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.

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The Bruins lost Matt Beleskey for six weeks to a knee injury this week, and now they’re hoping to get another winger back now that 22-year-old Frank Vatrano has rejoined the Bruins at practice.

Vatrano was wearing a red no-contact jersey at Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, but his presence along with the other players at the team skate means that he’s moving closer toward a return to the B’s lineup. While initial timetables for his recovery from foot surgery had him in the early January range for returning to the Bruins lineup, it appears that he might be at least a couple of weeks ahead of that initial expectation.

Either way Vatrano is happy to be back on the ice with his teammates after the torn ligaments in his foot wiped out his training camp and the first two plus months of the regular season for him.

“It was a big step for me today. It was nice to be out there with the guys for the first time,” said Vatrano, who scored a combined 44 goals last season for Providence and Boston in a breakout season with the B’s organization. “I’ve gone through the rehab and done everything I need to do to get back playing, so now the next step is getting back on the ice with the guys. I felt great, so now it’s just waiting to hear the news when I start playing again.”

While Vatrano is still a young, relatively inexperienced player with just one full year of pro hockey under his belt, the sense from the Bruins is that he’s going to help a team that’s currently ranked 25th in the NHL in offense. Claude Julien was encouraged by seeing him out there in the red, no-contact jersey that his teammates were chirping him about, and said that his level play at last spring’s world championships should give him confidence when he jumps back into a big role with the Black and Gold.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Frank. That’s the best way for him to get to the pace of our game because it’s going to take a while when you’ve been out that long,” said Vatrano. “I think his experience at world championships last year is a real blessing in disguise because he gained a lot of confidence there. I think that’s going to help him a lot more than had he not gone.

“He played against a lot of elite players last year, and he fared really well. I think he’ll be coming in now with some confidence, and we just have to sure coming in that we give him every opportunity to succeed by using him properly, and giving him a chance to find his game.”

That certainly sounds like the Bruins are preparing for a top-6 role and maybe some power play time once the young, sharp-shooting Vatrano is back up to full speed. That should be fun to watch once he’s ready to play, and ready to again unleash that shot and release that rivals anybody else for tops on the Bruins roster. 

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place.