|01.20.12 at 12:28 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to discuss Thursday night’s victory over the Devils. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins scored all four goals in the final period of the 4-1 victory, including two in the final 35 seconds.
“I think we snapped out of some frustration last night,” Ference said. The first two periods were kind of same old story. Guys almost trying too hard, trying to do too much and getting frustrated, throwing stuff around. Third period, [Patrice] Bergeron had some good words just to calm everybody down and get everybody back on track. Obviously, it helps to get an early goal and their team really deflated but we definitely picked up our game.”
Added Ference: “Bergy got everybody fired up. We’re mature enough and have an experienced enough team to know to do better than what we were doing, to let the frustration kind of use up all our energy. So, it was just a matter of instead of complaining about the reffing or complaining about this or that, just going out and doing our jobs and doing them well and taking pride in it. Nothing too complicated. But you have to kind of hit reset every once in a while and get everybody on the same page.”
The Bruins have a highly anticipated game against the Rangers this Saturday. The Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference with 62 points, with the Bruins in second with 61.
“They’re a really good team,” Ference said. “I think that they’re one of those teams that you have to respect the way they play and the way they approach the game. Obviously, they’re doing a great job this year.”
Ference also gave his prediction for Sunday’s AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens: “28-14, Patriots.” As for the NFC game between the 49ers and Giants: “I’m hoping for the 49ers,” he said, explaining: “I just don’t want a New York team in there.”
|01.19.12 at 9:31 pm ET|
Gregory Campbell led the way with a Gordie Howe hat trick as the Bruins got back to winning Thursday night, defeating the Devils, 4-1, in Newark, N.J.
Danius Zubrus set up Petr Sykora‘s 12th goal of the season late in the first period to give New Jersey the lead. The two teams played a scoreless second period before Andrew Ference tied the game with a shot from the top of the circle in the third period. Nathan Horton gave the B’s their first lead of the night on the power play, scoring his third goal in the last two games.
Campbell’s goal sealed the Gordie Howe hat trick for him, as he fought Brad Mills in the first period and assisted Ference’s goal.
The Bruins will next play Saturday when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— One of the things that has made the Bruins such a good team this year has been their play in the third period — a time that they have used the period to either get leads or add to them. Thursday was no different. The B’s four unanswered goals improved their third-period differential to a whopping plus-37.
— Ference’s goal was his first in 25 games, but he’s still been having a very good season from a statistical standpoint. Ference isn’t relied upon for his scoring. His third goal of the season tied his personal best with the Bruins (he had three last season; four is his career high). Ference now has 18 points, which is the most he’s had in a single season since he had 31 with the Flames in the 2005-06 season.
— The Bruins are no strangers to scoring two goals in a minute, and they did it for the 14th time this season when Campbell followed Horton’s goal with a tally of his own. The shift that follows a goal is always a crucial one, and Claude Julien has often trusted the fourth line to take those important shifts. It paid off again Thursday.
— Thomas had allowed seven goals over his previous two starts entering Thursday night, but he was able to bounce back and bring his ‘A’ game to New Jersey, robbing David Clarkson on a rebound in the second period as one of 28 saves the reigning Vezina winner made on the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— David Krejci‘s line continued to allow goals, something Julien called the trio out for Tuesday night. Krejci won the faceoff in the Bruins’ zone prior to the Devils’ first goal, but Zubrus got to the puck behind the net and fed Sykora. Because Horton’s goal came on the power play, he has been a minus-4 over the last three games.
— The B’s had just six shots on goal in the first period for the third consecutive game. The B’s have been plagued by slow starts in recent games, and though the B’s came out looking less sloppy than they did Tuesday, they still need stronger starts to these contests. They have one first-period goal in the last four games.
— The Joe Corvo–Dennis Seidenberg pairing has become dangerous for the Bruins. Corvo has struggled mightily in his own zone of late, and Seidenberg has been catching some really bad bounces. The B’s saw a couple of those in the second period, including one puck that bounced off Seidenberg and right to a flying Ilya Kovalchuk in the neutral zone, but neither cost the B’s.
— Brad Marchand, who was playing in his first contest since being suspended five games for his hit on Sami Salo, had a rather quiet return to the lineup. The second-line winger had no shots on goal Thursday night.
|01.19.12 at 6:59 pm ET|
The Ontario Hockey League announced Thursday that Niagara defenseman Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins’ 2011 first-round pick, has been suspended 10 games.
