|11.23.11 at 9:49 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance to discuss the surging Bruins, who are on a nine-game winning streak.
Boston faces the Sabres on Wednesday night in a game between two Northeast Division rivals. But the game is also notable because of what occurred the last two teams faced off. In the Bruins’ win over Buffalo on Nov. 12, winger Milan Lucic collided with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who had left his crease to retrieve a loose puck. Some perceived it as a dirty hit by Lucic, but Buffalo did not react to it during the game. In Wednesday’s game, however, the Sabres are expected to seek out Lucic and exact revenge, and Brickley said that it could happen right away.
“I’m hoping that we get a look at it right from the opening puck drop,” Brickley said, adding: “It’s either going to be a bloodbath right from the start or it’s going to be a Wednesday night November game between two teams battling for first place or something in between. You never know what you’re going to get. But the anticipation is that the Buffalo Sabres are going to let the Bruins know that they’re going to man up and stand up from themselves and for one another.”
After the Sabres missed their first chance to respond, they received widespread criticism. Although both teams reportedly have been spoken to by NHL discipline boss Brendan Shanahan, Brickley said the Sabres can’t afford to let another opportunity pass.
“You never really get that same exact genuine opportunity that they had to respond when Lucic collided with Miller — or hit him or checked him or ran him, however you want to describe it. That opportunity has come and gone. And you never get that same opportunity back,” Brickley said. “But because these guys are division rivals and they’re both very good teams, they expect to see each other in the postseason, they have to respond. And if it means you sacrifice the two points tonight to send a certain message even though it’s really not part of their DNA, it’s not really how their team is made up, they do have to stand up for themselves tonight.”
Asked who he thought would be the one to fight Lucic, Brickley mentioned Sabres center Paul Gaustad. After the game on Nov. 12, Gaustad said that he was embarrassed by his team’s failure to respond to Lucic’s hit immediately.
“I expect Gaustad, he was kind of under the microscope, he had a lot of things to say following the game about how embarrassed they were,” Brickley said. “Pretty good-sized guy. He’s not on a short list on the toughest guys in the NHL, but he’s tough.”
|11.21.11 at 10:28 pm ET|
Throughout much of the Bruins’ current nine-game win streak, Boston grabbed victories by blowing out opponents. On Monday night, the Bruins proved they could win the close, low-scoring games as well when they shut out the Canadiens, 1-0, in Montreal.
The win moved the Bruins into second place behind the Penguins in the Eastern Conference and into first in the Northeast Division after residing in the basement of both the conference and division just 16 days ago. The last Bruins loss came at the hands of the Canadiens on Oct. 29 at the Bell Centre.
Tim Thomas made 32 saves to earn his second consecutive shutout, both of which came on the road. Defenseman Andrew Ference scored the only goal of the game on a wrister 15:41 into the first period. Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly recorded assists on the tally.
The Bruins will attempt to carry their win streak into double digits when they return to the ice on Wednesday in Buffalo.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Ference ended Carey Price‘s six-period shutout streak 15:41 into the game with a goal on a cross-ice feed from Rich Peverley that Ference roofed over Price’s glove. The goal was Ference’s second in as many games. It came on a delayed penalty against Montreal, but the extra-attacker had yet to reach the zone.
– Thomas was outstanding in net on Monday night. He saw the puck extremely well and was in perfect position all night. Thomas made quite a few spectacular saves, including one at the end of the second period when he robbed Mike Camalleri on a power-play jam attempt. He proved how well he was tracking the puck when he snagged a Scott Gomez tip of a Camalleri shot that changed direction at the last moment.
– The Bruins penalty kill had to step up in big moments on Monday. They were tasked with stopping the Canadiens on a four-minute kill that bridged the second and third periods, and then, with Price getting pulled in the waning moments of the game, had to kill off a 6-on-4 for the final 1:39 of the game. The saying goes that a good penalty kill starts with strong goaltending, and although Thomas was strong in net, the Bruins defenders did an admirable job clearing out pucks and pinning plays against the boards. At the end of the second period, Daniel Paille proved the Bruins commitment to the penalty kill when he dove to clear out a puck despite being fresh off surgery for a broken nose.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Former Canadien Benoit Pouliot put the Bruins’ lead in peril with six penalty minutes off of stick penalties in the second period. Pouliot’s second penalty, a four-minute double minor for high sticking, came less than three minutes after the end of his first. Bruins coach Claude Julien made Pouliot pay in the third by benching him for all but 13 seconds of the period.
– The Bruins were unable to sustain much offensive pressure throughout the game, and the top two lines were quiet for most of the night. Brad Marchand and David Krejci failed to put any shots on net. The Bruins in all barely tested Price, putting up 18 shots on the night. They were outshot 14-5 in the third period.
|11.19.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
Tim Thomas picked up his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their win streak to eight games with a 6-0 victory over the Islanders Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Chris Kelly scored twice for the Bruins, who also received scoring from Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara. Both Horton and Ference’s goals came on the man advantage. Kelly picked up a secondary assist on Ference’s goal, giving the third-line center his first regular-season three-point game as a member of the Bruins.
While Thomas was able to pick up a shutout in a fairly easy contest, nothing remotely similar could be said for Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro. The Boston University product was yanked after allowing three first-period goals,with Anders Nilsson playing the final two periods.
The Bruins will next play Monday, when they face the Canadiens at Bell Centre.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Another strong showing from one Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old drew two penalties on the night, neither of which let to a power-play goal, but both of which drove home the fact that Seguin’s more involved play this season has helped the Bruins in more ways than one. He also set up Bergeron’s goal, grabbing a puck in front of the Bruins’ net following a Joe Corvo slip-up and dishing it to Dennis Seidenberg, who in turn fed it to Marchand, who fed it back to Seguin. The speedy forward took the puck through the neutral zone and into the Islanders’ zone, blowing past Nino Niederreiter and feeding Bergeron for the center’s fourth goal of the season. Seguin now has 21 points of the season, which leaves him one short of his rookie total.
– A couple of special teams notes: First off, Horton’s first-period tally was the Bruins’ first power-play goal in four games, and Ference made it a 2-for-5 night for the man advantage. For a while it appeared the Bruins had been on their way to their first game without a penalty this season, though Kelly’s trip on Josh Bailey changed that 6:53 into the third period. Either way, with the Islanders not scoring on the power play and Andrew MacDonald taking a penalty with 29 seconds remaining on it, the Bruins ended their streak of games in which they allowed a power play goal at four. The last time the B’s had allowed a power play goal in four straight games was Oct. 1-12 of 2009.
Speaking of special teams, Benoit Pouliot got some time on the power play in the first period, drawing a Milan Jurcina holding call to set up a 30-second 5-on-3, and, upon the original penalty expiring, set up Horton’s power-play goal.
– The Bruins allowed a grand total of two shots on goal in the first period, which for the Islanders is pretty much equivalent of Tim Tebow’s two completions a couple of weeks ago. The Islanders’ first shot of the night came over 10 minutes into the contest and a first period that B’s completely dominated.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– A couple of giveaways from Joe Corvo in his own end. Corvo had the puck knocked away from him behind the net in the first period, but it resulted in Seguin setting up the play that led to Bergeron’s gaol. It didn’t cost the Bruins in the second period either, but Corvo could certainly be better in his own end than he’s been thus far.
– The B’s got only six shots on goal in the second period, the only period in which they did not score. The Islanders also woke up a bit in the second, outshooting the Bruins, 11-6.
|11.18.11 at 10:11 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning for his weekly appearance. With their 2-1 shootout win over the Blue Jackets Thursday night, Ference and the Bruins have now won seven straight games, all in the month of November. But the win over Columbus was not as easy — or as pretty — as the other wins have been for Boston. Ference said that’s just all part of the game.
“It definitely wasn’t a pretty thing to watch,” Ference said. “They came to play and it was a weird game, it probably wasn’t the best game to watch. What can you do? Those happen, but come playoff time, we’ll take the points.”
Coming up big for Boston was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who had 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. Rask was part of trade rumors early in the week, as some have speculated that the Bruins would consider trading him for Blue Jackets high scorer Rick Nash.
The rumors only got more press when Rask appeared to have an angry meltdown in practice on Wednesday when he gave up a goal during a special teams drill and tried to break his stick over the crossbar. But Ference said he doesn’t think the team pays much attention to trade speculation.
“I’m not even really sure who pays attention to that stuff. I know most guys don’t,” Ference said. “I think most guys kind of go to the Bill Belichick, never read anything that goes on. It sounds like a cop out, but I really think guys don’t pay attention to it.”
Ference went on to say that it’s an advantage to have two solid goaltenders in Rask and Tim Thomas.
“[Rask] is great for us. I think it’s awesome to have two goalies that we can have complete confidence in,” Ference said. “From a player’s perspective, you want the best players on your team. Players that you have the greatest chance of winning with. And if I can look back and see two goalies that gives us an unbelievable chance of winning every night, why wouldn’t I want that? I’d be crazy not to.”
|11.18.11 at 9:08 am ET|
He may have tricked Curtis Sanford on the decisive goal of the shootout that gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the lowly Blue Jackets Thursday night at TD Garden, but David Krejci wasn’t fooling anyone after the team’s seventh straight win.
This was a game in which the Bruins were outworked and outmuscled. But in the end, they found a way to get the two points.
They’ll take it.
“Yeah, I don’t know if we deserve this win tonight but we’ll take it,” Krejci said. “I think games like that happens sometimes and I think we battled through it and we got our two points, so we’ll take that.”
