|03.31.11 at 8:46 pm ET|
After not scoring in the first period, the Bruins got production early in the second and lead the Maple Leafs, 3-2.
Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board when he scored a beautiful short-handed goal at 2:09. It was Marchand’s fifth shorthanded tally of the season, putting him in a three-way tie for second in the NHL. Fifty-nine seconds later, David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic in front of the net and put it past James Reimer for his 13th goal of the season. With the assist, Lucic became the 10th player of the post-lockout NHL to have 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a single season. Lucic celebrated the mark later in the period by fighting Jay Rosehill.
After a Joffrey Lupul goal tied the game at two goals apiece, Andrew Ference put a slapshot through the legs of Reimer for a soft five-hole strike.
The Bruins held a 19-7 advantage in shots on goal in the period and are outshooting the Leafs, 27-17, after two.
|03.31.11 at 7:44 pm ET|
The Maple Leafs came into Boston desperate for a win, and they lead the Bruins 1-0 thanks to some help from a former friend.
As far as the sin bin went, stick penalties by rookies plagued the Bruins. Six seconds after Tyler Seguin was out of the box for hooking, Steven Kampfer took the same penalty. Extracurricular activity at 4:00 left Phil Kessel with minors for slashing and roughing, while Andrew Ference went off for slashing. Seguin would make up for his earlier penalty by drawing a hook from NIkolai Kulemin. The B’s will begin the second period with five seconds remaining on the power play.
After one, the Leafs are outshooting the B’s, 10-8.
|03.31.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton was not happy after somebody chirped at him from the Chicago bench while he was leaving the ice Tuesday night. Thornton, who was bloodied after getting his face mangled by Fernando Pisani‘s blade, said after the game that he wanted to find out who it was, and has since said that the Blackhawks like to chirp. One Blackhawk took exception to it with some colorful language.
“He can say what he wants,” Blackhawks defenseman John Scott told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going after some of our littlest guys on our team to start a fight. He’s trying to challenge Pisani to a fight. What’s that say about him?
“He’s Mr. Tough Guy and he’s trying to challenge Pisani. If I’m in the lineup, he’s more than welcome to come chirp at me. I’ll kick the [expletive] out of him.”
Based on what happened on the ice and what Thornton said after the game, Scott’s talk of Thornton picking a fight might be a bit exaggerated. Thornton and Pisani did have words in a scrum earlier, but he said the play in which Pisani’s skate cut his face was a complete accident and that he held no ill feelings toward him after it.
|03.31.11 at 12:57 pm ET|
Unsurprisingly, Shawn Thornton’s face was a popular topic Thursday morning as the Bruins prepared for the Maple Leafs. The large comma-shaped gash above Thornton’s right eye will keep him out against Toronto, meaning Thornton will sit for the first time after playing the season’s first 76 games.
“It’s just day-to-day,” Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “He took a lot of stitches but not just what you see on the outside, but on the inside as well. So it’s obviously a dangerous area. They certainly want to be cautious about it and we’re going to respect that.”
Thornton skated with a new helmet in the morning skate, saying a “big hole” was cut to make room for the swelling and so the stitches wouldn’t touch the helmet. Another noticeable alteration to the helmet was that it featured a visor.
“I’m not a big fan of it,” Thornton said after the skate. “I’m not used to it. Let’s just say that.”
Thornton touched on his preference to play without a visor. He noted that if he were to get into a fight, he would have to take his helmet off, running the risk of falling on his head.
“I’m aware of the risks of not wearing a visor, but it’s my choice,” he said. I think it’s more of a risk to fall on my head in a fight.”
Here are some other notes:
With Thornton out, Michael Ryder is back in the lineup after being scratched in the last two contests. He will skate on Gregory Campbell’s line with Daniel Paille as he tries to break out of his funk and show he can be an asset in the playoffs.
“You definitely don’t want to be out of the lineup, that’s for sure,” Ryder said. “When you get in there, you don’t want to try and do too much. You just go out there and work hard and try and make sure you help the team instead of hurting them. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.
“Things get worse if you [try to do too much]. You’ve just got to go out and play your game. If you play well, it’s up to the coach’s decision after that.”
Julien hopes Ryder can make it an easy decision.
“When Michael is on his game, he’s a real good asset to our hockey team,” Julien said. “He makes things happen out there on the ice and he gets great quality chances. He’s just got to find his game. I think it’s not us being down on him, it’s us wanting more out of him and we hope that we can find that moving forward because he can be a valuable player for us in the playoffs. And he’s proven that in the past.”
Ryder has just one goal over his last 19 games.
– Steven Kampfer is back in the lineup for the first time since costing the B’s the game March 17 in Nashville. Johnny Boychuk is sitting in his place, as Julien is aiming to give his players rest while also working the scratches into the lineup. Shane Hnidy could play Saturday.
– Julien likes that the B’s have played against some desperate teams of late. That continues with the Leafs, who are seven points out of a playoff spot.
