CHICAGO, IL - After a day off in Chicago, the Bruins got back to work Saturday with practice at Johnny's Ice House before facing the Blackhawks in Sunday's showdown.
Though, it took a bit of rewinding back to their early playing days, first. The team suited up in full equipment at the United Center, before busing about five minutes down the road to the Hawks' practice facility.
With the snow flurries coming down, it was a unique trek to the rink, but once the Bruins hit the ice, it was business as usual. The nearly hour-long practice ended with sprints upon sprints, as the team looks to build upon their 4-2 win in Dallas on Thursday that kicked off the two-game road trip.
"It's about building some consistency here, and that's what we're looking for game, after game, after game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "And one game is a good step in the right direction but it doesn't define that all of a sudden we're out of it and we're back on track."
Boston was pleased with the all-around performance, but is not blind to the fact that one game does not start a streak.
BostonBruins.com - This one was laced with everything a little bit Bruin.
It wasn't necessarily an overpowering performance. The Stars pushed, and didn't give up a ton. But the Bruins found a way to battle, and fight through, and put together an all-around performance in a 4-2 over the Stars in Dallas on Thursday night.
"Much better compete level," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "I thought our compete level for a road game - first period I thought was a good battle, second period there we got a timely goal and I thought we were a really strong team in the third."
Brad Marchand gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the third, after the Stars' Erik Cole had been the benefactor of a lucky deflection off his stick on the power play. Patrice Bergeron pressured Cole behind the net, causing the takeaway, before Marchand quickly put the puck home.
DALLAS, TX - The Bruins and Stars both opted for optional pregame skates before facing off against each other Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.
For Boston, all forwards and defensemen hit the ice except for heavy minute-logger Zdeno Chara, along with the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. The lineup is expected to look like it did against Toronto, with Dougie Hamilton (concussion) and Chris Kelly (broken right fibula) remaining back in Boston as they team hit the road.
Both teams have gone through tough mid-season stretches. Dallas recently halted a six-game losing streak to earn their first win of 2014, defeating Edmonton 5-2. Meanwhile, the Bruins felt they took a step forward with their stingy 1-0 win over San Jose, before falling to Toronto 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Lack of execution - not effort - has been a barrier for Boston as of late, with breakdowns, missed chances and not as many battles being won.
"Just a better overall commitment to our game. I think that's what we need to find here," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, on what he wants to see from his team when the puck drops in Dallas.
DALLAS, TX - Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara has been given the honor by Slovakia to carry the country's flag for the Olympic Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Chara will be suiting up in his third straight Olympics, and will again be Captain of Team Slovakia as he was in 2010 in Vancouver. While he played in the last three Games, this marks his fourth trip to the Olympics.
The Captain has full support of the Bruins' staff as he heads overseas, even if it means missing a game or two in Black & Gold due to the ceremony taking place on February 7 (the Bruins play on February 6 in St. Louis and then February 8 against Ottawa before the NHL's Olympic break).
"He talked to us about that, came to Peter [Chiarelli] and I and addressed it, and Peter approved it, and certainly with my support," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the team's pregame skate in Dallas, on Thursday (January 16).
"When you look at what Zee has done for this club, I think it's an easy decision to make, because you're carrying your country's flag at the Olympics."
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins hit the ice for a high-tempo practice on Wednesday morning following their 4-3 loss to Toronto, before hitting the road for Dallas and Chicago.
With the defeat, the Tampa Bay Lightning crept up on the Black & Gold to tie them atop the Atlantic Division with 60 points apiece.
"It’s tough to look at the positive. I know that it is important to look at the positives, but at the end of the day, it’s an important game for our team," an always honest Gregory Campbell said following the team's loss to Toronto on Tuesday night.
"It’s important for us to respond in a way that we show some urgency and some desperation because every game, every point, matters at this point and time. So there’s really a lot of areas that we should have been better in."
As the Bruins head to Game No. 47 in Dallas, they're working through a tough mid-season stretch that has seen them drop five of their past eight games. Most recently, they've dropped three of four, including two on the road. Right now, it's about finding intensity in their game.
BOSTON, MA - When the Bruins lead after two periods, they own a 20-2-0 record this season.
Their stretch of three losses in their past four games, not surprisingly, have all come from being down heading to the third period.
Their most recent defeat came on Tuesday night at TD Garden, falling 4-3 to Toronto Maple Leafs.
We've seen opportunistic play from the opponent get the better of the Black & Gold at points throughout the season, and outshooting the Leafs 41-26, the Bruins couldn't tip the "lucky break" scale in their favor.
Trailing 3-2 heading to the third didn't help. When the Leafs made it 4-2 just 1:00 into the final frame, thanks to a James van Riemsdyk fire, it was yet another deficit for the team to climb out of again.
BOSTON, MA - Dougie Hamilton was absent from the ice on Tuesday morning at the Bruins' pregame skate at TD Garden. He had also missed Monday's practice, while being evaluated by team doctors.
"Dougie was diagnosed with a mild concussion so he’ll be out for a little bit," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters Tuesday, following the team's pregame skate before hosting Toronto.
"I don’t anticipate it being too, too long."
Hamilton played in Saturday's 1-0 shutout win over San Jose. He had been back in the lineup for five games after missing 10 games due to his recovery from an MCL sprain. That month-long rehab marked the first injury bout of his career he had to tackle.
Through 33 games in 2013-14, Hamilton has four goals and six assists for 10 points with a plus-9 rating.
The defenseman is the third Bruin to miss time due to a concussion this season.
Daniel Paille left the team's Western Canada trip in Calgary with concussion-like symptoms and ended up being out of the lineup for seven games from December 10-23.
BostonBruins.com - Before the puck drops on Tuesday, January 14 against Toronto, the Bruins will be honoring special friend, Sam Berns, with a moment of silence.
Sam passed away on Friday, at age 17, due to complications from Progeria, a rare genetic condition that produces rapid aging in children.
The Massachusetts native was a longtime Bruins fan, who was as much a part of the Black & Gold as those who wear the Spoked-B.
On November 9, Sam helped host Progeria Awareness Night at TD Garden, dropping the ceremonial puck, serving as Assistant Equipment Manager for the team, and watching their warmups from the team's bench.
To anyone who met the young man, if only for a brief moment, his charisma was infectious.
Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara knew it right away. The pair first met during Zee's first season in Boston, after a game in which he scored.
WILMINGTON, MA - Johnny Boychuk couldn't keep the smile from his face on Monday morning after practice at Ristuccia Arena.
The defenseman had left the team's California road trip in Los Angeles after the game against the Kings to head home. On Monday morning, by the time 3:00 a.m. rolled around, Boychuk was a proud father of twin girls.
"They came this morning, at around 2:30 and 3:00 and then I went to sleep for maybe two hours and came to practice," he smiled.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the team reported to Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning, following their California road trip, there was a welcome sight before they hit the ice for practice.
Chris Kelly, about five weeks into his recovery from a broken right fibula (calf bone) sustained on December 7, was skating on his own, under the guidance of Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides.
"He started last week, mid-week, and just started skating on his own," said Bruins Head Claude Julien. "He's not close to returning here, there's still lots of time for him to continue to heal, so just basically more getting him to stay positive here. It's a frustrating injury that's going to take a while."
Still, it was a great sign to see him skating and smiling, even if he's still a ways away.
"It's one of those injuries you have to be careful with; you don't want to push it too much, because it can set you back," Kelly had said back on January 1, speaking with media for the first time since the injury, which he suffered on a slash during the game against Pittsburgh. "So [the staff has] been really good at doing what's best for me."