The Bruins have never overcome a 3-1 series deficit. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)The Bruins are once again teetering towards the cliff that would spell their demise.



Game 5 in Ottawa will be played without one of the club’s key power-play contributors and 78-game presence during the regular season, as Bruins center Ryan Spooner will miss tonight’s must-win contest.

Ryan Spooner will miss Game 5 tonight. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Ryan Spooner will miss Game 5 tonight. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Game 5 in Ottawa will be played without one of the club’s key power-play contributors and 78-game presence during the regular season, as Bruins center Ryan Spooner will miss tonight’s must-win contest.

Replaced on a de facto fourth line by Sean Kuraly, who played in Games 1 and 2, for Friday’s morning skate, Spooner’s return to the press box was confirmed by Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy following the morning skate at Canadian Tire Center.

“Ryan’s not 100 percent, and we liked Sean’s game up here,” Cassidy said. “He’s good on getting on pucks, and forecheck has been a big part of how we’re able to create some of our offense, and he gives us that.

“I don’t know what’s going on mentally, but physically yes, [Spooner is] not 100 percent, which listen, there’s guys throughout the series that end up like that, but I don’t want to expand anymore than that. We liked the way Sean’s played, as much as anything.”

In spite of his five-on-five struggles this series, Spooner has been productive at less than 100 percent, with two assists (both secondary assists scored on power-play goals), which means that this ailment has to be something significant, no?

“No, he could play, we’re just making a decision,” admitted Cassidy. “It’s more about what Sean brings right now than Ryan.”

That means that this is more about providing an extra jump in the forechecking and defensive game, which you will get with Kuraly in over Spooner, especially after a Game 4 defensive zone gaffe from his entire line that led to the game’s only goal.

But Spooner’s loss will affect a Boston power play that’s accounted for two of the B’s eight goals through four games. In his place, the Bruins are expected to go with the full load-up plan that will put David Krejci in his spot on the first unit.

“Clearly Ryan does some very good things for us, I’m not going to address everything,” Cassidy said. “But we just made a decision that Sean is a center as well that can also play the wing that will bring us some good qualities as well.”

Kuraly has five hits, a blocked shot, and has won two of five faceoffs in 16:21 of total time on ice in this series.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

What's left of the Bruins' defense has gotten the job done in this series. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)After 86 games between the regular season and playoffs, the Bruins are what they are.



The Bruins fell into a 3-1 series hole with a 1-0 loss in Game 4 at TD Garden. We got reaction from Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Brad Marchand and more. Watch below. (Video courtesy Josh Dolan.)

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Bruce Cassidy's team has made a habit of taking penalties at bad times. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruce Cassidy’s team has made a habit of taking penalties at bad times. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

For the third game in a row, an untimely penalty was costly for the Bruins.

A too-many-men penalty with 4:10 remaining in the third period forced the Bruins to have to kill time while trailing 1-0, and they then struggled to set their offense in the final two minutes. The Bruins had a 13-minute stretch without a shot on goal, and finished with just 22 overall and never could get into a rhythm late.

“It was a little harder to create some [chances],” said Patrice Bergeron. “Once they got that goal they were closing us a little bit more and we have got to find ways to put pucks in deep and go back to what we’ve been doing earlier in that game.”

That call at the end of the game comes on the heels of a Riley Nash penalty in overtime during Game 3 and a Zdeno Chara delay of game call in Game 2 that led directly to Senators goals that won those contests.

In Game 4, the Bruins penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3, but that doesn’t hide the fact that untimely penalties have been problematic.

Every game in the series has been decided by one goal, all the more reason for discipline to be at the forefront.

“Usually games are very tight,” Chara said. “Some of the games could have went our way but they didn’t and we can’t be blaming that or be frustrated, we need to keep our heads up and get ready for the next one.”

Especially on a shortened roster, where two defensemen in Charlie McAvoy and Joe Morrow saw little-to-no time all season, those man-down situations wear out the defense.

“I thought what we’ve asked our defensemen to do, I think they’ve done a pretty good job for guys that got thrown into the situation,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But, part of what we talk about for our guys is to own your moments. You’re getting an opportunity, and one that you probably wanted more of during the year. So, you’re asking a lot. But, by the same token, that’s what’s in front of them.”

The first penalty of the contest was on Kevan Miller in the opening frame, and with he and Chara the only remaining blueliners who were regular penalty killers all season, that proves even more costly.

On the other end, the Bruins also haven’t been able to get calls their way.

