BostonBruins.com - Bruins fans know the toughness of Steven Stamkos well.
Accustomed to seeing the grit and fight of those in the Black & Gold, the Tampa Bay Lightning centerman hit a cord when he returned during Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, after taking a puck to the face. He wiped off the blood, threw on the full cage and was back on the ice, battling for his team.
Sometimes, a player can not only impact his team, but the entire game.
So, when Steven Stamkos broke his right tibia during the Bruins-Lightning game on Monday afternoon at TD Garden, the impact reverberated throughout the crowd, and the hockey world.
"It’s obviously tough to see him go down, not only for our team. That's one of the best players in the world," said Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper. "People come to cheer on the Boston Bruins here, but they also come to see guys like Steven Stamkos play hockey. So it’s a loss for everybody."
BOSTON, MA - When the Bruins force their style on opponents, they come out on the winning end. That's a fact. Hemming teams in their own zone, being relentless on the backcheck, playing with energy, alertness and anticipation.
The effort produced a 3-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday afternoon to give the B's their third straight win, all in the confines of TD Garden.
A two-goal outburst in just 20 seconds from Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille gave Boston their jolt, and Jarome Iginla sealed the victory with an empty-netter. Tuukka Rask stopped all 28 shots he faced to extend the Bruins' shutout streak of the Lightning to 149:28, spanning back to last season.
"It’s playing with emotion; engaged," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game. "Sometimes, mentally, you go through a phase where it’s a little tougher than other times."
"The positive thing is I think we’re finding our game and we seem to be heading in the right direction."
WILMINGTON, MA - Adam McQuaid was absent from the Bruins' Sunday morning practice at Ristuccia Arena. He left Saturday night's game against Toronto early in the first period and did not return.
McQuaid went down after taking a turn behind the Bruins' goal, and was helped down the tunnel by team trainers. It occurred during his second shift of the night, with him logging just 44 seconds of ice time.
"He's still getting better, but still hurting today," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Sunday's practice.
The specific nature of the injury is unknown, but it's likely a good sign that the defenseman wasn't immediately deemed out for a period of time.
Julien did say that McQuaid is "probably doubtful" to play on Monday, though, as the B's host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.
BOSTON, MA - Heading into Saturday night's matchup with Toronto at TD Garden, the Bruins were focusing on their own game.
The keys? Control offensive zone time, avoid outnumbers situations against a quick Leafs team and commit to their physical, heavy game.
The one that's always a given, though? Win the special teams battle.
And that's exactly what Boston did, in a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs, powering home two power-play goals from Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, and killing all three penalties, including one late in the third.
Bergeron added an empty-netter late in regulation to seal it.
"I felt our special teams were obviously the difference tonight," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the win. "Penalty kill was extremely good; winning battles and getting pucks down the other end and even when they had the possession in our own end we were always in the shooting lane, didn’t give them much there."
BOSTON, MA - Take a moment to remember the Bruins' Game 7 comeback against Toronto.
Because that's where the hype comes from heading into this game at TD Garden, as the B's host the Leafs for the teams' first meeting since that night.
It was special, historic, momentous, and propelled the Black & Gold further into the postseason.
But once the puck drops, it marks a chance for the Bruins to further continue their turnaround, build off of their 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, and pick up two points over a divisional opponent that sits three points above them in the standings.
When Head Coach Claude Julien was asked pregame about the matchup being a "test" for the Bruins, he didn't quite look at it in that specific way.
"To me, it’s an opportunity to improve our game. Not a test, but it’s more of a situation where we can find our game and be the team that we want to be, that we know we should be and can be," said Julien. "So that’s more my approach to it."
BostonBruins.com - If you look up "Brad Marchand shift" in the hockey dictionary (that has to exist somewhere), it would look something like this:
1. a shift that comes from a forward creating havoc, by moving his feet, driving the net and pestering the opposition in one way, or another.
On Thursday night, in the Bruins 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers, we saw the type of shift that Marchand is known for, first pulling a "shake and bake" on defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and faking a pivot towards the goal, before threading a pass through another Panthers defender to Patrice Bergeron.
While Bergeron quickly fed a pass to Dennis Seidenberg for the drive from long range, Marchand immediately started his route towards the goal mouth. When the puck trickled off Loui Eriksson and through goaltender Scott Clemmensen, all the winger had to do was tap it in past the goal line.
As he skated away from scoring his first goal in 13 games - and only his second of the season - Marchand reached back, took the "monkey off his back" and threw it to the ice in jackhammer fashion.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins snapped their two-game losing streak Thursday night, and a stretch of four losses in five games, with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
They didn't necessarily have their strongest start, in which Head Coach Claude Julien was looking for their "identity" right from the drop of the puck.
But as the 60 minutes progressed, they began to find it.
"We didn’t say much during the game as coaches because you have to let these guys work their way out of it," said Julien following the win. "And I think whether we yell or keep correcting them, I don’t think it’s going to help them get out of it."
"Sometimes you have to work yourselves out of it and I thought that kind of happened a little bit tonight."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are well aware that they have lost four of their past five games.
And I'm not just referring to the simple fact, that they now sit 8-5-1 on the season after the recent skid. You feel it around the group, and you hear it in their words.
They're tired of the end result being not in their favor; their tired of talking about it.
"We’re not playing the way we should and we know that. We all know it," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said preagme on Thursday morning, before the B's host the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
"We know that we’re certainly not making good decisions out there, we’re not getting the results we want. You have to work through it and find your game."
The B's were in the midst of five-on-five battling drills at one end of the ice. Eriksson was joined by Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Caron for the shift, which consisted of constant forechecking and pressure along the boards.
Just when it looked as if the puck would be cleared out of the zone, the trio didn't give up. It ended with Bergeron keeping it in the zone and the burying it from the slot. Stick taps broke out from the group.
It gave a glimpse at the compete level the Bruins are currently looking for consistently in their game. Right now, they've picked up just three points in their past five games, with their only win coming in the shootout over Anaheim.
When the team isn't getting the results, there's often a need to try and pinpoint specific reasons or players going through "slumps." Do line changes need to happen? What will spark the group? Are players coming back from injury like Eriksson, Carl Soderberg and Gregory Campbell at 100 percent?
BOSTON, MA - There's a staple phrase often heard from this Bruins team time and again: "we found a way to win."
But right now, for the Black & Gold, they're searching answers, and ultimately, haven't been able to find a consistent enough effort on the ice to warrant the above words, with the latest downturn coming in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Though they pick up a point in the process, the B's are a team that has lost four of their past five games, with the lone win coming in the shootout over Anaheim.
"I like to think we’re a better team than what we showed tonight," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following the loss.
Boston had been looking for a much stronger start, and got that on Tuesday night, at one point outshooting the Stars 15-1 in the first. But the teams headed to the second knotted at 1-1.
"First 10 minutes were good, and then we got back to some of our old habits," said Julien. "And eventually, when you play that way, you find ways to lose hockey games and that’s what we’re doing right now; we’re finding ways to lose."