|04.08.10 at 9:35 pm ET|
Summary — Boston took a big step towards the playoffs on Thursday with a 3-1 win over the Sabres at TD Garden. Boston now leads the idle Rangers by three points for the final playoff spot as each team has two games in the regular season.
Tuukka Rask got the start for the Bruins and was his usual solid self in turning away 31 shots for the victory. The Bruins may have thought they had dodged a bullet when Buffalo started backup goaltender Patrick Lalime over All-Star Ryan Miller but he backstop was solid and contributed to Boston’s goal-scoring frustration with a steady 31 saves in the loss.
Dennis Wideman got the game-winner for Boston at 1:59 in the third period with a blast from the point that had eyes through Lalime towards the back of the net. It was Wideman’s sixth of the year.
The Bruins found a familiar refrain at 11:00 in the first period. Wideman could not control the puck off the wall in neutral ice and lost it for a breakaway by Derek Roy. The defenseman could not recover and Roy had an easy time picking his spot, high glove side, against Rask for the opening goal of the game.
Boston came back early in the second. Miroslav Satan found himself in a small scrum on the half wall in the Bruins offensive zone against two Sabres and lost control of the puck but got enough stick on it to keep it live. David Krejci circled around from behind the goal line to keep the puck in play, hit a touch pass to back to Satan who skated into Lalime’s crease and put a backhander home at 2:15.
Zdeno Chara [Mark Recchi] gave the Bruins the breathing-room goal late in the third period on a one-time blast from the corner on a pass from Milan Lucic at the left point that deflected off of Recchi and overpowered Lalime at to make it 3-1 at 16:35.
Miroslav Satan — The veteran forward tied the game in the second period with his ninth of the season for the Bruins.
Derek Roy — The Sabres center was pesky presence all night and was rewarded for his efforts in the first period when he plundered Wideman and took his booty to the net to beat Rask for the opening goal of the game.
Tuukka Rask — the statistical league leading netminder did his thing in shutting down the Sabres to keep the Bruins in the game and give them a position to claim points to be applied to their playoff pursuit.
Turning Point — When Wideman redeemed himself early in the third. He stood up a little short of the right point and time his shot perfectly with the screening body of Blake Wheeler to catch Lalime in a blind moment for his sixth of the season and game-winning goal.
Key Play — A lot of good Rask saves to choose from. One of the most important was a point blank shot from Sabres’ forward Tyler Ennis that was unleashed two feet in front of the crease that Rask stoned cold with a little more than a minute to play in the second period. Had Ennis been able to score and Buffalo entered the third period with a goal lead, the dynamic of the final frame would have been much different as Boston would have had a more aggressive (riskier) offensive attack as opposed to playing tighter defense with the lead.
UPDATE — There was a scoring change on the Bruins third goal after the game with the tally being awarded to forward Mark Recchi on a deflection from Chara’s shot. The goal was Recchi’s 18th of the year.
|04.08.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Despite their continuing ineptitude on the power play, the Bruins managed to get themselves back on level ice with Sabres after 40 minutes.
Miroslav Satan collected a loose rebound in front of Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime and slid a backhand five-hole to tie the game just 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the second period. For Satan, it was his ninth of the season and his third in his last three games. He has three of Boston’s last five goals, overall.
And the Bruins have killed off both Sabres power plays tonight. They have killed 13-of-last-14 opponents’ power plays.
That’s the good news.
The bad… they had another two power play chances and missed on both, making them 0-for-5 on the night and an incredible 0-for-17 in their last six games.
Tuukka Rask continues to look sharp in goal, as he turned away all 14 Buffalo shots in the second while the Bruins had 11 on Lalime.
|04.08.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
Again the Bruins came out with energy in the first period.
And again they had several chances to capitalize on the power play.
And once again, they head to the dressing room scratching their collective heads as to why they’re down, 1-0, after 20 minutes.
The last time they played, Dennis Wideman took a high sticking penalty in the first 24 seconds of overtime and it led to the game-winner in overtime for Washington.
Tonight, he mishandles a puck at the left point, leading to a turnover and a Derek Roy goal at 11:00. Roy skated in on Tuukka Rask and beat him blocker side, up top for the game’s only score.
The Bruins had three power plays, and in keeping with recent trends, could do nothing with them. They have now gone six games without a power play – an 0-for-15 stretch. They have scored just three man-advantage goals in their last 16 games, going 3-for-41, or 7.3 percent. Not exactly the stuff of playoff hockey teams.
All three of those goals came against Calgary on March 27 at TD Garden.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres, 10-6, in the first period.
|04.08.10 at 12:51 pm ET|
Just when things were starting to go so well on the ice for Dennis Seidenberg an odd injury forces him to watch the rest of the season from the press box.
Seidenberg will miss eight weeks with a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm which he had surgery to fix on Tuesday and expressed disappointment that his time with in Boston may be coming to a premature end. The defenseman was picked up by the Bruins on the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline from Florida along with Matt Bartowski for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz and a second round draft pick and played in 17 games with two goals and seven assists. Seidenberg’s 215 blocked shots between the Panthers and Boston lead the NHL.
Seidenberg cut the tendon in his forearm last Saturday in the first period against Toronto at Air Canada Centre. Initially he did not think the cut was that bad but after skating on Tuesday morning at Ristuccia realized that something was definitely wrong with the area and went to see a doctor. The news of a torn tendon came as a surprise.
“Well, I went through knowing something was wrong because it was really painful, I wasn’t just going there in passing,” Seidenberg said. “I was expecting something to be wrong with it but not expecting for the tendon to be torn and to have surgery was even more surprising so it was disappointing and tough to hear.”
Seidenberg does not expect the rehabilitation to be all that strenuous and sounded like a man who had been through similar injuries before. His arm was in a cast on Thursday and he said that it will stay there for four weeks before starting exercises to regain his range of motion.
“Usually a tendon takes four weeks to heal and after that you just get the motion back and get the strength back and everything. It is an easy rehabbing process,” Seidenberg said. “It could be worse. It is just a regular tendon tear and the rehab should be easy.”
Now that his time in Boston has just about come to and end, Seidenberg was asked what he thought about his time in the Hub and if he wanted to stay. Since arriving he has played exclusively as the No. 2 defenseman paired with captain Zdeno Chara and has been a solidifying presence on the blue line in lieu of Derek Morris who was traded to Phoenix the day Seidenberg was acquired. He said that he has not yet been approached by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli but that he would hope to hear from him soon to start discussing a possible future with the team.
“No, it has been pretty quiet. The last couple of days have been about finding out about my wrist and so hopefully soon something will start to happen,” Seidenberg said. “It has been good. I am playing lots and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I think I fit in nicely and I hope I stay here.”
|04.08.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Bruins’ center Marc Savard dropped by TD Garden for the team’s morning skate on Thursday and spoke to the media to give an update on his condition after sustaining a Grade 2 concussion after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7. Savard still looks a little pale and speaks like a person not used to being out of bed but said there has been progress.
“I am starting to feel better. I have been getting out a little bit and doing somethings, you know, getting out of the house. Starting to feel better, that’s for sure and hopefully it continues,” Savard said. “I am still not quite feeling 100 percent.”
Severe concussions are a tricky injury to come back from because there can be good days and bad days. Kind of a two steps forward, one step back type of ordeal. Savard reiterated multiple times that he is “starting to feel better” and that he has been able to get out of the house and do some walking around.
“I have made some steps this week, especially with the good weather I have been able to get outside, get some color and definitely this last week I have felt better,” Savard said.
Part of the recovery process is dealing with an irregular sleep cycle and Savard expressed that was one of the biggest problems that he has been having.
“Obviously I am on a little bit of medication to help me through that because my sleep has been a little bit all over the place. I have had some trouble sleeping through the night but the doctors gave me a prescription to get through that. Having some bad dreams and stuff like that but nothing I can’t get over,” Savard said.
Until Savard is symptom free, he said he is not even going to start to think about hockey related activities. Right now it is enough just to be able to watch the games and root for his teammates.
“There is still minor headaches and some other stuff that I am still cautious about and until that goes away I am not going to look at coming back. For now I am cheering the boys on and able to watch now,” Savard said.
|04.07.10 at 1:21 pm ET|
Mark Recchi has been nominated by Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for the 2010 Bill Masterton Trophy, presented to the player who exhibits “to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
“It is a great honor, obviously. I kept on plugging along here, and it also means I am old,” Recchi said. “There have been some great players who have been awarded this, and it is just a great honor to be able to play in the NHL still, and I love it and it is nice to be recognized.”
The 42-year-old Recchi has played in all 79 games for the Bruins this season, collecting 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points. He has gradually moved up the NHL’s all-time scoring and games played lists. He is now ninth all time in games played (1,569), 22nd in goals scored (562), 17th in assists (922) and 13th in points (1,484).
With all his accomplishments, Recchi said that he is leaning toward playing next year as opposed to going into retirement.
“I definitely am leaning toward the other way than I am towards retirement,” Recchi said. “I am still having a lot of fun, and this time of year coming up here is what we ultimately play for and I am looking forward to it.”
Recchi has been a dressing room leader for the Bruins since being acquired at the trade deadline last season, and the young Bruins appreciate having him around. Milan Lucic, who is half Recchi’s age, knows how important it is to have a veteran like Recchi available to him.
“Yeah, there is no question that he should be up for that award,” Lucic said. “You know, he comes to the rink and works hard every day. There are not a lot of 42-year-olds who can move like him, but he is great and he is a great leader. Definitely as a young guy he is someone you can look up to and even if you have a question about anything just someone you can talk to and he is there for you all the time. Congrats to him, and he has a great chance to win.”
Lucic said that the shock of playing with a future Hall of Fame member has worn off a little bit since Recchi’s arrival, but it is still great to be around the elder forward as he climbs various all-time lists.
“It was more so [a sense of awe] when he first came here, but obviously this year when he is moving up the goal ladder, it is fun to see, it is cool to see,” Lucic said. “One day when I am done playing I can say that I played with Mark Recchi, so that will be something cool to say.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien has appreciated having Recchi around as a player as much for his play on the ice as well his ability to help the young players along, especially guys such as Lucic and Blake Wheeler, who should be able to make decent livings in the NHL camped out in front of the net, Recchi’s forte.
“Well, we have talked a lot about that this year and rightfully so,” Julien said. “He has led us on the ice without a doubt, and obviously his experience in different situations in the dressing room and with our captain and assistants, he has been a good player that way as well. It is hard for young guys to not want to follow when they see a guy that has been around that long lead by example. His work ethic and commitment, I can’t say enough about what he has brought to our team this year.”
|04.07.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — What happens when the core disintegrates?
You could take the movie version like in that terrible version of a modern B movie “The Core” in which there are a lot of mysterious lightning storms that happen to strike over Rome as an example. Or maybe in the new blockbuster “2012″ in which the world tears itself to shreds and humanity’s elite are forced to take refuge in the digital age version of the ark. Either way, it was not that pretty.
Perhaps not quite as dramatic, but the Bruins have relied on steady defense and goaltending this year to put themselves in position to make the playoffs despite their league-worst offense. Yet, in the last week, the Bruins have had two of their top three defensemen need to have surgery and their best blueliner and captain break his nose. Mark Stuart will miss about two weeks after having surgery for cellulitis in his finger and Dennis Seidenberg is out for the rest of the season (barring some miraculous playoff run) after having surgery to fix a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm that he sustained in the first period against Toronto on Saturday.
The Seidenberg surgery came more out of the blue because it seemed that he was all right on Tuesday after he talked to the media, giving no indication that an operation was imminent.
“I think in the morning he felt pain and obviously before the game we tried something with him and in the warmup he still felt pain,” coach Claude Julien said. “In the short time I have known him I think it is pretty obvious that he is a tough individual, so for him not to go something was obviously wrong and the diagnosis we got from Toronto was not the same diagnosis we got here.”
Add to that the perpetual mystery that is Andrew Ference (out for the regular season but being evaluated every day) and Boston has all of a sudden become very light on the back end.
Practice at Ristuccia on Wednesday looked a little more like training camp than a team preparing for its final three games in a season in a playoff race. Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk have been recalled to the Bruins from Providence, and the ways things are going they are up for longer than just the usual “emergency basis.” On the offensive side, Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand are not exactly the players one would expect to see on the roster in early April, but so it goes. (To be fair, Marchand and Whitfield have earned their extended cups of coffee.)
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