|01.22.11 at 3:47 pm ET|
Some funny bounces and a fight have the Bruins leading the Avalanche, 2-1, after one in Denver on Saturday.
The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead on a flukey Paul Stastny goal that bounced off Dennis Seidenberg before going in.
Brad Marchand tied the game at 9:20. A Mark Recchi pass deflected off an Avalanche player before making its way to the front of the net, where Marchand was trying to outmuscle Ryan O’Byrne. The puck appeared to hit O’ Byrne’s skate before Marchand sent it past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal of the season.
O’Byrne did further damage to the Avalanche’s case Saturday when he sent the puck over the glass in his own zone, landing him a costly delay of game penalty. With the B’s on the power play, David Krejci fired a shot off the end boards that bounced in front. Anderson was unable to control it, and Milan Lucic flew in to send it past the Avalanche netminder for his career-high 18th goal of the season. Recchi got the secondary assist, giving him a pair of helpers in the period.
O’Byrne would take another penalty when he went off at 15:51 for roughing Gregory Campbell. The B’s went 1-for-2 on the power play. They were not shorthanded in the first period.
The lone fight of the period was between Campbell and Cody McLeod following Stastny’s goal. The bout itself was non-eventful, though it accomplished Campbell’s objective of shifting the momentum in the Bruins’ favor. The B’s controlled the tempo of the period from there, scoring both their goals and rattling off a 12-0 shots on goal stretch.
One interesting but ultimately not too surprising bit is that Mark Stuart is a healthy scratch, allowing Adam McQuaid into the lineup. While such a scenario would seem suspicious earlier in the year, Claude Julien is simply giving all seven defensemen — who have played well — an opportunity to get ice time without missing long stretches.
|01.22.11 at 2:37 pm ET|
Tim Thomas led the Bruins onto the ice at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, meaning he will be between the pipes for the team’s bout with the Avalanche. Tim Thomas last started on Tuesday, making a season-high 43 saves in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
On the season, Thomas is 22-4-6 with a league-best 1.83 goals against average, .945 save percentage, and seven shutouts.
Facing Colorado also means seeing Matt Hunwick, whom the Bruins traded to the Avalanche on Nov. 29 in exchange for Colby Cohen. The defenseman was a victim of the team’s salary cap spot as they prepared for the return of Marc Savard.
In 22 games with the Bruins this season, Hunwick had three points (1 G, 2 A) and a plus-4. In 23 games with the Avalanche, he has three assists and is a minus-9.
|01.21.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
Following another head-scratching performance Thursday ‘ when the Bruins blew a pair of one-goal leads on home ice and lost, 4-2, to the Sabres ‘ venerable B’s spokesman Mark Recchi again called out his teammates for not giving it their all.
“We didn’t have everybody going, and that’s what happens when you don’t have everybody going. And when we’ve got 20 people going, we’re just really tough to play against,” Recchi opined. “We don’t have everybody going [on] all cylinders and competing at the level we should you know it just makes it hard for us. And I think we know that and we’ve been a lot better at it lately and more consistent and we just have to keep learning from these ones that when we do have these, that there’s reasons why.”
There was a very good reason for Recchi’s post-game ego check following a week that saw them score a pair of seven-goal wins. They also had a pair of losses in which they managed two goals apiece. The Bruins need more consistency all around if they’re going to make April and May truly meaningful.
He believes they can and so does coach Claude Julien, who matched Recchi’s sentiment almost word for word
“Well there’s no doubt,” Julien began. “I don’t think from start to finish, I don’t think there’s much to say here except that we were totally flat, from the first player to the last. So it’s not about pointing to one or pointing to the other, we came out flat tonight and never seemed to find our game. Even in the third period, you are coming in there tied and you got an opportunity, twenty minutes again, to seal your fate and it just wasn’t happening tonight
“We were flat. I’m not saying guys were bad, I’m saying we were flat tonight so that’s the thing that I, you know, we kind of talked about after the game, is that from the first player to the last, just didn’t have it.”
