Notes: Bruins turn attention to Flyers


Notes: Bruins turn attention to Flyers

By JoeHaggerty

BOSTON The Bruins are ready for Round Two against the Flyers.

After Boston survived seven games against the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia made it through a seven-game battle with the Buffalo Sabres, it allowed for a collision course between the Bs and the team that crushed their Stanley Cup dreams last season.

Worse than that it made Boston the equivalent of the Washington Generals in the hockey history books after they lost four straight games to the Flyers and blew a 3-0 lead in Game Seven.

But enough about a collapse that will be mentioned another million times between now and the end of the series. While the fast, skilled, flop-happy Canadiens proved to be a difficult matchup for the Bruins in the first round, the bigger, deeper, meaner Broad Street Bullies would seem to be a better match for the Big Bad Bruins over the course of a seven game playoff series.

A team that pulled the starting goalie three times in the first round series against the Buffalo Sabres would point toward a huge flaw on Philadelphias roster, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli knows that his team will be up against an evenly-matched foe.

Well theyre bigger, first and foremost. I think thats a huge difference. You saw that Montreal stretched the ice, and theyre always coming at you, said Chiarelli. These guys dont stretch the ice as much, but they can go to the weak side a lot in their neutral zone.

Theyre coming in rushes, but they dont stretch it as much. Theyre like North-South, theyre like us to a certain degree. Theyve got skill players, theyve got some heavy players. Obviously there are more similarities between us and them than there are between us and Montreal.

The Bruins set an NHL record by going a fruitless 0-for-21 on the power play in the first round against the Montreal, and are the only NHL team to win a seven game playoff series without potting a power play goal. Chiarelli said that the coaches and players are doing everything they can to put some life back into the man advantage, and saw some problems cropping up from making too many changes to try and spark scoring.

I was thinking about this last night. Trust me, this is a topic that we have addressed all year, every day. I see a group of guys that -- beaten down is the wrong word but weve been on them so much to succeed and have different looks, said Chiarelli. You reach a point where you are diminishing returns as far as trying to make changes, so its been a frustrating exercise. The give away that led to the Tomas Plekanec shorthanded goal we tried to change the entry to a delayed entry, and it didnt work.

Because were having trouble getting set up on the power play. So its frustrating for me to watch. I know these guys want to succeed at it. I know the coaching staff thats been at the top of their list. Its been at the top of your list too, everyones list. Were going to figure it out. I know Tomas Kaberle has been under some heat too and its not his fault. Hes in the mix with everybody and were trying to figure it out. Part of it I think is nerves. Part of it is maybe they are squeezing their sticks too much. Its not fluid and these players have some fluidity to their game as far as making plays. So we have to figure it out and its going to be an important component again in this next series.

Chiarelli indicated that the Bruins escaped the first round series victory over the Montreal Canadiens with their health intact, and dont have any notable issues heading into the second round.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today: