Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

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Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

NEW YORK They havent come up with a catchy name in New York like Legion of Doom or the French Connection quite yet, but pairing together Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik for Wednesday nights showdown with the Bruins was certainly worthy of a statement.
The line combined for three goals all scored off the stick of Gaborik and the three forwards finished with 15 shots on net and a plus-6 in New Yorks 4-3 overtime win at Madison Square Garden.
Its safe to say the line made its presence felt in the Bs dressing. There wasnt a single Bs player that could take the puck off Nashs stick as he darted around the ice, Richards simply put plays together and Gaborik dazzled with his speed and aggressive forays to the net.
Its huge. I think the three of them combined is like 26 million in payroll, so they definitely expect a lot out of them. They played great tonight and scored some big goals for the Rangers, said Milan Lucic. They caught us flat-footed in the beginning, but to see that hunger for us to get back into it was good.
Gaborik got two on the board in the first seven minutes of the game when it appeared the Bruins werent quite ready to play, and then scored the game-winner just 27 seconds into the overtime session.
The goals were all different: one was a set play run off a perfectly times Brad Richards redirect pass into the offensive zone with Gaborik and Nash charging hard from each wing, the second was a rebound of a Michael Del Zotto shot from the face-off circle with Andrew Ference and Dougie Hamilton providing an open pathway to the net and the last was a simple breakaway with the Rangers forward swatting the rebound attempt out of mid-air for the decisive goal.
Gaborik is a good player and he showed why tonight, said Johnny Boychuk, who was chasing the Rangers speedster on the overtime goal. Its obviously a really high-powered line when you put them all together. Youve just got to bear down and try to limit their chances. Theyre three of the best players in the league.
Tuukka Rask certainly did his best to shut the high-powered trio down after his defense failed him on the first two goals allowed within the first six minutes of the game. Both goalie and defensemen corps locked it down from that point, and the Bruins goaltender made the save of the night to preserve the overtime point.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the final minute of regulation Nash bombed down the right wing and fired a wrist shot that Rask was able to deflect, but the puck bounced right to Gaborik on the doorstep. The Rangers forward didnt get a great piece of the puck but shuffled a shot toward Tuukka that the Finnish goaltender was able to land on and start making snow angels.
The one-two combination of saves didnt help in overtime, however, as Rask made the initial stop on Gaborik, but the Slovakian superstar was able to swat the puck out of the air for the winner. Those are exactly the kind of plays that the Rangers have bought and paid for with all three members of the to-be-named forward line for the Blueshirts.

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask