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Bruins go old school

02.03.10 at 1:24 pm ET
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BELMONT — Looking for some positive energy and a change of fortune, the Bruins got on the bus and went to school Wednesday.

Still mired in an extended losing streak following a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals Tuesday, the B’s opted to practice at the Belmont Hill School instead of their normal practice rink in Wilmington.

“It’s just a change of scenery, something a little different,” coach Claude Julien said. “It’s something [GM] Peter [Chiarelli] thought would be good for the team.”

Any kind of change for the B’s will probably be a good thing as they prepare to end an eight-game losing streak hosting Montreal Thursday.

“It’s fun, it’s nice facility,” said veteran forward Mark Recchi who has seen struggling teams try every trick in the book to end losing streaks.

“We’re just trying to work our way out of this, trying stay positive and to stick together,” said Recchi. “Wherever we practice it doesn’t really matter. We still have to stay positive.”

Skating on the Olympic-size rink at the school, the Bruins worked on finding ways to improve the team’s offense. The B’s have scored the fewest goals in the NHL, but are showing signs of starting break out of their scoring drought. They launched 42 shots at Capitals goalie Jose Theodore Tuesday.

“We had nine really good scoring chances in the second period and nothing to show for it,” Julien said. “When you have nine scoring chances you should at least have a goal or two or three. That’s where we are really getting hurt right now. Those scoring chances we’re not able to bury them.”

Defenseman Matt Hunwick, who made a blind clearing pass that was intercepted and converted into the game-winning goal in Tuesday’s loss did not practice Wednesday. Julien said Hunwick and forward Steve Begin had been given a “maintenance” day off.

NHL Power Rankings 2/3

02.03.10 at 12:12 pm ET
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We have a new leader in Washington. Sorry, Mr. President and Scott Brown, it’s your Capitals.

Washington Capitals1. (3) 38-12-6 There’s plenty going right for the Capitals, who set a franchise record with their 11th straight win by beating the Bruins Tuesday night. Getting a 41-save effort from Jose Theodore also could be a very good sign.

San Jose Sharks2. (1) 36-11-9 After dropping two of their last three at home, including a 4-2 contest to Detroit on Tuesday, the Sharks head east for for six games.

Chicago Blackhawks3. (2) 37-14-4 The Blackhawks followed an impressive win over San Jose with a loss in Carolina. Think there might have been an emotional letdown?

New Jersey Devils 4. (4) 35-18-2 A little payback is a good thing. The Devils gave all-time shutout leader Martin Brodeur the night off and g0t blanked 3-0 by Toronto Tuesday.

Minnesota Wild5. (5) 32-15-7  After having his 16-game point streak stopped last Wednesday, Tim Connolly got right back to it. He picked up an assist in the Sabres’ next two Sabres games over the weekend, giving him points in 18 of 19 games. Nice.

Los Angeles Kings 6. (10 ) 34-19-3 The Kings followed Saturday’s shootout win over the Bruins with a 3-2 comeback win in New Jersey to complete a 5-0 road trip.

Vancouver Canucks7. (7) 34-19-2 The Canucks are 1-1 after two games of a NHL-record 14-game road trip to accommodate Olympic play in Vancouver. The road show rolls into Boston Saturday.

Phoenix Coyotes8. (9) 34-18-5 Ilya Bryzgalov continues to shine. He made 25 saves in leading the Coyotes to a 1-0 shootout win in Nashville Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Penguins9 . (9) 35-21-1 The defending champs have won four of their last five games.
Colorado Avalanche10. (6) 31-18-6 The Avalanche ended a three-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over Columbus Tuesday.

Ottawa Senators11. (13) 31-21-4 The Senators’ remarkable nine-game wining streak will be tested in Buffalo Wednesday. If they win, taking the division lead could be right around the corner.

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Hot goaltenders contribute to B’s woes

02.02.10 at 11:29 pm ET
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Boston has not seen its hockey team have a stretch this bad since the days when Vic Stasiuk used to lace up his skates at the old Garden in 1956 when the Bruins had a stretch where they went 0-8-0.

With an 0-6-2 record in its last eight games, this season’s Bruins have not seen a win since beating the Western Conference leaders from San Jose  on Jan. 14. It would have been odd to see the Bruins sandwich seven losses in a row with wins against both conference leaders, but it was not to be in a 3-1 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday.

Everybody knows what the problem is. There’s no hiding what ails these bears — they cannot score. Through the past eight contests, the Bruins have 12 goals, or 1.5 per game. After a stretch where the team simply did not play well, the Bruins have had decent efforts and good scoring chances in the past few contests and have run into some pretty good goaltending along the way. Why can’t the Bruins score? It is kind of a chicken or egg type of question.

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Read More: Jose Theodore, Tim Thomas,

Julien: ‘We deserved the win if we scored the goals’

02.02.10 at 10:54 pm ET
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It seemed very innocent and obvious when Bruins coach Claude Julien gave his team credit for battling the hottest and best team in the NHL to a 1-1 draw after two periods. After watching his team surrender three in the third, it became nothing more than another in a string of eight straight losses, 4-1 to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

In short, Julien said they deserved the win on Tuesday night “if we had scored some goals.” Julien believed his team could have been up, 4-1, after two instead of tied.

And of course, deserving the win and earning the win is a bridge these struggling Bruins have yet to cross.

Here is what Julien had to say for his troops following Tuesday’s setback, an eighth straight loss that gave them their longest losing skid in 54 seasons.

