|10.27.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
The Bruins and Canadiens are set to face off for the first time this season Thursday at TD Garden. The 2-5-2 Habs are coming off a win against the Flyers Wednesday, while the 3-5-0 B’s haven’t played since Saturday’s loss to the Sharks.
Adam McQuaid (neck) has been medically cleared to play, with Claude Julien saying the “possibility of him playing is probably very good.” Julien said all seven defenseman will take the ice for warmups. If McQuaid is in, Steven Kampfer is out.
Here are a few other notes:
– The team left the morning skate in a single-file line, with Tuukka Rask the first goalie in line. That makes it tougher to tell whether he’ll be in net Thursady, but the guess here is that it’s only logical. Rask hasn’t started in nine days, and it might be better to let Thomas play in Montreal given Rask’s struggles there on March 8 of last season.
Peter Budaj was on the ice with the Canadiens’ scratches Thursday morning, so assume workhorse Carey Price will be in net vs. the B’s.
– Everyone was on the ice for the Bruins, and the forward lines remain the same as in Wednesday’s practice.
– This will be the fourth time this season that the B’s are hosting a team who played the previous night. The Bruins are 2-1-0 in those games, as they beat the Lightning and Leafs and fell to the Sharks.
– Benoit Pouliot will be facing his former Montreal mates for the first time. In his lone career game against a former team, March 20 of last season against the Wild, Pouliot racked up three points, all assists.
– This will be the first time Max Pacioretty share the ice since Chara ended the Habs winger’s season last March 8. Julien said the team’s main feeling on the situation is one of happiness that Pacioretty is healthy.
|10.27.11 at 2:23 am ET|
People found it surprising when Habs forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a wrist injury earlier in the week, took the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate. What was even more surprising was that Jacques Martin then said he’d be a game-time decision for Wednesday night’s game against the Flyers. The surprising news day regarding the young Habs winger ended with Pacioretty not only playing, but scoring twice in the Habs’ 5-1 win (the victory perhaps the biggest the biggest surprise of all).
That means that, assuming he didn’t re-aggravate anything, Pacioretty will be in the lineup Thursday against the Bruins, making it the first time he’s faced the B’s since March 8 of last season. That would be the last game he’d play that season, as a shove into the stanchion from Zdeno Chara at Bell Centre left him concussed and a fractured vertebra.
Pacioretty travelled with the Habs in the first round of the playoffs, so he’s been to Boston since all of the Chara/Mark Recchi hullabaloo. The last time he played at the Garden was the Feb. 9 fight night between the Bruins and Habs, which the B’s won, 8-6. Pacioretty jumped Steven Kampfer in the second period of that game, after a Brad Marchand hit on James Wisniewski caused fireworks between the two teams. Pacioretty’s actions drew the attention of Chara, who came to the defense of Kampfer.
Chara didn’t say much when asked about Pacioretty Wednesday, saying he was just excited for the games against the Canadiens.
|10.26.11 at 1:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was declared “symptom-free” by head coach Claude Julien after the defenseman once again. He will be a game-time decision when the Bruins play the first game of a home-and-home against the struggling Canadiens on Thursday.
McQuaid has played in only three games this season, missing the season-opener with an illness and being held out of the last four games with a neck injury that the team had been treating as a concussion.
Some other notes from practice:
– Retired forward Mark Recchi was in the house at Ristuccia Arena, sitting up top with management as he watched his former team prepare for the Habs. No word on how he feels about Max Pacioretty‘s wrist injury.
– Julien said his move to switch Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton was done in an effort to create a little more depth and a little more production. Peverley got off to a good start this season when skating with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, so getting that line going would be big for the B’s. Marchand has been held without a point in the last four games, and said after practice that if he can get going, as an energy player he can create a ripple effect on the rest of the team.
Krejci said he hasn’t liked the start he’s gotten off to, so the move to have Horton with he and Benoit Pouliot isn’t all about just getting Horton going.
