Game Story: Bruins fall to Senators, 2-1


Game Story: Bruins fall to Senators, 2-1

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Last night's home exhibition finale between the Bruins and Senators wont win any Hockey action is Fantastic awards, and the B's couldnt send the crowd home happy, either.

The B's dominated the Ottawa Senators in their final home tune-up before the regular season, but somehow turned a 40-shot attack into a 2-1 loss to Ottawa at the TD Garden.

David Rundblad scored the game-winner when he fired a puck from the left point that nicked off Adam McQuaids stick and got by Tim Thomas. Craig Anderson made 39 stops for the Senators in a big goaltending show that Ottawa will need on most nights this season.

The Bruins were on the board first with another power-play goal, as their improvement with the man advantage continues during this preseason. This time it was Milan Lucic with his first career preseason power-play goal, firing home a shot after receiving a slick Nathan Horton pass from behind the net after a couple of Zdeno Chara bombs from the point had softened things up.

The Bruins dominated the time of possession and shot chart, but the Senators ended up tying things in the third period after a pair of Anderson saves at one end turned into transitional offense. Colin Greening carried the puck up, and managed to get Daniel Alfredsson open for a score to the glove side of Thomas.

The real downer on this night, however, was a leg injury to Steve Kampfer in the third period. An awkward collision with Jared Cowan turned Kampfer into a split on the ice, and the young Bs defensemen went down in a heap immediately afterward.

GOLD STAR: Craig Anderson made 39 stops for the Ottawa Senators, and set up both of Ottawas goals by making acrobatic saves at his end of the ice in a game dominated by the Bruins. The stops on Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron in the third period preceded an Alfredsson scoring rush on Thomas, and he did the same thing later in the period when he stuffed Daniel Paille on a breakaway. The Sens have put a lot of faith in Anderson, and hope that he can carry them through a difficult Northeast Division schedule this season.

HONORABLE MENTION: Milab Lucic potted his first career preseason goal on the power play and did a nice job camping his big body in front of the net. Thats the exact kind of role big No. 17 will be expected to play during the year, and it looks like the Nathan HortonLucic chemistry is in midseason form at this point.

BLACK EYE: Steve Kampfer suffered a knee injury in the third period after a collision with Jared Cowen and is scheduled for a Friday MRI to survey the damage. Its a shame for Kampfer, who'd really turned his preseason around in the last three games and put on a serious bid for the seventh defensemen spot with the Bruins. It now appears Matt Bartkowski will win that spot unless Kampfer can dodge an injury bullet on a knee hit that looked pretty serious.

TURNING POINT: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley came out flying in the opening minutes of the third period, and nearly scored on a perfect Marchand-to-Peverley pass for an open bid in front. Anderson stuffed the Peverley shot with a left pad save, smothered a Bergeron rebound attempt and then kick-started a transition into the offensive zone that ended up in an Ottawa goal. That tipped the scales in a game Boston had previously dominated.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 the number of shots faced by Tim Thomas in a game that didnt feature a lot of action in the Boston end. Thomas will play Saturday against the Islanders to get a final tune-up before the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Id ask them if they want to grab a beer. Thats about it. Andrew Ference when asked what hed say to any bummed out Red Sox players he bumps into in Boston over the next few weeks.

For Haggerty's 15 thoughts on the game, click here.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

It’s hard to believe that it’s already come to this, but it might just be Malcolm Subban between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, and perhaps again on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old Subban has been pulled from two ineffective starts for the P-Bruins in four AHL starts this season (.846 save percentage and a 4.50 goals against average in four games) while coming back from last year’s fractured larynx injury. He's also a player the organization was uncertain enough about that they signed veteran backup Anton Khudobin to a two-year deal on the July 1 open of NHL free agency.

Subban attributed his start to a slow opening few weeks with a new P-Bruins roster of players, but that hasn’t stopped fellow P-Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre from putting up excellent numbers between the pipes in the early going.

But Khudobin went down with an injury mere minutes into Monday morning’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and Tuukka Rask been battling a nagging leg injury since the season opening win against the Blue Jackets.

So Subban was the last goalie standing on Monday as an emergency recall from Providence, and could be in line to play Tuesday night against the Wild if the Bruins medical staff can’t perform some Mr. Miyagi-style healing techniques on Rask or Khudobin.

“Khudobin got injured and couldn’t practice with us, but I haven’t heard anything yet [on an update],” said Julien following practice. “This is hockey. We deal with it on daily basis with the injuries. We wait for the news and then it’s about doing your job as it’s required. If we have to make some adjustments and have to have some different personnel, then we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update. Tuukka is still day-to-day, so nothing is changed there.

“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens, and if [Subban] needs to go in goal then he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that. As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me and that’s ‘stop the puck.’ I’m not a goalie coach, so I’m just demanding on making the saves.”

Subban, of course, hasn’t been making the saves down in Providence early in the going there this season, and is entering the stage of his career where he needs to begin showing signs of being a potential No. 1 guy at the NHL level.

Fellow goalies from the 2012 NHL draft class like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Joonas Korpisalo, Matt Murray, Connor Hellebuyck and Frederik Andersen have all begun making their mark in the league, and Subban was selected higher than all of them except for Tampa’s Vasilevskiy. So in the final year of his entry level deal it’s high time for the 22-year-old to begin showing signs he can play in the league, whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.

He admitted on Monday he might have been putting too much pressure on himself down in Providence while watching the injury issues play out with Tuukka Rask in Boston.

Subban was worried about the big picture of stringing together saves so he was the guy called up if the Bruins needed a goalie, and instead should have been focusing more on the present opponents at the AHL level.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think anybody that knows me well knows that. I don’t like to let in goals no matter what happens, whether it’s breakdowns or not it’s my job [to stop the puck]. If there were no breakdowns then you wouldn’t need a goaltender,” said Subban. “I want to make every save and get a shutout every game. I think the biggest thing is just relaxing and playing, and knowing that it’s okay to let a goal in every once in a while.

“So I think in my position right now I’m supposed to be playing really well down there, and I think that go in my head a little bit. I was trying to get a shutout every game rather than going game-by-game and shot-by-shot. I was overthinking it too much. But collectively as a team we’re a new team and we were trying to get the chemistry together, and once we do that the D-zone will be better and the offensive zone game will come.”

If Subban does indeed get the emergency start on Tuesday night against the Wild, the Bruins just have to hope that it’s a better outing than getting pulled in his NHL debut against the Blues two seasons ago after allowing three goals on three straight shots to start the second period. They also have to hope that Rask or Khudobin get well quick given Boston’s shaky situation on defense in front of the goaltender, and the stretch they’re in of playing six straight opponents that qualified for last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

If not then watch out below because every hockey person knows there’s no quicker way for a hockey club to really begin imploding than if the goaltending starts to become a major problem whether it’s because of injury, inconsistent performance or simply because of being a straight-up sieve.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.