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Avalanche shut out Bruins in Tuukka Rask’s season debut

10.10.11 at 3:20 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask made a good first impression for the 2011-12 season, but it wasn’t enough as the Avalanche defeated the Bruins, 1-0, in Monday’s matinee at TD Garden.

Milan Hejduk beat Rask with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle at 7:57 of the third period to get the Avalanche on the board. Rask was making his season debut for the Bruins after starting 27 games last season.

The Bruins had difficulty beating Colorado net minder Semyon Varlamov throughout the day. Varlamov, who came to the Avalanche in an offseason trade with the Capitals, stopped all 30 shots he faced. Rask stopped 35 of 36 shots.

The Bruins are now 1-2-0 on the season. After playing their first three games of the season at home, the B’s will play the next two on the road. Tomas Kaberle and the Hurricanes will host the defending champions on Wednesday, and the B’s will face the 2009-10 champion Blackhawks in Chicago on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Aside from a 2-on-1 chance with Milan Lucic, there’s been very little sign of life from Nathan Horton thus far. The Bruins’ top right-winger had another zero-shot day, and has just one shot on goal through three games. Horton hasn’t been as aggressive or physically engaging as he was when he was establishing himself as a big-game player last spring. The expectation here is that he will end up leading the team in scoring, but it’s taken him a while to get going.

Rich Peverley had a golden opportunity to tie the game in front with seconds remaining but couldn’t get a handle on it. He still leads the Bruins with two goals this season.

– This game just had the feel of a 2010-11 Rask start: solid goaltending, but nothing really going on in front of him. The B’s did a good job of clearing pucks out in front, but the Bruins’ skaters put forth a generally drowsy performance. Rask won only 11 games last season as a result of that.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– The 2011-12 version of Tyler Seguin — the one that’s less timid and more willing to go in the tough areas — got his first real test when he was crushed along the boards in the first period by Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson.

Seguin didn’t let himself get in position to be hit often as a rookie, so it may have been the biggest hit he’s taken in his young career. That didn’t deter him from chasing a puck in the corner with a man on him in his own zone later in the first period. The Colorado player chasing him eventually went off for a change, but Seguin clearly made the effort to get there first and was able to send a long pass through the neutral zone to Peverley at the far blue line.

– Another game, another 60 minutes in which the second line was the Bruins’ best trio. Brad Marchand had said prior to the season that his goal was to get more shots on goal this season, and he hasn’t lacked in that regard. He had three shots on goal through the first two periods, while Patrice Bergeron led the Bruins with five. Marchand had the Bruins’ best opportunity through the first 40 minutes when Varlamov got a toe on his 2-on-1 bid with Bergeron.

– The Bruins’ penalty kill was strong when it needed to be. The B’s ran into some penalty trouble early. Zdeno Chara went off 1:56 into the game for cross-checking Ryan O’Bryne, and Adam McQuaid flipped the puck over the glass from his own zone to set up a 27-second 5-on-3. The Avalanche applied a ton of pressure, but Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Rask were able to weather the storm.

Steven Kampfer could begin skating this week

10.10.11 at 12:56 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer has been off the ice since he awkwardly fell following a Sept. 29 hit from Senators defenseman Jared Cowen and sprained his MCL. The team said at the time that he would be out for two to four weeks with the injury, and on Monday Claude Julien said he could begin skating this week.

Julien said there’s a possibility Kampfer could travel with the team to Carolina and Chicago, but that “it will all depend on our medical staff.” Once Kampfer returns, it will be interesting to see if he will become the team’s seventh defenseman or be sent to Providence.

Read More: Steven Kampfer,

Bruins-Avalanche Live Blog: Milan Hejduk gives Avalanche 1-0 lead in third

10.10.11 at 12:37 pm ET
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Bruins-Avalanche Live Blog

Tim Thomas gets ‘first win out of the way’ and looks great doing it

10.08.11 at 11:23 pm ET
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No it wasn’t a shutout for Tim Thomas on Saturday night but in stopping 25 of 26 shots from the Lightning, he certainly showed he has the capability of replicating his historic year of a season ago.

Thomas made all the big saves, especially when the game was in doubt helping the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Lightning team they edged in seven hard-fought games in last spring’s Eastern finals. And it served as a nice bounce back after dropping the season-opener on Thursday to the Flyers.

“You get the first win out of the way so kind of get the monkey off of our backs to get the season back in the direction we wanted to be going,” Thomas said.

“I felt just as comfortable the first night. Both teams we played during the playoffs so semi-familiar, even though there’s some new faces on both teams. Both general systems are the same and I felt comfortable right off the bat the other night and I felt good tonight. But the team had a good game in front of me tonight. We put a lot of shots on goal, found ways to get pucks in the net with a great penalty kill. A lot of good efforts out there all over the place.”

To Claude Julien, the performance of his goalie was solid when the game called for it and spectacular when needed.

“To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know,” Julien said. “He looked calm, and he looked comfortable in net, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, that’s as close to last year as I’ve seen Timmy. He certainly played a solid game for us.”

But, without question, the save he made on Teddy Purcell from the low slot on a one-timer was the save of the game. The Bruins were leading 2-1 early in the third when Purcell had a clean look and appeared to have an open side to Thomas’ right. Thomas slid over before falling to the ice and making the big save just 1:44 into the third.

“The [puck] was passed through the slot and whoever it was did a good job of tipping it over to Purcell,” Thomas said. “So, I was actually originally just on the first pass and I had to scramble to get over to the second pass, which is why I sort of made the save while I was falling down.”

Just over a minute later, David Krejci scored at the other end. Bruins up, 3-1. Game, set, match.

“I think any goaltender, in those key situations, that makes those kinds of saves is certainly going to give your team a boost, and Tim has done that for us on numerous occasions throughout his time here,” Julien said. “I’m not saying we’re used to it but we like it.”

“I’m not thinking of one big save,” Thomas said. “I’m thinking I have to make some saves, basically, [because] you never want to give the other team a sniff. We’ve learned our lessons over the years. I remember a game where we were up three goals with three minutes left against St. Louis and they tied it up and won in overtime. So, that was quite a few years ago now but that happened to us last year a few times where teams came back on us late. You’ve got to play the full 60 minutes That’s what we learned last year.”

And last year turned out pretty well thanks, in large part to Thomas and the lessons learned.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning

Rich Peverley leads Bruins past Lightning

10.08.11 at 9:47 pm ET
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Rich Peverley had two goals and both Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand had two assists as the Bruins defeated the Lightning, 4-1, at TD Garden Saturday. The win gave the defending champions their first two points of the season.

Peverley got the Bruins on the board in the second period, as a shot from Marchand hit the post and the crossbar before Peverley sent the rebound past Lightning net minder Mathieu Garon. Martin St. Louis then beat former college teammate Tim Thomas to tie the game at one. A Daniel Paille goal (initially credited to Adam McQuaid) gave the Bruins the lead once again, and third period goals from David Krejci and Peverley provided insurance for the victory.

The Bruins outshot the Lightning, 42-26.

The Bruins will next play Monday when they host the Avalanche at 1:00 p.m.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– This is two straight big games for Marchand, who was the Bruins’ best player in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Flyers. Marchand picked up helpers on each of Peverley’s goals and once again was flying on Saturday. The second line of Patrice Bergeron between Marchand and Peverley is clearly clicking.

– Benoit Pouliot looked good in his Bruins debut, skating on that third line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Pouliot got as dead a reception as one could get without hearing boos, but come out on his first shift and nailed Brett Clark behind the Lightning net, leading to big cheers from the Garden crowd.

– Adam McQuaid’s return to the lineup proved valuable, as the second-year defenseman put a puck through a ton of bodies in front (Paille and Chris Kelly among them), and Paille tipped it past Garon to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Tyler Seguin looked good on the play as well, working hard to keep the puck in the zone and getting the secondary assist on the tally.

– Shots on goal don’t mean everything, as was evident in the Bruins’ 21-shot 4-0 Game 7 victory against the Lightning last season, but the Bruins did a better job of getting pucks on net Saturday than they did in Thursday’s season-opener. After putting 23 shots on Ilya Bryzgalov Thursday, the Bruins had 15 shots on goal in each of the first two periods.

– The first line had a better showing than it did in a very lackluster season-opener. Nathan Horton had the puck poked away from him to set up St. Louis’ goal, but the line got more shots on net and saw its first goal of the season when Krejci buried the rebound of a shot from Lucic.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Lucic is still very much capable of taking ill-advised penalties after the whistle, and the Lightning have been the opponent for a couple of these occurrences now. Lucic slashed the stick out of Pavel Kubina’s stick in the first period right in front of the referee after the whistle and was sent to the box. Some might remember Lucic punched Victor Hedman in the final seconds of Game 1 in the spring.

– Not necessarily something that went wrong, but Marchand was grabbed by the head and ripped down to the ice by Dominic Moore in the second period. The two went at one another for a few moments but were separated by referees and sent to the box for roughing. Moore and Marchand still had words for one another as they left the box, and perhaps this is a sign that opposing teams will be a little rougher on the feisty 23-year-old.

Bruins-Lightning Live Blog: Rich Peverley has two-goal night

10.08.11 at 7:03 pm ET
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Benoit Pouliot is making his Bruins debut as Tim Thomas and the B’s look for their first win of the season Saturday vs. the Bolts.

Bruins-Lightning Live Blog

Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot? Pt. 2

10.08.11 at 11:50 am ET
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Might there be a slight change made to the Bruins’ lineup Saturday?

Winger Jordan Caron stayed out on the ice a little longer than Benoit Pouliot in Saturday’s morning skate, taking some extra skating in what could be an indication that he may be the healthy scratch vs. the Lightning. There’s both a “could” and a “may” in that sentence just to illustrate how tough it is to tell.

If Caron does sit, Pouliot would make his Bruins debut. One would think that whichever of the two played the first game (Caron) would get a few games to prove himself, and it would be surprising to see changes made based on losing a one-goal game to a good team on a night in which the B’s had obvious distractions.

Said Claude Julien after the skate: “I don’t think I would make any changes based on the result of the game and the way it was played. I don’t think I would ever do that. I didn’t think we played well as a team, but that’s about where I’ll leave it.”

That’s pretty cryptic, but it may suggest that if Julien makes a change, it was one he had planned on doing anyway, perhaps as a way to give both Caron and Pouliot ice time in the first two games.

Caron himself says didn’t know until just before the ceremonies Thursday that he was playing vs. the Flyers. Skating on a line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, Caron registered no shots on goal in 10:20 of ice time.

“It wasn’t my best game, but overall I thought it went pretty good,” he said Saturday. “We did some good stuff, and I did some good stuff defensively. I had a few chances offensively, Segs had a few good chances. It was an OK game overall.”

Even if Caron does play Thursday, one would imagine that with the third line being the only to carry an extra guy in practice, he and Pouliot are in a close competition for ice time. Considering Caron was in a similar situation last year entering the season with Daniel Paille, he doesn’t mind it.

“I think it’s good in a certain way,” Caron said. “It pushes you even harder. You can’t take a day off in practice. You always have to go 100 percent. I think it’s a good battle.”

Read More: Benoit Pouliot, Jordan Caron,
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