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Bruins cap trip with 5-2 win over Canes

03.16.10 at 8:29 pm ET
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Michael Ryder and Patrice Bergeron each scored their 16th goals of the season and Mark Recchi moved into a tie for 22nd on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list with his 560th career goal as the Bruins ended their season-long seven-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Tuesday night.

Bergeron had to be helped from the ice with just under three minutes left after taking a Mark Stuart slap shot to the inside of the right knee.

The Bruins ended their trip seven-game road trip with a 3-3-1 record, seven out of a possible 14 points and now have 74 points, and still in the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

Three stars:

Patrice Bergeron: Before taking a shot to his right leg late in the third period, Bergeron was all over the ice offensively, setting the tempo from the first period on.

Tuukka Rask: The Bruins goalie, after turning away all 16 shots in the final 40 minutes on Monday in New Jersey, came up big when he had to. He turned away Jokinen and Eric Staal in the first 30 seconds of the third period on back-to-back chances, setting the stage for Mark Recchi to tie Guy Lafleur for 22nd on the all-time goal list with 560.

Johnny Boychuk: His end-to-end rush in the second period highlighted a great night for the Bruins defense. He, Matt Hunwick and Dennis Seidenberg anchored a good two-way performance by Bruins blueliners for 60 minutes.

Turning point: Mark Recchi’s historic goal. The Hurricanes began the third period with a power play. Tuukka Rask came up with a big save in the first 30 seconds and then just 45 seconds into the final period, Recchi talHilied his 15th of the season – and 560th career – to put Boston up, 3-1.

Key play: Game was over when Michael Ryder capitalized on a horrendous Carolina turnover in their own zone, intercepting a pass just inside the blue line and firing his 16th pass Manny Legace for a 4-2 lead.

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Second period summary: Bruins-Hurricanes

03.16.10 at 7:47 pm ET
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The two teams exchanged goals in the second period as the Bruins take a 2-1 lead over the Hurricanes after 40 minutes.

Johnny Boychuk had a terrific shift midway through, starting with breaking up an odd-man rush to the right of Tuukka Rask. He promptly fed Michael Ryder who found Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone.

Boychuk hustled nicely in an end-to-end rush and was rewarded when Hunwick found Boychuk rushing up the right side. Boychuk scored his fourth of the season to make it 2-0.

The Hurricanes used the power play to get back into the game when Eric Cole picked up a rebound to the left of Rask and his put back made it 2-1. The Bruins hold a 32-16 advantage on face-offs and are outshooting Carolina 26-20 but again the alarming stat is Boston’s 0-for-4 on the power play.

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First period summary: Bruins-Hurricanes

03.16.10 at 6:45 pm ET
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The Bruins couldn’t have scripted a better start to what could be considered a key – if not critical – conclusion to their season-long seven game road trip. And they took advantage of the early momentum to take a 1-0 lead after one.

Just 23 seconds into the game, Patrice Bergeron re-directed a shot from Dennis Seidenberg from the right point past a stunned Manny Legace for his 16th goal of the season.

Bruins outshot the Hurricanes, 18-7, in exerting their dominance.

The biggest concern, however, continues to be taking advantage of their momentum to build onto a lead, particularly on the power play as the Bruins couldn’t convert on a 5-on-3 power play and a more conventional 5-on-4 advantage.

Since their best playmaker Marc Savard went down with a concussion, the Bruins have scored just once in 11 tries on the power play and haven’t scored in their last nine tries.

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The Hat Trick: Bruins can’t save the work for the third

03.15.10 at 10:43 pm ET
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Blake Wheeler is checked by Bryce Salvador while setting up in front of goalie Martin Brodeur during the Bruins' loss to the Devils Monday night. (AP)

Blake Wheeler is checked by Bryce Salvador while setting up in front of goalie Martin Brodeur during the Bruins' loss to the Devils Monday night. (AP)

Before we go any further into the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Devils on Monday night, let’s get one thing straight: This wasn’t a Jacques Lemaire or Pat Burns-coached team that the Bruins fell to Monday night. It wasn’t a fall-behind-by-one-and-the-game’s-over scenario, as many who have followed the Bruins have grown accustomed to when it comes to playing the Devils. And while the Devils are a very viable Cup contender this year, this wasn’t a throwback to the mid-’90s-on torture that the black and gold have fallen victim to.

