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Claude Julien: Andrew Ference ‘very questionable’ vs. Penguins

01.14.11 at 3:39 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters on Friday that defenseman Andrew Ference is dealing with an upper-body injury, explaining his absence in the third period of Thursday night’s 7-5 win over the Flyers.

Julien said that Ference is “very questionable” for Saturday’s game against the Penguins.

“We’re hoping it’s minor enough that we’ll see him back soon,” Julien said.

Given Ference’s status, the Bruins on Friday morning called up Matt Bartkowski on an emergency basis from Providence.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Matt Bartkowski,

Bruins recall Matt Bartkowski on emergency basis

01.14.11 at 10:21 am ET
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The Bruins announced Friday morning that they have recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from Providence on an emergency basis. The news comes after Andrew Ference left Thursday night’s game with an injury after the second period.

Bartkowski was called up on an emergency basis on Sunday and made his NHL debut against the Penguins on Monday. He was returned to Providence after Adam McQuaid made his return to the lineup on Tuesday. The B’s face the Penguins at home on Saturday.

Steven Kampfer the hero as Bruins win wild one over Flyers

01.13.11 at 9:37 pm ET
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Steven Kampfer saw to it that the Bruins had the last laugh in a back-and-forth affair, scoring with just 1:34 remaining in regulation to give the B’s a 7-5 win over the Flyers at TD Garden.

The rookie scored his fourth goal of his career in dramatic fashion, capping a game that featured five lead changes between the two teams. Gregoy Campbell added an exclamation point with an empty net goal with 6.8 seconds left.

The Bruins came up with three third-period goals, getting timely tallies from Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, and Brad Marchand. Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins. It was Chara’s second goal in three games, while Bergeron has now scored six over his last four.

Tim Thomas earned the victory, allowing five five goals on 35 shots.

The Bruins will face the Penguins in a matinee on Saturday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins scored goals in the first 45 seconds of both the seconds. Bergeron redirected a Steven Kampfer shot past Boucher at 0:45 of the second, while Recchi tied it up just 38 seconds into the third.

Recchi got a very lucky bounce on his goal. With Boucher going to behind the net to play a puck that had been dumped in the zone, the puck bounced right off the end boards and in front of the net, where Recchi easily sent it into an empty goal.

– It was good to see Shawn Thornton challenge Jody Shelley in the first period. Thursday marked Shelley’s first game at the Garden since his shove from behind on Adam McQuaid that got him suspended for two games. The B’s didn’t have their chance to get back at Shelley after the play on Dec. 11, as he was tossed, but Thornton sent a good message with fisticuffs on Thursday.

– This can be a game that gives Marc Savard some confidence that he desperately needs. He was the star of the team’s 5-on-3 that led to Chara’s goal in the first period. He nearly scored himself in front of the net on the two-man advantage, but the puck was blocked by Recchi’s skate.

– Marchand has had success on the Merlot Line and second line this season, and it seems he can handle any sort of mix-and-match situation he’s thrown in. Greogory Campbell and Blake Wheeler contributed to the undersized winger’s ninth goal of the season.

Nathan Horton is crawling back to being the asset he’s capable of being. He still has just one goal in his last 13 games, but he had three shots on Boucher through the first two periods and got a helper on Ryder’s tally. It still is Horton’s second game back from missing two contests with an undisclosed injury, but he’s back to playing strong games and just needs to see more production.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins squandered two leads in the game, one of which came in the third period. All in all there were five lead changes on the night, with neither team leading by more than one goal until Campbell’s empty netter.

– The five goals that Thomas allowed are the most he’s given up this season. The Vezina wasn’t at is top form, but he had to deal with lots of odd man rushes given up by the B’s.

The good news for Thomas was that he picked up his third assist of the season on Recchi’s goal. He now has three helpers on the season.

Andrew Ference missed the third period, though it’s unclear what kept him from playing. We smell an undisclosed injury.

– Chara had a bad turnover in the second period that led to the Flyers tying it at two in the second. With the B’s up, 2-1, following a Bergeron’s goal, the captain took a shot from the point that was blocked and sent up to Nikolay Zherdev, who beat Thomas on a breakaway.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Steven Kampfer, Tim Thomas,

Patrice Bergeron scores, but Flyers lead Bruins, 3-2, after two

01.13.11 at 8:41 pm ET
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The Bruins got it done early on in the second period, but the Flyers finished the period stronger and take a 3-2 period into the third.

Patrice Bergeron scored his sixth goal in his last four games when he redirected a Steven Kampfer shot from the point past Brian Boucher just 45 seconds into the period. The Bruins continued their offensive pressure early on the period, with Boucher coming up big for the Flyers.

A turnover caused by Zdeno Chara led to Nikolay Zherdev’s 14th goal of the season. Chara’s shot was blocked and sent up ahead to Zherdev in the neutral zone, and the Russian winger tied it up on a breakaway. Jeff Carter made it 3-2 with 36 seconds left in the period.

Tim Thomas made 10 saves for the B’s in the the second, most notably making a huge stop on a Scott Hartnell breakaway in halfway through the period. He was also the beneficiary of a couple of pucks clanking off posts.

Bruins and Flyers tied after one

01.13.11 at 7:48 pm ET
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An oddball goal from Scott Hartnell and a Zdeno Chara snipe on a two-man advantage have the Flyers and Bruins tied at one after a period of play.

After Hartnell made it 1-0 by batting a puck in mid-air past Tim Thomas from behind the net, a pair of hooking penalties gave the B’s a two-man advantage. Marc Savard stood out on the 5-on-3, nearly scoring in front of the net and making the pass to set up a blast from Chara from the point.

David Krejci is getting big opportunities but is an early candidate for post-game questions about being snakebitten. The skilled center intercepted a pass in the first minute in the Flyers’ end but couldn’t control it well enough to fire a shot from the dot. With 6:36 in the period, Krejci decked out front and brought Boucher with him.

The good news on Krejci’s missed opportunity late in the period was that he drew a Mike Richards hooking call on the play. Hartnell and Braydon Coburn added hooking penalties later in the period, and Chara tied it up on the 5-on-3.

Shawn Thornton did indeed go after Jody Shelley, and the two squared off in a bout that left Thornton bloodied. Shelley delivered a shove from behind to Adam McQuaid on Dec. 11

The Flyers are outshooting the B’s, 13-11.

Read More: Shawn Thornton, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara,

Statistician’s research suggests Gregory Campbell, not Patrice Bergeron, is Bruins best defensive forward

01.13.11 at 3:59 pm ET
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Here’s an interesting one. Patrice Bergeron‘s strong statistical output of late (17 points over the last 13 games) has made him a popular candidate for this season’s Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is given to the league’s best defensive forward. One’s candidacy for the award, which is supposed to be focused on the defensive aspect of the game, is generally aided by good offensive numbers, making Bergeron, who is among the top two-way forwards in the game, a good fit.

Yet this piece from James Mirtle in today’s Globe and Mail (and feel free to form your own opinion of it) throws a bit of a monkey wrench at the system. Taking the quality of players faced and how many goals they are on the ice for in both even strength and shorthanded situations into, a bit of research from Behind the Net statistician Gabriel Desjardins suggests that Bergeron isn’t even the best defensive forward on his own team.

Desjardin’s research suggests that Gregory Campbell was the first half’s second-best defensive forward, ranking behind only Washington’s Brooks Laich. Bergeron ranks No. 24 on the list. Here’s a look:

Read More: Gregory Campbell, Patrice Bergeron,

Bruins won’t get carried away as they look for more consistency in second half

01.13.11 at 1:19 pm ET
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The Bruins made it through the first half of the season with some of everything. From other-worldly goaltending, to injuries, to special teams highs and lows, there wasn’t much the first 41 games of the season didn’t feature.

One of the things that has made the 2010-11 Bruins a tough squad to figure it out is their inconsistent play. Winning streaks quickly turned to droughts, while it seems they had a knack for following up “worst loss of the season” candidates with statement-making wins. Take the Anaheim loss at home on Dec. 21, for example. The B’s put on a lineup-wide clinic on the art of disappearance in a 3-0 Ducks win that had fans booing at their loudest. The next game, they beat up on the Thrashers, both figuratively and literally.

Then there was the blown 2-0 lead against the Canadiens in the third period on Saturday. The Habs came back to sink the B’s in overtime, and the Bruins followed it by scoring four goals in the final 3:23 against the Penguins two days later for a 4-2 win. It’s tough to find patterns with this team, and with the Bruins having won two in a row, it’s tricky to assume whether things are trending upward for the Northeast Division-leading B’s.

“Most of us have been around long enough to know that it’s a long season with a lot of ups and downs,” Shawn Thornton said Thursday. “‘€¦ Obviously there’s going to be a couple of blips there, but you can’t let it bother you too much.”

“It’s a long season. Every team goes through their highs and their lows, but the big thing, if you look around at teams that are at the top of the league, they’re consistent,” Adam McQuaid said. “Every team has their off night every once and a while, but I think the big thing is this league is consistency.

This season’s edition of the B’s is a confident bunch, and while they look to make strides in the second half, they aren’t going to take anything as a given or assume there won’t be more lows.

“You learn from your mistakes,” Thornton said. “There’s going to be downs, too. It’s not the end of the world when we lose, and don’t order the rings when you win a game.”

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Shawn Thornton,
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