Phil Kessel scored twice against the Bruins Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Phil Kessel scored twice against the Bruins Wednesday. (Getty Images)

TORONTO –€” The first eight games of the Zdeno Chara-less schedule looked like a group of largely winnable contests before they would have to face the Canadiens. For as well as the Bruins survived that stretch, they ended it in disastrous fashion.

For all the bad moments have had this season — and they’€™ve had plenty between their early-season struggles and the injuries they’€™ve suffered –€” they hadn’€™t really gotten walloped by anyone, let alone a Maple Leafs opponent they had handled easily without Chara once already.

The Bruins’€™ 6-1 loss to the Maple Leafs (box) provided a reminder for anyone who had forgotten that, though Boston hasn’€™t played many good teams of late, things are a lot harder without No. 33 on the ice. Phil Kessel, a player who is usually silent against his former team because of Chara, enjoyed a two-goal night against Boston’€™s mortal blue line.

Tuukka Rask was yanked after giving up three goals early in the second period and four on the night. Even what looked like a well-targeted goal by Reilly Smith was negated in the second by Carl Soderberg being in the crease.

Of course, it wasn’€™t just about Chara, Rask or Boston’€™s defense. This was one of those once-in-a-season colossal stinkers that a team can only hope will end up being their worst loss of the season with few other candidates.

Here are four other things we learned Wednesday night:

STRANGE DAYS FOR BERGERON

Patrice Bergeron is one of the best 5-on-5 players in the world. When he’€™s on the ice, people usually don’€™t score unless they’€™re wearing Bruins sweaters.

So it’€™s pretty un-Bergeron-like of the two-time Selke winner to see he and his linemates scored on as often as he has the last couple games. Though he did put up three points Monday against the Devils, Bergeron has been on the ice for four five-on-five goals over the last two games. It could have easily been five had Rask not made back-to-back stops on Tyler Bozak in front early on.

Bergeron was on the ice for Seidenberg’€™s line along with Simon Gagne and Milan Lucic. He still finished the night a minus-1 and took a hooking penalty in the third period.

Bergeron was a minus player in 14 games last season’€™s 80-game effort. Wednesday’€™s game was Bergeron’€™s sixth dash in 17 games, putting him on pace for 29 games as a minus this season. One couldn’€™t imagine Bergeron would keep up that pace, but an odd start to the season should dent his chances at getting that third Selke in this campaign.

SHOULD RASK PLAY OR SIT VS. HABS?

When the Bruins gave Rask the start Wednesday, it wasn’€™t clear what their intentions were exactly heading into back-to-back games, but getting a win against the Leafs was obviously part of the plan.

Now, with Rask having struggled Wednesday, it’€™s unclear whether they will go back to him Thursday against a team that’€™s had his number over the years.

Rask had won four games in a row entering Wednesday but had a rough go of it against the Leafs. You generally can’€™t blame a goalie for getting beaten by Kessel, but Rask did kick a big rebound right to Morgan Reilly in the second period for Toronto’€™s third goal of the game.

The night actually got off to a promising start for Rask, as his stick-save on the rebound of Bozak’€™s shot in the opening minutes was outstanding. At the time that Rask was yanked after allowing three goals in three and a half minutes early in the second period, he had given up four goals on 16 shots faced.

It’€™s worth noting that Wednesday’€™s game was the second this season in which the Bruins replaced Rask in-game. The other time came against the Canadiens in the teams’€™ only meeting of the season.

JULIEN JUGGLES LINES

The Bruins started the game with the lines they’€™ve normally used of late without David Krejci (Chris Kelly in Krejci’€™s place and Matt Fraser in Kelly’€™s spot on Soderberg’€™s line, with Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line and Gregory Campbell‘€™s line remaining the same).

With things getting out of hand in the second period, however, Julien shook things up. He put Bergeron between Lucic and Gagne, which yielded Boston’€™s only goal of the game. Reilly Smith was moved to Fraser’€™s spot on Soderberg’€™s line, which moved Fraser to Campbell’€™s line. Kelly centered Brad Marchand and Seth Griffith.

KESSEL FINALLY SCORES AGAINST KRUG

In the first game the Bruins played after losing Zdeno to his torn PCL, Torey Krug — usually a third-pairing guy who doesn’€™t see much time against top competition –” played nine shifts against Kessel, with the matchup actually working out in Boston’€™s favor. Toronto had just one shot on goal in those shifts, with Boston totaling four.

