Bruins defeat Devils for 3,000th franchise win

3 Comments

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The Boston Bruins had everything they needed to get back on track – a road game against the banged-up New Jersey Devils, a team they have owned lately.

Rookie Frank Vatrano scored early, Jonas Gustavsson made 19 saves and the Bruins continued to play well away from home, beating the Devils 4-1 on Friday night for the 3,000th win in franchise history.

“It’s always special when you look at 3,000,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It means that that team has been around for a while. I have always been proud of being part of an original six team. This team has done a lot of things in the past and we hope we can follow it up in the future.”

Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller also scored as the Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the second time in seven games.

The game was the start of a five-game road trip, and that might be the best place for the Bruins. They are now 12-3-2 on the road and 9-11-2 at home. Boston also has won its last five against New Jersey and 17 of 20.

None of the Bruins could explain the disparity in records.

“Maybe we keep it a little more simple on the road,” Gustavsson said after beating the Devils for the second time this season.

Bobby Farnham scored for the Devils, who have dropped three straight games in regulation for the first time since the start of the season. Cory Schneider finished with 27 saves.

“We’re definitely fighting it a little bit,” Schneider said. “I can do more.”

Vatrano jump-started this trip, scoring 2:02 into the game. Miller took a shot from the right point that Schneider stopped. The puck, however, lay in the crease and Vatrano collected it and scored his sixth goal, his first since a hat trick against Pittsburgh on Dec. 18.

“Obviously we talked about starting on a good foot with a big road trip coming up,” Vatrano said. “We couldn’t look past this game. I wouldn’t say we were struggling but we just weren’t getting in the win column of late. It was good to start off the game with a goal and get us started.”

Spooner stretched the lead to 2-0 almost five minutes into the second period. He wristed a shot from the blue line that Schneider seemingly did not see with Matt Beleskey screening him.

Farnham cut the margin to 2-1 at 11:57 of the second period with a shot from the right circle that Gustavsson simply missed. New Jersey’s Jordin Tootoo nearly tied the game minutes later but his shot hit off the post shortly after a Bruins penalty ended.

Boston restored the two-goal lead late in the second period with their league-leading power play and Miller iced it early in the third.

Hayes got his ninth of the season with 1:25 left in the period with period, tipping a shot by Zdeno Chara.

Miller tallied his third at 6:33 of final period, beating Schneider with a slapshot.

With leading scorer Mike Cammalleri missing his fourth straight game with an upper body injury and defensemen John Moore and David Schlemko also out, the Devils called up three players from Albany on Friday. Forward Paul Thompson, 27, made his NHL debut and defensemen Jim O’Brien and Marc-Andre Gragnani played in the league for the first time since 2013.

“I’d say this is the first time where we had a little bit of a challenge, where there wasn’t a character response,” said Devils coach John Hynes, who was disappointed with his team’s mental toughness.

Forward David Pastrnak played in his first game for the Bruins since sustaining a foot injury on Oct. 31.

NOTES: New Jersey starts a four-game road trip in Minnesota on Sunday. …. The Bruins are in Ottawa Saturday. … Boston D Adam McQuaid (upper body) missed his first game this season. … Boston forward Brad Marchand served the third and final game of a suspension for a hit in a game against Ottawa last week. …Devils F Jiri Tlusty left the game with an undisclosed injury.

Bruins place McQuaid on IR, recall Pastrnak

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Adam McQuaid #54 of the Boston Bruins lays injured on the ice after being checked into the boards head first during the second period against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden on January 5, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty
13 Comments

The Boston Bruins have placed defenseman Adam McQuaid on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. With McQuaid’s roster spot, they’ve recalled forward David Pastrnak from AHL Providence.

McQuaid was hurt on a hit that earned Washington’s Zach Sill a two-game suspension. The Bruins didn’t say how long McQuaid would be out, but it’s a significant loss for whatever length of time. The 29-year-old provides size, strength and experience on the back end. He’s been averaging almost 18 minutes of ice time.

As for Pastrnak, he was originally assigned to the AHL after returning from the World Juniors. Click here for more on that. The 19-year-old winger will be at practice this morning, quite likely in a top-six role. (Brad Marchand still has one game left on his suspension.)

The Bruins play in New Jersey tomorrow. That’s the first of a five-game road trip for Boston.

Capitals defeat Bruins to regain top spot in NHL standings

5 Comments

BOSTON (AP) Washington’s lone losing streak of the season didn’t last long.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist and the Capitals took over the top record in the NHL with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

Washington scored the first two goals and Braden Holtby stopped a dozen shots in the third period as the Bruins attempted to rally.

“We came out better right away,” said Marcus Johansson, whose goal in the third period was the difference. “When we get the lead and play the way we can then I think we are really really tough to beat and get something going on.”

The Capitals were coming off a 5-4 shootout loss in Columbus on Saturday, two nights after a 4-2 loss at Carolina. It was the first time the Capitals lost back-to-back games this season, although they still got a point in the shootout loss.

“We talk about the loss in the second game,” Kuznetsov said. “No way we are going to lose today.”

Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals, who entered the game trailing Dallas by a point for the NHL lead. The Stars’ 6-2 loss to the Rangers in New York on Tuesday gave Washington the opportunity to climb on top and the Capitals took advantage despite a quiet night from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin had just two shots and remained at 496 career goals. Ovechkin’s next milestone will come soon enough for the Capitals, who at 29-7-3 continued their roll through the regular season with their fourth straight win over Boston.

“It’s a good spot to be because they challenge you every night,” said Holtby, who finished with 25 saves. “I mean we have been in the position where we have played those top teams during the regular season and you always get up a little bit more for it because you want to test yourself and I think that’s good for us.”

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and assist and Loui Eriksson also scored for Boston.

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, who remained one win shy of their 3,000th regular-season victory in franchise history. Boston has lost two straight and five of six.

“We have to find ways to generate more goals and more chances. I thought it was a much better effort but still not good enough,” Bergeron said. “The standings are way too tight to let games like that slip by.”

Boston outshot Washington 13-6 in the third period and pulled Rask at the end for an extra skater, but Bergeron’s goal in the third was the only shot to get past Holtby in the period.

“It was a weird game,” Rask said. “It looked like there were some moments where we had a lot of emotion but then at times it was kind of just not a whole lot going on out there.”

Kuznetsov assisted when Burakovsky scored with 4:59 left in the first period to put Washington up 1-0. with an assist from Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov gave Washington a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal with 7:20 left in the second.

Bergeron and Brett Connolly assisted when Eriksson scored Boston’s first goal and cut Washington’s lead to 2-1 with 4:34 left in the second period.

Bergeron’s shot with 8:08 remaining deflected off the stick of Justin Williams and beat Holtby to pull Boston within 3-2.

The Capitals had taken a 3-1 lead 1:11 earlier in the third period when Johansson poked in a rebound off a slap shot by Dmitry Orlov.

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was injured when he was checked headfirst into the glass by Zach Sill early in the second period. McQuaid was facing the boards when Sill arrived and the hit drove McQuaid’s forehead into the glass. McQuaid stayed down for several minutes and was helped to the locker room.

McQuaid did not return and Boston coach Claude Juliene said didn’t have an update on his condition.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said the hit may have looked bad, but it appeared to be clean.

“That’s just a hockey play. Unfortunately McQuaid got hurt,” Trotz said. “But that’s 100 percent a hockey play and that was absolutely the right call.”

NOTES: Boston fans booed when there was no penalty on Sill after the hit on McQuaid. … Boston LW Brad Marchand served the third of his three-game suspension for a hit last week against Ottawa. … Holtby went 9-0-1 in December.

Bruins assign Pastrnak to AHL

New Jersey Devils v Boston Bruins
Getty
7 Comments

David Pastrnak has been assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins after representing the Czech Republic in the World Juniors.

Pastrnak had a goal and three assists in four games for the Czechs. The 19-year-old forward did suffer a finger injury in the tournament, but it was not believed to be a “serious thing.”

Many expected Pastrnak to come back from Finland and immediately suit up for the NHL’s Bruins. In fact, that was the original plan. Boston is currently without forwards David Krejci (injured) and Brad Marchand (suspended).

But perhaps Pastrnak is not completely healthy. Or, perhaps the club wants him to play some games in the minors first.

Boston hosts the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Providence doesn’t play until Friday versus Bridgeport.

Related: Joonas Kemppainen a “possibility” versus Caps

Disappointed Bruins ‘played one of our worst games at the worst time’

during the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Getty
10 Comments

FOXBOROUGH — For whatever reason, the Boston Bruins came out flat on one of the biggest stages in hockey.

Claude Julien couldn’t say why, exactly. The Bruins’ head coach didn’t want to use the suspension of Brad Marchand or the absence of injured center David Krejci as an excuse.

Sometimes, a team just doesn’t have it. And the Bruins definitely didn’t Friday, despite the energy they might have gained from almost 70,000 fans in the stands at Gillette Stadium. The B’s deservedly lost the Winter Classic, 5-1, to their rivals from Montreal.

“I think we just had a tough night, “Julien said. “The unfortunate part is that I think we played one of our worst games at the worst time.  I think it just seemed like it was one of those nights we couldn’t get anything going the first period. They were all over us. And it just didn’t matter what we tried to do here we just couldn’t get it going.”

The Bruins were outshot, 14-3, in the first period. They only gave up one goal, but their opponents were emboldened.

“I think that first period was one of our best periods of hockey this year,” said Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was equally flummoxed when asked why his team didn’t seem mentally prepared from the outset.

“I don’t know. Tough to say,” Rask said. “But when things go wrong you have to stick with the game plan and play your system and we didn’t do that. So then it just snowballs and it becomes 5-1.”

The Bruins have now lost four of their last five. They host one of the NHL’s best teams, the Washington Capitals, on Tuesday. Then they have to hit the road for five games in eight days.

“It’s disappointing tonight on a big stage like the Winter Classic to not show up like that,” said forward Patrice Bergeron. “But at the same time, you have to put it behind you and move forward. We’re playing some big teams coming up and it’s huge points for us.”

“Things aren’t going to get any easier right now,” added Julien. “I don’t know if we anticipate having anybody back for the next game yet or not. So we have to move on with what we have.”