Bruins know they need to adjust vs. Canucks

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Bruins know they need to adjust vs. Canucks

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins know that changes must be made.

After returning to Boston on Sunday for Games 3 and 4, theBs are confident in their physical style. Quite frankly, they arent the leastbit concerned about that part of their game.

But theres no denying that the scoring chances must come ata higher quality, beginning Monday night, if the Bruins want to make this aseries.

Were never pleased with the amount of scoring chances wehave, said Bruins coach Claude Julien on Sunday at the TD Garden. You alwaystry and get more, and I think you have to ask your players to maybe createmore, obviously, in that area.

Thats one of the areas I think that if we can improve on,and make it a little harder for them to defend against our offense, itscertainly going to help our chances, obviously.

I thought we were a little better in Game 2, addedJulien. But not good enough.

In order to get better scoring chances, the Bruins realize theyhave to do a better job of getting bodies in front of Canucks goaltenderRoberto Luongo.

Obviously start with some traffic in front and find away to get to the front of the net, said Patrice Bergeron. They'redoing a good job of boxing us out, but that shouldnt be an excuse. We need tofind a way. Were in the finals.

Yes, Luongos doing a good job on the first shot, if hesees it. But if he has some traffic, going out there for the rebounds,obviously thats going to create some havoc.

To pressure Luongo, the Bruins know they need good breakouts, and take better care of the puck in their ownzone and the neutral zone.

Goaltender Tim Thomas has the B's strugglewith that puck management. But he also sent a subtle message to his teammates onSunday, about making Luongos job moredifficult.

Ive been busy just trying to do my own job, said Thomas.I think Luongos played well, with what hes been tested with. But I dontthink weve tested him enough. Thats part of the reason were down 2-0 in theseries.

But maybe the biggest aspect that's overlooked will be the adjustment that the Bruins won't have to make in Games 3 and 4, with regards to line changes.

As the home team, Julien now has the upper-hand in getting the matchups he wants, thanks to the rule that allows the home team to make the last change before a faceoff.

@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its about mixing and matching, and Im going to have abetter opportunity here in these next two games of having more of my say withregards to that," said Julien.

And with that advantage, count on the Canucks to make adjustments of their own.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.