BOSTON, MA - After nearly every Bruins game, you'll hear a phrase uttered from the bench boss and his team.
"We played the full 60 minutes."
Thursday night may not have been the prototypical all-around Boston was looking for against first place San Jose at TD Garden, but it was all about the finish.
With the clock winding down, and the game knotted at 1-1, David Krejci fought his way to the slot and tipped a point shot from Adam McQuaid through Antti Niemi with 0.8 seconds left in regulation, after a simple Milan Lucic dump in. 2-1 Bruins.
The win - the B's fourth straight - handed the Sharks their first regulation loss of the season.
"We stuck with it," said Krejci, with his 'business as usual' persona in the locker room postgame. "The last goal was a perfect example of not trying to be too cute. A few seconds left into the game, Looch chips it in to himself, get it back, point shot, a lot of traffic. So we just stuck with our system and got the job done."
BostonBruins.com - Prior to heading into Wednesday night in Buffalo, Head Coach Claude Julien knew his team couldn't look afford to look past the Sabres to the first place San Jose Sharks, ready and waiting in Boston for their matchup with the B's on Thursday night.
"The biggest challenge is probably making sure that we focus on ourselves," Julien had said, prior to the game. "If you start focusing on the other team and their struggles, then you’re not mentally preparing yourself the way you should."
"There’s going to be a tough week – we have three games in four days – and it’s not going to get any easier so we might as well take advantage of the situation that we’re fresh and that we’re ready to go here and make sure that we play a strong game."
"Not only to win this hockey game, but build some momentum going into the next one."
The Bruins did just that, not letting a divisional win get away from them. It marked their third straight victory and improved the club to 6-2-0 on the season.
BUFFALO, NY - About six minutes into the third period of the Bruins 5-2 win in Buffalo, Loui Eriksson was hit by John Scott at center ice. He didn't see it coming, and the winger was slow to get up.
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update following the game that "Loui is staying over night in Buffalo for precautionary reasons. He is expected to return to Boston on Thursday."
The Bruins face the San Jose Sharks at home Thursday night in the second game of their back-to-back.
Boston powered to a 5-2 win, thanks to two goals apiece from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug, along with a score from Dougie Hamilton, that gave them their third straight victory. But the mood postgame wasn't quite that of a win.
Head Coach Claude Julien and the Bruins were mostly concerned with Eriksson's condition.
BUFFALO, NY - With the Bruins set to face off against the Sabres in Buffalo at First Niagara Center Wednesday night, Chad Johnson will be getting his first start of the 2013-14 season between the pipes.
Through Boston's first seven games, Tuukka Rask had played every second in goal amidst their 5-2-0 start. He and San Jose's Antti Niemi have been the only two netminders up until this point in the season to start every contest in nets for their clubs.
The back-to-back, first in Buffalo and then against the Sharks at TD Garden Thursday night, along with a slate of three games in four days (the Bruins host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday) allowed Boston to finally get Johnson into game action.
Chad Johnson was the first goalie off at morning skate, and confirmed afterwards that he would indeed be between the pipes.
WILMINGTON, MA - With a slower month of October, the Bruins are one of only three teams to have played just seven games.
At 5-2-0 on the season, the schedule doesn't necessarily pick up quite yet, but the Bruins are set to face their first back-to-back of the season this week. And it comes against two opponents currently at opposite sides of the spectrum.
The Buffalo Sabres, the B's opponent on the road Wednesday night, currently sit at 1-8-0 on the season, which equates to their worst 10-game start in franchise history. With 13 "goals for," they have scored more than two goals only once this season, coming in a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders, their own W to date.
While the personnel and coaching has had significant turnover since the start to 2012-13, the Sabres did hand the B's their first regulation loss of last season, 7-4, thanks to an always-hot-against-Boston Tomas Vanek and his hat trick.
The message? Don't underestimate them.
"I think our guys understand the situation, so it shouldn’t be [tough to get up for]. If anything you want to build on the last game and to be able to do that you have to play the same way," said Head Coach Claude Julien, following the Bruin's Tuesday morning practice before jetting off for Buffalo.
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins took to the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning to kick off a short break from game action, before their first back-to-back of the season coming up on Wednesday in Buffalo and at home against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
With all B's healthy, everyone hit the ice for the roughly hour and twenty-minute long session, to keep their skating legs fresh with a two-day layoff.
For Head Coach Claude Julien, he continues to have game-by-game decisions to make with the seven rotating defenseman, as well as up front with Carl Soderberg back and 13 healthy forwards at the ready.
Now, with the impending back-to-back, it could also give goaltender Chad Johnson his first start between the pipes in Black & Gold.
“Buffalo might be one of the games we give him,” Julien said following Monday's practice. “We haven’t made that final decision yet but I will put him on notice and give him probably an opportunity. We’re going to have to use him at some point and that might be a good chance for us to use him then.”
