Lucic, Seguin, Kelly line keeps clicking


Lucic, Seguin, Kelly line keeps clicking

BOSTON -- The best thing about Claude Juliens wacky line-changing high jinks was on display for the Bruins again on Saturday night as the silver lining in their latest defeat.

Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin once again each provided goals and flashed the kind of chemistry with all-purpose center Chris Kelly that deserves a longer look.

Unfortunately not enough of the other three lines had as much luck finishing off plays or tapping into their line mojo.

Instead the Bruins dropped the 4-2 decision to the Sharks on Saturday night with the other three lines going dark, but Lucic and Seguin nearly resuscitated the Bruins on their own with two goals in 29 seconds on the same shift in the third period.

Theyve been good. I said that the other night, too. Milan has played two of his best games here in the last two. When you give Tyler an opportunity, he makes things happen, said Julien. Hes playing very well for us also. Chris Kelly is probably the underrated guy on that line, but he has been tremendous with those two guys. Im happy with that line. Theyve given us exactly what we were hoping for.

Seguin continued to extend his team lead with nine points (3 goal and 6 assists) in eight games as Bostons only point-per-game player, and likes what he sees around him on that suddenly productive line.

With Lucic he makes it so much easier for you out there, hes such a big body and he goes in the corner and wins battles. For a guy like that size to have as much skill as he does its hard to find it out there. He does a great job, said Seguin. Kelly is probably one of the best positional forwards Ive ever played with. So our line seems to be clicking and hopefully it stays that way.

The two scores stole the momentum for the Bruins in a game that appeared to be shifting their way, but the Bs never executed that one final play that could have crushed San Joses spirit.

Lucic was on the board first with a goal in his second straight game, and Seguin followed by popping home a saucer pass through the crease from Lucic that tied the game up for the Bruins.

Unfortunately for all the players involved that was all the scoring Boston would muster in the loss, and Seguin was off the ice for the frantic final minute of play when he took a Benn Ferriero slash off the knee that went unnoticed by the refs.

So the ending wasnt ideal for the Bruins, but theres plenty of promise with 23-year-old Lucic and 19-year-old Seguin fostering their chemistry, and Kelly providing situational assistance and back-checking that allowed the experienced center to cover up some of the seven giveaways by the two wingers throughout the game.

Lucic actually said playing with Kelly and Seguin has helped him find his straight-ahead game because hes got to pick up his skating pace just to keep up with the instinctive Kelly and the speedy Seguin.

I feel better pursuing the puck and getting on pucks where the first five-six games I felt like I was a second late, a step late getting to pucks, said Lucic. Other teams were able to break out easy because I wasnt on top of them. Its no secret that Seguin has got some pretty good speed.

Its just trying to keep up with him has pushed me harder to get my feet moving, and its great that weve been able to create that chemistry for the three of us.

If the chemistry keeps producing results for Lucic, Seguin and Kelly, they might get the chance to create a lot more in the near future with the hope for better results in the win-loss column.

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

It’s hard to believe that it’s already come to this, but it might just be Malcolm Subban between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, and perhaps again on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old Subban has been pulled from two ineffective starts for the P-Bruins in four AHL starts this season (.846 save percentage and a 4.50 goals against average in four games) while coming back from last year’s fractured larynx injury. He's also a player the organization was uncertain enough about that they signed veteran backup Anton Khudobin to a two-year deal on the July 1 open of NHL free agency.

Subban attributed his start to a slow opening few weeks with a new P-Bruins roster of players, but that hasn’t stopped fellow P-Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre from putting up excellent numbers between the pipes in the early going.

But Khudobin went down with an injury mere minutes into Monday morning’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and Tuukka Rask been battling a nagging leg injury since the season opening win against the Blue Jackets.

So Subban was the last goalie standing on Monday as an emergency recall from Providence, and could be in line to play Tuesday night against the Wild if the Bruins medical staff can’t perform some Mr. Miyagi-style healing techniques on Rask or Khudobin.

“Khudobin got injured and couldn’t practice with us, but I haven’t heard anything yet [on an update],” said Julien following practice. “This is hockey. We deal with it on daily basis with the injuries. We wait for the news and then it’s about doing your job as it’s required. If we have to make some adjustments and have to have some different personnel, then we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update. Tuukka is still day-to-day, so nothing is changed there.

“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens, and if [Subban] needs to go in goal then he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that. As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me and that’s ‘stop the puck.’ I’m not a goalie coach, so I’m just demanding on making the saves.”

Subban, of course, hasn’t been making the saves down in Providence early in the going there this season, and is entering the stage of his career where he needs to begin showing signs of being a potential No. 1 guy at the NHL level.

Fellow goalies from the 2012 NHL draft class like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Joonas Korpisalo, Matt Murray, Connor Hellebuyck and Frederik Andersen have all begun making their mark in the league, and Subban was selected higher than all of them except for Tampa’s Vasilevskiy. So in the final year of his entry level deal it’s high time for the 22-year-old to begin showing signs he can play in the league, whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.

He admitted on Monday he might have been putting too much pressure on himself down in Providence while watching the injury issues play out with Tuukka Rask in Boston.

Subban was worried about the big picture of stringing together saves so he was the guy called up if the Bruins needed a goalie, and instead should have been focusing more on the present opponents at the AHL level.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think anybody that knows me well knows that. I don’t like to let in goals no matter what happens, whether it’s breakdowns or not it’s my job [to stop the puck]. If there were no breakdowns then you wouldn’t need a goaltender,” said Subban. “I want to make every save and get a shutout every game. I think the biggest thing is just relaxing and playing, and knowing that it’s okay to let a goal in every once in a while.

“So I think in my position right now I’m supposed to be playing really well down there, and I think that go in my head a little bit. I was trying to get a shutout every game rather than going game-by-game and shot-by-shot. I was overthinking it too much. But collectively as a team we’re a new team and we were trying to get the chemistry together, and once we do that the D-zone will be better and the offensive zone game will come.”

If Subban does indeed get the emergency start on Tuesday night against the Wild, the Bruins just have to hope that it’s a better outing than getting pulled in his NHL debut against the Blues two seasons ago after allowing three goals on three straight shots to start the second period. They also have to hope that Rask or Khudobin get well quick given Boston’s shaky situation on defense in front of the goaltender, and the stretch they’re in of playing six straight opponents that qualified for last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

If not then watch out below because every hockey person knows there’s no quicker way for a hockey club to really begin imploding than if the goaltending starts to become a major problem whether it’s because of injury, inconsistent performance or simply because of being a straight-up sieve.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.