|The Bruins still riding the Lightning by a 3-0 score||03.31.09 at 7:06 pm ET|
18:14: A near score for P.J. Axelsson right at the doorstep off a crisp pass from Savard.
17:18: A couple of good bids by Dennis Wideman that McKenna was able to turn away. The second was a nifty little cross-ice pass from Savard in the left corner.
Chuck Kobasew followed up that flurry with a few bids of his one after following his shot and nearly knocking home the rebound.
16:00: Tampa defenseman Matt Pettinger tossed Matt Hunwick over the boards and into the visiting Lightning bench causing a stoppage in play.
14:00: An easy-to-stop backhanded bid from the right faceoff circle by Lightning winger Adam Hall represents Tampa’s best bid of the night. Ouch.
13:34: Great stick save by McKenna as he managed to throw the shaft at a Chuck Kobasew rebound attempt and toss it aside when it looked like a sure goal. The B’s look on the verge of adding to their lead.
13:04: Artyukhin goes off for hitting Mark Recchi with a high stick, and just like that the B’s PP makes it 2-0. Great backdoor pass by Patrice Bergeron to a crashing Zdeno Chara, who had the whole open net to look at and didn’t miss.
12:34: What looked to be a second goal for the Bruins is instead called goalie interference on Blake Wheeler as he motored through the crease and made slight contact with McKenna right before the score.
8:10: I’m getting tired of writing Artyukhin. Wideman broke his stick on a one-time attempt, but then made a nice recovery play to get the puck away from Artyukhin rushing up the right side of the ice. Artyukhin was coming all by himself with only Wideman to beat, so a solid play by Wideman to hip check the big Tampa skater sans stick and snuff out what could have been a solid scoring opportunity for Tampa.
6:25: Great tip from Chuck Kobasew for a power play score from a long bomb shot from the right point by Zdeno Chara just seconds into their power play. Kobasew managed to redirect the puck despite a mad slash from Matt Smaby that knocked the stick right out of Kobasew’s hands. The power play is absolutely on fire over the last handful of games, and Kobasew has been all around the net again this evening.
4:30: Best Manny Fernandez save of the night. MF beautiully dropped down in the butterfly to kick away a Jeff Halpern bid from the high slot with a pair of Bolts skaters rushing at him. Fernandez hasn’t been challenged much, but he’s looked solid between the pipes.
3:39: A big scrum in front of the Boston net turns into a second fight between Byron Bitz and Richard Petiot in the corner. Bitz lands one solid right and then crash lands on top of Petiot. The Tampa D-man looked a bit shook up after the impact with the ice.
00:11.2: Fight night at the Garden. Milan Lucic finally got in his two cents as he scored a TKO over Josef Melichar with one punch. Melichar came in high with an elbow on Lucic, and both skaters pushed and shoved before dropping the gloves. Lucic came over the top with one right-hand to the face and Melichar hunched and basically waved the white flag. Quite a bit of passion for a late season tilt between a team up high in the standings and another that’s been a doormat all season.
The B’s are riding the Lightning by a 3-0 score after two full periods of play at the Garden.
|Wheeler and Savard team up to give B’s a 1-0 lead||03.31.09 at 6:19 pm ET|
13:57: The Lightning just killed off a Brandon Bochenski penalty. Yes, that Brandon Bochenski. The journeyman that the B’s traded Kris Versteeg for was just called up by Tampa Bay for tonight’s game. Not incredibly crisp on the PP, but a few good bids by Zdeno Chara and some good energy from Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on the second unit.
11:17: Great action over the last minute. Tampa goaltender Mike McKenna made a great save on a Mark Stuart shot from the slot, and then Zdeno Chara and Evgeny Artyukhin ended up dropping the gloves following a big Milan Lucic hit on Artyukhin in the neutral zone. Chara went off for two minutes roughing and five for fighting while Artyukhin simply got a rough. The fight was preceded immediately by a Vinny Lecavalier penalty on David Krejci as he made a rush into the Bolts zone. Chara got in a few good shots, but Artyukhin eventually scored the take-down at the end of a fight between two big boys on skates.
7:46: A Michael Ryder tip of an Aaron Ward blast from the point hit pipe and then ricocheted away.
7:25: A Bruins goal was waved off when the play was ruled offsides. The whistle clearly blew prior to the puck going in the net.
