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.

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

DORCHESTER –Bruins general manager Don Sweeney spoke last weekend of the need for big winger Jimmy Hayes to step up next season if Loui Eriksson should indeed depart via free agency.

“I think Jimmy had a pretty good start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that,” said Sweeney. “We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player. He played a lot with Ryan Spooner.

“I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

Hayes heard that loud and clear just as he received the same message during exit interviews with the Bruins back in April, and knows that he needs to simply put more into next season.

Hayes’ numbers dropped from the previous season with the Florida Panthers, and he finished with 13 goals, 29 points and a minus-12 while going through long stretches where he completely disappeared on the ice. That’s a difficult thing for a 6-foot-6 forward to do, but Hayes managed while going weeks at a time without scoring and failing to play the big man’s game around the net on most nights.

The 26-year-old Hayes knows that needs to change for both his personal benefit and for the well-being of the Black and Gold this upcoming season.

“It’s definitely something that’s going to motivate me beyond just already motivating myself [this summer]. We had our own discussions [during exit interviews], and I know I’ve got to bounce back and have a strong season,” said Hayes. “I need to make sure I help my team win, and that’s what it’s all about. I want to be consistent and available every night to try get two points for our team, and get us as an organization back where we want to be.

“We just talked about how the season went, and we were really up-front with each other. We just want to continue to get better and more consistent, and get better through the season rather than have these spurts where you’re putting up numbers. And if you’re not scoring then you’ve got to find other ways to help the team win, and get to those areas where you’re going to get rewarded for going to those hard areas on a consistent basis.”

This isn’t the first time that Hayes has said all the right things about turning around his game, and really, truly living up to the hope he could be a big-bodied factor down low for the Black and Gold tipping, redirecting, screening and shoveling home rebounded pucks from areas all around the front of the net.