Notes: Bruins fists should get a rest vs. Detroit


Notes: Bruins fists should get a rest vs. Detroit

By JoeHaggerty

WILMINGTON, Mass. Those hoping for the Bruins to roll out the fisticuffs and fireworks for this weekends home-and-home series with the Red Wings will be sorely disappointed.

The Bruins lead the NHL with 55 fighting majors this season, but Detroit has the fewest brawls with five fighting majors. The Red Wings dont have much of a fighting component to their game, and are instead looking to play a smooth, transitional game based on special teams and systems play.

That will make it difficult for the Bruins to really let their emotions bubble over or explode as they did against the hated Habs on Wednesday night, and its doubly so with the struggling Red Wings simply looking to get back on the right track.

There was a lot of emotion running there," said coach Claude Julien. "The Big Bad Bruins are often pointed at as being the Big Bad Bruins, but its pretty obvious that it takes someone to stir the pot as well.

"Milan Lucics penalty was retaliation after taking two shots to the back by Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Im not sure its being viewed that way. Same thing with Gregory Campbell fighting Tom Pyatt, but Pyatt threw the first punch.

I couldnt care about any of that except that our guys stood up for each other and that we played to our strengths. We did both of those things Wednesday night.

The Bs will get an excellent test this weekend when they play the Wings at TD Garden in a rare Friday night game the first Friday night NHL game in Boston in more than 20 years (the Celtics normally play on Fridays, but their game against the Lakers was switched to Thursday for national television) and then travel to Detroit on Sunday for the home-and-home rematch.

The Wings are 5-5 in their last 10 games and are hitting their first real rough patch of the season despite the return of Pavel Datsyuk to the lineup last week. But the Bruins have struggled all season against the Western Conference teams and dont seem to have a strong answer for NHL teams they dont play against very often.

You dont see them that often, but we know what theyre all about and what theyre capable of doing, said Julien. I do know that theyve been very unhappy with the way theyre playing and theyll be coming at us with their best on Friday.

Its a team with a lot of experience and a lot of guys that have won Stanley Cups, and for us its one of those games where were going to have play with a lot of energy and play really smart if we want to be successful.

Irish Micky Ward, the decorated boxer from Lowell that recently had the Academy Award nominated film The Fighter made about his life story, will drop the ceremonial puck before the BruinsRed Wings game on Friday night at TD Garden.

Ward won three New England Golden Gloves titles as an amateur before turning pro in 1985. He started off 14-0 in his professional career and retired with a 38-13 pro record, having captured both the WBU Intercontinental Light Welterweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title. He was involved in Ring Magazines Fight of the Year three consecutive years from 2001-03 for his bouts with Emanuel Burton (2001), Arturo Gatti (2002) and Arturo Gatti again in 2003. His first battle with Gatti has been hailed by many boxing fans and experts as the Fight of the Century and Round 9 of that fight has been labeled the Round of the Century.

Julien said none of the Bruins were in danger of suspensions or supplementary discipline as a result of the 187 penalty minute extravaganza Wednesday night against the Canadiens.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Dupont: If Tuukka Rask is healthy, he should start for Bruins

Dupont: If Tuukka Rask is healthy, he should start for Bruins

Mike Felger and Kevin Paul Dupont debate if it is time for the Bruins to send a message to Tuukka Rask and have Anton Khudobin get the starts in net.

Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most


Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.