Bruins: Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks meet Sunday for the first time since they squared off in the Stanley Cup finals in June. ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers recently chatted about last year's unforgettable series and how the teams have fared this season.

SP: Hey, Joe. Hope all is well in Boston. Certainly hope your winter has been more forgiving than ours in Chicago. Of course, Bruins versus Blackhawks around the corner. It's crazy to think it's already been six-plus months since they met in the Stanley Cup finals. I know we both recently wrote year-in-review stories. For me, going back, watching game videos, looking through those stories and box scores, it just reminded me how incredible that series was from that memorable Game 1 to how Game 6 played out. So many of those games could have gone either way. The series had a bit of everything for everyone.

[+] EnlargeChara
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaAfter a memorable matchup in the Stanley Cup finals last season, the Blackhawks and Bruins are again among the NHL's elite teams.
JM: Scott, my friend. Things are going well here in Boston. Despite the heartbreaking loss to the Blackhawks last June, fans around these parts enjoyed a World Series victory by the Red Sox, so that helped ease the pain a bit. I can't believe it's already been six months since that exciting series between Chicago and Boston. You're right, it could have gone either way. Imagine the intensity if there had been a Game 7. The Blackhawks won the ultimate prize last spring, and deservedly so, but I'm sure the Bruins have had Jan. 19 circled on their calendar. I'm sure it's going to be an exciting game, a nice precursor for the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

SP: Let's not talk about football. Whether the Bears were going to keep their defensive coordinator was the meatiest story here in recent few weeks. Back to the ice, I know one of the major topics leading into this season for the Blackhawks was how they would respond to a short offseason and if there would be the so-called Stanley Cup hangover. It was part of the reason they felt their last Cup defense was rocky. Ultimately, they didn't endure that this season. They have gone through a bit of a rough patch in the last few weeks, but they put themselves in a comfortable position with a positive start. Did the Bruins have to deal with any effects this season from that same long run and short offseason?

JM: For the record: I'm picking the Patriots this weekend. The Bruins certainly dealt with that "hangover" after winning the Cup in 2011. This time around, however, that hasn't been the case. It was a short summer for the Bruins, but they weren't partying as the runner-up. Like the Blackhawks, the Bruins have hit a bit of a lull the last few weeks, but the Bruins are used to such ebbs and flows in their game during recent seasons. The top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla has cooled off a bit, but it won't be long before it gets going again.

SP: OK, I've got you down for the Patriots. The Blackhawks' top line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa seems to be the one constant with the team now. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has toyed with the other lines this past week. Their depth was so key to their success last season and even earlier this year, but they haven't been able to get those four lines rolling as of late. Bryan Bickell, who the Bruins will remember as one of the two 17-second goal scorers, hasn't been able to find that same groove he had in the playoffs last season. He and Michal Handzus, who also had a strong playoff run, are two players the Blackhawks are looking to get more from. For the most part, the Blackhawks do look a lot like they did last season. Their one major addition was Kris Versteeg in a trade earlier this year. How have the Bruins' offseason moves worked for them this season?

[+] Enlarge Jarome Iginla
Jen Fuller/Getty ImagesJarome Iginla has proven to be a good complement on the Bruins' top line.
JM: I was actually happy for both the Blackhawks and Versteeg when that deal was completed to bring him back to Chicago. I covered Versteeg when he played for the Providence Bruins, the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and have always been impressed with him as a person and player. He obviously fits well with the Blackhawks. Speaking of fitting in well, the Bruins' offseason additions of Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla have all made significant contributions this season. Smith has really proved to be a solid player in Boston after some considered him as the throw-in as part of the Eriksson-for-Tyler Seguin trade last summer. Unfortunately, Eriksson has missed a total of 20 games because of a pair of concussions, but he recently returned to the lineup and has been easing his way back on the Bruins' third line, along with Ryan Spooner and Carl Soderberg. Iginla has been a nice complement on the team's top line, along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Iginla's veteran presence both on and off the ice has helped, too. His contributions on the power-play unit have been huge. From a goaltending standpoint, I know how Rask has handled being the player with a huge new contract, how has Crawford dealt with all his new experiences since winning the Cup?

SP: Crawford has had a so-so season. He's been brilliant at times and ordinary in others. He hasn't possessed that same consistency that made him an elite goaltender last season and really a difference-maker in the playoffs. He may have been overworked early in the year, and that dreaded lower-body injury forced him to sit out a month recently. The Blackhawks likely will lean more on rookie goaltender Antti Raanta after the Olympic break and make sure Crawford is fresh for the playoffs. We obviously have a lot of hockey still to be played and two regular-season meetings between these teams, but do you think we could see a Blackhawks-Bruins Cup rematch? The Blues and Ducks seem to be the biggest obstacles in the Blackhawks' way in the Western Conference.

JM: We know how difficult it is to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, or even enjoy another deep run in the playoffs, but both teams have legit chances to return to the finals. In fact, I would love to see it happen, only because of the great hockey we witnessed between these two clubs last spring. What the Ducks have been able to accomplish this season, you'd have to think they would be the favorites out of the Western Conference, but as we all know, anything can happen in the playoffs. As far as the Eastern Conference, it's going to be a fun battle to watch down the stretch and into the playoffs. It wouldn't surprise me if the Penguins and Bruins also have a rematch this spring. Either way, both conferences are setting up nicely for exciting hockey for the fans. Personally, I can't wait for puck drop on Sunday between the Bruins and Blackhawks.

Fitzgerald on Bruins: 'A great honor'

July, 1, 2013
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Ryan Fitzgerald became the second generation of his family drafted into the NHL on Sunday night when he was selected by his hometown Bruins in the fourth round (120th overall).

Following in his father’s footsteps (Tom Fitzgerald was drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round in 1986), the Boston College-bound North Reading native realized a childhood dream, joining the team his father finished his NHL career with in 2006. He also got to share the moment with his dad, who was working the Pittsburgh Penguins’ draft table in his capacity as the team’s assistant general manager.

The family connections don’t stop there. His uncle, Scott, is the Bruins assistant director of amateur scouting, so it truly was a family affair.

Fitzgerald, who skated last year with the Valley Junior Warriors of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, graduated from Malden Catholic and, while skating with the Lancers, was part of back-to-back MIAA Super 8 tournament championship teams in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

We caught up with Fitzgerald Monday morning to get the wrap on his draft night experience:

On waiting to hear his name called: “It’s a long night. I was sitting there with my brother, Casey, and his friend, Andrew Brandano (player at St. John’s Prep). My dad was on pin and needles all night, definitely a little nerve-wracking for him. He stayed on the floor the first round, and then came up to sit with us for the second, third, fourth rounds. When it finally happened, it was a big sigh of relief for him.”

On whether he knew Bruins would be destination: “With my uncle, I’m pretty familiar with organization. It’s a team that I talked to a lot during the process. I thought they might be a team that was interested in me. I met with them at the draft combine and met with a bunch of their local guys. I came out and trained with them one time, so I knew they were interested. My uncle told me they had a close eye on me. It’s really a great honor.”

On the draft day experience: “When you walk into the rink, it’s amazing. You’ve seen it on TV, but it’s completely different in person. It’s just a great atmosphere. You wouldn’t think that it’d be that rowdy at a draft, but the fans show up and they get into it. It’s great.”

On what his brother, Casey (also a BC commit), means to him: “He’s been great. He’s a great brother and he was really supportive through everything. He always is. His draft is coming up soon, so he got to sit back and take it all in. I’ll be there for him when he goes through it, too.”

On which team he was rooting for in Eastern Conference final: “You’re always a Bruins fan, growing up here, but you’re a part of the Pittsburgh family with my dad working for them. But when they played the Bruins, it was a stressful time in the Fitzgerald house. After the Bruins won, it was tough, but we wanted the Bruins to win [the Cup] because of my uncle. We were rooting for the team and for him to win it.”

Game 1 Reaction: Bruins 3, Rangers 2

May, 16, 2013
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BOSTON -- The Bruins won their second consecutive overtime game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, taking a 3-2 decision over the New York Rangers to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Brad Marchand scored 15:40 into the extra frame to get his first of the playoffs and send TD Garden into hysteria for a second straight game.

Torey Krug had tied the game, 2-2, 2:22 into the third period after the Rangers took a 2-1 lead on a Derek Stepan goal 14 seconds into the third. Zdeno Chara also scored for Boston and Ryan McDonagh scored for the Rangers.

Tuukka Rask (33 saves) and Henrik Lundqvist (46 saves) began what should be a great goalies’ duel.

Marchand breaks through at right time -- Maybe Marchand should leave the morning skate with an injury more often. After having to be helped off the ice at the team’s skate Thursday morning, Marchand ended up playing and finally found the twine with his first goal of the playoffs. While he hadn’t scored, Marchand has been playing better and utilizing his speed. That speed played a major role in his overtime goal as he and Bergeron connected for the winner.

Mr. OT comes through again -- Bergeron is starting to build a reputation as an overtime player. After scoring the winner in overtime of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bergeron, along with Chara, jump-started the breakout that led to Marchand’s overtime winner and gave Marchand a beautiful feed.

Chara letting it rip, racking up minutes -- One of the hot topics heading into this series was how the Bruins would get shots through the Rangers, who block shots with the best of them. Well, that’s what Chara’s 108 mph shot is for, right? Chara used that blistering shot to open the scoring 12:23 into the middle frame. Chara let one rip that Lundqvist couldn’t handle and the puck was then inadvertently knocked into the net by a Rangers player in front. Chara now has two goals in the playoffs and even if he doesn’t score with his shot, the more he lets it rip, the better the chances the Bruins will score. Chara also assisted on Marchand’s game winner. In addition to providing offense, Chara once again racked up the minutes on ice with three regulars on the blue line out with injuries. Chara finished with an astonishing 38:02 of ice time.

Blue-line rookie trio gets job done -- Already depending on two rookie defensemen, the Bruins welcomed another rookie rearguard to the blue-line corps to help fill in for veterans Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden. Torey Krug was called up on Tuesday and wasted no time in making his presence felt, tying the game on a power-play goal 2:22 into the third period. It was Krug’s first NHL goal. Meanwhile, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton continued to fill in admirably, with Hamilton picking up a helper on the Krug goal.

Depleted defense gets scare -- The Bruins -- already hurting on the blue line -- got another scare. Johnny Boychuk appeared to suffer an upper-body injury when he was the recipient of a high hit from Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt early in the second period. But Boychuk quickly returned after a trip to the training room.

Seguin and Jagr switch spots again -- Coach Claude Julien had Tyler Seguin back down on a line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley and had Jaromir Jagr riding shotgun with Marchand and Bergeron to start the game. Here’s what the forward lines looked like:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Game 4 Reaction: Bruins 4, Leafs 3 (OT)

May, 8, 2013
5/08/13
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TORONTO -- The Boston Bruins erased an early two-goal deficit and finished with a 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.

The Bruins' David Krejci scored the winning goal at 13:06 of OT to complete a hat trick and give Boston a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Friday night at TD Garden.

Krejci continues to be an offensive force with his three goals, including a power-play tally, while Patrice Bergeron also added a goal on the man-advantage.

The Maple Leafs had goals from Joffrey Lupul, Cody Franson and Clarke MacArthur.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 45 saves, while Toronto netminder James Reimer finished with 41.

After the Maple Leafs held their morning skate to prepare for Game 4, numerous Toronto players were talking about the importance of getting the first goal against the Bruins. Well, the Maple Leafs capitalized at the 2:35 mark of the first period to gain a 1-0 lead. Toronto's Phil Kessel threaded a pass to Lupul out front and he pumped it in for his third goal of the series.

The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs 15-8 in the first period, but in the waning minutes Toronto took a two-goal lead when Franson's easy wrister from the right point beat a screened Rask for a 2-0 advantage.

The Maple Leafs blocked 13 shots in the first period, while Boston blocked two.

The Bruins stormed back in the second period and it didn't take them long to mount the comeback. Only 32 seconds into the period, Bergeron scored a power-play goal to cut Boston's deficit. The Bruins tied the game 2-2 when Krejci scored his first. He crashed the net and knocked home a Brad Marchand shot at 12:59 for his third goal of the series.

He wasn't done.

