Up ‘n’ at it here at TD Garden for tonight’s Bruins-Maple Leafs tilt on what is yet another very busy week for the goal-starved Bruins (six goals in their recent 1-3-0 roadie).
Coach Claude Julien gave his charges the morning off, then addressed the media for about 10 minutes late this morning. Players will not be available for comment until they arrive at the arena usually just after 4 p.m.
Julien offhandedly noted that Adam McQuaid, who suffered a strained shoulder during the recent road trip, will be sidelined some 4-6 weeks, somewhat longer than the original diagnosis. This could step up GM Peter Chiarelli’s efforts to secure a defenseman via a trade before the league’s April 3 trade deadline.
Julien also said that Johnny Boychuk, who missed Saturday’s game in Toronto with an undisclosed injury, also will not be able to play this evening.
Julien, when asked if felt his team should take an ”angry” approach to tonight’s game: ”I think we need to be angry at ourselves, not at the Toronto Maple Leafs…
”…What is disappointing right now is that we are not playing the type of game that we should. Tonight if we are mad, we’ve got to be mad at ourselves. for not playing our game and going out there and being a bit more hungry. Hopefully our work ethic and the talent we feel we have will take over.”
The coach scrambled his sagging trios in Sunday’s late-morning workout at the Garden, with the key move being the promotion of Brad Marchand to first-line left wing. It looks as if he’ll start there tonight in place of Milan Lucic, who has gone 0-8–8 in his last 15 games, the longest goal-scoring drought of his career. The L’il Ball o’ Hate moves in for the Big Ball of Confusion.
None of Lucic’s four goals this season has been against a club that currently holds a playoff berth.
It appears Lucic will begin the evening on a trio with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron. Peverley is by far the fastest in that combination and will have to calibrate his speed accordingly.
In their four stops on the road (Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto), the Bruins worked with a lead for only 32:40 of the 240 minutes played (13.6 percent of the time). They trailed slightly more than half the time (121:08). Only once, in Winnipeg, did they carry a lead (1-0) into the third period, and they ultimately lost to the Jets (3-1).
Despite chiseling out only one win in the four games away from Causeway, the Bruins outshot the opposition in each game and finished with a 122-84 shot edge. Holding the opposition to an average of just over 20 shots a night should translate to something better than .250 hockey.
Julien, following Sunday’s practice, on why he shook up his lines: ”Because I can. Because I’m the coach.”
Puck drop: 7:05 p.m.
Record: Bruins, 20-7-3; Leafs, 17-12-3
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Milan Lucic-Rich Peverley-Jordan Caron
Jay Pandolfo-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Aaron Johnson
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Matt Bartkowski
Scratches: Adam McQuaid; Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Lane MacDermid
Storylines: Lucic’s last goal was Feb. 24 vs. Florida. He has gone 1-8–9 over the last 18 games … Horton has been almost as abysmal on right wing, connecting for only one goal since Feb. 28. He has gone a meager 2-5–7 in the 16 games since Feb. 21. Both big wingers have been on a March to nowhere … Bergeron continues to ride the top of the Boston scoring chart with his 8-18–26 … Nazim Kadri (34 points) and ex-Bruin Phil Kessel (30 points) pace the Toronto offense … If the playoffs started today, the Bruins, in fourth place in the East, would face Ottawa. The Leafs, in sixth, would take on Winnipeg … Paille has the speed to succeed as a top-six winger, but his past promotions to top scoring units have typically resulted in lack of production. Rarely, though, has he had the opportunity to fly with partners as skilled as Bergeron and Seguin … Seguin and Marchand were the only top-six wingers to score on the four-game trip. Paille had the only other goal scored by a Boston forward. Blueliners Dennis Seidenberg (2) and Andrew Ference combined for Boston’s other three goals … The erratic Leafs lost five straight before going 2-0-1 last week, including Saturday’s 3-2 edging of the Bruins … The Leafs have played two more games than the Bruins, and have outscored the Black-and-Gold, 97-86.