|02.06.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
When things are going bad there is a no such thing as catching a break. Sometimes the break catches you.
The Bruins were skating to what was looking like a 2-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday afternoon when Canucks defenseman Sami Salo broke his stick trying to send a blast on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The puck idled off the shot and was over-skated in a clearing attempt by Milan Lucic before Tanner Glass came in and found it in the high slot to send it back on Rask. Vancouver forward Pavol Demitra was in the perfect place to redirect it with the shaft of his stick to tie the game at two. Vancouver went on to win in a shootout.
“Bad luck, story of my season, [expletive deleted], nothing can go right. What can you do?” Lucic said.
Rask saw the play develop in front of him but the odd deflection was enough to get it passed him in his second straight start and second straight shootout loss.
“I saw it, I saw it,” Rask said. “But the guy tipped it in front of me and you can’t just stand there and wait for the tip. I try to be square for the puck and he just happened to make kind of a weird tip and he tipped it over my shoulder. That’s the kind of luck we haven’t gotten in the past couple of games. Just got to stick with it, and it’s coming.”
It is those type of plays that are really starting to wear on the Bruins patience. For three straight games Boston has played well only to see a seemingly innocuous play turn into the deciding factor in the game. On Thursday it was the Matt Hunwick’s penalty that led to the first on Montreal’s two goals in the final minutes of the second period that turned the game around. On Tuesday against the Capitals it was Blake Wheeler and David Krejci not being able to get the puck past Jose Theodore on a wide-open net and then watch as Washington comes storming back minutes later. Good games by the Bruins are turning into losses on a dime.
“It is disheartening. You guys watched that last goal. A guy breaks his stick, [Lucic] should be off on a break away, 2-on-1, and it just kind of flubs through his legs and skate and the guy turns and fires it away,” Savard said. “It is not even a clean tip, it hits his shaft and skips up in the top corner. It is just disheartening, like I said. We go through overtime trying to get the win but no break.”
The Bruins were good in the third period against Vancouver. They did not sit back and wait to lose the game, they were active in trying to put a third goal passed Luongo. The Canuck stoned them which allowed his team enough of an opportunity to catch the break that the Bruins have not been able to in their 10 game skid.
“I still thought we played well in the third with that 2-1 lead and then that mistake and that turned into a goal and that is the end of it,” coach Claude Julien said. “I really thought that we were playing well enough in the third that we could have won that game 2-1. When [Lucic] over-skated that puck and they just threw it at the net, those are the type of things where you say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, give me a break here’ . . . right now it is just the way it is.”
So it is. The Bruins 10th straight loss turned on a broken stick, a breakaway that wasn’t and a tip off the shaft of Demitra’s stick. With all the breaks, it is a wonder that the Bruins cannot catch one. That is just how things work when a team is in the skids.
|02.06.10 at 3:52 pm ET|
Summary — Boston scored two first period goals but could not hold onto the lead as Vancouver came back to tie the game in the third period and win it in a shootout 3-2 at a sold out TD Garden. Tuukka Rask took the loss in his second straight start for the Bruins with 29 saves in a duel with Roberto Luongo who made 41 in the decision. Pavol Demitra had the game-deciding goal in the shootout which the Canucks won 1-0.
The Bruins used to the power play to their advantage to go up two goals in the first period. Captain Zdeno Chara got the first on a perfect pinch play at 1:56 after Marc Savard cycled the puck to Marco Sturm in the corner and found Chara crashing to the net to beat Luongo. The second goal came also came courtesy of the power play at 14:20 when Savard sent a wrist shot on net that was redirected by Michael Ryder’s stick. It was the 10th time this season that Boston has had multiple goals on the power play.
Vancouver cut into the lead at 8:51 on an even-strength strike by Mason Raymond at 8:51 in the second period. Ryan Kesler won the puck from Milan Lucic off the back wall and fed it in front to Raymond who took to steps left and beat Rask on the stick side.
The game-tying goal came courtesy of Demitra at 15:18 in the third period. Demitra screened Rask and redirected a shot from defenseman Sami Salo. The score was Demitra’s first goal of the season.
