|11.02.10 at 1:46 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins opened the season with games in Prague on back-to-back nights (or days, depending where you were watching it). Since playing the second game on Oct. 10, they’ve been able to familiarize themselves with comfortable spacing between their games. They’ve had no back-to-back games, and there have been plenty of days in between, playing their games on the 16th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th of October. It’s a new month, and perhaps a Patrice Bergeron quote from Tuesday sums up the schedule best.
“Now it’s coming.”
The Bruins will hit the road for Buffalo, where they’ll kick off a stretch Wednesday that has three games in four days, including the first of three different back-to-back nights of work in the next three weeks. From Buffalo they’ll head to Washington to face the Capitals before returning to the Garden to take on the Blues at home.
“The whole month is going to be like that,” Bergeron said of the hectic schedule. “We’re going to need to get our rest when it’s there, but get on a roll and just go from there. Just try to be ready for every game.”
Claude Julien can see that having the back-to-back games will be a challenge throughout the month, but his main focus is on a couple of teams with revenge on their minds. The Bruins eliminated the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs last season, and the 2010-11 edition has taken both of its games against Alexander Ovechkin and the capitals this season.
“It’s going to be a good challenge,” Julien said of the stretch. “First of all, going to Buffalo is never easy building to play in, I don’t care what they’re going through right now. They always play us hard, and then you go to Washington, a team that’s going to be looking for revenge, no doubt, after beating them in back-to-back games. And then you’re coming back late. We’ve got to go to the airport, which is at least an hour’s drive after the game, so we’re going to be getting in late Friday night. Then you’ve got a St. Louis team that’s really playing well and you’ve got to play them at home the next night. It’s not going to be an easy week for us. It’s not going to be an easy trip. We’ve got to be prepared for that mentally as well as physically.”
|11.02.10 at 10:42 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A trio Bruins skaters took the ice at Ristuccia Arena prior to the B’s practice on Wednesday. Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, and Johnny Boychuk skated and shot pucks before their healthy teammates took the ice.
Savard is still recovering from symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome, while Sturm is coming off a knee injury suffered in the playoffs last year. Boychuk suffered a fractured bone in his forearm in last Saturday’s loss to the Rangers.
|11.01.10 at 9:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON ‘ Brian McGrattan returned to the Ristuccia Arena ice on Monday after taking the weekend to do something he hadn’t done in a while: play in games.
The B’s sent McGrattan, a healthy scratch in five contests since signing with the team on Oct. 11, to Providence for conditioning, where the veteran enforcer played in three games.
“It was good,” McGrattan said of the three-day trip on Monday. “It was fun to get out there and get in a game atmosphere and kind of get my game legs going, because obviously a game is a lot different than practicing and skating after practice, so I was just glad that I got the opportunity to go down and play there.”
McGrattan, who has practiced with the fourth line, has yet to see ice time with the NHL club due to the solid play of fourth-line wingers Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton. Asked if he felt rusty after going so long since skating in a game, McGrattan provided a reminder that he doesn’t generally expect to see 82 games a year.
“My whole career I’ve kind of had long layoffs between games,” McGrattan said with a smile. “It was fun. It was good to get out there. To be able to play a regular shift felt good. Three games in about two and a half days, I wasn’t used to that.”
McGrattan, who famously holds the record for penalty minutes in an AHL season with 551 back in 2004-05, ironically did not spend a second in the box this weekend. He chalked that up to a lack of worthy adversaries, saying “there’s not really anybody down there to go with.”
McGrattan figures to eventually see some ice time with the Bruins, though the second and third line tinkering seems to be the extent of the roster tweaks the 6-2 club is making for the time being, wisely taking the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach.
|11.01.10 at 1:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With Jordan Caron getting the attention from a couple of reporters after Bruins’ practice on Monday, fellow rookie Tyler Seguin decided to try his hand as a member of the media. First, he leaned in as Caron answered a question, and then, once the pack had swarmed to Caron, submitted a question of his own regarding Caron’s “selfish” play. Special thanks to ESPN’s Jimmy Murphy for the video, and of course, for cooperating with Seguin.
|11.01.10 at 1:32 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was named the NHL’s No. 1 star of the week on Monday. Thomas made 49 saves in two starts over the course of the week, winning games over the Maple Leafs and Senators in shutout fashion.
