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Thomas Vanek on why he dominates Bruins: ‘You want to play your best against the best teams’

03.11.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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MONTREAL — The fact that Thomas Vanek has produced big-time against the Bruins in his career isn’t exactly a secret. Frequently referred to as a “Bruins-killer,” the 30-year-old winger has 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points against the Bruins in 53 career games.

When that type of offense was being put up with the Sabres and Islanders (he had a goal and three assists in three games against Boston in his four-month stint with the Islanders), he was a nuisance for the Bruins. Now that he’s with the Canadiens after a deadline-day shocker, he could be a big problem.

On Tuesday, Vanek participated in his first practice with the Canadiens after playing in two games for them (zero points, minus-1 rating). After it, he downplayed his dominance against the B’s.

“I think numbers are numbers. Sometimes they’re overblown,” he said. “For me, I don’t prepare any different. It’s just another game, really. They’re a good team and you’ve got to be ready.”

While he shrugged off his statistics, Vanek did venture a guess as to why he always seems to have big games against Boston.

“The last four or five years, to me, Boston has been one of the better teams in the league,” he said. “You want to play your best against the best teams, but again, I think sometimes just the numbers are the numbers. I can’t really tell you why that is, but I can tell you that it’s a big game, it’s a great team and you want to play in big games.”

Vanek isn’t the only Canadien who performs well against the Bruins, as Montreal has taken both of the teams’ meetings this season and has won its last five games against Boston dating back to last season.

That doesn’t mean the Habs will take the B’s lightly, as the Bruins are a point out of first place in the Eastern Conference and are 7-0-3 in their last 10 road games.

‘€œFirst of all, the Bruins, this is a good hockey team,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said. “They are battling with Pittsburgh right now for first place in the conference and every game is a new challenge. Tomorrow is no different and it’€™s a huge challenge for us.’€

Vanek has played mostly with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta in his two games for Montreal. Therrien really wants Vanek to be a fit with Plekanec, one of the better two-way centers in the league, so he intends to keep him on that line for as long as it takes for the trio to work.

With a pair of games for the Canadiens under his belt, Vanek is still looking for his first goal with the Canadiens. Wednesday night, in his first home game with the team and against the team he’s long dominated, would seem to be a pretty strong candidate.

Whether or not he gets that first goal Wednesday, the addition of Vanek has certainly changed the look of the Eastern Conference and has added more fuel to an already-intense rivalry.

Read More: Montreal Canadiens, Thomas Vanek,

Carey Price remains out for Canadiens vs. Bruins

03.11.14 at 1:16 pm ET
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MONTREAL – Carey Price practiced with the Canadiens and faced shots on Tuesday at the Bell Centre, but he will remain out of the lineup with a lower-body injury when the Hab’s face the Bruins Wednesday night.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said that the team is pleased with the progress Price has made in recovering from the injury, which was sustained at the Olympics.

“He’s getting closer,” Therrien said. “He had a good day today and we’ll see at the end of the week where he’s at and then we will go from there.”

Therrien did not say whether it would be Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski between the pipes for Montreal Wednesday. Budaj has lost his last three starts but made 34 saves in a 4-1 Canadiens victory in the last meeting between the Bruins and Habs on Jan. 30.

In other Canadiens injury news, Josh Gorges had surgery on his hand and is expected to miss a month. Gorges is a very important piece of Motnreal’s blue line, as he is P.K. Subban’s regular partner and is third on the team with 21:13 of ice time per game.

Gorges said he hopes to be able to get into some games prior to the playoffs so that he can be in proper game shape when the postseason begins.

Read More: Carey Price, Peter Budaj,

Former Bruin Rich Peverley collapses during Stars game, is conscious

03.10.14 at 9:34 pm ET
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Former Bruin Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench during the first period of Monday night’s Stars-Blue Jackets game and was rushed to the hospital. The Stars tweeted that Peverley is conscious, though. The game was postponed following the scary situation.

 

Peverley missed the start of the season following a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, and then missed another game last Tuesday with similar issues. It’s unclear if Monday night’s incident is related to those previous issues.

Deadspin has video of the incident if you want to see how it unfolded.

Update: Stars blog Defending Big D reports that doctors used a defibrillator on Peverley, and that upon regaining consciousness, Peverley said he wanted to go back in the game.

Bruins beat Panthers as Andrej Meszaros scores in first game with B’s

03.09.14 at 7:43 pm ET
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The Bruins took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-2 win over the Panthers Sunday. With the victory, the Bruins swept their season series against Florida and went a combined 9-0-0 this season against the Panthers and the Lightning.

The teams were tied at one goal apiece after two periods, but the scoring picked up significantly in the final 20 minutes. Torey Krug made it 2-1 at 7:38 of the third period, taking a feed from Brad Marchand and beating Luongo with a nice finish in front. Shortly after Patrice Bergeron extended the lead with a power play goal, Boston College product Jimmy Hayes scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-2. Jarome Iginla etended the lead back to two with his 20th goal of the season and Chris Kelly added an empty net goal.

The Panthers had initially taken the lead in the second period when Hayes buried a rebound past Chad Johnson. The B’s tied the game less than three minutes later when Andrej Meszaros’ point shot went off Roberto Luongo‘s blocker and in.

Daniel Paille was lost for the game in the first period, as he took a big hit from Ed Jovanovski on his first shift and did not return to the game.

