Haggerty's Bruins-Penguins preview


Haggerty's Bruins-Penguins preview

The Bruins are going to have a bit of a different look on Tuesday night, but they're still the Boston Bruins. They still want to win. Marty Turco will make his fourth start for the Bruins against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it could very well be his final appearancewith the B's and with the NHL.

Fresh-faced collegiate rookie Torey Krug will also be playing in his first NHL game after signing an entry-level deal with the Bruins last week, and the B's are expected to hold some key players back from the road game in Ottawa on Thursday night as well.

"The one thing is we want to keep our intensity and we want to keep our game going in the right direction. There's no such thing as letting your guard down. I think right now, you don't want to get into bad habits. You have the opportunity to mix your lineup a little bit guys in and out and giving certain guys rest. But at the same time, whoever's playing you need them to be at their best. That's what we talked about", said Claude Julien. "The intensity's got to be there,the desire to win, the will to do what you have to do has to be thereand that can't take a break. We have the opportunity here to givecertain players as we move forward here well-deserved rest for a lotof those guys. We've had to overtax maybe certain players at some point because of injuries and certain situations. Right now we can hopefully give them a bit of a break."

The resting begins on Tuesday night against the Penguins, and will continue until the playoffs are expected to start April 12 at TD Garden against an opponent to be determined.

PLAYER MOST IN NEED OF A TIRE PUMP: Rich Peverley has no points, two shots on net and a plus-1 in his last three games after returning from injury, and looks like he's continuing to get his wind and legs back. Peverley had a long break when he sat out with a sprained right knee, so the shifty winger is one B's player that won't be getting much time off over the final three games. But it appears he could use it tostill get in touch with his game over the season's final nine days before the playoffs.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: "The last thing you want to do is coast through these last few games and think that all of a sudden playoffs are going to start -- and everything is going well. You can't just turn the switch on. You certainly don't plan on putting the switch off here and then turning it on the first game of the playoffs. We're a team, that for two months, struggled to get consistency and now we're starting to get it. We certainly don't want to let it go." Claude Julien on the fine line the Bruins must toe over the final three games.

KEY MATCH-UP: It's always about Zdeno Chara neutralizing Evgeni Malkin when the Bruins play the Penguins, but now he's got plenty of other weapons to worry about. James Neal bowled over the entire Bruins defense during the first period of Boston's loss in Pittsburgh at the beginning of the month and Sidney Crosby is back stirring the drink for the Penguins. This should be one final challenge for Chara before he gets a little deserved rest time for the rest of the regular season.

STAT TO WATCH: 7-1-1 the B's record in their last nine games, which they clearly hope to improve upon even if some of the substitutes are getting the starter's reps against the Penguins.

INJURIES: Nathan Horton (concussion) is out and doesn't appear close to returning at any point this season. Tuukka Rask (groinabdomen strain) is planning to take the ice at some point this week, and is hopeful he'll be ready by the playoffs. Adam McQuaid (left eye contusion) has healed nicely, but the Bruins are keeping him as a precaution. Jordan Caron has the flu. For the Penguins, defenseman Ben Lovejoy is out 3-4 weeks.

GOALTENDING MATCHUP: Marty Turco is getting his fourth start for theBruins and is riding a two-game winning streak after victories overthe Islanders and Ducks. Turco was also very effective in relief of Tim Thomas against the Penguins in his first appearance with the Bruins, and may be playing in the last game of his NHL career. Brent Johnson gets the start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury and has been solid against the Bruins throughout his career.

Rask out tonight vs. Canadiens, Bruins call up McIntyre from Providence


Rask out tonight vs. Canadiens, Bruins call up McIntyre from Providence

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It would appear to be something a little more serious than “general soreness” with Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins No. 1 goaltender was missing from the ice at Warrior Ice Arena for Saturday’s morning skate and Claude Julien said he won't play tonight vs. the Montreal Canadiens.

Instead, the B’s have recalled Zane McIntyre from Providence on an emergency basis and to serve as Anton Khudobin’s backup. Rask has clearly been battling a lower body injury since the opening night win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last week and it cropped up again in the Thursday night win over the New Jersey Devils.

The same injury also forced the B’s to play Khudobin instead of Rask in their only loss of the season, a 4-1 defeat to the Maple Leafs in Toronto one week ago.

Rask admitted he was playing through a little “something-something” after the Jersey win and Julien would only say that his goalie has “general soreness” and is considered day-to-day after missing team practice on Friday.  Julien reiterated the day-to-day status Saturday.

“He’s doing better, but we’re going to shut him off for a bit,” said Julien, who said he wasn’t concerned about the long-term health of his franchise goaltender. “We’ll give him another day’s rest at least, but we’ll still go day-by-day.”

 It’s a severe case of bad timing for both Rask and the B’s as the Finnish netminder is off to a roaring start this season (3-0-0 with a .947 save percentage and a 1.67 goals-against average) after his worst season last year for the Black and Gold.

The 24-year-old McIntyre has appeared in three games for Providence, going 1-0-0 and leading the AHL in goals-against average (0.44) and save percentage (.977) in a solid start after a rough rookie pro season last year.

Boston’s sixth round pick in the 2010, McIntyre, played his first professional season with Providence in 2015-16, going14-8-7 with a 2.68 GAA and .898 save percentage in 31 games.

Malcolm Subban might have been the call-up under different circumstances, but has been pulled by the P-Bruins twice in the span of a week including a Friday night loss where he allowed three goals in the first period in an eventual 4-1 loss. 

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all.