|12.14.11 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Bruins picked up their third straight win Wednesday, defeating the Senators, 5-2, on a two-goal night from Daniel Paille.
Rich Peverley got the B’s on the board in the first period, but Daniel Alfredsson tied the game 4:23 into the second period. Patrice Bergeron and Paille scored breakaway goals in a 56-second span in the third period, and Jason Spezza made it a 4-2 game when he beat Tim Thomas stick-side for his 10th goal of the season. Paille added his second of the game with just over a minute remaining, beating Craig Anderson with a bomb over the netminder’s glove.
The B’s now have 41 points on the season, which is as many as the conference-leading Flyers, though the Bruins have played one more game than Philadelphia. The two teams will meet when the Flyers host the B’s Saturday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– That’s back-to-back games with goals for Rich Peverley. The third-line winger now has six goals on the season, and his line continues to be a problem for other teams. Peverley had yet another strong night in the faceoff circle, winning seven of his first 10 draws.
– While the timing of some of the penalties wasn’t the best (see below), the Bruins had a strong night on special teams despite never having a power play. The B’s penalty kill effectively killed off all five of the Senators’ power plays on the night. Thomas came up especially big on the Senators’ fifth power play at a time in which a goal would have made it a one-goal game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The B’s had better hope Zdeno Chara is ready for Saturday, because it looks like Adam McQuaid has a suspension coming. McQuaid extended his left leg to knee Senators’ forward Nick Foligno in the second period, and Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen went after McQuaid following the dirty play. McQuaid was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
– The Bruins helped momentum swing in the Senators’ favor when Brad Marchand flipped the puck over the glass in the Boston zone for a delay of game penalty shortly after Spezza’s goal. The Senators had new life when they got within two goals with less than five minutes to play, so handing them a power play wasn’t the smartest move for the B’s.
|12.14.11 at 2:18 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara, who travelled with the team to Ottawa Tuesday night, returned to the ice Wednesday morning for the first time since suffering a leg injury Saturday night in Columbus.
According to the Boston Globe, Chara skated with Jordan Caron, who figures to be a healthy scratch once again, for 35 minutes. Chara is not expected to play vs. the Senators, but could play Saturday against the Flyers.
‘I felt OK,’ Chara told the Boston Globe after skating. ‘First skate. First time on the ice in 3-4 days. I didn’t expect to be feeling great. But also, I didn’t feel bad. It’s a good sign. You’re going to have those days. Slowly progressing.’
|12.14.11 at 9:58 am ET|
There were several chances for Tuukka Rask to blink in the third period Tuesday and lose his first shutout of the season.
But the Bruins goalie, on the heels of replacing Tim Thomas on Saturday in Columbus, didn’t flinch. He turned away all 20 shots in the third period, and all 41 for the game as the Bruins beat the Kings, 3-0.
“I just tried to save every puck,” Rask said of his ninth career shutout. “You don’t want to think about shutouts because you might chase yourself but ‘ couple tough chances in the end but that was it.
“You just try to protect your lead and we hopefully get that third goal. They came out hard so got some pretty good chances but were able to keep them off the scoreboard and then Marchy [Brad Marchand] got a nice goal there to extend the lead so that was good to see.”
“[Brown] pretty much didn’t have anything else and just tried to shoot it upstairs, don’t know if he actually shot it low or something but it was some kind of misplay there and Johnny was just taking back door and he left the guy there for me and ‘ hit something,” Rask said.
Rask said he wasn’t looking at the shots accumulating on the scoreboard during the final 20 minutes.
“I don’t think you have time to watch the shot clock or anything but you definitely feel the momentum changing at times and today they had a lot of chances in the third,” he said. “And maybe we weren’t at our sharpest but they came at us pretty hard too.
So, on a night the Bruins didn’t have captain Zdeno Chara for the first time this season, the Bruins needed Rask to be the true last line of defense.
“Probably some part of that is Z missing but I think we also need to tighten up,” Rask said. “We weren’t that bad we didn’t give too many second chances and lots of shots came from the outside and stuff. But it’s just one of those games where you get lots of shots against and I don’t think it’s because of [Chara] missing.
“You need some luck to have some shutouts too. They had a couple of posts today. And I think it’s definitely tougher to have a shutout than to play one period.”
Now, Claude Julien has a decision to make. Will he ride the hot hand tonight in Ottawa with Rask or will he go back to his No. 1 in Tim Thomas? No matter the answer, Rask showed Tuesday that the Bruins now have two dependable netminders as they hit the road to take on the Senators and Flyers this week.
“He was good tonight, arguably our best player tonight,” Julien said. “He stood tall and they threw a lot of shots at him, certainly not easy shots to stop. There was a lot of traffic in front of the net’screens. He had the quick feet going, made the saves on close-range and was probably our best player. So he got better as the game went on and I thought he did a good job the other night coming in and kind of settling himself in in the third period and then he just carried that into tonight.”
|12.13.11 at 9:26 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask picked up his first shutout of the season as the Bruins blanked the Kings, 3-0, at TD Garden Tuesday night.
Rich Peverley got the Bruins on the board at 6:32 in the second off a nice feed from Zach Hamill, who had been called up to replace the injured Gregory Campbell. Marchand added goals in the second and third periods to give Rask and the B’s some breathing room.
Rask made 41 saves in the game, which made for a season-high. The 60 shutout minutes improved his goals against average to 1.82, which ties him with Jimmy Howard for second in the league. His .939 save percentage is behind only Brian Elliot’s .947.
The Bruins will travel to Ottawa to face the Senators Wednesday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– On the same day that Claude Julien essentially called out Marchand for last week’s slew foot against the Penguins, the second-year forward responded with a two-goal performance. His first goal Tuesday was his first goal this month — his 10th of the season — and it came when Bergeron won a draw in the offensive zone cleanly and drew it back to the pesky forward. Marchand had a breakaway bid in the second, but his backhander was stopped by Quick. Marchand’s second goal of the night also came off a Bergeron faceoff win.
– Zach Hamill continues to look like a guy who could play every night in the NHL if he weren’t in such a loaded organization. The former eighth overall pick, who has failed to stick and make an impact at the NHL level, picked up his second assist in three games this season when he threaded the needle to to Peverley in front of the net in the first period. His work on the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton led to another strong scoring chance in the first period in which Thornton was tripped and gave the B’s a power play.
– The Bruins were sensational in the faceoff circle. Bergeron had two assists off of faceoff wins, and won 11 of his first 16 draws. Both Peverley and David Krejci also had solid nights at the dot, each winning eight of their first 11 faceoffs.
– The Kings didn’t apply a ton of pressure in the first 20 minutes of the game, but Rask had to work and come up with some big stops to earn his first shutout of the season. The Kings dominated early in third period, outshooting the B’s, 8-2, through the first 11 minutes. He faced only 17 shots in his last shutout, which was March 1, 2011 against the Senators, but faced 20 shots in the third period alone. It was the ninth shutout of Rask’s career.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Paille had a strong game for the Bruins (a common trend for the opportunistic winger this season), but he nearly gave the Kings a 1-0 lead in the first period when he sent a bad pass back to Adam McQuaid from close range at the Bruins’ blueline. The play led to a turnover in which Simon Gagne fed Dustin Penner. The Kings did not capitalize, as Penner either whiffed completely or just barely got a piece of it.
– The score likely would have been greater in the Bruins’ favor were it not for some hit crossbars. Chris Kelly clanked a shot off the crossbar in the second period, and Benoit Pouliot did the same a period later.
|12.13.11 at 6:55 pm ET|
|12.13.11 at 6:40 pm ET|
Claude Julien didn’t even know Brad Marchand was fined for his slew-foot on Matt Niskanen last week until he was asked about it Tuesday, but the Bruins coach wasn’t surprised by the punishment. In fact, he felt his player deserved it.
“When it happened, I addressed it right after the period,” Julien said Tuesday. “You know, there’s certain things that we all can deal with, with certain players and what they do but slew-footing is certainly not something that I like to see, whether it’s for or against us. If he’s going to be doing that, then he’s going to get fined. He’s deserving of it and he has to own up to his mistakes, and he’s done a good job of doing that.
“Again we talk about a young player who’s trying to find that, the fine line and not crossing it and there’s times where he does and he gets fined and again, we’ve addressed it,” he added. “I want him, as I put in my own words, I want him to be a good brat, not a bad brat, so I used that term with him and that means don’t cross the line and I thought he did that time. And his response was ‘I thought I was going to get away with it’ so, but that’s not what you want to see from your players.”
Marchand was fined $2,500 by the league on Monday. The incident occurred last Monday against the Penguins.
|12.13.11 at 1:26 pm ET|
He’s no Gregory Campbell, but Zach Hamill is ready to step in and center the fourth line Tuesday against the Kings.
The B’s recalled Hamill Monday night from Providence, and as fans will remember, the former eighth overall pick impressed in his brief stint in Boston last month. He assisted a Jordan Caron goal while playing on the third line in place of the injured Rich Peverley against the Oilers, and even stayed in the lineup at the expense of Benoit Pouliot the following game.
This time around, Hamill figures to play on the fourth line, which enforcer Shawn Thornton dubbed the “Merlot Line” two seasons ago. It’s a tougher line that relies on a grind-it-out style and tries to throw as many pucks on net as possible. Hamill admitted Tuesday that he’ll have to adapt to their style a bit, but that he isn’t concerned.
“Yes and no,” Hamill said when asked whether being on the fourth line means he’ll need to ramp it up physically. “I go out there every night and try to compete. I’m not going to go out there and hit 15 guys. Go out there and compete on pucks, go to the net and be good in all three zones.”
This season, the last of Hamill’s deal with the B’s, has seen more bright spots than seasons past. He was drafted as a center in 2007 and played the position in Providence until this season, when he began playing as a wing primarily. He had 13 points in his first 16 games in Providence, and impressed in his two NHL games.
“I think I was coming in here in the start with an open mind, coming in here and trying to get better every day, and that’s what I’ve kind of been doing,” Hamill said of the strides he’s made this season. “I’ve still got that mindset. I’m not looking too far ahead and not looking back also. It’s kind of been just going forward and keeping my mind on myself.”
Hamill’s been getting a lot of work on special teams in Providence, being relied on when the opponent has a 5-on-3, and feeling that this season has made him a more complete player.
Said Hamill: “I feel like I can play on any line. If it’s a skill game or keeping it a more simple game, I think I can do that. I think my work ethic and my versatility kind of shows that I can do that.”
While it’s been a generally positive season for Hamill, he’s been quiet on the stat sheet of late. He has just one point, a goal, over his last nine games. All things considered, he feels good about his game and hopes he can continue to make a better impression than he may have in previous seasons.
“It’s been a little slower stat-wise [in recent games], but I think everywhere else, I’ve felt that I’ve been playing pretty good,” he said. “The chances are there. I’m shooting the puck more. I think my shots have been going up, so it’s been good. A lot of penalty-killing and getting out there and kind of playing situational roles.”