Bruins feeling boxed in by refs

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Bruins feeling boxed in by refs

MONTREAL The Bruins believe the National Hockey League might just be on the lookout for them this season after they bullied their way to a Stanley Cup championship over the Vancouver Canucks, and they have the numbers to prove it.

One of the iconic images from last years Cup Finals was Brad Marchand punching the closest available Sedin with five or six jabs to the head while A) the refs refused to call any penalties and B) Sedin refused to protect himself or engage with Marchand when nobody came to his defense. Even better was Marchands because I felt like it defense.

Now it looks like the league is keeping close tabs on Boston this season via their refereeing crews. The refs have called a bevy of penalties on the Black and Gold in the early portions of the season, and that has played into Boston's difficulties.

The Bruins were whistled for eight penalties and 19 penalty minutes in a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, and at least three of the calls were retaliatory penalties after the Bs truly lost their cool.

Any time we retaliate were getting called for it, said Marchand. Teams are staying away from physical fights and stuff like that with us. They know that gets us going and gets us a lot of emotion. So other teams are trying to stay away from it.

We have to be able to take it and hurt them on the scoreboard. Thats the way you do it.

Coach Claude Julien blew his stack several times during the game with some interesting gestures at the refs, and afterward the Bs coach felt like the Bruins are being treated differently as the big, bad bully on the block by the NHL.

I thought it was a tough night as far as a lot of the calls were concerned said Julien. Thats my opinion. Overall you dont look at that, but you blame yourselves and your discipline. We have that reputation and it's there. We have to be careful because theyre looking at us to retaliate and then penalize us. We have to be smarter in that area.

We have to somehow find a way to stay focused and grind things out like we did in the third period when we found a way to get back into the game.

P.K. Subban was able to induce both Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference into taking penalties when they came after the Montreal defenseman the Habs scored a power-play goal after Ferences roughing call and Nathan Horton took an extremely selfish cross-checking penatly inretaliationon immovable object Hal Gill in the third period with his team down by a 3-1 score.

More surprising, however, is the amount of penalties the Bruins are taking on this season after having been one of the least-penalized teams in the league over the last few years; only the Ottawa Senators have more than the Bs 175 penalty minutes this season (17.5 per game).The Bruins were closer to middle of the pack last season with 13.6 penalty minutes per game last season.

The 61 overall penalties whistled on the Bruins ranks them among the five worst in the NHL this season, and it screams out a hockey team that A) definitely fights a bit more than most teams while attracting major penalties and B) also clearly is having some issues staying disciplined and under control when its required of them while trailing the majoriy of the time.

Guys were a little more frustrated as I was, to be honest with you, with some of the things where wed reach out with a stick to make a play. Then, as soon as you put a finger on the player, the hand goes up for a penalty, said Julien. That was frustrating. We lost our focus a little bit and thats when the retaliatory penalties came into play.

We need to stay focused and stop blaming everybody else around us.

Whether it was an edict from high among the NHL officials to call things a little more closely on the Cup champion Bruins or a group of players that simply cant get with the discipline program this season, the Bs need to smarten up if they hope to cure their current hangover.

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction. 

Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

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Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

BRIGHTON, Mass. – He hasn’t been cleared to play just yet, but fourth line energy guy Noel Acciari is closing in on a return to the Bruins lineup. 

Acciari joined in for a Bruins morning skate for the first time in 14 games at the end of last week, and practiced with the team again Monday for a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. The 25-year-old has missed almost exactly a month with a lower body injury, and said he can thankfully now see the light at the end of the injury tunnel for a healthy return to the B’s lineup. 

“It was getting lonely with all the guys on the road, and with me just skating with Frankie [Vatrano] and Zee [Chara],” said Acciari. “It’s great to be back out there with the guys, and it’s good to be back. Each skate I feel a lot better out there and just trying to get my conditioning back. Just being back with the guys is a great feeling, and it’s a big help.”

The fourth line has been okay in Acciari’s absence, but it seemed to be lacking the same kind of energy and hard edge the Providence College standout provided when he was healthy. That was part of what led the B’s to call up the similarly rugged Anton Blidh from Providence at the end of last week, and could provide some interesting energy line options when Acciari is ready to return. 

“I’ve played with [Blidh] before, I’m used to him and I know what he brings to the table just like he knows what I can do,” said Acciari. “So it would work out well [if we played together] I think.”

Acciari has two assists and a plus-1 rating along with four penalty minutes while averaging 10:01 of ice time in 12 games this season, and proved to be very good at unnerving opponents simply by playing all-out all the time.