Just as easy-going and excited as when he arrived, one of the newer and youngest Bruins now ranks third on the team with five points off a goal and four assists through his first seven games in the spoked-B.
Starting the season off with Chris Kelly as his centerman after making the opening night roster, the versatile, speedy winger has shown Head Coach Claude Julien his long-term top six potential since being moved to Patrice Bergeron's line with former Dallas teammate Loui Eriksson.
The 6'0" 185-pound winger is easily on pace to surpass his nine points he recorded in 37 NHL games with Dallas in 2012-13 off three goals and six assists. He also put up 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 45 games with the AHL's Texas Stars after making the jump from Miami University (Ohio).Now that we've gotten to know his play on the ice, I recently sat down with the Bruins winger in South Florida for an off-ice Q&A. Enjoy….
BostonBruins.com - On Saturday night, in the first period of the Bruins' eventual 5-0 shutout of the Lightning in Tampa Bay to put them at 5-2-0 on the season, Carl Soderberg streaked into the offensive zone.
Powering down the left side, he nearly hit Loui Eriksson at the goal mouth to put the Bruins up 2-0.
It was a routine drive for Soderberg towards the goal. And it showed no rust for the winger in his 2013-14 debut, even after sitting out the first six games of the season with an ankle injury that he sustained in the third period of the final preseason game back on September 27.
"I'm just happy to be back," said the Sweden native, after playing in just the seventh NHL regular season game of his career. "It's really hard to stay out, actually, and now being back again. We played a really great game, probably one of the best this season, and I'm happy about the win."
TAMPA BAY, FL - The Bruins were due for a breakout performance.
It couldn't have come at a better time, earning a 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night in the Sunshine State, going up against a goaltender in Ben Bishop who had won five straight and a Bolts squad that had won five of its last six games.
Tuukka Rask stopped all 23 shots to earn his 17th career shutout, putting him in sole possession of ninth place on the Bruins' all-time list.
"Everyone showed up from the drop of the puck tonight and it obviously shows on the results," Bergeron said from the locker room following the win. "I thought [against] Florida we had a good first period and we scored two goals but we kind of got back on our heels a bit and they came back in the game."
"I think tonight we kept pushing, and, look at the result."
TAMPA BAY, FL - As the Bruins head into a match-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, the rotation of seven defensemen on the Bruins has seen Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton and Adam McQuaid as healthy scratches so far this season.
McQuaid was the scratch on Thursday against the Florida Panthers, with Hamilton getting back into the lineup after a two-game layoff. It was the first game with Hamilton, Bartkowski and Torey Krug all in the lineup together.
"You saw that against the Rangers, those young guys came in and skated well, but yet where we suffer a little bit is defensively," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the B's practice in Tampa on Friday.
"And when you have a guy like Adam McQuaid who is pretty solid defensively, those guys aren’t as good as he is on the defensive side of it. So it’s a situation where you kind of weigh the pros and cons and you make those decisions as you go game by game."
"There’s a good chance [Adam will] be back in the lineup [Saturday night] as well. So he’s a veteran, I know it’s a little tougher for veterans, but we got some good young players and we can’t just go and pull those guys out because you’re going to be pulling the same guys out all the time."
Prior to the season, and amidst the B's first six games, Julien has stressed that choosing which blueliner to sit out does not often comes as a result of play; it's mostly based on "rust" and keeping everyone fresh.
"Certain guys have to sit out yet it has nothing to do with their game more than it has something to do with the numbers," he said. "So we’ve been clear with our players about that."
"As much as they don’t like it, and I don’t blame them for it, it’s just the situations that’s there and you have to move on here and it’s so important that they stay on top of their game and stay focused and when they get a chance to go in, continue to play well."
As we move forward in the season, the decisions will continue for each game.
"It doesn’t get easier and the thing is, probably the biggest challenge for a coach is that you don’t want to have to explain every time something happens," said Julien of the conversations with the healthy scratches.
"I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that we’re moving guys around to keep everybody sharp and I’m not going to tell a guy ‘you’re not playing tonight’ and sit down for 15 minutes to start explaining myself."
"They know what the situation is and that’s what you do. So I think it doesn’t get any easier but you have to think about it every game – what’s the best situation for this game or the next game and you make those decisions."
Julien also has to exercise patience with the rotation, as the trio of Hamilton, Krug and Bartkowski continues to grow into their full-time NHL player roles.
"You’ve got some young D’s in your lineup – you have three of them that are in basically their first full year and we need some better sticks out there and sticks on pucks," said Julien, of improvements to make in the lapse defensive coverage over the past two games, despite the 3-2 win over the Panthers on Thursday.
"Some of those [Florida] scoring chances were coming from maybe a little bit of a combination of both better sticks and some youth there. So the only way we’re going to get better is by letting them play and helping them through those kind of corrections."