Bruins' turn to set the tone

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Bruins' turn to set the tone

By Jimmy Toscano
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Whats that old saying? Its tough to win games if you dont score goals.

The Bruins are living proof of that, but it doesnt end there. Not only are they not scoring goals just one in 120 minutes of play, all at home theyre giving them up before fans even get a chance to find their seats.

For that to change, theyll have to focus on starting off games the right way. Twice now the Bruins have let the Canadiens set the tone within minutes seconds even of the puck being dropped.

All that does is allow the Canadiens to play their style of play for the entire game, while the Bs are forced to play catch-up hockey.

We talked about that before. The Canadiens made a living . . . last year in the playoffs of getting a lead and then sitting back and absorbing the other teams attack and collapsing, and relying on some good goaltending, coach Claude Julien said. And theyve done that. Whenever they got that early lead, which theyve done well, they push teams to try and get out of their comfort zone and start taking chances. Thats the thing theyve done well. We have to make sure we dont give them those early goals because now youre playing into their game.

It all starts with a good start, Milan Lucic said. Thats what our focus is going to be on is getting out there and trying to establish that first goal and try to establish a good first shift. Thats whats locked in the first two games, especially the last game when you give up a goal in the first 43 seconds.

Scoring first is obviously beneficial, but it may prove to be even more so than usual Monday night in Montreal.

The first one is a big one, David Krejci said. If we get the first goal theyre the ones who have to attack, so they can open up a little bit. We can control the game a little bit. So thats what its about, a good start. And you want to get the first lead so hopefully we can go in and win Game Three.

Its tough to skate with your tail between your legs. Going down so early certainly wont put any Bs players in a good state of mind, which may have even lead to the Canadiens second goal just a couple minutes later in Saturday nights 3-1 loss.

I think we start off with a lot of energy, and giving up early goals like that doesnt do a whole lot for the momentum of this team, Gregory Campbell said.

We were ready . . . we were very excited for the game, Krejci said. Then they got the first goal. So it kind of shocked us a little bit. It was really hard to come back. So hopefully the next game were going to get the first goal and we can control the game.

They got themselves into this mess, and theyre the only ones who are going to get themselves out. And unlike the first two games, nobody in the stands will have their back.

The good news is that the Bs are a solid team on the road this year; the bad news is they havent won in Montreal.

That will have to change now. Their backs are up against the boards, and they know it.

I think we do have that desperation where were going to have to go into every minute of the next game having that desperation, playing as hard as we can and doing whatever it takes to win, Rich Peverley said. Every guy in this locker room is going to be counted on and were going to need the best from everybody.

Being down 0-2 in the series is certainly not the end of the world. Last season the Canadiens were down three games to one to Washington, before they took the next four games and moved on. The Flyers were down three games to none to these same Bruins, and well, you know the rest. The point is, its not over until its over.

Its no secret now, Lucic said. The last two teams last year, when they were in trouble. Were in trouble right now and we need to find a way to rally and get our heads around it and you know, everyone needs to step up and play the way we know we can.

No one is going to do it but us. For myself and the rest of the guys on the team, were the ones that need to go out and do it and rise up to the occasion its not just one guy. Were going to have to unite as a team here and do it together.

Its easy to say, but much harder to do. Are the Bruins going to go quietly into the Montreal night? Or will they finally take a stand and make a statement? They have the ability to answer that either way.

I think the answer is in this dressing room, but its up to each and every one of us to dig deep here, look ourselves in the mirror, Campbell said. Its not a blame game here, its more of everybody having to contribute and doing their own job.

Claude Julien gave a quick update, or lack thereof, on the Zdeno Chara situation: No further update on Zdeno, hes been in touch with our doctors and medical staff and he will be traveling with the team, so thats basically all Im going to say about that. And I guess Ill take a page out of Flyers coach Peter Laviolettes book last night, We dont discuss lineups, we dont discuss our goaltenders, and we dont discuss our injuries.' So I liked that and Ill give him credit for that one.

Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

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Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.