Hamilton hit Sudbury’s Michael McDonald in the head with a high elbow in last Friday’s game between the IceDogs and the Wolves. Taken into consideration by the OHL was the fact that McDonald suffered a concussion on the play.
The ninth overall pick in June, Hamilton has put together a strong second season in the OHL. In 34 games, Hamilton has 13 goals and 37 assists for 50 points.
|01.18.12 at 1:40 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be the captain of “Team Chara” when the All-Star Game is played Jan. 29 in Ottawa, the NHL announced Wednesday. Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson will be the other team’s captain.
As captain of one of the teams, Chara will be front and center on Jan. 26 for the league’s second annual fantasy draft to determine the squads. Chara will have teammates Tim Thomas and Tyler Seguin to choose from.
|01.18.12 at 10:04 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to dissect the team’s recent struggles. The Bruins lost to the Lightning Tuesday night, their second loss in three games.
Coach Claude Julien questioned the team’s work ethic, and Brickley backed him up.
“Everybody knows it’s a fine line between winning and losing if you don’t bring the kind of effort, and then you add to that you’re missing a couple of key skill guys and how it changes your lineup,” Brickley said. “But it does, it boils down to battles, one-on-ones, who wants it more.”
With Brad Marchand serving the final game of his five-game suspension and fellow forward Rich Peverly dealing with a personal matter, the Bruins appeared to be missing a spark Tuesday in Tampa.
“They’re tremendously talented kids, they’re hockey players, they’re smart, they play the game the right way. But it’s their speed that changes the dynamic of the Bruins,” Brickley said. “When you’re watching last night’s game, the Bruins on the breakout, you see them caught by a lot of the backcheckers of Tampa. You don’t see that explosive forecheck. You don’t see them getting 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s because they have speed through center ice. ‘¦ The whole dynamic of your offense changes, but it’s the speed element that you miss the most.”
After visiting the Devils Thursday night, the Bruins host the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers Saturday afternoon.
“I’m pretty curious to see how these two teams match up,” Brickley said of Saturday’s game. “I like the way both teams are built, I like the way they’re both coached. Meaning, what’s it going to look like in April and May, because I like the way their built as far as playoff hockey. Yeah, they’ll be real good regular-season teams, too. But because of the way they play — the physical style, the physical nature, the toughness the one-on-one battles, all that kind of stuff — that’s the way both those teams are built, with a lot of talent sprinkled in. I think they’re two of the best teams in the East and I’m very curious to see where they both match up against each other and the styles that they play.”
|01.17.12 at 10:09 pm ET|
The Bruins were just sluggish and sloppy enough for the Lightning to end their seven-game losing streak, as Tampa Bay defeated the B’s, 5-3, Tuesday night.
Nathan Horton had two goals, but his contributions weren’t enough to make up for another off-night for the Bruins.
The Lightning took the lead when Vincent Lecavalier sent a loose puck past Tim Thomas at 7:11 of the first period. Horton tied the game at 4:28 of the second, but Tom Pyatt gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead before Horton tied it once more. The Lightning then regained the lead on Ryan Malone‘s 10th goal of the season, but Daniel Paille scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-3 in the third period. Dominic Moore gave the Lightning the lead for good with 3:45 remaining in the game. Steven Stamkos added an empty-netter.
The Bruins now have lost two of their last three games. They will play again Thursday in New Jersey before returning home to face the Rangers.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— The B’s slept through the first period, as they managed only two shots on goal during 5-on-5 play. They added four shots on two power plays, but it was a rough first 20 minutes the B’s.
— It looked like more of the 2009-10 Tim Thomas for the Bruins on Tuesday. Thomas is known for his unorthodox, aggressive style, and it bit the Bruins in the rear when he got a little too aggressive on Pyatt’s second goal. Thomas dove out to stop Steve Downie, and Pyatt was able to poke the puck into the net. That wasn’t the lone instance in which Thomas looked shaky, but with Thomas’ style of play he will occasionally have a night like Tuesday. The fact that these games have come so infrequently perfectly illustrates how impressive Thomas’ last 16 months have been.
