Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were among three Bruins defensemen that missed Tuesday's practice. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were among three Bruins defensemen that missed Tuesday’s practice. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins got two of their six injured skaters back in Monday night’s Game 3 against the Senators with the return (and immediate impact) of fourth-liner Noel Acciari and top-six center David Krejci.

Defenseman Colin Miller, who participated in the morning skate and pregame warmup after having missed the second half of Game 1 and all of Game 2 because of a lower-body injury, almost made it three, but was ultimately ruled out in favor of Tommy Cross at puck drop.

But their returns were not enough for the B’s to regain the series lead against the Sens, as they fell by a 4-3 overtime final at TD Garden.

So, with the club in danger of falling behind 3-1 with a loss on Wednesday, how about adding some more healing bodies to the mix? Preferably one of Brandon Carlo (upper-body) and Torey Krug (lower-body), who have yet to play in this series, or Adam McQuaid, who missed Monday’s Game 3 after leaving in the first period of Game 2.

“He’s doing OK, he’s day-to-day, doubtful for tomorrow,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Carlo, who did skate on his own prior to the start of B’s practice. “Colin Miller is better. We’ll have an update in the morning, but he’s ahead of Carlo and Krug for sure.”

With the pairings at practice the same as they were last night — Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy were the top pair, Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller made up the middle pairing, and John-Michael Liles and Cross were the third pairing — Miller skated on a fourth pairing with Matt Grzelcyk, which could stick out as a sign that he is still a little bit away from a return. If Miller does indeed return for tomorrow’s Game 4, however, it’s expected that Cross would take a seat as a healthy scratch after making his season debut last night, with one assist and two blocked shots in 13:08 of ice time.

But the big loss for the Bruins in this series has been Krug.

After a career-high 51 points in 81 games during the regular season, and the quarterback of a Boston power play that simply thrived under Cassidy, Krug’s absence has become glaring by way of the club’s 2-for-10 mark against an Ottawa penalty kill that they just straight-up torched in the regular season, where they went 5-for-8 against Craig Anderson. The moment Krug becomes available is the moment that series could truly shift back towards the Black and Gold’s favor, you’d think.

But it’s one step at a time, and Krug is not there just yet.

“Krug, we’ll list him as day-to-day, but he wasn’t on the ice,” said Cassidy.

The good news, though, is that Krug, who did not travel to Ottawa last week, was seen at TD Garden last night without crutches he reportedly left the arena on when the injury happened two weeks ago, and was once again at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

A sellout TD Garden crowd felt robbed of a meaningful overtime when referee Tim Peel’s horrendous call against Riley Nash put Bobby Ryan and the Senators on the power play, where they scored the game-winning goal to take a 2-1 series lead.

So, naturally and in the true essence of the eye for an eye mentality of playoff hockey, one Bruins fan tried to return the favor with some larceny of his own as the Senators made their way back to the locker room to celebrate.

As bottles rained down on the ice in disgust of the game’s finish, this fan sitting to the right of the tunnel that leads the Sens back to the cramp visitors’ locker room tried to grab one of Ottawa’s sticks from off their stick rack. But he was thwarted by Sens captain Erik Karlsson, who caught him in the act and delivered a slash right to that fan’s hand.

Ouch.

In line with how this series has gone, Karlsson was not assessed a penalty for the slash.

And strangely enough, this is actually not the first time that this has happened in a playoff game in Boston.

It was back in 2009 that a fan stole then-Canadien sniper Alex Kovalev’s stick right from out of his hands.

(If you’re looking for the original thief, watch the glass-banger in the white shirt as the scrum ensues following the goal.)

“Passionate hockey fans in Boston,” Senators forward Mark Stone said. “It’s just the nature of the game.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bruins forward Riley Nash would have had every right to step into his media availability and simply rip the piss-poor officiating that put him in the box for Bobby Ryan’s game-winning overtime goal on Monday.

Riley Nash took the blame for the penalty that led to Ottawa's game-winning goal. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins forward Riley Nash took the blame for the penalty that led to Ottawa’s game-winning goal in Game 3. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins forward Riley Nash would have had every right to step into his media availability and simply rip the piss-poor officiating that put him in the box for Bobby Ryan’s game-winning overtime goal on Monday.

Instead, the 27-year-old Nash took the fall for the B’s Game 3 loss.

