|01.01.11 at 9:05 pm ET|
So much for Tuukka Time. Claude Julien apparently saw enough from the 23-year-old in the first to cut Tim Thomas‘ day off short. Thomas allowed a pair of goals in the second period, and the Bruins now trail, 5-4, entering the third period.
Drew Stafford scored his second goal of the game and fifth goal vs. the B’s this year when he beat Thomas at 6:17. With the Sabres on the power play at 17:43, Jason Pomonville also scored his second of the night as he sent a shot wide that was redirected by Dennis Seidenberg’s skate and past Thomas.
The Bruins actually had more shots on goal in the second (13) than they did in the first period. Should the Bruins fail to come back in the third period, it will be their first regulation loss of their current road trip.
|01.01.11 at 8:13 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask probably wasn’t planning on allowing three goals in the first period, but he’s got a 4-3 lead to play with as the Bruins and Sabres enter the second period.
Just 1:29 into the contest, Marc Savard won a face-off to set up an Andrew Ference goal from the point. After Ference’s streak of 99 games without a goal ended last month, the blueliner saw to it that there would only be five games between occurrences of him scoring.
With the Sabres on a 2-on-1, Thomas Vanek appared to trip Ference when going for the puck, but when no penalty was called, Vanek beat Rask to make it a 3-2 game. To make matters worse, Savard was called for a questionable slash four seconds later.
The penalty would prove to be a blessing in disguise. With the B’s on the penalty kill. Mark Recchi got the puck up to Patrice Bergeron to create a 2-on-1, and Bergeron slid it across to Zdeno Chara, who put sent it past Ryan Miller for a shorthanded goal. It was Chara’s first goal in 24 games.
With less than a minute remaining in the period, Rask was unable to hold onto a puck long enough to get a whistle, and Drew Stafford knocked it in to make it 4-3.
The Sabres have outshot the Bruins, 16-11.
|01.01.11 at 6:01 pm ET|
Bruins center Gregory Campbell will miss Saturday’s game vs. the Sabres, as coach Claude Julien told reporters prior to the game that the center remains “under the weather.” Campbell was also held out of Thursday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Thrashers.
Prior to falling ill, Campbell had played in each of the team’s first 35 games. He has tallied three goals and six assists while centering the “Merlot Line” with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton. In Campbell’s absence Thursday, Tyler Seguin jumped from second line wing to fourth line center, while Marchand took Seguin’s usual spot with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Daniel Paille played Marchand’s usual role as fourth-line wing.
|01.01.11 at 3:01 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask will get his first start since Dec. 15th when the Bruins (20-11-5) take on the Sabres (15-18-4) in a New Years Day matchup at HSBC Arena.
Rask, who is 2-7-1 this season, hasn’t been able to rack up the starts given Tim Thomas‘ success (1.74 goals against average, .947 save percentage), though that Dec. 15 start did come against the Sabres, a 3-2 loss.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Sabres are 8-10-1 at home and have had just two games at HSBC since hosting the Bruins last month. In those games they defeated the Ducks and fell to the Panthers.
– The B’s are 11-5-2 in away games, most recently falling to the Thrashers Thursday in a shootout. They have been very successful so far on their current road trip, grabbing five of a possible six points. Buffalo is the second-to-last stop on the five-game road trip, as they will wrap it up Monday in Tortonto.
– Just one point — an assist Tuesday — for Nathan Horton over his last eight games. The top line of Lucic-Savard-Horton isn’t showing up the stat sheet much, but they had a very encouraging showing against the Thrashers.
– David Krejci has four points — one goal and three assists — against the Sabres this season. Michael Ryder has a pair of goals and an assist vs. Buffalo. The two, along with Blake Wheeler, have made up the Bruins’ best line of late. Given their individual success against the Sabres thus far, it will be interesting how they perform together, something they’ve done very well.
– Though Ryan Miller made 29 saves on 31 shots in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Oilers, he hasn’t been tearing it up of late. In his two previous starts, he allowed four and five goals to the Panthers and Flames, respectively. Miller is 13-12-3 on the season with a 2.62 goals against average and .911 save percentage.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– The new year has come and Rask is unbelievably making just his 10th start of the season (he played one his previous nine in relief of Thomas and took the loss vs. Washington, thus explaining his 10 decisions). Thomas had seven straight starts following the team’s 3-2 loss to the Sabres with Rask in net, the longest streak for any Bruins goaltender this season.
Rask has not gotten back-to-back starts all season. With Thomas clearly this team’s No. 1 goaltender, it will be interesting to see if a sound performance on Saturday gets the Finnish netminder another go on Monday vs. the Maple Leafs, who have lost five of their last six.
– The Sabres lost center Derek Roy during their 4-3 loss to the Panthers last Thursday. Roy took a hit from Panthers blueliner Dmitry Kulikov early in the game and is now done for the season with a torn quad tendon. In the Sabres’ two games since losing Roy, who was leading the team in both goals (13) and assists (25), Buffalo has lost to Calgary and defeated Edmonton.
|12.30.10 at 9:46 pm ET|
On Nov. 28, the Thrashers embarrassed the Bruins. On Dec. 23, the Bruins embarrassed the Thrashers. Thursday night, they simply played a good game that ended in a 3-2 shootout victory for the Thrashers.
Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom scored on the power play in each of the first two periods, while Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler scored for the Bruins in the first and second periods, respectively.
The Bruins have now picked up points in four straight games dating back to last week’s 4-1 victory over the Thrashers. They are now 2-0-1 on their current five-game road trip. They will face the Sabres in Buffalo
Tim Thomas is now 18-4-4 on the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– From a statistical standpoint, there still isn’t much from Nathan Horton. He — along with his linemates — played a much-improved game Thursday, but it marked the 13th game this season that Horton has had one shot or zero shots on goal. His lone shot came on a fairly strong shift he had with the Bruins on the power play in the third period.
Milan Lucic’s streak of games without a point is now at six games.
– The Thrashers had scored on just three of their last 37 power plays entering Thursday night’s game, but were able to capitalize twice with the man advantage on a pair of goals from Enstrom.
– Dustin Byfuglien showing up on the scoring sheet in a game against the Bruins should come as a surprise at this point. His first-period assist on Enstom’s first tally was his sixth point against the B’s this season. He’s done more damage vs. the B’s this season than he has against any other club.
Daniel Paille did a nice job of limiting what the Thrashers’ blueliner could do against the B’s when he brought started a scuffle that landed both players in the box for roughing in the second period. The Bruins win out in that exchange every time.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Even before he scored in the second period, it was quite apparent that Wheeler was one of the better players on the ice. He led the Bruins in shots on goal in the first period with three and went on to tie his season high of five.
Though linemate Michael Ryder’s three-game point streak came to an end, he gave yet another standout effort. The Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder line was once again sound in creating opportunities for the Bruins offensively.
– The Bruins were on a mission in the third period. They drew a pair of penalties (both of which were tripping calls on Thrashers center Jim Slater) while committing none and outshot the Thrashers, 18-7.
– Johnny Boychuk was the lone Bruins player to post a plus-2 in regulation. A nice way to follow up his minus-1 Tuesday.
|12.30.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
Blake Wheeler and Tobias Enstrom scored in the second period, and the Bruins and Thrashers enter the third period tied at two goals apiece.
Wheeler took a nice pass from David Krejci and beat Pavalec for his ninth goal of the season just 55 seconds into the period. Another game, another big case of production from that line. Wheeler has tied his season high with five shots on net through two periods.
Enstrom beat Tim Thomas five-hole for a power play goal — sound familiar? It was the second such occurrence for the Thrashers’ blueliner, as he did the same to open the scoring in the firs period.
Daniel Paille, meanwhile, did something Bruins fans likely appreciated when he went after Dustin Byfuglien in front of the Thrashers’ net. Byfuglien caught Paille with an elbow at the end of a play and the fourth-line fill-i exchanged words and shoves with the Thrashers D man and Bruins killer. Both went off for roughing with 8:28 remaining in the period.
|12.30.10 at 7:45 pm ET|
With the Thrashers on an early power play thanks to a Marc Savard slashing call, Enstrom beat Thomas through the legs from the point. Dustin Byfuglien picked up an assist on the play, his sixth point vs. the B’s this season.
Bergeron picked up an unassisted tally when he beat Ondrej Pavelec on a weak back-hander. It was Bergeron’s eighth goal of the season.
The Bruins and Thrashers each had 11 shots on net, with Blake Wheeler contributing three for the B’s.
For the second straight game, Nathan Horton had less than four minutes of ice time in the first period. He played 3:58.
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