Chara struggling along with rest of Bruins


Chara struggling along with rest of Bruins

ST. PAUL, MN Zdeno Chara hasnt had too many stretches like current one with the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins Captain and star defenseman was building up an impressive Norris Trophy resume rolling into NHL All-Star weekend. He served as an honorary captain and potted the game-winning goal in the mid-winter classic at Scotiabank Place. But that seems like a long time ago now with Chara struggling right along with the rest of his Bruins teammates.

He put up another minus-1 in their 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center Sunday afternoon.

Chara was encouraged by the teams first period, but they just couldn't follow through on it.

We came out and had a pretty good effort in the first period, but we werent able to follow it up with another good one in the second, said Chara. I think our play right now is a reflection of the five guys working being on the ice and working together as a unit. If we are not working as a unit then mistakes will happen.

The numbers dont lie, and Chara is a minus-7 over his last four games while showing signs of fatigue. There isnt a soul that thinks its desire or effort thats at the heart of Charas difficulties, and his coach thinks its merely the 6-foot-9 defenseman trying to do too much with so many of his teammates struggling around him.

You talk about mistakes, but those are made when youre not on top of your game, said Claude Julien. When you play with energy and you play with smarts you make good line changes. That energy level stays where it should be and your work ethic stays where it should be.

But youve got only some guys producing for the team, and there are not enough of them. So they try to do a little more and produce a little more, and it hurts them more than it helps him. It just snowballs from there. Weve got to rely on everybody to do their jobs and do them well.

In Sundays loss it was a little bit of both as nobody in a Bruins uniform did much to slow down Chad Rau or Dany Heatley when the two players zoomed into the Bs zone with unimpeded speed. Chara backed way off Rau while wary of Heatley trailing the play as the second attacker, and both the Bs defenseman and Tim Thomas were burned when Rau scored to the short side.

Chara has just three assists and a minus-7 rating in games during the month of February. He knows he can be better, as can the rest of the B's.

We win as a team and we lose as a team. We could all be betterthats for sure, said Chara. I dont think theres any one thing that we can say that were doing well. We need to improve every aspect of our game. When we play our game its fun to play and when we dont its just working hard. Weve got to be on top of the things that work for us.

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate


Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time. 

Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener


Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener

Juan Agudelo scored two goals to lead the Revolution to a 5-2 victory over Minnesota United in New England's home opener before 11,571 Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Agudelo scored in the fourth and 41st minutes as the Revs - held to one goal in their first two games - picked up their first points of the season after opening with losses in Colorado and Dallas.

New England's original home opener, two weeks ago against Orlando, was postponed by cold weather. 

After Collen Warner's goal in the 15th minute tied it for expansion Minnesota, Kei Kamara (21st minute) and Lee Nguyen (penalty kick in the 32nd) made it 3-1 before Agudelo completed a four-goal outburst in the first half with his second goal of the game.

Nguyen's tally moved him into a tie with Steve Ralston for second place on the Revs career goals list with his 42nd. They trail Taylor Twellman (101).

Chris Tierney, playing in his 200th MLS game, all with the Revs, capped the scoring with a penalty-kick goal in the 52nd minute.

The Revs next play Sunday, April 2 on the road against the Portland Timbers.