Notes: Bruins burned by penalties

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Notes: Bruins burned by penalties

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It was the question that nobody in the Bruins dressing room wanted to answer, but it was also biggest single factor in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Sabres were handed seven power play chances including a huge 5-on-3 advantage in the third period that allowed Buffalo to climb back from a 3-2 deficit and push the game to the extra session before a winner from Brad Boyes.

I dont know. I mean theyre tough, tough to swallow; especially when youre down a man or two even, said a frustrated Adam McQuaid, trying his best not to be controversial. I dont know. Im not going to say too much.

Take your pick at the questionable referee call that the Bruins seemed to take serious exception toward after the fact: the Zdeno Chara boarding call, the Tomas Kaberle tripping call, the Brad Marchand tripping call or the Johnny Boychuk hooking call.

All were safely organized into the highly debatable category, and both Ian Walsh and Brad Watson were getting the hairy eyeball from Claude Julien all evening long. The Bs coach felt an honest nights worth of effort was wiped out by the chronic whistle-blowing going on throughout the game.

I think right now with what our team went through in the last couple of days, I like the way our guys reacted, said Julien. They came out, they played with a lot of passion and they worked hard.

Until those penalties happened, we were in control of the game. It was our game and we were the better team out there. So unfortunately those penalties happened and you have to live with those and you move on and you prepare for the next game. Youre wasting a lot of energy being frustrated with whats happened here tonight.

Tomas Kaberle has hit a little bit of a wall for the Bruins since arriving, and the All-Star defenseman has only a single assist in nine games with the Bruins and hasnt registered any points at all in his last six games for Boston.

Plenty of fight in the Bruins coming off a bad loss to the Canadiens, and the grudge match against the Sabres saw Gregory Campbell, Adam McQuaid and Milan Lucic all drop the gloves against Buffalo players. Campbells bout came early in the game during a scoreless tie, and was the centers way of grasping hold of the game.

It was a big game. The coaches all stressed how big the first ten minutes were going to be, so I just tried to get some energy, said Campbell. Obviously it wasnt that good of a fight, but thats going to happen. My intentions were there, and thats that.

The Bs center took a good shot or two from Buffalo tough guy Cody McCormick, but Milan Lucic later avenged his teammate by dropping the Buffalo winger twice with huge right hands to the face.

The only regular that didnt drop the gloves was Shawn Thornton, who was trying to engage through the game but couldnt find a dance partner.

Tuukka Rask turned 24 years old on Thursday, and spent the day in a backup goaltender role thats become very familiar for the Finnish youngster this season.

Shawn Thornton and his teammates will be shaving their heads for charity just in time for the playoffs on Thursday, April 7 as part of the 4th annual Cuts for a Cause event. Tickets to the event are on sale now and can be purchased for 20 by emailing tickets@985thesportshub.com. Fans will be able to bid on the opportunity to shave the Bs players heads beginning Monday, March 21 on 985thesportshub.com.

The Bs will pay tribute to Bruins legendary radio personality Bob Wilson on Saturday, March 26 during the BruinsRangers game at the TD Garden. At 11:30 a.m., the Bruins will dedicate their home radio broadcast booth to Wilson by renaming it the "Bob Wilson Radio Booth." The Bruins will also install a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Gardens level 9 faade beneath the home radio broadcast booth, which will be permanently displayed. Wilson recently celebrated his 82nd birthday on Wednesday, March 9.

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

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.