NEW YORK CITY The Bruins held an optional practice on the Madison Square Garden ice on Wednesday morning, but almost every member of the Black and Gold went out for at least a few twirls on the frozen sheet. Zdeno Chara was among those that stayed off the ice, and goaltender Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice denoting his likely starting gig tonight against the Blueshirts.
Both Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg (lower-body injury) took the ice with their teammates, and Bruins coach Claude Julien said that each player would be a game-time decision. It was termed a maintenance day off the ice for Marchand on Tuesday and Seidenberg couldnt do much to update his status after taking part in the optional skate.
Seidenberg skated in both practices sandwiched between Monday afternoons matinee win against the Jets, and the Bruins are hopeful that hell be playing.
Im a game-time decision, said Seidenberg. Top secret stuff. Its not a big issue at all, but you dont want it to turn into something that could become a two-week thing in such a short season.
Otherwise the Bruins are healthy, well-rested and looking forward to starting the road portion of their 48-game regular season against the Rangers team that they dusted on opening night.
Were no different than any other team in the shortened schedule, said Julien. Theres a lot of maintenance things to take care of, and maybe be a little more cautious with the way the schedule is playing every second night. But so far our team is in very good shape.
If Seidenberg and Marchand cant go then spare skaters Lane MacDermid and Aaron Johnson will get the call for the Bruins.
BOSTON – The Bruins are doing it again.
With a team that was badly in need of a win, the Bruins couldn’t get any separation from the Tampa Bay Lightning before ultimately sagging in the third period on the way to a deflating 6-3 loss at TD Garden on Thursday night.
It marks four losses in a row for the Black and Gold with Thursday night as the worst among them, and doesn’t extinguish any of the concerns that Boston is in another late-season tailspin.
Jonathan Drouin beat Tuukka Rask with a shot from the face-off circle that dipped underneath his glove hand for the game-winner, and Nikita Kucherov added the final two goals to give him a hat trick for a Bolts team that snapped their own three-game losing streak.
This game had all the warning signs after a nondescript first period with the Bruins giving up goals immediately after they scored three times in the second period. The first was a David Pastrnak power play strike for his 32ndof the season, and the Lightning struck 44 seconds later with a Brayden Point rebound score after a big breakdown by Boston’s best players on the ice.
Zdeno Chara again gave the Bruins a short-lived lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Tampa Bay responded with a blistering Nikita Kucherov one-timer just 24 seconds later with the Bolts still on the power play. Boston scored again on a Riley Nash wraparound bid that he threw off the diving Victor Hedman in the crease, and Boston had a brief one-goal lead once again.
It was 1:35 later that Anton Stralman beat Rask high to the glove side on an odd-man rush and that set up a third period where Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals and sent the Bruins to their fourth straight loss.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruins took Wednesday off and returned Thursday with assurances they weren’t thinking about history repeating itself for a third straight season.
The easy parallels are there, of course.
The Bruins lost 9 of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by a point two years ago. Last season they went a pathetic 3-8-1 in the final 12 games and once again missed the postseason by a single point.
So their recent three-game losing streak has set off some warning bells and whistles, as has the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed them and pushed the B’s into the second wild-card position. Boston holds a slim two-point lead over the New York Islanders for that final playoff position, and is facing huge games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight) and the Isles (Saturday).
So with all that in mind, has interim coach Bruce Cassidy’s message changed at all to his players?
“These are teams [close to the Bruins to the standings, so the games] get more magnified and rightfully so,” said Cassidy. “We accept that and we know what’s at stake. The last two didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but the things we do well, we need to keep doing well. We’ve created some looks at the net. We’re generating some offense. We need to finish a little better, and those pockets of the game that get away from us . . . we need to minimize those. We had a few too many of those [moments] against Ottawa.
“We’re aware of it. We know who won and who lost last night. But we need to take care of our business. If we do, we’ll be fine. We really will. If we take of our business, it doesn’t matter what this team does or what that team does.
"That’s a fact. That’s the message. It’s quite simple. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we’re hoping.”
Clearly taking care of their business includes dispatching both the Lightning and the Islanders. Hoping is what the Bruins ended up doing in each of the previous two seasons, and it left them fully out of luck once the music stopped.