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.
BostonBruins.com - On Tuesday morning, Charlie Jacobs was named Chief Executive Officer of Delaware North's Boston Holdings, which includes the Bruins and TD Garden.
Jacobs was named to the position by Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs. It also places him as CEO of the company's strategic real estate endeavors and ownership stake in NESN.
While the crossover has been an ongoing 18-month process, and 14 years in the works since Charlie moved his family from California to Massachusetts, it falls at a time when the Bruins are midway through a season in which they are barely treading water in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and a point out of a playoff position.
Still, the announcement provided an opportunity for the new CEO to give his thoughts on the current state of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins.
"I’d say, without question, this has been a very disappointing year," Jacobs stated in a press conference at TD Garden on Tuesday. "It’s unacceptable the way this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team. To see it deliver the way it has is unacceptable."
"For us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable," he reiterated later in the presser. "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."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Patrice Bergeron was the only Bruin missing from practice on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
"It was a maintenance day," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the skate.
In Bergeron's absence, the lines were switched around a bit. Seth Griffith had originally hit the ice in a white jersey with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and Craig Cunningham in the burgundy jersey with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell. Both Griffith and Cunningham switched into gold jerseys to skate with Brad Marchand in Bergeron's absence.
Smith could be reunited with Bergeron when the center returns, or he could stick with Krejci, as in Sunday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"He had some chances. We had some good chances there on that line and he hit the post there late in the third," Julien said of putting Smith with Lucic and Krejci. "But you make changes when you feel you have to, so I thought that was a change that would maybe work. Again, I thought that line had a few chances, some pretty good chances to score."
The right winger missed an open net, hitting the post off a backdoor feed from Krejci.
BOSTON - The Bruins kick off their seventh set of back-to-back games on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden, before traveling to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
It can't be understated how important it is for the Bruins to start to find a rhythm in their play. Four points in less than 48 hours could quickly put them back in the playoff picture, depending on the play of the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers.
That's the type of scoreboard watching the Bruins would have liked to avoid heading into the 2014-15 season.
But here they sit, 39 games into the season, with a 19-15-4 record and 42 points. Florida has 43 points with two games in hand, New York has 44 points with three games in hand on the Bruins, and Toronto is claiming the first Wild Card spot with 45 points after picking up a 4-3 shootout win over Boston on New Year's Eve.
"Every point right now, we need to capitalize on," Brad Marchand said pregame from TD Garden. "We can’t give up games and points at this point in the season."
"We’re trying to climb back in the standings. Every point’s important, and they will be from here on out, so we have to come prepared for every game and make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to win every game."
BOSTON - Milan Lucic walked up to his stall in the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden on New Year's Eve following a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto.
The winger had just finished his postgame workout, still huffing and puffing, with sweat drenched on his face.
"Well, it wasn't," Lucic began, before graciously cutting off a reporter attempting to ask the first question of his media session.
"I'll start off," he gestured towards the reporters with a smile.
"It wasn't a good 2014," he asserted. "I'm happy it's over. Looking forward to 2015."
"So hopefully we can turn things around. Not much good has happened in 2014 for myself and for the team and just looking forward to 2105 and turning things around, and hopefully it will be better than this year."
The Bruins end the 2014 part of the 2014-15 season with a 19-15-4 record through 28 games.
Before dropping the final game of 2014 to the Leafs in the fifth round of the shootout, the Bruins dominated in overtime and a third period that saw them allow just two shots from Toronto. They outshot the Leafs 9-2 in the third and 4-0 in the extra frame.