Bruins lose first of the season to Rangers in OT, 4-3

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Bruins lose first of the season to Rangers in OT, 4-3

NEW YORK The Rangers were challenged to show some desperation and mental toughness in their rematch against the Bruins, and they did just that in another hotly contested, tight game between the two Eastern Conference titans.
The Bruins dropped back early after allowing a pair of goals in the first period, and never truly had a grasp in a contest they eventually dropped by a 4-3 overtime score at Madison Square Garden for their first loss of the season.
Nathan Horton had fired home a third period goal to tie things at 3-3 and push it into overtime, but a Marian Gaborik breakaway happened in the opening seconds of overtime when Andrew Ference couldnt handle a bouncing puck at the blue line. Gaborik snapped home the rebound after Tuukka Rask made initial save, and finished with a hat trick in the victory.
Early on, New Yorks super forward line of Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Brad Richards did all the damage for the Rangers: a designed play by New York led to a Nash and Gaborik two-on-1 where the smaller, skilled Gaborik buried a shot under the crossbar. Rangers head coach John Tortorella then double-shifted that line to get them on the ice without Zdeno Chara, and Gaborik managed to snap in a rebound goal with Dougie Hamilton far out of defensive position away from the net.
The Bruins fought back with a Hamilton-to-Brad Marchand connection on the power play that snapped an 0-for-11 streak to start the season. The Hamilton assist was the first point of his NHL career. Milan Lucic followed with a beastly score after he kept attacking rebounds in front of the New York net, and finally backhanded one home to tie things up at 2-2.
The deadlock lasted less than a minute before the Rangers once again grabbed the one-goal lead on a Taylor Pyatt strike, and it stayed that way until Hortons third period strike.
GOLD STAR: The rare plaudit for a non-Bruins player, but Marian Gaborik deserved plenty of credit for the overtime win against the Bruins. He capped off the hat trick with the overtime game-winner and, along with Rick Nash, had a game-high six shots on net in the victory. His game-breaking speed led to the first goal to open the game and put the Bruins on their heels, and the overtime game-winner when Andrew Ference couldnt handle a bouncing puck at the blue line. The ridiculously talented line of Marian GaborikRick NashBrad Richards certainly made their best case to stick together for a while after John Tortorella put them together for tonights big tilt.BLACK EYE: The fourth line give and the fourth line take away. After playing a big role in the opening night win over the Rangers, the Bruins energy line had a tough night against the Blueshirts. Gregory Campbell did manage to pick up an assist on Nathan Hortons goal, but Shawn Thornton finished with 4:13 of ice time and didnt play another shift after a failed clearing attempt led to Taylor Pyatts goal in the second period. Along with providing energy, the fourth line has to keep the puck out of the back of the net when theyre on the ice in order to effective.HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask gave up four goals, but actually might have been one of the best Bruins on the ice in a pretty entertaining, quality game. The first two goals allowed by the Bruins goaltender were pretty clear defensive breakdowns one of them a nice designed play with a good chip from Brad Richards and the Finnish netminder came up with a one-two combo save on Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik in the last minute of regulation that preserved the overtime point. Those are the kinds of saves that a No. 1 goaltender makes, and Rask has been up to the task early in the season.TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it arrived in the first period after theyd already taken the best few punches at the Rangers could deliver, and were down by a 1-0 score. With less than three minutes to go in the period where the Bruins had looked shaky and maybe even a little rattled, Adam McQuaid lost it when Brian Boyle shot a puck at his legs after the Rangers center had been whistled off-sides. So McQuaid went right after Boyle and landed a few heavy rights to his face as the former Boston College forward tried to hold the rugged defense away from him. The Bs defensemans teammates credited that with helping spark the comeback that ensued in the following two periods.BY THE NUMBERS: 1 the number of career NHL points for 19-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton after he collected his first assist on Brad Marchands power play goal in the second period. There will be many more of those to come.QUOTE TO NOTE: We thought we were ready to play but I guess we werent. But we came back and showed that we can come back. It was a really good game by us after the first period. Nathan Horton, on the Bs willingness to scratch back after being down 2-0 early to the Rangers in their barn.

Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

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Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

BRIGHTON – Only two Bruins players spoke to the media following the team’s first informal captain’s practice at the new Warrior Ice Arena facility, and it happened to be the two key players coming back from offseason surgery.

Torey Krug had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder shortly after last season was over, and David Krejci had hip surgery to take care of a lower body issue that had bothered him for each of the last two seasons. Both were on the ice on Monday morning along with John-Michael Liles, Adam McQuaid, Frank Vatrano and Noel Acciari, though Krejci hopped off the ice 15 minutes into the session once the skating drills started to ramp up.

Similarly, Krug wasn’t taking any one-timers or winding up for slap shots while working with the puck during drills amidst a six month recovery window that’s expected to carry over into October. Both said that playing on opening night was their goal at this point still weeks ahead of NHL training camp, but a decision should be forthcoming for Krejci when it comes to the World Cup of Hockey. It didn’t sound like the playmaking pivot was going to end up competing for Team Czech Republic in the tournament, but Krejci isn't shutting the door just yet.

“It’s another day closer. I did a little bit more stuff today and I’m obviously already on the ice, so I’m kind of getting there. This injury takes time, but I like where I’m at right now,” said Krejci, who originally hurt the left hip in the final preseason game prior to the 2014-15 seasons. “Every day is a step closer. I’m excited for tomorrow. If you asked me a long time ago [about the World Cup] then I would have said ‘yes’, but right now I just want to get to 100 percent.

