Bruins engineer comeback with goalie pulled

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Bruins engineer comeback with goalie pulled

BOSTON -- Forty eight seconds was all it took to transform the Bruins from frustrated losers to stubborn competitors that salvaged a point where none had been just a minute before.

With the Bruins trailing by a 3-1 score with less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Claude Julien pulled goalie Tuukka Rask from the game and the Bruins scored two goals with the extra skaters to push overtime before falling by a 4-3 score in the shootout at TD Garden.

It was the first time the Bruins had scored twice with the goaltender pulled since Oct. 24, 2009 when they turned a 3-1 deficit against the Ottawa Senators into a 4-3 shootout victory.

It was wild. The fans are incredible, and it just seemed like once we got that first one (David Krejcis goal), we knew we were going to tie it up, said Brad Marchand, who scored the game-tying goal with 43 seconds to go in the third period. We just kept going, and its always fun having a game like that in our rink.

It just seems like our fans are so up for it and really enjoy it. Its just too bad we couldnt finish it off.

Mad scrambles in front of the New York Rangers net turned into goals for Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand, and Boston still only has one regulation loss in 11 games to start the season. Bruins players were happy they managed to get a point while becoming the first NHL team to come back from a three-goal deficit, but also a little peeved they had to author a furious comeback in the first place.

Its nice, for sure, to get the point. I think everybody is proud to get the point, said Andrew Ference. But I think if you went around the room a majority of guys are just ticked off that we spotted them the three goals. During the season you know those games happen where youre going to have to fight back and you have some breakdowns.

"I guess you focus on the positives, which was a good job at the end of jumping on loose pucks and really putting the pressure on.

A couple of guys came through by burying those chances, finally. It was a funny game. It was a weird game.

Midway through the third period a David Krejci goal cut Bostons deficit to 3-1 and gave the Bruins signs of life after theyd simply made too many mistakes in the first two periods. But things really got interesting once the Bruins pulled Rask from the game with less than two minutes in the third period. Andrew Ference teed up for a shot from the right point that Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save on, and Milan Lucic kept the puck alive when it bounced off his massive power forward body in front of the net.

The loose puck bounced right to Nathan Horton in front of the net and the right wing flipped the shot in for his fourth goal of the season to make it a 3-2 hockey game. Less than a minute later Patrice Bergeron had the puck in the slot and spotted Tyler Seguin wide open on the left wing for a potential game-tying goal.

Bergerons pass bounced off Ryan Callahans stick in front of the net and went right back to Brad Marchand in the right face-off circle. The Nose Face Killah cranked a wrist under the bar for the game-tying score and TD Garden went absolutely bonkers after watching the kind of comeback this batch of Bruins players have made believable.

Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

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Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while continuing to marvel at the strength and character of Isaiah Thomas. 

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals doing major damage control after going down 0-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their series. 

*Dion Phaneuf is finding exactly what he needed with the Ottawa Senators and is going past where he’d been before in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

*The New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, and will get the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft with a team badly in need of some star power. 

*On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche were the big losers dropping all the way to the fourth overall pick after being a dumpster fire all season. I guess there is some hockey justice left in the world. 

*Larry Brooks says that the word on the street is that the Lightning are going to shop Jonathan Drouin this summer for a stud top-4 D-man. They should be getting the pick of the litter by making the skilled forward available. 

*Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk Big, Bad Oilers and the decline of Corey Perry during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. 

*For something completely different: Manny Ramirez hitting home runs in Taiwan is a beauty and a joy forever

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.