Bruins looking to bury their chances

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Bruins looking to bury their chances

WILMINGTON Right now the Bruins are allowing more goals (19) than theyre scoring (18), and thats not a recipe for success. The Bs are in the bottom third in the NHL with 2.25 goals per game, tied for 21st with the Dallas Stars, and they spent much of Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena working on finishing plays in the scoring areas.

The Bs started practice without Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask and instead placed four nets around the practice ice to encourage the players to shoot the puck often and go under the bar with their offensive attempts. It was an appropriate first step in three straight days of practice leading up to a home-and-home series against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and Saturday night.

Were trying to improve our scoring and getting better in those areas is something thats pretty important to us, said coach Claude Julien. Weve done this in the past . . . Its not the first time and hopefully it helps us along the way.

Weve got an opportunity to work on those kinds of things. I dont think were that far off, but weve just got to clean up a couple of areas that will allow us to score a little bit more. At the other end, too, I think we can do a little better and a little stingier. At both ends we could be a little bit better, balance things out and turn some of those losses into wins.

Skilled forwards like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, have gotten off to slow starts offensively given their abilities, and the Bs fourth line has only registered one point on the entire season. Second-year forward Tyler Seguin is off to a point-per-game start, but the rest of the Bs players know that its time to start finishing off some of the plays that have been out there on the ice for them.

There have been enough posts and crossbars already in eight games to last half a season for the Black and Gold, and anecdotally the Bs slow starts are partially due to the teams inability to finish off scoring chances early in the game. That was part of the story in the loss to the Sharks Saturday night, and its something the players are looking to correct.

You can have confidence and you just miss the net or the goalie makes a good stop, said Johnny Boychuk. But youve got to keep that confidence, so youll know you'll bury your chances the next time.

If you look at the game against San Jose we probably out-chanced them 2-to-1 by the end of the game. It seemed like we were taking the play to them. We just have to make sure were making good on our chances. We just need to make sure if we get a chance that were putting it in the net.

Thus far its a far cry from the Bruins team that averaged 2.98 goals per game last year, but its nearly the same cast of Bs characters as last season. The absence of Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle shouldnt be a mortal blow to the Bruins offense, so offensive answers are there.

Its just up to the Bruins to find the shooting range, and they were working on manufacturing that offense yet again Monday morning.

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena with little more than a handful of B’s players skating, but the most important player to Boston success, Tuukka Rask, was taking part after missing practice on Monday.

Rask missed Monday’s practice session while getting checked out medically following his exit from Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh due to vision issues. He said on Tuesday that it was all related to migraines that have cropped up a couple of times in his NHL career. The Bruins No. 1 netminder also said he was good to play on Tuesday night against the Red Wings with just a couple of home games left until this weekend’s All-Star break.

That was the kind of good news embattled coach Claude Julien was looking for as Boston looks to end its season-worst, four-game losing streak.

“We’ve got good news so far, so that’s nice to see,” Julien said of Rask, who has started 13 of Boston’s past 14 games dating to a Dec. 27 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Obviously it was because of the migraines, so hopefully we won’t see much more of that.”

In other Black and Gold health news, both Colin Miller and Kevan Miller have been cleared to play, and are expected to rejoin the B’s lineup with John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow headed for healthy scratches. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings as the Red Wings arrive for a divisional tilt after a shootout loss for Boston last week at Joe Louis Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Krejci-Backes

Schaller-Nash-Beleskey

Spooner-Moore-Hayes

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

K. Miller-C. Miller


Rask
 

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.