“Our power play through the course of the year has generated offense,” said Cassidy. “We haven’t drawn enough penalties too. So, we’ve got to look at ourselves there and say, how can we get on the power play and get inside more often, force them to pull you down a little bit.”

The Bruins have a chance to extend the series to a Game 6 on Garden ice if they can win on Friday in Ottawa, but with an offense that has struggled to put the puck in the net, continuing to give away opportunities could burn them.

Blog Author: 
Marisa Ingemi

Brad Marchand continues to be snake-bitten, and no one else is really stepping up.</p>
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Battered long before the start of their first round series with the Senators, the Bruins are an injured mess. And their health situation may have gotten even worse following Game 4’s 1-0 loss.

Frank Vatrano left TD Garden wearing a walking boot. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Frank Vatrano left TD Garden wearing a walking boot. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

 

Battered long before the start of their first round series with the Senators, the Bruins are an injured mess. And their health situation may have gotten even worse following Game 4’s 1-0 loss.

Following a somber locker room media session led by many of the club’s leaders, Bruins winger Frank Vatrano made his way out of the arena wearing a suit, but also sported a walking boot.

It’s hard to see exactly what could have bothered Vatrano, who finished Game 4 with one shot on goal, three hits, and a minus-1 rating in 9:59 of time on ice on a line with Ryan Spooner and Drew Stafford.

The potential loss of Vatrano, who scored 10 goals and 18 points in 44 games for the B’s this season, would simply add another hobbling body to an injury squad headlined by the club’s top four defense corps in Brandon Carlo (upper-body), Torey Krug (lower-body), and Adam McQuaid (upper-body).

The Bruins will not have practice on Thursday morning, so the earliest update will come from Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy’s media availability, which will be held at 11 a.m. at Warrior Ice Arena.

The 23-year-old Vatrano has one goal, six shots, and 12 hits in four games this season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Charlie McAvoy's first NHL was overturned on a coach's challenge. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Charlie McAvoy’s first NHL was overturned on a coach’s challenge. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins once again found themselves on the wrong end of a one-goal final on Wednesday, this time by a 1-0 score. It was the same score that favored the Bruins for all of a few seconds at one point, too.

At the 10:49 mark of the second period, Bruins rookie Charlie McAvoy fired a puck through traffic and beat Craig Anderson. Enough for the first goal of his NHL career (though a deeper review may have credited the goal to Noel Acciari, who appeared to get a stick on the puck), the goal jumped the Bruins out to a 1-0 edge in a game that 100 percent had the feel of a ‘first team that scores wins’ kind of contest.

But in a game where scoring was at a premium, Senators coach Guy Boucher was not going to let that goal stand without a fight.

So in came his coach’s challenge. It was there that it was determined that Acciari was offsides about 20 seconds before the goal was scored, and off came the tally.

“Yeah, it definitely sucks. When that happens you’re happy when it’s on the other side, but not when it happens to you,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s the rule and I guess they made the call and we still have to find a way that’s the bottom line.”

With a heavy round of boos rained down on the referees for the second game in a row, the score returned to 0-0.

And the Bruins never quite recovered.

From the non-goal on, the Bruins were outscored 1-0, and put just three more shots on goal to end the period, and opened up their third period with just two shots in the opening six minutes or so of action. After that, the Bruins went almost a full 10 minutes without a shot on goal before they were whistled for a too many men on the ice penalty, and were held to just five shots by the end of the third period, with all of the shots that followed coming with their net empty and a 6-on-4 advantage.

“It’s disappointing when those things happen. You have a tough time scoring, a low scoring game,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But, our guys on the bench were good. They said, listen, let’s be resilient here and let’s keep pushing. So, I don’t think it was a huge factor in the game. It might have gave them a bit of a life thinking they got a break. But, for us, like I said, I don’t think it deterred us from what we wanted to do other than the obviously disappointment of losing a goal.”

But what was said on the bench versus what was done on the ice told two drastically different stories.

“We had the high tip from Noel [Acciari] – was obviously a pretty good play for us. The offsides challenge – that really has no bearing on the play – calls that back,” Bruins forward David Backes noted. “I think that for some reason made us pause rather than realize that we broke the mold there and had the recipe for success and to keep doing that.”

Officially one loss away from the summer, the B’s know their luck has to flip if this series is to return to Boston on Sunday.

“We’ll start by winning one game, and that’s all you’ve got to focus on, winning one game, and then come back home and win another one, and then it’s Game 7,” Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask said after the loss. “So, we don’t have to make it any more complicated than it is, but we’ve just got to make sure that we play a heck of a game on Friday.”

Staying onside may help, too.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson