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Bruins notebook

Playing to their strengths

Self-knowledge the key to rallies, says Ference

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / November 19, 2011

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In the first five games of their seven-game winning streak, everything seemed to click for the Bruins.

The goals (all 30 of them) seemed to come with ease.

But in the last two games, the Bruins had to overcome adversity, and they did it by the sheer force of their will. Their streak close to being snapped by the team with the worst record in the NHL, the Bruins rallied from a 1-0 second-period deficit to score a 2-1 shootout triumph over the Blue Jackets Thursday night.

That came on the heels of a gritty 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night.

“Well, we know what our strengths are,’’ said defenseman Andrew Ference. “I think we have a real good grasp on what we’re good at, and I think that’s a real battle for some teams.

“It’s just first of all figuring out what works for them. So I think we have that going for us where everybody’s right on the same page. It’s not a mystery of how we have success.

“And so in games that are a little tough and you’re not quite on it, at least everybody knows [what to do]. You’re not searching for answers, and everybody knows what parts of the game have to be picked up.

“I think the last couple of games have been a bit like that, where people realize what’s going on on our team. So we’re able to lean on our system a lot and lean on some of the technical stuff.

“If we have that, we can stay in those ugly kind of games. It’s when we bring the extra kind of juice and whatnot, that’s when we really get over the top and have the great games.’’

The Bruins, who took yesterday off, will be hoping for just that type of game when they embark on a three-game road trip beginning tonight against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

The trip continues with games against a pair of Northeast Division foes: at Montreal Monday and at Buffalo Wednesday.

“It’s going to be good for us to go on the road,’’ said Patrice Bergeron, noting how the Bruins played 13 of their first 17 games at home. “It’s a big road trip for us, three games. You got the Islanders, but you got two teams that are in our division that are going to be huge games.’’

Getting on the board

With the Bruins trailing Columbus, 1-0, in the second period, Adam McQuaid tied the game with an unassisted goal, his first of the season.

McQuaid was paired with Zdeno Chara on the blue line after Johnny Boychuk (flu-like symptoms) was scratched.

McQuaid’s goal was initially credited to Rich Peverley.

“It was nice,’’ McQuaid said. “I mean, if it had been Pev’s goal, it’d have been fine, too. It was just nice to see us get back to even there.

“We were kind of snakebitten as far as hitting the posts, and stuff that maybe was going in the other games wasn’t going in.

“But, yeah, it’s always nice to score. It’s been a while.’’

McQuaid scored three times in 90 regular- and postseason games last season, the last coming March 24 against Montreal.

Nabokov hurt

The Islanders snapped a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with a 4-3 home victory over the Canadiens Thursday, but it proved costly. Starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov departed at 7:55 of the first period after stopping a power-play shot by Brian Gionta. Nabokov did an awkward split, sprawling facefirst, and had to be helped off the ice. He was replaced by Rick DiPietro, who hadn’t played since Nov. 5. MSG Plus reported that Nabokov has a groin injury. His status is uncertain for tonight . . . Jay Pandolfo, the former Boston University standout who signed with the Islanders after spending parts of 13 seasons with the Devils, scored his first goal of the season Thursday. It was the 100th of his career and first NHL goal since Feb. 5, 2010.

Michael Vega can be reached at

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