome break for every team in the league," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following the team's pregame skate Friday morning.
NASHVILLE, TN - When the puck dropped in Music City, the focus was simple for the Bruins: win in Nashville, and enjoy a much-deserved three-day holiday break around Christmas.
Boston ended up erupting for a 6-2 win over the Predators, to give them seven wins in their past nine games, and improve to 25-10-2 on the season.
"Yeah, it’s always more fun when you’re winning, you know?" Tuukka Rask said from the Bruins' locker room following the win.
The cool, casual netminder has only allowed three goals in his past two starts, and made 32 saves in this one.
"But I was pretty happy the way we finished off these last four games, played some good hockey and got a good road win here to finish it off, so it’s a good break for us now."
"It makes Christmas a lot nicer, obviously," Head Coach Claude Julien had smiled prior to the matchup. "But we have a job to do and we have to go out there and do it."
His team followed suit.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice on Sunday morning at Ristuccia Arena before heading to Nashville, Brad Marchand was not present.
"He’s making the trip," Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed. "He’s just banged up, so a maintenance day today, obviously for the reasons you saw last night."
Julien was quick to stay there's no need to make an emergency callup; Marchand just needed the maintenance day.
Before the midpoint of the first period in the Bruins' eventual 4-1 over Buffalo on Saturday night, Marchand was caught in a collision along the boards with Christian Ehrhoff. He was helped down the tunnel by the training staff, before returning not too long after, and taking his place on the penalty kill.
He finished out the rest of the game just fine, and provided a huge shot block early in the second period. It hobbled him a bit, but he got up, continued played, and easily got a roar of appreciation from the crowd for sacrificing his body.
Hockey's obviously a tough sport, and you'll find players willing to put themselves in those situations on every team, but "playing tough" is also predominantly the Boston Bruins' way.