Ference, Kampfer won't travel to Montreal


Ference, Kampfer won't travel to Montreal

By Danny Picard

WILMINGTON -- With Patrice Bergeron back at practice on Monday, Mark Recchi was the only non-injured Bruins player missing. Recchi was given a "personal day," according to coach Claude Julien.

Recchi will be available on Tuesday night in Montreal, but injured defensemen Andrew Ference (lower body) and Steve Kampfer (concussion) won't travel with the team.

Ference has missed the last four games and was scheduled to resume skating by Monday. Julien said after practice that Ference hasn't hit the ice yet, not even on his own, but that could change soon.

"We had predicted Sunday or maybe today, but he's not quite there yet," said Julien. "It really is a day-to-day situation. So depending on how it's going to go today, he could skate tomorrow, it could be the day after. He's getting closer."

Kampfer left Thursdays game against Tampa Bay early with a mild concussion that he suffered after being hit hard in his own corner by Mattias Ritola.

The original timetable for Kampfer was for him to miss "at least a week." But after Monday's practice, Kampfer didn't sound as optimistic, saying that the off-and-on headaches he was still dealing with forced him to say he "didn't know" when he'd return.

"It's the occasional headache that still bothers you, and that's about it," said Kampfer, who hopes to start riding the stationary bike in the next couple of days. "It's frustrating. They'll go away for a couple of hours and then they'll come back. But it's getting better as time goes on.

Kampfer has had time to watch Ritola's hit from Thursday night, and while he didn't think it was a dirty play, he does believe the refs made a mistake by not calling a penalty.

"I didn't think it was a dirty hit," said Kampfer. "I was squared to the puck. My body was turning up ice. I just didn't think he was ever going to play the puck. You watch the tape, and when your stick's at your waist, you're not playing the puck. I mean, he was going for a highlight hit, and I gave it to him.

"I think it's a penalty, but I'm also biased of the hit. For him, it's a good hit. I just think it resulted in an interference. There was no way he was going to try and play that puck. But at the end of the day, that's how the game's played. So I just hope I get better."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Julien: Bruins 'need to push a little harder at times'

Julien: Bruins 'need to push a little harder at times'

BOSTON -- Bruins head coach Claude Julien was certainly happy with his Bruins eventually securing Thursday night’s two points, and has to appreciate the sudden third period pushes that have allowed the B’s to come back from deficits in recent games.

But the B’s also snoozed through the first two periods of Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and didn’t start showing net-front urgency or any sustained offensive push until the third period clock started ticking. If not for a masterful goaltending job by Anton Khudobin and his 29 saves, the Bruins might have come away disappointed against a Hurricanes team they need to handle if they harbor hopes for a playoff return.

A Torey Krug scoring blast in the final minute of regulation, aided by a Teuvo Teravainen kick into the net, was some much-needed relief for a goal-starved Bruins team. The goal was also thanks in part to David Backes grinding away in front, and getting into a net-front battle with Teravainen that helped boot the puck in the Carolina net. Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak also chipped in with shootout goals during the last two games, so that was a positive as Claude Julien and Co. work to cement a consistent lineup in the little-utilized shootout.

With all of this Julien still challenged his group postgame for more while knowing full well the Bruins haven’t exactly hit their franchise high water mark this season, and that there is room for his Black and Gold group to really improve offensively, defensively and on special teams.  

“They created a lot of turnovers so you can’t let your guard down for a minute and we weren’t strong enough,” said Julien. “I think our team for two periods was content with being okay. But that wasn’t good enough for us.

“We needed to step it up in the third period and at least we did that. It took us a while to get that goal, and finding a way to win is important. But at the same time we need to understand that if we want to be one of those playoff-contention teams, let’s not get satisfied with being okay and being close in games. We need to push a little harder at times.”

So the message was pretty clear from the B’s bench boss to his players: let’s see less of the hockey we’ve seen during the first 40 minutes of the Bruins over the last two games, and more of the 20-minute third period comebacks that have ensured the Bruins of much-needed points in the standings. 

Julien: Khudobin 'deserves a lot of accolades' for first win of season

Julien: Khudobin 'deserves a lot of accolades' for first win of season

BOSTON -- It took nearly two months of hockey and seven tries, but the Bruins finally got a win from one of their backup goaltenders.

Anton Khudobin enjoyed his best game of the season while stopping 29 shots and holding things together for a Bruins team that finally broke through in the third period en route to a 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Needless to say the affable Khudobin was happy to finish in the winner’s circle for the first time this season.

“It always feels awesome. Whenever you get the W it’s always…nothing can be better,” said Khudobin, who improved to 1-3-0 on the season. “I just do my job and so, that’s pretty much it. I’m happy that we got the ‘W.’

It certainly didn’t look optimal for Khudobin or the Black and Gold after the Hurricanes took a slim 1-0 lead in the second period, and the Bruins looked like their offense was once again going to fall short.

Instead the Bruins scratched for a goal late in the third outshooting the Hurricanes by a 12-9 margin, and Khudobin was perfect turning away 11 shots in the third period and overtime with exactly zero margin for error. He stopped Jeff Skinner on a three-on-none breakaway in the second period ahead of Noah Hanifin’s goal for the Hurricanes, and then he stopped Skinner again in overtime on a breakaway with two points hanging in the balance.

That doesn’t even mention the shootout where Khudobin stood tall again while watching Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak score to ice the game for the Black and Gold.

“[He was] very good. [Khudobin] deserves a lot of accolades tonight, the way he played and the way he responded after being out such a long time. I think the fact that he went to Providence and played some games there really helped him get back on track,” said Julien. “Tonight he showed that he was ready to play. He made some big plays for us, you know, solid in the shootout.

“You couldn’t ask more from him. There’s no doubt that there was a lot of confidence that grew in that dressing room by watching his play and knowing that we have two goaltenders that can play extremely well for us.”

It’s a confidence that understandably wavered when the B’s backup goalies went a combined 0-6-0 to start the season with Khudobin, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre all failed to lead the Black and Gold to a victory. That has changed now with the Bruins stealing a game from Carolina after sleepwalking through the first 40 minutes, and knowing that their goaltender was the biggest difference between winning and losing.

“He was awesome tonight. He was our number one star for sure. I think they had two or three breakaways that he shut the door on. I think they had a four-on- zero too. He shut the door on everything,” said Riley Nash. “I thought he was fantastic. I think that was his first win of the year too. So, it’s nice to get that monkey off his back and hopefully just get it rolling now.”

It wasn’t quite a Jimmy Hayes-sized monkey on Khudobin’s back to be sure, but nonetheless there is a renewed sense of confidence after a dominant, winning performance that conjures up memories of just how effective Rask and Khudobin were as a Bruins tandem just a few years ago.