Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Panthers

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Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Panthers

SUNRISE, FL Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins down by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at the BankAtlantic Center.

FIRST PERIOD

1) Tough first period for a Bruins team looking for a break. The Bs play a good, solid period and Tim Thomas looks good enough between the pipes. But allowing a goal on six shots faced still isnt getting it done and there are a lot of high, unaltered shots that are somehow getting through Thomas on the way to the Boston net. He still needs to be better.

2) Perfectly legal hip check on Brad Marchand from Brian Campbell, and the Florida defenseman refuses to drop the gloves with Patrice Bergeron of all people to answer for it. Then Marchand chases after Campbell and gets an unsportsmanlike conduct call when he goes looking for retribution. Marchand needs to play a certain way while also realizing hes not going to get any breaks from the referees. But its pretty weak sauce for Campbell refusing to man up when challenged by Bergeron.

3) Awful, awful call on Shawn Thornton that led to the Bruins goal. Keaton Ellerby basically fell down with Thornton on his back near the side boards and the Bruins enforcer was called for cross-checking. Of course it led to a Florida power play goal after the Bruins had played a decent opening period. Just the way things are breaking for the Bruins right now.

4) Seventh straight game the Bruins have allowed the first goal to their opponents. They cant be successful if theyre constantly chasing after it, and the Panthers are the kind of team that will lock it down once they have a lead.

5) Jordan Caron looks good skating around with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Good bid for Caron on a drop-back pass from Lucic near the blue line that opened No. 38 up for a big wrist shot. But Jose Theodore was there to make the stop.

SECOND PERIOD

1) The Bs fourth line on the ice again for two more goals against. Theyve had an up-and-down year and just havent been as good as they were last season, and tonights another example though its not close to all the Merlot Lines fault.

2) Zdeno Chara needs to quit the first breakout pass through the middle of the ice. One of them handcuffs Gregory Campbell, gets the Bs hemmed into their own zone and turns into a John Madden goal. There were two or three other instances of those passes turning into scoring chances for Florida tonight.

3) Brad Marchand has been effectively bottled up after taking that Brian Campbell hit in the first period. They havent been on the ice for any of the goals allowed, but they also have also only generated four shots on net while KrejciLucicCaron has two shots on net. Not enough offensive chances created by those top two lines.

4) Dennis Seidenberg is getting knocked off the puck left, right and center. Love the German defenseman but he looks as tired as anybody else on the Bruins team after taking a lot of hits and pounding over the last two years.

5) Just no snap from the Bruins. Watch Marco Sturm diving head first into the net to try and get at a Tim Thomas rebound. He was unsuccessful, but nobody on the Bruins is playing with that kind of bounce or emotional urgency.

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

BOSTON – Conventional NBA wisdom tells you that getting out to score in transition is a good thing, usually serving as easy points scored, which is what every team wants, right?
 
But bundles of transition points have been nothing but trouble for the Celtics this season.
 
They are coming off a game against the New York Knicks in which they scored 22 fast-break points, which was their second-best showing this season. But the final score, a 117-106 loss, wasn’t all that unusual from what has happened this season when their transition game has generated a decent amount of scoring.
 
Boston has a 2-6 record this season when they score 16 or more fast-break points. On the nights when Boston’s fast-break offense generates 10 or fewer points?
 
They’re 11-5.
 
While there are several possible reasons why this is, here’s what you have to remember.
 
The Celtics are a ball-movement, 3-point shooting team.
 
Often that means they’ll pass up potential shots in transition, to instead work the ball around from one side of the floor to the other, until they get what they deem is the best shot to take (usually it’s a lightly contested to wide open 3-pointer).
 
The Celtics average 329.6 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.8). Not surprisingly, that has led to them ranking among the league’s leaders in assists (24.9, third in the NBA).
 
And that has led to Boston being ranked among the top-3 in several other key passing statistics, such as secondary assists (7.1, 2nd in the NBA); potential assists (49.5, 2nd); and assists points created (60.8, 3rd);
 
Here are a few more stats to crunch on, courtesy of CSN Associate Producer Andy Levine.
 
PAINT BY NUMBERS: When the Celtics score 40 percent or less of their points in the paint, they are 19-5 this season. When Boston gets 40 percent or more of its points in the paint, they are just 7-11.
 
BROWN IN THE FOURTH: Jaylen Brown has been among the better rookies this season, especially in the fourth quarter. Among rookies who played in at least 20 games in the fourth quarter, Brown is second in fourth quarter shooting at 54.9 percent. With those same standards, he’s sixth in shooting 3’s in the fourth at 38.5 percent.
 
CROWDER BOUNCES BACK: The past four games has seemingly brought out the best in Crowder. In that span, he has averaged 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range. Crowder’s 3-point shooting of late has elevated him to seventh in the league while connecting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point attempts (minimum 150 attempts).

OUCH! It has not been a smooth start for Evan Turner with his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers. This season, Turner’s plus/minus is -234, which is the fourth-worst plus/minus in the NBA.