Bruins: Chris Kelly
Kelly will have another MRI taken before deciding on when to have surgery. He has been told the rehab time is four to six weeks, and Kelly is confident he'll be ready for training camp in September.
Fellow Bruins forward Matt Fraser was sporting crutches and a walking boot on his right foot Friday. He has a displaced fracture and will probably need surgery. He suffered the injury while playing for the Providence Bruins in Game 1 of their Calder Cup playoff series against the Springfield Falcons. He finished that five-game series and then played four games with the Bruins with the injury.
"I would rather cut my foot off than be taken out of the lineup because you never know when you're going to get a chance to play for the Stanley Cup," Fraser said. "You look at the guys around the room and everyone's banged up, everyone's hurting. It's something you just deal with and that's the way we're wired."
He admitted the pain was intense but didn't want any injections to relieve the pain.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic was sporting a brace on his left wrist and was scheduled to have an MRI taken at MGH on Friday afternoon. He said he first felt the discomfort in Game 1 against the Canadiens.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien will hold their season-ending news conference Friday afternoon at TD Garden, after meeting with all the players and conducting annual exit meetings.
With the majority of this group remains under contract, Chiarelli should have a relatively quiet summer. Veteran forwards Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton are unrestricted free agents. Two trade-deadline acquisitions, defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter, are also UFAs, as is backup goaltender Chad Johnson.
Restricted free agents include forwards Reilly Smith and Jordan Caron, along with defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.
Here are 10 issues the Bruins must resolve during the offseason:
2. What happens with Thornton? The veteran pugilist has wants to remain in Boston and close out his career with the Bruins. Thornton turns 37 on July 23 and has been a mainstay on the team's energy line. His reputation took a hit this season when he was suspended for 15 games for an incident involving the Penguins' Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. Then, during the second-round series against the Canadiens, Thornton was fined for spraying water on Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. To remain with the Bruins, Thornton will probably have to settle for a one-year deal.
3. Trade for a top-four defenseman? When veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg tore both his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27, Chiarelli knew he would need to add to the team's blue line via trade. The GM attempted to pull off a couple of deals to acquire a veteran defenseman before the trade deadline, but nothing major came to fruition, other than claiming Potter off waivers from Edmonton and acquiring Meszaros in a minor trade with Philadelphia. It wasn't enough, and the Bruins' inexperience on defense was one of the reasons Boston lost to Montreal. The Bruins could package Bartkowski, prospect Ryan Spooner and a draft pick to acquire a veteran D-man. At the deadline, it was rumored Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler, 27, was atop the Bruins' wish list, but the deal imploded, according to reports. If the Bruins are that impressed with the blueliner's ability, it's possible Chiarelli could revisit that trade option this summer. Either way, the Bruins need another veteran presence on the blue line.
4. Can inexperienced blueliners improve? While Dougie Hamilton made strides in his first full season in the NHL, Bartkowski and Krug experienced more growing pains. Bartkowski began the season as the team's seventh D-man, but because of injuries, he finished as a top-four defenseman by default. He struggled in the playoffs, especially in the second round against the Canadiens. Chiarelli has attempted to trade Bartkowski in the past and it could happen this summer. Krug's presence on the power play was one reason why the Bruins finished with the No. 3-ranked unit in the league during the regular season. Defensively, his game ebbed and flowed.
6. Where does McQuaid fit? When healthy, Adam McQuaid is a force. But he has been dealing with different issues the last couple of years and recently had surgery on his right ankle. He suffered what was described as a quad injury on Jan. 19 and missed the remainder of the season. He was limited to 30 games this season. McQuaid has one year left on his current deal worth $1.8 million. The emergence of defenseman Kevan Miller, who plays a similar game to McQuaid's, makes the veteran's status unclear if he remains injury-prone.
7. Figuring out a way to preserve Chara: Captain Zdeno Chara looks tired. At 37, it's understandable to wonder how much he has left in the tank. At the start of the season, Julien and Chiarelli explained they would try to find a way to keep the 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman fresh. Moving him from the point to the front of the net on the power play was one attempt to save his legs. He still averaged 25 minutes per game, but how much longer can he keep up that pace and still be effective? Chara still has three years remaining on his contract.
