|12.08.10 at 11:55 am ET|
The veterans on the Bruins who have been around the block a few times realize that Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime win against Buffalo was just another win in December. But they also realize that it’s significant for one very important reason.
When you get to April and May and the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are no shootouts and you need to find a way to win overtime games. Another satisfying aspect of this early-December win was the fact the Bruins trailed 2-1 against Ryan Miller – one of the best goalies in the sport – with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. So before winning in overtime the Bruins had to force the extra period.
The Bruins took advantage of a turnover in front of the Buffalo net and Nathan Horton scored his second goal in as many games to tie the game, 2-2. Again, just like April and May, teams with Cup aspirations need to find a way to just force overtime when you’re down a goal.
“I mean just to come back being down two to one in the third period, but then to finish it off that’s the key because I mean if… theoretically every game that you play in is a Stanley Cup run there are no shootouts in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you need to find a way to win that in overtime,” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. “So that’s what we did tonight and that’s a good thing.”
And you need your goalie to make big saves in overtime – just like Thomas did on Derek Roy on the doorstep just 40 seconds into the overtime. And in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you get bizarre circumstances – like scoring the winning goal, only to have play continue for about a minute before a stoppage and video review confirmed Mark Recchi‘s game-winning deflection off Dennis Seidenberg‘s blast from the high slot.
“I don’t know if I have ever been a part of a game like that,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen it on TV and stuff a couple times and actually by the time we actually got a whistle I’d forgotten about that goal. So, when I happened to glance up, I didn’t get to see if the puck went in on the replay but the crowd was happy, so I just started celebrating hoping that the crowd was right.”
“It’s been tough for us, I think, in that area. Number one, as you saw, we used three forwards and one D to try to get some more offense on that five-minute overtime, four-on-four,” Julien said. “Most of our offense has been coming from up front. At the same time, we haven’t been very good in shootouts. We don’t have a very good percentage as a group, so I guess, for the time being, you try to adjust and try and put the odds on your side. We went that way and ended up on the power play and were able to score.”
Recchi added final perspective on the significance of the December win.
“It’s important,” Recchi said. “We’d like not to get [to overtime], but if we do get there then you’ve got to be good and you’ve got to be sharp. We use our bench very well, so guys are pretty fresh when it comes and we don’t have over-tired people. It’s good. Timmy [Thomas] came off a big save and then we were able to capitalize on the power play.”
|12.08.10 at 11:52 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The newly recalled Steven Kampfer took the ice with the Bruins as the team held practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. The team summoned the 22-year-old on an emergency basis following the upper-body injury sufferered by Mark Stuart in Tuesday’s game.
Stuart, as one could have guessed, was not on the ice in practice. He left in midway through the first period of the team’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Sabres. Everybody else was accounted for at practice, including Marco Sturm.
Kampfer was second on the Providence Bruins in scoring with 16 points (3-13) through 20 games.
|12.07.10 at 11:01 pm ET|
It’s the dreaded “upper body injury” for Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart.
Stuart played just four shifts in the first period Tuesday night before suffering an undisclosed ailment, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“He’ll be evaluated and let you know [Wednesday],” Julien said. “We’ll give you more [Wednesday] and he needs to be evaluated. We need to give you the right information.”
The Bruins defenseman totaled three minutes, 56 seconds on the ice in the first period before being forced out of the game. The Bruins practice Wednesday in Wilmington before hosting the New York Islanders on Thursday night at TD Garden. Julien did not speculate on Stuart’s availability on Thursday or Saturday, when the Bruins host the Flyers.
|12.07.10 at 10:05 pm ET|
Tuesday night’s battle of Vezina winners led to just the type of nail-biter one may have expected, as it took overtime to decide a 3-2 Bruins victory over the Sabres.
Nathan Horton, who had been slumping in recent weeks, intercepted a woefully irresponsible attempt at a clear by Sabres defenseman Mike Weber, taking the puck in front of the net and firing a wrist shot top-shelf glove-side to beat Miller and tie the game at two at 13:39 of the third period.
The B’s had found themselves to lose a game in regulation after scoring the first goal, a scenario they had never seen play out entering the game. Milan Lucic put the B’s on the board in the first, while the Sabres got goals from Adam and Thomas Vanek in the second and third periods, respectively.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Horton now has two goals in as many games, and thanks to his two-point-night has four points in his last three games. He still isn’t showing what he showed early on the season, but his numbers are looking up.
– The Sabres truly appeared indifferent to the idea of clearing the puck responsibility. On top of Weber’s attempt, they struggled mightily and getting it out with Steve Montador in the penalty box late in the third.
– The Bruins outshot their opponent in the first period for the first time in five games. The B’s registered 12 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes to the Sabres’ eight. The Bruins last outshot their opponent in the first period on Nov. 26.
– Lucic keeps scoring, even if they aren’t the prettiest goals in the world. Lucic came from behind the net to fire a shot on Miller from the right circle. Miller most certainly should have made the save, but he let it just sneak in past the left post. Lucic continues to lead the Bruins in goals, as he now has 13 in 26 games.
– Recchi wasn’t the only player to fall victim to the post, as Vanek could have made it 3-1 were it not for his slap shot ringing off the right post in the third period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Missed opportunities, and boy were there many of them. Recchi, Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, David Krejci and Lucic were among the culprits on Tuesday, with Recchi serving as the night’s most snakebite Bruin. Recchi was stopped twice from the slot and later hit the post on a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity.