5:57: Crafty little play by Marc Savard as he snuck to the back right corner as McKenna played the puck, and then jumped all over the play when the Tampa goal threw the puck directly Savard’s way. Savard took a quick bad angle shot from the right side that McKenna saved, but Blake Wheeler jumped all over the rebound and poked it through short side. A score totally created by Savard’s craftiness.
The goal is Wheeler’s 20th of his rookie season, and gives the Bruins their sixth player with 20 goals this season.
2:07: Looch to the box after taking out former Harvard D-man Noah Welch in front of the Tampa net after Michael Ryder threw a puck in front of the net. First PP opportunity for the Bolts.
1:33: Aaron Ward gets Martin St. Louis with a high stick to the grill, and also goes off to the sin bin creating a 5-on-3 PP for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay managed only one shot during 90 seconds with a two-man advantage and only mustered four shots in the first period. They look as if they left their game on the Lightning charter jet at Hanscom.
The B’s lead the Lightning by a 1-0 score after one full period at the TD Banknorth Garden.
|Shawn Thornton out with undisclosed injury||03.31.09 at 6:11 pm ET|
A few notes at the start of tonight’s Bruins game against the Tampa Bay Lightning:
Bruins bruiser Shawn Thornton will miss tonight’s game with an undisclosed injury. It’s the first game that Thornton has missed this season. Byront Bitz has taken Thornton’s place on the fourth line after serving as a healthy scratch since a March 15 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Goaltender Manny Fernandez gets another start in net, which surprised some pundits after the netminder’s shaky performance early in Saturday night’s goal-fest victory in Toronto.
|Phil Kessel could be in lineup next Tuesday vs. Senators||03.31.09 at 11:42 am ET|
Phil Kessel was out for the weekend games with an undisclosed injury, and wasn’t on the practice ice for this morning’s pre-game skate — which means he’ll miss his third straight game tonight.
But Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated that Kessel may be a possibility for next Tuesday’s road game against the Ottawa Senators. The problem is believed to be a shoulder injury suffered March 10 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the B’s bench boss remains tight-lipped about the nature of Kessel’s injury. Julien also indicated that the winger will rejoin the team on the practice ice at some point later in the week.
“I think we’re going to see him come back with the team at some point this week, and I guess we anticipate that he should be playing again early next week,” said Julien with a smile on his face. “It’s still undisclosed. We’re in the business of protecting our players, and you guys are in the business of exposing them. We’re going to stick with keeping them from being exposed.”
Kessel has missed 8 games this season with a bout of mono and this current injury, but still leads the team with 31 goals scored on the year.
–Patrice Bergeron was happy to accept the PHWA nomination for the Masterton Trophy, and took it as another encouraging step back in his return from last season’s concussion issues. Bergeron has been noticeably picking up his play over the last six weeks of hockey, and boasts 3 goals and 11 assists in his last 19 games dating back to a Feb. 14 road game against the Nashville Predators.
The 23-year-old center has shown all of the trademark characteristics of a Masterton nominee — perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey — during a season-long journey returning from a potentially career-ending concussuon last season. Bergeron said that he took to cooking and reading books in English during his time out with injury — in part to keep his brain working — and derived a great deal of inspiration from reading “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” during his recovery.
“I’ve been through a lot over the last year and [the nomination] means a lot,” said Bergeron. “It’s been a long process, but I’m happy that it’s behind me. I feel like my game is coming back, and I’m just happy to back out there with the guys helping them try to win every game.
“Now it’s about getting back to my game and being back to where I’m out there having fun every day during practices and games,” added Bergeron, who added that he’s using a different foam and shell inside his Reebok helmet and finally gave in to the B’s equipment guy’s requests that he start using new shoulder pads. “I think I’m pretty close. It’s just a matter of getting a couple of bounces and the puck going in and getting that confidence. Other than that, I am feeling pretty good out there.”
|Bergeron nominated for Masterton Trophy by hockey writers||03.31.09 at 8:35 am ET|
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, after coming back from last year’s devastating concussion injury, is the Boston chapter of the PHWA (Professional Hockey Writers’ Association) nominee for the 2009 Masterton Trophy. The Masterton honors the player who, “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”, and Bergeron showed all those and much more in returning to the ice this season after missing nearly all of last year with the head injury.
Bergeron continued to show that perseverance when he suffered a second concussion against the Carolina Hurricanes this season, but he again battled back from another head injury to play his best hockey in two years down the stretch. The 23-year-old has seven goals and 28 assists in 59 games for the B’s this season. Phil Kessel was last year’s Boston nominee for the Masterton Trophy, and the young winger went on to win the NHL Masterton Trophy after returning fron testicular cancer last season.
|Bruins sign Riendeau to entry-level deal||03.30.09 at 5:45 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed Quebec Major Junior Hockey League forward Yannick Riendeau to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 20-year-old forward doesn’t have outstanding size at 5-foot-11 and 178 pounds or skating speed, but he led the QMJHL in scoring this season with 58 goals and 68 assists while playing for Drummondville this season. Riendeau went undrafted through his junior hockey career, but scored a whopping 19 points in sweeping four games from Lewiston during the QMJHL playoffs.
Riendeau’s contract with the Bruins organization will begin next season.
|Some afternoon links on a Monday off the ice||03.30.09 at 2:48 pm ET|
With an off day for the Bruins after taking four perfect points over the weekend and opening a seven point lead over the Washington Capitals (and eight points over the suddenly-reeling New Jersey Devils), here’s another edition of afternoon links.
Just coming off the radio co-hosting the Dale and Holley program with Dale Arnold on 850 WEEI, and there was quite a bit of email interest in the upcoming Bruins 7th player Award. The award has always been part popularity contest and part unsung hero, and this season shouldn’t be any different. Earlier in the year I thought that Blake Wheeler would be a shoo-in after going from relatively unknown rookie bound for Providence to a potential Calder Trophy candidate.
But Wheeler cooled off as he hit the rookie wall over the last few months, and David Krejci has been an important player for the Bruins all season long — even when his scoring tailed off a bit following the All-Star break. Krejci is second on the team with69 points and leads the entire NHL with a +/- of +36.
Matt Hunwick has the third-most points of any B’s defenseman(6 goals, 18 assists for 24 points) this season, and has given the Boston coaching staff needed depth along the blueline all season. That Hunwick has done his damage in only 46 games this season speaks to how good he’s been while in the lineup. Also, remember this is a former sixth round draft pick that was one of the last cuts in training camp, and that means — for a guy manning the first power play unit — he’s gone way “above and beyond expectations” this season.
Several people emailed the show this morning/afternoon about Dennis Wideman being another candidate for the 7th Player Award, but Wideman was expected to be the puck-moving complement to Zdeno Chara along the back line — and he’s moderately exceeded expectations. Not to the level of guys like Krejci, Wheeler and Hunwick, however.
My vote goes to Krejci…now on to the links.
–Just when you think NESN play-by-play guy Jack Edwards has pulled out everything in his “Spooned it down the River by the Half-Wall” dictionary, he took it to a new level with last night’s call on Milan Lucic burying Randy Jones behind the Flyers net. It’s pretty difficult to determine what Edwards actually said over the hyena-like cackling, but here’s the verbatim transcript: “Lucic hammers him! Down goes Jones! And how’s this for irony: The crowd wants a call for a hit from behind! AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!”
–Helmet tip to Yahoo! blogger Puck Daddy for unearthing this interview with noted Bostonian and Red Sox fan Jeremy Roenick, which is notable for a couple of different things: first the reverential treatment given to Curt “Superstar” Schilling when his picture pops up and secondly the long pause while J.R. decides whether to bury Wayne Gretzky or give him his proper due after their very public feuding while Roenick was skating for the Coyotes.
–Speaking of awards, here’s a good story in the Toronto Sun about Zdeno Chara’s very real candidacy for the Norris Trophyawarded to the league’s best defenseman. Chara doesn’t have the best offensive numbers among candidates that include Nik Lidstrom and Mike Green, but 6-foot-8 “Z” is the ultimate shutdown blueliner capable of putting the clamps down on superstars like Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin.
Heard an argument over the weekend that the Norris Trophy should be given to the best all-around defenseman in the league — with more weight given toward players like Chara that make defending the puck priority number one – and that a Bobby Orr Trophy could/should be added for the best offensive defenseman in the NHL. Don’t think too many people in Boston would quibble with something like that.
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