In a season that’€™s featured plenty of bad, no Bruins player has been as good as Loui Eriksson. The 30-year-old provided another reminder on Thursday night.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

In a season that’€™s featured plenty of bad, no Bruins player has been as good as Loui Eriksson. The 30-year-old provided another reminder on Thursday night.

Eriksson picked up his first hat trick as a Bruin as he scored Boston’€™s second, third and fourth goals in a 4-2 win over the Wild. It took Eriksson only 16:37 to score his three goals.

While it was Eriksson’€™s first three-goal showing with the B’€™s, it was also his third multi-goal performance in 18 games this season. Eriksson now leads the Bruins with nine goals on the season, one ahead of linemate David Krejci‘€™s eight.

With Thursday’€™s performance, it’€™s probably worth noting again that Eriksson is in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.25 million cap hit. Teams don’€™t get better by losing their best players, so the Bruins would be wise to do their best to try and retain the player.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:


Rookie callup Frank Vatrano went hard into the endboards on his first shift of the second period and did not return to the game. Vatrano went turned at the last second as he was set to absorb a hit from Nate Prosser, resulting in him appearing to hit the boards with his right shoulder taking the brunt of the impact.

Vatrano had taken warmups with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson, but he also saw time with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly in the first period, taking only four shifts in the first 20 minutes.

If Vatrano is to miss any time, the Bruins would likely have to recall Max Talbot from Providence, as they currently have only 12 forwards on their roster and Providence forwards Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith and Brian Ferlin are injured.


The Bruins did a very un-Bruins thing Thursday by killing penalties successfully.

After entering the night with the worst penalty kill in the league, the B’€™s managed to kill off all three of Minnesota’€™s power plays, including a Brad Marchand hooking penalty at 15:53 of the third period that saw the Wild pull Devan Dubnyk and go 6-on-4.

By going 3-for-3 on the PK, the Bruins killed off all their penalties in a game for just the third time this season, not counting the season-opener in which the Jets never went on the power play.


Matt Beleskey hasn’€™t been a standout player to this point with the B’€™s, but it’€™s certainly not for lack of effort. Beleskey works hard and he plays as physical a game he can, as is evidenced by the fact that he leads the team in hits (which, to remind everyone, is the worst and dumbest stat in sports because it’€™s an anti-possession stat, but I digress).

On Thursday, Beleskey’€™s toughness was tested in his first fight with the Bruins. The former Duck passed with flying colors, pounding Brett Bulmer to the ice in short order 5:34 into the game. Beleskey had drawn a tripping penalty on Bulmer earlier in the period.


Kevan Miller sat out with an upper-body injury Thursday, allowing Colin Miller to re-enter the lineup after a two game stint in the press box.

Miller had an up-and-down night, as he started the rush that resulted in Eriksson’€™s third goal but also played a part in a goal against. He didn’€™t catch a pass from Zdeno Chara at the Bruins’€™ blue line in the second period, resulting in a turnover. That led to Nino Niederreiter feeding Mikko Koivu, whose shot yielded a rebound that Jason Zucker buried past Jonas Gustavsson just over five minutes into the second period for Minnesota’€™s first goal.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

This Bruins' heyday may be over. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)At 8-8-1, the Bruins are not a particularly good team. They do some things well, but a month and a half into the season, they’re not the titans of the Eastern Conference that they once were. 

The Bruins have long said that this season is about potential. Yet it seems that they feel their best chance of realistically winning games is to bank on more sure things than embracing that potential. They’re not necessarily wrong in thinking that; they just might need to cool it on that P-word for a while.

When Claude Julien benched Ryan Spooner in the third period of Tuesday’€™s loss to the Sharks, the worst part of it was that the change didn’€™t allow the Bruins to complete their comeback. The second-worst part of it is that it loaned more evidence to the historically incorrect Claude Hates The Kids argument.