Roberto Luongo — The star goaltender made 41 saves on the day and shut the Bruins out in the shootout for the victory.
Marc Savard — The Bruins center had two assists in the first period to give him five in the last five contests. It was his sixth multiple-point game of the season and he now now has 27 points through 33 games on the year.
Zdeno Chara — The captain scored his fifth of the season in the first period and was very active in all phases of the game. The towering defenseman was instrumental in shutting down the explosive Sedin brothers and bottling up the Canucks attack.
Canucks defenseman Sami Salo had a slap shot from the point late in the third period that forward Pavol Demitra was able to get just enough of a piece of in front of the net to redirect it passed Rask for the game-tying goal at 15:18. The goal was Demintra’s first of the season in his 10th game of the year with Vancouver.
Demitra circled wide to the right in the shootout before attacking Rask on his glove side. Demitra was the only player to score in the shootout as Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were shutout. Over the last two games the Bruins have missed six straight shootout chances.
|02.06.10 at 2:43 pm ET|
Boston kept the Canucks defensive in the second period by getting on the power play early. Vancouver forward Mason Raymond went to the box for a delay-of-game call at 1:58 and was joined by Henrik Sedin for a slash at 3:50. The Bruins had opportunities in front of Roberto Luongo but could not bury the puck that would give them a 3-0 advantage.
Boston took two penalties in the period but were able to kill them both. The first was a trip against Michel Ryder at 5:36 and the second interference against Zdeno Chara at 10:12. The Bruins had a couple more opportunities on the power play when Canucks defenseman Shane O’Brien interfered with Bruins forward Mark Recchi (really, he checked him into the back of the net behind Luongo) but the Canucks were able to earn the kill.
Bruins still lead, 2-1 at the end of two.
Bruins — 25
Canucks — 12
|02.06.10 at 1:51 pm ET|
The Canucks have come to visit Boston on the fourth of a NHL record 14 game road trip as they are being displaced because of the Olympics which start after next week. For their part, the Bruins have not played the welcoming hosts.
The Bruins got on the power play early when Canucks forward Tanner Glass took a boarding penalty 38-seconds into the game. Boston wasted no time in turning it into an one goal lead when Marc Savard cycled the puck to Marco Sturm in the corner who sent it across the crease Zdeno Chara. Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo did not shift back in time and Chara, who made a perfect pinch from the point, slammed it home at 1:56. Activating Chara from the point was a play that worked often last season but has been missing from the Bruins game this year.
A few minutes later Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton got to fisticuffs with Darcy Hordichuk immediately after a faceoff at 4:27. Thornton took a couple punches and held Hordichuk’s sweater and eventually wrestled him to the ground. Thornton was a healthy scratch last game and the Bruins have not had many fights in the nine-game losing streak so Thornton getting back to his bruising ways was a welcome sight to the fans at TD Garden.
A scary moment occurred at 8:22 when Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson let go of a wild slap shot from the left point that struck Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the temple right in front of the goal. Boychuk went down in a heap and bled in the crease. He was treated on the ice for several minutes and helped off the ice. His return is doubtful.
The Bruins struck again on the power play at 14:20 off an interference call to Rick Rypien. Savard crept along the blue line and let a wrist shot at Luongo that Michael Ryder redirected with his stick just enough to find the back of the net. It is the 10th time this year that the Bruins have scored multiple goals on the power play.
2-0 Boston heading into the second period.
|02.06.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien knows a little experience could go a long way to restoring some order his blue line.
On Saturday, Andrew Ference, who’s been out since Jan. 5 with a groin injury, skated with the team in warmups prior to the tilt with Vancouver. He was scratched and missed his 14th straight game.
“He’s coming along and I think he’s getting better and hopefully we’ll see him back soon,” Julien said “There’s no doubt, I think there’s some experience missing back there and when you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you get guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.”
The Bruins have lost Ference and fellow veteran defenseman Mark Stuart with a broken pinkie finger. That doesn’t include Zdeno Chara, who is playing with a bad pinkie himself that will likely require surgery after the season.
