|10.29.10 at 11:20 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins announced on Friday that they have assigned forward Brian McGrattan to Providence for conditioning. McGrattan, who played with the B’s throughout training camp on a tryout basis, was signed by the team following the second game of the season and has been a healthy scratch in each of the five games he’s technically been a member of the Bruins.
The Bruins plan on having McGrattan play in three games with the Baby B’s before returning to the NHL club this coming Monday. By sending him down for conditioning he does not have to clear waivers.
|10.29.10 at 1:14 am ET|
It’s just that on this night – one to honor a man with 75 years of history with the Boston Bruins – it was more important for the goalie to focus on getting the win, not the lightning rod of the Hub’s hockey fans.
And focus is exactly what Thomas did, turning away all 20 shots over 60 minutes in posting his 19th career shutout – a 2-0 dispatch of the Toronto Maple Leafs before a fired-up TD Garden sellout crowd.
“Yeah, you know, it being Milt Schmidt night, the best thing we could do for him I think was to get a win, and so we were trying hard to get a good result,” Thomas said. “I mean, just listening to the accomplishments, that that man has had as part of the Bruins organization, and he deserved the win tonight, so we were focusing on that.
“Now as far as Phil Kessel goes, the other side of that coin there the you’re talking about, we’re not thinking about that We’re thinking about the two points. We needed the win. Especially we needed to bounce back after a loss, so we’re not thinking about individuals like that. At least, I’m not.”
That doesn’t mean Kessel didn’t have his chances. He had six shots on net, including one point-blank in the second period when Kessel came up the slot and took possession of a loose puck in front of Thomas.
“Oh, was it? On the other side? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I remember that,” Thomas recalled.
When you’re stopping players like Phil Kessel point blank, you’re likely putting up great numbers. And that’s what Thomas has been doing, ever since getting the start in the season’s second game.
He has two shutouts, including Thursday’s 2-0 win. He is a perfect 5-0 with a 0.60 goals against average. His save percentage is a near-perfect .980.
Is the best start he’s ever had?
“Well, probably statistically? I feel obviously that I’m playing good. The team is playing very well in front of me. They’re really helping me out with rebounds, screens, blocking in the screens, I mean. [Dennis] Seidenberg had as many saves as I did tonight, and that’s making it very helpful.”
The five straight wins to start a season is the best by a Boston goalie since Tiny Thompson went 6-0-0 in his first six games of the 1937-38 season.
Added coach Claude Julien, “Solid again. I think we can’t say enough about the way he’s played. What I liked about his game too, you know, they had some shots from the point and he did a great job of not giving any rebounds. He kept those inside of him. I thought he did a great job of smothering those loose pucks and just solid challenging and confident.”
|10.28.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has been soaking in each second of Boston and his new fanbase. His excitement to be in town has matched the Bruins’ fans excitement to have a true goal-scoring threat. Horton proved he can do more than score on Thursday, as he dropped the gloves with Dion Phaneuf in the second period of the team’s 2-0 win over the Leafs in front of a wild, sold-out TD Garden crowd. It was his first fight since the 2008 preseason.
“We kind of had a little battle going throughout the game up top, and [I figured I’d] maybe just try and put an end to it in the game,” Horton said after the game.
The two players exchanged blows as they tumbled to the ice, but it was only Horton who picked up a 10 minute misconduct in addition to his fighting major. Claude Julien disagreed with the call.
“I still don’t understand how he gets the 10 minutes,” Julien said. “We all saw Phaneuf punched him when he was on the ground.”
All in all, the fight served as yet another reminder positive reminder that the first-line winger, whose work ethic was called into question prior the June trade that send him to the Bruins, has not totally come as advertised. The former No. 3 overall pick received criticism for taking shifts off in his time as a Panther, but any traces of laziness and frustration are two characteristics he hasn’t displayed in Boston.
“I’m trying,” Horton said. “I want to show that I want to be here. I want to be a part of the team, and I want to have success here and be successful with my team. I can’t say it enough. Every day that I come to the rink, it’s been great.”
|10.28.10 at 11:04 pm ET|
The Maple Leafs had a tough night on Thursday as they were shut out by Tim Thomas, but nobody got it anywhere near as badly as Phil Kessel. The former Bruins’ fifth overall pick left town after the B’s, unable to strike an extension with him prior to last season, sent him to the Leafs for a package of draft picks. Since the trade, Kessel has been unable to muster a single goal against his former club, much to the delight of Bruins fans. Tyler Seguin, chosen second overall with Leafs’ first-round pick acquired in the deal, put the cherry on top by scoring against his hometown Leafs in the second period.
The reaction to that? The loudest “Thank you, Kessel” chant that one could imagine.
“I was on the bench and I was trying not to laugh,” Seguin admitted. “All the guys were kind of cracking up because it just stayed together so well. It was surprising.”
While Seguin and teammates were amused (“It was kind of funny,” Nathan Horton said), Kessel himself stuck to his pre-game attitude. After the Leafs’ morning skate, he said that Bruins fans can “do whatever they want.” And they did.
