BostonBruins.com - Prior to heading into Wednesday night in Buffalo, Head Coach Claude Julien knew his team couldn't look afford to look past the Sabres to the first place San Jose Sharks, ready and waiting in Boston for their matchup with the B's on Thursday night.
The Black & Gold didn't disappoint, powering to a 5-2 win with two goals each from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug, along with Dougie Hamilton's game-winner.
"The biggest challenge is probably making sure that we focus on ourselves," Julien had said, prior to the game. "If you start focusing on the other team and their struggles, then you’re not mentally preparing yourself the way you should."
"There’s going to be a tough week – we have three games in four days – and it’s not going to get any easier so we might as well take advantage of the situation that we’re fresh and that we’re ready to go here and make sure that we play a strong game."
"Not only to win this hockey game, but build some momentum going into the next one."
The Bruins did just that, not letting a divisional win get away from them. It marked their third straight victory and improved the club to 6-2-0 on the season.
"That was the main focus heading into this game, was we didn’t want to overlook them and we didn’t want to underestimate our opponent," said Lucic, who put the B's on the board first, deflected in a Jarome Iginla shot that originally looked like it could have been the winger's first goal as a Bruin.
Regardless of the goal scorer, it gave the Bruins the lead 11:01 into the first period, and they would never give it up.
"We wanted to make sure that we came out here and did our job and obviously [Thursday's] a big game with San Jose coming in but there was also a job that needed to be done here before we start thinking about that."
Lucic, along with his teammates, will be looking to continue the momentum of their play into Thursday night, against a Sharks team that is 8-0-1 on the season and has yet to lose in regulation.
The power forward found himself taking a puck to the right cheek at the end of the first period in Buffalo, before coming out stitched up to start the second and powering in a net-drive goal past Ryan Miller on his first shift just 40 seconds in.
"Obviously when you get hit in the face like that, it’s never a good feeling so it was nice to come out and have a good first shift in the second period and get a goal," Lucic said in Buffalo.
"It was nice to get one also when the crowd’s cheering when you get hit in the face so it was nice to stick it to them that way."
"Well, it doesn’t make you happy right?" the winger went on. "So you have the power as a player to do whatever you can on the ice to kind of give it back to them, but I guess you can say it’s kind of a fun part of being a fan and it’s also the fun part of being an athlete."
Krug can also build off of his strong performance, scoring twice in the third period to put the game away at 5-2. His first came with a move around to the front of the goal, powering himself into position in front of the Sabres defender. His second came on the power play, and was viewed as a "killer instinct" reaction to head shot by John Scott on Loui Eriksson that caused the B's winger to not return to the game.
"I think we know what this week has in store for us. But we were making sure that we were focused to go to get the week off on a good note and we knew we’d need to have a good effort," said defenseman Adam McQuaid, who wasted no time in sticking up for his teammate and dropping the gloves with Scott after the hit on Eriksson.
"And for the most part, I think we had that."
Along with Krug, another young blueliner in Hamilton showed his hands, roofing the game-winner, thanks to a cross-ice saucer pass from Brad Marchand off a 2-on-1 rush.
"It’s tough when San Jose is sitting there waiting for you and I think for us it was good to be able to play well and I think our confidence will be up for [the Sharks]," said Hamilton, whose tally marked his second goal of the season through six games.
"And like coach was saying, we don’t have to put as much pressure on ourselves later in the week as if we had lost. So it’s a good win obviously and excited for [Thursday]."
No Pregame Skate for B's
After their 5-2 win in Buffalo, the Bruins flew back to Boston and did not hold a morning skate prior to facing San Jose. Meanwhile, the Sharks went through their pregame paces on the ice, and the media caught up with former Bruin Joe Thornton and Dougie Hamilton's brother, Freddie, who made his NHL debut with San Jose on October 21 in Detroit. For more on the brother duo, check out BostonBruins.com.
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update following the game that "Loui is staying over night in Buffalo for precautionary reasons. He is expected to return to Boston on Thursday." Boston players were scheduled to hold pregame availablity at 4:30 ET, with Coach Julien speaking with reporters at 5:50 ET prior to game time. There could be a further update then. Stay tuned to @NHLBruins ^CS on Twitter for the latest news.
Hockey Fights Cancer Night
As we're in the midst of the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer month, the Bruins will be hosting their "Hockey Fights Cancer Night" at TD Garden against San Jose. Lavender, representing awareness for all forms of cancer, will be featured throughout the game by the team, players and fans.
Bruins players will be using lavender stick tape during Thursday’s game and will have Hockey Fight Cancer helmet decals throughout the month of October. Boston Bruins employees will also be wearing lavender ribbons.
Pediatric cancer patients currently undergoing treatment at Boston’s local hospitals, including the Jimmy Fund, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, will be invited to the game and will participate in a variety of activities throughout the evening. The activities will include Zamboni rides, a chance to watch warm-ups from the Bruins bench, and an opportunity to greet the team as they head out of the locker room to take the ice for the game.
Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron will be hosting patients from the Jimmy Fund and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Patrice’s Pals, his continuing charitable initiative where he invites children from local hospitals and other organizations to enjoy a Bruins game in his luxury suite. The children and their families will receive goodie bags filled with Bruins memorabilia, a visit from the Bruins Mascot Blades and Bruins Ice Girls, as well as a feature on the Garden HDX. After the game, Patrice’s Pals will take part in a meet and greet with Patrice.