|12.11.10 at 2:49 pm ET|
Don’t get James van Riemsdyk wrong: he was plenty happy with the results the last time he was at the Garden, but that doesn’t mean the place has always been good to him.
Prior to Philadelphia’s morning skate on Saturday, van Riemsdyk’s most recent experience on the Garden ice was celebrating the Flyers’ 4-3 comeback victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, something he called a “surreal” experience. The 21-year-old scored perhaps the biggest goal of his career when he put the Flyers on the board in the first period with his team trailing, 3-0.
In the regular season last year, his rookie campaign, van Riemdsyk scored a goal in his two games in Boston. So what gives for the former second overall pick? His stats have been fine when playing in Boston and he won one of the biggest games he’ll likely ever play in there.
The bad memory for JvR dates back to college, when he was playing under coach Dick Umile at the University of New Hampshire.
“I know that in college, we played one game in this building and it wasn’t very nice to us,” van Riemsdyk said Saturday.
For van Riemsdyk, whose brother, Trevor, will play defense at UNH in the fall, it was certainly a memorable one. Unlike in last season’s playoffs, van Riemsdyk found himself on the wrong end of a three-goal comeback. With a trip to the Hockey East championship at stake, UNH jumped out to a 4-1 lead before relinquishing it in the third period and falling, 5-4, to Boston College in triple overtime.
The game was one of the more dramatic college hockey contests in recent memory. Eagles forward Matt Greene appeared to win it for BC in overtime when Wildcats netminder Kevin Regan skated out to play a puck and had his mask knocked off in colliding with Benn Ferriero, leaving him well out of his net to set up the easy goal. Yet after an irate protest from Regan and a video review, the play was ruled no goal, as his mask was off seconds before Greene put the puck in.
Ferriero ended it for good in the third overtime when his shot from the point tipped off UNH defenseman Craig Switzer and in. It was the longest semi-final game in Hockey East history.
Of course, he was singing a different tune after Game 7 last year. After Milan Lucic scored his second goal of the night to make it 3-0, van Riemsdyk recalls the Flyers’ attitude as being pretty atypical of what one might expect given the situation.
“It was kind of a weird thing, because usually you would think that everyone would be panicked and saying, ‘Oh no,’ but everyone was pretty calm. We knew that when we played our game, we were tough to play against, so we just regrouped,” van Riemsdyk said. “Coach [Peter Laviolette] called a timeout, we regrouped, and started playing the game we knew how to play.”
What the team went on to do was something few thought possible. Though he was new to the league, van Riemsdyk could see that.
“That was a lot of fun for us, I’m sure not so much for them,” he said of the game. “We never quit, we gave ourselves a chance every night, and it’s just incredible to think about it.”
Things haven’t been stellar for the New Jersey native this season. After getting off to a disappointing start of four points — all assists — in his first 13 games, van Riemsdyk was benched for four games. Since returning to the lineup, he’s had seven points (4 G, 3 A) in 13 contests
|12.11.10 at 1:21 pm ET|
The Bruins know that Saturday marks the Flyers’ first game back at TD Garden since completing a historic comeback from being down three games to none with 4-3 Game 7 victory that left the B’s dumfounded, confused, and utterly stunned.
They also know that nothing that happens on Saturday will change the past.
The B’s won the first grudge match (if you can call it that) by grabbing a 3-0 win in Philadelphia on Dec. 1, but nothing the team does prior to late April can make up for their postseason collapse. The players see that.
“I think people here are good enough hockey fans to know that redemption comes in the form of the playoffs,” Andrew Ference said. “Obviously, during the season you want to stick it to a team, but it’s a long road and I think people here want to see us play good hockey, want to see us put on a good performance and play to our level.”
Fans will pack the Garden with revenge on their minds Saturday night, and the Bruins are well aware as to why. The players have done everything they could with that Easter Conference semifinals failure: discussed it, tried to forget about it, sought out a lesson in there, etc. The only thing that actually matters is whether they can respond to it.
The idea of responding was discussed plenty in training camp, as Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, and the players saw it as the only appropriate — and productive — thing to do. As a result, Saturday night won’t be about conquering the Flyers and calling it even.
“You’re never going to make up for that by beating them in the regular season, but that was the past,” Blake Wheeler said. “We can’t do anything about that now. The only thing we can control is how we play now. If we play well tonight in front of our home crowd and do the things we’re supposed to do in front of them, I think they’re going to appreciate it. That’s all we can control now, is what we do today, tomorrow, and in the future.”
Regardless of what happens in the team’s second meeting of the season, each side will have their memories of what happened when it really mattered.
“I think that if you come away with a win during the regular season, it doesn’t redeem feelings from last year or anything like that,” Ference said. “I think that it should be par for the course that when Philly’s in town, it’s usually a pretty good game.”
|12.09.10 at 9:34 pm ET|
The Bruins got three special teams goals (including Milan Lucic‘s team-leading 14th and 15th goals of the season) and Tuukka Rask picked up his second win as the Bruins defeated the Islanders, 5-2, on Thursday night at TD Garden. The B’s had two empty-netters, with Lucic and Patrice Bergeron providing them.
Brad Marchand scored his third shorthanded goal of the season in the second period when Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro took a gamble by coming far out of his net to play a puck.
The Islanders got goals from Frans Nielsen and Rob Schremp, the first of which came on a shorthanded penalty shot in the second period.
Michael Ryder added a goal of his own in the third period, which like Lucic’s first, came on the power play. The Bruins finished the night 2-for-5 on the the power play. Lucic’s first-period goal was assisted by Marc Savard, as the center picked up his first point since returning from post-concussion symptoms.
