Peter Chiarelli wants to trade for a forward. (Getty Images) There is not a “magic deal” that will fix the Bruins’ problems. 

Dec. 23 never fails.

Dec. 23 never fails.

Even a season as icky as the Bruins’€™ 2014-15 campaign wasn’€™t enough to change the fact that the Bruins are heading into Christmas on a positive note. With a 5-3 win over the Predators Tuesday (box), the B’€™s have now won their last six Dec. 23 games dating back to 2008.

It wasn’t the smoothest game, as Boston blew two leads in the game and let Nashville cut into a two-goal lead with Taylor Beck’€™s goal at 6:48 of the third period.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday night:


Along the lines of the Dec. 23 thing, that’€™s also been a good date for Brad Marchand, as he had two goals Tuesday night and a hat trick against the Panthers on Dec. 23, 2011.

Also, oddly enough, the Bruins have had a player score two goals in their last four Dec. 23 games. Shawn Thornton had two against the Thrashers in 2010, Marchand had the aforementioned hat trick in 2011 and Jarome Iginla scored two against the Predators last season.


Eriksson scored twice Tuesday night (one was an empty-netter) and now has three goals in the last two games and six in the last eight. Entering December, Eriksson had never scored more than three goals in a month since joining the Bruins. He now has six this month.


The Bruins got a goal from their second power-play unit Sunday against the Sabres, and Tuesday provided a reminder of what the team’€™s first power-play unit can do when people are healthy.

With Zdeno Chara setting up shop in front of the net, Torey Krug fed David Krejci, who blasted a one-timer that appeared to go off Chara on its way into the net. The goal was Krejci’€™s first power-play goal of the season and fourth goal overall in his injury-riddled campaign.


Exactly one year ago, Predators goalie Carter Hutton started against the Bruins and allowed two goals on the first four shots he faced. On Tuesday, Tuukka Rask did that against the Predators.

The first tally came as a result of some shoddy defense from Krug and Kevan Miller, with James Neal going around Krug at the blue line and feeding Colin Wilson, who protected the puck well as he went to the net and finished with a backhander past Rask.

While that first goal was pretty for the Predators, their second wasn’€™t pretty for anyone. Calle Jarnkrok took a wrist shot that slipped under Rask’€™s right arm to tie the game. Rask appeared to be in position to make the save and, whether he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg or not, should have had it.

Scott McLaughlin contributed to this article.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
The Bruins were in a similar position in 2010 to where they are now. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Bruins were in a similar position in 2010 to where they are now. (Elsa/Getty Images)

It’€™s been a while since the Bruins approached the Christmas break as a fringe playoff team. The last time it happened, however, they won the Stanley Cup.

Dec. 23, 2010 was a critical day in that ultimately successful season. The Bruins, coming off a postseason collapse against the Flyers the previous spring, were struggling.

Offseason acquisition Nathan Horton, who was in the midst of what would be a nine-game slump with no goals and one assist, was looking like a very talented non-factor who appeared to be bringing Milan Lucic down with him.

The team was going through the motions and it was taking them nowhere. It led to the Bruins losing four of five games, punctuated by a troubling no-show in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Ducks on Garden ice. Claude Julien, who historically is a set-it-and-forget-it guy with his lines, pulled Horton off the top line and replaced him with Blake Wheeler in that game.

After that 3-0 loss, the eighth-place Bruins had two days off before they would host the Thrashers in their final game before the holiday break. Those two days were the height of “Fire Claude Mania.”

In his weekly interview with CBS radio, President Cam Neely was asked if they were going to fire the coach. Neely said the Bruins weren’€™t, but did say, “€œI can understand why the fans are frustrated and may be calling for a coaching change.”€

Dennis Seidenberg doesn’€™t remember too many specifics about the mood of the team at that point, only saying Tuesday that “€œit was really dead.”

Then, on Dec. 23, the Bruins came out and absolutely ran over the Thrashers. Shawn Thornton fought Eric Boulton off the faceoff and spent the next five minutes in the penalty box devising a plan to score two goals in the game. Patrice Bergeron had a shorty. Michael Ryder had a power play goal. Lucic sucker-punched Freddy Meyer and somehow didn’€™t get suspended.

Ference fought. Horton fought. Marc freaking Savard fought. The game was an explosion of emotions and every bit the coming out party that the team had forgotten to have earlier in the season.

“I think that was definitely a defining game for us,” Brad Marchand said Tuesday. “We turned it on and really didn’€™t look back.”

The point of all this nostalgic crap is that teams have been here before and they’€™ve gotten out of it. Rarely do they in the fashion that they B’€™s did in 2010-11, but the similarities –€” even down to leaving the goaltender out to dry — are there between this season and that one.

‘€œWhen I look back to that year, that was my first year [in Boston] and there were a lot of new faces as well, so I guess you could see the parallels between that team and this team,” Gregory Campbell said. “It just seemed like it took a while for us to jell, to mesh as a team.

“I think what we’€™re trying to get to here is –€” we’€™ve done a lot in the last four seasons and they’€™ve all produced different outcomes,”€ Campbell said. “Winning the Presidents’€™ Trophy, we lost in the second round. We had some uncertainty in 2010-11 where it wasn’€™t the best regular season and we ended up winning the Stanley Cup. I think we’€™re just trying to get to a level of consistency here where, hopefully we find that. Maybe it does take a game like that Atlanta game.”

The Bruins can only hope that amidst all their turmoil this season, they can find a way to turn it around, but they’€™d be kidding themselves if they were to think they could do it the same way as they did back then.