If the Bruins had their act together on the back end and could kill penalties, do you really think Julien would have benched Spooner for his bad second period Tuesday? Of course not. Yet this season has seen him limit players like Spooner and David Pastrnak when they’ve struggled because the Bruins, for all the gushy stuff they’ve said about their young players, can’t actually give them the keys because the Bruins aren’t good enough to absorb their mistakes.

Asked after the game why he gave Spooner no even-strength time in the final period, Julien snapped back at the reporter, asking if he had noticed that Joonas Kemppainen had earned the ice time inherited by Spooner’€™s benching. On Wednesday, Julien was more willing to elaborate on his decision to limit Spooner’€™s third-period shifts to just the power play and the final minute with an extra attacker.

“I thought Spoons, 5-on-4 power play, he’€™s really good, he’€™s got space, but at the same time, we were playing a heavy game and there wasn’€™t much going on [with him] 5-on-5. Anyone who knows the game, I shouldn’€™t have to explain that,” Julien said. “He wasn’€™t having his best outing, so I have to make changes to try and help us win a hockey game. This is not about picking on somebody, it’€™s about a coach trying to do the right things to help us win a hockey game. He went back out there on the power play because he’€™s a good power play guy. [I was] certainly not punishing him for the sake of punishing him.”

Asked how the team feels Spooner’€™s development is coming along, Julien said the team is continuing to work with him, but that they reserve the right to sit him if they feel it’€™s in their best interests.

“It’€™s not just defensively, it’€™s offensively as well, 5-on-5. You’€™ve got to be able to try and produce. You know what? If we’€™re going to have those guys here and we’€™re going to work with him, we have to work with him but it doesn’€™t mean we have to keep playing him to the detriment of the hockey club,” Julien said. “That’€™s where I’€™m trying to balance as a coach, giving the ice time that he deserves and that he gets. He gets a fresh start most of the time every game. Listen, we’€™re still working with this guy, but I have to coach.

“No. 1, the fans want to see us win. I think our ownership and upper-management want to see us win. That’€™s part of my job. If they tell me by sitting him out I’€™m [hurting] our chances of winning, then we have an issue that we have to talk about, but that’€™s not the case. It’€™s just me coaching.”

Julien has a point, but with the Bruins in no-man’€™s land it’€™s tougher to tell when it’€™s worth sitting a young player or working through the speed bumps. As long as the team feels it’€™s pushing for a playoff spot (and at 8-8-1, that should be the mindset), Julien should coach his butt off to try to manufacture wins. If they fall out of contention, it will be a different story.

At some point this season, the Bruins will have to pick a lane. Right now, they’re still trying to win, which means the lower-risk, lower-reward options may win out over the magical potential potential of which they’ve often spoke.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON — Kevan Miller was missing from Wednesday’€™s practice as the Bruins looked to regroup from a disappointing 5-4 loss to the Sharks on Tuesday.

Miller, who has played in every game this season, went to the trainers’€™ room during the third period of Tuesday’s game and did not play the final 10:44.

WILMINGTON — Kevan Miller was missing from Wednesday’€™s practice as the Bruins looked to regroup from a disappointing 5-4 loss to the Sharks on Tuesday.

Miller, who has played in every game this season, went to the trainers’€™ room during the third period of Tuesday’s game and did not play the final 10:44.

With the exception of David Pastrnak, who remains out with a foot injury and is still on crutches, all other players were on the ice for Wednesday’€™s practice. Claude Julien stuck with the line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Jimmy Hayes, shuffled the third line and left the other two the same as they’€™ve been in recent games. The lines and defensive pairings Wednesday were as follows:


Seidenberg-Colin Miller

The 8-8-1 Bruins will host the Wild Wednesday at TD Garden.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Claude Julien is unhappy with his players. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Claude Julien came into the season jazzed about what could be for the Bruins' new-look team. After 17 games, he doesn’t sound so excited anymore. 

San Jose 5, Boston 4 at TD Garden on Tuesday night. After the game, coach Claude Julien had some tough words for his team. What changes are coming? DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss the Bruins mediocrity.

The Bruins are not good at killing penalties. In fact, numbers (take penalty kill percentage, for example) would suggest they’€™re the worst in the league at killing penalties.

The Bruins are not good at killing penalties. In fact, numbers (take penalty kill percentage, for example) would suggest they’€™re the worst in the league at killing penalties.

Given that, games in which the Bruins often find themselves shorthanded figure to be games they’€™ll lose. Tuesday’€™s was one of them, as Boston took four second-period penalties that resulted in a pair of Sharks power play goals in a 5-4 Sharks win at TD Garden.

The B’€™s took all four penalties of the second period. An Adam McQuaid interference set up San Jose’€™s first power play of the game, with the B’€™s being called for a too-many-men penalty during the kill to give San Jose a 10-second 5-on-3. Though the Bruins were able to kill off the two-man advantage, Patrick Marleau scored shortly after to give the Sharks their first power play goal of the night. A Ryan Spooner tripping penalty led to a power play goal from Joe Thornton that made it 5-3. The Bruins were able to survive Tyler Randell’€™s roughing penalty, but they were minutes wasted shorthanded that could have been put towards chipping away at San Jose’€™s lead.

The Bruins were able to eventually get within one with a third-period power play goal from Patrice Bergeron (one of two power-play goals the Bruins scored on the night), but the Bruins failed to tie the game when Thornton put them on the power play at 12:40 for high-sticking Adam McQuaid. Then, with the Bruins making their final push to tie the game, a high-sticking minor from Brad Marchand with 2:40 remaining ate up valuable time the B’€™s would have likely spent with an extra attacker trying to net the game’€™s equalizer.

The loss dropped the Bruins to 8-8-1 on the season.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:


Tuesday could have been a matchup of two ace goaltenders at the top of their games. It was not.

After getting off to an insane start this season, five-day Bruins property Martin Jones has proven to be human in recent weeks. His first game against the team that traded for and flipped him to San Jose this summer shouldn’€™t make Bruins fans lose sleep over what could have been.

Jones didn’€™t have to make too many great saves, and he often didn’€™t. Loui Eriksson’€™s second-period goal on a one-timer from the left circle was one Jones was in position to stop but didn’€™t. As all goalies do with every goal they allow, he’€™d like to have that one back.

Tuukka Rask wasn’€™t anything to write home about either. Though two goals came with the B’€™s shorthanded and another came off an impossible deflection, Rask still had highs and lows the outside of those goals. He was terrific in making key saves on a first-period Melker Karlsson bid and a second-period Pavelski attempt during a penalty kill. Then again, he also dropped an easy wrister he should have gloved in the third period right in front of Chris Tierney, who missed the net rather than burying what would have been a soft goal for Rask.


Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line shuts down opposing teams’€™ first lines regularly. The Bergeron trio, weakened by Brad Marchand not playing on it for much of the game, met its match in the form of Joe Thornton‘€™s line over the first two periods.

Thornton’€™s line scored twice against Bergeron’€™s line and Zdeno Chara‘€™s pairing, first getting on the board in the opening minutes of the game when Melker Karlsson hit the post and Joe Pavelski buried the rebound. Karlsson scored one of his own in the second period to tie the game at the time.


Perhaps Claude Julien didn’€™t like Spooner’€™s second-period tripping penalty nearly nine minutes into the second period, or he just didn’€™t like the way he was playing. Spooner took two more shifts in the second period and wasn’€™t given a single even-strength shift in the third period until the B’s used him as an extra attacker in the game’s final minute. His other two shifts in the third came on the power play.

Julien opted to shake up his forwards and give three lines regular use in the third period. The changes saw Marchand united with Bergeron and Joonas Kemppainen leapfrog Spooner on the depth chart:


Julien hasn’€™t been afraid to shorten his bench this season, and Spooner was the victim Tuesday night.


The Bruins led 2-1 in the first period and then 3-2 in the second period. Blown leads are nothing new for the Bruins, who have struggled all season at holding onto the lead and adding to it.

It didn’€™t take long for the Sharks to answer back to the Bruins Tuesday. Boston’€™s first lead lasted for 3:18. Their second-period lead lasted just over four minutes.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean