Notes: Bruins talk getting to the net

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Notes: Bruins talk getting to the net

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
WILMINGTON, Mass. The name of the game at Bruins practice was pretty simple on Friday as the team picked up the pieces of a Game 1 shutout loss to Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.It was all about traffic, traffic and more traffic. The human kind rather than the Storrow Drive kind.The Bruins had puck possession, they drew a few penalties and Tim Thomas was solid until the third period hiccup against Brian Gionta, but the one area they were woefully deficient in was getting bodies in close to the net.The Habs defensive pairing of P.K. Subban and Hal Gill managed to ward Bostons big bodies away from the slot area, and kept their scoring opportunities to the bare minimum for the full 60 minutes. Tomas Plekanec shadowed David Krejci and kept the puck away from the puck possession specialist, and both Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic struggled to create their own offense.That meant Price got a good look at the 31 saves he made in Thursday nights Game 1 victory his first playoff win in three years and it was a fairly easy nights work for Les Habitants.Its up to the Bruins to make it that much more difficult.We have to be a little more involved and some of the net-front presence isnt something you have to practice more than its a mindset, Claude Julien said. If we commit ourselves to going there then well get there. Sometimes you have to work through it because theyre doing a good job of boxing us out.Youre allowed to be in front as much as you want as long as youre not in the crease or interfering with the goaltender. Its something you see every year in the playoffs and all of the teams do it. I dont think were trying to do anything different. Were just trying to do it better. Tyler Seguin was on the ice at Ristuccia Arena more than 30 minutes after the rest of his teammates had finished up their practice session and retired to the Bs dressing room. Seguin continued to fire pucks at the net and perfect that curl-and-draw wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that he scored against Nashvilles Pekka Rinne a weapon that the Bs could certainly have used while going 0-for-3 on the man advantage during their Game 1 loss.Seguin continues to split time with Michael Ryder at the right wing spot and it looks like itll be a choice between those two players if it ever comes down to it during this postseason run. Seguins status as the last guy on the ice would seem to indicate hell be a healthy scratch for Game 2 as well. Every Bruins player that was supposed to be on the ice made it out there for Fridays practice, and appeared to make it out of Game 1 with their health intact. The Bs defensemen corps worked quite a bit on breakouts and reversing the puck, and the kind of transition game that led immediately to Montreals first goal early in the first period on a careless puck reversal by Tomas Kaberle. To a man, the Bruins realize the absolute necessity of capturing Game 2 at TD Garden to avoid traveling to Montreal and the raucous Bell Centre down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.We want to win. We have to win we will win, said Krejci, who didnt quite invoke Joe Namath while underscoring the importance of getting some winning results.

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

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The Bruins lost Matt Beleskey for six weeks to a knee injury this week, and now they’re hoping to get another winger back now that 22-year-old Frank Vatrano has rejoined the Bruins at practice.

Vatrano was wearing a red no-contact jersey at Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, but his presence along with the other players at the team skate means that he’s moving closer toward a return to the B’s lineup. While initial timetables for his recovery from foot surgery had him in the early January range for returning to the Bruins lineup, it appears that he might be at least a couple of weeks ahead of that initial expectation.

Either way Vatrano is happy to be back on the ice with his teammates after the torn ligaments in his foot wiped out his training camp and the first two plus months of the regular season for him.

“It was a big step for me today. It was nice to be out there with the guys for the first time,” said Vatrano, who scored a combined 44 goals last season for Providence and Boston in a breakout season with the B’s organization. “I’ve gone through the rehab and done everything I need to do to get back playing, so now the next step is getting back on the ice with the guys. I felt great, so now it’s just waiting to hear the news when I start playing again.”

While Vatrano is still a young, relatively inexperienced player with just one full year of pro hockey under his belt, the sense from the Bruins is that he’s going to help a team that’s currently ranked 25th in the NHL in offense. Claude Julien was encouraged by seeing him out there in the red, no-contact jersey that his teammates were chirping him about, and said that his level play at last spring’s world championships should give him confidence when he jumps back into a big role with the Black and Gold.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Frank. That’s the best way for him to get to the pace of our game because it’s going to take a while when you’ve been out that long,” said Vatrano. “I think his experience at world championships last year is a real blessing in disguise because he gained a lot of confidence there. I think that’s going to help him a lot more than had he not gone.

“He played against a lot of elite players last year, and he fared really well. I think he’ll be coming in now with some confidence, and we just have to sure coming in that we give him every opportunity to succeed by using him properly, and giving him a chance to find his game.”

That certainly sounds like the Bruins are preparing for a top-6 role and maybe some power play time once the young, sharp-shooting Vatrano is back up to full speed. That should be fun to watch once he’s ready to play, and ready to again unleash that shot and release that rivals anybody else for tops on the Bruins roster. 

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place.