At 16:39, with the Maple Leafs' Colton Orr in the box for elbowing, Krejci scored a power-play goal to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. His wrist shot from the left faceoff circle beat Reimer to the top left corner.

Boston's lead didn't last for long, however, as MacArthur scored at 17:23 to tie the game 3-3. The Maple Leafs had a 5-on-3 situation for 52 seconds at the end of the second period and to start the third. Boston stifled the attack and killed off the pair of penalties to keep the game tied at three.

The Bruins had a golden opportunity with a four-minute power play early in the third period, but could not capitalize. There was plenty of back-and-forth action in the third and the Bruins created numerous quality scoring chances, but couldn't convert. The Bruins' Nathan Horton had three of those chances.

In overtime, Krejci notched his fifth goal of this series to give the Bruins the win.

SCARY MOMENT: In the closing seconds of the first period, the Bruins were on the power play when forward Milan Lucic was hit in the face by a redirected puck. He dropped to the ice and was bleeding as the buzzer sounded to end the period. He got to his feet and slowly skated off the ice with team trainer Don Del Negro waiting for him at the bench. Lucic returned for the start of the second period and assisted on Bergeron's power-play goal at 32 seconds.

ANOTHER SCARY MOMENT: Nearly to the midway point of the third period, Lucic unloaded a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that hit the Leafs' Mark Fraser in the forehead. The Toronto defenseman dropped to the ice and left a pool of blood. He was able to skate off the ice with the help of a trainer, but did not return.

INJURED: Early in the second period, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk injured what appeared to be his left leg during a scramble in front of Rask. Boychuk skated gingerly to the bench, but came back for his next shift. It didn't last long as he returned to the bench in obvious pain and went to the dressing room. He returned to the ice two minutes later and finished the game.

Bruins forward Chris Kelly also was injured when he took a nasty high stick to the face by the Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri 58 seconds into the third period. Kelly was cut on the play and skated directly to the dressing room and Kadri was handed a double-minor. The Bruins could not capitalize on the four-minute power play. Kelly returned and finished the game.

LINE TWEAK: Coach Claude Julien tweaked his lineup a bit in the second period by flip-flopping Shawn Thornton and Jaromir Jagr. Thornton played on the wing along with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Jagr was lined with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.

SCRATCHES: As expected, Julien kept the same lineup for Game 4. The healthy scratches for Boston were defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Aaron Johnson, along with forwards Kaspars Daugavins, Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo.

UP NEXT: The series continues Friday with Game 5 at TD Garden with the Bruins having an opportunity to end it on home ice.


TORONTO -- The Boston Bruins returned to their winning ways and produced a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Monday night at Air Canada Centre.

It wasn't a dominating performance similar to Game 1, but the Bruins capitalized on the Maple Leafs' mistakes to secure a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Bruins got goals from Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille (short-handed) and David Krejci (empty net). Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask came up big time and again, finishing with 46 saves. For Toronto, Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel scored, while goaltender James Reimer made 34 saves.

The Bruins produced numerous shots from the point in the opening period, and one resulted in the first goal of the game. McQuaid's slap shot from the right point made its way through traffic and beat a screened Reimer to give Boston a 1-0 lead at 13:42 of the period. The tally was McQuaid's first career goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Bruins gained a 2-0 lead on Peverley's goal at 5:57 of the second period. Linemate Jaromir Jagr picked Maple Leafs defenseman Ryan O'Byrne clean of the puck behind the net and fed Peverley in front for the goal.

Boston's two-goal advantage disappeared later in the period.

With the Bruins' Tyler Seguin in the box for a lazy tripping penalty, Toronto capitalized and cut its deficit when Gardiner scored a power-play goal at 13:45.

Fortunately for Seguin and the Bruins, Horton gave Boston another two-goal lead when he scored his third goal of the playoffs less than a minute later for a 3-1 advantage at 14:35.

Boston found itself in the box again, this time for too many men, but Paille did what he does best and provided a short-handed goal at 16:37 of the second period to give the Bruins a 4-1 lead.

It didn't take long for the Maple Leafs to cut the deficit again, as Kessel scored a power-play goal only 47 seconds into the third period. Rask made two big saves in succession but Boston's penalty killers couldn't clear the rebound, and Kessel capitalized. Rask was not happy after the play.

Krejci added an empty-net goal at 18:43.

SAVE OF THE GAME: With the Bruins leading 1-0 early in the second period, the Maple Leafs created a 2-on-1 and produced a quality scoring chance, but Rask made a timely, left-pad save on Joffrey Lupul at the five-minute mark of the period. That save proved crucial, as Boston scored less than a minute later for a 2-0 advantage.

'D' ME UP: With defenseman Andrew Ference back in the lineup after serving his one-game suspension in Game 2, Bruins coach Claude Julien was able to reunite his top defensive pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Ference was paired with Johnny Boychuk, while Wade Redden and McQuaid played together.

SCRATCHES: With Ference back, rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton was a healthy scratch after making his Stanley Cup playoffs debut in Game 2. Also watching from press level for Game 3 were Carl Soderberg, Jay Pandolfo and Aaron Johnson.

UP NEXT: The series continues Wednesday with Game 4 at Air Canada Centre.

B's draft Charlestown's Grzelcyk in 3rd

June, 23, 2012
6/23/12
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[+] EnlargeMatthew Grzelcyk
Gregory Shamus/NHLI/Getty ImagesBruins draft pick and Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk will play at Boston University next season.
After making waves with their first-round pick on Friday night, the Boston Bruins kept things close to home for their third-round selection in the NHL entry draft.

With the 85th overall selection, the Bruins tabbed United States National Team Development Program U-18 (USHL) defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The 5-foot-9, 171-pound, puck-moving blueliner is a Charlestown, Mass., native who grew up a stone's throw away from the TD Garden.

Being drafted by the Bruins isn't Grzelcyk's only link to the Bruins. His father, John, is a longtime member of the "bull gang" at the Garden.

The 18-year-old will bring his hockey game back to Boston next season when he joins Boston University. Grzelcyk was also a member of the gold medal-winning Team USA squad that claimed its fourth straight title at the IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championship in April.

• Here's a snippet of Grzelcyk's reaction to being taken by the hometown team today, courtesy of the Bruins communications staff:

On whether he had any indication from the Bruins that they might draft him: "I met with them, so I mean I kind of had a rough idea, but you know I didn’t really come in with high expectations. So, it’s kind of a shock, but I couldn’t be happier."

On whether 84th was where he hoped and expected to be picked: "Not really, no, to be honest. You know I wasn’t ranked that high, I’m kind of a smaller guy, so it was pretty unexpected, but what can you say, you can’t go wrong."

On going through the draft with so many New England players:
"It’s great to see. I’ve known these kids ever since I was young, so it’s kind of a surreal feeling to be here with them and I’m just happy to share it with them."

On how his time with USA Hockey has helped him develop as a player: "It was probably the best two years of my life, you know I feel like I really needed the development and that’s exactly what I got. Being a part of that gold-medal team was just the best feeling I’ve had in hockey so far and couldn’t be happier that I stayed and had my time there in Ann Arbor."

On whether he’s ready to handle the pressure of playing for his hometown: "Yeah, definitely. I mean obviously there’s going to be a lot of people like my family and stuff, but I’ve always had this dream to play for the Bruins and hopefully that comes true one day."

• Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli touched on Grzelcyk's game earlier this week during his pre-draft conference call with the media. Here's what Chiarelli had to say:
"The Grzelcyk kid’s a very good, mobile defenseman. He’s later on down but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”

• Here's what Bruins director of amateur scouting Wayne Smith had to say on Grzelcyk's selection today:
"Well he’s the type of kid that plays much bigger than he is. He’s got a Bruin mentality. He plays to win; he plays hard; he’s hard to play against; he plays a virtually mistake-free game. His decision-making and his ability to move the puck is second-to-none in this draft. Obviously, it’s a great story that his father has worked at the Garden for [45] years. We brought him in to Boston in particular because we had keen interest in him, and after meeting with him, we just feel that he could be a part of helping us win another Stanley Cup."

Source: B's won't pursue Vehanen

May, 24, 2012
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There have been Internet rumors circulating that the Boston Bruins are on the verge of signing 34-year-old Finnish goalie Petri Vehanen this summer, but an NHL source has confirmed to ESPNBoston.com that is unlikely to happen.

Vehanen was 16-17-5 with a 2.35 GAA and .916 GAA for the Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL this past season. With Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin -- who is signed to a one-way contract in the NHL -- the Bruins already have a crowded crease heading into next season and, according to the source, that's a key factor in not pursuing Vehanen.

Custance: Would B's trade Thomas?

April, 26, 2012
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Our own James Murphy raised the question of whether Tim Thomas will be back in Boston in his piece following Game 7 on the Bruins' offseason "to-do list." The morning after the Bruins' loss, ESPN.com's Craig Custance wonders the same thing (insider access required), writing:
The first clue Tim Thomas had that his season ended abruptly was the crowd's reaction. His head was buried in Mike Knuble's stomach, having just saved the big forward's backhand attempt in overtime. Thomas never saw Joel Ward knock home the series-clinching rebound.

Until that moment, Thomas had visions of a Stanley Cup repeat. He had to. That's just how he operates. You don't win a Stanley Cup, Vezina Trophy and a Conn Smythe by anticipating failure.

"I have to say, I'm probably in shock," he told reporters in the Bruins' dressing room following the loss. "I really had a deep feeling this wasn't the end of the road for us tonight, that this wasn't going to be the last game of the season."

It turned out to be exactly that. It's also quite possible it was the last game of Thomas' Bruins career.

Click HERE (insider access required) to read the rest of this story

Marchand dropped to fourth line

April, 20, 2012
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BOSTON -- With his team scoring just seven goals on 148 shots in the first four games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Capitals, which is now tied at 2-2, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided it was time to try some new lines up front again on Friday as he prepared his squad for Game 5 on Saturday.

Most notable of the changes was Brad Marchand -- who has no points and just eight shots in four games -- getting dropped to the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Tyler Seguin also found himself down a line with Chris Kelly, Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron.

Marchand was asked after practice if a message had been sent to him from Julien.

“Yeah a little bit, but it’s up to me to respond,” Marchand acknowledged. “I’ve played with ‘Soupy’ [Campbell] and Thorty [Thornton] last year and we played really well together, and hopefully we can bring that intensity. We were pretty offensive last year too, so hopefully we can bring that as well. We’ve played together for a while, but at this level it’s your job to be prepared to play with anyone, and things happen and lines change and you have to be prepared to play with anyone. So it doesn’t matter who you’re with, you have to play the same way.”

Campbell also alluded to familiarity, saying the switch is not as “drastic” as it may appear. To him and his teammates, it doesn’t matter who they’re with as long as they start scoring.

“If you look at the changes, they look drastic but they’re not,” Campbell said. “Marchy, Thorty and I played together almost half a season last year. At one point or another, everybody has played with everybody in this room. We look at it as a change and hopefully it jumpstarts our offense.”

As for Julien, he's just trying to find a way for his team to beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (44 saves in Game 4) and hopefully head back to Washington with a 3-2 series lead Sunday.

“That’s a part of trying to find solutions and it’s as simple as that,” Julien said. “You’ve got to mix up guys who are not getting the results that we’d like to. So you’re trying to make changes that will maybe spark that part of our game.”

Here were the lines at Friday's practice:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron/Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Lucic's aggressive style hits right tone

February, 14, 2012
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BOSTON -- Even before scoring the tying goal with 1:07 left in regulation in the Bruins' shootout win over the Predators on Saturday, Milan Lucic was playing his trademark physical, tenacious, hard-skating game from the opening shift. That set the tone in a game that followed the team's worst defeat of the season, a 6-0 loss at Buffalo last Wednesday.

The Bruins hope Saturday's win will snap them out of a 1-3-0 funk they've been in since the All-Star break and their mediocre 9-7-1 play since New Year's Eve. They'll get a true test on Tuesday when the conference-leading New York Rangers come to TD Garden.

Bruins coach Claude Julien knows having Lucic at his physical best will be a big help.

“You see how [Lucic] was forechecking on that, and he just went through everybody and banged that puck in,” Julien said of Lucic's goal against Nashville. “It was a big goal and that’s his game. When he forechecks and he becomes a physical player he puts [defensemen] on their heels and they look over their shoulder all the time. That’s when he’s at his best -- not just that part of it -- but driving to the net.

[+] EnlargeLucic
Fred Kfoury/Icon SMIMiilan Lucic scored his 20th goal of the season Sunday against the Predators.
"When he does that, he’s successful at scoring goals and helping us out. That’s why he’s more or less a 30-goal scorer and could be even more. So that’s his game and he was definitely determined to help us out that game. The reason we won is because he gave us that chance.”

Lucic's teammates fed off his tempo, playing one of their most complete games since the last time they faced the Rangers, a 3-2 overtime loss on Jan. 21. Lucic used his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame to dictate the play, sending the Nashville defenders back on their heels. When his teammates see him doing that, they’re inspired and follow suit.

“He’s a big part of our team and he’s a big force on the ice,” Marchand said. “He’s a big body, he’s got a lot of skill and it’s very hard to take the puck off him when he’s playing his game. We feed a lot of emotion and energy from him when he’s playing that way and we need him to play that way if we’re going to win.”

Lucic knows that as well.

“We talked about it as a team before that game that we wanted to push the pace more,” Lucic said. “That was for myself a key. No matter what line I am playing with or whom I’m playing with, if we’re playing with speed, making quick strong plays, then good things will happen and we’ll create chances. It wasn’t just me -- we had a good first shift -- because [Patrice Bergeron's] line went out and took over and so on. It created momentum and I think that good first shift we had set the tone for everyone out there.”

Lucic knows he needs to bring that style on a more consistent basis to help himself and his team.

“It was one of those days where it just happens,” said Lucic, who reached the 20-goal mark for the second straight season. “I just felt lighter. A lot of those things we talked about and stressed in the practices the two days before we did and I was doing. If I move my feet, everything else takes care of itself. I don’t think I ever had seven shots on net in a game before, so if I move my feet, good things happen and that’s a part of my game that I have to remember to focus on and stay consistent with.”

Lucic also realizes his play is that much more important with linemate Nathan Horton out for the forseeable future.

“It definitely helps when I’m playing with him, I won’t lie,” Lucic said of Horton. “He does play a similar style and it just makes it easier on [David Krejci] and me. But I need to play that physical style no matter who I am playing with because that’s my style and I feed off playing that way. We miss him though, that’s for sure.”

Lucic acknowledged that his game thrives off emotion, and some games -- such as the loss in Buffalo -- that emotion can work against him.

“We were playing with an edge, but it was an edge that didn’t really help us," Lucic said. "And I need to try to not let that happen because I am an emotional guy and I let it show, but I need to channel it better as do all of us. You can see the difference between the two. We still had that edge against Nashville, but it was a different edge and we used it to our advantage. We worked it to a positive. We weren’t letting guys get under our skin, we just did what we needed to do and worried about our game.”

Julien: Horton 'continuing to progress'

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said after practice on Wednesday that he would have a better update on the status of forward Nathan Horton (mild concussion) on Thursday.

“He’s continuing to progress,” Julien said. “It’s not a negative thing, but right now he’s still not capable of skating. It’s still one day at a time. Our doctors have evaluated him and they like the progress he’s making, but he’s not ready, yet.”

If Horton continues to progress, he could start physical activity on Thursday.

Horton suffered the injury in the second period against Philadelphia on Jan. 22 when he was on the receiving end of a late hit by the Flyers' Tom Sestito. Horton stayed in the game for the remainder of the period but sat out the third.

McQuaid out; uncertain for next game

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
1:21
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid missed practice on Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena due to a lower-body injury he suffered late in the third period of Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

He’s questionable for Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien. McQuaid caught a rut late in the game and was shaken up on the play.

“We felt it was better to keep him off the ice today and we’ll re-evaluate his situation tomorrow morning,” Julien said. “Hopefully we’ll get him back on the ice tomorrow.”

McQuaid also dropped the gloves late in the first period with the Senators’ Zenon Konopka, but Julien said the blueliner was not injured during the fight.

The Bruins will have fellow defenseman Andrew Ference back in the lineup Thursday after he completed his three-game suspension.

Julien plans to reach out to Belichick

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
1:37
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BOSTON -- During the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick showed his support for the Boston Bruins and attended a few games at TD Garden.

Belichick wasn’t shy when he was shown on the video board as he stood up and waved a rally towel frantically to get the fans going. The place erupted the few times he did it. Bruins coach Claude Julien appreciated the gesture and he plans on returning the favor in his own way on Tuesday.

Since today is the Super Bowl’s Media Day, Julien said he would send Belichick either a text message or leave him a voicemail today, wishing the Patriots good luck.

“I’m certainly not going to chat with him because I know what the coach is going through at this time,” Julien said. “But, certainly, that’s going to happen. I want him to know he has my support. I’m looking forward to the game.”

The Bruins are playing at 12:30 on Sunday in Washington against the Capitals, so the early puck drop will give Julien and his players time to enjoy the Super Bowl.

“It would have been disappointing had we had a mid-afternoon game because we would have missed some of it,” Julien said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

Julien is picking the Patriots to win, 31-28.

“I’m taking the Patriots,” Julien said. “I don’t care what anybody says. I’m cheering for them and I think it’s going to be a tight game.

“A lot of it depends whether [Rob] Gronkowski plays, to me, that’s a big factor,” added Julien.

Julien, of course, joined the fraternity of local coaches who have won championships in Boston after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last spring. In fact, he’s been an avid Red Sox fan for the majority of his adult life, and it’s also no secret he roots for the Patriots, too.

A native of Ontario, Julien became a Red Sox fan when he was coaching junior hockey for the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL during the 1996-97 season. At the time, Pedro Martinez was pitching for the Montreal Expos, and the owner of the team, Claude Brochu, was also part owner of the Hull junior hockey team. Martinez would attend Hull games when Julien was the coach.

“Something about the Red Sox attracted me, so he probably helped me become a Red Sox fan,” explained Julien. “Since then I’ve stuck with the Red Sox. He’s moved on, but I stuck with the Red Sox.

“And the Patriots, for some reason, there’s something about them that I liked. As a younger person, I went from the 49ers, to Pittsburgh and now the Patriots. I’ve been a Patriots fan, for easily, a dozen years.”

The Bruins created a good luck video with management, coaches and players all wishing the Patriots good luck in the Super Bowl.

Bruins return to action vs. Senators

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
12:49
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins return from the All-Star break and will host the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Even though the Bruins are 2-0 versus the Senators already this season, Ottawa still presents a big challenge. The Senators are currently ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference, only four points behind the second-place Bruins. The Senators are 13-10-5 on the road this season.

They’re led by veterans Daniel Alfredsson (17 goals and 21 assists) and Jason Spezza (20 goals and 30 assists), while goaltender Craig Anderson has posted a 25-16-4 record with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

Bruins coach Claude Julien credits Ottawa coach Paul MacLean for brining the Senators together as a team and building strong chemistry.

“You can see it in their play,” Julien said. “They play hard and they don’t hang their heads, they compete hard and if they weren’t a happy group, at one point you would see them let their game slip away, but they don’t.”

The Senators have exceeded expectations this season to a lot of people, but Julien said he’s not surprised by Ottawa’s success.

“It may be a surprise for a lot of people where they are, but I would tell you right now that they’re the real deal,” Julien said.

The Bruins defeated the Senators 5-3 on Nov. 1 and 5-2 on Dec. 14 this season. Beginning Tuesday night, the teams meet four more times this season.

“I see a hardworking team that’s pretty well coached with a goalie who is fairly hot this year,” said Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. “I played with him in the minors and when he’s on, he’s on. They’re definitely not sneaking up on anybody any more. It’s going to be a good for us coming out of the break.”

Rask to start vs. Rangers

January, 21, 2012
1/21/12
12:43
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By Joe McDonald

BOSTON – Bruins coach Claude Julien has decided to give Tuukka Rask the nod between the pipes against the Eastern Conference’s top team, the New York Rangers, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Rask is 11-4-1 with a 1.61 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. He will face the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who is 20-10-4 with a 1.93 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Rask is 2-3-0 with a 1.62 GAA and a .946 save percentage with one shutout in five career games against the Rangers. Lundqvist is 16-5-2 with a 1.50 and a .947 with five shutouts in 23 career games against the Bruins.

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