Bruins find their game amidst rough stuff

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Bruins find their game amidst rough stuff

The Bruins donned Irish Green Spoked B hockey sweaters on St. Patricks Day for their pregame warm-up on Saturday afternoon, but it was the hard hats and blue collar attitude that made all the difference for a Bs squad in need of something special.

The Bruins set the pace early with a pair of fights in the first period and dictated the physical tone throughout the game with a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. That was the all-too-familiar blueprint for Bs victory that theyve strayed too far from recently.

The Bruins outhit the Flyers by a 28-17 total at the end of the shootout victory that snapped a four-game losing streak, and they played with the kind of emotional snarl they need to be successful. It was the kind of Bruins hockey that was totally absent during their recent two-game disaster in Florida.

Its what I talked about before the game: Lets just be committed, lets go out there and play with some energy and some desire and have some fun out there. The one thing we couldnt do today is play on our heels and squeeze our sticks, said Claude Julien. So I really pushed a lot at the beginning of the day to make sure our guys were focused on doing that versus being nervous and fearing the worst. We just went out there, and it was about winning at all costs and doing what needed to be done.

It all started in the first period when Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with hard-hitting Zac Rinaldo while seeking to give the Bruins an emotional spark. It was an evenly-matched hockey fight between a pair of high-energy players, and the scrap infused a weary Black and Gold bunch with the kind of energy they desperately searched for.

The fourth line center said it was simply a part of him doing his job.

There are interchanging roles on this team and everybody has to play at different parts. Sometimes thats whats needed: a spark or a little bit of energy to throw at the team, said Campbell. I think this was a big game for our team. It provided energy, and Im just trying to help out anyway I can. In that situation I think it was good in front of a home crowd to just to spark a little life into the team.

But rather than allow the energy to slacken after Campbell stepped up with an emotional response, the Bruins kept taking swings at the Flyers heavy bag. Adam McQuaid and Flyers pest Scott Hartnell got tangled up, but the Philly winger wanted nothing to do with the towering blueliner. Then Zdeno Chara skated by, barked at Hartnell and both tone-setting players started exchanging slashes on each others legs up the ice.

Hartnell backed down to the 6-foot-9 Bs defenseman once again when things started getting too testy, and that sequence set a tone for the rest of the game. Boston kept bringing hard hits and determined physicality to the playoff-style table, and the Flyers kept right on absorbing abuse.

It resulted in a pair of Flyers players (Andreas Lilja, Max Talbot) leaving the game with injuries, and Talbot going down with an upper body injury after dropping the gloves with Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk. The Bs blueliner dropped Talbot with a pair of quick right-handed punches, and Talbot went to the dressing room for repairs while sitting in the penalty box.

Once again the Broad Street Bullies were on the receiving end of a beating authored by a Bruins team finding their way.

We know what we have. We know the leaders and character we have on this team and its been a tough few games. We all know that, said Zdeno Chara. But theres nothing we can do about them we just have to look ahead of us and finish really strong. Really establish our game again going into the playoffs and really focus for the next one.

Reestablishing the Bruins game is all about getting back in touch with their inner intimidator, and the Bs did just that Saturday afternoon while ending up on the victorious end. Thats what it took to get back into the winning ways, and thats what its going to take for the Bruins to stay there.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.