“I think it’s helped us all. We talked about the consistency of our game, and when you play teams that are obviously either battling to get in or battling to stay in or battling for position, this time of year you’re facing a good team every night.
“It’s been good for Tim [Thomas] obviously, but it’s been good for our whole team. Because that’s the one thing we’ve struggled with a little bit as the season went on, was consistency in our play. We went stretches where we played well and then we kind of flatten out there for a while and then picked it up again. So it’s been good all around for our hockey club, and I think that’s been great to play the teams that we’ve played in the last little while.”
|03.31.11 at 12:11 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, who recieved around 40 stitches for a gash above his right eye after being cut by a skate in Tuesday’s game, is not medically cleared to return to the lineup and will not play Thursday against the Maple Leafs. Coach Claude Julien said the forward is considered day-to-day. In Thornton’s place, Michael Ryder will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games.
Thornton participated in the morning skate wearing a helmet with a shield. Tuesday will be the first game Thornton has missed all season, leaving Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg as the only Bruins to play in each game this season.
Thornton’s absence isn’t the only lineup change for the B’s Thursday. Rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer, who has not played since March 17 in Nashville, will play in place of Johnny Boychuk as part of Julien’s plan to keep everybody fresh for the playoffs. Julien suggested that Shane Hnidy, who has not played an NHL game this season, could play Saturday
|03.31.11 at 12:03 am ET|
Everyone knows that goaltending plays a major role in the postseason. It isn’t always about who has the best goalie, but who has the hotter goalie.
This season, the Bruins have the best goalie, as Tim Thomas seems to have all but sewn up the Vezina. So, if Thomas is awarded the trophy this summer in Las Vegas, will he receive it having recently won the Stanley Cup? We take a look at how far goaltenders’ teams have gone in the playoffs in their Vezina-winning seasons.
First, here are some quick numbers on Thomas if he is to win the Vezina this year:
– He will become the first Bruins goaltender to win it since some guy named Tim Thomas way back in 2008-09.
– He will become the fifth goalie to win multiple Vezinas since the adoption of its current criteria in 1982 (it had previously been awarded to the goalie who played the majority of the games for whichever team allowed allowed the fewest goals). He would join an elite class of all-time greats, as Dominik Hasek (six), Martin Brodeur (four), Patrick Roy (three) and Ed Belfour (two) have also won the trophy multiple times since then.
– Since 1982, only Thomas and Pete Peeters (1983) have won the Vezina while playing for the Bruins.
– Thomas would become the third Bruins goaltender to win multiple Vezinas, joining Tiny Thompson (four) and Frank Brimsek (two). He would join Thompson as the only Boston goaltenders to win two Vezinas over the span of three seasons. Thompson won it in 1936 and 1938, and also won in 1930 and 1933.
Now here’s a look at how the teams of goalies that won the Vezina recently fared in the playoffs that season:
2010: Ryan Miller — Sabres eliminated in first round
2009: Tim Thomas – Bruins eliminated in second round
2008: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in first round
2007: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in second round
2006: Miikka Kiprusoff — Flames eliminated in first round
2005: Season cancelled due to lockout
2004: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in first round
2003: Martin Brodeur — Devils won Stanley Cup
2002: Jose Theodore — Canadiens eliminated in second round
2001: Dominik Hasek — Sabres eliminated in second round
2000: Olaf Kolzig — Capitals eliminated in first round
Note that only Brodeur in 2003 even led his team past the second round. Since 1988, only two teams with Vezina winners have won the Cup that season. The Bruins are trying to prove they can make it to the Eastern Conference finals after knocking on the door, the past two seasons, so judging by these numbers, they might have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself.
|03.30.11 at 10:54 am ET|
After a game like Tuesday’s, there is most certainly a temptation to look ahead to how far this Bruins team could be going in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s especially tempting when you consider the Bruins dismantled the team that won the Cup last June.
But Tim Thomas isn’t biting, not even after stopping all 32 shots in a 3-0 win over the Blackhawks.
“Haven’t thought about it at all, to be honest with you,” Thomas said after his career-best ninth shutout this season and 26th career. “I’m just focusing on each game-to-game, and even during the game just trying to play the same way for the whole 60 minutes no matter what the situation. We’re pretty good about not think about that kind of stuff lately, so I’d prefer not to start now, if you don’t mind.
“This was a good challenge for us. Chicago is a good team, I know they’re battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. But that’s a good thing because you know they’re going to bring their ‘A’ game, because those points mean a lot to them. It was a big test, and we responded very well. They’re a very fast team and we had our legs going right from the beginning of the game and were able to match them stride for stride.”
If the Bruins are headed for a deep run this spring, Thomas will be a good reason. He turned away every scoring chance in the first period, discouraging the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks so much that even their coach felt his team — battling for its playoff life — was discouraged.
“They were the harder working team tonight,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They play hard. First 10 minutes, we are on our heels. We got back in the game and we didn’t do much after they scored first.” Read the rest of this entry »