By Joe Haggerty
TAMPA David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas were all missing from the St. Pete Times Forum practice ice on Friday afternoon the day after Bostons convincing 2-0 victory over the Lightning. The win gave Boston a kung fu grip on the series up 2-1 with home ice advantage back on their side, and hands the Bs a pretty good feeling headed into Saturday afternoons Game 1 matinee.Krejci surely had a little full-body soreness after taking a big hit in the first period, Chara appeared to be battling some kind of cold after logging more than 28 minutes in the victory and Thomas can pretty much do whatever he wants after putting together his second playoff shutout in the 2-0 win.Krejci played well after suffering a crunching body hit at the hand of Marc-Andre Bergeron in the first period, and the Bs coach said that there are no injury issues with the play-making center stemming from the heavy hit.David is fine," Claude Julien said. "We had a bunch of guys stay off today. Its more of an optional and short skate. There are no issues with David. Hes playing tomorrow in Game 4 with no issues at all.As for the hit itself, Julien understood why Tampa coach Guy Boucher looked like Dr. Evil -- with no Mr. Bigglesworth -- on the Lightning bench after the refs called Bergeron for an elbowing penalty on the collision. The Bs coach concurred with most hockey people that Bergeron dropped a hellacious good hit in the playoffs, and that the refs played a bit of the makeup game in ignoring Dwayne Roloson handling the puck outside the trapezoid area during the ensuing power play.If you have time to look at the replay you can say, well, it was a good hit, said Julien. Its happened to us before from our end of it. Sometimes you get called for penalties. The one thing weve always said is that the league is very sensitive to head issues, so something theyre making a call.Maybe it wasnt the right call, but at the same time they have had a second penalty on that same play where the goaltender touched the puck outside the area. The referee was there and I think he didnt call it . . . probably trying to make up for it. I think it all evened out in the end. Thats what we talk about when you play the games. Plenty of cameras and recorders out for Shane Hnidy and goalie coach Bob Essensa as talk stirred up about the Atlanta Thrashers moving into Winnipeg starting next season with Hnidy from the Winnipeg area and Essensa proud of his six seasons as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Shawn Thornton was kind enough to assist reporters in doing their jobs as he continuously yelled Shane Hnidy is available, and hes from Winnipeg! during media availability in the visitors dressing room at the St. Pete Times Forum. Patrice Bergeron said he was no worse for the wear after playing upwards of 19 minutes during his first game action in two weeks, and said recurring concussion symptoms wasnt even a thought in his head. The day after Bergerons return there was no soreness, no concussion recurrences and nothing but good feelings about where hes at for the rest of the playoffs.To be honest I wasnt even worried about it," Bergeron said. "I knew I was back and I was ready. It took maybe a couple of shifts keeping things simple, but after that I really felt like I was in the groove and things were good. I knew I was good physically and I was ready mentally as well.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.
*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.
*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.
BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.
The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.
“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”
One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.
“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.
“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”
So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden.