Bruins engineer comeback with goalie pulled

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Bruins engineer comeback with goalie pulled

BOSTON -- Forty eight seconds was all it took to transform the Bruins from frustrated losers to stubborn competitors that salvaged a point where none had been just a minute before.

With the Bruins trailing by a 3-1 score with less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Claude Julien pulled goalie Tuukka Rask from the game and the Bruins scored two goals with the extra skaters to push overtime before falling by a 4-3 score in the shootout at TD Garden.

It was the first time the Bruins had scored twice with the goaltender pulled since Oct. 24, 2009 when they turned a 3-1 deficit against the Ottawa Senators into a 4-3 shootout victory.

It was wild. The fans are incredible, and it just seemed like once we got that first one (David Krejcis goal), we knew we were going to tie it up, said Brad Marchand, who scored the game-tying goal with 43 seconds to go in the third period. We just kept going, and its always fun having a game like that in our rink.

It just seems like our fans are so up for it and really enjoy it. Its just too bad we couldnt finish it off.

Mad scrambles in front of the New York Rangers net turned into goals for Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand, and Boston still only has one regulation loss in 11 games to start the season. Bruins players were happy they managed to get a point while becoming the first NHL team to come back from a three-goal deficit, but also a little peeved they had to author a furious comeback in the first place.

Its nice, for sure, to get the point. I think everybody is proud to get the point, said Andrew Ference. But I think if you went around the room a majority of guys are just ticked off that we spotted them the three goals. During the season you know those games happen where youre going to have to fight back and you have some breakdowns.

"I guess you focus on the positives, which was a good job at the end of jumping on loose pucks and really putting the pressure on.

A couple of guys came through by burying those chances, finally. It was a funny game. It was a weird game.

Midway through the third period a David Krejci goal cut Bostons deficit to 3-1 and gave the Bruins signs of life after theyd simply made too many mistakes in the first two periods. But things really got interesting once the Bruins pulled Rask from the game with less than two minutes in the third period. Andrew Ference teed up for a shot from the right point that Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save on, and Milan Lucic kept the puck alive when it bounced off his massive power forward body in front of the net.

The loose puck bounced right to Nathan Horton in front of the net and the right wing flipped the shot in for his fourth goal of the season to make it a 3-2 hockey game. Less than a minute later Patrice Bergeron had the puck in the slot and spotted Tyler Seguin wide open on the left wing for a potential game-tying goal.

Bergerons pass bounced off Ryan Callahans stick in front of the net and went right back to Brad Marchand in the right face-off circle. The Nose Face Killah cranked a wrist under the bar for the game-tying score and TD Garden went absolutely bonkers after watching the kind of comeback this batch of Bruins players have made believable.

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL. 

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold.