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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,

Capitals a tough challenge for Bruins

02.02.10 at 8:48 am ET
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WILMINGTON ‘€“ The Bruins went through a series of game situation drills at practice Monday, but they were hard-pressed to replicate the reality of what they’€™ll face in game action at TD Garden Tuesday night.

In order for the Bruins to end their seven-game losing streak, they will have to defeat the highest-scoring team in the league while it’€™s playing its best hockey of the season.

The Washington Capitals arrive in Boston having won 10 straight games. Led by Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals have scored a league-best 214 goals, some 23 more goals than San Jose, the second-highest-scoring team in the league.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Bruins have the league’s least effective offense (130 goals) and have not won at home in over a month.

One high-scoring team on a roll, another team stuck in reverse. It could be a tough night ‘€” or perhaps the Bruins’ finest hour in several weeks.

‘€œIt’€™s definitely a challenge,’€ Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. ‘€œTo be honest, there’€™s not any goalie in the league right now who is excited to go up against them. But you can look at it positively, you know if you shut them down you have done a really good job.’€

Although the Caps will present a major challenge, the Bruins have played competitive hockey in their two most recent games, a 2-1 setback at Buffalo Friday and a 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles at home Saturday.

‘€œWe have to be ready, it’€™s a great challenge for us,’€ center Patrice Bergeron said. ‘€œPlay hard and follow up from last game, but get the result.’€

With Marco Sturm and Steve Begin returning to the lineup Saturday, the B’s forward lines remain intact for the first time in weeks. But as the Bruins look to jump start their offense, they’€™ll need to avoid falling into an uptempo game that would favor the Caps’ style.

‘€œWe shouldn’€™t play a run-and-gun game against them, we should stick with the system,’€ Bergeron said. ‘€œObviously, the offense right now has to come from somewhere, but we can’€™t force too many things. If we do that against a team like Washington, that’€™s what they want ‘€” to counter.’€

The Bruins will have one break in their favor as Washington star defenseman Mike Green will not play Tuesday as the result of a three-game suspension handed out by the league Saturday.

Peter Chiarelli on D&H: Not trading high pick

02.01.10 at 2:54 pm ET
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Since the Bruins’ stunning win over Philadelphia in the Winter Classic, 2010 has not been kind to the B’s. General manager Peter Chiarelli was on with Dale & Holley Monday to talk about potential moves that could be made to kick start a Bruins playoff run.

Chiarelli voiced his displeasure with the overall performance of the team but said there is no way he parts with the valuable pick that he received from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade.

‘€œI’€™m not going to trade the pick that we received from Toronto for this year,’€ he stated. ‘€œI’€™ve said that before on other conversations, and I have had other conversations regarding everything else.’€

The GM said the players need to step up, including No. 1 goaltender Tim Thomas, to right the ship on Causeway Street. He said that he has seen some improvements over the last couple of games, but under no circumstance would Chiarelli give away secrets to the show.

‘€œI’€™d like to tell you exactly what I’€™m doing, but I’€™m not going to,’€ he said.

Here is a transcript of the interview, to hear the interview click here.

What do you make of all the moves and trades that the Toronto Maple Leafs made this weekend?

This isn’€™t a comment on those trades, but if we are going to make something it has to be the right deal and it’€™s not for lack of trying right now. I’€™m not beating the bushes so to speak. It has to be the right deal if we are going to do something. Those deals, I think Calgary was trying to shake things up and I think Toronto was building for the future.

Would you shake things up here in Boston?

It’€™s not easy to make a trade, and that’€™s where we are at right now.

Have you received or presented a deal with the draft picks you have from Toronto?

I’€™m not going to trade the pick that we received from Toronto for this year. I’€™ve said that before on other conversations, and I have had other conversations regarding everything else. If it is picks to players I’€™m all ears.

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Read More: Peter Chiarelli,

Fight costs Bruins Stuart for 3-4 weeks

02.01.10 at 1:20 pm ET
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WILMINGTON ‘€” Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart paid an unfortunate price for helping his team gain some much-needed momentum.

Stuart broke his finger while fighting with Wayne Simmonds in the second period of Saturday’€™s 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings He will be lost to the team through the break for the Winter Olympics.

The altercation with Simmonds occurred seconds after Stuart leveled Kings center Anze Kopitar with a devastating shoulder check. Simmonds immediately went after Stuart and the two quickly traded punches.

After the fight was broken up, Stuart went to the Bruins bench and not directly to the penalty box, indicating he may have been injured.

‘€œHe’€™s getting operated on this afternoon, he’€™ll be out until after the Olympic break,’€ Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ‘€œThat’€™s from the fight.’€

Stuart had just returned to the B’€™s lineup on Jan. 16 after missing 14 games with a broken sternum.

‘€œThe last couple of games I thought he was playing his best hockey,’€ Julien said. ‘€œWe liked his game and unfortunately we lose him for 3-4 weeks.’€

The injury is all the more frustrating because it occurred during a fight instigated by Simmonds, who felt the need to stand up for a teammate even though Stuart’€™s hit on Kopitar was legal.

‘€œThat’€™s as clean a check as you’€™ll see, there’€™s no doubt,’€ Julien said. ‘€œUnfortunately, this game seems to be heading in that direction ‘€” when a good clean hit is given, everybody responds. We’€™re not excluding ourselves. We defend our teammates and obviously [Kopitar] is one of their best players that took that hit. If you look around the league, it was kind of the normal reaction.’€

With Stuart out of the lineup, the Bruins recalled Adam McQuaid from Providence on an emergency basis. McQuaid has played eight games for Boston this season, providing physical play and a willingness to drop the gloves.

The Bruins also were encouraged to see defenseman Andrew Ference practicing with the team Monday for the first time since suffering a groin injury Jan. 5 in Ottawa.

‘€œIt’€™s nice to be on the ice, being with the guys a little sooner than expected,’€ Ference said. ‘€œThere’€™s a couple of steps, [Monday I wasn’€™t doing] stops and starts or any contact. But at least it’€™s getting back to practice.’€

It is not likely that Ference will be available until after the Bruins complete a four-game homestand Saturday.

B’s need to be two-timers

01.31.10 at 2:35 am ET
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BOSTON  —  Patrice Bergeron stood before reporters with a very somber face in front of his locker following Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings at TD Garden.

Good reason.

His Bruins, despite getting back the services of Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, still couldn’t find a way to hold a 2-1 third period lead and fell in a shootout. Yes, the Bruins captured one point but as Bergeron pointed out afterward, when you’ve now lost seven in a row and six straight at home for the first time in 85 years, that one point seems of extremely little consolation.

“Tonight was a good effort but we’ve got to find a way to get those two points,” Bergeron said. “We kept having some chances. We scored a goal, on the power play. I don’t think they were all over us with that 2-1 but they found a way to come back and tie it.”

Bergeron’s take on the 3-2 shootout which still leaves the Bruins on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said the team is coming around.

Marco Sturm talked afterward about his first outing in seven games as he returned from a leg injury.

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