“I could care less, to tell you the truth,” Kessel said. “It doesn’t matter to me one bit.”
Asked after the game whether he felt bad for the former Bruin, Seguin noted that with such a reception comes a level of respect.
“He was getting booed every time he touched the puck, so he’s obviously doing something right,” Seguin said. “Hopefully I get booed in a rink, too. Hopefully not in Boston.”
|10.28.10 at 10:26 pm ET|
“He’s here to stay,” Julien said of the second overall pick of the draft and former OHL MVP, relaying a message from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
Seguin scored his second goal of the season in the second period of Thursday’s 2-0 victory over the Maple Leafs, beating Toronto netminder Jonas Gustavsson with a wrister from the circle. It was his first goal at TD Garden, and he now has four points on the season.
The Bruins gave Seguin the news after he spoke with reporters on Thursday, but his comments on the subject before finding out his fate were the same as they have been all along — that he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I think I came out here and I think I worked my hardest, and in the end, that is all I can really ask of myself,” Seguin said. “I think I’ve been improving with that kind of situation.”
Last season with the Whalers, his second OHL season, Seguin scored 48 goals and added 58 assists for 106 points. He was chosen with a pick acquired from the Leafs in the Phil Kessel deal, which also netted the B’s Toronto’s second-round pick in 2010 and a first-rounder in 2011.
|10.28.10 at 9:44 pm ET|
A Brampton, Ontario native, Seguin grew up rooting for the Leafs and admitted that his friends from home were torn between rooting for their hometeam or Seguin. The rookie made it a little easier to choose, beating Maple Leafs netminder Jonas Gustavsson from the circle in the second period.
Patrice Bergeron picked up the B’s first goal, his first of the season and what proved to be the game-winner. The Bruins are now 5-2-0 on the season, winning each of the five games Thomas has started. Kessel was able to muster nothing on six shots, much to the delight of the Garden crowd all night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Don’t lose sight of what has kept this team going. There was plenty of pizazz thanks to the Kessel/Seguin storyline, but Thomas will be the story until his dominant stretch ends. It didn’t on Thursday night, as he posted another shutout in the victory, his second of the season. In the games that he’s allowed a goal, he’s allowed, quite literally, and in the spirit of Wayne Campbell, “a” goal. Three goals allowed and five wins on the season isn’t too shabby for a guy people were praying to have traded over the offseason.
– Bergeron’s goal was the 100th of his career. It took him longer than he would have liked to pick it up, as the tally was just his first of the season. He picked up the goal on the power play, which was the Bruins’ sixth power play goal in the last four games.
If the Bruins want to truly be as improved a scoring club as they hope, they’ll need more than just the first line to produce. It was good to see Bergeron net the tally, and perhaps just as impressive was his play on his own line. Both Jordan Caron and Blake Wheeler showed flashes throughout the game, and once the second line can emerge as a serious scoring threat from night to night the B’s will naturally be a formidable club offensively.
– All apologies for not stirring the pot when it came to Seguin going back to juniors, but it just seemed too ridiculous, even for someone who has kept their job despite blogging about candy bars and Mighty Ducks movies.
Seguin had an opporunity for his second goal of the game with about seven minutes remaining in the game, but was taken down while coming in on Gustavsson on a breakaway.
– From a standings and overall team standpoint, the 17,565 on hand at the Garden had to be pleased with what they saw and what the victory meant. Nathan Horton, the scorer the Bruins didn’t have a season ago with Kessel gone, proved his ability to do more than score rally the by dropping Dion Phaneuf. Seguin, the player picked with one of the first-rounders acquired in the Kessel deal, scored his first regular season goal at the Garden, and the “Thank you, Kessel” chants couldn’t have been louder. Oh, and the B’s picked up two points in a division game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Brad Marchand looked good offensively in the second period, but he took two penalties in the game. The undersized winger first went off in the first period for passing a stick to a teammate and saw two more minutes in the bin for hooking Kessel in the second.
– Taylor Hall scored his first career goal Thursday. Safe to say Bruins fans aren’t concerned?
|10.28.10 at 8:56 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin has scored on both his hometown team and the club that traded the pick used to select him, and it’s a 2-0 lead for the Bruins over the Maple Leafs after two periods of play.
You didn’t find a word about Seguin getting sent back to juniors in this space for a reason, and the rookie showed it to a crowd that gladly responded with a “Thank you [Phil] Kessel!” chant. The 18-year-old beat Jonas Gustavsson from the circle with a beautiful wrister and increased the B’s lead at 12:26. Dennis Seidenberg and Michael Ryder picked up the assists.
Nathan Horton got in his first fight in a Bruins uniform, squaring off with Dion Phaneuf a little over halfway through the period. Though Horton took Phaneuf down, the Leafs got the better of the exchange, as the B’s leading goal scorer was handed a 10-minute misconduct.
Tim Thomas saw only four shots in the period, and has now stopped all 12 Leafs shots.
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