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Determined Bruins Head Out on Long Road Trip

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON — When Wednesday morning came around for the Bruins, they were right back to business at Ristuccia Arena.

“Honestly, if you sit here and dwell on it, it doesn’t do you any good,” Torey Krug stated following a crisp, quick paced 45-minute practice before the team hit the road for a season-high six- game trip.

“Maybe sometimes it’s more difficult, but you move on and you just make sure that you’re ready for the next one.”

That next one comes in Winnipeg on Thursday night.

Their previous one — a 9-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at TD Garden — is hopefully soon to be forgotten.

“What’s ahead of us is more important than what is behind us,” preached Head Coach Claude Julien.

The truth is, a blowout is a hard loss to forget right away, even for the pros who “turn the page” quicker than you can get through the first sentence.

“We had a good practice today, I thought. Guys were working hard and we were really crisp and focused,” said Krug. “So I think it’s obviously a step forward and make sure you come back more determined, and we’re ready to move on, for sure.”

Sometimes sweating it out is the best option. Those in the Spoked-B quickly jumped into end-to-end drills with strong breakouts and transition, followed by drills where they had to get into gear backchecking.

Defensive zone coverage was clearly an area of focus, working to reduce the gaps. The unit on defense placed the blade-less ends of their sticks on the ice, while the five-man attacking unit went to work.

“Well, we have to start somewhere,” Julien said, of the determined group he saw in practice.

“We need to be better. And I’m not going to get into [Tuesday] night, but I’m just going to say we haven’t played like that all year, so it’s not something we should dwell on more than think about what we have ahead of us.”

The players were cleared angry with themselves following the loss — frustrated, disappointed, embarrassed.

Julien knew they would come back refocused, based on that alone. He didn’t need to yell and scream and instill a motivating speech into them.

“So we’re looking at Winnipeg [on Thursday] and we understand and realize the importance of this road trip. So that’s where our focus should be.”

“I think there’s some games that you can throw in the garbage and move forward,” he added. “And that’s probably one of them.”

There aren’t many games like that in a season, especially for a predominantly defense-first team like the Bruins, backed by one of the League’s best in Tuukka Rask.

“You know, we lost badly, but at the end of the day, 9-2 or 3-2, it’s still a loss,” said David Krejci. “So we’ve got to move on and good teams, they don’t lose two in a row, so if we’re a good team, we have to win [in Winnipeg].”

The biggest lesson to learn wasn’t one the players were able to focus on in the immediate aftermath of the loss.

“Just to realize that game was only worth two points, and the next game’s worth the same amount of points,” Krug said of the lesson learned.

With 29 games left in the regular season, the Bruins are still in a playoff spot — in the second Wild Card spot, tied at 62 points with both Tampa Bay and Detroit in the Atlantic Division (the Metropolitan Division’s New York Islanders also have 62 points entering Wednesday night’s matchups).

“So, just keep moving on and making sure that you’re always trying to learn and trying to better your game,” Krug said.

Hoping for a Spark with Line Switches

In Wednesday’s practice, Julien deployed a few line switches, with Matt Beleskey moving up on the left wing alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

Loui Eriksson moved to a line with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes. Landon Ferraro rotated into drills on that line. The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Brett Connolly was the only one that stayed in tact.

“It wasn’t just offense, but the different looks,” said Julien. “I think if you can try something different that will maybe help spark things for different people, then you make those moves.”

The Bruins’ four most recent wins have come in one-goal games, with three of those games going into overtime and two moving further into shootouts.

They’re comfortable playing and winning tight games, but converting on more of their scoring chances would certainly give them a better opportunity to win — even if defense should be the point of emphasis after the showing against the Kings.

“I’ll say right now, maybe some guys are squeezing their sticks a little more than they would like to, but you know, you’ve just got to stay with it,” said Krejci. “We’re still getting our chances — 37 shots yesterday is still pretty high, so we’ve just got to keep it going, stay positive and good things happen when you go to the net and feel comfortable and confident.”

The Bruins’ fourth line in Wednesday’s practice consisted of Zac Rinaldo, Max Talbot and Tyler Randell. Rinaldo was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night, with Randell slotting into the lineup for the first time in a month (he didn’t dress for 12 games after playing on Jan. 9). The Kings’ heavy, strong and physical fourth line certainly played a role in that decision.

Randell ended the night with a fight and one of Boston’s two goals.

“It was great to get in and try to make an impact right away,” said Randell. “Just do what you can do out there and create energy for the guys.”

McQuaid Still Progressing

Adam McQuaid again practiced with the group, and then stayed on the ice afterwards for extra work. His progress has been consistent.

There has been no update on his status yet.

“Not that I know of,” Julien said after practice. “We’ll see tomorrow where he is [in Winnipeg].”

Practice Lineup 1/10

Gold Jerseys: Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronBrett Connolly

White: Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Gray: Loui ErikssonRyan SpoonerLandon FerraroJimmy Hayes

Merlot: Zac RinaldoMax TalbotTyler Randell

Zdeno CharaZach Trotman

Joe MorrowDennis Seidenberg

Torey KrugKevan Miller

Colin MillerAdam McQuaid

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson

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