MARLBOROUGH Here are five thoughts from tonights preseason opener for the Providence Bruins against the Springfield Falcons at the New England Sports Center with the P-Bruins taking a dominant 4-1 victory. The goals were from Jamie Tardif, Justin Florek, Carter Camper and Matthew Pistilli, who continues to show a little something in the games for Providence.1) Will have more about this later, but Carter Camper is a guy that just keeps making offensive plays. Hes not even close to the biggest, the fastest or the guy with the hardest shot, but he always find himself in the right spot to make a play offensively. He set up a nice goal in Providences first scrimmage with a pass from behind the net, and he scored the Bs second goal on Wednesday against the Falcons. This was a dirty work power play goal where Camper simply crashed the net for the rebound of a David Warsofsky point shot, and then stuffed the loose puck home. Camper was impressive enough in the second half to get some face time in Boston when injuries hit the front line, and it looks like the Miami University alum has picked up right where he left off.2) Love the hustle and grit from Jared Knight. He was kept off the scoreboard despite a couple of good scoring chances, but he showed just how committed he is to impressing while winning a job. During the second period Knight smoked a shot off the crossbar that appeared destined to be a goal, but shook that off and sped back down the ice on defense. Knight then dropped to one knee at the top of the slot to block a shot seconds after catching iron, and continued to show the same commitment to intangibles hes been showing off in scrimmages as well. The offensive finish isnt quite there yet for Knight, but it will come.3) Ryan Spooner once again looked like the best offensive player out on the ice for either team. He slipped a cross-ice pass through traffic to Jamie Tardif that he wasnt quite able to finish in front of the net, but it gave onlookers an idea of just how effective the silky smooth Bs prospect is going to be at the AHL level this season. Provided he can stay healthy and play consistently, all of the signs continue to point to Spooner being a very effective top-six forward at the NHL level and a guy that can make players around him better.4) Its pretty clear the P-Bruins defensemen group has received the message that jobs are up for grabs in this camp. With nine blueliners signed to contracts, Providence can only hope to start the season with seven perhaps eight if they really push it defensemen on the roster. All were strong with David Warsofsky setting up a power play goal with a point shot and showing plenty of ability to escape traffic around the defensive end. Tommy Cross and Colby Cohen both showed polish and physicality youd expect from big, experienced blueliners. Zach Trotman didnt have quite the splash he enjoyed with a hat trick in the teams first scrimmage on Saturday, but there were no glaring errors on the defensive end either.5) Niklas Svedberg was much better between the pipes after a couple of shaky scrimmage performances, and Michael Hutchinson looked like the experienced, poised performer between the pipes. Granted the defense was very good and at times stifling in front of them, but Hutchinson finished with a shutout performance stopping 12 shots in the first half of the game. Svedberg allowed one goal as Springfield found their legs in the third period, but he was much better at tracking the puck while showing impressive athleticism going post-to-post. Both Adam Morrison and Shaun Hunwick didnt get a chance to play against Springfield on opening night.
BOSTON -- Anybody looking for an emotional, high-energy response from the Bruins after back-to-back putrid losses to the Islanders and Red Wings didn’t get it on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.
Instead the Bruins had plenty of shots with zero goals to show for it, and then gave up a goal to Marian Hossa on a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 regulation win over the Black and Gold. It was the third straight loss for a Bruins team that continues to sink down in the playoff picture at a time of years when the results are the only thing that matters.
The defeat could also very well cost B’s head coach Claude Julien his job as a lifeless Bruins organization looks for any way to get out of the mud they’ve been stuck in for the last six weeks.
The Bruins and Blackhawks couldn’t crack the scoreboard for the first 50 minutes in regulation, and the genuine scoring chances were few and far between for both sides.
Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron had scoring chances down low in the first period, and Joe Morrow had a breakaway turned away by Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling early in the proceedings. But the scoring chances and sustained attack really began to dry up in the second period, and it became a series of one-and-done shots on net for both sides.
As one would expect both goalies were stellar with Darling putting together a 16-save performance in the first period, and Tuukka Rask turning away several Blackhawks chances including an Artem Anisimov wrist shot off the rush with just a couple of minutes to go in the third period. Rask finished with 21 saves, and Darling finished with 30 saves in a big win for the Chicago backup netminder.
BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.
The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat.
There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.
David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.
“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.
“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.
“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”
The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season.