Thornton is in Florida and Adam McQuaid is hurt. It’€™s less likely the Bruins will run over a team simply by beating them up the way they did with Atlanta, but they could –€” and just spitballing here — have more than two lines show up. Campbell’€™s line, which owned that Atlanta game, could do something for the third or fourth time all season.

The point is they can be better, and doing so now could pay big dividends.

“I mean, it doesn’€™t happen in one game, but one game, when it’€™s a full team effort, the shift in energy is incredible, what it can do for a team,” Campbell said. “Especially with a three-day break following, you sit on that game. It certainly gets you excited to come back. Not to say that three days is a long time, but if you end on a good note, you can go and regroup and really be excited for the second half of the season.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid joined the Bruins for Tuesday’€™s morning skate prior to Boston’€™s last game before the Christmas break.

McQuaid, who has not played since breaking his thumb on Nov. 18, is not yet ready to return to the lineup but has been skating since earlier this month. Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate that McQuaid’s rehab is “on track.”

The Bruins will keep the same lineup that they used for the second half of Sunday’€™s game as they look to head into the holiday with a win over the Predators.

The lineup in morning skate was as follows:

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

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller


Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

David Krejci might want to know who his right wing is as much as anyone else.

David Krejci might want to know who his right wing is as much as anyone else.

Claude Julien‘€™s hands are tied. Partially because of Krejci’€™s injuries, he waited too long to try Eriksson with Krejci and Lucic. Eriksson has undeniable chemistry with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly, but the Bruins haven’€™t given him a chance to develop chemistry with Lucic and Krejci. Given where they currently fall in the standings, the B’€™s might not think they can afford a games-long getting-to-know-you period if the B’€™s don’€™t win games in the process.

So that leaves Krejci, who thought he knew who he’€™d have for linemates after Jarome Iginla left, with four different right wings (Seth Griffith, Simon Gagne, Craig Cunningham and, ever so briefly, Eriksson) in 14 games this season.

“Everything was –€” it looked like we were going to play with Loui from the beginning. If not, then someone else, so it was kind of a tough situation,” Krejci told Monday. “I was preparing myself the whole summer [as though] I would be playing with Loui. That was on my mind. Then some injuries and those guys play pretty well together right now with Carl and Kells as a line, so yeah.”

Added Krejci: “I’€™m happy that we’€™re winning, but I’€™d like to be putting some points up as well. That’€™s why I’€™m here. That’€™s why they re-signed me. It gets a little frustrating at times. You always play with somebody else, but I’€™m sure we’€™re going to find the right guy. If not, who knows what happens? There’€™s always trades, you know.”

On Sunday, Julien finally started Eriksson on Krejci’€™s right wing to open the game. The line had a so-so first period, but allowed a second-period goal and followed it up with a shift that saw Krejci give the puck away and Lucic mishandle the puck at the blue line. Krejci’€™s misplay led to a Sabres scoring chance; Lucic’€™s forced Dougie Hamilton to trip Tyler Ennis in the neutral zone and put the Bruins on the penalty kill.

Julien returned Eriksson to Soderberg’€™s line, with Kelly scoring on the trio’€™s first shift back together. Eriksson scored the game-winner in overtime on a feed from Lucic, but it was during a line change.

While Eriksson with Kelly and Soderberg has been Boston’€™s most consistent line this season, it isn’€™t like any of Boston’€™s forwards are having particularly good seasons. The Bruins are the only team in the league without a nine-goal scorer. They’€™re one of three teams (with the Sabres and Coyotes the other two) who haven’€™t seen a player reach 10 goals.

Part of the Bruins’€™ offensive problem has been that they’€™ve only had Krejci for 14 games, leading Julien to mix and match different lines and play Soderberg’€™s line against other team’€™s top forwards and defensemen. Krejci’€™s return allows Soderberg to go back to playing against bottom-six players and third-pairing defensemen, which makes their job easier.

In a perfect world, they shouldn’€™t need Eriksson to win those shifts, as Soderberg is probably a little better than a third-line player, while Kelly has been a solid third-liner for years.

The Bruins value secondary scoring, but having a good first line is more important. The Bruins are better off when Krejci is at his best, and Krejci’€™s at his best when he’€™s comfortable with his linemates rather than taking turns training potential candidates.

So maybe it’€™s Eriksson and maybe it’€™s somebody else, but teams don’€™t miss the playoffs because they don’€™t have great third lines; they do because they don’€™t have first lines. Krejci is eager for Boston’€™s to take shape.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Matt Bartkowski was not given any supplemental discipline for a hit to Sabres captain Brian Gionta that earned him a game misconduct Sunday night.

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski was not given any supplemental discipline for a hit to Sabres captain Brian Gionta that earned him a game misconduct Sunday night.

The NHL Department of Player Safety explained their decision not to punish the Boston defenseman in a series of tweets Monday, calling the hit ‘€œincidental head contact.’€

After Monday’€™s practice, Bartkowski said that he didn’€™t feel the hit was worthy of a suspension.

“It’€™s just a play in the game. You don’€™t like to see players leave the game,” he said. “It’€™s not like it was my intent to injure anybody. It was just a hit, so that’€™s about it.”

Bartkowski had to answer for the hit immediately, dropping the gloves with Marcus Foligno for his first career NHL fight. He said that after leaving the game due to the misconduct, he was more focused on the call than concerned with being suspended.

“I was just pissed that I had to leave the game,” Bartkowski said. “I don’€™t know. I didn’€™t think it was worthy of [a misconduct]. I was just more pissed about that for quite a while.”

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Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Claude Julien and the Bruins are looking for answers. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)A lot was said Sunday — a lot more than usual, anyway — so it was fitting that the best description of this strange Bruins season came from the team’s best quote.