|03.12.14 at 1:10 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Often times, it can be a good thing if a defenseman can go unnoticed for a game, as it means he isn’t making mistakes and isn’t getting beat. It was hard to miss Andrej Meszaros in his first game as a Bruin, but it wasn’t because of miscues, but rather his willingness to shoot the puck.
Meszaros landed a team-high six shots on goal in that game, a 5-2 win over the Panthers Sunday, and one of them sailed past Roberto Luongo to make him the first Bruins defenseman to score his in Bruins debut to score since Sergei Gonchar back in 2004.
“I’d love to shoot as much as I can,” Meszaros said Wednesday. “Obviously when I have the puck, when I have the lane, I shoot it if somebody’s in front of the net. That’s what you want to do. If you shoot and get the rebound or tips, you can score goals. It’s what I’m trying to do in the offensive zone: help scoring goals. That’s what I like. If there’s a passing lane, I’ll pass it. If there’s a shooting lane, I’ll shoot it. It depends on the situation.”
Sunday’s game was the second this season in which Meszaros has landed six shots on goal, and there were a couple of reasons for it. First of all, he played 3:50 on the power play. He had two shots on goal on the man advantage, including his second-period goal.
Another reason is the fact that he was playing on the right side. A lefty, Meszaros has played on the right side for most of his career, but he was used mostly on the left side in Philadelphia this season.
Playing on the right side allows for easier one-timers from Meszaros, who showed in Sunday’s game that he has a heavy shot that’s capable of getting through from the back end.
Bruins fans grew frustrated with 2011 trade acquisition Tomas Kaberle‘s unwillingness to shoot the puck, as didn’t get a puck on net until his fourth game with the team and totaled just one shot on goal in his first five games for Boston.
Coach Claude Julien likes to see his defense willing to fire the puck regardless of who they are. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are the only defensemen on the team averaging two or more shots on goal per game, with Krug averaging 2.39 a night and Chara averaging 2.27 per game.
“I think I want to get shots from the point from everybody,” Julien said. “It’s more about just, play your game. If they’re going to collapse, then let’s bring it up top. If you get them spread out, then we can use those plays like any other team does. There’s not a huge secret to this game.”
Meszaros will play again Wednesday night against the Canadiens and will likely be paired with Chara again.
|03.12.14 at 12:20 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Dougie Hamilton will be a health scratch for the second straight game Wednesday night, as Claude Julien will use the same six defensemen vs. the Canadiens that he used Sunday against the Panthers.
“Dougie’s going to be out again,” Julien said. “I’m going with the same D core as I had the other night.”
With Hamilton and Corey Potter both sitting, it is likely that Julien will keep Zdeno Chara with newcomer Andrej Meszaros. The Bruins’ deadline day acquisition had a goal and a team-high six shots on goal in his Bruins debut Sunday.
Wednesday will mark Hamilton’s fourth healthy scratch of the season, as he sat out two games in October. He has also missed 13 games due to injury. Julien had said on Tuesday that Meszaros’ presence didn’t mean Hamilton would be a regular healthy scratch.
‘Dougie’s not going to sit long,’ Julien said. ‘Dougie has played good hockey and he’s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.
In other lineup news, Jordan Caron will play on the fourth line in place of Daniel Paille, who is out with a concussion. Paille took part in Wednesday’s morning skate, though he is not expected to play until Saturday at the earliest.
“We felt it was a real minor concussion, but protocol is what it is,” Julien said. “You have to respect that, and right now he’s gone through the stages and is doing very well. Today he skated without contact and hopefully we move on to the next level by tomorrow.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.11.14 at 6:36 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Whenever the Bruins and Canadiens play, it’s a big game. For the last year, the rivalry has been a big disappointment for the Bruins.
The Habs have won the last five meetings between the two teams dating back to last March 3 and are looking to improve to 3-0-0 against the B’s this season. In each of the last three games between the teams, the Bruins have scored just one goal.
The B’s can’t put their finger on why the Habs have had their number, but Claude Julien ventured a guess Tuesday.
“I can’t answer that, but I can tell you one thing: I don’t think we’ve played well against them,” Julien said. “Have they given us trouble or have we given ourselves trouble? That’s the thing we’ve got to figure out here because in my mind it’s not to take any credit away from them but I’m going to talk more about this year.
“The game in Boston [a 4-1 Habs win on Jan. 31], we just weren’t playing well at all, so hopefully tomorrow we’ll paint a different picture, and if we play the way we’ve played lately I think it’s going to be a great game. So we’ve just got to focus on that.”
While the troublesome outings have been there for the B’s in recent meetings with the Canadiens, Julien wouldn’t go as far as saying that the Habs do something that throws them off their game. Read the rest of this entry »
|03.11.14 at 6:06 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Healthy scratches aren’t expected to be a regular thing for Dougie Hamilton, so it was rather surprising in the team’s first practice since Hamilton was benched for Andrej Meszaros that Hamilton was skating on the team’s fourth pairing with Corey Potter.
“No, no, don’t read into that guys, I didn’t even make pairs today,” Julien said at the mention of Hamilton skating with Potter. “They just kind of paired themselves, believe it or not. We were just doing a practice here at moving pucks and so on and so forth. There was nothing; don’t read anything into what you saw today as far as who’s with who. Like I said, I didn’t even make pairs today.”