The Bruins led the Jackets 6-5 in shots after 20 minutes but then hit the wall of walls in the second, getting outshot 14-8 on their home ice and looking like a tired team that was finishing up a five-game homestand against a team that had won just three times in 17 previous tries.
“Yeah, well, I guess we kind of thought it was going to be an easy game but it wasn’t,” Krejci said. “They came here to play and they were really hard on their sticks and they were winning lots of battles, so I don’t think we were ready for that. So, it was a very tough game and, you know, like I said, I don’t think we deserved to win tonight but we’ll take the two points.”
Was it fatigue?
“Yeah, it could be,” the game’s hero said. “Maybe it — last week — especially the last few games, they were really hard and took lots of energy out of us so maybe it looked like it, but like I said, we still — the effort was still there, we still battled through it and at the end of the night we had our two points so we’re happy about that.”
As for his game-winner through the legs of Sanford, Krejci said he was just glad he wasn’t facing Tuukka Rask.
“I knew what I’m going to do,” Krejci said. “Obviously, we practiced some things. With Tuukks, we do shootouts at the end of the practice but Tuukks knows me pretty well in the last few years so it’s kind of hard to score. But these other goalies, they don’t know what I do, so I knew exactly what I’m going to do and it worked this time.”
And the lesson learned Thursday for the defending Stanley Cup champs?
“Well, don’t take anybody lightly,” Krejci said. “You know, to end a streak — you can lose against the last-place team, you can beat badly the first-place team. Just don’t take anybody lightly and just play your game. I think that’s what we have to do from now on.”
|11.17.11 at 9:42 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and David Krejci came up big for the Bruins Thursday as they defeated the Blue Jackets, 2-1, in shootout fashion at TD Garden. Rask made 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. With the shootout tied at one after two rounds, Krejci beat Curtis Sanford stick-side before Rask stopped Antione Vermette to give the B’s the win. Rich Peverley also scored for the B’s in the shootout.
Derek MacKenzie tipped a Nikita Nikitin shot on the power play to give Columbus a 1-0 lead at 2:49 of the second period. Adam McQuaid then scored his first goal of the season at 4:24 on a goal that was initially credited to Peverley.
The Bruins outshot the Blue Jackets, 5-4, in overtime, with Columbus holding a 27-22 advantage during regulation and 31-27 advantage throughout the game. The game ended a stretch of six straight games in which the B’s scored at least four goals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– McQuaid got his first goal of the season against the team that drafted him. The defenseman was taken by Columbus in the second round of the 2005 draft and was dealt to the B’s in 2007.
– Rask had a strong showing for the B’s on a night in which he had to be on his toes. The number of Bruins turnovers and the Blue Jackets’ shot advantage meant the 24-year-old had to come up big, time after time, and he did. Rask stopped MacKenzie point-blank in front after the Columbus center got a feed from behind the net, and he made a nice pad save on Jeff Carter in the second. He came up big once again in overtime on a pair of shots in front.
– Shawn Thornton got an opportunity to drop the gloves when he squared off with Jared Boll at 8:35 of the second period. It was a pretty lengthy bout, and one that grew pretty heated, as the two were still in each other’s faces and screaming at one another following the fight. Boll may have been mad at Thornton for trying to continue the fight after refs tried to break it up.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Sloppy, sloppy play for much of the first two periods. Turnovers led to Columbus chances, including a slip-up to the right of Rask’s net by Steven Kampfer, Mark Letestu gained control on the play, but Rask bailed the B’s out, as he often had to do amidst a generally drowsy night for Boston.
– Benoit Pouliot took a really dumb roughing penalty after some work in the corner of the offensive zone with Aaron Johnson led to him taking it too far and getting his hands in the face of the Columbus defenseman right in front of a referee. With the game tied in the third period and Pouliot’s spot in the lineup not solidified, it wasn’t the smartest move in the world. Pouliot stayed in the lineup with the return of Daniel Paille, meaning Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch. We’ll see if Pouliot’s penalty costs him an opportunity Saturday against the Islanders.
– Speaking of Pouliot, the winger nearly made it two straight games with a goal when he beat Sanford high stick side. The puck appeared to go in and bounce out at first glance, but play continued and there was no video review at the next stoppage, suggesting it rang off the post/crossbar.
– A hell of a stat dug up by the great Scott McLaughlin, who notes that the Bruins’ four straight games with a power play goal allowed marks their longest such stretch since Oct. 1-12 of 2009.
– With no points in the game, Tyler Seguin now has a season-worst two-game points drought. That should borderline go in the “What Went Right” section, as it illustrates how insane Seguin has been statically this season. Seguin was tied for the lead amongst Bruins forwards with three shots on goal Thursday.
|11.17.11 at 6:51 pm ET|