|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.
|11.11.10 at 11:56 pm ET|
Former Boston College and New Jersey Devils star Brian Gionta scored the go-ahead goal on the power play just 29 seconds into the third period as the Canadiens beat Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, 3-1, Thursday night at TD Garden. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took an interference penalty in the final eight seconds of the second period to give the Canadiens the man-advantage to start the third.
On Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the Bruins trailed, 4-2, heading into the final period. This night, the Bruins were tied but had no jump in the final 20 minutes and it showed.
“Probably the first half of the first period, we were fine,” Julien said. “I think what happened tonight was totally different. We just, we ran out of legs. We just didn’t have the legs and progressively our game got worse. We looked more and more tired and got a fresh team waiting for you here at home in a divisional game.
“It’s a big game, they’re ready for us,” Julien said of the Canadiens. “I’m going to stand here and say our guys really wanted it bad enough, but when you don’t have your legs, the rest of your game kind of falls apart as well. A big part of your game looked bad. That’s what it is. You can try and push your players all you want, but if they don’t have the legs, they don’t have the legs. So that, to me, is what I saw happening tonight. You got a couple of tough penalties that we took, put us in trouble as well. And you know, sometimes when you’re tired, not only your legs, but your mind maybe doesn’t work as well.”
The Canadiens scored their first two goals on the power play and got an insurance tally from Scott Gomez midway through the third as the visitors peppered Rask with 41 shots on the night. Chara took a perfect pass from Milan Lucic and scored the only goal for the Bruins at 15:49 of the first to tie the game. It was his fourth of the season.
Rask, who was making his fourth start, remains winless this season with a record of 0-4-1. The win gave the Canadiens 21 points, four more than the second-place Bruins in the Northeast Division.
|11.11.10 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins had plenty of momentum entering Thursday’s tilt with the rival Canadiens, but it wasn’t enough to propel them past the Habs in a 3-1 loss.
Carey Price was sensational for Montreal, allowing just a first-period goal to Zdeno Chara and stopping the rest of the 35 shots he faced. Tuukka Rask allowed three goals on 41 shots, including former Boston College star and current Canadiens captain Brian Gionta’s third of the year.
The two teams entreated the third period tied at one goal apiece, but the B’s were unable to flash the type of offense that yielded them five goals in the third a night before in Pittsburgh.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Given the rivalry, it was expected to be a physical game, but the Bruins generally seemed to get the short end of the stick when the penalties were handed out.
Tyler Seguin was called for a phantom trip in the first period on a play in which Travis Moen’s dive appeared to be rather apparent. In the second period, a scrum featuring multiple members of each squad yielded roughing calls for Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, while Andrei Markov was the only one to head to the bin for the Habs.
The good news regarding penalties is that the Canadiens, who have been able to draw some iffy penalties in their time against the B’s, saw the other shoe drop when Maxim Lapierre was called for a dive in the second period.
– The best penalty kill in the league going against the worst power play in the league should generally achieve better results than the Bruins did on Thursday.
The Habs entered the contest with just four power play goals, and the B’s had killed off 90.9 of their penalties. That changed rather quickie, as Montreal was able to go 2-for-5 on the power play. It was the first game in which the B’s allowed multiple power play goals.
– Though they weren’t as heavily penalized as the Habs, the Bruins still had their chances on the power play. A night after going 1-for-3 on the man advantage in their come-from-behind victory over the Penguins, the B’s went 0-for-4 on the power play.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins, for the second straight night, were able to answer in the first period after falling behind, 1-0. Following a power play goal by P.K. Subban, Zdeno Chara notched the equalizer for the B’s at 15:49 of the first.
– Milan Lucic picked up an assist on Chara’s goal and now has six points in his last seven games and 12 points this season. If healthy, he appears a safe bet to surpass his career 45 points in the 2008-09 season.
– Patrice Bergeron is continuing to produce following a bit of a slow start to the season. He has been a point-a-night player over the last seven games and has nine on the season.
|11.11.10 at 8:47 pm ET|
The Bruins couldn’t beat Carey Price in the second, so those on hand at the Garden had to put their positive energy towards celebrating a no-goal call against the Canadiens.
Jeff Halpern put a Benoit Pouliot rebound past Tuukka Rask, but replay confirmed that there was a kicking motion on the play, as the puck did not touch Halpern’s stick and only went off his skate.
After two periods, the shots are tied at 26 apiece.
The calls kept coming in the second period. Four seconds after jumping out of the box for roughing, Shawn Thornton was back in the bin for interference, as he held up Roman Hamerlik at the blue line. The penalty negated an abbreviated power play for the B’s, as Andrei Kostitsyn had gone off for an elbow on Mark Stuart. Gregory Campbell (roughing, 7:38) and Zdeno Chara (interference, 19:52) also went off in the second.
|11.11.10 at 7:50 pm ET|
When it seemed the Bruins were served a dose of injustice, it was the captain who helped right the ship in Boston.
Tyler Seguin was slapped with a tripping minor at 5:00 after he lost his stick in the corner and Travis Moen achieved terrible but productive acting by channeling his inner Emile Hirsch. Nineteen seconds into the Habs’ power play, P.K. Subban picked up his first career goal by beating Tuukka Rask.
The Habs outshot the Bruins, 16-13, in the period.
|11.11.10 at 11:33 am ET|
The Bruins likely have a ton of positive energy following a five-goal third period that propelled them to a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. They return home to face the Canadiens for the first time this season on Thursday.
Here’s everything you need to know going in.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are a modest 2-2-1 as the home team this season (they were the home team in the season-opening 5-2 loss against the Coyotes in Prague).
The Habs are 5-2-0 on the road, with their most recent road loss coming last Tuesday, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
– After scoring in the third period of the Bruins’ victory in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, Nathan Horton now has 149 career goals. He can go for No. 150 against the Habs on Thursday night in front of the home crowd.
– The Bruins have averaged 2.2 goals this season in the third period when entering the period trailing.
– The Canadiens have the worst power play in the league, scoring on just 7.8 percent of their power plays.
– The Bruins have had back-to-back games just twice this season. They are 1-0-1, beating the Coyotes on Oct. 10 in Prague and losing in a shootout to the Blues on Saturday.
– After playing a career-high 17:22 giants the Sabres last Wednesday, Tyler Seguin has played 12:21, 9:49, and 12:32 in three games since. He is averaging 13:06 of ice time each night, and after assisting Mark Recchi‘s goal, he has six points on the season (3 G, 3A). Seguin is on pace for a 21-goal, 21-assist campaign.
– While we’re extrapolating stats, seven Bruins are on pace to score at least 20 goals this season: Horton, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder, Zdeno Chara, Shawn Thornton (!), Jordan Caron, and Seguin. Remember, Marco Sturm was the only Bruin to score 20 last year, as he led the B’s with 22.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Former Boston College star and current Canadiens captain Brian Gionta has had a rough start to the season, but things are starting to look up. After having just three points through the team’s first 12 games, Gionta has a goal and an assist over the last two games.
– Carey Price has been a rock in net for the Habs, softening the blow of just how good Jaroslav Halak has been (1.79 GAA, .932 save percentage). In 14 starts, Price has gone 8-5-1 with a 2.28 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Price is coming off a shutout against the Canucks on Tuesday, but has allowed three goals in three of his last five starts, all three of which the Habs lost.