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. 

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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