Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Claude Julien had just a one word response when questioned why Brad Marchand never got called off the bench for the failed five round shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
The B’s bench boss gave a terse “hindsight” when the subject of his leading goal-scorer came up after the damaging 2-1 shootout loss at TD Garden to a Canes team that will be setting up tee times a week from now.
That’s really not good enough of an explanation for a coach leaving his best bullets in the Black and Gold gun in the form of his 36-goal scorer never factoring into the shootout session. It’s the same frustration with Marchand not being considered for the top power play unit despite his scoring prowess, and finishing with the 7th highest ice time on the power play in the loss to Carolina.
Instead Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Loui Eriksson and Torey Krug failed to score before Carolina rookie D-man Noah Hanifin flipped a backhanded bid under the bar for the game-winning goal.
Watch the game highlights below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins enter the final week of 2015-16 in full chase mode. Detroit and Philadelphia, the two teams they’re pursuing, are 1 point ahead of Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division and for the final wild-card spot, respectively.
Never has 1 point seemed like a gap so great.
On March 14, the Bruins were in first place in the Atlantic Division with 86 points. They were 10 points clear of Philadelphia, the ninth-place team in the Eastern Conference, and 7 points ahead of the Red Wings. Since then, the Bruins have gone 2-7-0, while the Wings have gone 6-4-0 and the Flyers 7-3-1.
Call it a choke, gag job, or anything else that qualifies as such. In reality, their nine-game stumble is a mirror. The results reflect who they are: an unexceptional, top-heavy mishmash of players.
Their talent level puts them at risk for tumbles like the one they’re currently riding. It’s just that it’s happening at the wrong time.
from Caryn Switaj of BostonBruins.com,
The Bruins still control their playoff situation, with just three games left in the regular season.
That’s the focus now for the Black & Gold, who were heading home after a 6-4 loss in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.
“Win our last three games, and we’re in the playoffs,” Torey Krug said postgame from the United Center. “We know that. We know what’s at stake. You’ve got to take them one game at a time.”
“I think last year, we got caught up looking a little bit too far ahead of ourselves, but it’s a different story this year. We’re going to take it one game at a time, learn from everything that’s happened so far.”
The Bruins will next host the Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If they win all three, no matter what Detroit does in its other two games, they’re through to the postseason.
The Red Wings sit one point above them in the standings (91 to the Bruins’ 90). They host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night in an 8:00 p.m. matchup, before playing in Boston the next night, and then finishing the season in New York against the Rangers on Saturday.
For the Black & Gold, it still comes down to taking care of their own business.
Watch the game highlights below...
from Travis Yost of TSN,
You can start to see why Philadelphia’s racking up the points of late. It’s a combination of definitively improved play (their shot and scoring-chance differentials have both increased of late), and a drastic reduction in penalty kill goals against. Combine that with a little bit of shooting luck of late and you have the right ingredients for a team racking up points and pushing toward the postseason.
On the other hand, Detroit is pretty much in the same boat as their year-to-date numbers – the team is skating really well and really competitively at even strength, but at least recently, goaltending has submarined most of their efforts. And as for Boston, well, they’ve cooled off at the wrong time. Their goal rates are right near break-even, mostly by way of strong goaltending. As a team, they’re not really skating as strongly as they were in the first part of the year.
All this to say: I don’t know if any team is specifically more deserving than another, but there’s real truth to the following things: the Flyers are playing well enough to be worthy of an eight seed, the Red Wings might miss the cut despite actually playing reasonably well down the stretch, and the Bruins have no one to blame but themselves if they end up missing the cut. For a team with playoff-or-bust expectations, Boston just hasn’t been good enough to hold off the rest of the pack, and it’s put them in the very real position of missing the postseason in 2015-16.
more including two graphs to explain the point...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins overwhelmed the Devils for most of the game. They recorded a 40-15 advantage in shots. They led in attempts, 64-29. The Bruins had a handful of odd-man rushes in the first period.
But at this point of the season, it really doesn’t matter. They will be judged on winning games, which requires scoring goals and preventing opposing power-play strikes from going in. Against the down-and-out Devils, the Bruins failed in both categories.
“Disappointing, frustrating, whatever word you want to use,” said coach Claude Julien. “We could have put that game away in the first period with the outnumbered situations we had. I think we had three two-on-ones, a breakaway, a power play. Nothing to show for it.
“You can look at it whichever way you want. You’ve got to look at yourselves and blame yourselves for this loss. You can say you tried. But at this time of year, it’s not good enough. The situation we’re in, we expect better from ourselves.”
The Bruins remain in third place in the Atlantic Division, 1 point ahead of the Red Wings. The Bruins got a gift from their most hated rivals when the Canadiens rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat Detroit, 4-3.
