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Second period summary: Bruins vs. Devils

03.30.10 at 8:30 pm ET
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The scoring sheet dictates that it’€™s been a clean game thus far, but at this rate the Bruins stand to capitalize on how sloppy the Devils have been.

Neither team has seen a player head to the penalty box thus far in a game the Bruins have continued to play well defensively in. The Devils seem more disruptive towards their own offense than toward that of the Bruins. In addition to struggling to stay onside multiple times and lacking shots on goal (just 11 through two), Ilya Kovalchuk absolutely killed a chance in the seventh minute, forgoing a clear shot at Rask for an ill-advised and zone-clearing pass to defensemen Paul Martin.

Former Bruin Brian Rolston wound up ahead of the pack on a bouncing puck along the boards in the Bruins’€™ zone but put too much mustard on a pass in front of the net to Clarkson, clearing the zone before eventually regaining and blasting a slapshot that was picked out of the air by Rask with just under four and a half minutes to play.

Though the Bruins continue to provide plenty of offensive pressure, they remain unable to capitalize, as a rebound from a low Mark Recchi shot bounced nearly all the way to the point before anyone touched it. Many of the Bruins’€™ 22 shots have been low on Brodeur, including one from Michael Ryder, in the midst of a cold streak. No. 73 had a solid opportunity on the doorstep about five minutes into the period that Brodeur held onto.

After two periods the Bruins are outshooting the Devils, 22-11.

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First period summary: Bruins vs. Devils

03.30.10 at 7:45 pm ET
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The first period between the Bruins and Devils at the Prudential Center was highlighted by strong defense and sporadic yet unsuccessful offensive flurries. The Bruins ended the period with a 13-6 shots on goal advantage and had a handful of realistic opportunities against Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.

The period featured bookend scoring chances for the Bruins. Mark Stuart rang one off the post just over a minute into the period and Steve Begin was robbed in a scrum in front of the net with two and a half to go in a flurry that also featured a bid from Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron.

With just under nine minutes to go in the period, Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi were denied of a potential juicy rebound when Brodeur lost his balance saving a wrister from the stick of Dennis Wideman despite a screen from Bergeron.

Each goaltender displayed subpar stickwork with about six and a half minutes remaining in the period. Shortly after Brodeur mishandled the puck in a way reminiscent of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, Tuukka Rask was nearly caught playing out the puck out of his net before taking out Dean McAmmond himself.

Read More: Bruins, Devils,

Miller on Thomas: ‘It’s unfortunate’

03.30.10 at 1:45 am ET
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Don’t for a second think that Ryan Miller wasn’t happy when Tim Kennedy’s flukey wrist shot floated and fluttered past Tim Thomas at 6:08 of the second period to put the Sabres up, 3-1 against the Bruins.

But that doesn’t mean Miller couldn’t have at least a little compassion for a fellow goalie, with whom he came within an eyelash of winning a gold medal against Team Canada in Vancouver.

Tim Thomas was the goalie to allow that Kennedy score and it was Thomas who had to listen to the boos of fans as he skated off the ice, past the Bruins bench and down the hallway to take out his frustration on the cement walls on either side with his goalie stick which was betraying him on this night.

“I think it is unfortunate,” Miller said of the boos Thomas received. “It has been a tough season and fans in this town are tough. It’€™s the same as it is in Buffalo. We have had some tough seasons and I have left the ice under duress a few times. It is part of being a goaltender. You are not always going to have things go your way. You have to hang with it and be a good teammate. I know Timmy is doing the right stuff. He is a battler and it is just not going the way he wants it to right now.”

It was the sixth time this season and the sixth time in 28 starts that Thomas has been replaced in the middle of a game, which is one of the loneliest feelings any athlete in any sport can experience.

“You don’€™t like to see it,” Miller added. “We are competitive to a certain degree. I know he is a little frustrated but I don’€™t know if there was a whole lot he could do on at least two of those goals. I think if you asked him about the second one he would want to control the rebound differently.”

The first goal Thomas allowed – by Tyler Myers – was through a heavy screen, and he didn’t see the puck until it changed direction through Dennis Wideman and went past him for the tying goal. The second goal was the result of a bad rebound that Wideman failed to clear, which was picked up by Paul Gaustad and backhanded past Thomas to give the Sabres the lead for good.

“Again I think that was Tyler making a hard shot cross body. Tyler has a hard shot; he’€™s a big kid. Knocking down one of his wrist shots is all about you can do.”

The last straw came at 6:08 of the second when Tim Kennedy collected a loose puck to the left of Thomas and flicked it toward the net. Thomas appeared to get fooled by the lack of strength behind the shot, overplayed it and allowed it to flutter past him for a 3-1 Sabres lead.

Read More: Bruins, NHL, Ryan Miller, Sabres

Bruins cannot hold off Sabres stampede

03.29.10 at 9:27 pm ET
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Summary — The Bruins could not hold back the Sabres’ stampede in a 3-2 loss Monday night at TD Garden. Ryan Miller got the win for Buffalo with 40 saves while Tim Thomas took the loss by allowing three goals on 13 shots before getting pulled for Tuukka Rask in the second period.

The Bruins had a chance early in the first period when Marco Sturm took a pass from Patrice Bergeron through the neutral zone with a step on Craig Rivet for a breakaway. Rivet hooked Sturm, and the three of them went crashing into the net, with Sturm being awarded a penalty shot. But Miller stuffed Sturm at 3:20 to shut down a key opportunity.

David Krejci continued his great play of late as he extended his point streak to four games when he schooled Miller at 7:43 in the first. Krejci found himself with space in front of the net and circled Miller to almost the goal line before putting the puck off the goaltender’s skate for the first goal of the game.

The Sabres came back with two unanswered strikes in the period, both of which deflected off some part of Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman on the way past Thomas. The first came on a shot from the point by Tyler Myers that went through Wideman’s arms for the redirection at 9:56 to tie the game. The Sabres then went up a goal a few minutes later when Paul Gaustad picked up a rebound n the slot and backhanded it towards the net, sending it off Wideman’s skate in the process to make it 2-1.

Buffalo made it a two-goal game at 6:40 in the second when Tim Kennedy took a shot from the corner of the crease that hit Thomas in the chest but rebounded into the crease where it slipped across the goal line. That was the night for Thomas, as coach Claude Julien sent in Rask for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

Boston made it a one-goal game at 14:23 in the third period when Dennis Seidenberg pulled up on the rush and rocketed a slap shot from the point on Miller that the goaltender could not contain as it popped off his pads, over his shoulder and into the goal.

Three Stars

Ryan Miller — The starting goaltender for the USA Olympic team bested his backup by a fair margin in making 40 stops en route to his 38th win of the year.

Tyler Myers — The defenseman scored the Sabres’ first goal of the game and assisted on the second.

David Krejci — The Bruins center continued his hot play by scoring the first goal of the game and has a four-game point streak with three goals and four assists for seven points in that span.

Turning Point — One time could be a fluke but twice makes a trend, one that the Bruins would have been happy to avoid. The second goal that went off Wideman past Thomas came off of Gaustad’s backhander at 9:56 in the first. The ire of the fans will go to Wideman but the goal was set up after a shot from Myers that Thomas let slip into the slot, where the Sabres center was waiting.

Key Play — The weak goal was what did Thomas in. Kennedy had a point-blank opportunity on Thomas but did not have the angle to beat the goaltender. Thomas, however, ended up beating himself as he bobbled the rebound and let it slip behind him into the net. That giveaway brought Rask from the bench to the crease to take over the net-minding responsibilities.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Dennis Wideman, Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller

Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres

03.29.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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One game after recording his fifth shutout of the season and his 17th career, Tim Thomas was pulled after allowing his third goal on just 14 shots. It was the sixth time this season he has been lifted from a game.

The off night for Thomas has put the Bruins in a 3-1 hole after two periods.

Thomas allowed a soft wrister from Tim Kennedy at 6:08 and he came off the ice, made his way down the tunnel, swinging his goalie stick in frustration. He remained away from the bench for about five minutes before returning.

In fairness to Thomas, he was again let down by his defense who had trouble clearing bodies. Tuukka Rask was tested late in the period as breakdowns continued to thwart the B’s.

Jason Pominville had a short-handed breakaway with just 63 seconds left in the second period as the Bruins, desperate for some energy from their power play, pinched early and left Pominville alone in the neutral zone.

Boos rained down on the Bruins, who will begin the final period with 13 seconds of power play.

Each team had 14 shots on net in the second, with Boston holding a 28-25 advantage after 40 minutes.

Read More: Bruins, NHL, Ryan Miller, Sabres

First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres

03.29.10 at 7:48 pm ET
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A good start but rough finished has left the Bruins trailing the Sabres, 2-1, after 20 minutes at TD Garden.

The Bruins were buzzing around Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller for the first 10 minutes, resulting in several quality chances, a penalty shot and eventually rewarded with a pretty goal from David Krejci at 7:43.

Moments earlier, Marco Sturm broke in on a quick rush and was hooked from behind by Craig Rivet. Sturm was awarded a penalty shot but his shot – a routine backhander – was stopped easily by Miller.

Following the Krejci goal, a switch seemed to go on for the Sabres as they applied pressure on Thomas and controlled the final half of the period. Tyler Myers threw a soft shot from the right point through a heavy screen in front of Thomas to tie the game two minutes after the Krejci goal.

Then Paul Gaustad gave the Sabres the lead with a backhander that seemed to fool Thomas and put Buffalo up, 2-1, just 80 seconds later.

Boston outshot the Sabres, 14-11, in the period.

Read More: Bruins, David Krejci, NHL, Sabres

Bruins look to sustain momentum versus Sabres

03.29.10 at 12:14 pm ET
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The Bruins will host Ryan Miller and the Sabres Monday night at TD Garden as they try to continue the push to make the playoffs. Boston currently holds the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, two points behind both Philadelphia and Montreal and two points ahead Atlanta. Blake Wheeler said it best this morning after the morning skate “one bad night and we could be in ninth.”

Buffalo, as a divisional opponent, is a team that the Bruins are familiar with and one of the only teams ahead of them in the standings that they can claim any significant success against. In the first four matches of the series this year the Boston is 3-1 against the Sabres and have outscored them 11-4. The Sabres have a five point lead on Ottawa for the division title and are only two points behind Pittsburgh for the No. 2 seed in the conference.

“You are playing the top team in our division, you are playing against a pretty good goaltender who has been good for them all year, a big key to their success” coach Claude Julien said. “A team, I think, over the course of the season that we have played very well. Again, these are big games for every team right now. They are trying to move up, not just in the division but in the conference. It is going to be a tough game tonight but we are up to it. I think our team understands the important-cy of every game and it is something we have to shown every night from here on in.”

Keeping the energy up and the skates moving has been a key for the Bruins this year. The bottom line is that any momentum that the Bruins generate is dependent on their compete level coming out of the gate.

“The effort the last four games has been pretty consistent so I think the guys are pretty happy,” forward Shawn Thornton said. “Come with energy, I suppose. It has to be from the drop of the puck. Can’t wait. You have to carry [the momentum], I don’t know the exact formula but we have to do it.”

“He has done some really good things and there are some things that we have wanted him to get better at,” Julien said. “I think he is a very willing individual and wanting to get better and showing signs of a guy who wants to improve in the areas we want him to.”

Andrew Ference will not play tonight as he continues to battle a hernia/groin injury that will require off-season surgery.

“We continue to get him checked out. Hopefully by the end of the day we will be a little clearer on his status,” Julien said.

With Ference out, Matt Hunwick will take his spot on the blue line. Hunwick has not had the best of sophomore seasons with a team high plus/minus of -16 for the year.

“He has done some really good things and there are some things that we have wanted him to get better at,” Julien said. “I think he is a very willing individual and wanting to get better and showing signs of a guy who wants to improve in the areas we want him to.”

Hunwick’s younger brother, Shawn, was the goaltender for the Michigan hockey team that lost on Sunday night to Miami of Ohio in the regional finals before the Frozen Four. He made 32 saves but the RedHawks topped the Wolverines in double overtime. Matt said that he watched the game and had not talked to his brother but had sent him a text.

“I told him to keep his head up and that he played really well,” Hunwick said. “He was one of the reasons they got to the tournament and do so well down the stretch … There is not too much to say, sent him a text and told him to keep up.”

Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice  this morning which is a good indication that he will be the starter tonight.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Claude Julien, Matt Hunwick, Ryan Miller
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