|11.12.11 at 11:14 pm ET|
Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was asked following Saturday night’s 6-2 loss to the Bruins whether he was injured when B’s left wing Milan Lucic charged him in the first period, but he wasn’t interested in talking about himself. He was interested in expressing his thoughts on Lucic and the dirty hit.
“I’m not going to really get into that,” Miller said of his physical condition. “I just stuck around because I just want to say what a piece of [expletive] I think Lucic is. Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that. It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless, piece of [expletive].”
Lucic blocked a shot and was chasing a puck into the Sabres’ zone when Miller darted out of his net to clear the puck. Upon Miller getting there first and sending the puck aside, Lucic didn’t stop in time, barreling over the netminder and sending his helmet off. Lucic was given a charging minor for the play.
“Well I blocked a shot, and it’s a race for a puck, and I mean I just put my head down and tried to get to it first,” Lucic said. “And next thing I looked up he was out of his net and it was a collision. So I mean obviously going into a situation like that I’m going to brace myself. And I was going full speed so it was pretty hard for me to put on the brakes. So that’s basically it.”
While he didn’t seem nearly as upset with the play as Miller, Tim Thomas did seem to understand Miller’s unhappiness with the play.
“I will say that as a goalie, you’re not really prepared for people to hit you in a situation like that,” Thomas said. “You’ve been trained over the course of your whole career [to believe] you’re not going to get hit in situations like that. It must have taken him by surprise.”
There was no retaliation on Lucic, so Thomas was prepared for the possibility of the Sabres going after him.
“Basically, from my perspective, after that happened, [I was] just trying to make sure I was on my toes,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know if there would be kind of a retribution hit. That’s kind of the old school way.”
If there were to be a hit on Thomas, Lucic said he and the Bruins would have reacted much more than the Sabres did.
“Definitely. You know, we wouldn’t accept anything like that,” Lucic said. “We would have [taken] care of business. But we’re a different team than they are.”
|11.12.11 at 9:41 pm ET|
The Bruins are finally over .500, and they have a lot of scoring and a couple of youngsters to thank for it.
The B’s defeated the Sabres, 6-2, at TD Garden Saturday to improve to 8-7-0 on the season behind three-point nights from Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. Seguin had a two-goal showing, matching his rookie-year total of 11 goals. Marchand had a goal and two assists.
Thomas Vanek got the Sabres on the board at 5:38 of the first period when he banked a shot off the back of Tim Thomas‘ leg. It was Vanek’s 11th goal of the season. Rich Peverley, who was making his return to the lineup after missing the last two games, tied it at one at 7:40 of the second before Seguin and Nathan Horton scored 16 seconds apart to give the B’s a 3-1 lead.
Buffalo starter Ryan Miller was replaced by Jhonas Enroth to begin the third period, but it did the Sabres no good. Peverley set up Chris Kelly in front of the net for Kelly’s fourth goal of the season to give the B’s some insurance, with Seguin and Marchand also scoring in the third. Both Kelly and Peverley ended the night with a goal and an assist. Marc-Andre Gragnani scored a power-play goal for the Sabres in the third period.
The Bruins will host the Devils Tuesday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Seguin has scored in four straight games and has nine points (7 G, 2 A) over the last six games. Everyone knew he was the most talented player on the Bruins, but his more assertive play this season has helped him prove that he’s a legitimate goal-scorer worth fearing in the NHL. Marchand and Bergeron did most of the work on his two goals, so Seguin returned the favor on Marchand’s tally by threading the needle to his linemate in the slot.
– It wasn’t long ago that Marchand appeared to be stuck in a sophomore slump, but his helper on Seguin’s goal gave him a career-best five-game point steak. Marchand stole the puck in the neutral zone to set up his 2-on-1 with Seguin, and waited just long enough for Miller to commit to him before sliding the puck to the 19-year-old for the easy score.
– You learn in youth hockey that goals come in waves, but the Bruins have illustrated that to anyone who didn’t already know. The quick goals they received from Seguin and Horton marked the ninth time this season the B’s have scored two goals in less than a minute.
– Some good work from WEEI’s Michael Berger, who notes the Bruins have now scored five or more goals in five straight games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Not the wisest of moves from Milan Lucic in the first period. After blocking a shot, Lucic appeared to have a breakaway if he could catch up to the puck. The puck bounced far ahead of him, making it a race between he and Miller, who had left his crease to chase it in the Sabres’ zone. Miller was there a stride or two ahead of Lucic and cleared the puck, but Lucic barreled into the netminder, knocking his helmet off and landing Lucic in the box for charging. Lucic has not fought in 20 games, and surprisingly wasn’t challenged after hitting Miller.
– Not as good a night for Zach Hamill, who was surprisingly in the lineup despite Peverley returning. Hamill played in place of Benoit Pouliot, with Jordan Caron starting the night on the fourth line. Hamill was swapped at points with Gregory Campbell, and the former eighth overall pick took a high-sticking penalty that led to the Sabres’ power-play goal in the third period.
|11.12.11 at 6:56 pm ET|
|11.12.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
Let the cage commentary begin.
An incredibly bruised, swollen and stitched-up Daniel Paille took the ice for Saturday’s morning skate, donning a cage and skating for the first time since he was hit in the face with a slap shot from Steve Staios in the third period of Monday’s victory over the Islanders. He won’t play Saturday, but he is actually day-to-day despite not being able to breathe out of his nose and, (Shawn Thornton‘s words, not ours) looking like “a raccoon.”
“I woke up this morning and felt a lot better than yesterday. I just decided to go out there,” Paille, who will not play Saturday, said after the morning skate. As I pushed a little bit, I felt a little bit of blood flow through the head, but nothing to print me or stop me from going. I was pretty happy with the result today.”