Though he did not say whether Hamilton will be back in the lineup Wednesday against the Canadiens, Julien stressed that Meszaros wasn’t acquired to take Hamilton’s job.
“Dougie’s not going to sit long,” Julien said. “Dougie has played good hockey and he’s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.
“We hadn’t lost a game and we put Mez in; we played fairly well. Now we won again, [but it] doesn’t mean my lineup’s not going to change. So I’ve got to make some tough decisions here as we move forward, but the good part is we’ve got a lot of games in a short span of time, so there’s lots of room for everybody to get in there.”
As for Meszaros, Julien said that the team is trying out the left-shooting Meszaros on the right side — as it did Sunday when he played with Chara — to make sure he is comfortable playing both sides.
“He’s played left all year. He’s played right most of his career, but right now we know he can play left,” Julien said. “The toughest part is for a guy to play on his off-side, so we’ve got him playing right in practice right now just to make sure, because he hasn’t played the right side this year. He’s played for about 10 years on the right side, but this year he hadn’t played there, so we’re just giving him an opportunity here to get comfortable there as well because we’re going to need him to play both sides.”
|03.11.14 at 4:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins forward Daniel Paille did not practice Tuesday and will miss Wednesday’s game against the Canadiens with a concussion suffered in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Panthers.
Paille left Sunday’s tilt after taking a big hit from Ed Jovanovski on his first shift of the game. This is the second concussion Paille has suffered this season, as he missed seven games in December with a head injury.
Claude Julien said that Paille is unlikely to play Thursday against the Coyotes as well, though the team hopes to have him back for Saturday’s contest against the Hurricanes.
“He’s feeling much better. Like I said the other day, it’s very minimal, but they deemed it a concussion so he’s going through the protocol right now,” Julien said. “… He’s not playing tomorrow and more than likely not Thursday either, but a very good possibility for Saturday.”
With Paille out, Jordan Caron practiced on the team’s fourth line Tuesday at the Bell Centre and is expected to play in Paille’s usual spot Wednesday.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.11.14 at 1:41 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The fact that Thomas Vanek has produced big-time against the Bruins in his career isn’t exactly a secret. Frequently referred to as a “Bruins-killer,” the 30-year-old winger has 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points against the Bruins in 53 career games.
When that type of offense was being put up with the Sabres and Islanders (he had a goal and three assists in three games against Boston in his four-month stint with the Islanders), he was a nuisance for the Bruins. Now that he’s with the Canadiens after a deadline-day shocker, he could be a big problem.
On Tuesday, Vanek participated in his first practice with the Canadiens after playing in two games for them (zero points, minus-1 rating). After it, he downplayed his dominance against the B’s.
“I think numbers are numbers. Sometimes they’re overblown,” he said. “For me, I don’t prepare any different. It’s just another game, really. They’re a good team and you’ve got to be ready.”
While he shrugged off his statistics, Vanek did venture a guess as to why he always seems to have big games against Boston.
“The last four or five years, to me, Boston has been one of the better teams in the league,” he said. “You want to play your best against the best teams, but again, I think sometimes just the numbers are the numbers. I can’t really tell you why that is, but I can tell you that it’s a big game, it’s a great team and you want to play in big games.”
Vanek isn’t the only Canadien who performs well against the Bruins, as Montreal has taken both of the teams’ meetings this season and has won its last five games against Boston dating back to last season.
That doesn’t mean the Habs will take the B’s lightly, as the Bruins are a point out of first place in the Eastern Conference and are 7-0-3 in their last 10 road games.
‘First of all, the Bruins, this is a good hockey team,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said. “They are battling with Pittsburgh right now for first place in the conference and every game is a new challenge. Tomorrow is no different and it’s a huge challenge for us.’
Vanek has played mostly with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta in his two games for Montreal. Therrien really wants Vanek to be a fit with Plekanec, one of the better two-way centers in the league, so he intends to keep him on that line for as long as it takes for the trio to work.
With a pair of games for the Canadiens under his belt, Vanek is still looking for his first goal with the Canadiens. Wednesday night, in his first home game with the team and against the team he’s long dominated, would seem to be a pretty strong candidate.
Whether or not he gets that first goal Wednesday, the addition of Vanek has certainly changed the look of the Eastern Conference and has added more fuel to an already-intense rivalry.
|03.11.14 at 1:16 pm ET|
MONTREAL – Carey Price practiced with the Canadiens and faced shots on Tuesday at the Bell Centre, but he will remain out of the lineup with a lower-body injury when the Hab’s face the Bruins Wednesday night.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said that the team is pleased with the progress Price has made in recovering from the injury, which was sustained at the Olympics.
“He’s getting closer,” Therrien said. “He had a good day today and we’ll see at the end of the week where he’s at and then we will go from there.”
Therrien did not say whether it would be Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski between the pipes for Montreal Wednesday. Budaj has lost his last three starts but made 34 saves in a 4-1 Canadiens victory in the last meeting between the Bruins and Habs on Jan. 30.
In other Canadiens injury news, Josh Gorges had surgery on his hand and is expected to miss a month. Gorges is a very important piece of Motnreal’s blue line, as he is P.K. Subban’s regular partner and is third on the team with 21:13 of ice time per game.
Gorges said he hopes to be able to get into some games prior to the playoffs so that he can be in proper game shape when the postseason begins.
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