Seidenberg looking to build on last year's run

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Seidenberg looking to build on last year's run

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BRIDGEPORT, CT. Things probably couldnt be any better for Dennis Seidenberg right about now.

The 29-year-old defenseman is coming off a Stanley Cup championship run in which he played the best hockey of his career. The entire run brought Seidenberg to the forefront on a national level, and pushed everything in his game up to a level that people openly wondered hed ever achieve.

Seidenberg had endured a spate of injuries earlier in his career and never truly realized his potential with the Flyers or the Hurricanes, but the Bruins coveted Seidenberg after watching him excel with Carolina in the postseason. He was tough on the Bruins with his compact, powerful build combined with his skillful offensive instincts, and he raised his level of play when the competition toughened.

The German defenseman became that guy in the Cup playoffs, and hasnt skipped even a half-beat during training camp this fall. Seidenberg hammered a Gregory Campbell pass into the top shelf past Evgeni Nabokov for the game-winning goal with eight minutes remaining in the third period of Saturdays 3-2 win over the Isles at Webster Bank Arena.

It was Seidenbergs fourth shot of the night on net and a nice little finale for the preseason with an Eastern Conference alley fight facing the Bs Thursday against the Flyers at TD Garden.

It was Seidenberg that was truly expected to step up and lead the defensemen crew with Zdeno Chara a healthy veteran scratch in the final preseason game for the Bs, and it was Seidenberg that did exactly that.

Considering that exactly a year ago Seidenberg was coming an injury in his first full training camp with the Bruins and attempting to shake off some considerable levels of rust after missing the entire postseason with an injury the steady, solid Bs blueliner has covered a lot of ground.

The defensemans willingness to step into the play and fire a searing shot at the net during crunch time was a level of confidence he didnt have for much of last season but one that hes tapped into since last May after he was paired with Chara against the Habs in the playoffs.

What a difference a year makes, said Seidenberg. Everything feels pretty good and physically Im in good shape considering the quick summer. The whole defensemen group is just working on making sure that were ready to go for the season, and I think were right there.

Bruins coach Claude Julien has noted all through camp that some veterans have needed a little more babying and gradual practice schedules after a grueling playoff run while other players hit the ice running in September.

Seidenberg was clearly one of the Bs in the latter camp of Cup vets. Hes been in midseason form skating, shooting and moving the puck, and should be primed for a monster season with all the experiences of last season behind.

After all it was Seidenberg who finished last year as the second most valuable player in the Cup playoffs behind Tim Thomas, and seemed to himself realize just how good he could potentially be on the ice. No longer was he just a shot-blocking machine with a nice offensive package of skills, but hed become a dominant force at the defensemen position to bookend with the equally dominant Chara.

I think confidence-wise, especially after the playoffs he had last year, Seidenbergs playoff performance has got to be something he builds on. To me, after Tim Thomas, he could have been the Conn Smythe winner, said Julien. He flew under the radar with a lot of people, but certainly not with us.

He was outstanding. Hes a guy thats comfortable on either side. At the same time, if you split him and Z it certainly gives us a real strong stability in our defensive pairings as well. Hes a pretty big presence back there for us.

For his part Seidenberg would love to skate with Chara again this season as they did in the playoffs, but the ice time horse also knows its a long year full of potential defensemen partners. Hes happy to skate with whichever player the coaching staff slots in next to him in a pairing, and potentially form an even deeper blueliner crew if both Chara and Seidenberg can act as the lead partner in their respective defensive pairings.

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

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction. 

Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

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Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

BRIGHTON, Mass. – He hasn’t been cleared to play just yet, but fourth line energy guy Noel Acciari is closing in on a return to the Bruins lineup. 

Acciari joined in for a Bruins morning skate for the first time in 14 games at the end of last week, and practiced with the team again Monday for a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. The 25-year-old has missed almost exactly a month with a lower body injury, and said he can thankfully now see the light at the end of the injury tunnel for a healthy return to the B’s lineup. 

“It was getting lonely with all the guys on the road, and with me just skating with Frankie [Vatrano] and Zee [Chara],” said Acciari. “It’s great to be back out there with the guys, and it’s good to be back. Each skate I feel a lot better out there and just trying to get my conditioning back. Just being back with the guys is a great feeling, and it’s a big help.”

The fourth line has been okay in Acciari’s absence, but it seemed to be lacking the same kind of energy and hard edge the Providence College standout provided when he was healthy. That was part of what led the B’s to call up the similarly rugged Anton Blidh from Providence at the end of last week, and could provide some interesting energy line options when Acciari is ready to return. 

“I’ve played with [Blidh] before, I’m used to him and I know what he brings to the table just like he knows what I can do,” said Acciari. “So it would work out well [if we played together] I think.”

Acciari has two assists and a plus-1 rating along with four penalty minutes while averaging 10:01 of ice time in 12 games this season, and proved to be very good at unnerving opponents simply by playing all-out all the time.