|02.05.11 at 7:05 pm ET|
All things are relative, but ask Joe Thornton and he’ll tell you that red-hot rookie center Logan Couture is not just the best player for his age that’s he’s ever played with, but the player he’s seen with so little NHL experience.
How little? The ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft is still just 21 years old. Saturday marked his 75th game in the league but just his 50th this season, and he is still considered a rookie in the eyes of the NHL.
With his game-winning power-play backhander past Tim Thomas in the first period on Saturday, Couture has 23 goals and 11 assists in 50 games. And to think the Bruins could have had him in that 2007 draft.
Instead, with the eighth pick, the Bruins selected Zach Hamill, the same Zach Hamill who was playing just his second NHL game on Saturday, first this season.
“Actually, it almost felt like my first game but at the same time I got into the speed of it the guys in the room helped me out a little bit to calm me down but it was good,” Hamill said.
It’s Couture who has been going at full tilt for the entire season, leading all NHL rookies in goals at 23. And since Couture only played in 25 regular season games at the NHL level last year, he’s still eligible for Calder Trophy consideration.
‘He’s the most complete player that I’ve seen at that age,” Thornton said. “He penalty kills, he plays power play and plays all the important minutes. By far, the Calder winner so far this year.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|02.05.11 at 4:59 pm ET|
On the Bruins’ first power play of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Sharks, Milan Lucic had a golden opportunity to tie the game up. A Zdeno Chara one-timer led to a rebound at the left side of the net and gave Lucic a brief look at an open cage. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Lucic’s bid went wide right.
That was the closest the Bruins would get on the power play, as they ultimately finished the game 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Not only did they fail to get another great look on their final three power plays, but they struggled to even get set up in the offensive zone.
‘Our power play tonight had a tough time,’ said coach Claude Julien. ‘Tonight was probably one of the tougher times we’ve had at getting the puck in. When we did get it in, we weren’t winning those battles for loose pucks and they kept shooting it back down the ice. That was probably, to me, the biggest difference in tonight’s game.’
The Bruins have now gone 0-for-12 on the power play over their last five games and 1-for-19 over their last seven. Julien said Saturday’s problems with getting organized and maintaining possession don’t really reflect how the power play has performed lately, though.
‘I think the other night against Dallas, even though we didn’t score, our power play was good,’ Julien said. ‘We moved the puck well and we had some chances and we didn’t score. ‘¦ So we really felt our power play had taken a stride in the right direction. Tonight was a totally different case. We weren’t good enough in that area. This is our best players having to be at their best.’
Julien credited the Sharks with doing a good job on the penalty kill, but he also said his players could’ve made better decisions with the puck to try and overcome that.
‘They were here the other night watching us, obviously, and they made some adjustments with their PK,’ Julien said. ‘At the same time, we still have other options, and I don’t think our guys always took the best options. Consequently, we weren’t getting in clean.’
As much as the power play struggled, David Krejci said he liked some of the chances the Bruins generated on it in the first period. He also said he thinks it has looked pretty good lately despite the dearth of goals.
He pointed out that if Lucic’s rebound bid had gone in instead of going wide, he probably wouldn’t have to answer questions about the power play’s struggles.
‘If that goes in,’ Krejci said, ‘it would be a different game and we wouldn’t be talking about how the power play was bad tonight.’
|02.05.11 at 4:38 pm ET|
David Krejci knows that after the B’s were shut out Saturday, it’s in his hands to keep the top line producing. Right now, he just doesn’t like what’s in his hands.
Krejci, who has a contract with Bauer, has been in a bit of an unusual spot over the last couple of games. An issue with manufacturing the stick he uses each night has left him using a stick he’s had trouble getting a feel for.
“This stick sucks, and that’s all I’ve got,” Krejci, in his usual calm demeanor, said after Saturday’s game. “You can put it up on TV or in the papers. I don’t care. This stick sucks.”
The irony in the situation, of course, is that Krejci is a happy user of Bauer and loves the stick that he usually plays with. The problem is that the factory that manufactures his stick, for whatever reason, will not be able to produce his model of choice again until Feb. 11, and as a result, he’s left with the type he used to use earlier in his career.
“We ordered the sticks, my guy said they were coming [when] he ordered them,” the center said. “The trainers called them again because they didn’t come in the mail and they said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve closed the factory and we’re going to open it up again. We’re not making any sticks until Feb. 11,’ so they sent me the sticks that I used to use a long time ago.”
Krejci fell out of love with the stick when he used them earlier in his career, but it seems he’ll have to get used to them over the next few games.
“That was the reason why I changed from those sticks to the new ones I’m using, because I don’t like these ones,” he said. “I changed them because I didn’t like them anymore, but [now] it’s the only thing I can have.”
Krejci hasn’t scored in 19 games, though he has five assists over his last six games. The center, who is accountable when it comes to his game, stressed that he wasn’t talking about his own performance or suggesting that his unhappiness with the stick has hurt his play.
“I’m not making excuses for my game,” Krejci said. “I just don’t like that stick. That’s all it is.”
|02.05.11 at 3:21 pm ET|
One goal proved to be all the Sharks needed to defeat the Bruins Saturday, as a Logan Couture power play strike in the first period provided enough in a 2-0 San Jose victory. Devin Setoguchi had an empty netter in the final seconds.
Antti Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks in handing the Bruins their fifth shutout this season.
Zach Hamill, making his season debut, logged 9:34 of ice time and had zero shots on goal. Zdeno Chara led the B’s in shots on goal, putting four pucks on Niemi.
The Bruins will return to action on Wednesday when they host the Canadiens at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Following Saturday’s 0-for-4 performance on the man advantage, the Bruins have now gone five games without a power-play goal. They’re 0-for-12 during that stretch and just one for their last 19.
The B’s had a couple chances on their two power plays in the first, including a Milan Lucic rebound bid that went wide and a Steven Kampfer one-timer that Niemi got his blocker on, but they failed to sustain any sort of consistent pressure. They barely even got set up on their one man-up chance in the second. Boston’s biggest chance on the power play came midway through the third when Joe Thornton went off for a trip, but the B’s once again struggled to get organized and mustered just one shot on goal.
– The biggest thing the B’s proved in beating the Stars on Thursday was that they could beat a Western Conference team at home. With Saturday’s loss, they saw their already bad record in such games fall to 1-3-2 on the season.
– Just as the Bruins have struggled against Western teams at home, they have also been sub-par when hosting matinees at the Garden. Saturday’s loss makes them 1-3-0 on the season in day games in Boston.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins allowed just five shots in the first period and six in the second. For the game, they allowed a season-low 18. That’s pretty impressive when considering that the Sharks entered Saturday leading the league with 34.1 shots on goal per game.
The B’s previous low in shots allowed was 20, back on Oct. 28 against the Maple Leafs.
– Adam McQuaid drew penalties for the Bruins. The 24-year-old blueliner first drew a roughing minor on Ben Eager before the two fought in the first period. He later drew a timely trip on Joe Thornton as he brought the puck into the offensive zone at 10:10 of the third.
Scott McLaughlin and Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.
|02.05.11 at 2:33 pm ET|
The Bruins will have to make another third-period comeback if they want their fourth straight win, as they trail 1-0 after two periods.
The lone goal of the period was disallowed, as there was incidental contact with the goaltender on what appeared to be the Sharks’ second goal of the game. The Bruins had their opportunities, with Michael Ryder and Dennis Seidenberg missing on attempts to knot the game at one.
The Sharks and Bruins each took a minor penalty in the period, with the Sharks drawing a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct at at 10:03. It was a real break for the Bruins, given that they were at a disadvantage in their own zone with Nathan Horton’s stick broken. Gregory Campbell went off for tripping Jason Demers behind Antti Niemi’s net at 12:53.
The Sharks had only six shots on Tim Thomas in the period, and the B’s head to the third with an 18-11 edge in shots on goal.
|02.05.11 at 1:42 pm ET|
Though veteran Joe Thornton is the headline grabber when the Sharks are in town, it is a rookie who has the Sharks leading the Bruins, 1-0, after one.
The Bruins took a too many men on the ice penalty at 5:37. The penalty was solid in the early going, with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi getting shorthanded opportunities for the B’s. Logan Couture ended up making the only noise that counted, sending a back-hander past Tim Thomas with 15 seconds remaining on the power play. The rookie now has 23 goals on the season.
Adam McQuaid fought Ben Eager at 17:53, with Eager getting the better of McQuaid in the bought. The B’s ended up on the power play as a Eager was also assessed a roughing minor. The Bruins were 0-for-2 on the power play.
After a period, the Bruins are outshooting the Sharks, 8-5.
|02.05.11 at 12:31 pm ET|
Thomas, in the midst of a career year, leads the league in both goals against average (1.82) and save percentage (.945) and is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts (7) and wins (25). In his last start, he made 24 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes Monday in Carolina. Niemi is 14-3-3 this season with a 2.75 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Bruins forward Daniel Paille will serve the first game of his four-game suspension Saturday and will be eligible to return Feb. 15 against the Maple Leafs.