Bruins looking to bury their chances

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Bruins looking to bury their chances

WILMINGTON Right now the Bruins are allowing more goals (19) than theyre scoring (18), and thats not a recipe for success. The Bs are in the bottom third in the NHL with 2.25 goals per game, tied for 21st with the Dallas Stars, and they spent much of Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena working on finishing plays in the scoring areas.

The Bs started practice without Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask and instead placed four nets around the practice ice to encourage the players to shoot the puck often and go under the bar with their offensive attempts. It was an appropriate first step in three straight days of practice leading up to a home-and-home series against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and Saturday night.

Were trying to improve our scoring and getting better in those areas is something thats pretty important to us, said coach Claude Julien. Weve done this in the past . . . Its not the first time and hopefully it helps us along the way.

Weve got an opportunity to work on those kinds of things. I dont think were that far off, but weve just got to clean up a couple of areas that will allow us to score a little bit more. At the other end, too, I think we can do a little better and a little stingier. At both ends we could be a little bit better, balance things out and turn some of those losses into wins.

Skilled forwards like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, have gotten off to slow starts offensively given their abilities, and the Bs fourth line has only registered one point on the entire season. Second-year forward Tyler Seguin is off to a point-per-game start, but the rest of the Bs players know that its time to start finishing off some of the plays that have been out there on the ice for them.

There have been enough posts and crossbars already in eight games to last half a season for the Black and Gold, and anecdotally the Bs slow starts are partially due to the teams inability to finish off scoring chances early in the game. That was part of the story in the loss to the Sharks Saturday night, and its something the players are looking to correct.

You can have confidence and you just miss the net or the goalie makes a good stop, said Johnny Boychuk. But youve got to keep that confidence, so youll know you'll bury your chances the next time.

If you look at the game against San Jose we probably out-chanced them 2-to-1 by the end of the game. It seemed like we were taking the play to them. We just have to make sure were making good on our chances. We just need to make sure if we get a chance that were putting it in the net.

Thus far its a far cry from the Bruins team that averaged 2.98 goals per game last year, but its nearly the same cast of Bs characters as last season. The absence of Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle shouldnt be a mortal blow to the Bruins offense, so offensive answers are there.

Its just up to the Bruins to find the shooting range, and they were working on manufacturing that offense yet again Monday morning.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.