|03.13.14 at 10:19 pm ET|
The Bruins won their seventh straight game and reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.
Boston jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Zdeno Chara and Jarome Igina in the first period. The two teams then played a very quiet second period in which the Coyotes had two shots on goal and the Bruins had three.
For the second straight day, Tuukka Rask had a shutout broken up in the third period, as a Lauri Korpikoski tally at 8:14 of of the third got the Coyotes on the board.
Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch for the previous two games. With Hamilton back in, the Bruins made Torey Krug a healthy scratch, marking the first time Krug has missed a game this season. Andrej Meszaros remained in the lineup, playing primarily on the left side for the first time since being acquired by the B’s last Wednesday.
The B’s will next play Saturday, when they host the Hurricanes at the Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Rask didn’t have much trouble handling both games of a back-to-back, as he followed Wednesday’s 35-save performance by blanking Phoenix Thursday.
One of Rask’s saves Thursday came on a breakaway in which Shane Doan got behind Zdeno Chara and Hamilton in the second period, making it the fourth breakaway he has faced and stopped (Tomas Plekanec missed the net Wednesday) in the last two days.
The closest call Rask encountered in the first period was due to some bad luck, as Rask made a blocker save in the first period and pushed the rebound off of Dougie Hamilton, causing the puck to bounce back to the net. Rask was able to reach back and sweep the puck out in time.
He also came up big as the Bruins killed off a third-period penalty to Carl Soderberg. Rask has now allowed just five goals over his last four starts.
- Chara has never had a 20-goal season in his career (he had 19 in 2008-09), but he’s got a pretty good shot at it this season. Thursday’s goal was the 16th of the season for Chara. The Bruins have 16 games remaining.
- Thursday’s win was Claude Julien‘s 300th as Bruins coach. He sits 61 wins away from Art Ross for the most in franchise history.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins had only three shots on goal in the second period, though they allowed only two to the Coyotes. That’s right: There were five total shots on goal in the second period. One of Phoenix’ second-period shots came on a Doan’s breakaway.
- Matt Bartkowski was assessed a boarding minor after an unnecessary shove from behind on Jeff Halpern in the second period. Bartkowski didn’t necessarily push him hard, but it was definitely enough to send Halpern into the boards head-first.
- The lack of power plays continues for the Bruins, as they had just one man advantage Thursday.
|03.12.14 at 10:08 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins’ recent strong play trumped their struggles vs. the Canadiens this season as the B’s skated to a 4-1 victory over the Habs Wednesday at the Bell Centre. They have now won six games in a row.
The B’s managed to survive a first period that saw Montreal outshoot them, 14-6, and took a scoreless game into the second period. From there, even-strength goals from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic in a much better second period gave the B’s a 3-0 lead after two.
Zdeno Chara put Boston’s fourth goal past Peter Budaj just 23 seconds into the third period, but David Desharnais broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout by burying a loose puck in front at 2:46 of the third. Thomas Vanek picked up an assist on the goal, giving him 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points against the Bruins in 64 games.
Montreal had won five straight games against the Bruins (including the first two meetings of this season) entering Wednesday night’s game.
The Bruins have a quick turnaround, as they will return to Boston to host the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It wasn’t his cleanest night, but Rask kept the Bruins in the game in the first period that saw the B’s allow two breakaways (see below). In addition to his stops on those breaks, he came up with a big stop on Eller following Max Pacioretty‘s first-period break.
Rask did have his shaky moments, as he gave up a decent number of rebounds. His shakiest moment came in the third period, when he came out of the net and wound up passing the puck to Brendan Gallagher, requiring him to make an acrobatic save to cover his tracks. Read the rest of this entry »
|03.12.14 at 4:17 pm ET|
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Stars and team-affiliated doctors announced that Rich Peverley‘s season is over. Peverley, who collapsed on the bench Monday night and needed to be defibrillated, will now undergo a heart procedure that was originally scheduled for after the season.
Doctors said the procedure — called atrial fibrillation ablation — is usually effective in permanently preventing incidents like the one Peverley suffered on Monday. They said it is too early to know if he will be able to play hockey again, though.
Peverley gave a brief statement at the press conference, thanking doctors for saving his life and saying he will be “forever grateful.” Doctors said it took only 14 seconds to get Peverley off the bench and down the tunnel to begin treatment.
Doctors said Peverley may have played with an irregular heartbeat during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last season, but that it wasn’t identified until a physical in training camp before this season.
Peverley missed the entire preseason and the start of the regular season after undergoing a procedure that was expected to get him through the season. He then missed a game last Tuesday after the issue flared up again, leading doctors to increase his medicine dosage.
|03.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Andrej Meszaros, the B’s defense and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
While Brickley still has doubts about the Bruins depth at wing, he sees the Meszaros trade as one that will help the Bruins figure out their best defensive combination.
“I’m not sure I’m convinced that if there are injuries to the four lines, as currently constituted, that they have enough in the wings waiting to step in,” Brickley said. “The organization, obviously, believes they probably do, but the emphasis was to definitely go get a defenseman, and now bringing in Meszaros, that gives you options.”
Added Brickley: “And it gives you — ’cause he can play left or right — and it gives you competition for ice time and actually be in uniform. You see Dougie Hamilton, the first casualty. They’re trying to figure out guys. Who’s going to play with [Zdeno] Chara in the playoffs? They want that shutdown pair and they’re not sure where it’s at right now and that was the whole reason to go get a guy like Meszaros.”
While the Bruins like what they see from Meszaros so far, the real test starts Wednesday night against Montreal, according to Brickley.
“I think the competition has started,” Brickley said. “It started the other night in Florida with Meszaros going to the lineup. They really like what he brought on that power play, being a left shot, being able to work the overload on the one side with other left shots on the half wall, whether it’s [Carl] Soderberg or [Loui] Eriksson, whoever it might be. They like that look.”
Added Brickley: “Now keep in mind that’s the Florida Panthers. That’s a pretty easy matchup for your first game as a player. Tonight you’ll probably get some different results and I’ll be curious to see how the defensemen in the lineup tonight handle a team like Montreal and the intensity and the speed.”
|03.12.14 at 1:10 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Often times, it can be a good thing if a defenseman can go unnoticed for a game, as it means he isn’t making mistakes and isn’t getting beat. It was hard to miss Andrej Meszaros in his first game as a Bruin, but it wasn’t because of miscues, but rather his willingness to shoot the puck.
Meszaros landed a team-high six shots on goal in that game, a 5-2 win over the Panthers Sunday, and one of them sailed past Roberto Luongo to make him the first Bruins defenseman to score his in Bruins debut to score since Sergei Gonchar back in 2004.
“I’d love to shoot as much as I can,” Meszaros said Wednesday. “Obviously when I have the puck, when I have the lane, I shoot it if somebody’s in front of the net. That’s what you want to do. If you shoot and get the rebound or tips, you can score goals. It’s what I’m trying to do in the offensive zone: help scoring goals. That’s what I like. If there’s a passing lane, I’ll pass it. If there’s a shooting lane, I’ll shoot it. It depends on the situation.”
Sunday’s game was the second this season in which Meszaros has landed six shots on goal, and there were a couple of reasons for it. First of all, he played 3:50 on the power play. He had two shots on goal on the man advantage, including his second-period goal.
Another reason is the fact that he was playing on the right side. A lefty, Meszaros has played on the right side for most of his career, but he was used mostly on the left side in Philadelphia this season.
Playing on the right side allows for easier one-timers from Meszaros, who showed in Sunday’s game that he has a heavy shot that’s capable of getting through from the back end.
Bruins fans grew frustrated with 2011 trade acquisition Tomas Kaberle‘s unwillingness to shoot the puck, as didn’t get a puck on net until his fourth game with the team and totaled just one shot on goal in his first five games for Boston.
Coach Claude Julien likes to see his defense willing to fire the puck regardless of who they are. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are the only defensemen on the team averaging two or more shots on goal per game, with Krug averaging 2.39 a night and Chara averaging 2.27 per game.
“I think I want to get shots from the point from everybody,” Julien said. “It’s more about just, play your game. If they’re going to collapse, then let’s bring it up top. If you get them spread out, then we can use those plays like any other team does. There’s not a huge secret to this game.”
Meszaros will play again Wednesday night against the Canadiens and will likely be paired with Chara again.
|03.12.14 at 12:20 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Dougie Hamilton will be a health scratch for the second straight game Wednesday night, as Claude Julien will use the same six defensemen vs. the Canadiens that he used Sunday against the Panthers.
“Dougie’s going to be out again,” Julien said. “I’m going with the same D core as I had the other night.”
With Hamilton and Corey Potter both sitting, it is likely that Julien will keep Zdeno Chara with newcomer Andrej Meszaros. The Bruins’ deadline day acquisition had a goal and a team-high six shots on goal in his Bruins debut Sunday.
Wednesday will mark Hamilton’s fourth healthy scratch of the season, as he sat out two games in October. He has also missed 13 games due to injury. Julien had said on Tuesday that Meszaros’ presence didn’t mean Hamilton would be a regular healthy scratch.
‘Dougie’s not going to sit long,’ Julien said. ‘Dougie has played good hockey and he’s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.
In other lineup news, Jordan Caron will play on the fourth line in place of Daniel Paille, who is out with a concussion. Paille took part in Wednesday’s morning skate, though he is not expected to play until Saturday at the earliest.
“We felt it was a real minor concussion, but protocol is what it is,” Julien said. “You have to respect that, and right now he’s gone through the stages and is doing very well. Today he skated without contact and hopefully we move on to the next level by tomorrow.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.11.14 at 6:36 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Whenever the Bruins and Canadiens play, it’s a big game. For the last year, the rivalry has been a big disappointment for the Bruins.
The Habs have won the last five meetings between the two teams dating back to last March 3 and are looking to improve to 3-0-0 against the B’s this season. In each of the last three games between the teams, the Bruins have scored just one goal.
The B’s can’t put their finger on why the Habs have had their number, but Claude Julien ventured a guess Tuesday.
“I can’t answer that, but I can tell you one thing: I don’t think we’ve played well against them,” Julien said. “Have they given us trouble or have we given ourselves trouble? That’s the thing we’ve got to figure out here because in my mind it’s not to take any credit away from them but I’m going to talk more about this year.
“The game in Boston [a 4-1 Habs win on Jan. 31], we just weren’t playing well at all, so hopefully tomorrow we’ll paint a different picture, and if we play the way we’ve played lately I think it’s going to be a great game. So we’ve just got to focus on that.”
While the troublesome outings have been there for the B’s in recent meetings with the Canadiens, Julien wouldn’t go as far as saying that the Habs do something that throws them off their game. Read the rest of this entry »
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