“We’ve got Hunwick, who’s in his second year, and then we’ve got two guys who are in their first year, so we’re lacking a little bit of experience back there, there’s no doubt,” Julien added. “But that’s not to take away anything from the guys who are in their first year. They’ve done a great job for us.”
So what the Bruins didn’t need was another injury to a defenseman – and a scary one at that. A bloodied Boychuk took a shot to the left side of his face from Mikael Samuelsson midway through the first and had to be helped off the ice by Blake Wheeler and Chara.
|02.05.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Canadiens, the Bruins talked a lot of about getting good traffic, screens and rebounds in front of the net. It is the equivalent of “small ball,” but a quintessential way to score in the NHL — get the dirty goals when the goaltender is obstructed or out of position. Mark Recchi has made a good living doing it for years. This is how most of the league scores and how the Bruins are forced to play without a top-notch goal scorer who creates his own offense like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Ilya Kovalchuk.
Concerning Kovalchuk, if the Bruins players are crestfallen that he is now a member of the New Jersey Devils after Thursday’s trade, they are hiding it well.
“He is a great player and it would have been a nice addition but you are not going to lose sleep over it,” center Marc Savard said. “It would have been nice to get him but that is over with so you move on.”
Forward Milan Lucic did not want any part of the conversation.
“Obviously he could not get a deal done in Atlanta, he’s been a part of them for a long time. Good on New Jersey, looks like they got another lead scorer on their team and we will see what happens,” Lucic said. When asked if the players are looking for the front office to make a move, Lucic was noncommittal. “That is the least of my worries, it is nothing that I can control. Management does what they do and whatever they do, as a player, we have to be happy with their decision.”
Away from what has been happening in the rest of the NHL, the Bruins are focused entirely on themselves. Most of the work at Ristuccia Arena was focused on creating opportunities. The Bruins brought out shooting pads to elevate the puck off the ice and contain rebounds in screen drills. There was not a lot of contact but rather there will be some bruises where players took pucks off the body while standing in front of the goaltender as defensemen whipped shots from the blue line. Overall it was a day that the Bruins wanted to maintain a good work ethic and demeanor heading into Saturday’s matinee against Vancouver.
“It is kind of the way it has been going,” Savard said. ” We worked on the power play this morning, get some chop work and gets some shots.”
In terms of the goal drought in Boston, Savard said that he has never been a part of anything like it.
“For the amount of shots we put up and the scoring opportunities, I am not sure how many but I am sure it has been a lot over the past few games,” Savard said.
He was informed by a reporter that the Bruins have had 45 scoring opportunities in the last two games, good for one goal every 15 chances. “So, I don’t know what to say.”
Defenseman Andrew Ference skated with the team again and said that he “is making steps” towards a return from groin injury. He sounded doubtful that he would return next week but said that he was definite for after the Olympic break.
“Just keep taking steps. Stops and starts. Just another baby step,” Ference said. “I don’t know if it is going to get well enough before the break. Everyday I try to push it and see how it feels the next morning. You can only push it so fast so, honestly, I do not know. It has been going well so far so hopefully something before the break but I won’t know until I get to that day where I am taking full contact and full speed starts and stops.”
Here is the practice participation by sweater color:
White — Miroslav Satan, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic.
Red — Shawn Thornton, Steve Begin, Vladimir Sobotka, Byron Bitz.
|02.04.10 at 11:47 pm ET|
Perhaps it was complete frustration of it all that inspired Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to sum up the current state of affairs for the Bruins after firing 47 shots on net and scoring twice in a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, extending their futility streak to nine games.
“I don’t know to cry or laugh here because I think we pretty much dominated the whole game,” Rask said of his teammates who outshot Montreal, 47-25.
“Good chances and their goalie plays an unbelievable game. Going into shootout, I wanted to win so bad, make that save.”
Neither team seemed destined to score after two scoreless rounds to open the shootout. But then Brian Gionta beat Rask up top with a backhander. And when Marc Savard failed on his attempt, the ninth straight ‘L’ was in the books.
“Their guy happened to beat me there and we took the loss,” Rask said. “At least we get a point so it’s something.”
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