On paper, the Boston Bruins’ offense was supposed to be anemic against the Detroit Red Wings, especially with Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic on the shelf. That wasn’t the case on Monday night; Boston instead dominated Detroit 5-2.
As CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out, the Bruins scored three goals in the first period to take a 3-1 lead against Detroit while firing a season-high 19 shots on goal in one period.
The overall effort seems especially high in the early stages:
Here’s video of the goals from the opening frame:
Detroit got back into it at times, yet Boston played a masterful game overall. The Bruins generated a season-high 45 shots on goal overall while limiting the Red Wings to 30 of their own.
Loui Eriksson continued his strong play of late with two assists. Carl Soderberg topped all point producers with a goal and two assists. Brad Marchand didn’t score a point, but he caused problems pretty regularly without his partner-in-crime Bergeron.
The Bruins have a long way to go to resemble the team many expected to top the Eastern Conference – or at least their division – but they at least looked hungry again tonight.
The Boston Bruins will ice a pretty makeshift lineup on Monday evening against Detroit.
With Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic unavailable due to undisclosed injuries, the B’s are rolling with a top line of Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Reilly Smith and a second unit of Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
Gregory Campbell will center the third line between Daniel Paille and recently-recalled Jordan Caron. Matt Fraser, placed on waivers over the weekend, will skate with Craig Cunningham and Seth Griffith on the bottom line.
It’s all part of what’s becoming a December to forget in Boston.
The B’s are 4-6-2 this month and have just two wins in regulation — a 5-2 decision over the Coyotes on Dec. 6 and a 5-3 win over Nashville on the 23rd. They’re also coming off one of their worst defeats of the season, a 6-2 drubbing in Columbus marking the first time they’d lost to the Blue Jackets in four years.
Updated: Well, you can scratch Fraser from the mix as he’s been claimed off waivers by Edmonton. Sounds like Matt Lindblad is on his way up from AHL Providence to fill the void.
Related: NHL on NBCSN: Nyquist looks to remain hot against the Bruins
Scoring has been a struggle for the Boston Bruins, and it may only get tougher on Monday if Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic are unable to play against the Detroit Red Wings.
While head coach Claude Julien isn’t being particularly forthcoming about what, exactly, is ailing either forward, he did describe each of them as day-to-day, as CSNNE.com reports.
Here’s what the Bruins’ forward lines looked like in practice without Bergeron and Lucic:
Matt Fraser was waived later on Sunday, so that could throw things further out of whack. Either way, the pickings would be pretty slim if Bergeron and Lucic cannot go; Boston would have to hope that Loui Eriksson really is rebounding, among other things.
While there are certain factors that seemingly point to a talent deficit, Julien thinks the Bruins’ tough times are a matter of desire and widespread underachievement.
“We just need to be better, collectively and individually,” Julien said. “There’s too much under-performing from our group right now. There’s everybody to blame from the goaltending, out to the defense and to the forwards. There is lots of blame to go around, so it’s important for us as a group to be better, and for us as individuals to be better.”
Having two rather important individuals out of the lineup certainly wouldn’t help matters.
San Jose enforcer John Scott has been suspended four games for punching Anaheim forward Tim Jackman on Monday night, the league announced.
“While we accept Scott’s assertion that he was merely trying to shake off Jackman — and although Jackman’s shove initiates the exchange — it is such a common maneuver executed with so little force that Scott’s response is neither predictable, nor acceptable,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “Similarly, though Scott’s response is more of a flailing reaction than a premeditated or forceful swing, it is illegal and he is responsible for the damage it does.”
Here’s the video:
Jackman, who was knocked out on the play and required medical attention, didn’t return to the game and remains injured. The Department of Player Safety also notes that Scott’s history as a repeat offender was taken into consideration; he was suspended seven games last year for a headshot on Boston’s Loui Eriksson, and two games earlier this season for coming off the bench to fight Jackman (during a Ducks-Sharks game on Oct. 26).
Scott will miss San Jose’s upcoming games against Los Angeles, Vancouver, Anaheim and St. Louis, eligible to return on Monday, Jan. 5 when the Sharks play in Winnipeg. He will also forfeit $34,146.36 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson probably has the right attitude about the inevitable Tyler Seguin comparisons: he told CSNNE.com that there’s not much he can do about the rising star’s work in Dallas.
The key, then, is just to play as well as he can. So far, that really hasn’t worked out so well in Boston, but that might be changing.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien seems to notice a difference lately.
“Like all players in this league when they get on a roll, they feel good about themselves,” Julien said. “To me, he’s showing the kind of player we’ve always thought he was. He’s scoring some goals, he’s making some plays and he’s killing penalties. He’s a guy that you can use in all kinds of situations, so right now I think we’re seeing some of his best hockey.”
The 29-year-old’s really been finding his scoring touch lately.
Eriksson scored two goals in Boston’s crucial win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He has four goals and two assists for six points in his last four contests.
While his possession stats were subtly good last season, they remain respectable enough so far in 2014-15, so there’s reason to believe that he can be the two-way player Boston was expecting when they made that pivotal trade.
Will he ever be able to silence those who can only compare him to the superstar the Bruins parted with? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that the Swede can’t help Boston win games. It seems like he’s finally making that evident in recent games.