Haggerty's Bruins-Jets preview: Stay on the gas

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Haggerty's Bruins-Jets preview: Stay on the gas

For the Bruins, it will be about keeping the foot on the gaspedal as they prepare for an afternoon matinee on Martin Luther King Dayagainst the Winnipeg Jets, who are coming off a loss in their home opener.
TheJets are expected to once again be a fringe playoff team in the EasternConference this season, so it would be natural to think the Bruins might nothave the same kind of opening night adrenaline they had against the Rangers. If mental mistakes and aching bodies were going to begin tohave a negative effect, Mondays setting against Winnipeg at home would be the timeit to rear its ugly head. The Bruins are mindful of any lulls in their game aftergenerally struggling in day games over the last few seasons. Youve just gotto do your job and worry about preparing yourself, said Johnny Boychuk. Itwas a good first game against the Rangers, but you need to be ready to workhard to get that second win.Theres littledoubt former Bruins players Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart will also continue toput their best foot forward against the team that dealt them away for RichPeverley in the midst of a Stanley Cup run. That will be part of the backdropfor a game that should start to look, feel and sound like business as usual aseverybody begins to get used to the NHL being back. One thing werefocusing on is consistency, said Daniel Paille. With last year not making theplayoffs and opening up with a home loss, Winnipegis definitely going to be ready. Wheeler and Stuart have been very goodover there and they usually have a lot of adrenaline for us. We need to beready for that and not take it too lightly.PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRES PUMPED: Old friend Blake Wheelerentered this season with high expectations as a budding power forward in Winnipeg, but he didntmaterialize in the Jets loss to the Senators on opening night. The 26-year-oldfinished with 17 goals and a career-high 64 points for the Jets last season,and he was looking to build on that this season. Instead Wheeler logged 17:34 ofice time and finished with just one shot on net along with a minus-2 as hisline couldnt keep the puck out of the back of the net. In general, the entireJets team should be playing with a burr under their saddle after losing a 4-1decision to Ottawain front of their home fans on Saturday afternoon. DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: Just being backwas so nice. I think its going to be pretty easy to keep it going. We havesuch a good team and our fans are great. Especially at home its nice. Id playagain today if I could because we had so much fun. Nathan Horton, who shouldbe ready to go Monday afternoon against the Jets if hes ready to play everyday. KEY MATCHUP: The Ottawa Senators were able to strike out anddo damage against the Blake WheelerBryan LittleAndrew Ladd on Saturday nightwith a couple of goals against them, and it should be interesting to see howClaude Julien exploits that with the last change at TD Garden. With that inmind dont be surprised if the Bruins coach throws Tyler Seguin, PatriceBergeron and Brad Marchand out against that trio to neutralize them defensivelyand exploit any shortcomings in the defensive zone. STAT TO WATCH: 10. That's the number of consecutive home victorieson TD Garden ice that the Bruins hold over the WinnipegAtlanta franchise thatdates back to Dec. 31, 2007. INJURIES: Dennis Seidenberg will miss today's game with a lower-body injury. Also, Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is expectedto miss the season and be placed on long term injured reserve. GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask will follow up on hissolid 20-save season debut against the Rangers with the matinee game againstthe Jets. With a schedule that tapers off slightly at the beginning ofFebruary, it makes sense for the Bruins to ride Rask in the early going as theylook for a good start to the season. But its also slightly surprising thatthey didnt want to work Anton Khudobin into a Monday afternoon matinee thatsusually tailored for a backup goaltender. For the Jets Ondrej Pavelec isexpected to man the pipes after giving up four goals to the Ottawa Senators inSaturday nights opening loss.

Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

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Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.

Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.

"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."

Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.

"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

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Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.