Haggerty: 15 thoughts on Bruins-Sabres

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts on Bruins-Sabres

Here are 15 thoughts after the third period with the Bruins falling to the Sabres by a 7-4 score after 60 minutes of play at TD Garden.

FIRST PERIOD1) Shawn Thornton had a lengthy chat with big John Scott during pregame warm-ups and it was pretty clear the two were planning out a bout once things got started. Thornton tried to get a hold of Scott so he could grapple with the 6-foot-8, 260-pound brute, but Scott landed a series of overhand right punches that sent the Bs enforcer tumbling to the ice. He skated off to the dressing room as soon as his penalty was over and never returned to the bench in the first period. He won't return to the game tonight. Not good.2) Scott meanwhile skated a grand total of 27 seconds of ice time and managed to throw an elbow at Rich Peverley on a check against the boards that sent him right back off to the penalty box. It remains to be seen if anybody else for the Bruins will answer the bell if Scott keeps lowering the boom when he gets out on the ice for his one-per-period shift.3) Good job by Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara against the Jason PominvilleThomas Vanek line thats been so good for Buffalo this season. Pominville got behind Chara once to squeeze off a shot from the right wing with Boychuk closing in on him, but that was the only quasi-quality chance either player enjoyed in the first period.4) Three shots on net in 7:34 of ice time for Tyler Seguin to lead all skaters in the first 20 minutes. Seguin said before the game that its time for his game to get going now that the team is past the five-game mark on the season, and it looks like hes turning up the offensive aggressiveness dial just a little bit.5) Patrice Bergeron has won six of seven face-offs and is working Steve Ott in the face-off circle. Thats a stark contrast to last years game against Dallas when Ott owned David Krejci on the face-off dot. Good work in the first period, but no score as the Bruins couldnt close on a number of good chances for Daniel Paille, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara.

SECOND PERIOD
1) So much for the Bruins doing a good job of holding down Thomas Vanek. He explodes for two goals and an assist in the second period and wreaks havoc on the Boston defense with his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame in front of the net. It shouldnt be a surprise as his career numbers against the Bruins are very good. He finished off two plays with natural goal-scoring moves and then made a really nifty pass as he was being taken down by Andrew Ference, and found a wide open Tyler Ennis for the game-tying score.2) Brad Marchand is still fanning on shots that hed normally bury as he works on his hands, but he had himself a hell of a period. In both instances the plays were started by Patrice Bergeron hunting the puck, but Nose Face Killah scored on a backhanded dangle through Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold and then scored another goal from the slot as Tyler Seguin battled with the 6-foot-7 Myers in front of the net. The goal might eventually go to Seguin, but it not Marchand leads the Bruins with five goals scored on the season.3) The third line kick-started the offense for the Bruins as a dogged shift with Chris Kelly fore-checking in the corner turned into Daniel Paille taking a few whacks at the puck in front of the net to create a little chaos. From there Rich Peverley picked up the loose puck and squeezed it through Ryan Miller for his first goal of the season. The third line breakthrough has been a long time coming for Peverley and Kelly after an ineffective first six games.4) A game-high six shots on net for Rich Peverley in the game and hes won six out of eight face-offs in addition to the first goal. Peverley has been getting chances for the last couple of games, so it seemed this was only a matter of time for No. 49.5) A minus-2, one shot on net and no hits for Zdeno Chara through two periods. Its one thing if the Bruins dont want to trade Chara for John Scott in a battle of the goliaths, but the big defenseman needs to at least stop the Buffalo top line from scoring on them. Big Zee needs to be more of a factor.

THIRD PERIOD
1) Dougie Hamilton took a nasty Drew Stafford elbow to the chops in the middle of the third period, left the ice momentarily but returned to play rest of period. Tough kid and a dirty play from Stafford.2) Tyler Ennis is a dirty little bugger. Was whacking David Krejci with his stick as both players skated off the ice for a line change and almost got whistled for too many men on the ice when he got so preoccupied with carving up the Bs center like he was Dr. Hook.3) Thomas Vanek played a huge part in five of Buffalos six goals including the game-winner. He is playing the best hockey of his career along with Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville, and there was nobody even close for the Bruins despite Marchands two goals. It was his eighth career hat trick and his second five-point game of the season. Fifty four career points in 46 games against the Bs.4) Bruins power play hurt them tonight when they couldnt do anything with the 5-on-3 four minute power play midway through the third period. A Dennis Seidenberg tripping call wiped out half of the power play and the Bruins couldnt get anything past Ryan Miller with the rest of the man advantage.5) Ryan Miller deserves props for his performance in the third period. He stoned Patrice Bergeron from point blank range when the Bruins were still trailing by only a goal and made 14 saves in the final 20 minutes as they tried to play catch-up.

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.

 


 

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.