BostonBruins.com - It was what the Bruins needed.
After dropping their first two games of the road trip through California the had been labeled on more than one occasion as a "challenge," the Black & Gold pulled out a gutsy effort, shutting out the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Saturday night.
"That was Bruins hockey," said Tuukka Rask, following his fifth shutout of the season. "That's how we get points in this league. Sometimes we slip from it, but [this game] was a great example of how we need to play in order to get points."
"Tuukka made the big saves when we needed him and so he was back to being himself as well, but again, he plays well when everybody else plays well in front of him," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "It was a team win, from the back end to the front end."
One goal was the difference maker, in a game that was scoreless until 12:25 into the third period, when Carl Soderberg put home his sixth of the season after Loui Eriksson's shot deflected to the winger who made sure to be around the net.
Eriksson was making his return to the Bruins' lineup, having missed 15 games while recovering from his concussion. Shawn Thornton was also back in the lineup, returning from his suspension.
Patience has been the focus with Eriksson, and he and the team worked steadily to get him back to 100 percent following his second concussion this season over a month ago on December 7. He's been skating with the team for the past 12 days, and taking contact since Wednesday.
"He says he's ready to go so he'll be in our lineup tonight," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's morning skate at the SAP Center.
"It's been a long time, it feels like," Eriksson said after the skate, with a sigh. "So it's going to be nice to be back."
"My head is feeling good, and my body, I've been having a lot of practicing the past week here, and I've been skating and feeling good, so I'm ready to get going."
BostonBruins.com - For the second straight game, the Bruins found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
But unlike in Anaheim, when the Bruins came out with a dominant start and found a sustained effort, they never found their spark agains the Kings on Thursday night, falling 4-2 at STAPLES Center.
"It took us a period and a half to get going," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame, making the quick differentiation between the two efforts.
"Certainly not the same scenario from start to finish, and, again, puck management, missed assignments, those kinds of things are going to end up costing you, and we're getting exposed in those areas right now where we've got to get better."
The Bruins were outshot 13-5 in the first period, but the Kings were only up 1-0, with Jeff Carter taking advantage of a turnover.
The Spoked-B needed to come out with fire in the second, and that didn't happen. LA made use of a power-play opportunity, just 44 seconds in. A minute later, a Kings' faceoff win led to a quick-fire goal for the 3-0 lead.
BostonBruins.com - Milan Lucic should be back in the lineup on Thursday night, as the Bruins face the LA Kings, looking to earn their first win of the three-game road swing through California.
The winger missed Tuesday's game in Anaheim due to illness. It was the first time he was sidelined all season.
"Probably food poisoning and hit him at the wrong time, and feeling much better, so we anticipate him being good to do," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice in Southern California on Wednesday.
"So hopefully it's just a 24-hour thing and I'll be recovered and ready to go," Lucic said, after taking part in the team's skate.
The Bruins made due without Lucic in Anaheim, with Carl Soderberg slotting onto the top line, and the team rolling out 11 forwards and seven defenseman. They pulled out a dominant five-on-five performance against the top team in the league, but lost the special teams battle in the 5-2 defeat.
While they managed it well, there's no doubt a healthy Lucic will add a boost Thursday night in LA.
EL SEGUNDO, CA - It's been a steady, patient process for Loui Eriksson, coming back from his second concussion sustained on December 7, but the Bruins winger has been cleared for contact.
"He's feeling good, he's been cleared for contact, now it's just a matter of time of him working through that and getting himself back in the lineup," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice at Toyota Sports Center outside Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.
Eriksson hit the ice in a gray jersey, shedding the green no-contact jersey. It marked eight days since he first started skating with the team on December 31.
It's now been a month since he suffered his second concussion in 45 days. He first came back on October 23. He missed just under two weeks out of the lineup then. This time, he's missed 14 games out of the lineup, and won't be ready to return to game action just yet.
"I'd say probably doubtful for [Thursday against LA]," said Julien. "It's his first day with contact, and having been through what he's been through, I don't think you want to rush him too much."
ANAHEIM, CA - The Bruins came out the way the wanted to in Anaheim on Tuesday night, the way they needed to. It was the type of effort that showed they could be the team to stop the Ducks' home streak and hand them their first loss in regulation at the Honda Center this season.