— The Bruins officially can’t complain about other players diving for the rest of the season after Tyler Seguin reinvented the move on a Stamkos hook. The play occurred midway through the period, so it cost the B’s a power play in which they could have taken the lead. Given that Moore scored the game-winner after the penalties, the game could have been much different.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Claude Julien called out Horton after Monday night’s game, telling reporters the right winger needed to pick his game up. Once again, Julien’s words paid off. Horton, who had three shots on goal over the previous three games, had four shots on goal through the first two periods Tuesday and added his 15th and 16th goals of the year. If Horton can avoid the slumps and lethargic stretches he’s been prone to, he could put up 30 goals this season. He should be a safe bet to surpass his total of 26 from last season.
— Good to see Paille with some strong finishing skills, as his back-hander past Mathieu Garon came on his second shorthanded breakaway of the night.
Earlier in the period, Paille took the puck from Eric Brewer at the blue line to give himself a shorthanded breakaway, but his wrist shot was blocked by Garon before going off the post.
|01.16.12 at 10:18 pm ET|
David Krejci’s point streak ended Monday, but he scored when it mattered most, beating Scott Clemmensen with a quick snap shot in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Panthers.
Patrice Bergeron had two goals in regulation for the Bruins, giving him 11 points in seven games this month. He also scored the Bruins’ first shootout goal after Benoit Pouliot and Tyler Seguin couldn’t capitalize. Stephen Weiss scored the Panthers’ only shootout goal.
Bergeron got the Bruins on the board just 80 seconds into the game, and though the Panthers applied heavy pressure on Tuukka Rask in the first period, they didn’t see their efforts pay off until a Jason Garrison shot found its way past the Finnish goaltender. Bergeron answered back with a 5-on-3 goal, but when the second of the penalties expired, Shawn Matthias took advantage with a breakaway goal.
A hooking penalty on Bergeron 36 seconds into overtime gave the Panthers a man advantage, but the Bruins killed it off.
The Bruins will stay in Florida and face the Lightning Tuesday night at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Bergeron wasn’t the only player to shine on his line. Benoit Pouliot once again turned in a very strong performance in place of the suspended Brad Marchand, as he forced the turnover to set up the play in the Panthers’ zone in which he fed Bergeron for the game’s first goal.
Tyler Seguin was masterful on the play that led to the Bruins’ second goal, as he was free to roam around the offensive zone on the 5-on-3 before sending a pass to Bergeron in front.
– Not necessarily something that went right as much as it is a fun stat, but Daniel Paille picked up his first penalty of the season when he fought Ed Jovanovski in the first period. The two had words after it looked like Jovanovski got Paille up high, and they dropped the gloves shortly after. The fight wasn’t anything to write home about, as it lasted just a few seconds with no solid blows landed.
– See below for the details, but Rask could have let up far more than the two goals he did considering the Panthers had four breakaways.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins were caught snoozing in the seconds that followed Matthias’ second-period penalty for delay of game. When the penalty, which gave the B’s the 5-on-3 on which the B’s scored their second goal, expired, Matthias jumped out of the box and took a long pass from Tomas Kopecky and beat Rask five-hole on a breakaway.
– Speaking of breakaways, the B’s allowed four in the game. The first one also belonged to Matthias, who was stoned by Rask. The third came in the final minute of the game, when a long pass from Stephen Weiss to Michal Repik during a line change gave the Panthers forward a breakaway with Dennis Seidenberg giving chase. The golden opportunity was wasted, as Repik missed the net. The Panthers once again had the opportunity to seal the game in the final seconds of overtime, but Rask stopped Kris Versteeg on the breakaway.
– Some bad luck for Seidenberg of late. After Jay Harrison’s game-winning goal went off the defenseman Saturday night, Jason Garrison’s second-period goal came after Rask saved it and saw it go off Seidenberg and in.
Seidenberg did not skate with his usual partner in Joe Corvo Monday night. With Claude Julien shuffling the pairings, playing Seidenberg with Johnny Boyhcuk.
– While Bergeron’s stats looked very good Monday, he struggled early at the faceoff dot. Bergeron, who entered Monday third in the NHL in faceoff percentage, lost 10 of of his first 15 draws but recovered to finish regulation 13-for-23 .
– Zach Hamill can’t buy a goal. The rookie forward, who is still looking for his first career goal, had a good opportunity in the second period when he dove at a rebound from a Jordan Caron, and had a similar third-period opportunity. Clemmensen stopped both shots.
– Krejci saw his point streak end at 11 games, the longest such streak in the NHL this season. The Czech center had five goals and 11 assists over his career-best streak.