B's trying to avoid familiar struggles

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B's trying to avoid familiar struggles

WILMINGTON, Mass. The Bruins are taking great care to keep frustration and high emotions at bay.

It was both team feelings that spiraled out of control during their 3-7 start in the month of October, and got the Bs out of their team concepts when things didnt go their way early in those games. The Bruins hit posts, missed open nets and simply couldnt finish off plays in a series of tight games that turned into an embarrassingly sluggish start pretty quickly.

Those offensive performance problems cropped up again in their two consecutive losses to the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers.

There are lots of reasons to want to play better and redeem ourselves, said Claude Julien. We hit four or five posts against the Panthers, but the game before we didnt score much and havent been burying our chances. You cant just chalk that up to bad luck, so we need to be better that way.

We didnt make a lot of mistakes defensively, but a lot of their scoring chances were off our turnovers. So there is lots of room for us to improve wither its winning or losing. We need to look at it that way.

But Brad Marchand doesnt see a connection between a Cup-winning team staggering out of the starting gate, and a team floating through a midseason lull after playing dominant hockey for a month.

The pesky Bs winger talked about the Bruins continuing to create scoring chances, but it also might be a hockey team taking the foot off the gas pedal every so slightly.

You want them to go in, but the fact that weve gotten the opportunities speaks volumes for the way weve played, said Marchand. Sometimes you have games where they dont go in and sometimes you have games where everything goes in. I dont think were frustrated right now by any means, though, after the run we just had.

We could maybe bear down a little more in front of the net. But weve had good opportunities and run into a couple of hot goalies making great saves at the right times. As long as were getting opportunities we have to be happy.

The Bruins managed only a single goal a greasy Shawn Thornton goal in the third period of their loss to Winnipeg but hit five posts against the Panthers in their second shutout defeat of the season. Milan Lucic was stoned on a wide open shot from the slot when Jose Theodore made a sweeping glove save and Thorntons line couldnt flip a puck into a net vacated by the Florida goaltender when the Bs got their chances early in the game.

The Bruins power play cranked at close to a 25 percent success clip during the month of November as well, but the man advantage has gone 0-for-7 in the two losses. Thats one area that can be turned around quickly, and should given how much better the puck movement and chemistry between teammates is this season.

It starts with freeing Zdeno Chara up for more steaming one-time slap shots from the between the face-off dots, and then opens up everything else on a man advantage that can supply offense even when things arent falling for the Bruins during five on-five play.

Columbus doesnt represent the normal wakeup call team for the Bruins, but it doesnt seem to matter much with the Bruins looking to break up the two-game losing stretch.

Everyone in here is trying to get that spark. Its going to happen, said Tyler Seguin, who finished with a pair of shots on net in his return to the lineup after a healthy scratch against Winnipeg. Its a long season and everyone is going to go through droughts when we cant find the back of the net. But were still working hard at it. I think the effort is there and its about bearing down now.

It seemed for more than a month that nothing could go wrong for the Bruins offensively, but now thats been turned on its ear. Its time for the Black and Gold to reserve that trend before they begin undoing all the good work they did for more than a month of butt-kicking Bruins hockey.

Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

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Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

The Bruins have announced their lineup for Saturday night’s preseason road game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center and it will include the exhibition schedule debuts of World Cup players David Backes and David Pastrnak.

Both forwards have been skating with the training camp group since Wednesday and will ramp things up after taking a couple of days to recharge following the tournament in Toronto.

Those two veterans, one of the older and one of the extremely younger variety, will mix in with the B’s group that’s been in camp for the past 10 days working out together and gaining chemistry on forward lines working together for two practice sessions each day at Warrior Ice Arena.

A number of B’s players will be back in the lineup on Saturday night after skating in Friday night’s 2-1 overtime win against the Red Wings including: Colby Cave, Seth Griffith, Danton Heinen, Joe Morrow and Riley Nash. 

Here’s the full Black and Gold lineup against the Broad Street Bullies with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre getting the call in Philly with one of them most likely to get the entire game between the pipes a la Anton Khudobin in Detroit on Friday night: Backes, Chris Casto, Colby Cave, Tommy Cross, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle, Seth Griffith, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Zane McIntyre, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Malcolm Subban and Jakub Zboril.

Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

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Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner.