Notes: Bruins finally find life on the power play

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Notes: Bruins finally find life on the power play

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA The Bruins finally got their power play going a bit in Game 2 at TD Garden, scoring twice in one game for the first time during the playoffs. There were several factors at the heart of the renaissance, but the two biggest seemed to be a) Tomas Kaberle pulling out of his post-trade deadline tailspin and b) the appearance of Tyler Seguin.

Kaberle notched a pair of assists and it was Seguins sonic blast from the left point that set up Michael Ryders power-play goal. Their play should lead to more PP time for both players in Thursday nights Game 3 at the St Pete Times Forum.

We finished the job and a wins a win, said David Krejci, who operates off the half-wall running the first power-play unit. I like the puck movement, and the chances were getting are pretty good right now. Its a just of matter of getting consistent and being able to get some good pressure each time were out there.

Coach Claude Julien saw plenty that he liked on the man advantage, but its also clear improvement can still be made. For now, consistency would be much more desirable than getting the occasional outburst out of the special teams unit.

I think it had to do with a lot of things. I think we were moving the puck better, we shot it more and we had better . . . traffic in front of the net, said Julien. We just seemed to be more determined as a group and we talked before the game that we felt it was important for us to win the special-team battle against a team that is really good in regards to that.

It was a big challenge for us and our guys responded well. Yeah, our power play was better and if we can continue to play like that, it will help us a lot.

The Bs are now 4-for-46 on the power play during the playoffs, a still-pathetic 8.7 percent success rate through the first 13 playoff games this spring.

The Bruins are having some defensive problems around the net, and both coach and players recognized that things need to shut down after giving up 10 goals in two games to the Lightning this season.

Dennis Seidenberg said the Bruins already have adjustments theyre ready to employ.

Both teams are really sound defensively and both teams dont expect to score or get scored on as much as we both did in first two games, said Seidenberg. Im sure both of us are going to adjust to it and start playing better defensively."

Nathan Horton took an ill-timed penalty in an otherwise solid Game 2, and Julien said its a fine line his No. 1 right wing rides between discipline and playing with emotion.

"We talked about Brad Marchand and making sure he rides the fine line said Julien. The one thing that is not easy is the fact that Horton's been told in the past that hes been too timid, when he was in Florida. All of a sudden he's showing some emotion, and you dont want to take that away from him.

You might want to temper with it a little bit and make sure you work with him in regards to not crossing the line. But I like the fact that hes playing with an edge because its really helped his game a lot.

Julien indicated that if Patrice Bergeron is indeed good to go in Game 3 at the St. Pete Times Forum, then he wont be limited in his playing time. After skating for four or five days, the Bs coach said Bergeron has had enough time under his belt to quickly ingratiate himself back into the power play, penalty kill and other five-on-five action for his customary 17-20 minutes per night.

Hes going to be good, said Julien. I mean, hes been skating now for I think four of five days. Ive talked to him, he feels his conditioning is right on in those skating practices. He doesnt feel winded or anything like that. So when you look back at our team, you know were having a lot of days off between games and stuff like that. Hes skated on some of those days. So I think hes pretty well in the area that he should be. I know that when you havent played in almost two weeks, it might take him maybe a period. But I think hell catch on pretty quickly.

The Bruins had zero ice availability for their team on Wednesdays off day, and instead spent the day traveling from Boston to Tampa Bay.

The NHL Network created a History Will Be Made commercial featuring Tyler Seguins heroics from Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was tagged with the slogan Where History Doesnt Know its Age . . . pretty cool stuff.

Krejci wasnt wild about the crowd at the TD Garden in the Game 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and gave the Bs fans a little bit of a backhanded slap for finally showing up within the heroics of Game 2.

"It was fun, said Krejci. It was good to see our fans were behind us - and not against us for once.

I was disappointed in the first game when they booed us. Obviously we knew we didnt play our best game, but it was the first game of the conference final and wed made it that far. I had been a little disappointed, but then yesterday they were unbelievable."

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.

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. 

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold.