Morning Skate 225: A family affair in Vancouver

Morning Skate 225: A family affair in Vancouver

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comVANCOUVER It was family day at the Pacific Coliseum on Friday morning with friends and family members adorned in Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi jerseys as the Bruins players practiced at the home of the Vancouver Giants.Mark Recchis three brothers have made the trip to Vancouver from their hometown of Kamloops, British Columbia, and Lucics entire family has been around all week given that big No. 17 grew up a five minutes drive away from the East Vancouver rink.In fact between the Pacific Coliseum and the adjacent Agrodome Skating Rink where Lucic first learned how to lace up the skates and get is feet going, the Bs have basically journeyed to the cradle of their power forwards hockey career.Its been enjoyable to watch Lucic handle the adulation and praise from folks around Vancouver that literally tracked his birth and development into a hockey superstar, and the best part comes Saturday night when he gets put his skills on display against the Vancouver Canucks team he grew up worshipping.On to the links:David Perron talks about the concussion thats knocked him out of commission for the majority of this season, and the Vancouver specialist hes hoping will help him as he did teammate Andy McDonald.A look by Yahoo! Sports hockey columnist Nick Cotsonika at the wheeling and dealing going around the NHL this season.The New Jersey Devils have won nine games in a row, and actually pulled themselves into within nine points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Can you believe it?A good look by Pro Hockey Talks Joe Yerdon at the five players still most likely to be moved by the NHL trade deadline on Monday.Phil Kessel looks like hes finally turning the corner for the Maple Leafs, and Mike Zeisberger has the story in the Toronto Sun. I contend that finally doing some damage against the Bruins really opened things up for Phil the Thrill to start really flying for the Leafs.The AHL has turned into the trash compactor where NHL teams dump their unwanted contracts, and where viable NHL players must serve their time for simply flying in the face of the salary cap, the Wall Street Journal reports.A good look by CSNNE.coms Mary Paoletti at the concussion epidemic in pro sports, and where we stand as the numbers keep going up across the spectrum of sports.

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

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Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

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Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time.