|10.16.10 at 7:40 pm ET|
The Bruins and Devils both treaded water in the first period of what one would expect to be a low-shooting and low-scoring game. As such, the shots are 11-8 in favor of the Devils in a scoreless game.
The Devils were comically clumsy in the offensive zone, but that’s not to say that they didn’t have their chances. Tim Thomas twice had to make sprawling saves reminiscent of his Vezina days to keep it scoreless.
The Bruins took three penalties in the period, with Blake Wheeler (holding) and Brad Marchand (kneeing) penalties overlapping for a period-ending 5-on-3. Marchand was called for a questionable knee-on-knee hit on Dainius Zubrus. The Bruins went 0-for-1 on the power play, with a Tyler Seguin wrister off the glove of Martin Brodeur perhaps the closest they came to getting on the board.
|10.16.10 at 6:54 pm ET|
Brian McGrattan is a scratch for his first potential game as a member of the Bruins. McGrattan was on a tryout with the team during the team’s two games in Prague before being inked to a one-year deal on Monday.
Forward Daniel Paille and defenseman Adam McQuaid will also take in Saturday night’s game vs. the Devils from the stands. McQuaid was scratched for both Prague games, while a poor showing in last Saturday’s 5-2 season-opening loss to the Coyotes led to his being scratched on Sunday. Based on practice this week, the following lines can be expected.
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Caron – Bergeron – Wheeler
Recchi – Seguin – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
|10.16.10 at 11:56 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Saturday that Tim Thomas, who is coming off a shutout in his season debut last Sunday, will be the starting goaltender when the Bruins take on the Devils on Saturday night.
Thomas, 36, made 29 saves against the Coyotes in the 3-0 victory in Prague, his 18th career shutout. Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, allowed four goals in the team’s season-opening 5-2 loss.
The game will be the Bruins first since returning from Prague, where they picked up two points in the two-game set with Phoenix. The Devils, on the other hand, have just three points in five games and lost on Friday night to the Avalanche.
|10.15.10 at 4:02 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The differences between the Bruins’ first two games were telling enough without having to dive into the box score. The shots on Sunday were there as they had been the night before (37 after a 42 shot effort in Saturday’s 5-2 loss), but the team was more consistent offensively in addition to recovering from a very sloppy defensive night. The turnovers that doomed the team in the season-opener disappeared on Sunday while poor individual performances were made a thing of the past by stronger efforts.
One of the players who experienced a night-and-day weekend was defenseman Matt Hunwick. After posting a team-worst minus-3 plus/minus on Sunday and having his pairing with Dennis Seidenberg separated mid-game, Hunwick was one of the better ice in the team’s second game. Hunwick had three shots on goal and tied for a team-high plus-two.
Yet while many of the players who saw improved performances from one day to the next in Prague, it was Hunwick’s effort that could end up meaning more to the Bruins as the season goes on. To the casual observer, you couldn’t notice him in his own end — a good sign — while he also showed strong signs of being the puck-moving defenseman the team lost in the Dennis Wideman trade.
“I think it’s funny. You look at the stat sheet after, and you don’t really think you did too much different from game to game, but sometimes you get the bounces and you get the pucks, and the assists. Sometimes you don’t,” Hunwick told WEEI.com recently. “That’s kind of how the game works, but collectively we obviously played a lot better in the third period on Saturday and carried that right into Sunday and played three good periods. That’s the idea of where we want to be.”
Hunwick displayed impressive vision on the ice and was one of the players who stood out on the power play. While he figures to continue to see time on the man advantage, the hope with the 26-year-old is that his contributions aren’t limited to how he can help the team offensively.
“First of all, I have to be good in my own end, that’s where it starts,” Hunwick said when asked about what he expects from himself in his fourth season. “Especially for a team like this. I think my role is expanding a little bit.
“I’ve been playing on the power play, and I feel like I have to be a facilitator on that unit and also learn to shoot the puck and create opportunities for the other guys that are out there. That’s a lot bigger role than I had last year. I think I started doing that in the playoffs, and now this year that will hopefully be a role that I have all season long.”
|10.15.10 at 3:27 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ power play didn’t jump off the page in their first two games of the season, but then again superb play on the man advantage was not characteristic of their club a season ago.
The Bruins finished last season with a power play that was 23rd in the league (16.6 percentage). Their penalty kill was a different story, as they killed off 86.4 percent of their penalties, good for third best in the league.
Last weekend in Prague, the Bruins scored on just one of eight powerplays, while they were shorthanded on just three occasions but allowed a power play goal to the Coyotes on Saturday.
The Bruins saw many faces on the power play, ranging from Tyler Seguin to Milan Lucic to Matt Hunwick, among others. With the team still getting familiar with the season, the power play also is a work in progress.
“It all depends. I don’t think there’s number of games [at which you can tell],” Bergeron said of gauging a clicking power play. “Obviously, when there’s new guys on the power play, we need some time to adjust.”
As for where the weekend performance left the Bruins in regard to special teams rankings, Claude Julien noted that it’s simply too early to read into the power play and penalty kill, which rank 19th and 28th, respectively.
“I think we had 19 shots on the power play. We came out with one goal,” Julien said. “I know we had some opportunities, and we maybe didn’t quite finish. ‘¦ I wouldn’t jump all over the power play and say it hasn’t been good more than it hasn’t had the results.
“You get two more goals and you’re in the top five. That’s how close it is. It’s two games in. It’s just like our penalty kill. We gave up one goal, but because we only killed three right away, our penalty kill is getting a lot of questions. I think we need a little time here before we jump all over those special teams.”
|10.15.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Claude Julien talking about the Bruins’ special teams, Cam Neely, and Brad Marchand on Friday at the team’s final Ristuccia skate before departing for New Jersey, where they will face the Devils on Saturday.
|10.15.10 at 1:34 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A player’s rookie year in the NHL presents some pretty predictable obstacles. Getting used to the speed of the game, limiting mistakes, and not letting the game get inside one’s own head. When the player is under 20 years of age and learning a new language, perhaps the jitters felt and the speedbumps experienced become enhanced a bit, and the rookie naturally seeks the guidance of a player who was once in similar shoes.
That may be exactly the relationship that exists between Bruins second-liners Jordan Caron and Patrice Bergeron. Both players come from Quebec, and like Bergeron did as an 18-year-old in the 2003-04 season, Caron, 19, is entering a new league while also trying to master a new language. To this point, both his English and his game have come along nicely, though the whole package has been aided by the now 25-year-old Bergeron.
After over-thinking situations on the ice at points in the team’s scrimmage in Belfast, Bergeron and Mark Recchi, at the time linemates with Caron, had lunch and discussed the challenges the young winger was facing. The lunch concluded with the two deciding that it would be best if Bergeron took Caron for dinner to remind him of how big a difference he could make.
‘It’s been a long camp for me, but I don’t want to take that as an excuse,’ Caron said a few days after the Belfast game. ‘I guess it has been a long training camp for me, but I have to get over it and just try to do my best.’
While in Prague, Bergeron did take Caron, who by then had been demoted to the third line, out for the meal, one that both players feel helped the rookie.
“We went for dinner in Prague. I didn’t say much. It was just to make him feel comfortable and realize that he’s part of the team and he’s a good player and that even though he’s young, he’s good,” Bergeron said, adding that he told Caron to, “just play the same game that he’s been playing throughout his career.”
After scoring in the team’s preseason finale in Liberec, Czech Republic, Caron was a scratch in the season-opener against the Coyotes, a game in which the team fell to Phoenix, 5-2. He made his NHL debut on Sunday, being bumped back up to the second line with Bergeron and Blake Wheeler. Caron logged a team-low 9:42 minutes of ice time but got a couple of shots on net in the process, making an overall first impression that he’s glad to have gotten out of the way.
Since the team returned from Prague, Caron has skated with the second line and though he has taken to the “anything can happen” mentality, it appears his ice time will only go up as the season progresses. As that comes, so too may more rookie challenges, but Bergeron has made it clear to Caron that he is more than happy with aiding in the adjustment as well as he can. After all, it wasn’t long ago that he had a go-to guy in the locker room for the same purpose.
“Martin Lapointe was always there [for me] my first year,” Bergeron recalled. “He was always calming me down and helping me make sure I wasn’t getting ahead of myself.”
Bergeron lived with Lapointe and his family in his rookie year. On the ice, he made big strides, contributing 39 points as rookie despite facing the challenges that accompany someone learning English off the ice.
“It was pretty hard, especially that first year. It was different and difficult as well, just for opening bank accounts and all that, social security number, and all that stuff,” Bergeron said. “Things that were different with me are pretty much the same with Jordan. They’re all things you’ve got to go through, but with help it’s pretty easy.”
A difference can definitely be observed in Caron’s English from the summer’s rookie development camp until now. He notes that he’s “getting comfortable with everything,” but that he’s not afraid to be persistent with Bergeron if it means getting a firmer grasp on things.
“I don’t want to be annoying, but he told me not to be scared to ask him anything, and that’s what I do,” Caron said.” If I don’t understand a drill sometimes because the language is different, I’ll go right up to him and ask him.”
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