Despite the start, outshooting Anaheim 16-3 in the first period, and the comeback, falling down 3-0 before pulling within one in the third period, Boston's bid came up short.
The end result was a 5-2 loss to start their three-game California road trip.
"Yeah, I thought we played a great game. When you look at the scoreboard, it's 5-2 - you wouldn't think so," said Tuukka Rask, who only faced 20 shots on the night, with the Bruins owning a 32-20 advantage.
"But they didn't get a lot of chances and when they got them, they somehow put the puck in the net."
"Look at the first period, we totally outshot them, outchanced them, and then we continued in the second, we took a couple penalties that ended up costing us, then we got that goal late and still battled."
ANAHEIM, CA - The Bruins face the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at Honda Center at 10 p.m. ET, with Boston looking to start off their three-game road trip on a winning note, while hopefully putting a dagger in the Ducks' 17-0-2 home record.
"It's a big challenge for us; we obviously have to focus on Anaheim first - we've got to go out there and play a real solid road game and take it a period at a time," said Alternate Captain Patrice Bergeron.
"They seem to have the same pack mentality that we do, when it comes to playing hard and supporting each other," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, of the Ducks, who owned the top spot with Chicago in the Western Conference entering Tuesday night.
"So there's no doubt that's one of the reasons they're doing so well."
Anaheim has certainly established a comfortable, confident identity at home - and every opponent coming into their building knows it.
"Obviously we know what's going on with this team at home, so we're going to go out there and do our best and try to get a win, and get a win in regulation," said Alternate Captain David Krejci.
ANAHEIM, CA - On Monday, the Czech Republic's Olympic hockey squad was announced in Prague, with Bruins center David Krejci getting the official nod to suit up for his native country in his second straight Olympics.
Krejci made his first appearance in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and will be heading to Sochi, Russia with that experience in tow.
"I actually knew it before, the coach called me and told me he wanted me to be on the team, so I kind of knew it before, but nothing was official until today, so obviously my friends and family start texting me," Krejci said following the Bruins' practice at Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday.
"So it's pretty cool and it's an honor to play for my country."
Krejci is no stranger to the international stage, having played in the World Juniors, World Under-18 Championship and World Championship, before getting his first Olympic nod as a 23-year-old.
In 2010, the centerman finished the tournament with two goals, an assist and a plus-2 rating. He was at the top of his game, playing with confidence.
BostonBruins.com - There was a mantra repeated in the Bruins' locker room on Saturday, following their 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
"Six" was the number of choice, representing the combined number of regulation losses at home for Boston's next three opponents - the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.
|Tuukka Rask's equipment bag & the Bruins' gear being loaded onto the plane before the team jetted off to California.
That was before Monday morning came around, and that number still stuck on January 6, as the Bruins jetted off on a day's worth of travel to the West Coast.
On Sunday, Corey Perry scored with just 0.6 left in overtime to lift Anaheim to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks that gave them their seventh straight win at Honda Center. At 17-0-2, the Ducks have picked up 36 points at home so far this season, and the Bruins will aim to thwart that on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Kings (Boston's opponent on Thursday) started a five-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Canucks on Saturday, snapping a four-game losing streak, and putting them at 14-5-2 on the season in STAPLES Center. They also have goaltender Jonathan Quick back, after he missed 24 games with a groin strain.
BostonBruins.com - On Monday morning, the Bruins recalled forward Justin Florek on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins. He joined the team on their trip out West, which begins with a tilt against the Ducks in Anaheim on Tuesday night.
Florek is fresh off his NHL debut on Saturday, in the Bruins' 4-1 win over Winnipeg at TD Garden.
The winger filled in alongside Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, with Jordan Caron sidelined by a stiff back. He logged 10:14 in ice time, including time on the penalty kill, while recording two hits and a shot on goal.
His net-front presence helped provide the screen on Torey Krug's game-winner. That same 6-foot-4, 199-pound presence nearly earned him his first NHL goal.
"That’s a huge part of my game, you know, big body, so getting in front is really important," Florek said following the debut. "You don’t always get the glory, but a goal is a goal and helping out the team. It’s awesome being out there and trying to contribute."