Watch the game highlights below, Devils 2, Bruins 1....
from DJ Bean of WEEI,
While there’s plenty of reason to fear the Bruins missing the playoffs for the second straight season, they still have the two things everyone wants at this time of year: a playoff spot to lose and health. As of Monday, the Bruins sit third in the Eastern Conference with 88 points through 76 games. Realistically speaking, the third spot in the Atlantic is the best they can hope for and it’s the only thing they should desire. Because a Metropolitan team will likely sew up the first wild card, the Bruins would have to play Washington in the first round if they got in via the Eastern Conference’s final spot...
With games (all on the road) against the Devils, Blues and Blackhawks awaiting this week, here’s how the Bruins can right the ship:
Get some secondary scoring...
- Ryan Spooner has two even-strength points over his last 12 games, only one of which came in 5-on-5 play.
- Jimmy Hayes has zero points in his last 14 games.
- Matt Beleskey, who has played between the second and third lines, had just one point (an assist) in his 13 games prior to Saturday’s two-point effort, which included an empty-net goal.
- Brett Connolly, who has been a healthy scratch in three of Boston’s last four games, has only one point (a goal) in his last nine games.
- Landon Ferraro has gone 11 games without a point.
- Though just 13 games into his NHL career, Noel Acciari has one point (an assist).
from Barbara Matson of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins are in third place in the Atlantic Division, only a point ahead of Detroit, which has a game in hand. Seven games remain for Boston.
“You’re going to have to really look at it one game at a time here, and that next game has to be that game,’’ said Julien. “You try and get yourself back on track. We’ve got to make our own breaks.
“Sometimes things are a little tough, but you find ways to get yourself out of it by staying positive, by staying determined. Being willing to do what it takes to win those hockey games.’’...
oth Julien and Chara refuse to brood about whether the current downward spiral mirrors what happened last season, when the Bruins finished out of the playoffs by 3 points.
“We’re really focusing on what’s happening now, this season,’’ said Chara. “I know it’s easy to point to similarities to what happened last season.
“I think we knew all along it was going to be a very tight race. It’s never easy to make the playoffs. I think this team is good enough to make the playoffs. I think we will make the playoffs. It’s going to be a fight to the end.
“We have seven games left and every point is going to be a big point. A lot of teams are in a similar situation. We’ve just got to focus on us and how we’re going to play.’’
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The goal would have tied the game at 2-2 in the third period, and would have been a major development for a B’s team struggling for offense. Instead, the NHL ruled the video was “inconclusive” as to whether the puck crossed over the goal line, and so the “no-goal” call was upheld by league officials. It was a ridiculous blown call by the NHL in the third period of a game with major playoff implications for both teams, and an embarrassment given the technology and tools that the hockey ops people have at their disposal in Toronto.
There were major reactions of stunned outrage from the Bruins huddled around the home bench, and disgruntled TD Garden fans started raining debris, and boos, down on the ice.
Claude Julien was beside himself postgame while discussing the blown video replay after feeling like there were already some questionable calls in the Rangers loss just 24 hours earlier.
“I can’t explain it either,” said an exasperated Julien. “I’m as baffled as you are right now, and I looked at it many times here before coming out here. It looks like it’s in. It looks very conclusive. That’s two in two games now. Tonight, obviously, was a very important goal, and, you know, it’s unfortunate. We think we’ve got great technology.
“We’ve got everything going, but people just think we were getting it right [with the replays]. I don’t necessarily agree with that because we’re obviously still not getting it right. I’ve got another coach that texted me [on Thursday], and there was, ‘WTF. How can that not be a goal?’ That’s coming from somebody who’s neutral.”
Watch the play below...
Went to Toronto for a better look, still not a goal.
Additional replay is below...
from Fluto Shninzawa of the Boston Globe,
After Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rangers, Claude Julien did not have a beef about a first-period Lee Stempniak goal that was denied after a coach’s challenge determined Brad Marchand had gone offside. Julien initially argued when he believed the puck hit the netting before Mats Zuccarello opened the scoring at 8:37 of the first, but ceased his contention once video coordinator J.P. Buckley saw the puck had hit the dasher on top of the boards.
But the Bruins coach did not care for a phantom holding call on David Krejci — it was unclear whether Trevor Hanson or Steve Kozari blew the whistle — that led to the Rangers’ second power-play goal, a Derek Stepan strike at 11:39 of the first.
“That was a crappy, [expletive] call,” said Julien. “He knows why he made that call. Really disappointed. But we fought back. We had a goal there they decided to call no goal, and it was inconclusive. We got the wrong end there as well. But at the same time, I don’t think we played well enough to win. We seemed out of synch tonight. Those tape-to-tape passes were far and few in between. We needed to be better. That was the disappointing part of our game tonight, a game we really needed to win.”
Krejci was just as mystified about going to the box.
“I think that was a weak call,” Krejci said. “That happens all the time. The guy didn’t even have the puck. I just touched him. I can’t believe he called that. I just can’t believe it.”
Catch the game highlights below...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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