– Speaking of Marchand, he and the other players to visit Children’s Hospital Tuesday weighed in on the experience and their costumes. The best line came from Marchand, who said there was a child who honestly thought Zdeno Chara was dressed as an alien in his bunny costume. Marchand was Prince Charming, and asked why he wasn’t Aladdin for the sake of skipping out on a shirt, said that Adam McQuaid‘s Fred Flinstone costume was too similar.
– Some of our friends in the Montreal media are in town already, with one asking Chara about potentially playing against Pacioretty if he is indeed healthy enough to go in one of the upcoming games. Chara responded by saying, “I’m just happy to play the game.”
– The Bruins worked on the shootout late in practice, with Horton providing perhaps the prettiest of goals when he beat Tim Thomas glove-side.
– Tyler Seguin broke a pane of glass with a wrist-shot in practice. That’s a heck of a shot when it’s on net.
|10.26.11 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Bruins are 3-5-0 and next host the 1-5-2 Canadiens Thursday night in the first game of a home-and-home series. Despite the team’s losing records, Marchand said he expects the rivalry to resume in style.
“These [games] are a lot of fun and the crowd loves them,” he said. “They’re fun games to be in. We’re excited for them. ‘¦ We struggled against them last year a bit, so we do have to be better against them this year.”
Marchand said the Bruins are focused on making immediate improvement, with the goal of being among the top eight in the East a month from now.
“We talked about this last year: Usually by Thanksgiving, the teams that are in playoff position usually make the playoffs,” he said. “So, when it comes to that point, we want to make sure we’re in a playoff position. We’ve got to get on a roll if we’re going to do that. Tomorrow night’s a great way to start that.”
The Canadiens have a habit of embellishing to draw penalties, but Marchand wouldn’t take the bait when asked about that behavior. “That happens sometimes,” he said. “Not much you can really do but, I guess, worry about it after the fact.”
|10.26.11 at 11:17 am ET|
|10.25.11 at 8:44 pm ET|
An interesting point was raised regarding Bruins goaltending during Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media Tuesday. Remember when the Bruins said their intention was to play Tuukka Rask more than last season, especially early on?
Rask has started just two games this season, allowing one goal to Avalanche in the B’s 1-0 loss in the third game of the season, and allowing four goals last Tuesday against the Hurricanes. As was the case last season, Tim Thomas has been the No. 1 guy by a large margin as far as starts goes.
“In fairness to Tuukka, he probably should have gotten another start here or there, but you see Tim, how he’s playing, and you want him to recapture some of the stuff that he had last year,” Chiarelli said. “‘¦ What I see and observe is we’ve had had discussions on the goaltender situation. I think in the end you’ll see it go into line with what he originally put out there.”
The upcoming home-and-home with the Canadiens should be interesting when it comes to splitting up goaltending duties, should they go in that direction. If Rask starts Thursday and Thomas starts Saturday, Thomas will have gone a week without playing. Rask has gone a week since his last start as it is, and his last game in Montreal wasn’t pretty for anyone, perhaps with the exception of Lars Eller.
Rask started 27 games last season, posting an 11-14-2 record, 2.67 goals against average, and .918 save percentage. Thomas started the rest of the games, going 35-11-9 in his second Vezina-winning season. He had a 2.00 GAA set the NHL single-season record with a .938 save percentage.
|10.25.11 at 8:33 pm ET|
It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but one that it seems is worth believing.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call Tuesday that he believes the Bruins’ 3-5-0 start is, on some level, the team suffering from a Stanley Cup hangover. The defending champs have failed to capitalize on scoring chances, and have scored as many goals as they’ve allowed (19).
“I’ve talked to GMs and coaches and players that have been through this,” Chiarelli said. “They have different stories, but they all say there’s something that happens that you can’t avoid. Malaise is too strong of a word, but it’s just a bit of a cloud right now. I know one team said it took them 20 games before they were back to normal. There’s no easy answer, and I’m not using it as a crutch. It’s something that we expected, and talking to the guys to start the year, we’ve just got to deal with it.”
The Bruins have not played since Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Sharks and will not play again until they host the Canadiens Thursday at TD Garden.
“I’m obviously not happy with where we are in the standings, but this is new to us,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t want to overreact, and unfortunately we have to do it game-by-game.”