Boston Bruins

Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Hurricanes

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Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Hurricanes by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) The Bruins were firing out of the gate in this one. Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand set the tone with an energetic first shift that had a couple of scoring chances, and they kept the pressure on. When that line plays with energy and reckless abandon on the fore-check it really sets the tone for everybody else on the Black and Gold bench. That line accounted for three of the 11 shots in the first period, and members of that line were involved in both goals.

2) A special teams extravaganza for the Bruins in the first period as they scored both shorthanded and on the power play. The shorthanded goal came as the Bruins set up despite being outnumbered by the Carolina attackers, and Zdeno Chara found a cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand for a sniper shot from the right face-off circle that Cam Ward had zero chance to stop. The power play strike was what the Boston coaching staff envisioned at its perfect: Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin moving the puck and Zdeno Chara hitting the net with a wrist shot as Milan Lucic was screening in front of the net. The Bs power play is having their best night of the season thus far.

3) Anton Khudobin looks solid while making 10 saves in the first period and had a couple of very good stops among those shots attempted at the Boston net. The best was probably as he quickly moved from left to right to snuff out a Jiri Tlusty-to-Jamie McBain play on the backdoor He also took a delay of game penalty when he played a puck outside of the trapezoid a play that wouldnt be a penalty in the KHL and was perhaps the No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan having an out of body experience.

4) Milan Lucic drops the gloves with Tim Gleason after hed been trying to get the Canes defenseman to fight him for the last couple of years. The two big men traded a bunch of powerful punches with Gleason actually getting the better of Lucic in the bout. The Bs power forward now has two fights in five games after waiting 20 games to get into his first hockey brawl last season. The Bruins were up 2-0 at the time of the fight and did seem to lose a little momentum after they squared off.

5) Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins with three shots on net, has two points and was the focal guys on both goals for the Black and Gold. Its been a very solid start to the season for the Boston captain in the first five games.

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and the Hurricanes tied at a 3-3 score after the first 40 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) Back-to-back turnovers by Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly in the defensive zone lead to a pair of Carolina goals in the final few minutes of the second period to tie things up. Not sure its a good idea to leave the fourth line out on the ice against the Jeff SkinnerJordan Staal combo that opened it up to get things working for the Hurricanes at the end of the second. The Kelly turnover went right to Alex Semin at the blue line and he fed Eric Staal for the game-tying score. It looked like he might have been gassed at the end of a shift because he wasnt moving his feet at all. Just a complete letdown by the Bruins, and some poor shifts for the fourth and third line. Dougie Hamilton was also nowhere to be found in the defensive zone on the Kelly turnover as Dennis Seidenberg was the only backup the Bs forward had.

2) What a goal for Nathan Horton that put the Bruins up 3-1 and shows the Bs right winger is healthy and completely back to his game. He dangled through three Canes defenders including leaving Tim Gleason in the dust by the blue line before roofing a shot over Cam Ward. Hortons second goal of the season and really as good a highlight reel goal as youll see from the power forward.

3) Bruins penalty kill great again tonight. Theyve got their first shorthanded goal of the season and theyre a perfect 22-for-22 in killing penalties, and they had plenty of work in the first couple of periods in a penalty-filled game.

4) Best game of the season for Rich Peverley, who leads the Bruins with four shots on net and nearly scored on both a shorthanded breakaway and a shot from the slot. Ward stopped both chances with big saves, and then was also able to shut down Chris Bourque on a rebound attempt at the doorstep.

5) Two assists, four shots on net and a plus-3 for Alex Semin, who has always been a Bruins killer over the years. He decided to show up tonight.

RALEIGH, NC Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking a 5-3 win over the Hurricanes score after 60 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) The third line was a little bit better tonight, but still no offense and they let in the game-tying goal at the end of the second during a rare Bs collapse with a two-goal lead. Chris Kelly made the rare turnover that led to the goal, and also didnt fare very well in the face-off circle. Chris Bourque doubled his season shot output total, but also took a penalty that wiped out a Bruins PP in the third period.

2) Johnny Boychuk left the ice for a portion of the third period and it may have been a result of a couple of blocked shots in the second period. One of the shots to the footankle area looked particularly painful, but he did return for the majority of the period.

3) Milan Lucic playing the wrecking ball role rather than the offensive role against the Hurricanes. Led the Bruins with five registered hits and knocked Eric Staal out of commission for a few minutes in the third period after a violent collision in the Boston end.

4) Carolina has all of the look of a player team this year. Jordan StaalJeff Skinner and Eric StaalAlex Semin give the Hurricanes two legitimately dangerous forward lines and its a very underrated D corps with a proven goaltender. Thats a pretty good combo.

5) Nathan Horton is 100 percent back. He nearly potted the game-winner with a wrist shot from the slot off a Carolina giveaway, but Cam Ward somehow stopped the short-side wrister. Horton also hit the post in the wild scramble at the end of the third period that led to the David Krejci game-winning score.

6) Dougie, Dougie, Dougie. Assists in three straight games for the 19-year-old, who is making a major impact for the Bruins.

Gabrielle showing some fourth-line swagger in camp

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Gabrielle showing some fourth-line swagger in camp

BRIGHTON, Mass – Jesse Gabrielle didn’t hesitate when asked what his goal was in his first full NHL training camp.

The former fourth-round pick said he’s in camp to win an NHL job with the Bruins right off the bat, so clearly, Gabrielle, 20, doesn’t lack for the confidence he’ll need to do it. He showed a little of the reason behind that swagger on Monday night when he scored one of the three B’s goals in Boston’s 3-2 preseason-opening win over the Montreal Canadiens in Quebec City.

It was a big spot for Gabrielle, who was playing with Noel Acciari and Riley Nash in the kind of fourth line audition for NHL spots that hopefuls must flourish in during camp.

“They’re putting me in a really good spot to show that I can play at this level and hopefully earn a roster spot like I said. I’m just going to go out there and play hockey,” said Gabrielle. “People say I need to find the line and stuff, but [Brad Marchand] did too at this level. I just need to find where that line is and I think management is giving me good feedback on all that stuff.

“I know that I’m really good when I fore-check. When I’m the F1 and really just bearing down and getting in there and hitting people, getting to the net and scoring goals, I can only do that when I’m playing high energy and high pace. I just always want to be the first guy on the puck. [Coach Cassidy] likes guys that can skate, and that’s good for me because I can skate.”

It’s that offensive component combined with his energetic, agitating style that’s drawn comparisons to Marchand throughout his junior career and saw him total 75 goals for Prince George the past two seasons. It’s that same combination of attributes that could make him a dark-horse candidate for the fourth line if he can continue to make things happen each time he’s on the ice.  

From the sound of it, Cassidy is already leaning in a certain direction for his energy line based on last season. Tim Schaller, Riley Nash and Noel Acciari all played significant roles for the Bruins last season and it looks like Sean Kuraly is going to enjoy the inside track for the 13th forward spot based on his strong showing in the NHL postseason.

Gabrielle understands the high volume of quality forwards in camp and the serious competition for the fourth line after the established group really found their vibe late in the season. There’s a pretty good chance Gabrielle begins his pro career at Providence, where he can learn the nuances of being an energy forward at the pro level and figure out where “the line” is before he begins earning an NHL reputation.

He’s not letting that stop him from putting his best skate forward, though, and standing as another in a large group of talented, young forwards showing in camp that they’re close to ready for the prime-time action.

“I think the fourth line role is a good starter for me, and I just play with pace and energy…that’s all I can do,” said Gabrielle. “Camp has gone well. I’m showing that I can play at this level, and hopefully, they see it too. There are a lot of good players here and a lot of guys that can play in the NHL, but only a certain number of spots.

“You’ve just got to try and separate yourself, and show that you can do things that maybe other guys can’t really do. But at the same time, these guys are all my teammates and brothers. They’ll still be my teammates even if I don’t end up starting in Boston. Right now, I’m just focusing on putting my best foot forward.”

Gabrielle is doing that early in camp, but he knows he must keep the pedal pinned to the floor if he’s to become a surprise member of the NHL roster little more than a month from now. 

Kuraly 'keeping it simple' in camp after playoff success with Bruins

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Kuraly 'keeping it simple' in camp after playoff success with Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – Just a few months ago, Sean Kuraly was the talk of the NHL world after a clutch two-goal performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The 24-year-old suited up for four of the B’s playoff games against the Senators after spending most of the season in Providence, and memorably scored a pair of goals – including the double-overtime winner – in an epic Game 5 win that took the series back to Boston. That’s not too shabby for a kid that had played just eight NHL games for the B’s during the regular season, but then really clicked with David Backes and Noel Acciari once the playoffs got rolling.

MORE: Thoughts and observations from first weekend of B's camp

Unsurprisingly, Kuraly now hopes to parlay that playoff confidence into carving out a roster spot for himself at the NHL level to start this season. It remains to be seen if that will happen in a crowded field of forwards, but Kuraly certainly has raised expectations heading into his second NHL training camp.

“For me the first thing is to put the [playoffs] behind you, realize it went well and then maybe realize that there’s another training camp and another year to go here,” said Kuraly, who said the coolest part of the Game 5 heroics was getting recognized for the first time while out to eat in Boston. “It’s just sticking to my game, knowing the things that worked and really keeping it simple. I think I just had a really clear role and it was communicated very clearly to me how I can help the team in the playoffs.

“It was pretty cool to see that I could help the team, and that a simple North/South kind of game is something that the team could use. Just use my body, use my speed and get pucks behind their ‘D’ while playing a good puck management game. Everyone is here to win a job, and I’m no different. I was trying to do the same thing last year, and I’m going to do the same thing this year [trying to] make the team. I’m hoping to do that in this camp.”

It’s easy to forget just how effective Kuraly was at the end of the season, but the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder finished with 10 shots on net in the four playoff games for the Black and Gold. Not only was he strong and heavy on the forecheck, but he was skating with great pace for a big man and seemed to have knocked all of the hesitation out of his game. That’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff is looking for as they put together their roster to start the season.

It sure sounds like Kuraly has a good shot to least start the season as the 13th forward on the NHL roster, and it will be hard to keep him off the ice if he’s playing with the same determination he showed during the postseason. If Kuraly can summon a large percentage of what he showed in the playoffs, then it will be pretty difficult for the Bruins coaching staff to turn away from him.

“It’s hard to put a lot [of expectation] on him because it was a short window. It’s a different situation to me than Charlie [McAvoy], but it’s more of an excitement for me like ‘Can he bring that for us again this year from Day One?,” said Bruce Cassidy of Kuraly, who finished with 14 goals and 26 points in 54 games for the P-Bruins last season. “He brought a lot of energy and gave us an identity at the bottom of the lineup that was going to be hard to play against.

“And he created in the offensive end, and we didn’t know if that was going to come right now. It’s a bit like Noel [Acciari] where all of a sudden they were scoring and it was like ‘Wow.’ Those kinds of players are invaluable in April and May. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle during the regular season. He went to Providence after the [Bruins elimination] but he wasn’t really able to play. Sometimes then you really see growth in players when they go out there with that kind of confidence. That’s the part we weren’t really sure about this summer, but he looks really good right now [in training camp]. Like a lot of guys these preseasons will be big to see what kind of steps they’ve taken.”

Kuraly won’t be in the lineup for Monday night’s preseason opener against the Canadiens, but it shouldn’t take long to notice him in the preseason if he’s playing the same heavy, high-energy game he did while elevating his game in the playoffs. 

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