Bourque breaks through for game-winning goal


Bourque breaks through for game-winning goal

TORONTO There was no mistaking who scored the goal after watching the familiar celebration.

Bruins left wing Chris Bourque scored his first goal as a member of the Black and Gold in memorable fashion as he was the only lamp-lighter in a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre before a national Hockey Night in Canada audience in the Great White North.

The goal came after Bourque was a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres after hed gone scoreless in his first six games of the year, and admitted that things were going a million miles a minute for him out on the ice. It was also only the second NHL goal of Bourques career with the last one coming all the way back on December 30, 2008 for the Washington Capitals.

The goal was certainly more beauty than greasy as Chris Kelly picked up a chip into the offensive zone from Rich Peverley, and zinged a backhanded pass to Bourque waiting to slam home the one-timer at the left post. For the first time in a Bs sweater, there was zero hesitation in the youngsters game.

So to celebrate Bourque pulled out an impromptu tribute to his old man, No. 77. Once he had slammed home the one-timer he dropped to one knee and slid across the goal crease while pumping his first just like Ray did hundreds of times during a Hall of Fame career for the Bruins.

There might have been a couple fist pumps. It might have been over-excessive, but I think I just blacked out when it happened. I was excited, said Bourque. I dont know if it was getting the pressure off myself or feeling like I contributed to the team, but thats all I wanted to do hereto help the team win. That goal ended up making the difference.

I always knew I had the capability of doing it. Its just a matter of going out there and proving it. I had a couple of chances here and there over the first six games, but tonight I wanted to really bare down and it ended up in the back of the net.

Bourque had previously said that hell always work his balls off on every shift he plays, and thats part of the reason Claude Julien has continued to stick with the 26-year-old has tried to bridge that gap between AHL player and established NHL veteran. In part it was because of the work he was putting in every shift, the diligent back-checks even if things werent dropping offensively and the flashes of offensive finish that the Bruins are hoping to continue seeing more of.

The Bs coach also said he had a conversation with Bourque on Saturday morning, and thinks his motivational tactic might have worked.

Im really happy for him. I joked around with him before the game and told him Id bag skate him on Sunday if he didnt score, said a smiling Julien. He obviously doesnt like those kinds of skates, so he didnt waste any time.

Bourque didnt score that first goal at home in the TD Garden where he grew up as a hockey player, and he wasnt sure if his father saw it live as hes in Florida on a golf getaway. But the son said that the wise father and the loyal younger brother, Ryan, gave him all the positive support he needed on a daily basis. When some got impatient to see production out of Bourque in his big chance with the Black and Gold, his Hall of Fame dad preached patience and relaxation.

All throughout the day I felt pretty comfortable and confident. Sometimes sitting out change your mindset a little bit, said Bourque, who finished with the one shot and a plus-1 in 13:05 of ice time. These are the best players in the world and it takes you a little while to slow things down and adjust to the speed. Then you start making your plays.

I talk to Ray every day. Were really close. He and my brother are the two guys I talk to about certain things and bounce things off them. They are two really good people to talk to. He just told me to play my game. Sometimes I go out of my comfort level and play a million miles an hour. Sometimes you try too hard if that makes sense. I just need to slow it down and play my game. Thats been good things happen.

The first good thing happened in game-winning fashion on a big stage Saturday night, and both Bourque and the Bruins hope that the best is yet to come.

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


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.