Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

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Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER Milan Lucic cant decide if hes trying to silence the media critics doubting his Bruins, or just ignore them completely.

For the second straight time big No. 17 addressed the media in his home city with the first coming in the postgame locker room after a 1-0 loss to the Canucks in Game One and pulled a page out of Rodney Harrisons book of disrespect with the Patriots.

The Bruins have been labeled underdogs, they havent been given a chance by most in the hockey world including this humble hockey writer and theyve taken on an Us against the World mentality that the New England Patriots used to execute as part of their regular playbook in the playoffs.

Whatever works for the Bs is advisable as long as it helps them create more scoring chances and keeps Tim Thomas locked in just as he was for the first 60 minutes of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The peeved Lucic said the players in the Bs dressing room arent buying into the Canucks as heavy favorites with a slim 1-0 lead in the series, and proving people wrong has become an item on Loochs to do list along with scoring goals, avoiding rabid French-Canadian forwards and handing out knuckle sandwiches when deemed appropriate.

That's not the way we feel. We have confidence in each other, said Lucic. We feel like we deserve to be here and there's a reason why we made it to the Stanley Cup final.

There were times where we were the better team in Game One, and there were times obviously they were the better team last game. It's clear that you guys in the media aren't giving us much of a chance. Weve just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong.

The Bruins can take solace in a couple of things. First of all, theyre in the same position that they found themselves in eventual seven game victories over both the Canadiens and the Lightning in their current playoff run so its not exactly daunting.

We dont want to lose the first game, you know? But the good thing is that weve been there before. We dont panic or anything, said Krejci. We just go out and play the game. We know weve been there before and maybe thats a good thing. You dont want to lose it, but if it happens then it happens.

The Bruins have overcome adversity and hurdled over troublesome patches all year long, and it became something of a calling card for the Black and Gold during the playoffs. If Zdeno Chara being the prime suspect in a farcical Montreal Police investigation didnt daunt the Bruins players, then theres no reason to believe being down early in a seven game series would suddenly activate the panic button.

I expect our team to respond, you know. When we lose a game, we've always taken the next game as a challenge of getting ourselves back in it, said Lucic. I think that's the maturity in the team that we've been able to create this year from the playoff losses in years past. We were able to deal well with that pressure and make plays under pressure. Were able to step up to play in big games.

Game Two is definitely a big game for us. We want to do what we did in the last couple series.

If the Bruins want to find the perfect mindset for the next series of games, they need only turn back the clock to a couple of years ago when they were the heavily-favored juggernaut against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boston managed to flex their muscles and win that first game against a dog-tired Canes team, and that young team of Bs began to believe things would come just as easily for the rest of the series.

It was a hard lesson for the Bruins as the underdog Canes stunned the Bruins in three straight games before the overconfident bunch of Bs finally gathered themselves off the mat. The Bruins fought back hard in that series to push it to seven games, but ultimately couldnt overcome their power nap in the middle of the series.

Maybe, just maybe, the Bruins can catch Vancouver buying a little too much into their own hype with a 1-0 lead in the series and another home game on tap. Perhaps the Canucks have bought into the notion theyve seen the best from a Boston team that knows they can play better.

Maybe the Bruins can pull their own little Carolina caper before the powerfully built Canucks know what hit them.

The Canucks are just as new to the Stanley Cup Finals as the Bruins, so just about anything is possible.

Theres nothing wrong with Milan Lucic and the Bruins lugging around a chip on their shoulder gathered all of the non-believers.

But its more important that the Bruins come out playing like teed off hockey players with a chance to knock the Canucks back on their heels. Thats the exact kind of attitude that was missing in the first game of this rapidly escalating series.

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

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. 

Monday, Dec. 5: Craig Cunningham's recovery

Monday, Dec. 5: Craig Cunningham's recovery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully getting in the holiday spirit by getting the family Christmas tree this week.

*Very good and very sobering story about Craig Cunningham’s slow recovery, and his large support system with the AHL Roadrunners team he is captaining this season. It sounds like it might be a bit of a long road for him, so he and his family will need that support from those around him.

*Tyler Seguin has his shot back, and that’s great news for the Dallas Stars power play. So is that like Stella getting her groove back?

*A KHL player went into a sliding dab formation in order to celebrate a goal on the ice, and we salute him for that.

*The Maple Leafs are trying to fortify their backup goaltending situation after waiving Jhonas Enroth this week.

*Interesting Bob McKenzie piece about a young man that’s hoping to challenge conventional thinking in the hockey coaching ranks.

*TSN’s Scott Cullen takes a look at Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine’s shooting skills as part of his “Statistically Speaking” column.

*For something completely different: the hits just keep on coming for Netflix as they’re going to double their TV series output over the next year.