Meszaros played in place of Dougie Hamilton, who served as a healthy scratch. The B’s played their new defenseman on the team’s top pairing with Zdeno Chara and on the power play.

The Bruins will resume play Wednesday when they face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The game will mark Thomas Vanek’s first contest in Montreal since being acquired by the Habs prior to last Wednesday’s trade deadline.

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

Reilly Smith, Tuukka Rask lead Bruins past Lightning in shootout

03.08.14 at 10:01 pm ET
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Reilly Smith beat Ben Bishop in the seventh round of a shootout Saturday night to give the Bruins a 4-3 win over the Lightning.

The Bruins never led in the game, but Smith, who is still without a goal since Jan. 28, was able to beat Bishop five-hole to secure the victory for Boston. Tuukka Rask stopped all seven shots he saw in the shootout.

After the Bruins turned in a rather lethargic first period in which they put just five shots on Ben Bishop, the Lightning scored the game’s first goal with a shorthanded tally from Ondrej Palet in the second period. Mark Barberio made it 2-0 before goals from Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg tied it, but a Valtteri Filppila tally made it 3-2.

Johnny Boychuk tied the game with a shot from the point at 8:11 of the third period.

The B’s will complete their Florida trip Sunday when they face the Panthers. They will then have two days to prepare for the Canadiens in Montreal

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- The win marked the first time this season that the Bruins have won a game in which they trailed by two goals at one point.

- Though the B’s trailed after the second period, both of the goals they scored in the second were beauties. Paille bounced off Tyler Johnson at the right circle, got control of the puck in front and sent it behind him and past Bishop.

Soderberg’s goal, meanwhile, saw Chris Kelly find him in the neutral zone after Soderberg had snuck past the Tampa defense, giving Soderberg a breakaway on which he deked Bishop before sliding the puck through the Tampa goalie’s legs on the backhand.

- For the second straight game, the B’s really limited their opponent’s shots on goal. Boston allowed 18 shots on goal to Washington on Thursday before holding Tampa to 16 shots on goal Saturday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins missed out on a power play goal that would have tied the game in the third period. Patrice Bergeron put a loose puck past Bishop, had his hands up in celebration and the whistle was blown to rule the play dead. Replays showed the puck was in the net well before the whistle was blown, but it was called no-goal thanks to the NHL‘s absurd “intent to blow” call that allows officials to retroactively call plays dead because they meant to blow the whistle earlier than they did.

The positive was that it made for a pretty funny display from Julien, as he appeared to say “Is that one good?” to an official after Boychuk tied the game.

- The Bruins finally saw more time on the power play after having just two power plays over a three-game span, but the results weren’t pretty. Palat’s goal was the sixth shorthanded goal the B’s have allowed this season.

- Smith was demoted to the fourth line to start the third period, as Claude Julien put Paille on Patrice Bergeron’s line for the earlygoing of the third.

Andrej Meszaros to sit again for Bruins

03.08.14 at 2:04 pm ET
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Folks waiting to see Andrej Meszaros‘ Bruins debut will have to wait a little longer, as Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in Tampa Saturday that the team intends to stick with the same six defensemen he used in Thursday’s win over the Capitals.

As such, Meszaros will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game since coming to the B’s. It will be his 26th healthy scratch of the season.

Corey Potter, who was added on waivers Wednesday by the B’s, is with the team in Tampa and will also sit.

Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘didn’t destroy the fabric of their team’ at trade deadline

03.07.14 at 1:23 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ decisions at the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins traded a conditional pick to the Flyers for defenseman Andrej Meszaros Wednesday.

“They didn’t destroy the fabric of their team, which is really important,” McGuire said. “One of the great things about the Boston Bruins is the chemistry of the team and how they rally around one another.

“I talked to somebody in another market who’s a manager about this, they said the thing about the Bruins that makes them tough to play against is strength down the core of their team — so [David] Krejci, [Patrice] Bergeron, [Chris] Kelly, [Gregory] Campbell — you’re locked and loaded and everybody knows their role. Then you got the shutdown presence of [Zdeno] Chara, the shutdown presence of [Johnny] Boychuk. You’ve got the maneuverability of Torey Krug. You’ve now got Andrej Meszaros.”

During his rookie season, Meszaros played on a line with Chara and was a plus-34.

“I think you start out slow and then you build up to see what he can handle,” McGuire said of Meszaros and Chara playing on the same line again.

“Those guys have played so much together in the National Hockey League, and so much internationally that you’€™ll see that this is good. Peter Chiarelli knows Meszaros really well from their days in Ottawa together, so I think, quite frankly, Boston did a good job by not messing with the integrity of the team.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Kevan Miller: “Most people really don’€™t know who Kevan Miller is. Kevan Miller has become a very stable player for that team. I think that’€™s one of the things, when you see a player that can play close to 20 minutes in a game and can count on him being a plus-player, that’€™s, I think, a really important player for your group.”

On if the Bruins regret trading Tyler Seguin: “I don’€™t know if Tyler Seguin ever would have gotten to this level playing in Boston. Sometimes a young player needs to be scared straight, and one of the ways of scaring them straight is to trade them. For whatever reason it just doesn’t work out in the town that drafted him, but you trade him and it works out and I think that might have been the case with Tyler because it wasn’t working out. It wasn’t working out with consistency.”

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Kevan Miller, Tyler Seguin,
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