Milan Lucic has been playing on the third line while first-line mate David Krejci is out.</p>
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The Bruins didn’€™t have the puck enough to avoid a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

Tuukka Rask started in back-to-back games to begin the season. (Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask started in back-to-back games to begin the season. (Getty Images)

The Bruins didn’€™t have the puck enough to avoid a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Bruins didn’€™t get their first shot on goal until 12:01 of the first period, but fortunately for them, it went in for Patrice Bergeron‘€™s first goal of the season. Bergeron intercepted a Jonathan Ericsson pass in the Detroit zone, took a couple of strides towards the net and ripped a shot over the glove of Jimmy Howard to give Boston a 1-0 lead.

The Red Wings would continue to dominate possession until Justin Abdelkader tied it 3:52 into the second period. Gustav Nyquist would make it 2-1 at 14:46 of the second on a power play goal off a pass from Darren Helm after Craig Cunningham struggled to get the puck out of the zone.

The B’€™s survived an injury scare from Bergeron, who left the ice after his first shift of the second period after hitting the boards oddly. He would return to the game 13 minutes later, but he took a slashing penalty that led to Nyquist’€™s goal.

The B’€™s got a break late in the game when Johan Franzen elbowed Bergeron at 17:26, but Chara was penalized for goaltender interference 48 seconds into the Bruins’€™ power play. Up until Chara’€™s penalty, the Bruins went with the aggressive move of pulling Tuukka Rask to give them a 6-on-4 advantage.

Boston mustered only 17 shots on goal in the game.

Here are some observations from the game:

- The Bruins squandered a good opportunity when, 41 seconds into 4-on-4 play that followed Brad Marchand embellishing a Henrik Zetterberg call, Tomas Tatar went off for tripping Kevan Miller to give the Bruins a 1:19 4-on-3. With more space in the offensive zone, the B’€™s foursome of Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Ryan Spooner and Reilly Smith fell victim to overpassing, most notably from Spooner, who got lots of pucks sent his way low in the zone but dished rather than going to the net.

The B’€™s wasted another power play when Brendan Smith was sent off for slashing Chris Kelly. Boston had no shots on goal during the ensuing man advantage.

- Jimmy Howard robbed Brad Marchand‘€™s wrist shot from the right circle just under midway through the third period off a nice pass from Reilly Smith. Marchand also rang iron on Boston’s final power play in the closing minutes. The Bruins’€™ chances were few and far between Thursday, with Marchand’€™s bids among their better chances in the third.

- The Bruins’€™ lineup was as follows:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins recalled Jordan Caron on Thursday, with the 23-year-old winger “re-joining” the team in Detroit.

Jordan Caron

Jordan Caron

The Bruins recalled Jordan Caron on Thursday, with the 23-year-old winger “re-joining” the team in Detroit.

Caron was technically sent to Providence prior to Tuesday’€™s roster deadline, but general manager Peter Chiarelli had said earlier in the day that the team would be making temporary paper transactions as a means of maximizing potential cap space for the season using the long-term injury exception.

As such, AHLers Malcolm Subban and Brian Ferlin were “sent back”€ to Providence as part of Thursday’€™s transactions.

The Bruins placed Caron and Craig Cunningham on waivers Saturday, with both players going unclaimed. That allowed the Bruins flexibility to send them back and forth between Boston and Providence 30 days from them clearing without having to be put on waivers again. If they play 10 games in that span, they would again require waivers to be moved.

For more Bruins news, visit

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his first weekly appearance of the season Thursday on Middays with MFB, following Wednesday night’s Bruins opener.

Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his first weekly appearance of the season Thursday on Middays with MFB, following Wednesday night’s Bruins opener. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

McGuire said there is reason to believe the Bruins, who opened with a 2-1 victory over the Flyers, will be able to overcome the losses of Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk and put together a season similar to 2013-14, when they had the best record in the NHL before falling in the second round of the playoffs to the Canadiens.

“They have a healthy Chris Kelly, I think that makes a big difference,” McGuire said. “Carl Soderberg is a ton better, you saw that last night. I think Loui Eriksson will be a ton better this year. Dougie Hamilton, even though he had a couple of turnovers, you could see when he really amped his game up he was very good. Having Dennis Seidenberg back makes them better. Tuukka Rask is a year more mature.

“I think they’re a lot better in a lot of areas. I think they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference. I’m not changing on that; I won’t change even when we’re on Game 40, barring injuries, obviously. I think this team is extremely good.

“I like the energy of a young player like Craig Cunningham. I love the energy of Bobby Robins. They obviously got last night done without David Krejci and Gregory Campbell. This is a really good team. They’re really a good team, and they’re going to be a ton of fun to watch.”

McGuire said he saw lots of promising things from the opener.

“I thought Tuukka when he had to be was really good,” he said. “I thought Kevan Miller played a solid, physical game. I like the way Torey Krug started to jump into the rush. And I like the way that the Bruins defensemen really held the offensive blue line. And probably more importantly than anything else they’re much more aggressive offensively. I know it didn’t translate because I thought Steve Mason from Philadelphia played a great job so the scoreboard’s not indicative of that. But by and large they’re a much more aggressive offensive team, and I think that’s really important for them.”

Looking at the Eastern Conference, McGuire said the Bruins’ biggest challenge might come from the Lightning.

“I think Tampa Bay’s a very good team, and I know a lot of people are talking about them, but I would look out for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I would be a little bit nervous about them,” McGuire said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how everything translates in Pittsburgh, because it is a little bit of a different roster, it’s a different coaching philosophy going from Danny Bylsma to Mike Johnston. So we’ll see how that plays out. … I don’t know if there’s a team outside of Tampa and maybe Pittsburgh that’s going to be able to play and have enough depth to play against Boston. Boston’s just that good. Montreal’s really good, I just don’t know if they’re big enough to play against Boston when Boston’s healthy. Boston’s a really, really good team.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at

On the trade of Boychuk: “I’m going to support Peter [Chiarelli] on this, because general managers have to have forward-thinking vision, and one of the things is you want to lock up your key players long term, and he’s been able to do that quietly, without a lot of fanfare. Secondly, because you’re in the cap era, it’s hard to keep everybody. You’d love to keep everybody, but it’s hard to do that. So, what he’s looking at is down the road, what he’s going to have to do with Reilly Smith, what he’s going to have to do with Torey Krug, what he’s going to have to with Carl Soderberg, who he thinks are really important players for his team. So I totally understand the predicament that’s facing him, and it’s not an easy thing to deal with.

“Getting two second-round picks and potentially a third for Johnny is huge. In a perfect world, everybody wants Johnny Boychuk. Not one of those players wanted Johnny Boychuk to leave. But that’s just the reality of where you are because of the cap. It’s really difficult. It’s more difficult than people know, it really is.”

On Zdeno Chara and if the team can manage his minutes so that he’s healthy in the postseason: “At some point they’re going to have that discussion with Zdeno. He’s in phenomenal condition. I spent a lot of time with him the previous two days to today. And I have to tell you, it was phenomenal to be around him. He’s as fit as he’s every been, he’s as gung-ho about the game as he’s ever been. He’s in Year 17 as an NHL player, which is unbelievable, and Year 18 as a professional [lockout season in Sweden]. I look at it, and he’s going to have to have that conversation at some point with Claude Julien. I think they will. It’s going to affect him later in the season if he’s logging the big minutes like he did last night. But I think he’s going to be just fine. I really do.”

On if the league will ever eliminate fighting in hockey: “I don’t think so. I don’t think they’ll ever do away with it. I think the penalty will become much more draconian for fighting, where potentially you’re kicked out of a game, like it is in college.  … Because we don’t have out of bounds and everybody’s locked into the playing surface, it’s hard to get away from that. Everybody’s moving at 30-35 miles an hour, they’re playing on sharp-edged objects and they have sticks in their hands. Stuff’s going to happen. It’s just the reality of the game.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
After the Bruins opening night win against the Flyers, Pierre McGuiree of NBC joins MFB to preview the Bruins season and evaluate the Johnny Boychuck trade.

Among other things, Chris Kelly scored the game-winning goal Wednesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)Chris Kelly is used to being an effective player.

In theory, Wednesday night’€™s season opener between the Bruins and Flyers should have given us a great back-and-forth battle between two of the NHL‘€™s best centers. Patrice Bergeron and Claude Giroux both finished in the top five in Hart Trophy voting last season, and their lines were matched against each other for most of the game Wednesday night.

But instead of that great battle, what we got was a total beatdown in favor of the Bruins. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith dominated Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek all game long, rendering one of the best players in the league virtually invisible.

Bergeron won 10 of the 12 faceoffs he took against Giroux and ended up with a plus-16 Corsi (22 shot attempts for, 6 against), according to, while Giroux finished the night with a minus-18 Corsi (6 attempts for, 24 against). Bergeron and his linemates combined for seven shots on goal, while Giroux and his managed just two. It seemed like every time the two lines were on the ice, the puck was in the Flyers’€™ zone, and the numbers reflect that.

‘€œThey take pride in being a better line than the line that they’€™re facing up against,’€ Claude Julien said. ‘€œIt’€™s just a trait that they have. They worked hard. You have to give them credit, too, for how they checked against that line because it had a lot of potential to be dangerous offensively. But those guys did a pretty good job of taking away those opportunities.’€

The key was winning battles. Bergeron is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL, but it’€™s not like he won all 10 of those faceoffs cleanly. Some of them required him outworking Giroux on a second or third attempt to win the puck back, and some of them required Marchand or Smith to jump in and beat the opponent to a loose puck.

Battles in the corner led to longer offensive-zone possessions. One of the best examples of this came with around 9:40 left in the second when Bergeron won a 1-on-1 battle in the corner to the left of the net. He came away with the puck and moved it back to Zdeno Chara at the left point. Chara then moved it over to Adam McQuaid, who sent a shot through a nice Smith screen, one that he was able to set by winning a battle for position. The shot didn’€™t go in, but it wasn’€™t an easy save either.

That battling helped lead to the Bruins’ power-play goal that gave them a 1-0 lead as well. Bergeron and Carl Soderberg combined to win a 2-on-2 battle behind the net, and Soderberg wound up finding Smith backdoor for the goal.

When asked what worked so well Wednesday night, Smith’€™s answer was simple: ‘€œBergy. Bergy was doing a good job.’€

‘€œHe was winning tons of faceoffs, which was giving us the puck pretty much every time we got out there,’€ Smith added. ‘€œSo he did a good job, and Marchy was just kind of just being March, winning every puck in the corners and making good plays. Those guys did a good job.’€

Of course, it’€™s not surprising to see Bergeron and his linemates dominate when it comes to possession. All three of them ranked in the top 10 in the NHL in Corsi last season, and Bergeron led the league in CorsiRel (Corsi relative to his teammates). But Wednesday night was impressive even by those lofty standards.

Bergeron had just three games all of last season in which he finished with a better Corsi percentage than Wednesday night’€™s 78.6 percent. One came against a bad possession team in Washington, one came against a Florida team without a true No. 1 center, and the other came against a Detroit team that was missing both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at the time. In short, none of them came against a player like Claude Giroux, or a line like his.

See, Giroux isn’€™t normally a bad possession player. His 53.2 percent Corsi last season was more than respectable, and good enough for fourth on the Flyers. And his right wing, Voracek? He led the team with a 55.1 percent Corsi last season and ranked third in the NHL with a plus-8.65 percent CorsiRel. These are really good players that Bergeron and friends made look like bums.

With David Krejci out for at least the first three games of the season and new faces moving in and out of the lineup, the Bruins need Bergeron’€™s line to be the constant. There was no reason to think they wouldn’€™t be, but Wednesday night’€™s performance was even better than anyone could have expected.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin