The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’€™s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.

Carl Soderberg

Carl Soderberg

The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’€™s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.

Boston made do with a relatively scarce roster, as both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron missed the game with undisclosed injuries and Matt Fraser was lost to the Oilers earlier in the day on waivers. Matt Lindblad, recalled after Fraser was claimed by Edmonton, dressed in his second NHL game of the season.

Though Boston relented after a strong push to open the game, the B’€™s gained much-needed separation with a third-period Seth Griffith goal after Detroit had cut their lead to one late in the second period. Chris Kelly scored an empty netter to seal the victory.

The win showed, at the very least, that the Bruins do have another gear. Though they didn’€™t sustain it throughout the night, they found it long enough to wrest two points from a divisional opponent.

Here are four more things we learned:

BRUINS OWN THE FIRST

The Bruins took the ice Monday clearly aware that they were without two of their best forwards. Their push to make up for the absences of Lucic and Bergeron translated into puck possession dominance and overwhelming victories in puck battles.

Most importantly, Boston scored three goals in the first period, marking the first time they’€™ve done so all season.

The only players with a negative even-strength Corsi in the first period were Campbell and linemates Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille. Then again, Campbell scored after being sent out as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call, so there really wasn’€™t much not to like about the first period.

SODERBERG LINE DOMINANT

Claude Julien‘€™s biggest fear is the thought of splitting up Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly. Monday was the latest example as to why.

The Soderberg line was simply dominant against Detroit’€™s third line of Darren Helm between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist while also outworking Detroit’€™s second line on a first-period possession that led to a delayed penalty on which extra attacker Gregory Campbell scored. Soderberg would add a goal of his own shortly after off a nice feed from Eriksson behind the net.

Soderberg had six shots on goal in the game, which tied a career-high accomplished once last season.

SMITH AND KREJCI: TOGETHER A LAST

Reilly Smith got his first look as David Krejci‘€™s right wing Monday night due to undisclosed injuries to Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic that kept both players out of the lineup.

The trio of Krejci between Brad Marchand and Smith had quick success, as Smith scored his ninth goal of the season thanks to some nice work along the wall from Dougie Hamilton and solid battling in front of the net from Marchand. The line combined for seven shots on goal in the first period, with Krejci posting a game-best plus-10 even strength Corsi over the first 20 minutes.

GRIFFITH BACK ON THE BOARD

Seth Griffith scored his first goal since Nov. 15, finishing off a wonderfully patient play by Krejci during a third-period power play for the B’€™s.

The goal was Griffith’€™s sixth of the season, as he scored five goals in a 12-game span while serving as Krejci’€™s linemate earlier in the season but struggled to both produce and get significant minutes without Krejci. He had gone 10 games without a goal.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad on an emergency basis Monday after losing forward Matt Fraser to the Oilers via waivers.

The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad on an emergency basis Monday after losing forward Matt Fraser to the Oilers via waivers.

Lindblad will be in Boston’€™s lineup given that, with Fraser gone and both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron out with undisclosed injuries, the B’€™s were left with 11 healthy forwards prior to his recall.

The Dartmouth product dressed for the B’€™s in the team’€™s Nov. 22 loss to the Canadiens, logging 8:04 of ice time and registering one shot on goal. The center/wing has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 29 games for Providence this season.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Oilers claimed forward Matt Fraser off waivers Monday, ending the left wing’s tenure with the Bruins.

Matt Fraser

Matt Fraser

The Oilers claimed forward Matt Fraser off waivers Monday, ending the left wing’s tenure with the Bruins.

Fraser, acquired in the 2013 trade between the Stars and Bruins that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas, had five goals and no assists in 38 games over the last two seasons for Boston.

His most notable moment as a Bruin came last postseason when he was called up for Game 4 of the second round against the Canadiens and scored the overtime winner in a 1-0 Bruins victory. He played that game and the rest of the series on a broken foot.

Though equipped with a terrific snap shot, Fraser had struggled to nail down a spot in Boston’s lineup this season. He has been much more effective playing left wing, but unfortunately for him, left wing has been one of the only positions that has not been stricken by injuries this season. As such, the 24-year-old was most recently used as a fourth-line right wing. Throughout his time in Boston, Fraser struggled to make any sort of impact as a right wing.

The Bruins exposed Fraser to waivers Sunday when they recalled Jordan Caron from Providence. Fraser, a prolific scorer at the AHL level (70 goals in the two AHL seasons prior to him being traded to Boston), will head to his home province of Alberta, as he hails from Red Deer.

 

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

All season, David Krejci has wanted two things: health and a right wing.

On Monday, it would appear that he’€™ll finally skate with one logical right wing candidate who has been kept away from him to an almost fascinating extent:

Reilly Smith.

The Bruins have never tried Smith, a left-shot right wing who has spent most of his time with the Bruins as a top-six forward, with Krejci. He hasn’€™t been given time on Krejci’€™s line and, though both players are used on Boston’€™s power play, they’€™ve been played on different units.

Factoring in line changes, Krejci and Smith have been on the ice together this season for just 15:48 in all situations combined (five-on-five, power play, etc.). The only wingers on Boston’€™s roster with whom Krejci has played less this season have been Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Fraser and Jordan Caron.

With Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron both out for Monday’€™s game against the Red Wings, it appears Smith and Krejci will finally be linemates. It’€™s hard to tell what they’€™d bring given that we haven’€™t seen them together.

“Neither have I,” Claude Julien said after Monday’€™s morning skate.

Smith is intrigued by the idea of playing with Krejci after watching his shifts from the bench in his two seasons with the Bruins (“I don’€™t even think we’€™ve played a four-on-four shift together,” he admitted).

“I think I’€™ve played with probably every other forward except Krej,” Smith said with a grin. “He’€™s a talented player and he creates a lot of space, so it should be fun.”

Since taking over as Boston’€™s first-line center, Krejci has historically had right-shot right wings on the other side of Milan Lucic. Righties Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, Jarome Iginla, Seth Griffith and Craig Cunningham have served in that role, with Loui Eriksson really the only lefty tried there. The Bruins are more comfortable playing Eriksson on their third line with Carl Soderberg and Kelly.

So the Smith experiment, though it may only last a game (or less), is an interesting one to finally see tried.

“We’€™ll see tonight,” Julien said when asked what to expect from the duo. “I don’€™t have that answer, to be honest. Those are things we’€™ll all discover together.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron will are both out for Monday’s game against the Red Wings due to undisclosed injuries.

Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron were the only Bruins absent from Monday’€™s morning skate as the team prepared for Monday night’€™s tilt against the Red Wings.

Both players were deemed day-to-day with undisclosed injuries by Claude Julien Sunday. Matt Fraser, who was placed on waivers Sunday and has until noon Monday to be claimed by other teams, did participate in the skate.

With Lucic and Bergeron absent, the lines and defensive pairings in morning skate were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Paille
Fraser – Cunningham – Griffith

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller

Rask

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Claude Julien admitted Sunday what a lot of people have been able to tell for a long time: This year’s team is a tough group to motivate.

Dougie Hamilton pretty much said as much a week ago when he said players weren’t following the coach’s game plan, but to hear it from Julien himself is big. It brings to light an issue with the team’s character.

“We’ve been a lot livelier in the past,” Julien said. “Sometimes tough things that you go through kind of take the wind out of you, but that’s not an excuse. You have to have enough character to bring it every night, every day and there’s no doubt I think that if we can get our work ethic and our compete level up and make good decisions, we’re going to start winning games, we’re going to have fun again and the energy level’s going to be where we want it to be.

“That’s our job to create that. We have to create it as a coaching staff, as players and as a team. It’s as simple as that.”

The Bruins lost leaders this season with the departures of Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla. What Thornton lacked in on-ice effectiveness late in his Bruins tenure he more than made up for in character. Boychuk, a bit of a goofball who kept things loose, took great pride in being a Bruin. Iginla’s experience and leadership called for an received the respect of his teammates.

Despite those losses, the Bruins still have players wearing letters on their sweaters in captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci. When Chara and Krejci were hurt, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg took turns wearing an A.

All of the aforementioned Bruins have seen much better days with the Bruins and know how dominant they can be. It’s their job just as much as it is Julien’s to have themselves and their teammates motivated.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean