Rask wonders if Bruins could use a few pregame beers


Hockey players have their pregame rituals. Some, like Nicklas Lidstrom in his playing days, eat the same boring meal. You don’t hear about players enjoying a couple cold ones before a contest, though … at least not publicly.

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask almost seems out of ideas after his team fell flat against the Carolina Hurricanes in a 2-1 shootout loss on Sunday, so he pitched an outside-the-keg idea to CSNNE.com.

“Yeah, maybe mix in a couple of beers before the games. That would make us relax. That might be the final option,” Rask said. “We don’t see a play and don’t make it, then we try to force a play and it’s a turnover where we spend a minute in our own end. That’s how it is. It’s mental…it’s mental. It’s not like the skill is gone.”

The 27-year-old was joking for comic effect (one would assume), but maybe there’s a kernel of truth in the Bruins over-thinking things.

Whatever the explanation was, Rask was confounded by the fact that the Bruins went 17 minutes without a shot on goal.

The Bruins have now lost three straight games, all after regulation. While that means Boston is at least squeezing out standings points, it’s understandable that Rask & Co. are frustrated.

Maybe they need to take a break (and possibly crack open a brew or two)? The Bruins don’t play again until Wednesday, so maybe this is the breather an anxious bunch needs.

Bruins come out flat, lose to Canes in shootout


For the third game in a row, the Boston Bruins have lost in extra time as the Carolina Hurricanes earned a 2-1 shootout win this afternoon. While the margin might have been razor thin, it’s hard for the Bruins to be satisfied with what happened.

“I feel like I’ve spent a little too much time talking about things, and defending myself on things. Enough with the talking, and it’s time to start playing the way I know I can,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic told CSN New England before the start of the contest. Then Boston proceeded to have one of its worst starts in recent memory.

The Bruins didn’t even register a shot on goal until 16:55 minutes into the game and were outshot 14-4 in the first period. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask kept them in the game though and Patrice Bergeron found the back of the net in a comparatively better second period.

The Bruins only managed two shots on goal in the third though and couldn’t figure out their former teammate, goaltender Anton Khudobin, in the shootout. Carolina’s Eric Staal was the only player to score in the skills competition.

With three straight overtime/shootout losses, Boston is now 19-15-6 this season. That puts them one point shy of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the second Wild Card spot. For the Hurricanes, this is their first two-game winning streak since they earned four consecutive victories from Nov. 1-7.

Julien doesn’t think Bruins are getting ‘benefit of the doubt’ from officials


Here’s what we know: the Boston Bruins have received easily the least amount of power-play opportunities so far with 88, 14 less than the Montreal Canadiens’ 102 (and the Habs have a game in hand).

It’s not as if the Bruins are not going to the penalty box themselves, either, as their 117 times shorthanded ranks higher than nine other teams.

Overall, that’s 29 more times killing power plays than receiving one, which isn’t the greatest trend in just 38 games of action.

What we don’t know is why this is happening.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien seemed pretty frustrated with the issue, for one, as he told CSNNE.com on Thursday.

“Welcome to, again, the same questions every game. I think it was a trip [on Marchand], I think it was pretty obvious to everybody,” Julien said. “It’s getting frustrating to say the least. You see a lot of things out there, or even the hook. I gotta look at it again – on Lucic trying to go to the net there in the second period. We’re not getting the benefit of the doubt, that’s for sure.”

Is it a matter of style of play or reputation? That’s unclear, but this disparity doesn’t seem that out of order. The Bruins received the fewest power-play opportunities in 2013-14 (230, nine fewer than the Nashville Predators) and 2012-13 (122, 13 fewer than the Anaheim Ducks), as well.

Those stats were lower on the radar when Boston was in the upper ranks for the East, but with the margin for error being much smaller this season, it’s a more prevalent concern.

It’s tough to say what, exactly, the Bruins can do about this. Sometimes merely “lobbying” officials makes a difference, though.

Pastrnak building on experience with the Bruins at world juniors


David Pastrnak setup three goals Wednesday night at the world junior hockey championship as the Czech Republic defeated Russia 4-1 in a must-win game.

The Bruins’ prospect now has a team-leading seven points (one goal and six assists) heading into Friday’s quarterfinals against Slovakia.

Pastrnak, the 25th overall pick at last June’s draft, appeared in five regular season games with Boston to start the season before being assigned to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. The 18-year-old says his experience in the NHL is helping him even at the international level.

“It helps me a lot,” he said. “I played on the team with stars in the NHL so I picked up a lot of experience. I tried to learn as much as I can. (World juniors) is very different hockey than the NHL, but the experience has helped me a lot and I’m trying to get better every day.”

Entering Wednesday’s game Pastrnak said the team has been feeling pressure from the Czech Republic after being out-scored 10-4 in preliminary round losses to Sweden and Switzerland. The Czechs used overtime to edge the Danes 4-3 prior to Wednesday’s win which secured them a berth in the final four.

“We felt some pressure from back home,” said Pastrnak. “When you get to this situation, you feel you don’t play for yourself, you play for all of your country. All you want is to make your country proud of you. That’s what we said to each other, we have to play as one (unit) and do it for our country.”

A native of Havirov in the Czech Republic, Pastrnak had 10 goals and 27 points in 23 AHL games prior to joining the Under-20 team.

Pastrnak knows what to expect from the Slovaks on Friday.

“They are our neighbours so we have to get ready,” he said. “They beat us in a training game, but that doesn’t matter (now). It’s going to be about one game, the quarterfinals and we have to play our game.

“They’ve got a good power play, they play really simple hockey, but they skate well.”

The winner of the Czech and Slovakia quarterfinal will meet either Canada or Denmark in the semifinals on Sunday.

Video: Kessel lights up the Bruins


Phil Kessel had gone six games without a goal. Then he faced the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Skid snapped.

Kessel, earlier denied on a breakaway and then a penalty shot, gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a two-goal lead in the second period, snapping home a wicked wrist shot on the power play for career point No. 500.

What. A. Shot.

Prior to that, he danced around the towering Zdeno Chara at the Toronto blue line, flew down the wing and set up James van Riemsdyk with a perfect pass for a goal on a two-on-one rush, giving Toronto a 2-1 lead just 31 seconds after Boston had evened the score.

Here’s the video of the van Riemsdyk goal.

The news is not all good for the Leafs. Joffrey Lupul suffered a lower-body injury and will not return, according to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.