|11.05.10 at 4:01 pm ET|
Claude Julien probably meant it when he said on Friday that he and the Bruins were “anticipating as hard a game as we’ve had all year,” as the B’s final regular season trip to the nation’s capital likely won’t be an easy one.
Bruce Boudreau‘s club enters Friday night’s tilt with the Bruins second in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Since the Bruins took two straight from the Capitals last month, Alexander Ovechkin‘s squad has gotten back into a groove, winning four of its last five games. In fact, half of the Capitals’ losses this season have come against the Bruins.
With Tim Thomas expected to get the start on Thursday, he will put an impressive 12-4-2 career record against the Capitals on the line. He’s allowed two goals to the Capitals this season, though one was the result of a blatant giveaway on his part that led to a Jason Chimera freebie.
Milan Lucic has a team-high three points against the Capitals this season, picking up a goal and two assists over the B’s two games against Washington. Matt Hunwick, David Krejci, Jordan Caron, Nathan Horton, Michael Ryder, and Zdeno Chara also have goals against the Capitals this season.
Here is the projected lineup:
Lucic ‘ Krejci ‘ Horton
Caron ‘ Bergeron- Recchi
Wheeler -Seguin- Ryder
Marchand ‘ Campbell- Thornton
Chara ‘ Ference
Hunwick ‘ Seidenberg
Stuart ‘ McQuaid
Want the quote of the day? Here’s one from Boudreau on his first impression of Thomas, as told to Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner:
‘Yeah ‘ I’m wondering who is this chubby little goalie that’s not allowing any goals in when he was in Providence. And he’d take his mask off and his face would be really red and I’m going ‘Wow, he can’t keep this up.’ But he always did. He played so great against our teams. I’d sit there and wonder why no NHL team has jumped all over this guy and then Mike O’Connell was smart enough to see that he was good enough and brought him up to Boston.’
Speaking of Thomas, click here to read the story behind the story of his offseason hip surgery.
|11.03.10 at 9:29 pm ET|
Brad Marchand scored his first career goal and Tim Thomas improved to 7-0-0 on the season as the Bruins defeated the Sabres, 5-2, in Buffalo on Wednesday night. The B’s are now 5-0-0 on the road to open the season for the first time in franchise history.
The Bruins also got goals from Patrice Bergeron, Blake Wheeler, and Michael Ryder, chasing Sabres starting goaltender Jhonas Enroth from the game after a period. Patrick Lalime played the second and third periods, allowing just Ryder’s goal, as reigning Vezina winner Ryan Miller missed the game was a lower-body injury. Milan Lucic added an empty-net goal with 2:07 remaining in the third period and is now tied with Nathan Horton for the team lead with five goals.
Thomas allowed a pair of goals on 35 shots. It was the first time this season that he has allowed multiple goals in a game.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Good to see Marchand pick up his first NHL goal. It took him a little longer than the likes of Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron, who both took only two games (Caron’s was in the third game of the season, but his second game), but Marchand now has a goal to his name 29 games into his career. The goal came on a breakaway, as Marchand hopped onto the ice and ran with it.
– The penalty kill didn’t stop at Marchand’s goal. With Dennis Seidenberg in the box later in the first period, Marchand helped set up a shorthanded bid that led to Patrice Bergeron’s second goal of the season and the B’s second shorthanded goal.
– Tim Thomas gets attention in both sections here. He is now the first Bruins goalie to start a season 7-0-0. After Wednesday’s victory, Thomas has posted three shutouts, allowed one goal in three games, and has had one two-goal game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Nathan Horton is… under “What went wrong?!”
Yes. He picked up an assist on Lucic’s empty-netter, but he wasn’t abe to join the B’s scoring party early on. The winger took too much time with the puck on golden opportunities in both the first and third periods, with David Krejci seemingly putting him in position to put one into a net vacated by an out-of-position Patrick Lalime.
Horton failed to get a shot on goal in the game and now has had either one or zero shots in on goal in four of his nine games this season. He’s had two or less in six games. Now, the plus side of this is that when Horton does set to shoot, the press box readies themselves to watch the replay of a goal seconds later. Five goals on 17 shots is incredible. Seventeen shots through nine games from the best scorer on the team isn’t quite as impressive.
– While the B’s penalty kill did have more goals than any line or unit in the game on Wednesday, they also did allow Drew Stafford’s second period tally. The good that comes with the bad: it was just the third goal the penalty kill has allowed all season.
– Much like Horton getting guff is a case of finding negatives within a positive, Tim Thomas did have his worst game of the season, and it was quite apparent given that he, for the first time all season allowed goals. Stafford’s power-play tally in the second, as well as an Andrej Sekera unassisted goal in the third help make the Sabres the first team all season to score more than one goal against Thomas, who improved to 7-0-0 on Wednesday, all season.
|11.03.10 at 8:38 pm ET|
What’s more surprising: That Tim Thomas allowed a goal or that it wasn’t the Bruins scoring on the Sabres’ power play? Thomas did the unthinkable in the second period by allowing a puck past him, but the Bruins lead, 4-1, after two nonetheless.
