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."
BostonBruins.com - Since the July 4 seven-player blockbuster trade with Dallas, the inevitable would happen, with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley making their returns to Boston, as they are Tuesday night at TD Garden.
While the trade can be dissected any which way, the fact remains: Seguin and Peverley are now Dallas Stars, and the Bruins have integrated former Stars Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith easily into their lineup.
But for Seguin and Peverley, there will always be an attachment to Boston.
That's what helping win the city its first Stanley Cup in 39 years does to you.
"It’s a good test for us with Tyler and Rich coming back; it’ll be an emotional game for some guys in our dressing room and theirs," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk, prior to the matchup.
"We have a lot of memories together and we’re friends off the ice but when you get on the ice, you want to do your job and you can’t let up on anything."
BOSTON, MA - Loui Eriksson will be in the Bruins lineup tonight at TD Garden when he faces his former team, the Dallas Stars. It marks his first game back since suffering a concussion on the illegal hit to the head by John Scott in Buffalo on October 23.
Eriksson missed five games as a result. He's had a steady recovery, with no setbacks, after a couple of tough days immediately after the hit. On Monday, he passed the final testing that deems him cleared to play.
On the back end, the Bruins will likely see Johnny Boychuck return to game action. He stayed back in Boston when the B's traveled to Long Island to play the Islanders on Saturday night.
He's been recovering from what he labeled "back issues" after awkwardly crashing into the boards in the second period against Anaheim at TD Garden on October 31 (he left the game and did not return). When he had gotten up after the crash, there was a pain down his back, causing him to not put any pressure on his right foot.
BOSTON, MA - Loui Eriksson joined the Bruins on the ice again Monday morning, as he continues to make his way back from a concussion sustained nearly two weeks ago on October 23 in Buffalo.
If the starts align, and Eriksson becomes officially cleared for contact and game action, he could be facing his former team on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
After the seven-player trade between Boston and Dallas, this game will mark the first meeting of the new-look teams, with Eriksson and Reilly Smith facing off against their former squad, and Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley back in Boston on the other side.
"I’m more excited to maybe have the opportunity to see Loui back in our lineup," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following Monday's skate, when asked about Seguin coming back to town.
"That’s more where my thought is on tomorrow."
BostonBruins.com - Dougie Hamilton has been a Boston Bruin for barely a year.
Since arriving on January 12, 2013, the defenseman has played in just over 50 NHL games and helped the Black & Gold reach their second Stanley Cup Final in three years after being drafted ninth overall in 2011. The 20-year-old Toronto area native has had to mature quickly, but surrounded by veterans like Zdeno Chara, he has been eager to learn every step of the way.
Now in his second season, the 6-foot-5, 212-pound blueliner has eight goals (and 20 points) through his first 53 NHL games, with half of them coming on the power play, an area where he gets to utilize one of his best assets - his offensive intellect.
He came into the season fresh, after a year that had included a slate of close to 90 games with the Bruins, Ontario Hockey League's Niagara Ice Dogs and Team Canada. He was stronger and quicker, and put more emphasis on his stickhandling and skating.
UNIONDALE, NY - Saturday night on Long Island didn't not go the way the Bruins had planned.
The focus was a strong start, and finding a way to win, no matter what the B's faced from a New York Islanders team on their second leg of a back-to-back.
The result was a 3-1 loss, with the lone goal coming from Dougie Hamilton on the power play, and a locker room full of frustrated Bruins searching for answers.
Head Coach Claude Julien, none too pleased with the effort, pointed to the inconsistency in his team, which dropped to 8-5-0 on the season.
"I don’t know what you want to call it but I call it 'not good enough,'" Julien told reporters postgame from the Nassau Coliseum. "There’s no way in the world you should come in here and play the way you play. We’re not competing hard enough."
UNIONDALE, NY - The Bruins are set to face the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night, looking to improve to 9-4-0 on the season against an Isles team that comes in at 5-5-3.
When the puck drops, the B's will be without Johnny Boychuk on defense.
"Last minute decision on him not bringing him. He was better suited to stay back home and get some treatment there," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the team's pregame skate.
Boychuk is still day-to-day after crashing into the boards early in the second period against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and could play on Tuesday.
In the meantime, though, and against the Islanders, Matt Bartkowski will get into the lineup, having been a healthy scratch for the past eight games.
"He’s worked hard. He’s a guy – he’s been patient – and I think we all know that probably on any other team he’d be playing on a regular basis and then could basically be a top four," said Julien.
UNIONDALE, NY - When the Bruins traveled to Long Island to face off against the New York Islanders on Saturday night, defenseman Johnny Boychuk did not make the trip.
"Last minute decision on him not bringing him. He was better suited to stay back home and get some treatment there," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the team's pregame skate Saturday morning at the Nassau Coliseum.
The good news is that Boychuk is still "day-to-day."