“If I’m ready then that would be awesome, but if not then I have to do what I have to do to be 100 percent. I’m in contact with the national team coach, and we talk pretty every week. They’re asking about my updates, so they know what’s going on. I’m sure they have some backup plan if it’s not going to work out. We’ll see what happens.”

It’s not quite as cut-and-dry with Krug, who will start slowly going into training camp while ramping up to being ready as quickly as possible. Similar to Krejci, the shoulder injury was something Krug played with pretty much all of last season while scoring a career-low four goals in 81 games. The 25-year-old D-man wasn’t using the bum right shoulder as an excuse, but said he’s looking forward to feeling good as new again as soon as possible.

“When you miss the playoffs it’s a long summer, but I was very fortunate going through the shoulder surgery that I had a lot of time to recover,” said Krug, who averaged a career-high 21:37 of ice time last season. “Hopefully I’ll be good to go for the first game. I didn’t know what to expect, but from a medical standpoint they tell me that [I’m ahead of schedule]. I’d never been through a surgery or anything like this, but I feel good.

“It’s probably a harder road, but I’m in good hands and they tell me I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m not even using my shoulder shooting the puck. I’m taking it slow and day-by-day with plenty of time still leading up to camp. It’s probably going to be a play it by ear situation [to start camp]. They said six month, so camp would be about five months. So I doubt I’ll be taking part in the physical aspect of it [to start camp]. We’ll see how it goes.”

The bad news is that Krejci and Krug had to go through surgery at all last spring, but it sounds like both aren’t going to miss much, if any, time at all for the B’s once the regular season winds up. 

Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

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Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

BRIGHTON – The Bruins held their first informal skate at the new Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning and there were a number of players present that also took part in the Jimmy Vesey recruiting session a few weeks ago.

Both Torey Krug and David Krejci skated on Monday along with John-Michael Liles, Frank Vatrano, Adam McQuaid and Noel Acciari, and those two aforementioned Black and Gold veterans were also part of the recruiting group that met with the former Harvard captain at their new practice facility.

A few days later, Vesey spurned the Bruins to sign with the New York Rangers, and the reactions weren’t all that overheated from the B’s players. Krug played with Vesey on Team USA during the World Championships a little more than a year ago, and didn’t really begrudge the highly sought Hobey Baker Award winner choosing the Blueshirts.

“I’m not going to go into details. He had the right to do what he did, and obviously it was a smart decision to interview with all those teams and figure out the best fit for him,” said Krug. “We wanted to him here, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Now we move on, and there’s an opportunity for other guys to step in and take that spot. This group moving forward, we’re highly motivated this year.”

Krejci would have been Vesey’s center, as pitched by the Bruins management in the meeting with Vesey, but that wasn’t enough to woo him to play pro hockey in his hometown. Krejci said he was more disappointed losing linemate Loui Eriksson than falling short in the Vesey sweepstakes. The carousel of changing wingers will be moving once again for the B’s pivot.

“I wasn’t really disappointed with that guy. Obviously I’d heard he was a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed that we weren’t able to keep Loui. I felt like we had some good chemistry going,” said Krejci, referencing 30-goal scorer Eriksson departing for the Vancouver Canucks and a six-year, $36 million contract. “It was tough to see him go, but I’m getting kind of used to seeing my guys, my favorite guys, going away [like] Milan [Lucic], Nathan [Horton] and [Jarome] Iginla.

“So I’m going to have to play my game, and find chemistry with whoever is going to play on my line. I did meet him, and talked to him a bit. In the summer there aren’t many [hockey] things for people to talk about, so this [Vesey watch] was something for people to talk about. Obviously there was pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess. I feel like he would have been a good fit on our team, but he made the decision he did. I don’t know exactly why he made the decision that he didn’t want to stay [in Boston], but it’s his career and he has all the right to decide where it is he wants to play.”

So Vesey becomes just another Harvard grad headed to New York City to start his career, and the Bruins will likely turn to Vatrano or perhaps rookie playmaker Danton Heinen as left wing candidates alongside Krejci and David Pastrnak after Boston missed out on both Eriksson and Vesey this summer. 

 

Monday, Aug. 29: Jones settles in as ‘the man’ with Sharks

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Monday, Aug. 29: Jones settles in as ‘the man’ with Sharks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while largely satisfied with the payoff from “The Night of” on HBO. I’m fully satisfied from watching that rather than catching even one minute of the VMAs.

*Martin Jones is still pretty new to all of this as he settles into his role as “the man” between the pipes for the San Jose Sharks.

*Alex Ovechkin is now a married man, apparently.

*A pretty good rundown on a piece about the explosion of statistical analysis in sports where so much of it is simply stating the obvious. I don’t need a bar graph to tell me a player is struggling when I can plainly see it on the ice.

*Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is optimistic that his team can overcome the injury bug to start their season defending their Stanley Cup championship.

*Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has had a long offseason to ponder his Game 7 meltdown in the playoffs.

*This Alex Radulov era in Montreal promises to be an interesting one for both the enigmatic, talented Russian and the Habs.

*For something completely different: I’m sure pro wrestling aficionado James Stewart is a little green with envy that my Mr. Fuji tweet made the Washington Post. It was a sad day learning that the Devious One had been elevated up to the big squared circle in the sky.