– Mark Stuart exited the game with an undisclosed injury. He missed the second and third periods. While the extent of his injury is currently unknown, it would be interesting to see if this means a call to Providence must be made. Remember, the Bruins haven’t had a seventh defenseman practicing with them since Adam McQuaid stepped in for the traded Matt Hunwick.
– Shawn Thornton and Milan also headed down the tunnel in the first and third periods, respectively with wrist injuries, though they both returned.
– Vanek showed that persistence pays off. When Tyler Myers missed the net wide, Vanek took a whack at it from behind the goal line, banking it off Thomas and in for his 11th goal of the season and making it a 2-1 game in the third.
|12.07.10 at 9:04 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t capitalize on their second-period opportunities, and the Sabres did. It was as simple as that, as Buffalo got a goal from Luke Adam to tie the game at one.
– Mark Recchi had three opportunities, getting stuffed by Ryan Miller twice on shots from the slot and hitting the post on a shorthanded 2-on-1. David Krejci and Milan Lucic also failed to capitalize on plays in which they could have caught Miller out of position badly. Blake Wheeler joined Michael Ryder in the miss-the-net club for the night.
– Miller hasn’t been exceptional despite allowing one goal through the first two periods. He’s given up his share of rebounds ands he’s been out of position numerous times. The Bruins have either been slow to catch it or have missed the net.
– Mark Stuart did not play in the second period, as he is out for the game with an undisclosed injury.
|12.07.10 at 8:15 pm ET|
Ryan Miller had his career-high shutout streak of 161:35 snapped when he let a Milan Lucic shot from the right circle sneak behind the left post. As a result, the B’s are leading the Sabres, 1-0, after 20 minutes of play at TD Garden.
– The Michael Ryder – Marc Savard – Tyler Seguin line has gotten its chances, but sloppiness has been the demise of their opportunities. Seguin couldn’t catch two of Savard’s passes, and when the rookie hit Ryder on a 3-on-2 in which Miller was focused on Savard, Ryder missed the net.
– Shawn Thornton took an Andrew Ference shot off the right hand/wrist area in front of the net. After a brief trip down the tunnel, Thornton returned to bench and later returned to the ice.
– Former Bruin Steve Montador did the twist with Johnny Boychuk at 14:04, the only fight of the period. Montador got a roughing minor in addition to his fighting major, with the B’s failing to convert on their only power play. The Sabres have yet to go on the man advantage.
– The Bruins are outshooting the Sabres, 11-8.
|12.07.10 at 12:45 pm ET|
After falling to the Maple Leafs in a shootout on Saturday night, the Bruins are back at TD Garden, where they will face the Sabres. The B’s had no trouble handling handling Lindy Ruff’s squad in Buffalo on Nov. 3, scoring five goals against a backup cocktail of Jhonas Enroth and Patrick Lalime.
The groin injury that kept Ryan Miller out of that contest is a thing of the past, and the reigning Vezina winner is on fire. He’s coming off back-to-back shutouts, including a 1-0 shootout victory Saturday in Ottawa.
The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday. Tim Thomas and Mark Recchi were the only two to miss it, but given that Thomas is on a hot streak of his own (three goals allowed on 119 shots over the last three games), one would think he’d be between the pipes.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 5-5-2 in home games and are 5-4-2 in games played at TD Garden. They throttled the Lightning to the tune of an 8-1 victory last Thursday, their most recent home contest.
– Like the Bruins, the Sabres are a much better road team than they are a home team. They’ve compiled a 6-5-2 record away from Buffalo, while their 5-8-1 home record has a lot to do with why they’re currently fourth in the Northeast with 25 points.
– Thomas continues to lead the NHL in the three major goaltending statistics. His .956 save percentage, 1.46 goals against average, and five shutouts are tops in the league.
– Former Bruin Steve Montador is tied for second in the league with a plus-16. In 13 games for the Bruins in 2008-09, Montador a plus-3 and had two points. He added three more points and was a plus-5 in 11 playoff games.
– The Sabres are just about as bad offensively this year as the Bruins were last year. The B’s averaged a league-worst 2.39 goals per game last season, while Buffalo currently averages 2.4 a night, which is 25th in the league.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Nathan Horton has shown signs of picking it up as of late, getting points in each of the last two games, including his first goal in 10 games Saturday. The sharpshooting winger still has just two points in his last eight games after registering 18 in the 17 prior.
– This will be the Bruins’ first game since sending Jordan Caron to Providence. Caron had been a healthy scratch in the last two games due to the return of Marc Savard, so geting the 20-year-old playing time is clearly in everyone’s best interest.
“It’s never an easy decision because the guy has been here since the beginning of the year,” Claude Julien told reporters after the morning skate. “At the same time, he’s a young player. I mean, David Krejci went back and forth and I don’t think that it hurt his career, except that it probably helped him, so I think those decisions are always made with the right intentions. Management wants to see him play and at this stage of his career, he can be brought up and down as much as we want, so I don’t think it’s an issue there because there’s no, he doesn’t have to clear waivers or anything like that. We just want to see him progress and he’s going to progress by playing.”
“With [Seguin’s] speed and using Savvy as a left hand shot, it’s a lot easier for him to pass to the right side. But we just kind of made that decision and all three guys are comfortable with that.”