Team Alfredsson rallies to win skills competition

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Team Alfredsson rallies to win skills competition

OTTAWA The Bruins were well-represented in the NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Scotiabank Place,and the players fomTeam Chara gave it their best shot inthe skills challenges. But it was the hometown Team Alfredsson that took home the 21-12 victory over Charas hand-picked playersdespite theB's Captain's squadwinning each of the first three competitions en route to a big victory with some pretty cool highlights along the way. Here are the breakdowns of each competition with some description of the Bs involvement:

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater: It was down to rookies Carl Hagelin (New York Rangers) and Colin Greening (Ottawa Senators) in the final heat, and it appeared Haggs who I was clearly rooting for given his name won the race when his body crossed the finish line first. But a review of the tape (yes, they really went to the video replay) showed that Greenings extended stick actually crossed the line before the Rags speedy rookie.

Allstate Insurance NHL Breakaway Challenge: Carey Price nearly stole the show with his blind goaltender and backwards save stops in the crease while NHL breakaway artists converged on him. But Pat Kane eventually stole the show when he donned a Superman cape and Clark Kent glasses for a pair of winning attempts one a hand-to-stick pass on his belly that had an Up, up and away flair to it and the second an exploding puck clearly brought on by Kanes super-strength. Corey Perry finished as the runner-up after several creative moves including using a mini-stick in his final shootout attempt.

Canadian Tire NHL Accuracy Shooting: It ended with Philadelphia Flyers rookie Matt Read going up against Dallas Stars Jamie Benn fresh off an appendectomy. Benn took it in dominant fashion while Bs forward Tyler Seguin struggled with Phil Kessel feeding him passes in the preliminary accuracy rounds.G Series NHL Skills Relay Challenge: Henrik and Daniel Sedin dominated with their feathery passing and soft hockey skills and registered an easy victory for Team Alfredsson.

Blackberry NHL Hardest Shot: Zdeno Chara captured his fifth straight hardest shot title after defeating Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber yet again with a record 108.8-mph slap shot. Chara broke his own personal record with an earlier shot of 106.2-mph on the evening and then completely shattered that seconds later by becoming the first NHL player to top 108-mph with a slapper. Said Chara on the ice right after the contest was over, I had great years in Ottawa. I wanted to break the record here.

Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout: It comes down to John Tavares, Jason Pominville and Steve Stamkos in the final rounds of the shootout, and Stamkos was able to beat Jimmy Howard in the final round to take home the victory. Tyler Seguin was eliminated in the early rounds on an outstanding save by St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden. 

Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

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Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long month of bag skates and lonely practices for Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow.

That’s about to change thanks to injuries to both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller, who are both not expected to be able to play against the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That means Morrow will be in the B’s lineup for the first time since a Dec. 12 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 16 consecutive B’s games that the 24-year-old has been watching from the press box.

Morrow skated in a pairing with John-Michael Liles in Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Monday’smatinee, and obviously he’s looking forward to getting back into games given this season’s sporadic practice schedule.

“[Playing well after sitting for long stretches] isn’t necessarily something you want to be good at, but if you are good at then it’s a good tool to have in your bag. It’s a confident feeling that I’ll be able to come in [and play well],” said Morrow, who has an assist and a minus-3 rating in 13 games for the Black and Gold this season. “I’ve stayed in good shape and worked hard in practice, and that’s all I can do up until this point.

“Put simply, [this year’s compacted schedule] is exhausting. Countless times I’ve skated by myself, and anybody would tell you there’s nothing harder than skating by yourself on a sheet of ice. Mentally and physically it’s just exhausting. There haven’t been many practices and there haven’t been many game-type situations in the practices we do have. Skating with the whole team is almost like a pregame skate scenario. But you’re still skating every day, so it’s putting it upon yourself to go out there and stay ready for things.”

The one issue for Morrow, a former first round pick, over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining a high level of play once he draws his way into the lineup. It feels like there’s a drop-off in his play once he’s played a few games in a row whether it’s physical mistakes or mental lapses in his play, and that’s something he wants to avoid when given an opportunity to suit up.

“I feel like when I have played this year that I’ve been quite consistent and that I’ve played well,” said Morrow, the last remaining part of the 2013 Tyler Seguin trade still in a Bruins uniform. “I’m just in a situation that the cards are playing out the way that they are, so it depends on how many games I get whether it’s one, two, 30 or however many games are left [in the season]. It’s realistically entirely up to me. If I can shake the rust out in the first couple of shifts and start from there, it’s going to be a big positive in my book. It’s the really the only option I have left now.”

Given that Colin Miller began skating on his own on Sunday morning, it might not be a very big window for Morrow to impress upon the coaches just how badly he wants to play. But one would expect he’s going to bring his best on Monday against the Isles with the hopes that it will be somebody else sitting up in the press box when it once again becomes a D-man numbers game for the 7-8 players for six lineup spots.