Bruins knew it was a goal all along


Bruins knew it was a goal all along

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- It was the clunk, not the ting.

That sound allowed Mark Recchi to make the call himself with 2:49 remaining in overtime on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. As soon as Dennis Seidenberg's shot re-directed off some part of the Buffalo net, the veteran winger pointed towards the ref as if to say Seidenberg's slapper on the 4-on-3 power play went in.

Seidenberg stepped into the high slot and let go a shot that appeared to hit either the crossbar or the inside padding under the crossbar. The Bruins thought it was the latter. The on-ice official behind the net thought it was the former, and made no call. Play continued for nearly another minute until Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller covered the puck up for a stoppage.

Replays showed Seidenberg's shot hit the padding underneath the crossbar, giving the Bruins a 3-2 overtime win.

Bruins players began to celebrate before the on-ice officials even made the call. They saw the replay on the TD Garden jumbotron. But it's something they didn't even need to see. Everyone had a feeling it was a goal.

"We all knew on the ice that it was in," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara after the win. "I think all those guys who were on the ice knew."

"I thought it went in," said Seidenberg. "I wasn't sure, but I thought it went in. I was just hoping for a quick whistle so they could check it."

Even those on the bench had a similar feeling.

"From the bench, I saw the mesh go up," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "But you don't know if it's the stick that hits it, or whatever, and we saw Recchi kind of signaling a goal. I just asked upstairs, through assistant coach Geoff Ward, whether it was a goal or not, as the play was going on. And we were told that it was."

Some judged the puck's fate by its sound.

"I knew it went in," said Recchi. "You could hear the clunk. It wasn't the ting, the crossbar sound. It was underneath.

"You've got to keep going," added Recchi. "I mean, you think it went in. I heard the thud, and I knew it was in, but you've got to keep playing."

The Bruins kept playing and kept the pressure on during their four-minute power play, which was caused by a Luke Adam's high stick on Marc Savard that drew blood.

And while the goal was originally given to Seidenberg, it was quickly changed and credited to Recchi, his sixth of the season. Recchi was screening Miller out front, and got a piece of Seidenberg's shot with his hand, re-directing it upstairs.

"It just hit me, really, I mean, I was just trying to get a good screen for Seidenberg," said Recchi. "It was a great shot by him, and it was a good PP. It was a good 4-on-3, we really did a good job."

Seidenberg's shot from the point was an example of the Bruins' defensemen creating offense, a little bit better than they have been all season. The only current Bruins defensemen with a goal are Seidenberg (1) and Chara (4).

Seidenberg's ability to quickly set up for a blast in the high slot is exactly what the B's are looking for more of.

"I think it's coming around, and what we're doing better, and what you saw Dennis Seidenberg do well, is he got himself in a shooting lane, so when David Krejci gave him that pass, he had a shooting lane, and he just let it rip," said Julien. "That was the biggest thing earlier on. I think we were getting the puck and by the time we were teeing it up to shoot, they had a player lined up in that shooting lane. So we're doing a better job of getting to open lanes here, and getting those shots through. I think that's a big key for our D to help us create some offense."

Even if the goals don't immediately count.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Morning Skate: Brian Boyle embroiled in trade rumors

Morning Skate: Brian Boyle embroiled in trade rumors

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while enjoying Hockey Day in America. 

*Brian Boyle is the subject of trade rumors with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he wants to stay a member of the Bolts. 

*Watch out for the Florida Panthers, who swept the road trip through California and are now back in playoff position for the first time in a long time. 

*It’s great to see play-by-play man Dave Strader back in the broadcast booth doing what he does best after his cancer diagnosis. 

*Hats off to the Bruins ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators, for the sweet-looking Boba Fett sweaters worn during this weekend’s Star Wars night. 

*It’s pretty amazing when you’re an NHL player and a former first round pick, and you’re the one most known for being somebody else’s brother. That’s life for Dallas Stars D-man Jamie Oleksiak. 

*Interesting piece about sportswriting, politics and a couple of worlds that were destined to collide at some point. 

*For something completely different: For the 40h anniversary of Star Wars, the toys are being used to recreate classic movie scenes. 

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

The mission for the Bruins on their four-game road swing through the West Coast is certainly to keep the momentum going, but it’s also to quell any talk that the positive results will be short-lived following the coaching change.

The Bruins won there first three games interim head coach Bruce Cassidy headed into the five-day “bye week”, and they’ll come out on the other side with a potentially dangerous road swing through California that will finish up in Dallas next weekend. 

The Black and Gold have gone into death spirals before on the Cali trip, so that’s always a danger when going coast-to-coast to face tough teams in the Sharks, Ducks and Kings.

There’s also the fact that NHL teams are 3-10-2 as of Saturday afternoon in the first game coming back from the five-day midseason vacation. That means the B’s are going to face a stiff uphill battle on Sunday night against the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. 

The challenge is going to be there for the Bruins to answer all of those challenges when they’ve shrunk away from such adversity most of the season. It gives the Bruins yet another chance to show that the three games aren’t merely a sugar-high after cages had been rattled and is instead something that Boston sustains over the season’s final two-plus months.

“Our thinking is to try to win every game. We know the standings. We know it’s pretty tight. We put ourselves in some of the games in tough situations. Now, we’ve got to climb up and fight for every point,” said Zdeno Chara. “It’s going to be very important that we do that and play that way until the end.

“We can look at the standings as much as we want. I think that we really have to focus on how we play, how we want to go into every game, and what we can do to get as many points as possible.”

The good news for the Bruins is that the teams chasing them in the standings really haven’t gained ground on them, and they enter Saturday still in a playoff spot. So, the mathematics don’t look as dire for Boston as they did going into their rest period, and now they should be energized, recharged and highly motivated headed into the final 24 games of the season.

There’s also the fact that the Bruins were playing exciting, aggressive and winning hockey due to some of the tweaks made by Cassidy after taking control of the team. He finally got some production from the third line after putting forwards Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes together, a combo he never truly gave a look because he didn’t trust them to do the job defensively. Cassidy immediately placed 21-year-old Peter Cehlarik into a top-six role with power-play time straight from the AHL. That’s something one almost never saw happen with rookies and inexperienced guys during Julien’s run.

The B’s defensemen corps scored four goals in the three wins and showed aggressive, timely risk-taking to produce offense when playing it safe was normally the call of the day under Julien. The forwards were avoiding the low-to-high passing to the point that so often resulted in perimeter shots from the Bruins in the offensive zone, and instead attacked the net down low with the forwards looking to put some anxiety into the opponent’s D-zone coverage.

It all worked and it all looked remarkably different from the way the Bruins played in the opening 55 games.

“It’s something we need to bottle up and not change our approach, not change what we’re doing, make sure we’re moving [during the bye] and not just sitting idle and getting rusty,” said David Backes last weekend headed into the bye. “Make sure that mentally, we can have those same sort of mindsets for every guy to be contributing. It’s something that doesn’t show up on the score sheet, but guys are recognized in here for doing those things and that’s winning culture. That’s what we’re building.”

The Bruins now get their chance to prove this is a permanent change to a winning culture rather than a short term, three-game adrenaline rush after watching their longtime coach get fired. It won’t be easy, but it shouldn’t be for the Black and Gold if they’re finally going to earn their way into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in three seasons.