Paille, 27, last wore a cage when he was 15 years old. He figures to be stuck with this one for about a month while his face heals.
“At first when I put it on, I had to look through the holes, but after a while I kind of got used to it,” the winger said. “You kind of ignore it. It’s a certain adjustment, but I think after a couple of skates you get used to it.”
If Paille needs any pointers on how to deal with life with a cage, he doesn’t have to go far. To his right in the Bruins’ dressing room sits Chris Kelly, who had six points over an eight-game stretch in the playoffs when a shove into the post from Scott Gomez left him wearing a cage from Game 4 against the Canadiens until the end of the Philadelphia series. Kelly had to deal with a lot of extra attention with the magical cage, but it undoubtedly took the Bruins a long way in the first two rounds.
“He just says that with time, you won’t even notice it anymore,” Paille said of the advice Kelly gave him. “I’m just waiting for that moment.”
Thornton’s raccoon comparison isn’t the only wise-crack Paille has heard since getting surgery Wednesday. He said that, among other things, teammates have told him that he looks no worse now than he did before getting hit in the face. It actually hurts for Paille to smile, so while he can’t laugh at the jokes being made, he certainly takes them in stride.
“Guys are getting a laugh out of it, so I’ve got to make the best of the situation,” Paille said. “The main thing is to be positive about it.”
Paille hopes to get the packing in his nose out early next week. He obviously isn’t 100 percent, but said that he could play despite not being able to breathe out of either nostril.
“I think eventually yeah, if need be, but it’s just a matter of adjusting,” Paille said of potentially getting in an upcoming game. “I skated out there, and the couple of strides where I felt like I was pushing a little bit, I felt pretty good about it.”
|11.12.11 at 12:33 pm ET|
Normally when a player returns to the lineup after a long stretch without game action, there’s some sort of an adjustment as far as comfort goes. In Steven Kampfer‘s case, Saturday may be just the opposite.
Kampfer will play for the first time since Oct. 22 when he skates Saturday in place of Andrew Ference, who is dealing with a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old blueliner played two games last month, but was coming off his second knee injury in a matter of months at the time. Now, he’s a month and a half removed from the left knee sprain he suffered on Sept. 29 against the Senators, and as a result, feels more comfortable physically than he did in his October cameo.
“Definitely,” Kampfer said when asked whether he feels better now than when he last played. “I think a couple extra weeks definitely helps. I think it was good to kind of let it heal and get a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more confidence. I think now, being a couple months [after] it, it definitely feels a lot better, and I can tell that on the ice.”
The team’s seventh defenseman, Kampfer has had to use practice to get his speed and other attributes back. He’s also worked with power-skating instructor Besa Tsintsadze. It’s been a process for Kampfer, who injured his right knee at the end of the regular season while playing for Providence, to get back to where he wants to be, but he hopes he’s there now.
“Moving my feet, getting my speed back, the first couple of steps,” Kampfer said of what he’s been working on. “It takes a little bit of time to get back after sustaining a couple knee injuries. ‘¦ It’s those first two or three steps, your lateral mobility and stuff like that. It feels better now.”
Said coach Claude Julien: “He’s been working hard in practice, and I think this is an opportunity for him now to come into a game and play the way he can. ‘¦ You’ve got to understand that he hasn’t played in a while, so we can’t put our expectations too high but more, get a solid performance from him and a simple game. That’s all we’re going to need from Kampfer tonight. And then he’ll just work his way in, and feel better I’m sure as we move forward.”
Saturday will be Kampfer’s third game of the season and fourth career game against the Sabres. In three games against Buffalo last year, Kampfer picked up a goal and an assist.
|11.12.11 at 12:05 pm ET|
When the Bruins raised their Stanley Cup champions banner on the night of the season-opener with nearly their entire Cup-winning roster still intact, nobody would have believed that they would be talking about trying to get above .500 for the first time this season on Nov. 12. That’s where they are, as Saturday’s meeting with the Sabres will provide them with an opportunity to have a winning record for the first time this season.
The Bruins started the season with a dreadful 3-7-0 record that landed them at the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference. Since then, they’ve rattled off four straight wins en route to evening their record at 7-7-0. While they’ve enjoyed their run of late, they’re far from satisfied with being 11th in the conference. Just ask Dennis Seidenberg.
“We’re not out of it yet,” the defenseman said after the team’s morning skate. “We have to keep climbing and we have to keep going. We’re only .500 right now, and we don’t want to be .500. We want to be on top of the league or on top of the division, so today’s a very important game.”
|11.12.11 at 11:52 am ET|
After taking part in the team’s morning skate, forward Rich Peverley was declared a game-time decision by coach Claude Julien for Saturday night’s game vs. the Sabres. Peverley, who is dealing with an undisclosed injury, has missed the Bruins’ last two games. If he is unable to go, Zach Hamill will play in his place. Hamill picked up an assist in Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the Oilers.
Daniel Paille, meanwhile, skated for the first time since getting hit in the face with a slapshot Monday against the Islanders. He will miss his second consecutive game, with Benoit Pouliot filling in for him on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
Defenseman Andrew Ference, who was declared out for the game by Julien on Friday, is “better today,” according to the coach. Julien said that Ference’s lower body injury is “definitely a day-to-day situation.” Steven Kampfer will play in place of Ference. It will be Kampfer’s third game of the season. In three career games against Buffalo, Kampfer has a goal and an assist.
Tim Thomas is expected to start for the Bruins. Both the Sabres and B’s have won four games in a row. A victory would put the 7-7-0 Bruins above .500 for the first time this season.