“I think it was pretty selfish of me,” a visibly emotional Nash said following Monday’s game. “You can’t make that play, can’t put the refs in that position regardless of what happened before that, you’ve just got to do it, and it’s pretty tough for the boys.”

Knocked down to the ice and then blatantly elbowed in the head by Ryan, Nash got to his knees and responded with a quick jab to Ryan’s face, complete with a hard sell from the theatrical Ottawa winger.

“I felt like I was down on my knee, and he came and hit me, or elbow or fist, whatever it was. I tried to just push him or punch him off me and caught his face,” Nash continued. “He kind of embellished it, but I don’t know. Still, it just can’t happen.

“You’ve got to take that. It’s playoffs, you’ve got to take it.”

The penalty was universally slammed for being a garbage call (not that you expect anything less from Tim Peel, who is among the worst of the worst at his job), especially for an overtime frame that came with almost everything else let go, and Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy called the penalty a “terrible call” on NESN’s postgame show.

“I think [Peel] looked over and just saw my reaction,” said Nash. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. They see what they see, and there’s only two of them out there, and there’s 10 guys, so you just can’t really put them in that position to make that call.”

The Bruins, who finished the year with the league’s best penalty kill, have the second-worst penalty kill in the playoffs through the first three games of action, with three power-play goals against on 10 times shorthanded.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Bruins winger Brad Marchand had just one shot in Game 3's loss. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand had just one shot in Game 3’s loss. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand’s emergence in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs took just about everybody by surprise. But that was six years and 171 goals ago, and now, Marchand is a marked man.

Teams target him in more ways than one, too.

Not only do they try to keep the 5-foot-9 winger off the scoresheet, but they also attempt to get under his skin, and goad him into the bad penalties he’s wont to take at times. The Senators accomplished both in Monday’s Game 3, as they held No. 63 to just one shot on goal, and frustrated him into a needless penalty

The agitator became the agitated, and that’s something that’s just not going to work for the now-trailing Black and Gold.

“Well, clearly, he took a penalty tonight, probably out of frustration, but listen, Brad Marchand was what, the fifth leading scorer in the National Hockey League this year? He’s going to get keyed on. So part of the process for him becoming an elite player is to play through that, take advantage of the opportunities, and certainly we can get him away from certain matchups,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said following his team’s Game 3 overtime loss. “But at the end of the day, they’re going to get the D pair out against him for the most part, unless there’s an O-zone face-off after an icing, and we try to get that matchup.

“But obviously, he’s got to play through it.”

On the ice for the game-winning goal against, Marchand’s night ended with a team-high three missed shots, and with two giveaways to his name in 21:22 of time on ice. The 28-year-old was also held without a point for the second straight game.

“We’ll talk to him tomorrow about it, but at the end of the day, that’s what happens when you’re an elite player,” Cassidy said. “You’re going to get marked, and you’ve got to find your way through the checking part of the game, because they’ve got a number of guys, they’re a good defensive team. It’s not like one guy is all over him, it’s just, he’s one of the guys you circle on the board.”

 

“Big thing is just try and push through it,” Marchand said. “I would say I have to be better; I haven’t been at my best so far, but guys have done a really good job of stepping up. Every night we have four lines going and that’s what we need.”

What the Bruins need more than that, you’d argue, is Marchand to return to form with the big goals he’s known for, like the one he scored with under three minutes to play in the B’s Game 1 victory over the Senators last Wednesday.

“[Brad Marchand] can create a little more out there,” Cassidy said. “And he will.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

The Bruins are 8-22 all-time when trailing 2-1 in a series. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)A series cannot be won or lost in Game 3, and that’s still true in this round one war between the Bruins and Senators.



Bobby Ryan scored the game-winning goal after getting away with an obvious elbow. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bobby Ryan scored the game-winning goal after getting away with an obvious elbow. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

No one play or call ever singlehandedly decides a game. We know that. In the case of the Bruins’ Game 3 loss to the Senators Monday night, you could point to the Bruins’ brutal first period, which saw them register just three shots on goal and fall behind 2-0. You could also point to injuries that continue to deplete their lineup, especially on defense, or a struggling penalty kill that surrendered two power-play goals.

But let’s not pretend that penalty call against Riley Nash in overtime, which sent the Senators to a power play on which they’d win the game, was anything other than horrendous.

Yes, Nash threw a quick job to Bobby Ryan’s face in retaliation. But somehow the officials missed Ryan’s blatant elbow to Nash’s head a split second before that. At worst, it should’ve been matching penalties, something the refs had already called twice earlier in the game. In fact, one of those previous matchings also included a punch — Marc Methot threw a jab at Tim Schaller during a confrontation, but both players were still sent to the box.

Refs sometimes call only the retaliation in an effort to send the message that they’re not going to put up with it and players aren’t going to get bailed out by matching calls. But on Monday, Tim Peel and Eric Furlatt had already set the tone and made it clear they were perfectly fine making matching calls. Overtime was certainly not the time to go in a different direction.

So, the only other possibility is that they really did somehow miss Ryan’s elbow, which would be pretty astounding considering that’s where the puck was.

Generally no one other than fans really wants to blame the refs. Coaches and players can get fined for doing it, so they generally take the high road. Unsurprisingly, Nash did just that after the game, putting the blame on himself instead of the officials.

“I think it was pretty selfish of me,” Nash said. “You can’t make that play, can’t put the refs in that position regardless of what happened before that. … It’s pretty tough for the boys.”

Cassidy showed his true feelings a little more, agreeing with reporters’ assessments of the call in his press conference and calling it a “terrible call” in his postgame interview with NESN.

“Demoralizing and disappointing. I think you guys summed it up,” Cassidy said in his press conference. “There’s probably a lot more words, but they called it. So once they call it, it’s our job to kill it.”

Media members also tend to avoid being too critical of officiating because they sometimes worry about looking like whiny homers. But there’s really no getting around this one — it was an awful call and it directly contributed to the game-winning goal, which was of course scored by Ryan, that put the Bruins in a 2-1 hole in the series.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

At its best, playoff hockey is every emotion one can experience bottled up into 60 minutes — sometimes, dare I even say often, more — of chaos. Its chaos has been gone from Boston for far too long, and it’s as if the Bruins and Senators realized that in a Game 3 showdown

The Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period, but lost in overtime to fall behind in their series 2-1. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

At its best, playoff hockey is every emotion one can experience bottled up into 60 minutes — sometimes, dare I even say often, more — of chaos. Its chaos has been gone from Boston for far too long, and it’s as if the Bruins and Senators realized that in a Game 3 showdown that saw a rabid TD Garden crowd experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a 4-3 overtime final for the Senators.

In a Marathon Monday that started with the Bruins honoring Dic Donohue four years after his role in defining Boston Strong, the energy and anticipation reverberated through the building as a sellout crowd sang along with Rene Rancourt, and everybody seemed ready to go.

Except the Bruins, of course, who fell on their face out of the gate on home ice, like they did too many times to even count during their two-year absence from postseason play.

With the Bruins in hot pursuit of the game’s first goal, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson channeled his inner quarterback from behind his own net, and completed a one-on-five Hail Mary pass to Mike Hoffman, who blazed in on Tuukka Rask for one of the prettiest breakaway goals you’ll see all year. It got worse for the Bruins just 25 seconds later, too, as an own-zone turnover from John-Michael Liles kept the B’s hemmed in their own zone, while Ottawa’s forwards danced around the front of Rask’s net before Derick Brassard buried their second goal.

 

The listless first period was not complete for the Bruins with a power play stumble, which of course came late in the first period, as the Bruins failed to put a single shot on goal during their gift of a power play, and skated to an 0-2 deficit through one period of play, and with just three shots on Senators goaltender Craig Anderson in the process.

Ottawa extended their edge to 3-0 on their 17th shot of the game, as Hoffman ripped a slapshot through Rask at 3:42 of the second period, and you could not help but feel as if this game was all but lost for the no-showing Bruins.

A three-year wait, for this? Yuck. Can we all just get a redo and come back tomorrow?

But the Garden crowd was brought to their feet with the deflection of Noel Acciari, one of the B’s most sorely missed during the first two games of this series, as he redirected a Liles shot through Anderson to cut Ottawa’s lead to two. 42 seconds later, it was No. 42, David Backes, that took advantage of a whiffed attempt by Bobby Ryan to break in alone and score the B’s second goal.

Rask followed those goals up with a huge save on Mark Stone, which kept this a one-goal game, and showed that he was not broken by the second Hoffman goal, as Stone’s shot was the first puck fired on him since the second Hoffman tally.

OK, maybe pause that redo thing. We had a game cookin’ up at the Garden.

And following a straight-up stupid penalty from Dion Phaneuf, who failed to move Backes out of the crease with his body, instead resorting to cheap tactics with a brutal slash to the hands, it was David Pastrnak that made him pay with a one-time rocket.

In a matter of 7:46 and six shots, the Bruins erased a three-goal hole, and were back even through 40 minutes of action.

And in a game that got better as it went on, the third period did not disappoint.

The Bruins created numerous chances on Anderson, and with the Boston crowd singing his name on each B’s possession in the Ottawa end, and none were better than two looks from David Krejci, playing in his first game of the series.

Down four of their regular seven defensemen, the Bruins by all means moved to a three-man rotation in the third period, too, with Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy logging big minutes, while Kevan Miller stepped up as the third man on the point. Their efforts were not for naught in the final frame, too, as the Bruins held the Sens to just four shots through 17 minutes.

And after they survived six defensive zone faceoffs in the final minute and a half of hockey, it was off to overtime.

It was there where you found your heart your throat as Acciari came up with a big block on Cody Ceci just a minute into the overtime. It was there that your anger boiled when Dominic Moore was hauled down without a penalty called. That turned to a rage when Riley Nash was whistled for roughing Ryan after Ryan elbowed him on the head on his way down.

And it was on that power play that Ryan scored, and sunk the Bruins just 5:33 into the overtime.

This game simply had it all. The energy with each hit that shook the glass and echoed throughout the boards, the anger of some straight-up dreadful officiating, and the reminder that this atmosphere is unlike anything else in sports.

And to see it end the way it end is just a shame.

But the good news? The Bruins and Senators get to do this all over again for Wednesday night’s Game 4.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Noel Acciari is expected to play tonight against the Sens. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Noel Acciari is expected to play tonight against the Sens. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins have had to make do through the first two games of their round one series with the Senators without a good chunk of their NHL regulars. About six of them, to be exact. They’ve probably done about as well as you’d expect, too, as they arrive back in Boston for tonight’s pivotal Game 3 at TD Garden with the series tied at 1-1.

The Bruins are expected to get at least one of those six back in action tonight though in bottom-six energy winger Noel Acciari, who suffered an upper-body injury in the year’s 81st game, and has missed the last three games.

“Noel’s cleared,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the morning skate at TD Garden. “If he goes in, he’s gonna start with Dom and Nash. We liked that line before he got injured.”

Though he skated in just 29 games this season, the 25-year-old became a factor for the Bruins late in the season as a fit on that line with Dominic Moore and Riley Nash, where he finished his season with two goals, an assist, and 36 hits in the final 10 games of the regular season. Overall, the Rhode Island native’s 29-game statline featured two goals and five points, along with 80 hits and 24 shots on goal in 10:22 per night.

It’s the type of straight-line, body-burying game that can open up space for his linemates (the Moore-Nash combo has been one of the B’s best late in the year), and make life hell for an opposing defenseman. That latter point of emphasis is one that the Black and Gold have had a time tough matching, too, as the Ottawa forecheck has just pestered the battered B’s again and again.

As expected, it’s the third showdown between Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and Sens goalie Craig Anderson. Rask stood on his head in Game 1, with 26 stops on 27 shots, but struggled in Game 2, with four goals on 29 shots against. Anderson, meanwhile, allowed two goals on 25 shots in Game 1 and managed a win in spite of a 26-of-29 effort in Game 2.

Rask, by the way, expects the Garden crowd to be rowdy after having plenty of time to ‘get lubed up’ for tonight’s game.

David Krejci (upper-body) and Colin Miller (lower-body) are both gametime decisions for the Bruins. If Miller is unable to go, Tommy Cross is expected to play in his first NHL game this season. Defensemen Brandon Carlo (upper-body), Torey Krug (lower-body), and Adam McQuaid (upper-body) are out and considered day-to-day.

Mark Borowiecki (lower-body) is out for the Senators, and he will be replaced by Ben Harpur.

The Bruins are 14-2 in Game 3’s since 2008, and are a perfect 4-0 in Game 3’s played on Patriots’ Day.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Drew Stafford – David Krejci – David Backes

Tim Schaller – Ryan Spooner – Frank Vatrano

Dominic Moore – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Joe Morrow – Kevan Miller

John-Michael Liles – Tommy Cross

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson