|Panthers take lead on short-handed score by Dvorak||02.21.09 at 9:01 pm ET|
The B’ opened up the third period on a power play and seemed to be ready to take control of the game, but a shorthanded strike by Radek Dvorak, who is having a heck of a game for the Panthers, took a long pass from Jay Bouwmeester on the PK and managed to slip past a turned-around P.J. Axelsson and Zdeno Chara.
Once beyond the two points, Dvorak roofed a backhanded bid past Thomas, and the Panthers now lead the B’s by a 1-0 score with 14:57 left to go in the third and final period.
|Both goalies up to the task in scoreless match||02.21.09 at 8:17 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fl. — Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun leads the NHL with a .946 save percentage over the last 30 days, and he’s been showing tonight why exactly he’s been such a hot goalie as of late. He made a couple of solid standout saves in the first period, but he had an absolute stunner midway through the second when he slammed the door on a Blake Wheeler/Milan Lucic rush up the ice.
Wheeler was carrying the puck and flipped toward the net with a fire-breathing Looch storming toward the cage. Lucic put a good tip on the puck, but Vokoun stretched out the pads and made the nice leg save. He was able to subsequently smother the puck despite both Lucic and Florida defenseman Karlis Skrastins bearing down on him.
B’s goalie Tim Thomas has been equally good on the other end, alternately turning away Radek Dvorak in the first period and kicking away a Nick Tarnasky redirect in the second period.
The B’s and Panthers are still scoreless at the end of two periods, and Vokoun has looked immense in making 26 saves through two periods.
|Horton hears a post during scoreless first||02.21.09 at 7:41 pm ET|
Close call for the Panthers toward the end of the first as Florida forward Nathan Horton wheeled right in from the left faceoff circle and rang the outside of the left post, but ultimately couldn’t finish things off for the Panthers.
The Bruins have had some decent offensive chances, but Chuck Kobasew couldn’t finish off a pair of chances in close, and Tomas Vokoun stuck by the post and made a sound stop when snake-bitten Phil Kessel tried to sneak a puck by him.
Two power plays in the first period for the Black and Gold and no sign of Phil Kessel on either unit.
The B’s and Panthers are locked in a scoreless tie at the BankAtlantic Center after one full period of play.
|Wideman hit in face with a high stick||02.21.09 at 7:23 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fl. — Bruins blueliner Dennis Wideman took a high stick to the face at the 13:05 mark of the first period and has retired to the B’s dressing to have his injury attended to. The errant stick cut Wideman open and there were visible droplets of blood on the ice, and a double minor penalty for high-sticking was assessed to Panthers center Michael Frolik.
UPDATE:Without missing a beat, the gutty Wideman returned to the ice and was manning one of the points on the power play for the B’s following a stoppage in play. That, friends, is a hockey player.
The Bruins and Panthers are locked in a 0-0 tie midway through the first period at the BankAtlantic Center.
|My morning links||02.21.09 at 11:59 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Another chilly morning in the Florida sun for me and another round of morning hockey links for you. Should be a pretty spirited game between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers tonight as the Panthers continue to mull whether they are playoff-contending buyers or pretending sellers in the current trade market.
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is a huge piece at the deadline that could put quite a few teams over the top as he enters unrestricted free agency at the end of the hockey season, and he voiced a desire to go to a hockey organization committed to winning this season during a recent conversation with him.
“You think a little bit (about the future),” said Bouwmeester. “I know the situation and there’s a lot of things I have to consider. It’s a process. For me it’s about going about my business, and it’s about playing hockey and you don’t have to make that too complicated.
“You don’t rule anything out, and we’ve actually been playing some pretty good hockey (in Florida). So that’s exciting,” added Bouwmeester. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs during my career there, but we’re playing well this season. So that’s something to think about.”
On to the links:
–Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth, known for his scoring touch and gritty game, told the Denver Post that he won’t be waiving his “no movement clause” and Avalanche management hasn’t approached him about a deal. His long term, big money contract made him a bad fit for the Bruins anyway, but you can officially cross him off the list now.
–Big blueliner Chris Pronger, who might become available to the B’s as the Ducks are free-falling out into nothin’ out in the Western Conference, was roundly booed last night by Detroit Red Wings fans after a Pronger milestone was announced at Joe Louis Arena during the Ducks/Wings game. The gritty, borderline-dirty play that intimidates many and makes him Public Enemy No. 1 is exactly what would make Pronger such a snug fit in Boston. Pronger and Zdeno Chara patrolling the same line blue line is downright unfair. A doff of the helmet to Yahoo! blogger Puck Daddy for this one.
–Mark Recchi is another guy that could be a cheaper fit for the Bruins in the lefty shot/UFA mold when it comes to trade deadline deals, and he’ll likely be even cheaper after hitting the bench for the sinking Tampa Bay Lightning recently. For the record, Recchi has a solid 37 points this season and is averaging 16:52 in ice time for Tampa.
|Julien: Kessel shouldn’t be afraid “to do extra” while in slump||02.20.09 at 5:00 pm ET|
It’s pretty clear that one of Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s famous messages is being extended out to winger Phil Kessel, who hasn’t scored a goal in his last 13 games — including 10 since returning from mononucleosis in late January.
The streak is the longest since he had a pair of 15-game goal-scoring droughts back in his rookie season of 2006-07.
The 22-year-old was pulled off the power play in Boston’s win against Carolina on Tuesday night, and Julien indicated he wants to see something out of his skilled winger before he’s placed back on the unit. The man advantage scored two goals without Kessel buzzing around at his normal position, so it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the youngster’s immediate return to the special teams’ squad.
It’s not exactl akin to benching Kessel in the playoffs as he did last season against the Montreal Canadiens, but it’s another example of some tough hockey love from a coach imploring he see more out of his budding superstars. The Bruins will need Kessel’s firepower with the playoffs on the horizon, and — reading between the lines — they’d like to see him work a little harder at lighting the lamp.
Skating with playmaking David Krejci — who appears to have turned the corner earlier this week against the Hurricanes – and the gritty, aggravating Vladmir Sobotka could be just what the doctor ordered for Kessel. But the B’s bench boss clearly wants to see more oomph and effort out of his ice-cold forward with whichever linemates he finds himself with.
“The message you’ve got to give to any young player that’s (not scoring) is to work your way through it,” said B’s coach Claude Julien following this morning’s practice at Incredible Ice in Coral Spring, Fla. “That’s the biggest thing. Some people wait for it to happen again, and some people work to make it happen again. That’s that the message that we’re giving him. Don’t stop doing things or don’t be afraid to do extra stuff to get yourself going. If you can shoot 100 extra pucks at the end of practice, then you go and do it.”
The additional work extends out to his work in the shootout, where Kessel has gained a slight air of predictability while continuing to employ his his favorite “deke and drive” move during the shootouts. Maybe it’s just me, but the whole thing sounded quite a bit like a parent telling a young child that they’ll get a better grade if they start doing a little more studying.
“Even in the shootouts it’s about trying to use different moves for him as well and to expand his different types moves,” added Julien. “Nowadays everybody has those scouting reports on both the goalies and the shooters for the shootouts.”
|Hockey links on a sunny mid-afternoon in FLA||02.20.09 at 12:58 pm ET|
FT MYERS, Fla. — Greetings from mostly sunny Florida where I’ll be covering the two Bruins games over the weekend, and where I’ll be bringing you the early afternoon links. The Bruins really showed much of what they’ve been missing recently in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, and it will be pivotal that they continue those good habits against the Panthers on Saturday night and then the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rare pre-Academy Awards 5 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Times Forum on Sunday.
With that in mind here’s a few assorted hockey nuggets to keep you warm if you’re not in the welcoming Florida sun.
–The Flying Kostitsyn brothers are apparently running with the wrong crowd (Hells Angels!) in Montreal, yet another sign of the Centennial apocalypse for the Habs in a season that is quickly dropping them in the Eastern Conference standings. In some ways this proves there is hockey karma after the Montreal yahoos celebrated the top-seeded Habs beating the eighth-seeded Bruins in Game 7 last year by burning police cruisers and rioting in the streets. This could get really ugly for the Canadiens if the connection between several Russian players and the Montreal mob runs deeply.
–Whispers are beginning to pick up that ESPN is looking to pick up the big ticket NHL hockey games on their TV schedule next season. This would a welcomed development on many fronts, including pouring much more money into the league’s coffers and making them a presence again on the Worldwide Leader — a station that’s relegated them to a priority spot securely behind the World Series of Poker and the WNBA. I say bring back the glowing puck as well.
This particular site also hints that the B’s might be moving closer to a much-discussed deal for Colorado defenseman Jordan Leopold.
–This would be a great opportunity to once again tie something Bruins-related in with the Simpsons, but I’m going to refrain from doing it. What a sign of maturity for this particular hockey writer when it would have been so easy to take the easily-traveled low road.
- Chara owns, and is a fantastic captain
- Fresh Links: The Kids Are Alright Edition
- Friday Morning Skate: All Glory to the Hypno Claude
- Game 1 Gif Recap: Marchand, Big Z, and the Rookie D. Bruins win it in OT.
- Public Skate: Bruins vs. Rangers Game 1, Third Period
- Public Skate: Bruins vs. Rangers Game 1, Second Period
- Public Skate: Bruins vs. Rangers Game 1, 7:30PM ET