|11.13.09 at 6:22 am ET|
Here is a video blog brought to you by Kristine Leahy:
|11.13.09 at 12:58 am ET|
Last season, as the Bruins were on their way to 53 regular season wins and first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs, things couldn’t have been much better in the month of November. They went 11-1-1, racking up 23 of a possible 26 points in the month.
What a difference a year makes. This year the Bruins are 2-2-2 in six November games. Tim Thomas recorded his second straight shutout on Thursday night but it wasn’t good enough for a win. The Bruins were beaten in a shootout, 1-0, by a Florida Panthers team that was 5-9-1 coming in.
It was their third shutout loss and the eighth time they have scored fewer than two goals in a contest. Amazing they are even approaching .500 with an 8-8-2 mark.
How bad are things right now? They Bruins not only didn’t score in the 60 minutes of regulation, outshooting Florida 19-1 alone in the second period, they were held scoreless in the five-minute overtime. They failed to light the lamp in their first three shootout chances. And when Thomas gave them another chance by stopping the first three shootout attempts himself, he had reason or hope to think the Bruins would break through.
Not quite. After Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara missed in the first three rounds, Michael Ryder had his chance in the fourth and extra round. Not even an extended shootout could help the Bruins find the back of the net on this night.
Afterward, the Bruins talked about their hard work and frustration on a night that yielded just one point for the overtime loss.
|11.12.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
Corey Stillman scored the shootout game winner as the Florida Panthers took a 1-0 victory over the Bruins Thursday.
Stillman whisked a backhand shot past Tim Thomas in the fourth round of the shootout. Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Thomas made 23 saves during regulation and overtime. He is also credited with his third shutout of the season despite the shootout setback. He has now posted back-to-back shutouts and has not allowed goal since the first period of a Nov. 5 contest against the Montreal Canadiens, a stretch of 173 minutes and 28 seconds of hockey.
The Bruins completed a four-game home stand with a 2-0-2 mark.
Boston shut down three Florida power plays and has killed 31 of the last 32 opposition power play chances during the past five games.
With the Panthers working on an extended five-on-three advantage in the opening period, Thomas made a sprawling stick save to stuff a goal-mouth shot by Nathan Horton.
Later in the same Florida power play, Thomas made a pair of slick poke checks with his goal stick to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard.
The Bruins allowed Florida just one shot in the second period, a season-low by an opponent. Boston had limited the Penguins to just two shots in the opening period of Tuesday’s 3-0 win.
Despite outshooting the Panthers 19-1 in the second, the game remained scoreless as the Bruins failed to convert on two power play chances.
Boston’s second line, with David Krejci centering for Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, showed signs of a pulse in the middle period. The trio pinned the Panthers in the Florida zone for a full shift, generating several scoring chances before changing on the fly, to spirited applause from the restless crowd.
Minutes later, Krejci also drew a tripping call on Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard.
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton tangled with Florida defenseman Bryan Allen in the second-period. No decision.
Player of the Game ‘ Vokoun was perfect in regulation, overtime and the shootout.
Turning Point – After being outshot 19-1 in the second, the Panthers found their game, taking a 14-8 shot advantage over the Bruins in the third.
|11.11.09 at 1:55 pm ET|
Getting past the swine flu maybe the easy part of David Krejci‘s week. Now the third-year center needs to get his offensive game back in order.
Krejci returned to lineup in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh. With him having not been able to skate for five days while recovering from the HINI virus, it was not surprising that his game was slightly off.
‘I felt my legs were a little out of shape,’ Krejci said after getting in some extra skating at the conclusion of practice in Wilmington Wednesday.
‘We had some good chances, but I didn’t feel that great all game. My legs weren’t there,’ Krejci said. ‘I was thinking too much. What to do with the puck, it should just be [instinct]. Tomorrow, I’ll do everything I can to make it work.’
It certainly would be a good time for Krejci to jump start his game.
After finishing as the Bruins’ second-leading scorer last season (73 points), Krejci inked a three-year, $11.25 million contract extension this summer. He has just five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in 15 games this season.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was quick to stress Wednesday that Krejci needs to raise his game.
‘His game is certainly not where it should be,’ Julien said. ‘That’s up to him to work through it. He’s at that stage where he needs to find his game and work through the glitches that he seems to have right now.’
Added Julien: ‘There’s no doubt he’s pressing. Sometimes when guys press they don’t take the right approach to get themselves out of it. My approach is always to work hard, work through it, things will turn around.’
For his part, Krejci seems ready to help lead the Bruins offense.
‘That was my plan coming into the season, things didn’t go the way I wanted but you have to start somewhere. It’s not too late,’ he said. ‘I’m trying to stay positive about being able to develop my game.’
Defenseman Derek Morris was held out of practice after coming down with the flu Tuesday.
‘We just gave him the day off,’ Julien said.
|11.11.09 at 12:10 pm ET|
Defenseman Derek Morris is not on the ice as the Bruins make their way through practice this morning.
|11.11.09 at 10:18 am ET|
Just a few weeks earlier, Matt Hunwick’s backhander hits the crossbar instead of finding the space between the goalie’s shoulder and the top of the net.
A few weeks earlier Alex Goligoski’s third period weird angle shot off the end boards careens off the right post and angles itself into a net vacated by Tim Thomas.
And a few weeks earlier, instead of an empty net goal, Patrice Bergeron misfires on an oddly bouncing puck and Pittsburgh collects it and scores in the last 30 seconds on an empty net power play.
But all three of those breaks went for the Bruins and not against them on Tuesday night as they beat the defending Stanley Cup champs, 3-0, at TD Garden, giving the Bruins consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Here’s an audio sample from a happy/relieved Bruins dressing room.
|11.11.09 at 7:18 am ET|
It was sort of a frozen version of the tortoise and the hare.
While the Bruins meandered through the early season looking to build something resembling momentum, the Penguins swiftly began defense of their Stanley Cup championship by winning 11 of their first 13 games.
As the Bruins struggled to score goals and secure victories, the Pens were clicking and posting seven straight road wins to start the season.
But which team seems to be heading in the right direction now?
The Bruins’ 3-0 victory over the defending Cup champs Tuesday night marked the seventh straight game Boston has held the opposition to two goals or less.
With Tim Thomas making 27 saves ‘ and his teammates blocking 22 more Pittsburgh shots ‘ Boston was able to build on Saturday’s 4-2 win over Buffalo by shutting out the Penguins and securing its first back-to-back wins this season.
‘It’s too bad it happened for the first time after 18 games, but tonight we showed if we play like we are right now, we can play extremely well,’ said captain Zdeno Chara.
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