Bruins ground Jets in shootout, 2-1

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Bruins ground Jets in shootout, 2-1

BOSTON -- The Bruins killed off two crucial penalties -- one at the end of regulation, and another at the end of overtime -- on Monday afternoon, which led to a 2-1 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden.

In the shootout, Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins, and Tuukka Rask saved the last two shots he faced after allowing former Bruin Blake Wheeler to score on the Jets' first attempt.

The Jets took an early 1-0 lead two minutes into the game, when Chris Thorburn knocked home a rebound from the lower-right circle. Rask made the initial save on a Paul Postma shot from the right point that was re-directed by Jim Slater. But Thorburn wasted no time firing the rebound on net, beating Rask low glove side.

Brad Marchand tied the game at 1-1, with 5:48 left in the first period, on a play started when Seguin created a turnover at Winnipeg's blue line. Seguin skated the puck quickly down the right side, and sent a perfect pass out front to Marchand, who was going hard to the net.

It remained tied until the shootout, when the Bruins sealed up their second win to open the season.

GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask wasnt challenged all that much inSaturday nights win over the Rangers, but he deserved full credit afterstopping 26 shots in Bostons 2-1 shootout win over the Jets on Mondayafternoon. Rask helped the Bruins kill off two penalties inthe waning minutes of the third period and overtime, and his glove save on aKyle Wellwood breakaway ended up being a game-changing play for the Black andGold. The Bruins goaltender was probably the No. 1 player that needed to getout to a good start for the Bs and hes done exactly that while picking upwins in both games. Also credit the Bruins coaching staff for deciding to comeright back with Rask in the Monday matinee against Winnipeg to get their goaltender on a roll atthe start of the season. That was the right call. BLACK EYE: Olli Jokinen is known for more disappearing actsthan David Copperfield for all you fans of 1980s magician pseudo-celebrities and was at it again with Winnipegon Monday afternoon. The center managed one shot on net and two giveaways in20:25 of ice time and lost 10 of 15 face-offs while putting together anotheruninspired performance thats caused him to bounce from NHL city to city overthe last few years. Unfortunately the Jets will learn what the Flames andFlorida Panthers already knew before them: Olli simply doesnt have a lot ofheart and will become invisible when things get physical like they did at TDGarden.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin had four shots on net second only to Patrice Bergerons five shots among the Bruins players and setup the teams only goal when he intercepted a pass inside the blue line andcharged from the right wing. Seguinfed Marchand at the front of the net and the Bs Honey Badger redirected thepuck past Ondrej Pavelec. The 20-year-old was knocked around a bit during thegame as a Winnipegtarget and absorbed a hard shot from Mark Stuart up near the head area in thethird period that knocked his helmet off. But Seguin kept on playing and dazzled Pavelecwith a glove-side wrist shot in the shootout that helped earn the Bruins twopoints.

TURNING POINT: It looked dire for the Bruins when JohnnyBoychuk took a high-sticking penalty at the end of the third period and ZdenoChara was charged with a phantom holding penalty on Blake Wheeler in overtime.But the Bruins killed off both penalties always a particularly toughchallenge when Chara is in the box and pushed things to the shootout wheretheyve become a legitimate force singe Seguinjoined the team two years ago. Claude Julien said after the game that thepenalty kill was the difference between winning and losing on Mondayafternoon, and he was absolutely correct.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 That's the number of registered hits for MilanLucic, who was a physical bulldozer throughout the 60 plus minutes of intensehockey. The games intensity visibly rose at the end of the second period whenLucic crunched Winnipegcaptain Andrew Ladd near the penalty boxes in the neutral zone. Lucic now has ateam-high 17 hits through the first two games of the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: I dont think nobody enjoys them. I meanitsall right. Emotion-wise, you win, its great greatest thing ever and then youlose, you feel like you lost the Stanley Cup Finals. Its a roller coaster withthe emotions, but its great for the fans. I like to watch them on TV, too. TuukkaRask with an appreciation for NHL shootouts, especially when hes on thewinning end.

Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

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Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari missed a month of game action with a lower body injury, so it would have been perfectly acceptable to show plenty of rust in his game upon returning to the Boston lineup.

But the former Providence College standout didn’t look rusty, a step behind or out of place in any way as he played the fourth line energy forward role to a perfect fit after missing the last 13 games. Acciari did get in one game with the Providence Bruins prior to suiting back up for the Black and Gold on Saturday, and perhaps that helped him manufacture a couple of shots on net to go along with three thumping hits against the Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old Acciari didn’t factor into the scoring at all for the Bruins, but that’s just as well given that his focus should be on killing penalties, being hard to play against and taking the body whenever the chance presents itself. Claude Julien reformed the B’s energy line that had so much success earlier in the season with Acciari, Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller, and didn’t hesitate tossing them back into the mix together while looking for energy and a spark for an offensively stunted team.

“It’s good to be back with my linemates, and you know, I think we kind of picked up where we left off, but there’s definitely things we need to work on. That’ll come with a couple more practices and games together,” said Acciari, who finished theSaturday loss with three registered hits packed into 11:35 of ice time. “Kind of getting back to our familiarity and kind of get back to where we were before I got injured.

“It was a good start tonight, but we definitely just weren’t clicking like we used to, but that’ll come. I think that will come. Like I said, a couple practices and just kind of getting some games in [are good things]. I thought we were pretty good tonight, but, you know, should get more pucks to score [goals].”

Clearly there is room for improvement for everybody including Acciari, but it was encouraging to see the fearless competitor again flying around on the TD Garden ice playing high intensity hockey for a fourth line that could use every little bit of that. 

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

BOSTON -- This may not come as a surprise, but the Boston Bruins are having some trouble putting the puck in the net.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by an 11-2 margin in the first period and outshooting them by a 32-21 margin over the balance of the 60 minute game, the Bruins scratched for just a single goal in a frustrating, constipated 4-1 loss to Toronto at TD Garden. Clearly some of the offensive difficulty was caused by a solid Frederik Andersen, who improved to 6-0-0 in a career against Boston that’s beginning to take on Bruins Killer proportions.

But a great deal of the B’s struggles to finish scoring chances on Saturday night is a malady that’s dogged the Bruins all season, and marked the 20th time in 29 games this year that Boston has scored two goals or less. In most of these games the Bruins have dominated puck possession and outshot their opponents, but still have come away mostly empty handed in the goals scored department while dropping deep in the bottom third of NHL offenses this season.

“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games,” said Claude Julien. “Because of that we criticize everything else in our game, but our game isn’t that bad.

“If we were scoring goals people would love our game right now, but that’s the biggest part. There’s not much more I can say here except for the fact that if we don’t score goals it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”

But the Bruins aren’t scoring goals consistently, their power play is below average while trending in the wrong direction and the team has been forced to watch steady offensive players like Patrice Bergeron suddenly slump in a concerning way. Clearly David Pastrnak is doing his part with 18 goals scored this season in 24 games, and others like Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore have also performed above, or beyond, their acceptable level of play.

But there are other players failing with the chance to make an offensive dent: Austin Czarnik has been on the roster for nearly two months, and has zero goals and two points in his last 15 games as the offense is again dried up on the third line. He missed wide on a shorthanded chance in the third period after a Moore centering pass set up him all alone in front, and was critiquing himself for fanning on a perfect dish to him in the slot.

Moments later the Leafs had an insurance score from James van Riemsdyk to make it a 3-1 game, and it was all over for the Black and Gold at that point.

Czarnik is an easy target because he’s young and inexperienced, but there is more than enough struggle and frustration to go around with a bunch of offensive players that can’t seem to get out of their own way. David Backes admitted it’s reached a point where the Bruins are frustrated when they can’t score enough to beat a team like Toronto, and that it falls squarely on the lead guys in the Black and Gold dressing room that are underperforming.

“I think offensive frustration is warranted at this point; we just haven’t done a good enough job scoring goals. We played a heck of a first period. We limited them to two shots and we had an opportunity to have a team that’s coming in here that’s a younger team, to really put them behind the eight ball,” said Backes. “Instead, they think they got a second lease on life and they were able to capitalize. All of the sudden, they were up 2-0 and we’re fighting an uphill battle again rather than -- we have that opportunity to play a heck of a first period and we don’t find a way – it’s easy to talk about, but it’s going out there and doing the job and putting it past or through the goalie, or however it needs to happen. “You’ve seen our goals; you want to do a study on it unless you’re Pasta [David Pastrnak] with the one-timer on the side, it’s been ugly, it’s been rebounds, it’s been greasy goals and that’s our equation and we need more of it, and we didn’t do it. They did a good job of being in front of their net and boxing out, eliminating those second chances. But, we’ve got good players in here that need to create more and find those second chances and win those battles, find those loose pucks, and throw them in the net.”

The Bruins have been talking seemingly all season about the need to get to the “dirty areas in the offensive zone”, and for players to jump all over the second and third chance opportunities currently going by the board unchallenged on goalie rebounds.

Now it’s about speaking with action for the B’s, and more specifically speaking volumes with goals and offensive finish instead of “chances” that aren’t doing much of anything if they’re not being snapped into the back of the net.