Bruins take care of business vs. Islanders


Bruins take care of business vs. Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. The sleepy effort and near-loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this week might have been the best thing that happened to the Bruins prior to their 6-0 win against the Islanders on Saturday.

With big divisional tilts against the Montreal Canadiens, who humbled the Bruins with a home-and-home sweep at the end of October, and the Buffalo Sabres, who will be looking for revenge after the Milan LucicRyan Miller brouhaha last weekend, the Black and Gold skaters wouldnt be blamed if they thoroughly overlooked a date with the Isles at Nassau Coliseum.

After all, the Bruins had already nailed the Islanders by a 6-3 score earlier two weeks ago, and New York is having serious issues with two wins in their last 10 games to go along with a minus-21 goal differential. The Islanders have taken their rightful place in the Eastern Conference basement, and it wouldnt have been shocking to see the Bruins feel their way through the first 20 minutes.

We know when they score first that theyre a good hockey team, and we wanted to get that first goal and build off it, said Chris Kelly, who potted a pair of goals and enjoyed his first three point game with the Bruins. We wanted to start this road trip off on the right foot. The Islanders have good offensive weapons and if we overlooked them they were going to bury us. We needed a solid 60-minute effort and we got it.

Instead the Bruins slugged the Islanders with a series of haymaker shots and knocked Isles goaltender Rick DiPietro out of the game with three goals on the strength of 13 shots. The second period effort wasnt quite as effective in sealing New Yorks fate, but the Bruins were so good in the first 20 minutes that the Islanders never mounted a serious comeback in Tim Thomas 28th career shutout in the 6-0 win on Long Island. After the game the Bs pointed to the Columbus game as the kind of fortunate wakeup call that reminded them just how easily another hockey team can creep up and bit them if they become unsuspecting enough.

You cant just let up on a team, or have any letdown, said Patrice Bergeron, who scored the teams first goal and finished with a plus-1 in 16:46 of ice time. The parody in the league is too good to do so. It was important for us to have a good effort and bounce back from that last game against Columbus.

Any hockey team needs those kinds of on-ice reminders from the leagues whipping boys, and New York certainly qualifies after monumental struggles over the last few years have kept them at the bottom of the East standings. Claude Juliens philosophy headed into the game was for the Bruins to hit the Islanders quickly with a flurry in the first period that would discourage the team in rapid fashion, and thats exactly how it played out when Tyler Seguin cut through Steve Staios and Mark Streit before dishing to Patrice Bergeron for the quick goal.

DiPietros breakdown followed with goals allowed to Nathan Horton and Chris Kelly, and the Bruins were off-and-running while laughing at the notion of a trap game while Boston fans chanted Lets Go Bruins at an emptying Nassau Coliseum.

These kinds of teams are always hard to play against, said Claude Julien. That might not have shown because we played them tight tonight and respected their game. The only way we were going to get back into the race was to get going on some kind of a streak here. It doesnt matter how many games weve won here because were still just hanging on to the last playoff spot or slipping out of it. Weve got to get ourselves into a better playoff position than that.

Now its on to the Montreal and Buffalo legs of the road trip, and games that wont be taking the Bruins by surprise. Julien will be happy to know the Bs find themselves in the seventh spot among the top eight playoff teams in the East after their eighth straight victory, and have a whole point of breathing room.

The Bs will need to keep the pedal down over the next two grudge match road games if they hope to solidify that in time for their return trip home on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?

While the good news is that it doesn’t appear that Tuukka Rask is dealing with a knee injury, there are still some significant muscular issues to work with concerning his left leg. 

According to former Bruins defenseman and NHL analyst Aaron Ward on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast, the Bruins franchise goaltender has been dealing with a hamstring issue that’s also become a hamstring and groin issue as he tried to play through in the first week of the season. Rask clearly tweaked something in his left leg opening night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, missed the Saturday night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then appeared to aggravate the injury in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils. 

According to Ward, it’s hamstring and groin issues for Rask as the Bruins attempt to survive without him while potentially working toward a possible return for the Finnish netminder this weekend vs. the Red Wings. Rask hasn’t skated with the Bruins since finishing out the 2-1 win over the Devils last Thursday night, and tweaking the problematic left leg in the process. 

“What I was told is that it was left leg, and that at first it was hamstring and now it’s possibly hamstring and groin,” said Ward to CSN Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty on the Great American Hockey Show podcast. “You’re always concerned when you’re a goalie and it’s your legs, right? It’s the push-off. The crazy part was watching it on video where the shoot came from the left side and went wide, and the next time he injures it shot comes from the same spot, misses it wide and [Rask] is in the exact same position wincing.

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“I think [the Bruins] are smart rather than trying to play a guy that’s 90, 80 or 70 percent, whatever it is, to just get it over with. Endure the short term pain to get the greater gain, and that’s having Rask in there. There’s no greater endorsement to keep him out than seeing the [bad losses without him] because you need a healthy Tuukka to let the rest of the team settle.”

It’s been disastrous without Rask, of course, as the Bruins have allowed 11 goals in back-to-back losses to the Wild and Rangers with rookies Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre between the pipes, and Anton Khudobin out for three weeks while sporting a cast on his right hand in the last B’s game at TD Garden. 

Meanwhile, Rask (3-0-0, 1.67 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage) is trying to heal and time it perfectly so he returns once he’s past the danger of potentially blowing out the muscles in his left leg and making the situation even worse than it already might be. 

Ward also discusses his relationship with "Toucher & Rich" and the "Cuts for a Cause" charitable event that he helped start.