Chris Kelly has been plagued by injuries. He was limited to 57 games this season because of a broken right fibula. He returned to the lineup in late January, but suffered another undisclosed injury and missed the final three games of the regular season. It was described as back spasms, but the third-line winger never returned to the ice and missed the postseason. In his absence, the Bruins recalled, on separate occasions, forwards Justin Florek and Matt Fraser. Both played well in the playoffs, which were an important development experience for them. Kelly has two years left on his current deal, $3.5 million for next season and $2.5 million in 2015-16. Chiarelli has a strong relationship with Kelly, dating to their respective tenures with the Ottawa Senators, so it's unlikely the GM moves the veteran forward this summer.
9. Who backs up Tuukka? For the second consecutive offseason, Chiarelli will need to figure out whether to re-sign Tuukka Rask's backup. Chad Johnson accomplished exactly what the organization was looking for from its backup goaltender. He finished with a 17-4-3 record, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 27 games. Johnson is a UFA, and based on his success, he should receive a raise from his $600,000 deal with Boston. The Bruins also have prospects Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg in Providence. Svedberg played one game for the Bruins this season and earned a victory. Johnson would be a solid choice to re-sign.
10. Time's up? Jordan Caron spent the majority of the season watching from press level as the team's 13th forward. When he did play, mostly on the third and fourth lines, he wasn't bad, but moving forward it doesn't appear there's room for him on the roster. Caron is a restricted free agent and Chiarelli could find a way to move him this summer. The 23-year-old former first-rounder has not lived up to expectations, but he's still young and could use a change of scenery.
Boston will host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday, and Bruins coach Claude Julien said he’s still unclear on his lineup.
“I don’t know if it’s official yet on any of that stuff,” Julien said. “Again, today was another day we added another player [defenseman Kevan Miller], so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s hard for me to start giving you my lineup when I don’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day. Hopefully it continues to improve, which it has this week and we’ll go from there.”
Kelly missed the final three games of the regular season with back spasms. Paille appeared to have suffered a head injury last Saturday against Buffalo. Bartkowski’s issue is undisclosed, but Julien explained earlier this week that the flu bug is making its way around the locker room.
Without Kelly’s services, the Bruins earlier this week recalled forward Justin Florek from Providence of the AHL and he’s been on the line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson during practice.
"For sure we’re missing a really good guy, a good leader, and hopefully [Kelly] will get back soon,” Eriksson said. “We can’t really do anything about it, so maybe now we have Florek [Friday] and he’s a good player. We had a chance to play with him last game, too, so we’re going to go out there and try to do the best we can. I think we can do good things out there.”
Boston’s energy line is affected by the injuries, too. Without Paille, fellow forward Jordan Caron has been on the line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton during practice this week.
“I’ve played with him a bunch this year, so we have a pretty good feel for each other,” Thornton said. “I know everyone talks about [Paille], we’ve been with [Paille] for a long time, many years, but Jordan’s come in and done a solid job. We’ve been able to create some energy. When he’s in there he’s strong on pucks. He’s a big body and goes to the net and he’s got a good shot. It should be a seamless transition, on paper anyways.”
Nothing has been made official, but if Paille did suffer a concussion, it will be his third this season.
“It’s an unfortunate occupational hazard sometimes with us,” Thornton said. “He’s such a good guy and such a big part of this team. I’ve said it before but sometimes our line is only as good as he is. We’re hoping he gets better quickly.”
For Eriksson, he hasn’t played in the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 2007-2008 season with the Dallas Stars. After Thursday’s practice at TD Garden, he said he watched some of the Stars’ playoff game against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night on television, but he went to bed before the Ducks posted a 4-3 victory.
“For sure I’m excited to get going tomorrow,” he said. “Watching the game yesterday it looked so much fun, so I think everyone is ready to get going.”
Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson have built chemistry and the three compose arguably one of the best third lines in the league.
"We're a great line and we just want to keep that going," Soderberg said. "Since I started to play center, it's quite obvious I'm creating more offense. I can still play the wing, but I prefer center."
It took a little bit of time, a few injuries, and a few tweaks for coach Claude Julien to find the right trio.
At the start of the season, Eriksson played on the team's second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Reilly Smith played with Kelly and Soderberg. After Eriksson suffered his first of two concussions early in the season, Smith replaced him on the second line and that trio quickly had success.
When Eriksson returned, Julien decided it would be best to ease the veteran winger back into the lineup by putting him on the third line. The coach also moved Soderberg to the middle more frequently and had Kelly playing the other side.
Suddenly, the entire lineup had harmony and now the Bruins are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak.
