Pouliot impressive in Bruins' debut

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Pouliot impressive in Bruins' debut

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- On Friday, Benoit Pouliot predicted it wouldnt be long before he got into the lineup. Twenty-four hours later, he made his debut for the Boston Bruins.

The 24-year-old winger slotted into the left wing spot on the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, and paid immediate dividends skating around with something to prove in Bostons 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Everybody seemed to like him tonight for the amount of ice he got, said coach Claude Julien, who opted to scratch Jordan Caron in favor of Pouliot after an ineffective first game from his 20-year-old winger. I thought Pouliot's energy was good, he competed hard, he made some good things happen, and I like the direction he took tonight.

Hes certainly continuing to show us that as he gets more comfortable, he seems to be bringing a little bit more. We all seemed to be happy with his game tonight.

Pouliot doesnt participate in the power play or penalty kill for the Bruins, so there wasnt much in the way of consistent ice time for the former Habs skater. But the newest Bs forward still managed to pack plenty into his 7 minutes and 309 seconds after opening his Bruins career with a punishing body check on Brett Clark behind the Tampa Bay net. The hit immediately pushed Pouliot into the game, and led to some golden offensive chances as well.

The first was when Pouliot found himself out on the ice with the fourth line, and Shawn Thorntons work behind the net led to a wild Pouliot backhander that bounced off Chris Kelly before Mathieu Garon could smother the puck.

The second scoring chance for Pouliot arrived after a Tyler Seguin wraparound move got the Tampa Bay defense scrambling, and the 19-year-old puck wunderkind shoveled a pass to Pouliot waiting all alone in front. Pouliot hammered a one-timer from the doorstep that Garon managed to get a glove on, and his best scoring chance with the Bruins was dashed.

But the winger who managed to wear out his welcome in Minnesota and Montreal looked perfectly effective in his role Saturday night, and gave a glimpse of what he can do once he gets truly comfortable with the systems and the personnel.

My game is speed and using my size, said Pouliot. I went to the net hard, created a couple chances there and could have had a couple. But it's the first game, there's a lot left for the rest of the season. I'm excited for the rest of the year.

I should have had the one-timer, but I think Seguin brought it in front a couple times and Kelly too. It's just a matter of bearing down and capitalizing on those chances. But we'll get a lot of chances. We'll get a lot all year long. You get used to it after a while and start putting them in the net.

Its only one game thus far, but Pouliot showed just how impactful he can be if hes property utilized this season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

BOSTON – Having lost three games in a row for the first time under Bruce Cassidy at time of year when you can’t drop into losing streaks, Bruins fans clearly want some sense of surety when it comes to the B’s making the playoffs.

Well, they got an ironclad guarantee from Torey Krug after he was the best B’s player on the ice in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Krug has been a part of the teams that collapsed in each of the past two seasons and the puck-moving defenseman said things are going to be different this time around with nine games to go.

“I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t talked about it. It’s a different feeling this year. [A collapse] is not going to happen this year. I know we’ve got a lot of pride in this room,” said Krug, who elevated his game and scored on a nifty, Bobby Orr-esque one-man rush up the ice in the third period. He also had a team-high seven shots on net and led the B’s in ice time in the loss. “The guys that have been through it. There’s no other option except making sure we stay on course and take care and do our jobs.

“You feel like you played pretty well and things didn’t go your way. You make a big mistake and it cost you. You got to realize what’s done is done, and we have an important task on Thursday [vs. the Lightning]. We’ve got to come to the rink with no other option except winning that game. That’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”

The Black and Gold are still in a pretty good position when it comes to the playoffs, even if their lead over Toronto in the Atlantic Division is precarious right now. But it ultimately comes down to Boston summoning against Tampa Bay and the Islanders what they didn’t, or couldn’t, against Toronto and Ottawa, and making good on Krug’s defiant words following a bitter defeat. 


 

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

BOSTON – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Bruins outshot an opponent, lost and then lamented their lack of finish on a bevy of scoring plays while begrudgingly tipping their hats to a hot goaltender.

It was the scenario for many disappointing losses in the first 55 games of the season under Claude Julien, and it was a little too eerily reminiscent in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Tuesday night. 

Certainly it’s just one game and there has been far too much good as of late to believe the Bruins are cannon-balling into a pool of previous bad habits. But giving up a goal in the second period while watching Craig Anderson make 18 second-period saves at the other end of the ice was a stark reminder of the bad old days.

“We struggled up in Ottawa getting through [the neutral zone], tonight I thought we did a better job,” said Torey Krug. “A win against that system is just getting the puck behind them and going in on the fore-check. We’ll take that every time. We did well, but we’ve got to find a way to get more goals on the scoreboard.”

Certainly there some stellar saves: A flashy glove hand on a Noel Acciari backhander from the slot and a couple of stops on Frank Vatrano in tight around the net come to mind. But there were also some light, perimeter play kind of nights from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak where the turnovers (a combined eight giveaways between the two forwards) and loose play were coming fast and furious.

That’s the stuff that needs to improve after watching Ottawa score on three redirections with bodies camped in front of the net.

“There are some,” admitted Bruce Cassidy when asked about parallels to some darker days earlier in the season. “Some of it you have to give credit to the goaltender you’re playing. Look at his numbers, he’s been very good. I’m not going to look too far back. I think we had good looks off the rush – he [Craig Anderson] made saves. We did have our D come late, get a couple of good looks, and that’s something we’ve really worked on. We had a D join and score. That was actually a nice individual score. So, those parts of our game, I think, it just ebbs and flows over the course of the year where you run into hot goaltending and you have to stay with it.

“That’s when you have to keep the puck out of your net. [In Toronto], we were right there until two minutes to go where even though we weren’t scoring, we were in a position to get points. [Against the Senators] it was a breakdown right after we scored, so I think the focus has to be when you’re having tough luck around the net, you need to get points. And maybe these games end up 1-1, 2-2, they’re going into shootouts or overtime and you accumulate your points that way. I think that’s where the last two games have been disappointing. You know, we should have had points. It may not have been wins, but we should have been there at the end and playing 65 minutes, or whatever it took to finish it.”

The silver lining, of course, is that the Bruins didn't get bogged down in Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 trap and were able to dictate play a bit more while never actually leading in the game. But that does little good when won-loss results and points in the coffers are all that matters in the final weeks. 

Perhaps some of the offensive scale-back in the past few games has been by design after letting up seven goals to Edmonton in the Western Canada road finale, but it’s also about being tougher and more determined around the net.

Ottawa won that net-front battle on Tuesday night and subsequently won the hockey game, so it’s time for the Bruins to do that exact thing if they want better results vs. the Lightning and Islanders later this week.