|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.”
|02.04.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
It is raining shots in Boston.
This is not a weekend bender at The Fours but rather a deluge from the Boston Bruins of pucks on opposing goaltenders. Yet, like a large man with a penchant for good whiskey, the shots are having little effect.
In Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens the Bruins dumped 47 shots on Jaroslav Halak and came away with two goals in the 3-2 shootout loss. Add to that the 42 shots Boston had against Washington on Tuesday and the totals comes to 89 shots in two games with only three goals to show for it. The stat is hard to believe, especially if you are the Bruins who know they have significantly outplayed their opponents in the last two contests.
|02.04.10 at 11:26 pm ET|
Even in good times, Mark Recchi has been around long enough to know that no hockey coach has security – let alone when you’ve lost nine straight and are falling out of the playoff picture.
Still, the veteran Bruins forward doesn’t think Claude Julien is going anywhere and he made that clear following Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal at TD Garden.
Recchi pointed to the Carolina Hurricanes that got hot at the end of last season, a team that eliminated the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs in seven games.
“Claude ain’t going anywhere,” Recchi said. “He’s a great coach. But it’s there and we’re right there and if we keep playing like this, then that could happen. We could get on a big run.”
|02.04.10 at 10:55 pm ET|
Claude Julien just watched his team take 47 shots on net and score twice in 65 minutes, including a 4-on-3 power play in overtime and a scoreless shootout. All of this on top of 42 shots on Tuesday night that resulted in just one goal in a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The Bruins coach was had seen enough. And when he was asked whether three goals in 89 shots and nine straight losses means his team was no better than average, Julien responded.
“We believe we have a better-than-average hockey team,” Julien said. “I think our team was pretty good tonight. I’m not going to stand here and say we’re a bad team. Absolutely not.”
Click here to hear Julien’s response in Thursday’s postgame presser following a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal.
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