Boston comes into today’s game in sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference, with the Montreal Canadiens trailing the Bruins by a single point in the Northeast Division.
The Bruins are 1-3-2 against the Western Conference and hold a 0-1-0 record against the Northwest Division of the Western Conference.
B’s Look to Bounce Back
After falling to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night in the TD Garden, 4-2, the Bruins will look to bounce back as they begin their two-game Western road trip.
“It wasn’t our game; no it wasn’t what we’re capable of doing. And we’ll just have to regroup,” Bruins forward Mark Recchi said after Thursday night’s game.
“We’ve got a tough trip ahead of us and we’re a pretty good road team so we have to, again, learn that consistency is going to be a big part of us being...a great team instead of just a real good team.
"We’re getting there and we gotta keep pushing along here.”
Boston took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but after two periods of play Buffalo had evened things up at 2-2.
Despite Boston’s third period +31 goal differential heading into Thursday’s game, the Bruins weren’t able to mount the comeback against Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller (38 saves).
“I mean he made some lucky ones, he made some great saves. We had a lot of traffic. You know he’s a good goalie,” Recchi added. “But he made the saves he had to make and a couple snuck behind him and he got some help, but that’s what happens when you’re a [good] goalie, you make those saves.”
Before Thursday’s loss, Boston had been on a roll even as they played nine games in a 15 game stretch -- coming away with a 5-3-1 record over that period.
The Bruins will look to improve their road record of 14-5-4 when they enter the Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Consistency is Toughest Battle
Thursday night, in the Bruins 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in front of a sold out TD Garden crowd of 17,565, Bruins fans saw a different team on the ice than the one that beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-0 on Monday night.
“[When] we don’t have everybody going [on] all cylinders and competing at the level we should, you know it just makes it hard for us,” Recchi said. “I think we know that and we’ve been a lot better at it lately and more consistent and we just have to keep learning from these [losses]...that there’s reasons why.”
The Bruins have a large crop of rookies (including forwards Tyler Seguin
and Brad Marchand
and defenseman Adam McQuaid
and Steve Kampfer) that have never seen a full NHL season, and are just beginning the grinding second half of an 82 game season.
“It’s very tough, it’s a lot different than juniors. And even the American [Hockey] League,” Marchand said. “But we train very hard in the summer and towards the season to make sure we’re in tip-top shape and I think at this point everyone knows that if you eat well and get your rest, you can play at that level every night.”
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien agrees that the second half of the year may be a challenge, especially for the 18-year-old Seguin.
“As we get closer to the end of the year, games get tougher and tougher and he’s got to learn to be able to battle in those circumstances and that’s what we expect from him,” Julien said before Thursday’s game. “The one thing he hasn’t faced yet is that second half of the year where games mean so much to teams and that 'grinding' part of it means more and more.
"he’s got to be able to battle through that.” “Energy” Line Lives Up to the Name
The Bruins "emergy" line has had many names and configurations this season, including the “merlot” line, named after the color of the sweaters the three forwards wear at practice.
But energy is what the B's grinders have consistently provided the B's all season.
Center Gregory Campbell
(7-10-17) and winger Shawn Thornton
(7-5-12) have been staples on the line throughout the season, but the third spot has seen a few players cycle through including Marchand (10-10-20), Blake Wheeler (11-11-22) and Daniel Paille
(0-4-4, 21 games).
It may be an adjustment for Campbell and Thornton to play with different guys every night, but they continue to produce offensively and Campbell says there’s “no magic formula.”
Recently though, as Marchand has moved up a line to skate with Patrice Bergeron
and Recchi, its Wheeler who has been the second wing on the Bruins high-energy trio.
“I thought he’d be a good fit for that line and we’ve always liked that line since the beginning of the year and somehow without moving Marchand we’re trying to keep it a lot of the same,” Coach Julien said before Thursday’s game.
“And I think he’s been a good fit for that line, I mean [Wheeler] has been moved around quite a bit and, wherever you put him, you know what you’re going to get out of him.”
Thursday night the energy line produced the Bruins second goal when Campbell scored at 4:51 in the second, assisted by Thornton and Wheeler.
“I mean it was a great play by Thorty [Shawn Thornton
] to protect the puck and find Wheels high and Wheels just made a good play and drew the guy to him and slid it over to me and I was wide open, so it was a good heads up [play] by both of them,” Campbell said of the play leading to the goal.
“When the puck goes in for you obviously it does a lot for your confidence. I don’t think we’re playing any different from the beginning of the year," added Campbell. "Our line has the same mentality, just to work hard. You know? Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t."B's Head West
Boston touched down in Denver, Colo. yesterday afternoon and following this afternoon’s tilt with the Avalanche, the B’s will board yet another flight to Los Angeles, Calif. where they’ll square off against the LA Kings in the Staples Center on Monday night.
“We know it’s going to be some tough games because we’re going in to some buildings where teams are battling for a playoff spot in that conference and they’re never easy games,” Julien said. “The travel and the time change and everything else represents a challenge in itself, so we've got to make sure we’re prepared and ready to do our job here.”
Although the Bruins will find themselves on the other side of the country, Boston is still confident in their abilities to perform on the road where they have a 14-5-4 record, good for 32 points.
“You know the road’s been good to us this year," said Julien. "We’ve played some great games and somehow our guys seem to really be prepared and they seem to bond well together on the road.
“So, it's just another opportunity for us to get some valuable points.” ---Hannah Becker