On Wednesday, Toronto finally got something out of that matchup, perhaps due to some bad luck for the Bruins and the fact that, unlike last time when Krug had Adam McQuaid as his partner, he was skating with the less-experienced Zach Trotman.

Kessel scored against the duo when, after Dion Phaneuf backhanded a puck out of the Toronto zone along the boards, the puck bounced past Trotman, allowing Kessel to pick it up as he raced into the offensive zone and fired a puck past both Krug and Rask.

The Bruins might not have been thrilled with the goal, however, as the puck went off the boards awfully high, possibly touching a Maple Leafs glove on the bench. Had it, the play should have been whistled dead.

Wednesday’€™s game was Krug’€™s second back in Boston’€™s lineup since returning from a broken pinky finger. He and Trotman were also on the ice for Reilly’€™s goal.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
We check in with Jack Edwards, live from the road on the way to Canada for the Bruins two game swing vs the Habs and Maple Leafs.

[0:00:14] ... in just few minutes as we said earlier on trending now the Boston Bruins begin a two game road trip. Two games in two nights in two cities there in Toronto tonight take on the Maple ...
[0:01:18] ... are in Toronto and the last time they were there today by. Randy Carlyle assertion embarrassed the maple late support one win that wasn't as close as that would indicate. I think that was their first ...
[0:02:44] ... are going to Waltz right right now it is getting leadership from Patrice Bergeron. And getting some tremendous coaching record Julian and his staff because. If you're. If you look at that you of some would ...
[0:05:32] ... the team went. And yet fighting majors are way down in the National Hockey League this latest statistics I saw last week it's. Point 36. Bytes per game so far this season which is say. Dramatic reduction ...






As he does every Wednesday, Andy Brickley of NESN joined the show to talk about how Doug Hamilton is becoming a leader in the Bruin locker room, the salary cap going forward, and the AHL abolishing shootouts.

[0:00:16] ... us by Shaw's supermarkets. Andy joins us every week to talk about Boston Bruins and hockey in general any exit off the page and start away from the Bruins for a second. Did you see these ...
[0:02:04] ... in the notably six and wanna think. Team six the wall without Zdeno Chara and or asked to. What do you see differently from from Doug. I think that's a good way to rated. A little ...
[0:04:55] ... play and Ottawa apparently is in the mix to maybe bring back Marian Hossa. Just two points behind the Boston Bruins that's a rumor that's out there your thoughts on some of the other moves are being made in the division. Well I ...
[0:06:47] ... I'm gonna have to this year is a limit compete for the Stanley Cup that it like next year and it would like turn it needs to be because under. Cultivate young players and regular communal ...






TORONTO –€” Tuukka Rask was the only healthy player absent from Wednesday’€™s morning skate at Air Canada Center, suggesting he will start Wednesday night against the

Milan Lucic has a hard time keeping his cool against the Canadiens. (Francois Laplante/Getty Images)

Milan Lucic has a hard time keeping his cool against the Canadiens. (Francois Laplante/Getty Images)

TORONTO — Milan Lucic was Public Enemy No. 1 in Montreal before last month’€™s antics. Now the Bruins left wing at the Bell Centre might be a poor man’€™s version of John Rocker at Shea Stadium.

Thursday will mark Lucic’€™s first game at the Bell Centre since he made something of a spunky gesture towards Habs fans on Oct. 16, which was his first game at the Bell Centre after he allegedly threatened players in the handshake line after Game 7 of the second round last year in Boston.

Translation: When Lucic goes to Montreal, there’€™s a whole lot of people waiting to let him hear it for something he did before.

Lucic knows that, and though his aim is to help the Bruins get a win against an opponent the B’€™s will need to start beating eventually (the Canadiens have won six of the teams’€™ last eight regular-season meetings), going into that setting with a clear head is easier said than done.

“It’€™s tough, but that’€™s one of the things that you kind of learn when you become a pro,” Lucic said. “You block out all the stuff on the outside when you first come into the league it’€™s overwhelming playing in front of 20,000 people, but as time goes on you tend to figure that stuff out and focus on playing the game. I think that’€™s the main thing I have to focus on is just tuning everything out and focus on playing the best game I can for my teammates.

“I’€™m not going in there trying to make it me against them. It’€™s us going in there trying to get a job done and get a result we want. That’€™s the mindset that I have to have and we have to have in order to have success.”

Again, easier said than done. Lucic had gotten through most of that Oct. 16 game without losing his cool, but a bad boarding call against him for a hit he put on longtime nemesis Alexei Emelin in a one-goal game set him off. Furious with the call and getting showered with jeers as he entered the box, Lucic made things a little more sexual than the moment called for, an action that earned him a $5,000 fine. He was also tossed from the game for berating the official who made the call as he got out of the box.

For as intelligent an individual as Lucic is ‘€” and really, he is ‘€” he can’€™t be counted on to get through these types of situations without doing something. History shows ‘€” and you can go back to Maxim Lapierre in 2009 or stay more current with Emelin and Dale Weise ‘€” that playing the Canadiens gets Lucic off his game. For all the good he’€™s done against them (think his to Nathan Horton to set up the series-clinching game-winner in overtime of Game 7 in 2011), losing his cool is simply par for the course for Lucic when he plays the Canadiens. That should drive him crazy.

He has not changed that, but he can. It’€™s safe to say he doesn’€™t like some of their players and many of their fans, but Lucic can use that animosity for good, not evil. A historian of the game, there’€™s no doubt Lucic would love to be the guy who dominated the Canadiens game in and game out, with boos filling the Bell Centre from the moment he touched the puck to the moment it left his stick on the way into the net.

In a perfect world, that’€™s the kind of villain Lucic would be in Montreal.

“You have to try to do is spin it into a positive feel where you get those competitive juices going and get yourself riled up sooner than later,” Lucic said. “For myself, I’€™ve always been a guy that when I play with that type of emotion that’€™s when I’€™ve been at my best. I think that right there you use that and spin that into a positive.”

Lucic has undoubtedly played with emotion against the Canadiens. He has not, however, been at his best. He’€™s the only one who can change that, and the fans certainly aren’€™t going to get any nicer.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

TORONTO –€” Tuukka Rask was the only healthy player absent from Wednesday’€™s morning skate at Air Canada Center, suggesting he will start Wednesday night against the Maple Leafs.

Should Rask play Wednesday, it will make Thursday night’€™s matchup against the Canadiens even more interesting. The Bruins could sit Rask, who has historically struggled in Montreal, and play Niklas Svedberg against the Habs, or play Rask in both games. Rask has played both games of two back-to-backs this season, as he played on the first two days of the season and then made back-to-back starts on Oct. 15 and 16.

Rask started all five games of the team’€™s recent four-game home stand, winning all four.

Jonathan Bernier will start for Toronto. Bernier was in net for the Leafs the last time the teams met, allowing all four goals in a 4-1 Bruins victory.

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

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Joseph Morrow

Joe Morrow

WILMINGTON — The Bruins are now 6-1-0 without Zdeno Chara. They’€™re also 5-0-0 with Joe Morrow in the lineup instead of Matt Bartkowski.

The latter point isn’€™t a shot at Bartkowski, a good player whose struggles with his game and his confidence led him to the press box for the time being, but it does tell part of the story as to why the Bruins have improved defensively over the course of this stretch without their best defenseman.

Paired with Adam McQuaid, Morrow, a 2011 first-round pick, has been safe. For a team that had been looking up to tighten up defensively, that’€™s all the B’€™s could have wanted. Like Bartkowski, Morrow is a good skater and passer, but Bartkowski’€™s decision-making and defensive coverage were uncharacteristically poor in his five games this season. The Bruins called up Morrow after the team’€™s Oct. 28 loss to the Wild to replace Bartkowski.

Decision-making was one of the questions attached to Morrow when the Bruins got him from the Stars as part of the Tyler Seguin trade. Peter Chiarelli said the day of the trade that the B’€™s would be patient with the twice-traded player and give him the proper AHL instruction. That potential red flag that has been mentioned at points of his two-year-plus AHL career has yet to pop up.

In fact, Morrow has been told by former coaches who have watched his short stint in the NHL — Providence coaches among them –€” that he is a better NHL player than he is an AHL player.

“I don’€™t know exactly what that means, but when you when you have the company of these players around you and that’€™s what you’€™re playing with, you kind of raise your game match theirs and to contribute,” Morrow said. “You don’€™t want to let anyone in the dressing room down. You know it’€™s really important to win up here, so you give that little extra effort.

“€œYeah, I think I have a more suitable style to the National Hockey League than I do to the American Hockey League, but I guess time will tell if that’€™s really true.”

His coaches and former coaches aren’€™t the only ones who have been satisfied with what Morrow’€™s brought to the table. Tuukka Rask said that Morrow has brought some defensive stability to the B’€™s.

“€œI think he’€™s been playing really good and improving every game,” Rask said of Morrow. “Especially the past couple of games, I’€™ve really liked the way he’€™s played and played defense and carried the puck up the ice.”

Rask pointed to a third-period play Monday against the Devils in which Morrow’€™s positioning allowed him to break up a potential back-door scoring opportunity and skate the puck to safety.

“Things like that that people might not see,”€ Rask said, “I see and try to give them credit for it.”

All in all, Rask likes the way the team has looked defensively of late.

“Really good. Really good,”€ Rask said of the Bruins’€™ play in their own zone. “We’€™re eliminating chances we kind of want to eliminate and making little plays around the net and taking their sticks away and stuff. It’€™s paid off lately. I feel like we’€™re really taking steps in the right direction.”

Bartkowski is a better player than he’€™s shown and he will be better if and when he gets more games. His absence, however, has allowed the Bruins to get a look at another young defender and enjoy stronger defensive efforts.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON ‘€” David Krejci was again absent from Bruins practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena. Krejci has been in and out of the lineup since suffering a hip injury in the preseason, with the 28-year-old center missing three of the last four games.

Kevan Miller participated in practice as he continued to work his way back from a dislocated shoulder suffered on Oct. 18.

With Krejci out, the Bruins kept Chris Kelly in his place with Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Everyone in attendance at TD Garden will remember Monday night’s 4-2 win over the Devils for Seth Griffith spectacular effort late in the second period.

But truth be told, the significance of the win goes far beyond that 10-second span. In winning their fifth straight game, the Bruins showed yet again they can actually finish around the net, something they struggled badly with in their 5-6-0 start.

And at the center of the finishing was the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith. Bergeron had two assists and a goal. Smith had a goal and an assist and Carl Soderberg finished his power play chance in front.

Whether it was from the circle (Bergeron) or in the slot (Smith) or on the doorstep (Soderberg), the Bruins were finding ways to put the puck in the net.

“I think it’s finishing, yeah, because there’€™s been some games where we have given up too many shots and too many offensive opportunities and Tuukks [Tuukka Rask] has done a great job, same with Sveddy [Niklas Svedberg], but I think we are just doing a better job finishing the puck, and we are getting chances and it seems like we are doing a better job putting it in the back of the net than we did, you know, starting in the year,” Smith said.

“When Patrice gets the puck, I just let him do his thing. You know sometimes you can call someone for the puck and you can kind of put someone out of their groove a little bit, because you know it’€™s not their first play, but Bergy has eyes in the back of his head so you know I just trust him that he will make the right play all the time.”

Five games, five wins, including the sweep of the four-game homestand. Smith can sense the Bruins coming together.

“I felt like the last few games we have done a good job, you know moving the puck and seeing each other, a little more points to the puck I think we’€™ve, you know, this home stand, I think every game we are getting a little bit better with each other and making better plays, so I hope it continues,” Smith said. “I think we’€™ve done a good job coming together, and battling, you know with each other as a team. You, you miss key guys that you can’€™t replace but you know everyone has come together and we’€™ve done a good job filling that void.”

The one thing Smith would not like to to continue is getting drawn into the penalty box like he was early in the first period when he was called for embellishment on a Michael Cammalleri hooking penalty in the neutral zone, near the center circle.

“Yeah, I didn’€™t really think I embellished that too much, but I think maybe they thought it was Marchy [Brad Marchand] but who knows. But you know plays like that will happen and you got to just forget about it because it’€™s too early in the game to you know, kind of hold it over your head.

“I don’€™t think I embellished at all. You know I was trying to stay up, but I thought we would have gotten a good rush if I would have stayed up. I know Cammalleri mentioned in the penalty box that he was surprised that I went in there with him, but you know I guess things like that happen and you know the league is changing a little bit, so I think that’€™s a, you know they are trying to get rid of it, so. Maybe I saw something different than I felt.”

Marchand was indeed called for embellishment late in the third period for falling to the ice on a Damon Severson interference penalty.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Seth Griffith doesn’t talk the same game he plays.

So, when asked about his blocked shot, sprint through a pair of opponents and spin-o-rama that ended with a goal on a backhanded shot with his back facing the net, the rookie had to quote Patrice Bergeron to do the feat justice.