Bourque a bright spot for Bruins in debut

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Bourque a bright spot for Bruins in debut

BOSTON -- While there wasnt much to write home about or truly read into in the Bruins' 7-5 loss to the Providence Bruins in the Black and Gold scrimmage, Chris Bourque took a significant step forward. The TD Garden has always been a good place for Bourque as hed potted game-winners in each of his two games on that frozen sheet during the Beanpot and then a few years later in a preseason game for the Washington Capitals.

That charmed life on Garden ice continued in Tuesday nights debut in a Bruins uniform.

The Bruins were sloppy and more than a little chaotic in their own end, but the 26-year-old Bourque had the best spring in his step with a three-point effort. His goal opened up the Boston scoring floodgates in the second period when he snapped a shot from the left face-off circle that seemed to pass right through Anton Khudobin's pads.

Bourque captured a secondary assist when he set things up on a Bruins power play goal for Dennis Seidenberg in the third period, and rewarded Boston's coaching staff for putting right on the man advantage to start the season.

It felt great. Thats a play that we want to run out there, a drop-off to Marchand and hit Seidenberg on the back door, said Bourque. He had an unbelievable shot, I think it went bar down. Its good to get one on the power play. Its something theyve been stressing throughout camp, so its nice to get one.

The mere fact that Bourque is regularly skating with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley is an encouraging sign he's got a job waiting for him on the third line wing, and the practice time hes receiving on the power play bodes well for the former Washington Capitals forwards future in Boston.

Clearly Boston had an interest in Bourque in trading for him this summer after the led the AHL with 93 points last season, and he was the best player in a P-Bruins uniform this season during the NHL lockout. All of that is leading up to his best shot at establishing himself as an NHL player, and getting chance in the right-colored Black and Gold uniform.

Chris Bourque I thought had a pretty good game. Heres a guy thats been playing since October in North America, said Claude Julien. I thought Bourque played a pretty decent game. We had some guys that played pretty well and Kelly, Peverley, that line gave us some good things. And every line scored.

His final apple arrived when Bourque won a battle along the boards in the Providence zone, and that turned into a Rich Peverley wraparound job at the left post once he'd picked the puck clean from Bobby Robins. Bourques chemistry with Kelly and Peverley is clearly growing while skating with the established duo over the last couple of days,

The resulting three-point effort for Bourque on an otherwise messy night of scrimmaging spoke volumes.

If Bourque can continue showing off the kind of player he was in leading the AHL scoring race with 93 points for the Hershey Bears last season, then so many other things should fall into the place for the son of a Hall of Fame Boston legacy. Just look up to the wall of the Bruins dressing room at TD Garden, where the elder Bourque is now among a long line of time-honored B's Hall of Famers in franchise history.

Thats a place where Bourque might actually be allowed to set roots like he never could in Washington or Pittsburgh, and truly find out just how good he can be in the league where his dad set the standard. 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.