This was a struggling team going against a struggling team (the Devils, currently fourth in the conference, entered the evening 4-5-1 over their last 10 games) and struggling.

On Monday night we saw plenty of the Bruins’ flaws highlighted. Whether it was the painful uncertainty in net that led to Tim Thomas being yanked after 20 minutes of decent play accompanied by bad luck and big rebounds (for what it’s worth, only Zach Parise’s goal can be blamed on Thomas — Scott Niedermayer’s was the result of a screen and David Clarkson’s a breakaway), a missed opportunity at physically setting the tone (Milan Lucic’s dasher to the face) or the lack of consistent offense, it was all there in a rough night for Claude Julien and the gang.

The Bruins are still hanging onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by just one point, with their 72 points narrowly edging the Rangers’ 71. Still, in a prospective matchup with the top-seeded Capitals (who are 2-0 against Boston this year and have outscored the Bruins by a margin of 8-2 in their two meetings), the playoffs might just be a formality —  a quick stop on the way to yet another offseason filled with questions of how the Bruins can return to prominence for good.

It wasn’t all bad, though. The offense, aside from being snakebitten when it comes to getting multiple tallies in the third (see below), peppered New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur with 15 shots in the final 20 minutes, and after being outshot 22-21 through two periods, ended the game having outshot the Devils, 36-28. Here is the hat trick of lessons learned in close-but-not-close-enough match at the Prudential Center.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Milan Lucic, New Jersey Devils, Tim Thomas

Bruins fall to Devils, 3-2

03.15.10 at 8:45 pm ET
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Summary — The Bruins’ struggles continued Monday night in New Jersey against the Devils in a game that confirmed suspicions of their inability to complete a comeback from a multiple-goal deficit.

With New Jersey holding a 3-1 lead late in the third, a one-timer from Dennis Seidenberg was redirected by Patrice Bergeron in front of Martin Brodeur’s net at 18:57 of the period to give the Bruins hope in a 3-2 game. However, they failed to get the equalizer in the final seconds with Tuuka Rask pulled, sealing their fate and the victory for the Devils.

Tim Thomas got the start for the Bruins, but it wasn’t more than an ugly first period before he was replaced and the Bruins were forced to seek new life under Rask.

A shot from David Clarkson from in between the circles was tipped by Rob Neidermayer at 9:58 for the Devils’ first goal, which gave them a lead that they would never lose.

Later in the period Martin Brodeur sent a pass down the ice to Clarkson, who caught it from center ice and never looked back, taking it in on the breakaway and giving the Devils a 2-0 lead. Zach Parise capitalized on a Mike Mottau rebound seconds later to make it 3-0.

To the Bruins credit, they did seem to find their second wind once Rask went between the pipes to start the second period. It was only 43 seconds into the period that Blake Wheeler tipped a Mark Stuart shot past Brodeur and got the Bruins on the board.

Three Stars

David Clarkson — The Devils forward appeared to have his first goal since November on New Jersey’s first goal, but after it was credited to Neidermayer he added one of his own later in the first period for good measure.

Martin Brodeur — In a game that highlighted the Bruins’ uncertainty between the pipes, the other goaltender again stood out, thanks to his 34 saves on 36 shots.

Mark Stuart — Stuart gets on here before Wheeler because he brought the whole package — offense, defense, and muscle — with him against the Devils en route to being the only Bruin to post a plus-one.

Turning Point — The Parise goal. It came so soon after the Devils’ second tally that it made an otherwise somewhat-close period look like an insurmountable hole as the Bruins headed to the locker room.

Key Play — Mark Stuart stapling Jamie Langenbrunner at the blue line with about six and a half to go in the second period. If the Bruins want to be able to carry any swagger it will be from big hits like this, which led to a fight with Rod Pelley seconds later.

Second period summary: Bruins-Devils

03.15.10 at 7:45 pm ET
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The presence of Tuuka Rask changed the tone of the game Monday night. That, of course, and the presence of scoring.

Mark Stuart, pinching in the offensive zone, threw the puck on net at an odd angle that was tipped by Blake Wheeler and slipped past the leg of Martin Brodeur just 43 seconds into the second period to bring the Bruins within two goals in a 3-1 game.

Stuart nearly had one of his own on the following drive when his shot from the point lanced off of Brodeur’s glove.

A close call came at 8:53 when Rob Neidermayer, positioned in front of Rask, redirected a shot from the point past Rask for what appeared to be the Devils’ fourth goal. The goal was waved off immediately and was confirmed seconds later.

Shawn Thornton and Pierre-Luc Letornee-Leblond participated in somewhat of a balet recital at 2:47 in a fight that never really got off the ground. Still, with the highly anticipated bout with the Penguins on tap, Bruins fans may be willing to take any sneak preview they can get.

A troubling play came when Milan Lucic, following a biffed attempt at hitting Andy Green, went face-first into the dasher in the middle of the period. He left for the locker room following the play but later returned.

The Bruins kept up the pressure late in the second period, including a drive that featured a couple of close plays involving Dennis Seidenberg. A 3-on-1  in the period’s last minute also looked promising but went for naught. Even so, the Bruins wrapped up the period playing with far more energy than they ever were in the first period.

Each team had 10 shots and through two the Devils are outshooting the Bruins, 22-21.

Read More: Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils,

First period summary: Bruins-Devils

03.15.10 at 6:57 pm ET
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One would think that one team outshooting the other by just one might dictate a close game. Not tonight, as the rout may be on early in Newark, with the Devils leading the Bruins 3-0 after the first period.

After a run of eight consectuive shots from the Bruins, the Devils applied a ton of pressure in the period’s 10th minute that culminated in a goal from Rob Neidermayer at 9:58. The goal came as a result of a tip from a David Clarkson shot. Patrik Elias likely would have made it 2-0 seconds later were it not for his wrister going wide of Thomas’ net. Though the stat sheet would be filled with penalty minutes for much of of the time after, smart goaltending got the Devils back on the board.

David Clarkson took a long pass from Martin Brodeur at center ice and raced up the ice untouched for a breakaway goal at 17:23. It was Brodeur’s third assist of the season.

Seconds later, Parise took a rebound from a Mike Mottau shot and put it past Thomas to give the Devils a 3-0 lead.

But enough about the Bruins’ inability to compete at the moment. With the Penguins in town Thursday, much of the focus is on the physical aspect. After Blake Wheeler went off just 52 seconds into the game for hooking, the Bruins’ penalty kill, which entered the night third in the NHL, went to work and effectively killed off a Devils power play that consisted of two shots. The highlight of the penalty kill came when Tim Thomas made a nice save through a screen on a shot from the stick of Travis Zajac.

A few minutes later, Dennis Seidenberg stapled Zach Parise in the corner and was retaliated upon by Jamie Langenbrunner, who went off for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:34. After a shorthanded bid from the Devils, poor puckwork deraliled what dew opportunities the Bruins were able to muster on the power play.

Shortly thereafter Vladimir Sobotka has one of the best opportunities of the period when he was stuffed by Martin Brodeur on a wraparound.

Mark Stuart crushed Jamie Langenbrunner with about six and a half minutes remaining in the period and seconds later was squaring off with Rod Pelley at the blue line. Both went off for fighting at 13:50.

The Devils outshot the Bruins 12-11.

Read More: Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils,
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