Bruins on lookout for secondary scoring

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Bruins on lookout for secondary scoring

BOSTON -- The Bruins solved some of their offensive problems with Claude Juliens line-juggling of a few days ago, but now a secondary problem has cropped up.

A secondary scoring problem, that is.

The Bruins have reaped each of their last six goals from David Krejci, Tyler Seguin or Milan Lucic. They have received exactly zero offense from any of the other three forward lines.

For a team that has always prided itself on overwhelming opponents with wave after wave of depth, the Bruins are top-heavy with their scoring and looking a lot more like the ordinary offenses around the NHL.

Once an opponent needs only to strangle one forward line offensively to hold down a team, they become much easier to stop and contain. Right now, the Bruins are too easy to bottle up and contain offensively, as they were in the 32 loss to the New York Islanders at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.

Claude Julien attributed some of it to bad luck and some of it to the natural ebb and flow of the season, but also sent out a clarion call for some offensive production outside of the newly pimped out first line.

I think youd like to see a little bit more secondary scoring. But when youre missing guys like Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton, those are guys that, every game, have scoring chances, said Julien. So you just lost two of those, which really takes a lot away from your hockey club.

So you need to rely on guys to do a little bit more, and thats what were pushing our team to do here, is to try and spread out that scoring. We want to not have to put the pressure on the same guys night in, night out.

Patrice Bergeron has only scored goals in one of his last eight games, Brad Marchand scored goals in two of his last 11 games, Chris Kelly has one goal in his last 19 games and Benoit Pouliot has one goal in his last 24 games. The injuries and line-shuffling basically took three balanced, effective scoring lines and tore them asunder with little chance of joining them back together again before the postseason begins.

Lucic has been one of the guys producing for the Bruins as he did with a power play goal in the first period, but he said the most important thing to help the Black and Gold overcome their issues is to hold off on laying blame.

Thats easier said than done, and it will become a moot issue if some of the quiet secondary offensive forces can step up and make themselves heard with opportunity knocking like its Heavens Door.

Its difficult when key guys are out of the lineup. Weve had key guys out of the lineup in the past few seasons and its given an opportunity for other guys to step up, said Lucic. Were not pointing fingers at anyone. I think its a group effort. Everyone has to step up a little bit more and do a little bit more to try to fill that void.

As the Bs power forward said, its time for every member of the Bruins to step up and provide that essential secondary scoring because it appears theres going to be whole lot of Lane MacDermid, Jordan Caron and Michael Hutchinson over the next few weeks.

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that. 

 

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara said he is “feeling better” after going through a full practice with the Bruins, but the captain won’t be making the one game road trip to Buffalo for Saturday afternoon’s matinee game vs. the Sabres. 

Chara was going through line rushes and battle drills with the rest of his teammates while practicing for the second day in a row, but made it clear that his lower body injury hasn’t been cleared for game action yet. 

“It’s day-to-day. It feels better…yeah. But it’s still day-to-day,” said a rather laconic Chara when it came to questions about his injury. “It would feel much better [to play] than it feels [not playing].”

Claude Julien said his 39-year-old defenseman has moved into true “day-to-day” status as he nears a return after missing what will be his sixth game in a row on Saturday afternoon, but that he isn’t quite ready to go just yet.

“[Chara] and [Noel] Acciari won’t be on the trip,” said Julien. “I think [Chara] is getting pretty close. When you see him at practice things are going pretty well for him. I think that the term day-to-day is fitting for him right now. A lot of times when we say day-to-day we don’t know whether it’s going to be two days, three days or even a week. But in his case I would say that day-to-day is really day-to-day now with him.” 

One thing the Bruins can be heartened by is that they’ve managed to survive without Chara: the B’s have gone 2-2-1 and allowed just nine goals in the five games since their No. 1 defenseman went down. They have been able to continue collecting points in sometimes ugly, workmanlike fashion. 

That gives the Bruins the luxury of not rushing their D-man along before he’s ready and gives some of their other defensemen added confidence that they can effectively do the job with or without their 6-foot-9 stopper.