Steven Kampfer, making his NHL debut, was solid, opening the game with a big hit on Islanders’ winger Blake Comeau and coming up with a big blocked shot in the second period. He actually ended up getting more ice time than Adam McQuaid, though McQuaid’s five-minute fighting major in the first can help explain that.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Marchand might soon be lobbying for his teammates to take more penalties so he can score more goals. Three of his four goals this season have come when the B’s have been down a man, and his total is tied with Flyers winger Claude Giroux for the league lead.
– Lucic just finds a way to score. For a guy who never had a huge reputation of getting bounces entering the season, he’s sure as hell gotten them this year. Lucic’s first-period goal hit the post, bounced of DiPietro and in. It also came a game after Ryan Miller managed to let a Lucic shot trickle in past the left post.
– For a team with such a good reputation of scoring when trailing in the third period, it should be noted that they don’t let their opponents return the favor when the shoe is on the other foot. With Thursday’s win, the B’s improved to 13-0-0 when leading after the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Aside from his poorly executed John Vanbiesbrouck impersonation, DiPietro was quite good, frustrating the Bruins for much of the night, including an incredible save off a Dennis Seidenberg reboun attempt.
Despite his solid play on the night, the Boston University product fell to 3-5-4 on the season.
– As nice as it is to get a shorthanded goal, and the Bruins got their fourth on Thursday, they also allowed their second of the season. The Thrashers are the only team that has yet to give up a shorthanded goal this season.
|12.09.10 at 8:41 pm ET|
A shorthanded goal from each team, including Brad Marchand’s third shorthanded strike of the season, has the Bruins leading the Islanders, 2-1, after two periods.
The Bruins fell victim to the old shorthanded penalty shot by Frans Nielsen. The Islanders center had a shorthanded breakaway but was tripped by Patrice Bergeron. A penalty shot was awarded, and Nielsen beat Tuukka Rask with a top-shelf backhander to tie the game at 3:41.
Then, with the Bruins shorthanded due to a David Krejci hooking penalty, Brad Marchand and Rick DiPietro both came chased after a puck at the top of the circle. DiPietro won the race, but Marchand blocked his bid, chasing after the puck to grab it behind the net and score with ease at 14:41. He’s now tied for thirst in the NHL with three shorthanded goals.
The Bruins are outshooting the Islanders, 25-24.
|12.09.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
Milan Lucic scored his 14th goal of the season, a power play tally, and the Bruins lead the Islanders, 1-0, after a period.
It appeared that Lucic’s shot actually hit the right post, bounced of New York goalie Rick DiPietro and into the net. Marc Savard got the assist on the goal, registering his first point since his return from post-concussion symptoms.
The Bruins outshot the Islanders, 16-7, and Tuukka Rask didn’t really face much pressure. The Bruins are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Islanders are 0-for-1. The Bruins will begin the second period on the man advatnage, as P.A. Parenteau went off for boarding with 10.2 seconds left in the period.
Adam McQuaid and Zenon Konopka squared off in the only fight of the period.
|12.09.10 at 6:29 pm ET|
The Bruins made a pair of minor-league trades on Thursday, sending Jeff LoVecchio and Jordan Knackstedt to the Panthers in exchange for defenseman Sean Zimmerman and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. They also landed forward Juraj Simek from the Lightning for Levi Nelson.
Both players will report to Providence. For more on the Bruins, visit their team page at weei.com/bruins.
|12.09.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
It’s safe to say that Bruins rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer was up last night thinking about his NHL debut. Kampfer said Thursday morning that he didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 a.m. as he readied himself for a moment he’s been waiting for all his life.
Kampfer is stepping in for the injured Mark Stuart, who is out four-to-six weeks with a broken hand and dislocated ring finger. Yet Kampfer, a right-handed puck-mover, is nothing like the bigger, tougher, left-handed-er (?) Stuart. He’s more or less a better fit to replace Matt Hunwick. The two players went to college together at Michigan, and spoke on Wednesday night.
“I talked to Matt last night. We had a good conversation,” Kampfer said. “It was funny, because I had watched some clips of him. I was telling him how [the Bruins] wanted me to watch him, see how he played, and did a couple of things.”
Kampfer isn’t assuming that just because he was called up that he’ll stay with the big club until Stuart returns from injury in January or February. The B’s have options with their young defensemen and Kampfer knows it.
“I don’t think it’s a long opportunity. I think it’s day by day,” Kampfer said. “That’s how you go about it. You’re still on a two-way, and they can send you down at any time. You’ve just got to play well every day and show you deserve to be here. That’s my goal, is to be able to play strong every day and make sure I earn a spot here.”
The 22-year-old was in the last group of cuts before the team departed for Belfast on Sept. 29. The team elected to bring former Ohio State blue liner Matt Bartkowski over Kampfer, but Claude Julien said Thursday that they “could have flipped a coin” at the time.
The competition between the young defenders is a plus for an organization that hasn’t been able to carry a seventh defenseman since the trade of Hunwick. The kids know that someone could get the call at any time. They’re just using their time in the AHL to make sure it’s them when the time comes.
“We have a lot of good defensemen down in Providence. There’s a handful of guys that could have come up,” Kampfer said. “I was fortunate that I got the call, but at the same time, I have to prove why I’m here and I have to make sure that I’m helping this team win.”
Kampfer led all Providence defensemen with 16 points (3, 13) at the time of his call-up.
Kampfer said on Wednesday that he spoke to his mom immediately following his call-up and that she was scurrying to get tickets to Boston from Michigan. Turns out she had success, as both of Kampfer’s parents, as well as his agent (Alex Schall) will be in attendance for Kampfer’s NHL debut.
His folks didn’t come out to Boston for the two rookie games, though they made two trips to Providence to see him play.