Marchand quietly takes team lead in goals

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Marchand quietly takes team lead in goals

BOSTON -- After a defensive nightmare like Thursday night at the TD Garden, there weren't many Bruins players or coaches leaving the building throwing praise Brad Marchand's way.
Nothing against "Marchy," but his two goals in a 7-4 loss weren't really at the forefront of postgame discussion.
But when the B's wake up on Friday, they're all going to realize something.
Marchand is the team's lone leading goal scorer.
On a normal, defensive-minded night in which Bruins defensmen are picking up loose bodies out front instead of allowing odd-man rushes that see wide-open wingers tee-off on cross-ice one-timers, four goals for the B's is more than enough to walk away with two points.
And had they played that normal defensive-minded style that Boston is accustomed to seeing on Thursday night, the Bruins would still be undefeated in regulation through seven games to begin the season. And in that case, Marchand would be the talk of the town.
"I thought offensively we did a good job," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "We had lots of chances. We scored four goals."
Two of those goals came off the stick of Marchand. And they were big ones at the time.
Just two-and-a-half minutes after Rich Peverley tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, Marchand gave the Bruins their first lead of the game on a play that was initially created by Patrice Bergeron, who caused a Buffalo turnover in the neutral zone.
Bergeron skated around to gain momentum and avoid Sabres players while the Bruins finished off a successful penalty kill. He then threw a pass to Marchand, who was standing at the left blue line. Marchand took the pass, entered the Sabres' zone, and toasted Tyler Myers wide down the left boards until he got to the bottom of the left circle.
From there, Marchand cut hard out front, pulled a toe drag on Jordan Leopold, and backhanded the puck past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who seemed somewhat confused as to how Marchand got all the way from the left point to the right side of the crease without being touched by the two Buffalo defensemen in front of him.
"I got it at the blue line and I went in and saw a little room in front," said Marchand afterwards, who remained humble about his two goals on Thursday. "I just cut in and the goalie was out of place, so I just put it in."
After giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead, Marchand added another just three minutes later, making it 3-1 on a shot from the high slot that was once again set up by Bergeron, who fed Marchand the pass with which he shot low and beat a screened Miller.
"Seguin did a great job there, and that's where he's developing in his game," said Marchand. "He's working in all areas of the ice. He's battling a lot harder. He's in the corner, he's in front of the net, and that's what we need out of him."
Seguin's screen was nice. But realistically, the Bruins need the kid to put the puck in the net, like Marchand did on Thursday night.
So as Seguin sits there with only one goal (an empty-netter), Marchand leads the team with five, and that's not even counting his game-winning goal in the sixth round on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils.
Had the result been different, Marchand would be the hero. Instead, he's just the lone guy who leads the 5-1-1 Bruins in goals scored.
They'll realize it on Friday.

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold. 

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

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Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.