On the season, Thomas, 36 has allowed just three goals in winning all six of his starts, leading the NHL in goals against average (0.50), save percentage (.984) and shutouts (3). In 43 games last season, Thomas posted a 2.56 GAA with a .915 save percentage and five shutouts.
Thomas said that the last time he felt as dominant as he currently does was back during the lockout, when he posted five shutouts in a span of 10 games. His coach felt he was undoubtedly deserving of the distinction.
“We’re definitely happy to see him play that way every night,” Claude Julien said. “It gives us a chance to win, and we know how important goaltending is in this league, and he’s provided us with an outstanding one.”
Here’s the video of Thomas discussing the honor, his hot start, and wondering whether “Tiny” was actually Cecil Thompson‘s name.
|11.01.10 at 11:00 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A familiar face was back on the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday as Brian McGrattan, sent to Providence for conditioning over the weekend, returned to the big club. McGrattan had been a healthy scratch in each of the five games for which he had eligibility to dress after signing with the team following the second game of the season.
The line adjustment made in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Senators has also seemingly stuck, as Mark Recchi is skating with Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Caron, while Blake Wheeler has made the jump down to the third line, where he will play with Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder.
Monday’s skate featured no notable absences. Everyone is accounted for.
|10.30.10 at 9:37 pm ET|
Tim Thomas made 29 saves and picked up his second straight shutout (third of the season) as the Bruins blanked the Senators, 4-0, in Ottawa on Saturday.
David Krejci, Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron, and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruin, who improved to 6-2-0 on the young season. The team remains undefeated on the road (4-0) and in games started by Thomas (6-0). In starting 6-0, Thomas became the first Bruins goalie since Tiny Thompson 73 years ago to do so.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– With the shutout on Saturday, Tim Thomas is already approaching his career-high for a season. The veteran netminder has had five shutouts in each of the last two seasons and now, just six games into his season, has blanked opponents in half his contests and is two away from getting to five on the season again.
– Patrice Bergeron deserves all the credit in the world for the heads-up play that led to Caron’s goal in the third period. The second-line center blocked a Daniel Alfredsson wrist shot in his own zone, got control of the puck, and sent it to a flying Caron in the neutral zone. The rookie took it there, finishing on the breakaway and picking up his third goal of the season.
– Seguin has now scored in two straight games, and it doesn’t seem to have mch to do with any offensive coming of age. He’s proven to be a threat offensively all season and kept it up Saturday.
The rookie also showcased playmaking skills throughout the night, hitting new lineman Blake Wheeler with a nice pass on a 2-on-1 in the third. Wheeler send the pass right back to Seguin but lacked accuracy, and the play dismantled as the rookie tried to get a skate on it and retain the puck.
– Lucic said before the season that he had set a personal goal for himself. The feat he hoped to achieve? Scoring 20 goals. It’s early, but he’s on pace to more than double that, as he’s got four through eight games. Maybe Lucic should have aimed a bit higher, and maybe for something in the 25-30 range.
– The Bruins power play continues to be the best in the NHL, as they killed off three penalties and surely lowered the 92.3 kill rate with which they entered the game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– This can’t really be placed on the Bruins, but a reason to rain on the parade nonetheless. The Senators played such an overwhelmingly sloppy game that one shouldn’t get carried away with anything based on this game. Naturally, some of the saves Thomas was able to make can translate into any level of competition, but this wasn’t the Senators’ night.
Krejci’s goal, which came off a turnover in front of the net, and a second-period penalty for too many men on the ice were a couple of examples, though there were plenty more (how about Mike Fisher being in the crease for what would have been a Daniel Alfredsson goal?) As pretty as the scoreboard look, it undoubtedly was a case of the a good Bruins team running into a Senators club that brought messy play to a new level.
– Dennis Seidenberg shed some unnecessary blood late in the game. With 2:07 remaining in the third period of a 4-0 contest, Ottawa forward Chris Neil, who got a roughing penalty on the play, tried mixing it up with the B’s defenseman for a fantastically unnecessary tussle.
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