Haggerty: Bruins have been here before

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Haggerty: Bruins have been here before

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON The Bruins have been here before, so it should be widely understood if they dont panic down 1-0 in a playoff series with the other teams goaltender seemingly standing tall with confidence.

It was exactly a year ago the Bs were down 1-0 to the Buffalo Sabres in their opening round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Sabres had just watched goaltender Ryan Miller make 38 saves en route to a 2-1 victory a win that saw the Bs outshoot Buffalo by a 24-8 margin in the second period without much in the way of goals or production.

We could be a little more physical than we were last night, said Bruins winger Michael Ryder. Weve got to get traffic in front of Carey Price and find ways to beat him. We lost to Buffalo in the first game, and Miller was a great goalie too.

Youve to find a way to beat those guys in a playoff series, and not just one game. You have to get better with each game, and learn and adjust to whats going on each time you play. Well make some adjustments and I think well be fine.

The good news: that series had a happy ending.

The bad news: that series didnt feature the Bruins attempting to win in a Habs den thats served as an arena full of kryptonite for more than a calendar year, and now Boston must win a game in Montreal after losing home ice advantage.

The Bruins are determined to make sure its only a 1-1 series instead of trailing 0-2 with the raucous Bell Centre on tap.

We lost the first game against Buffalo last year. It happens. Its just one game, said Krejci, who was held without a shot on net and got completely shut down by the shadow job of Tomas Plekanec. Its a tight series. Weve talked about it being a long series maybe seven games and were ready for it.

We want to win. We have to win. We will win. Obviously we dont want to go up to Montreal with them holding a 2-0 lead. That would be really tough.

Thats as close as Krejci will ever come to a Czech Republic version of Joe Namath predicting a postseason win before it happens, but it underscores how high the confidence is still running for the Bruins.

There was some frustration just as it was there in a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, but there was also a nagging feeling that the Bs hadnt really made the Vezina Trophy-winning Miller work all that hard. Just as they didnt do much besides shoot the puck directly into Carey Prices chest in the shutout loss that saw the Habs netminder make 31 saves in the Montreal win in Game One.

Its Stanley Cup dj vu, and it gives many of the veteran Bruins proof positive that things can be turned around after just about everything imaginable went against the Black and Gold in Game One. That includes 31 shots on net without much in the way of gritty interior work by the Bs forwards attempting to bust through Montreals inner defense around Price.

Big bodies like Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton werent able to bust through Montreals defensive pillars in order to make Prices life either A) uncomfortable or B) downright deplorable. Instead Price saw wide lanes open up each time a Bs player wound up and blasted a shot at the Montreal net, and wasnt bothered by many scoring chances after Brad Marchand fanned on a point blank shot in the first period.

Last season against the Sabres, Boston improved dynamically when it came to rattling Millers cage between the pipes, and that pressure allowed them to win four of the final five games en route to winning the playoff series.

That kind of recent past performance can give the Bs plenty to work with, and Boston hopes to respond as they did with a five goal barrage in Game 2 last season an offensive outburst that was keyed by Michael Ryder working around the net and Chara blasting away from the point with bodies flying all around the net.

Thats the recipe for success in Boston if the Bs players are willing to pay the price.

The Buffalo series was out of my mind. It doesnt matter who were playing, we have to find a way to score goals, said Shawn Thornton. If traffic is the answer then traffic is the answer. If its something else then so be it.

Were going to come out, play hard and get things going in the right way.

The right way starts with making Price feel like hes in the same inhospitable place that saw him yanked from the game in each of his last two regular season starts against the Bruins at TD Garden and it ends with the Bruins knotting up a series desperately waiting for the real Black and Gold unit to stand up and be counted.
Just like in Buffalo a year ago.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.