Read More: Boston Bruins, losing streak, NHL,

Bruins come up short against Capitals

02.02.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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Summary — The Bruins hung tough with the best team in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday but ultimately could not hang with the Capitals as they dropped their eighth straight game 4-1 in front of a sold out TD Garden. Brooks Laich had the game-winner for Washington early in the third period off a feed from Alexander Semin and Boyd Gordon added a goal later to break a 1-1 tie to start the final frame. Tim Thomas took the loss for the Bruins with 21 saves while Jose Theodore stood on his head at times stopping 41 Bruins shots. The eight game losing streak is tied for the second longest in Bruins history and longest since Dec. 22, 1955 to Jan. 12, 1956.

The Bruins struck in the first by taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play at 6:58 when Marc Savard cross the puck to David Krejci on the baseline. Krejci bent his knee and whipped a shot back across Theodore’s pads for the early lead. The score was Krejci’s 10th of the year. The Bruins were able to keep the pressure on most of the period and outshot the Capitals 12-5 heading into the second.

It would not take long for Washington to come back. At 2:04 in the second Tom Poti broke deep down the left wing and crossed a pass to a crashing Mike Knuble who was able to beat Thomas out of position for the game-tying goal.

Then something happened that you do not see in regulation NHL hockey all that often — a penalty shot awarded on a shorthanded breakaway. With Marco Sturm in the box for holding, David Krejci found himself alone with the puck facing down Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore. Knuble caught Krejci from behind and hooked him a couple of times and Krejci missed the ensuing shot. The officials gave Krejci a penalty shot, which he subsequently missed wide right to end the unusual drama. It was the Bruins second shorthanded penalty shot of the season after Marco Sturm was unsuccessful against the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist on Jan. 9.

Three Stars

Brooks Laich — The Washington center scored the game-winner with his 17th of the year in the third period off a feed from Alexander Semin.

David Krejci — The Bruins second line center now has a two game point streak after his first period goal and though he was unsuccessful on the penalty shot he was able to put himself in position for the play and helped kill Boston’s penalties on the night.

Tom Poti — The Capitals defenseman assisted on Washington’s first and third goals of the night and now has two goals and 17 assists for the season.

Turning Point

The Bruins best chance of getting on top of Washington came in the second period when Blake Wheeler and Krejci had near open net chances against Theodore but were unable to slam the puck home. Wheeler had two points blank chances and Krejci missed on the follow up and the Capitals cleared the puck to end the threat. The Bruins would never really threaten Theodore for the rest of the game.

Key Play

Semin was able to redeem himself after taking three penalties through the first two periods when he founds the puck in space off the half wall in the offensive end and flipped it through the circle to Laich in front of Thomas. Laich let go of a wrist shot that beat the Bruins goaltender on the stick side for the game-winner at 5:04 in the third.

Read More: Brooks Laich, David Krejci, Tom Poti, Washington Capitals

Capitals knot it up, Bruins hang tough

02.02.10 at 8:46 pm ET
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It did not take long for the Capitals to come back. Washington came out for the second period and was able keep the pressure in the Bruins zone and turned the aggression into a game-tying goal at 2:04 when defenseman Tom Poti carried the puck hard down the left wing and centered to a crashing Mike Knuble. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas was not quick enough across the crease and the Capitals were back in the at a goal apiece.

Then something happened that you do not see in regulation NHL hockey all that often — a penalty shot awarded on a shorthanded breakaway. With Marco Sturm in the box for holding, David Krejci found himself alone with the puck facing down Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore. Knuble caught Krejci from behind and hooked him a couple of times and Krejci missed the ensuing shot. The officials gave Krejci a penalty shot, which he subsequently missed wide right to end the unusual drama.

The Bruins still had to kill off Sturm’s penalty and he was joined by Patrice Bergeron at 11:09 to give Washington a :19 second two-man advantage. Boston killed off both and were able to turn around and put some pressure on itself a couple minutes later. Alexander Semin took went to the penalty box for a hook (his third penalty of the game) after Blake Wheeler and David Krejci had multiple opportunities against Theodore that Washington was able to thwart. Boston had more opportunities on the ensuing power play with Bergeron hitting a post as the Bruins rained shots on goal.

After the rocky start to the period, the Bruins have stayed tough and stayed within their game and have been able to generate shots and keep Alex Ovechkin from causing any havoc on the ice.

Second period shots (total):

Bruins 16 (29)

Capitals 12 (17)

Read More: David Krejci, Mike Knuble,

Bruins use power play to gain momentum

02.02.10 at 7:46 pm ET
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The Capitals are giving the Bruins some power play chances early. For once, Boston has been able to capitalize.

The Bruins got on the power play early when Washington center Nicklas Backstrom went to the box for a hold at 1:04. It was for naught though as the Bruins’ Blake Wheeler gave the man-advantage back with an interference call at 2:16. The Bruins may have lost the opportunity but were able to kill the rest of Wheeler’s penalty to get back to even strength.

Minutes later, the Bruins found themselves with a golden opportunity to jump on the best team in the Eastern Conference. Capitals’ forward Matt Bradley went to the box for a hold and was joined 1:12 later by Alexander Semin on a high stick. Boston wasted no time with the two-man advantage as seconds later Marc Savard crossed the puck across the crease to David Krejci on the baseline. Krejci bent his knees and torqued a shot back across Washington goalie Jose Theodore’s pads to the back of the net for a 1-0 Boston advantage.

The Bruins are doing what they need to do — putting pucks in front of the net, keeping the pressure on and limiting the explosive Capitals chances. It has resulted in a significant shot advantage and, most importantly, a one goal lead heading into the second period.

Shots:

Bruins – 13

Capitals – 5

Read More: David Krejci, Marc Savard,
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