|11.13.10 at 12:29 pm ET|
The Bruins are set to take on the Senators on Saturday night at TD Garden. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins in their morning skate, with Cory Clouston telling reporters following the Senators’ skate that he will start Brian Elliot, who is 8-4 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 12 games this season. Both teams have 17 points on the young season, though the Senators, who are 8-7-1, have played three more contests than the 8-4-1 Bruins.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 2-3-1 as the home team this season, and 2-2-1 when playing at the Garden. They’ve gone 0-2-1 in their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday night.
– The Senators are 3-3-1 on the road this season, though they have won their last two contests away from Ottawa and beat the Canadiens in Montreal last Saturday.
– Thomas has started just two games at home this season, and the only goal he allowed in the six periods was one he gave away to Jason Chimera of the Capitals. Overall, the 36-year-old is 8-0-0 with a 1.39 goals against average and an NHL-best .959 save percentage in nine starts. He shut out the Senators on Oct. 30th, one of three shutouts he’s picked up this season.
– Old friend Sergei Gonchar is a minus-nine for the Senators in his first season with the club. Yeesh.
– Even Nathan Horton has seen a dip in production at the Garden as of late. Since picking up a goal and an assist in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 23, he’s been held off the scoring sheet in three contests in Boston. Such a statistic should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the Bruins have been able to score just four goals over their last three games at the Garden.
Horton still leads the Bruins with four goals in home games this season, though two of them came in Prague.
– Only three Bruins have positive plus/minus ratings in home games this season: Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand, all of whom are a plus-one. Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as each are a minus-four in home games.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– There are two things the Bruins are dealing with: injuries and struggles at home. One is beyond their control, and the other remains a growing problem. They’ve faced good teams at the Garden this season, but they’ve had no trouble beating top teams on the road. Stay tuned as more develops.
– Filip Kuba will make his season debut for the Senators, with Clouston indicating he will be paired with Erik Karlsson. The 33-year-old has been out with a fractured fibula. In 61 games last season, the Czech-born defenseman had three goals and 25 assists.
– When the Bruins last faced the Senators, Ottawa was sitting at 4-5-1, but they’ve picked it up since. The Senators are 4-1-0 since that Oct. 30th contest, though the loss came in their most recent game, an ugly showing in which the Canucks handled them in 6-2 fashion.
|11.13.10 at 10:18 am ET|
Bruins center David Krejci, out since suffering a moderate concussion last Saturday against the Blues, skated with recovering teammate Marco Sturm on Saturday morning, according to the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa.
Claude Julien said on Friday that Krejci had ridden the stationary bike, which at the time was the most energy-intensive activity he had done following the concussion.
‘He’s progressing nicely, I would say,’ Julien said Friday. ‘Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.’
After the diagnosis, the Bruins anticipated being without Krejci, who had been centering the first line with Marc Savard out, for at least a week. In 11 games this season, Krejci has two goals and eight assists.
|11.12.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
Boston fans have taken a liking to Nathan Horton since he came to Boston, and he’s returned the favor by leading the Bruins in both goals (seven) and points (13) through 13 games.
Yet if Horton wants to be in Carolina for the All-Star game this season, he can’t count on the fans to get him there. The NHL announced the 100 players that will be on the fan ballot for this year’s All-Star games, and though the Bruins had four representatives, Horton was not among them. Instead, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will have a chance to be selected by the public. The fans, who could technically write Horton in, begin their balloting on Monday and can choose six players to send to Carolina.
Horton could obviously still be selected to represent the Eastern Conference, as the rest of the roster will be made up in a fantasy draft between team captains. The captains will choose to fill the remaining 36 roster spots from a group of players determined by a combination of the the fans’ voting and the NHL hockey operations department.
|11.12.10 at 5:17 pm ET|
Hopefully everyone has either seen or read about the zonked-out Bruins fan who took it upon herself to kick a hole in a pillar at the Garden during Thursday night’s game. In doing so, of course, she upset someone…
[Video courtesy of the Bruins]
|11.12.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
The Bruins have gotten used to playing without their top center, but having their top two pivots has been a challenge. With Marc Savard continuing to work his way back from post-concussion syndrome and David Krejci out with a concussion, the Bruins have had to move Patrice Bergeron up to the top line and Blake Wheeler back to center for the first time since his college days.
TSN reported during Thursday night’s game that Savard could be back by the end of the month, but Claude Julien and the B’s aren’t crossing their fingers for a set date.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly the date,” Julien said on Friday. “I think we know that he’s doing well, and right know he’s progressing to the pot where he’s at least close to joining us for practice. He hasn’t been cleared to do that yet, and even less for contact. There’s a lot of speculation right now, and as far we’re concerned we’re still taking it day by day and seeing a guy progress in a positive way, which is encouraging. That’s basically all we can do right now, like everybody else, is speculate.”
Krejci, meanwhile, has been out since last Saturday’s game against the Blues, when he went headfirst into the boards after a collision with T.J. Oshie. He was diagnosed with a moderate concussion because he suffered amnesia, and the Bruins expected to be without his services for at least a week.
An encouraging sign came for Krejci on Friday, as he rode a stationary bike, the most physically demanding exercise he’s been put through following the concussion.
“He’s progressing nicely, I would say,” Julien said. “Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.”
After falling to the Canadiens at home on Thursday, the Bruins will return to action with a tilt against the Senators at TD Garden on Saturday.
|11.12.10 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, out since Oct. 23 with a fractured forearm, was one of only five Bruins to take the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday. He was joined by fellow rehabbing players Marco Sturm and Marc Savard, as well as goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas. It was the first time he has been able to shoot on goalies since the injury.
The prognosis for Boychuk’s return was four weeks, and he hopes to still be on track for a return by the latter part of this month.
“Maybe. Hopefully. I hope so,” Boychuk said when asked if he was optimistic he could return by next weekend. “That will be four weeks I think, so hopefully I’ll be good to go.”
Boychuk admitted that it’s a matter of “just seeing whenever the doctor says I’m going to be OK to practice,” and not trying to push it. He said he is still experiencing occasional pain, with taking pucks on the backhand the biggest issue for him.
With Boychuk out, Adam McQuaid has taken his spot on the roster. The Bruins have gone 4-2-1 over the seven game period that they’ve been without Boychuk.
“We’ve been playing really well, so it hasn’t been too bad,” Boychuk said. “Watching the games, you see when we’re doing really well, it makes it a lot easier, but when we lose it’s kind of tough to watch. You can’t really do anything about it.”
|11.12.10 at 10:19 am ET|
It must be hard for Tuukka Rask right now.
His Bruins teammates got off to a red-hot start and his fellow netminder one stall over in the dressing room was off to one of the best starts in team history.
But after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Rask stands with an 0-4-1 record. How bad is it? He has more losses than games started.
When the Bruins came back to tie the Washington Capitals last Friday night, he came on in relief of Tim Thomas, only to allow the go-ahead goal and get charged with the loss. He has a 2.75 goals against average but his coach hasn’t lost faith because he believes Rask deserves a better fate.
“I don’t know if it’s at home, but I think it’s just overall,” Claude Julien said after Thursday’s latest setback. “It’s unfortunate, because so far, I don’t think we’ve played great in front of him. That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren’t a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don’t know that I would go after him and say that he’s not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it’s because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have.”
He was respectable again on Thursday night, stopping 25-of-26 shots before a power play goal inside the first minute of the third period gave the Canadiens control.
Rask, who was the starter in the playoffs last year and figured to be this season after surgery to Tim Thomas, can’t seem to catch a break.
“Well, I think pros are pros and you can’t do everything for them,” Julien added. “That’s part of being a pro. You’ve got to be mentally strong, and you’ve got to fight through those things and the coach will always more or less always help them out, but he’s got to do his share to work through those things if confidence becomes an issue, but I don’t think he’s there.”
What does Rask think?
“That’s hockey, you know,” he said. “Try to do your best and save every puck and if you don’t get the bounce, you don’t, and if you do, just that’s great. Today there was more unlucky bounces again.”
Can’t blame him if it seems like he’s seen more than his fair share so far this season.