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Milan Lucic out for Bruins, Nathan Horton to return to lineup

01.11.11 at 6:11 pm ET
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Bruins forward Milan Lucic will not play Tuesday night against the Senators at TD Garden due to an undisclosed injury suffered Monday night in the team’s 4-2 victory over the Penguins. It will be Lucic’s first missed game in a season in which he’s led the Bruins with 16 goals through 41 games.

“He’s going to be a scratch for tonight,” coach Claude Julien said prior to the game, “and hopefully it’s a day-to-day situation.

Nathan Horton will make his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with what Julien would only describe as “discomfort.” Defenseman Adam McQuaid, who also missed Monday’s game with an undisclosed injury, is a game-time decision.

“He skated this morning and felt pretty good, so we’re going to make that decision after the warmup,” Julien said.

If McQuaid is unable to go, rookie Matt Bartkowski will be in the lineup in his place. Bartkowski made his NHL debut on Monday.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton

Tim Thomas honored to be an All-Star, willing to shut down Zdeno Chara if opportunity arises

01.11.11 at 5:21 pm ET
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The Bruins received perhaps the least surprising news they could get on Tuesday when they were informed that Tim Thomas was named an All-Star. Thomas is putting together the best year of any goaltender over the last five years, and as such, it is no shock that he’s earned the honor of joining the league’s best for the third time in his career.

“It’s always an honor,” Thomas said of the distinction prior to the B’s game against the Senators on Tuesday. “It’s a feather in your cap, so I’m very happy.”

Thomas has played in 29 of the Bruins’ first 41 games, compiling an 18-4-6 record and leading the league with a 1.84 goals against average and a .944 save percentage. His five shutouts tie his career-high and put him in a tie for the league lead.

Yet given all the time he’s played, it is expected that the Bruins could use Tuukka Rask a bit more just to keep Thomas from being overworked. The same line of thinking might apply when wondering whether the 36-year-old could use the All-Star to get some rest rather than work more. Thomas’ reaction to that idea is simle.

“Everybody wants down time, but having said that, for most people — myself included — you don’t make the All-Star [game] that often,” Thomas said. “It’s an honor worth giving up a couple of days rest for.”

Thomas will join teammates Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin in Raleigh, N.C., for the All-Star festivities, as Chara also earned the distinction, while Seguin will participate in the rookie skills competition a day prior to the game.

Because of the new fantasy draft used to determine the All-Star teams, Thomas and Chara won’t necessarily be teammates in the game, as it is no longer a contest of the Eastern conference vs. the Western conference. As odd it would be to see Chara go up against his own goaltender, Thomas was quick in predicting what would happen in such a scenario.

“I win, he loses.”

Read More: All Star Game, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin

Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas named All-Stars

01.11.11 at 2:11 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas were named to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game roster on Tuesday, the fifth selection for Chara and third for Thomas.

Chara is third in the NHL in average time on ice per game (26:38) and leads all Bruins’ defenseman in goals (six) and points (18). Thomas leads the NHL in goals against average (1.84), save percentage (.944) and is tied for the league lead in shutouts (five).

Tyler Seguin will be one of 12 NHL rookies to participate in the SuperSkills competition. The All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, January 30 in Raleigh, NC.

Three the magic number (again) for Bruins in win over Penguins

01.10.11 at 10:06 pm ET
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The Bruins once again proved a third-period terror against the Penguins, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 victory at CONSOL Energy Center.

With the Penguins leading, 2-0, on second-period goals from Mike Rupp and Kris Letang, the B’s scored four goals in the final 3:23 of regulation. Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand got it started by scoring goals 12 seconds apart, while Mark Recchi potted the game-winner on the power play at 19:10 and Gregory Campbell sealed it with an empty netter.

The B’s scored their first two power play goals in six games. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves on 25 shots in the victory.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Did the Bruins watch so much tape of what the Habs did to them Saturday that they couldn’t help but do the same thing? The B’s didn’t have to wait for overtime to get a huge road win. With their five-goal third period on Nov. 10, they have now scored nine third-period goals vs. the Penguins and allowed none.

– Chara’s goal was his second in the last five games, clearly a good way to follow up his 23 games without a goal prior to last Saturday’s game in Buffalo.

Tyler Seguin and David Krejci haven’t produced while skating on the same line the last two games, but the two seem to be a good fit. Seguin tied linemate Blake Wheeler with three shots, while Krejci set up the 18-year-old beautifully in the third period before Fleury robbed the rookie.

While Krejci and Wheeler obviously work well together and the Czech center’s skill set is appropriate for a line with Seguin, Krejci had zero shots on goal for the second straight game. He has two goals over his last five contests.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Penguins’ power play had been bad, but the B’s didn’t need to push the matter. The Bruins handed the Penguins five power plays, one of which Letang scored on to make it a two-goal game. Both teams entered the game with three power play goals over their last nine contests, and the B’s gave Pittsburgh plenty of chances to improve the number, which the Penguins did.

– Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski was set to have a memorable NHL debut for the Bruins, but he ended up doing so for the wrong reasons. First, he was beaten by Mike Rupp in the second period on the Penguins’ first goal. Bartkowski then took a hooking penalty with the Bruins playing from behind with less than 10 minutes remaining.

– Eleven games without a goal for Milan Lucic. The slumping winger followed his zero-shot performance by throwing three shots on Marc-Andre Fleury. As the Bruins continue to search from offensive consistency, they need a lot more from their leading scorer.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, matt bartowski, Pittsburgh Penguins

Mike Rupp, Kris Letang score for Penguins in second period

01.10.11 at 9:10 pm ET
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Goals from Mike Rupp and Kris Letang have the Penguins leading the Bruins, 2-0, after two periods at CONSOL Energy Center.

Rupp made Matt Bartkowski look like a kid making his NHL debut when he took the puck past Bartkowski and into the Bruins’ zone, went all the way to the bottom of the circle and backhanded one over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask from an odd angle. It was a save Rask should have made, but a shot that shouldn’t have been taken. Bartkowski ended up playing just three minutes in the period.

The Penguins, meanwhile, became the first of two struggling power play units to produce a goal. With Mark Recchi in the box for tripping Letang, the All-Star defenseman beat Rask with a shot from the point to make it a 2-0 game.

The Penguins are outshooting the B’s, 23-20.

Bruins, Penguins scoreless after one

01.10.11 at 8:16 pm ET
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The Bruins and Penguins skated to a scoreless first period on Monday night, with the B’s getting only six shots on Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins have managed to get 14 shots on Tuukka Rask.

After an 0-for-2 showing on the man advantage, the Bruins have now gone 16 periods without a power play goal. Their last power play goal came on Dec. 28 against the Lightning.

Marc Savard was the only Bruin sent to the box in the period, as he went off at 18:41 for slashing Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins will begin the second period a man up.

Matt Bartkowski, making his NHL debut against the team he grew up cheering for in Pittsburgh, is on a pairing with Andrew Ference. He got 4:09 of ice time.

Tyler Seguin led the Bruins with two shots on goal in the period.

Read More: Marc Savard, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin,

Bruins can keep looking to the future (and thank the Maple Leafs) as Central Scouting releases midterm rankings

01.10.11 at 4:55 pm ET
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NHL Central Scouting has released its midterm rankings for players in the 2011 NHL Draft. A year ago, Plymouth Whalers (OHL) center Tyler Seguin was the No. 2 prospect at the midway point before surpassing fellow Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall in the final rankings. The rest, as they say, is history, as the Oilers went for Hall over Seguin at with the top pick, and the B’s grabbed Seguin second overall.

The Bruins had that pick of course, from the Maple Leafs, who gave the B’s a pair of first round picks as part of their package for Phil Kessel.

Now, as the midterm rankings are released, the Bruins and their fans can think a bit more about the next major piece they’ll get to add thanks to the Kessel deal. The Leafs were expected to be an improved team this season, and they are — two whole spots.

If the draft lottery were to take place today, the B’s would be fourth in line given that the Leafs’ 36 points ranks 26th in the NHL. Who might their prize be? Judging by Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire’s comments to NHL.com, the Bruins wouldn’t be in bad shape if the Leafs’ pick wound up being the fourth overall choice.

McGuire suggested that this will not be a draft class like last year, which featured two concrete elite players in Hall and Seguin and then a bit of a dropoff.

“I would say at this point, with the number of viewings our scouts have had, as many as eight players could be taken first,” McGuire told NHL.com in the story. “The depth goes right through this draft. A cynic or somebody who’s characterizing this as a non-Sidney Crosby draft year only needs to know that whoever emerges in April at No. 5 on our list (Central Scouting’s final rankings), and in St. Paul as the No. 5 pick, could eventually be a better NHL player than No. 1. That said, this isn’t a Crosby draft year.”

Here are the best of both the North American and European skaters:

NORTH AMERICAN

1. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL), 6-foot-0, 207 pounds
– 25 goals in 32 OHL games this season; currently out with a high ankle sprain
2. Sean Couterier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL), 6-foor-4, 195 pounds
– Has 16+37=53 totals this season at Drummondville
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL), 6-foot-0, 170 pounds
– Has 50 points in 39 games after totaling 65 in 67 contests last season
4. Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-1, 168 pounds
– Has nearly doubled his 35 points from last season, as he has 65 in 40 games this year.
5. Tyler Biggs, RW, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
– Cincinnati native has four goals in 11 games
6. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL), 5-foot-10, 175 pounds
7. Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL), 6-foot-1, 6-foot-4, 193 pounds
8. Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw (OHL), 6-foot-1, 208 pounds
9. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-2, 185 pounds
10. Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener, 5-foot-10, 176 pounds

EUROPEAN

1. Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden), 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
– Believed by one scout to be a better prospect now than Victor Hedman was two years ago
2. Joel Armia, RW, Assat (Finland), 6-foot-3, 191 pounds
3. Mike Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden Jr. (Sweden Jr.) 6-foot-1, 191 pounds
4. Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden), 6-foot-1, 165 pounds
5. Dmitri Jaskin, F, Slavia Jr. (Czech Jr.), 6-foot-1, 196 pounds

Read More: 2011 NHL Draft, Phil Kessel, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin
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