Malhotra practices with an eye for Game 2

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Malhotra practices with an eye for Game 2

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER The Canucks could be getting even stronger if things continue to go well for Manny Malhotra, who practiced Friday with a caged helmet while attempting to return from a nasty eye injury.Malhotra still bears the mark of a shot he took in the left eye while playing the Colorado Avalanche in the middle of March. But he was cleared for a full practice on Friday, and the door is slightly ajar for him to play in Game 2. The gritty Malhotra, who is still sportingbruising and swelling around his left eye, is listed as day-to-day by coach Alain Vigneault. Malhotra brings faceoff ability, defensive grit and a fighting spirit the Canucks could clearly use against the Bruins.
Obviously, coming back after taking a long break, there's going to be a little bit of a trial-and-error period just as far as my comfort level on the ice and my conditioning are concerned, said Malhotra. There are a lot of things that go into that decision to play in Game 2.

"Number one: I obviously don't want this to be a sideshow. We always talk about in our dressing room that the whole is much greater than the individuals. We have a very strong focus in the room. It's where it needs to be. I don't want anything to sidetrack that.

"From the other standpoint, it's playoff hockey. That's what we're used to. You don't get a whole lot of information on injuries in general. So we're just kind of following suit in that sense.Also, defenseman Dan Hamhuis was missing from practiceafter suffering an unspecified injury in Game 1 while throwing a hipcheck on Milan Lucic.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.