Devils' Fayne looking for a shot at redemption

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Devils' Fayne looking for a shot at redemption

NEWARK, NJ Devils defenseman Mark Fayne is well-known around hockey circles in New England, so there were plenty of disappointed faces watching Game 1 of the Cup Finals when Fayne missed his chance at a game-winning goal in the third period.

The entire Prudential Center crowd groaned, knowing another prime scoring chance might not present itself. Fayne's shot sailed wide as he never really got enough wood on the erratic puck to put it on net.

The puck was wobbling and the ice at the humid Prudential Center was nothing short of brutal, but the former Nobles and Greenough defenseman still pulled a Glen Wesley on a wide-open rebound shot.

For a kid that was born in Nashua, New Hampshire and grew up playing in select hockey teams all across New England, Fayne knows exactly what that is and knows that its not a good thing at all.

When you envision playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, thats definitely not the moment that youre dreaming about, admitted Fayne. The good thing is that weve got plenty of chances to redeem ourselves.

That left things undecided into overtime, and Anze Kopitar sealed the deal for the Kings with his sweet overtime goal to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the series. Fayne wasnt the only Devils player to whiff on a scoring chance David Clarkson had one off the post and another high-and-wide but he admitted that he was dwelling on it immediately after the loss.

Yeah, you just gotta put it behind you," said Fayne, who starred as a defenseman at Providence College. It's one of those things that it's tough to deal with right now, but once you go to bed you've got to forget about it.

Fayne and the rest of his New Jersey Devils admit that the big stage of the Stanley Cup Finals got to them, and they know they need to be better if they hope to even the series with the Kings headed back to Los Angeles.

That starts with generating a much greater forecheck than the timid, half-hearted attack that took the ice on Wednesday night. If players like Fayne and Clarkson can bury their chances against a Conn Smythe candidate like Jonathan Quick, that would help, too.

Thats what you have to do, said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. LA bottles teams up through the neutral zone. Weve got to do more of that. They stand you up, take away your time and space. You have to get in behind them. You have to have good support. We need more of that.

Weve got to do more. I think we made it too easy on Quick. We had some opportunities. But we didnt do enough to make it tough on him.

They also need to shoot the puck more. New Jersey had their chances that went by the boards, but those missed open nets are magnified when there are only a few handfuls of shots and even fewer legitimate scoring chances.

If Fayne and the Devils cant muster more than 18 shots on net in a game and rely on bouncing pucks off Los Angeles defenseman for their goals, then it could be a very quick series indeed.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.