The Bruins did put 40 shots on U.S. Olympic goalie Ryan Miller but only two got through, none in the third period when the Sabres took over.
“He made some lucky ones, he made some great saves,” Recchi said. “We had a lot of traffic. You know he’s a good goalie. But he made the saves he had to make and a couple snuck behind him and he got some help but that’s what happens when you’re a goalie, you make those saves.”
Recchi said the 40 shots were nice but not good enough.
“It wasn’t our game, no it wasn’t what we’re capable of doing,” Recchi said. “And we’ll just have to regroup. We’ve got a tough trip ahead of us and we’re a pretty good road team so we have to again learn that consistency is going to be a big part of us being a very ‘¦ a great team instead of just a real good team, and we’re getting there and we gotta keep pushing along here.”
That push continues Saturday in Colorado and Monday in Los Angeles against the Kings ‘ perhaps with just a little more purpose behind it.
|01.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET|
The TD Garden ice has always been kind to Nathan Gerbe.
It was again on Thursday night as the list of former Boston College players coming back to Boston and providing nightmare after nightmare to the Bruins continues to grow.
There’s Brian Leetch with the Rangers. There’s David Emma, Brian Gionta and Bill Guerin with the Devils. There’s Patrick Eaves of the Hurricanes. Now, add Nathan Gerbe to that list.
With Bruins holding a precarious 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Gerbe fired a shot from the left circle past Tuukka Rask for the game-tying goal on the power play. It changed the momentum and set the stage for Thomas Vanek to take over the game in the third in Buffalo’s 4-2 win Thursday night at the Garden.
Gerbe – not lacking confidence despite his 5-foot-5 frame – was the latest from The Heights to make life miserable for the Bruins as he mixed it up with B’s captain Zdeno Chara and then lit the lamp.
“I’m a little frustrating player to play against,” Gerbe said. “I am a little pest there, so I just tried to get under their skin a little bit. It is all in fun. He is a big guy, and I don’t think I would win in a battle but it was definitely one to enjoy. I tired to hold my ground as much as possible. Just stand there and don’t fall. He is so strong and such a good D man. It is fun to compete against him.”
He certainly was a pest to the Black and Gold Thursday night.
“Those Boston College guys did a good job for us tonight,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. “I thought [Tyler] Myers made a great play, great look to feed it to him. Nathan, on the heels of playing a real strong game for us the other night, playing a excellent game for us tonight.”
Gerbe, of course, was excellent during his three seasons at Boston College, capped off in 2008 when he scored five goals in the final two games of the Frozen Four, leading the Eagles to the national championship. He earned a place at the table as a Hobey Baker finalist as one of the very top players in all of college hockey with 68 points in 43 games. He led the Eagles to the Beapot and Hockey East titles that year, too – on the same Garden ice.
“Yeah you always get a lot of good memories here and a lot of good feelings,” Gerbe said. “You get chills up your body, but it is a different league and you try to do as well as you can every night.”
He scored last year in the playoffs against the Bruins in Game 6 but the Sabres lost, 4-3, as the Bruins moved onto the second round.
Now, he is helping to turn around a Sabres ship that was sinking just two weeks ago. The Sabres have beaten the two teams – Montreal and Boston – ahead of them in back-to-back games and are showing signs of moving up from 10th in the East.
‘Very, very satisfying to score here,” Gerbe said. “Even more satisfying to get the win and get the two points. It was huge for us. Hopefully we can keep rolling.”
|01.20.11 at 10:29 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has fought his entire career to shake the reputation of a player who “disappears” from games. After catastrophic second and third periods Thursday night that led to a couple of the Sabres’ four goals in a 4-2 Bruins loss, Horton was missing from the dressing room. He was requested by the media, but was not available for postgame comment.
It likely would have been the Boston media’s one chance at seeing an upset Horton. The 25-year-old is known for his permanent grin and his extremely friendly attitude, but after one of his more forgettable games of the season, there was no Horton — for whatever reason — to be found.
“He is doing good things, but I think right now his confidence is probably at the lowest it’s ever been, because he understands that he needs to score and it’s not happening,” Claude Julien said after the game.
After scoring 11 goals in his first 28 games, including two in the season-opener, Horton has just one goal over his last 17 games.
“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself, which may not be helping him right now. I think everybody on this team — players and coaching staff — are really helping to see him score a few goals so that he can get himself going,” Julien said.
“I think that’s what’s happening right now. He’s really probably down as far as confidence is concerned and feeling the pressure.”
Zdeno Chara caught flak after making himself unavailable to the media following the team’s overtime loss to the Canadiens this month, but has redeemed himself with stellar play of late. If it can work for Horton, the famed smile may return to the winger — and a town that has spent the last couple of months confused about one of their best scorers.
|01.20.11 at 9:32 pm ET|
The Bruins blew a pair of leads on Thursday en route to a 4-2 loss to the Sabres at TD Garden.
The B’s got tallies from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell to give them leads in the first and second periods, but Nathan Horton had a pair of costly turnovers that led to Sabres goals, including Thomas Vanek‘s game-winner at 5:13 of the third period.
Cody McCormick, Nathan Gerbe, and Jason Pominville also scored for the Sabres. Vanek and Tyler Ennis each had multi-point nights. Vanek got the helper on Pominville’s tally, while Ennis assisted McCormick’s and Gerbe’s goals.
The Bruins will play their next two games on the road, playing in Colorado and Los Angeles before returning to TD Garden to face the Panthers next Wednesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Nathan Horton is downright freezing, and it was another rough one for the winger on Thursday. The 25-year-old had the opportunities, but he couldn’t convert them, and even cost the Bruins big-time in his own end. He screened Miller on Seidenberg’s goal, but the pros outweighed the cons for Horton on the night. He was stuffed on a breakaway, elected to pass in front of the net with Miller out of position, and had the turnover in the Bruins’ zone that led to McCormick’s goal. Most costly of all was his third-period turnover that Vanek got the game-winner on.
Horton has just one goal in his last 17 games.
– For how good a third period team as the Bruins have been this season, they haven’t had as much success as they would like when entering the period tied. With Thursday’s loss, the B’s are now 3-5-2 when tied following the second period.
– As one of the top teams in the East, the Bruins need to get two points against clubs fighting for playoff spots. The B’s are now a less-than-impressive 2-2-1 against the Sabres this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Wheeler-Campbell-Thornton line is working, and it’s become pretty clear that Campbell and Thornton can bring success to just about anyone — even when it’s a guy like Wheeler who is clearly a top-9 type of forward. Campbell now has three goals in his last five games, and four in his last seven. Thornton, meanwhile, is beginning to crush Tim Thomas in their assist race. Thornton has five to Thomas’ three.
– Seidenberg seems to like playing against the Sabres. He’s scored two of his four goals this season against Ryan Miller. He also has a pair of assists against the Sabres this season, giving him four points in five games against Buffalo.
– Marc Savard, who got a helper on Seidenberg’s goal, now has an assist in four of his last five games. The bad is that he was a minus-1 for the second straight game.
|01.20.11 at 8:41 pm ET|
The Sabres picked it up in the second period, and after two, are tied with the Bruins, 2-2.
Nathan Horton turned the puck over while trying to break it out, and the play led to Cody McCormick clanking a shot off the post and sending the rebound past Tuukka Task just 1:04 into the period. The Bruins would re-take the lead at 4:51 on a bang-bang-bang play that was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Blake Wheeler.
Later in the period, with Wheeler in the box for goaltender interference, the Bruins had a couple of big shorthanded opportunities. Ryan Miller stopping Mark Recchi early on making another big save on a 3-on-2 from Zdeno Chara. The Sabres’ did make up for it, with Nathan Gerbe scoring on the power play at 10:36.
Through two, the Sabres have outshot the Bruins, 24-22.