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Milan Lucic calls Alexei Emelin a ‘chicken,’ denies spearing Canadiens defenseman

03.24.14 at 11:22 pm ET
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One of the biggest challenges the Bruins faced in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens Monday night was keeping their cool. After the game, Milan Lucic still hadn’t quite cooled down.

Lucic took a first-period hip check from Alexei Emelin in the first period of the game. The hit was clean, but Lucic asserted after the game that Emelin was trying to take out his knees. Zdeno Chara went after Emelin for the play, earning a roughing minor.

“Whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he would stand up and hit me and not go after my knees,” Lucic said. “It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down. It shows what kind of player he is, and on my end, you know you’ve got to keep your guard up at all times.”

That wasn’t the end of Lucic’s interactions with Emelin. In the third period (video here), Lucic skated past Emelin but stuck his stick between the player’s legs and lifted his stick, hitting him in what looked to be the rear end, though initial reactions around the web suggested he may have gotten Emelin in the — let’s say “groin.” Lucic denied the act after the game.

“Just skating by him and that’s all,” he said. “People are trying to say I speared him. I did not spear him, so that’s it.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Canadiens snap Bruins’ winning streak in shootout

03.24.14 at 10:28 pm ET
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The Bruins’ season-best winning streak was snapped in a shootout Monday night, as the Canadiens picked up a 2-1 shootout win over the B’s at TD Garden to end Boston’s win streak at 12 games.

Alexander Galchenyuk beat Tuukka Rask in the fifth round for the only scored in the shootout.

The Habs got on the board in the first period when an Alexei Emelin shot went off Chris Kelly‘s stick and past Tuukka Rask for a power play goal. The game remained 1-0 in Montreal’s favor until the third period, when Dougie Hamilton fired a wrist shot from the point that Patrice Bergeron redirected past Peter Budaj. The goal came on Boston’s fourth power play of the third period.

The Bruins will next play Thursday against the Blackhawks in the defending Stanley Cup champions’ first visit back to Boston since winning the Cup at the Garden in June.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- In a nutshell, too many penalties early on, not all of which needed to happen. Specific dumb ones will be outlined below, but long story short: The Bruins had three power plays in the first two periods to Montreal’s six.

- Johnny Boychuk let P.K. Subban get to him in the second period and it cost the Bruins yet another penalty. After Boychuk hip-checked Subban along the boards, Subban gave Boychuk a little shove to the back of the head, at which Boychuk threw his gloves off and, after Subban started skating away, yanked Subban down to the ice. Boychuk was the only player penalized, as he was given a roughing minor. It was Boston’s sixth minor penalty of the night.

- Standing up for a teammate is nice, but Emelin’s hip-check on Milan Lucic at center ice in the first period was clean. Zdeno Chara didn’t need to go after him, as he did, and it resulted in a Habs power play off a roughing minor for Chara.

- Milan Lucic took a pretty cheap shot at Emelin in the third period, seemingly trying to spear him in the privates from behind.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Kevan Miller basically put himself on the list nobody’s going to want to fight after his first-period bout with Travis Moen. After Dale Weise lost and edge as Miller gave him a very light shove and Weise crashed into the boards, Moen challenged Miller and madness ensued. The fight consisted of three total takedowns, with Miller bringing Moen to the ice twice in an action-packed scrap.

After the fight, Moen had to be helped off the ice by teammates and did not return to the game, while
Miller could be seen icing his knuckles in the penalty box.

- The officiating wasn’t great, but that went both ways. The call on Rene Bourque for hooking Miller was bogus. The third-period holding call on Douglas Murray looked legit, though Murray nearly lost his mind on officials at the blow of the whistle. Later in the third, Brendan Gallagher was giving a so-so holding call after he caught up to a Gregory Campbell breakaway.

All in all, the Bruins had four power plays in the third period, with Bergeron’s tally coming on the final one.

Jarome Iginla named NHL’s Third Star of the Week

03.24.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla was named the NHL‘s third Star of the Week for the week ending March 23. Red Wings right wing Gustav Nyquist and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist were named the First and Second Stars, respectively.

In five games during the week, Iginla had five goals, which was one less than Nyquist’s league-leading six for the week.

Iginla has scored 11 goals during the Bruins’ 12-game winning streak. That leads the Bruins by a large margin, as Patrice Bergeron is second on the team with five goals during the streak. On the season, Iginla leads the Bruins with 28 goals.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Dale Weise: Canadiens rooted for Bruins to extend winning streak so they could break it

03.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET
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The Bruins claim to not care about their 12-game-winning streak, but the Canadiens certainly do.

Habs forward Dale Weise shared after Montreal’s morning skate Monday that the Canadiens actually wanted the Bruins to win Saturday night against the Coyotes so the Habs could have the opportunity to snap the streak Monday night at TD Garden.

The Canadiens got their first part of their wish, as Boston came back with three unanswered goals in the third period to beat Phoenix, 4-2.

‘€œWe were checking the score the other night against Phoenix, and Phoenix was up going into the third period and we were kind of hoping Boston would come back and win so we would get the chance to knock them off,’€ Weise said.

Weise already has some history with the Bruins, as he was a member of the Canucks the year after the B’s played Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals. In the team’s first meeting after the finals on Jan. 7, 2012, Weise challenged Adam McQuaid to fight, but when Shawn Thornton accepted the invitation instead and dropped his gloves, Weise kept his gloves on.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Tuukka Rask expected to start vs. Canadiens as Bruins look to extend winning streak

03.24.14 at 11:58 am ET
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Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice in Monday’s morning skate as the Bruins prepared to face the Canadiens at TD Garden. Rask is coming off a 30-save performance in a 4-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix.

In Rask’s last start against the Canadiens, he made 35 saves in a 4-1 victory in Montreal. Rask is 1-2-0 against the Habs this season. Monday will mark Boston’s final meeting with the Habs this regular season.

Peter Budaj will be in net for the Canadiens. Budaj has performed well against the B’s in his career, though he was between the pipes when Boston beat the Habs earlier this month.

If the Bruins are to pick up a victory Monday, they will have extended their winning streak to 13 games. Their longest win streak in franchise history lasted 14 games in the 1929-30 season.

Bruins coach Claude Julien downplayed the significance of the team’s streak, saying that the Bruins are more focused on playing solid hockey leading up to the postseason than doing anything historic in the regular season.

“Those are things that next year, nobody will remember,” Julien said. “We [try to] take care of other things than the streak. Right now it’s about our game. It’s about day-to-day. Right now it’s not an issue.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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A statistical look at the Bruins’ 12-game win streak

03.23.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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The Bruins have won 12 games in a row, with Saturday’s win perhaps the most impressive. The B’s got outplayed early on but stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third period, two of which were scored by Jarome Iginla.

Seven of the games have been played against teams that were in line for a playoff spot at the conclusion of Saturday’s games.

The Bruins can tie their franchise record if they are able to get the streak to 14 games with wins over the Canadiens and Blackhawks this week at TD Garden. In the meantime, here are some stats to illustrate how impressive the B’s have been over this streak:

THE IGINLA STATS

- With 11 goals, Iginla has more than double anyone else on the team during the win streak. Patrice Bergeron is second with five.

- Iginla has more even-strength goals than Bergeron’s line (six) and Gregory Campbell‘s line (four) combined.

- Iginla has two goals in three of the last five games.

THE NON-IGINLA SCORING STATS

- Carl Soderberg‘s line has more even-strength goals (nine) than Bergeron’s.

- With five goals, Bergeron has the most goals of Bruins centers during this stretch. Soderberg has four.

- The only regulars (three or more games played) to not score in this stretch are Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Bartkowski is still looking for his first career regular-season NHL goal.

THE GOALS AGAINST STATS

- The B’s have outscored their opponents, 46-17. That makes for a goals-against-average of 1.41.

- The Bruins went three straight games (vs. Montreal, Phoenix and Carolina) without allowing a goal until the third period.

- Bruins opponents have scored in only 15 of the 36 regulation periods.

THE SPECIAL TEAMS STATS

- The Bruins have only had 20 power plays. As such, they only have one more power play goal (three) than they have shorthanded goals (two). That’s further proof that you can win without a power play, though Claude Julien is certainly itching for the B’s to get more calls.

- The Bruins have allowed two power play-goals over the last three games. Those account for most of the the three power-play goals they’ve given up over this 12-game stretch.

THE GOALIE STATS

- Chad Johnson has a .954 save percentage, as he has stopped 125 of the 131 shots he has seen in five starts. Tuukka Rask has a .945 save percentage in six starts. A bigger takeaway than the fact that the backup’s numbers have been better: The Bruins have started their backup in half of these games.

Bruins come from behind vs. Coyotes to extend win streak to 12 games

03.22.14 at 11:35 pm ET
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The Bruins extended their winning streak to 12 straight games as they came from behind to beat the Coyotes, 4-2, Saturday in Phoenix.

Shawn Thornton tipped a tough-angle Daniel Paille shot past Mike Smith to break a 2-2 tie with 3:18 remaining. Jarome Iginla had tied the game earlier in the period by deflecting a Zdeno Chara slap shot past Smith. He would add an empty netter for his 28th goal of the season.

Patrice Bergeron scored the game’s first goal for the third straight game, as he put his own rebound past Smith at 3:25 of the third. Shane Doan tied it 11:45 of the first, with an Oliver Ekman-Larsson goal maing the Coyotes the first team to lead the Bruins in seven games.

Johnny Boychuk returned to the lineup for the B’s, with Torey Krug serving as the healthy scratch. Tuukka Rask picked up the win for the B’s, who will next play Monday at TD Garden when they host the Canadiens.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Andrej Meszaros played a big role in Boston’s first goal, as he picked off a pass in the neutral zone to get the puck in the offensive zone and then knocked down Smith’s cleaning attempt to keep the puck in. From there, Bergeron buried his own rebound for the second straight game to make it 1-0.

- Iginla ended up getting credit for the Bruins’ second goal, and he was the one who started the whole play. The veteran right wing stole the puck in the defensive zone and gave it to David Krejci, who sent it to Hamilton in the offensive zone. Hamilton dished the puck across to Chara, who unloaded a mammoth shot from the point that went off Iginla and past Smith.

Saturday also marked Iginla’s 100th career multi-goal game.

- No goal came of it, but the Bruins kept the puck in the offensive zone for nearly two minutes straight in the second period. David Krejci‘s line started the possession and eventually gave way to Chris Kelly‘s line, with Zdeno Chara‘s pairing holding down the point.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- At long last, the Bruins allowed a first-period goal. Doan’s goal broke a streak of 10 straight first periods in which the B’s kept their opponent off the board. That stretch was a franchise-best.

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