When Soderberg registers a point, the Bruins are 23-3-3 this season. He's finally showing the skating ability, strength and production the Bruins were hoping for.
Julien says he sees Soderberg is settling into a good rhythm.
"His line is one of the reasons that he's been doing really good," Julien said. "Kells has come in and done a good job on that left wing, but Loui, as we're all seeing, is just playing much better hockey since that injury. So that in itself makes for a better line, and like I said the other day, I think in Carl's situation he loves to skate, so by putting him in center he's been able to cover a lot of ice and that seems to suit him better."
Top-line winger Milan Lucic has been impressed with the play of the third line, especially Soderberg.
"It's real good," Lucic said. "You can see his confidence coming in and he's using his big body and he's found his skating game in the NHL, which wasn't really there for him when he first came here, but you can see the commitment and the time he put in to make sure he can contribute to this team this year and you can see him starting to get rewarded for that."
Like Soderberg, Eriksson is coming into his own. Limited by a pair of concussions earlier this season, he started to show signs before the Olympics, where he won a silver medal for Sweden. Since being back with Boston he's playing well.
"To me, Loui has been really a good player and we're starting to see the player that he is and that's encouraging," Julien said. "That line has been good overall, but Carl's a big body that can skate well and he's strong on the puck and he does make things happen."
The third line has become an important part of Boston's success this season. They need that kind of depth to continue to enjoy another deep run through the postseason this spring.
Both forward Chris Kelly and defenseman Dougie Hamilton are practicing with the team. Kelly has been out since Dec. 7 with a broken right fibula, but has been skating on his own for the last week and a half. Hamilton has missed four games with a mild concussion.
Also, the Bruins have recalled defenseman Zach Trotman from Providence of the AHL, while fellow Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid remains sidelined with a leg injury he suffered during Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Chicago.
Trotman was called up Sunday night and was in the lineup Monday against the Los Angeles Kings. He was assigned to Providence after the Bruins' 3-2 win over the Kings.
When the Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at TD Garden, it will be the 17th game Kelly has missed since suffering a fractured right fibula on Dec. 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. His rehab is progressing, but he does not want to rush it.
“It’s getting better but it’s a process, and I’m trying to get back to feeling good,” Kelly said. “With injuries, timetables are put on them and they’re probably the worst thing that can happen, because last year I had an injury (missed 14 games with a fractured left tibia) and I was back sooner than I thought. You think every injury is going to be like that, but certain injuries you have to take time with, and certain ones you can rush back. For whatever reason, this one you need to take time and make sure it’s fully healed, because if not, the last thing I want to do is re-aggravate it and be out even longer.”
The saving grace for Kelly in this situation is the fact that the Bruins remain atop the Atlantic Division standings. Kelly isn’t sure whether he’ll travel with the team on the upcoming road trip to Dallas and Chicago.
“Every day gets a little better,” Kelly said. “You want to come in the next day and feel 100 percent, but that’s not the case, it’s not realistic. It’s getting a little bit better every day and that’s a positive thing.”
Meanwhile, he’ll continue to rehab and skate. “I can only drink so much milk,” Kelly said with a smile.
“He’s being looked at right now,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We’ll leave it at that. We’ll give you more tomorrow.”
Hamilton has been back in the lineup for the last five games after missing the previous 10 due to a lower-body injury. He did not play the final few minutes during Saturday’s 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Also, Bruins forward Chris Kelly, who has been out of the lineup the last 16 games with a fractured right fibula, began skating late last week, according to Julien.
“He’s not close to returning,” Julien said. “We’re not talking about days here. There’s still lots of time for him to continue to heal. Basically, it’s more about getting him to stay positive here, it’s a frustrating injury that’s going to take a while.”
So, why did forward Chris Kelly take the shootout attempt in the fourth round before Boston lost 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues Thursday night at TD Garden?
"Were you guys as surprised as I was?" Kelly said with a laugh after practice Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
Kelly can score goals and the Bruins practice shootouts on a weekly basis. Bruins coach Claude Julien has the resources at his disposal as to which players, on both teams, are successful in the shootout. On Thursday, Julien remembered Kelly scored during a preseason game, and also on a penalty shot earlier this season.
"He's actually pretty good," Julien said. "To be honest, I was looking at my bench and I went with a gut feeling that he would put the puck where [Jaroslav] Halak's weakness was but he never got that chance."
Kelly failed to score, and then Derek Roy beat Tuukka Rask to win it for the Blues.
Kelly converted on his first penalty shot of his career during Boston's 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the season opener on Oct. 3 at TD Garden.
Early in the second period, Winchester left his feet and caught Kelly in the head with the blow. Kelly remained on the ice for a moment and was tended to by team trainer Donnie DelNegro before skating off the ice and going to the locker room. Kelly seemed dazed but quickly returned to action. No penalty was called on Winchester, but the Bruins’ Gregory Campbell took care of business when he dropped the gloves with Winchester on the ensuing shift.
“I looked at the hit, the league looked at it. I wasn’t going to say anything about it. Those kinds of things you let the league take care of it,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien following the team’s practice Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena. “I’m just happy Chris was able to come back and he did. As Chris said, the player that hit him is a former colleague of his, and [Winchester] is a nice guy, I know him as well. I don’t think there was a real intent to injure more than it was a reckless hit and that’s why the league is looking into it.”
Kelly and Winchester are former teammates, and the Bruins assistant captain showed no ill will toward him.
“I haven’t seen the replay,” Kelly said. “I did see that he’s getting a hearing. The league will make the proper decisions. I don’t want to comment on it either way. I’ll let them handle it.”
The Bruins will play Horton's new team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Saturday afternoon at Nationwide Arena. Unfortunately, Horton will not play as he continues to rehab from offseason surgery on his shoulder, which he injured during a fight with Jarome Iginla on April 20.
Horton became a free agent at the end of last season. The Bruins wanted to re-sign him and thought the top-line forward would return to Boston. Instead, Horton signed with the Blue Jackets for seven years and $37 million.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and the players were shocked.
"Yeah, I think you're always a little bit surprised because this is a great spot to play hockey," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. "I know the team wanted him back, management wanted him back, but for whatever reason he decided to go elsewhere and that's his decision. He has every right to make those decisions. As a former teammate, I've got nothing but great things to say about Nathan. He was awesome for us."
Horton became the inspiration for the Bruins during their 2011 Stanley Cup run. In Game 3 of the finals at TD Garden, he suffered a severe concussion after a late hit to the head by the Vancouver Canucks' Aaron Rome.
Horton lay on the ice motionless and was taken off on a stretcher. His season was over.
"We're not there without him. Him getting hurt, as scary as that was and as much as you never want to see a teammate on the ice, he's a friend and you take it personally and that's the way we approached it," Kelly said. "That series we were down two games in the finals and you see Nathan on the ice and it hurt on a personal level. That's when the rivalry between us and Vancouver truly started. He was a huge part of that final series for us even though he missed four games."
Horton showed courage again last spring when the Bruins returned to the Stanley Cup finals, this time against the Chicago Blackhawks. No one other than his teammates knew he played the entire postseason with a shoulder injury. During Game 1 of the finals, Horton aggravated the injury and needed to leave the game.
He was back in the lineup for Game 2 and did not miss a shift the rest of the series.
"Not many people knew what type of pain he played through," Kelly said. "He goes and fights one of the strongest guys in the league pound-for-pound. You should see [Iginla] in the weight room, I wanna leave. Nathan and him have a great fight. In the postseason that line was phenomenal and he was a huge reason why we got back to the finals. If that line doesn't play the way it does then our season is shortened a lot quicker than it was."
"When it comes time to play those exhibition games, it'll be a conversation again with our trainers in making sure if they're going to play that there's not a risk factor," Julien said. “Right now, I would tell you that they would not be cleared to play a game if we started today, but that might change in the upcoming days or in a week from now.”
Bergeron suffered torn rib cartilage, a broken rib on his left side, a separated right shoulder and a punctured lung that ended up collapsing and forced him to spend three days in the hospital after the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals last June.
Campbell broke his right fibula in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh when he blocked a slap shot by the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin.
The Bruins have their first of seven exhibition games Monday at Montreal against the Canadiens.
- When the Bruins hit the ice for their first official practice Thursday morning at TD Garden, Julien will get his first look at what could be the team’s lineup when the season begins on Oct. 3. The Bruins’ top line of center David Krejci and left winger Milan Lucic will welcome new linemate Jarome Iginla. Second-line center Bergeron and left winger Brad Marchand will be working with new right wing Loui Eriksson.
Julien admitted Wednesday he was pleased with the way forwards Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly meshed during the Stanley Cup finals, so it could be possible to see those two, along with a host of right-wing candidates, during training camp.
“In the real perfect world, you’ve got your top two lines, and you’d like to see them score on a regular basis. Your third line should be able to give you some secondary scoring and then your third line should also be able to give you some secondary grit that the fourth line gives you,” Julien explained. “So they're kind of, to me, caught in the middle where they give you a little bit of both, and that is what we are looking for from that line. We need more than just two lines to score. We know our fourth line has given us that, but our third line needs to give us that as well, and, at the same time, defensively and on the gritty side of the game they got to be able to give us that, too.”
That leaves the team’s energy line of Campbell and Shawn Thornton. If Paille makes the jump to the team’s third line, it will leave a spot open on the fourth line.
- Youth and depth will be a key factor for the Bruins during camp and into the season. GM Peter Chiarelli has made it known that in order for this team to win, it will need contributions from an influx of younger players. There are roster spots to be won on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. Julien reiterated that point on Wednesday, and his advice to the prospects was simple.
“Take advantage of it,” he told them. “We’ve been clear, and it hasn’t just come from me. Peter is the one who has kind of came out and said, 'Listen, we’re going to bring some youth into our lineup, so if some guys want a spot on this hockey club, here is a good opportunity to do that right now.' And it’s open. I think we’ve got some guys on [Boston's AHL development team] Providence last year that deserve that look. We’ve got some guys who we got in some trades that are going to certainly be battling for those spots as well.”
Forwards Anthony Camara, Craig Cunningham, Jordan Caron, Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith are all in the mix.
- With a few tweaks to their roster, the Bruins and coach Julien will focus on the team’s systems play during training camp. Julien believes the team can be a little “tighter” in that area.
“Those are things we’re going to be working on and making sure that’s at the top of our list,” Julien said. “I thought that was one of the things that we could do better, and when we did it well, it gave us success but we didn’t do it on a consistent basis, so that’s one of the things we’re going to be tweaking. It’s a bunch of little things. It’s minor maybe to you guys, but to me, it’ll make some big difference in games, some of the things that we’re going to be working on.”
Julien likes consistency and chemistry, so if he likes what he sees early in camp, then expect to see those lines and special-team units remain the same.
- Earlier this week, Julien said he believed his team was ready to make amends for the way last season ended with a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks. When asked how long it would take in order to get a feel for his team’s motivation, Julien said he already knows.
“I feel it right now,” he said. “I think our group is in the right place. I like the feeling of our hockey cub right now. These tests today just kind of solidified what I thought. Guys are in great shape, and it would have been easier for guys after finishing so late to just kind of shut it down for the summer, but they’ve kept themselves in great shape and they look excited to get off to a new start here.”
- With the disappointing ending to the 2012-13 season in the books, Julien and his players are looking forward to a fresh start. There are some new faces in the mix, and with the Stanley Cup-winning core from 2011 intact, this should be another successful season in Boston.
“I think it's important every once and a while to get some fresh faces in and continue to create that excitement of being competitive and wanting to win every year,” Julien said. “Things can get stale after a while. That's a known fact. And I think what we've done right now is kept our core together; we got some great leaders, a great core group of guys, and we've added some quality people in there, too. But also we've left room for some guys to come in and win themselves a spot.”
Now, it’s ice time as the first practice will be held Thursday at the Garden.
ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and ESPNChicago's Jesse Rogers break down the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win in Game 2.
CLICK HERE to read Mac's column on how Claude Julien's move to put Tyler Seguin on the third line with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille worked wonders for Boston.
Here's an excerpt:
Paille scored the winner at 13:48 of the extra period, with Seguin earning an assist. Earlier, Paille set up Kelly's goal at 14:58 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
They collectively gave the Bruins a much-needed spark to get back into this series. Seguin, who has struggled in the playoffs with just one goal, played his best game of the postseason. He was strong on the forecheck. He was backchecking and was creating chances.
"He was huge for us," Paille said. "He's definitely taken some heat but he is a special player and he can step up for all of us, and hopefully this is a step forward for him.
"You've seen him grow huge as a player, and it's a bit frustrating for him right now that he hasn't scored like he has, but we're not too worried about him. We know that he's a special player and he can, and it's just a matter of time for him."
Paille's relentless style of play and speed created both goals, while Kelly was finally rewarded with his first goal of the playoffs and his first point since April 17.
Depth scoring arrives at right time: As pointed out after Game 1 by colleague Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, the Blackhawks were able to pull out that triple OT win in part because their depth players outshined the Bruins' depth players. The Hawks got two of their four goals from their third line, with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw lighting the lamp. Until Game 2, the Bruins had been depending heavily on their top six forwards for the past few games, and while the third and fourth lines weren't playing poorly, the production was lacking. But in Game 2, that depth scoring finally arrived as Chris Kelly scored the game-tying goal in the second period, and Paille scored the overtime winner after getting an assist on Kelly's goal. There was much more offensive pressure coming from the bottom six forward group, and they accounted for four points and eight shots. It couldn't have come at a better time; the Bruins' most dangerous line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton didn't put a shot on net until five minutes into the third period.
Rask and Crawford solid again: If not for Tuukka Rask, this game may have been over after the first period. The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the opening frame, but Rask held the fort strong once again, allowing only Patrick Sharp's goal. Chicago had plenty of solid scoring chances with those 19 shots, but Rask was ready. As he has done all season and in the playoffs, he gave his team a chance to win. The Conn Smythe candidate finished with 33 saves, including six in overtime. On the other end, Corey Crawford was also solid. He finished with 26 saves and had some huge ones late in the second period and early in the third after the Bruins tied the game at 1 and found their legs. He had seven in overtime.
Time to reunite Seguin with Bergeron and Marchand: While head coach Claude Julien may not want to break up the sudden chemistry between Tyler Seguin and Paille, this scribe thinks Seguin has earned his way back into a top six spot. He assisted on the overtime winner by Paille and helped create the game-tying goal by Kelly. Seguin is playing much better and appears to be on the verge of breaking out and scoring some goals. Putting him back with his normal linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand may help get those goals. That line has had plenty of success together over the past two seasons, and it's time to reunite them.
Bruins looked tired and disorganized early on: It was a complete surprise that only one team was going to have a slow start and show signs of fatigue after the triple-overtime marathon in Game 1. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they were the team that looked like they were skating in quicksand. Not only were they outshot by a wide margin in the first period, they were clearly a stride or two behind the Blackhawks, who were able to really utilize their speed against the tired Bruins. In addition to the fatigue, the Bruins also seemed to be a bit disorganized. Many times they were scrambling in front of Rask to cover their man or find the puck.
Bruins hitting anything in sight: Once the Bruins found their energy, they were able to play their physical style and seemingly hit anything that moved. Boston outhit Chicago, 50-34. Lucic led the way with 10 hits and continues to be an intimidating force on the ice. The Bruins were able to slow down and wear out the speedy Hawks with Boston's physical prowess. The Bruins also used their power to get to the net on Kelly's game-tying goal in the second period as all forwards were driving to the net and creating havoc.
BOSTON -- When players are sporting black eyes and stitch marks all over their faces, it's a sure sign of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Both the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs suffered some injuries during Boston's 4-3 overtime win in Game 4 Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre. The Bruins will be without veteran defenseman Wade Redden for Game 5 tonight due to an undisclosed injury. He's listed as day-to-day. Bruins forwards Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly both suffered facial lacerations during Game 4 but will play tonight.
After Friday's morning skate at TD Garden, Lucic's right eye was swollen and slightly closed. He was sporting nine stitches above his eye, but said there are no vision issues.
"I've been icing it the last few days, but I probably have the worst eyesight on the team and I'm squinting all the time [without the injury], so it shouldn't be a problem.
"I feel good," added Lucic. "I'm looking forward to tonight. Obviously I've got a little bit of a shiner on my right eye, but looking forward to tonight and there's a lot on the line for both teams. After last game, we expect them to come out hard and bring their best because we know what they're playing for and we need to come out with the same approach as the Leafs are."
Kelly was injured when he took a nasty high stick to the face from the Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri only 58 seconds into the third period. Kelly was cut on the play and skated directly to the dressing, and Kadri was handed a double-minor. Kelly received "nine or 10" stitches on his right cheek, but he's fine.
"Just a little swollen, just a cut, it's fine," Kelly said after Friday's skate. "It was bleeding and the refs knew it was bleeding, so there's no need for me to lay on the ice; skate off and get it done quickly."
The Maple Leafs will be without defenseman Mark Fraser, who had surgery on Thursday to repair a broken bone after being hit in the forehead with a puck shot by Lucic midway through the third period in Game 4.
"He's back home resting comfortably," said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle on Friday morning. "It is tough when you lose players, and lose players to that type of injury."
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.
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