Drew Stafford picked up his fourth goal of the season at 16:39 with Blake Wheeler in the bin for slashing, but a Michael Ryder tally early on in the period in which he did all the work meant that the Bruins once again hold a three-goal lead at period’s end.
Tyler Seguin achieved another career first when he took a minor penalty for hooking Andrej Sekera. All in all 44 penalty minutes were doled out between the two teams in the rather chippy period.
Patrick Lalime, who replaced Jhonas Enroth at the beginning of the period, made seven saves on eight shots. Thomas has 21 saves on 22 shots.
|11.03.10 at 7:42 pm ET|
A pair of shorthanded goals, an even-strength goal from Blake Wheeler and another shutout period from Tim Tomas has the Bruins leading the struggling Sabres, 3-0 after one period in Buffalo.
Brad Marchand got the party started with Michael Ryder in the box, hopping onto the ice on the penalty and racing to Jhonas Enroth’s net for a breakaway tally at 3:32, the first goal of his NHL career.
Later in the period, Marchand and Gregory Campbell piled on more shorthanded pressure with Dennis Seidenberg in the bin for holding, and the play resulted in Patrice Bergeron’s second goal of the season. Wheeler later added an even strength tally, his first of the season, thanks to a nice pass from behind the net from new linemate Michael Ryder.
Tim Thomas saved all nine shots the Sabres had on him.
|11.03.10 at 6:56 pm ET|
The Bruins and Sabres aren’t far from the puck dropping on their first contest since the B’s eliminated Buffalo in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Tim Thomas is in net for the B’s, and with Ryan Miller battling a lower-body injury, Jhonas Entroth will make his second career start (he allowed four goals to the Bruins in a Sabres loss last November).
The Sabres are off to a wretched start, sitting in last place of the Northeast divison with just eight points in 12 games. The B’s have 12 points in eight games, thanks to wins in all six of Thomas’ starts this season. The lines appear to be the same as they have been in practice this week. Here are the lines according to the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Caron – Bergeron- Recchi
Wheeler -Seguin- Ryder
Marchand – Campbell- Thornton
Chara – Ference
Hunwick – Seidenberg
Stuart – McQuaid
|11.03.10 at 3:19 pm ET|
Howard Baldwin, chairman of Whalers Sports & Entertainment announced on Wednesday that the Feb. 11 game between the Connecticut Whale (which will come into existence on Nov. 27 after the rebranding of the Hartford Wolf Pack) and the Providence Bruins will be played at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.
The game, which will be a part of the nine-day long Whalers Hockey Fest, will be the second outdoor game in the history of the AHL. The Binghamton Senators and Syracuse Crunch played this past February at the New York State Fairgrounds.
Tickets for the Connecticut/Providence outdoor game can be purchased at www.ctwhale.com.
|11.03.10 at 1:03 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and league news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Said Milbury: “It’s a happy problem, but you wonder what goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask under these circumstances. I was talking to Kelly Hrudey last week, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst with me, and he said, ‘He may not know it, but this could be the best thing to happen to Rask. He’s got to earn that right to be called the No. 1. It’s not always easy and it’s not always a given.’ And he’s right. I’m sure Tuukka Rask doesn’t really look at it that way, but in some ways, it’s not a bad thought. Rask has to continue to compete. It keeps him sharp. The question is, When does he get the chance to go again?”
Added Milbury: “I think we mentioned last week, the schedule’s been so uneven. They’ve got to get into a rhythm at some point. And at that point, I think because of the way Thomas plays, although he’s been fairly compact and economical through the first part of the season, he still has a tendency to want to explode out and dive here and there. It will take its toll, and they’ll need Rask. And Rask will have his chance then. But who saw this coming?”
Milbury said he’s not aware that Thomas was close to being dealt last season. “I never heard anything that anything was imminent,” Milbury said. “I think there were a lot of people kicking tires, but they weren’t kicking them as hard as they would be if they were shopping him right now, I would think. He had an uneven season, and he had a bunch of years left on his contract, and he’s always been looked on as, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’ There seems to be some degree of incredulity that he can make this thing happen. But he does. He does through his competitiveness and his athleticism, and his mindset.”
Milbury said the Bruins might have to consider moving Thomas, but only if an enticing trade offer is made.
“It would be interesting to see if they shopped him around, and he’d be willing to be traded, if that would bring A) cap relief and B) fill a hole someplace else, i.e., the blue line, where they’re thinner than I’d like them to be,” Milbury said, adding: “I don’t think there’s going to be any talk of that. I think things are so good right now for the Bruins, that if Peter Chiarelli is looking for cap relief, he’s probably going to look in a different direction. And I certainly don’t blame him. It would be a really gutsy move to make that deal, and if somebody came with a sweetheart of a deal, you’d have to take a look at it, knowing that Rask played as well.”