Lucic brawl wakes sleepy Bruins

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Lucic brawl wakes sleepy Bruins

KANATA Milan Lucic looked around early in the first period and didnt like what he saw against the Ottawa Senators.

The Bruins were lagging behind the speed of the game, flat-lining emotionally and allowing the Senators to form a shooting gallery against Tim Thomas while getting outshot by a 9-2 margin over the first 10 minutes.

So when Matt Carkner approached the Bs power forward with an invitation to dance in the NHL parlance, Lucic dropped his gloves and jumped into a legitimate heavyweight bout between hockey tough guys. Both players landed bombs squarely to the squash of the other player, and Lucic admitted it might have been the hardest hes been punched since junior hockey.

Carkner experienced some injury issues last season and that was his first NHL fight since last January, so Lucic knew that was part of his reasoning for throwing down. Lucic himselfhasonly fought once this season on Nov. 23when Paul Gaustad came looking for him in Buffalo to atone for the Ryan Miller incident.Sothe Bs left winger recognized that showing a little emotion and passion might spark his dozing teammates, and it worked out perfectly with the Bs eventually pulling out the 5-2 victory at Scotiabank Place.

He actually came up to me. For me looking at the situation it doesnt always have to be Shawn Thornton stepping up and giving the team a spark when it comes to stuff like that, said Lucic. It ended up being a good back-and-forth battle and thankfully our team was able to get a spark and a big goal afterward.

Its a time in the game where theyre outshooting us 9-2 at the time and they had the jump on us. I only had one fight going into this one and hes a good, honest hockey player. So I definitely felt like it was the right time.

Theres an accepted responsibility with guys like Lucic and Adam McQuaid that it shouldnt always have to be Shawn Thornton or Gregory Campbell jumping into the hockey fight ring to inspire their teammates. Lucic had the lumps to show for his bout with Carkner, and even better he had the results afterward in an evening that was otherwise quiet with a shot on net and one registered hit in 13 plus minutes.

It shows the chemistry we have as a group. The guys care for each other and appreciate the fact we stick up for each other, said Lucic. We built that with what we went through last year and well do whatever we can to keep that team chemistry going.

On the next shift, Rich Peverley wheeled his way through the offensive zone and snapped a wrist shot over Craig Andersons stick side to hand the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead and give them their first signs of life in the contest. It was the perfect example of a hockey fight as momentum-shifter rather than the carnival sideshow many are attempting to make them out to be given the issues some NHL enforcers went through last summer.

We were so flat that when that happened and he responded well, we scored shortly after that, said Julien. We almost needed that. The ice seemed to be tilted in one direction in that first half of the first, and we seemed to pick up our game after the Lucic fight.

Lucic loves when it a plan comes together, and the increasingly rare fight from the top line winger helped rouse the sleeping bears in Ottawa this time around.

Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

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Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins’ season has gone in extreme swings both up and down thus far through the first couple of months, and that was the case as they lost their third game in a row to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Bruins couldn’t only scratch for one goal despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 32-20 margin, and fell by a disappointing 4-1 score to the young and talented Toronto club at TD Garden.

The Bruins never enjoyed a lead in the game against the Leafs, and were flirting with danger after failing to score in the first period despite out-shooting Toronto by an 11-2 margin in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Instead it was a David Pastrnak neutral zone turnover in the second period that was picked off by William Nylander, and ended with Auston Matthews firing a rocket over Tuukka Rask for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto extended the lead with five minutes to go in the period when Zach Hyman tipped a wobbly Jake Gardiner point shot past Rask, and made it three games in a row that the Bruins have dug themselves a considerable hole. Brad Marchand got one goal back at the end of the second period on a nice hustle play as he sealed off Frederik Anderson’s clearing attempt and then stuffed the puck past the Leafs goalie on a second chance bid.

That’s the way the score remained until the third period when the Bruins couldn’t convert on a couple of offensive chances -- included a bang-bang shorthanded bid for Austin Czarnik in front of the net -- and then James van Riemsdyk scored in front as a Toronto power play expired. That was the backbreaker for a Black and Gold bunch that continues to scrap for goals, and has now scored two goals or less in 20 of their 20 games this season.

Connor Brown added an empty netter in the final two minutes of the game to truly put it out of reach for the Bruins. 

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.