Bruins looking to make the most of upcoming road trip

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Bruins looking to make the most of upcoming road trip

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins have sailed through the first-quarter mark of the 48-game regular season. Theyve only lost once in regulation through their first 11 games and stand first in the Northeast Division while their closest competitors in Ottawa have been decimated by injuries to Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson over the last few weeks.

So now the Black and Gold get their next test with a five-game road trip that will be broken up into two distinct parts. The Bruins will travel back to Buffalo and Winnipeg this weekend for a pair of cold weather showdowns, and then next week head to Tampa Bay and Florida for their Sunshine State swing before winding up the trip against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

In between the two segments of the road trip, the Bruins will return to Boston to practice for a few days prior to heading off to Florida.

The Bruins are 4-0-1 on the road this season, and now might be as good a time as any to get away from Boston for a couple of weeks on the road. Its the kind of scenario thats always served the Bruins well in the past.

Weve made the most of our road trips in the past. Theres no reason we wont again this time around, said Andrew Ference. Some years the road has even better for us than at home. Its what you make of it. In this quick season its just playing games, and it doesnt even really matter where it is.

Last season the Bruins were tied for the most road wins in the Eastern Conference with a 25-15-1 record away from TD Garden, and two years ago their 24-12-5 mark was better than their record in 41 home games in Boston. Above and beyond that all five teams the Bruins will play on the road are out of the playoff picture, and the Lightning are the only team with a record over .500 at 6-5-1 after a hot start.

The five teams have a combined record of 24-32-6 on the season, so there arent any Eastern Conference world beaters on tap through the next two weeks.

Its fair to say the road trip is ripe for the Bruins to really leap out to a big lead in the division and conference if they play their cards correctly.

If you look at every game there have been points within it when things get a little scrambly, and you would hope that a dozen games into the schedule that will start to straighten out, said Ference. If you look at our penalty kill its been bang on, and thats usually microcosm of your defensive game in general. The creation of offensive chances has been there, but were still looking at completing the finish on those plays.

Things are certainly good with Boston as they have climbed out to an 8-1-2 record in their first three weeks of the regular season. But the Bruins now have five games on the road against middling Eastern Conference competition to truly find the high water mark in their game, and continue amassing the points as they have over the first month of the compacted NHL season.

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.