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.

Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

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Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

BUFFALO -- With it appearing that Loui Eriksson is all but gone from the Bruins with the July 1 opening of free agency around the corner, B’s general manager Don Sweeney must find a way to replace the second-leading point man from last year’s hockey club. With or without a suitable Eriksson replacement at right wing via trade or free agency, the Bruins will also need greater production from their returning wingers on the right side.

That means 20-year-old David Pastrnak needs to have a breakthrough season after the Bruins knocked away attempts to extract him in trade discussions for a top-4 defenseman, and Jimmy Hayes needs to rebound from a streaky, disappointing first season in Boston. The 6-foot-6 Hayes slumped to 13 goals and 29 points in 75 games, and was a team-worst minus-12 while going through long stretches where it was hard to even notice him on the ice.

His GM said that needs to change next season with the Bruins counting on him to play more consistently, and be willing to play the big man’s game.

“We have internal candidates that might have to step up, and David is a player like that…Jimmy is a player like that. There’s no question we’re not a complete team right now,” said Sweeney. “So we’ll go to work now, and that could be through free agency, or through potential trade stuff. It could also be about the excitement if somebody pops from the development side of things. I think Jimmy had a pretty start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that. We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player.

“He played a lot with Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

As far as the free agent options mentioned by Sweeney, Kyle Okposo and Troy Brouwer would be names to watch closely as they both fight the Black and Gold mold of winger with size, strength and finishing ability.

Clearly there’s no choice but for the 26-year-old Hayes to have a bounce-back season given that he’s signed for two years in Boston at $2.3 million per season, and that they need him with the right side of their forward group in flux. 

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

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Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available

Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

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Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

BUFFALO – While it certainly doesn’t feel like there’s any chance of it realistically happening, the Bruins plan to reach out to some of the bigger fish on the free agent market with roughly $21 million in cap space to work with.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney lost out on a defenseman trade target in Dmitry Kulikov on Saturday when he was dealt by the Panthers to the Buffalo Sabres and appears far away from acquiring top D-man target Kevin Shattenkirk.

So, the Bruins will turn their attention to the free agent market opening on July 1, and with that in mind Sweeney didn’t rule out the Bruins making a run at Stephen Stamkos, or potentially welcoming back power forward Milan Lucic.

“The interview period has already begun, and we were on the phone today with players that we had targeted. It was our first opportunity to speak with them, and see if things line up. It will play out over the next few days and we will be aggressive about it because we want to improve,” said Sweeney, who was adamant that the Bruins would make all the necessary exploratory phone calls when specifically asked about both Stamkos and Lucic. “We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club, and it if lines up then that’s what we’d like to do.

“There are a lot of coveted ones on the market, and we will make all of the calls. It’s everybody. The city would embrace it, and the organization has great respect for [Lucic]. So there’s no question that we would explore all players.”

There may be some sentimental interest from Lucic's camp in returning to Boston, but there's also a sense the left wing has become comfortable back on his native West Coast. The Canucks in his home city of Vancouver and the Edmonton Oilers are expected to push hard for his punishing, board-rattling services. Wooing Stamkos would be particularly difficult given that the Bruins seem years away from truly competing for a Stanley Cup and have two frontline centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

While either one would certainly help a Black and Gold team likely to be losing Loui Eriksson in free agency, much of their existing cap space is going to be eaten up by a contract extension for RFA Torey Krug, a deal for whatever replacement they have in mind for Eriksson should he sign with a different team and the top-four defenseman that Boston has needed since trading Dougie Hamilton at last June’s draft weekend in Florida.