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Bruins Pick Up Three of Four Points in Back-to-Back

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

RALEIGH - The Bruins would have rather taken four points with them on their plane ride to St. Louis after a back-to-back in Florida and North Carolina. 

 

Instead, they'll settle for three points. 

 

The first two points came in a 4-0 shutout of the Panthers on Saturday in Sunrise; the latter point came in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. 

It's not a bad way to head into the second half of their road trip, with upcoming stops against the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators before heading back to Boston. 

 

The Black & Gold could have taken the second point from the Hurricanes, based on their third period push which saw them outshoot the Canes 12-5. 

 

Boston twice scored to tie the game in the third, with David Backes' 11th goal of the season making it 2-2 and then Brad Marchand's 13th of the season tying the game at 3-3. 

 

Video: BOS@CAR: Marchand lights lamp after a turnover

 

Both of those tying goals, along with Jay McClement's goal that gave Carolina a brief 3-2 lead, were scored In a span of 1:54. Marchand's goal came just 23 seconds after McClement's tally. 

 

"It was kind of one of those momentum shift games and in the third period I thought we came hard and played really well and you could tell we wanted to win the game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "But when you play back-to-backs, you need everybody going and tonight we didn't have everybody going."

 

Before Marchand's and Backes' goals, Tim Schaller put the Bruins up 1-0 in the first period with his sixth of the season. 

 

"We knew we could beat them," said Schaller. "We knew our legs weren't going to be 100 percent, but we knew mentally we could beat them and we had a good fight there."

 

The Bruins were finishing up three games in four nights, and were focused on gutting it out. 

 

"What you saw at the end is what we played with and we shortened our bench and tried to go with the guys that were really playing hard and doing a good job," said Julien. "And [they] brought us to an overtime and unfortunately we were looking for that second point that we didn't get here."

 

"Fourth Line" Clicking

 

For the second straight night, the line of Schaller, Dominic Moore and Riley Nash generated energy and chances. 

 

"Well, they work hard, and I think there's some good chemistry there between those three, they seem to be in sync and it's turning out to be a pretty good line right now," said Julien. "You know, it's an excellent fourth line, but it's playing as our third right now."

 

Schaller's goal was evidence of the trio's chemistry. Nash set the whole play in motion with an excellent forecheck to steal the puck away from Canes netminder Cam Ward, and feed Moore, who whipped a pass to Schaller. 

 

"Great forecheck by Nash, he got in there and disrupted the play and made a nice pass to Moore. Moore fooled I think both me and the goalie to get the puck over to me," said Schaller, who quickly spun around and sent a backhander past Ward for the game's first goal. 

 

Video: BOS@CAR: Schaller capitalizes off Ward's turnover

 

Nash now has a two-game point streak going after notching a goal in the Bruins' 4-0 shutout of Florida on Saturday. He fired three shots on goal and was stoned by Ward on multiple chances. Schiller had six shots on goal. 

 

"We were working really hard together. Things were clicking," said Schaller, who now has six goals on the season. "We got a lot of pucks to the net, we were able to capitalize. I think we could have had a couple more, but came up one short."

 

Liles Returns

 

Former Hurricane John-Michael Liles returned to the lineup on Sunday in Raleigh, after missing 20 games in his recovery from a concussion sustained on Nov. 27. 

 

Liles skated mostly on a pairing with Kevan Miller, logging 15:14 in ice time with a plus-1 rating. 

 

"Just took me a little while to get back to the speed of things," Liles said of the adjustment. "It doesn't matter how much you condition and battle in practice; it just never prepares you for the speed of the game and that's a fast team over there and it did, it took me a little bit to kind of get back into some sort of a groove and I felt better as the game went on."

 

Liles hopes that he can build off of the game. It's not easy to come back and jump into action after more than 40 days without playing a game.

 

"Aside from the turnover there in overtime, I felt pretty good as the game went along and it just felt good to be back out on the ice, and making some plays with the guys," said Liles. 

 

Nothing Special 

 

The Bruins and Hurricanes each had one power play opportunity, with neither converting.

 

Boston and Carolina own the top two spots in the NHL on the penalty kill, and were tied at 87.9 percent entering the matchup. 

 

Save(s) of the Game

 

The Bruins killed their one penalty, but their one power play opportunity nearly put them in a tough hole. Carolina forward Jordan Staal had two shorthanded breakaway chances by picking off the puck in the neutral zone. 

 

McIntyre came up big on both stops to keep it a one-goal game, with the Bruins down 2-1 at the time.

 

Video: BOS@CAR: McIntyre stones Staal with great pad stop

 

Overall, he made 26 saves on the night in his third career NHL start. 

 

"On that power play there where we gave them two shorthanded breakaways, he made some big saves," said Julien. "There's a couple of them that went through, but overall, he gave us a chance and that's all you can ask."

 

"I felt comfortable. I was at ease. Just tried to compete, and make saves," said McIntyre, who has made all of his NHL starts on the road in Carolina, Montreal and New York. 

 

The netminder's last NHL game came on Nov. 8 against the Canadiens. While he is a perfect 10-0-0 in the AHL this season, there's an automatic adjustment to the big leagues.

 

"Obviously the play is quicker, that much more quicker, that much more clean, and guys are able to shoot the puck at the highest level, so you give them an inch, they're going to take a mile," said McIntyre. "So just make sure you're honest with every guy, playing him straight up, and if you're cheating, they're going to find a weakness. So I think that was maybe the biggest adjustment."

 

Odds and Ends

 

The Bruins were set to have a rest day on Monday in St. Louis, after three games in four nights and a road back-to-back that spanned less than 24 hours. 

 

With Liles returning to the lineup against Carolina, Colin Miller and Joe Morrow were the scratches on defense. Anton Blidh was the scratch up front. 

 

With an assist on Backes' goal, Kevan Miller is now on a three-game point streak, recording an assist in each of his last three games. 

 

Marchand heads into St. Louis on a two-game scoring streak, with three goals in his past two games. 

 

Up Next: Backes' Homecoming to St. Louis

 

After Sunday's game, the Bruins flew to St. Louis in anticipation of Tuesday night's matchup against the Blues.

 

Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. local time, with broadcasts on NESN, NBCSN (out of NESN market) and 98.5 The Sports Hub. 

 

Backes faced his former team back on Nov. 22 at TD Garden, but it will be much different being back in St. Louis, where he spent 10 NHL seasons, including five as captain (and 13 years overall in the organization). 

 

Backes heads into St. Louis having scored a goal in each of his past two games since returning from a concussion that kept him out for three games. 

 

BostonBruins.com will bring full coverage from Tuesday's pregame skate at the Scottrade Center. Follow live updates from the skate on Twitter @NHLBruins.

 

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