Haggerty: Thoughts from P-Bruins and Phantoms

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Haggerty: Thoughts from P-Bruins and Phantoms

PROVIDENCE -- Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Providence Bruins-Adirondack Phantoms game, where the P-Bruins lead by a 1-0 score at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

1) Team-leading ninth goal of the season for Jamie Tardif, who has really made me stand up and take notice whenever I've watched Providence this year. He made a great play blocking a clear attempt against the boards, and then turning that into an odd man rush at the other end of the ice. Tardif looked off the trailer on the play and snapped a shot glove-side high for the score. He's the perfect example of the right kind of veteran player the Bruins have brought into the mix here in Providence.

2) Good period for Matt Bartkowski, who has really stabilized his play in Providence after some early shakiness. Was involved at the offensive end and able to play his shutdown defense in a period dominated by Providence.

3) Once again the P-Bruins dominate the first period as they've done quite a bit this season, and are outshooting the Phantoms by a 16-7 margin.

4) Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn are both playing with Adirondack, but not much out of those two NHL players this afternoon. Good challenge for the P-Bruins defense and they're living up to it thus far.

5) Today marks the 20th game -- out of 22 overall -- that Jared Knight has missed this year with groinhamstring issues. He's got to be disappointed about the way things have gone in his first full pro season thus far.

SECOND PERIOD
Providence 2, Adirondack 1

1) Another goal for Jamie Tardif as a result of hard, determined work around the net. The play was created when Chris Bourque wheeled through the high slot and found Ryan Spooner for a one-timer. Phantoms goalie Scott Munroe made the initial stop, but Tardif slammed the loose puck in for the score.

2) Solid two periods for Niklas Svedberg in the pipes. His only blemish was a 2-on-1 with a top shelf shot that was created when Colby Cohen and Ryan Button collided and took the other out of the play. But otherwise the Swedish goalie continues to impress is his 16th appearance in 22 games.

3) Zack FitzGerald nearly scrapped with Providence tough guy Bobby Robins after a scrum, and then had a questionable hip check on David Warsofsky late in the second period. Would expect he might drop gloves in the third period. Yup. He fits right into the Flyers Way of doing things.

4) Ryan Spooner has got the good stuff today for Providence. Drew a hooking penalty on a breakaway in the second period that set up a P-Bruins power play and earned his 10th assist of season their power play score.

5) Six shots on net for Chris Bourque and an assist in first two periods for the P-Bruins winger. He's been all over the ice for a dominant line each time Providence has had the puck.

THIRD PERIOD
Providence 2, Adirondack 2

1) Max Sauve absolutely buried Phantoms forward Shane Harper with a hit early in the third period. Not something I'm used to seeing with Sauve, but I think that's the kind of tenacity the Bruins organization would love to see out of him.

2) 44 shots on net for Providence. That's impressive even if they were catching an Adirondack team that got into Rhode Island early this morning.

3) Two shots net between Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn this afternoon. Didn't look like they much interest in being in Providence this afternoon. As if one Couturier took a horrendous slashing call after turning the puck over to Max Sauve in his own end late in the third period.

4) Justin Florek is hanging around in Providence and scored his first pro goal the last time I was in Providence, but didn't have much impact in limited ice time for the P-Bruins. He took an ill-advised holding penalty late in the third period that led to the Phantoms-tying goal as well, which certainly isn't helping his cause.

5) Second Sunday in a row the Providence Bruins are providing me with some free hockey after things ended up in a shootout last weekend. Always appreciate that when good hockey is so hard to find during these lockout days.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.