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02.26.09 at 8:40 pm ET
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All hell has broken loose in the second period of the Bruins/Ducks game as a fiery scrap between Mike Brown and Milan Lucic ended with the Looch pounding away at the back of Brown’s head when he was already down on the ice.  The fight turned into a team-wide donnybrook between the Ducks and Bruins with an instigator penalty for Brown and a third man in penalty for Sheldon Brookbank.

After watching the replays a series of three Ducks players seemed to be going after Lucic in front of the Anaheim net, and then both Brown and Lucic screamed and pointed at each other from the opposing penalty boxes.

Later Scott Niedermayer and Marc Savard dropped the gloves in a quick scrap between superstars after Niedermayer kept jabbing at the B’s center with the butt end of his stick.

The Big, Bad B’s still lead the Ducks by a 3-0 score with 2:27 to go in the first period.

Familiar-looking Bruins take a commanding 3-0 lead

02.26.09 at 8:28 pm ET
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In a flashback to the first 40 games of the season, the Blake Wheeler/Michael Ryder/David Krejci line has reverted back to dominant form, and make it 2-0 with a great Krejci look to Ryder in the right faceoff circle. The trio turned transition hockey into a wicked Ryder wrist shot that beat Giguere to make it 2-0.

Chuck Kobasew followed with a another sizzling wrist shot that gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead and knocked Giguere from the game.

The B’s lead the Ducks by a 3-0 score with 9:19 to go in the second period.

Matt Hunwick gives Bruins a 1-0 lead

02.26.09 at 7:58 pm ET
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Matt Hunwick was sent down to Providence to play in an AHL game Tuesday night and knock the rust off, and it appears to have worked. The rookie blueliner followed a play in front of the net, beat Ducks forward Mike Brown to the puck and blasted a high wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The B’s lead the Ducks by a 1-0 score after one full period of play.

Ducks and Bruins still scoreless in the third period

02.26.09 at 7:34 pm ET
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Energetic beginning to the Ducks/Bruins tilt at the Garden. Perhaps some players on either side of the benches think they could be playing for the other team before the March 4 deadline. No shame in attempting to impress. 

Stephane Yelle drew the first penalty of the game mid-way through the first period on a wraparound bid followed by a rebound attempt that hit the right and left post. The B’s weren’t able to do any damage on the ensuing power play, but there was an outstanding Tim Thomas save on a Todd Marchant backhand bid while the Ducks were short-handed.

Blueliner Aaron Ward was a late scratch from the lineup due to an illness, so Matt Hunwick is in for the Black and Gold. Petteri Nokelainen and Martins Karsums were the other late scratches.

The B’s and Ducks are scoreless with 5:36 to go in the first period.

Tkachuk decision won’t come until deadline day

02.26.09 at 5:01 pm ET
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With all of the Pronger-mania taking place at the Boston Garden now that the Ducks have dealt for Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney — and presumably will flip monster-sized defenseman Chris Pronger prior to the Wednesday trade deadline for salary cap purposes — St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk has been lost in the shuffle a bit.

While Pronger would easily cost the Bruins an integral part of this year’s team (think Phil Kessel or any of the other young and talented B’s), Tkachuk would likely cost a young player in the organization system and a draft pick. In other words, nothing from this year’s Cup-seeking squad.

Don’t expect any deals for the 36-year-old Medford homeboy over the weekend, as Blues President John Davidson said that he will take the three games leading up to the March 4 deadline to decide whether or not to deal “Walt” — a nickname that Tkachuk goes by in old St. Looeeey.

The Blues will face the Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes and the Detroit Red Wings prior to next Wednesday, and Davidson feels like he’ll have a better grasp depending on how many points the Blues take from their trio of games. The Blues are at 60 points and currently sit five points behind a quartet of teams including the Wild, Stars, Oilers and Ducks.

“Our concept here was let’s take these four games and see where it goes. If we win four, we feel strong about it. If we lose four, that tells us something,” said Davidson. “The big question mark is if we get four games played and get four points, in other words, .500 through there, we have to take a real serious look at everything. We know the job ahead of us to get in, knowing there’s teams ahead of us, that some of them are playing very well.

It’s going to be very difficult. But we want to at least now make sure we send a message to our players and fans that we want to make the playoffs,” added Davidson. “Now, regarding Keith, we’ve had discussions with his representative Bob Murray. We’re all on the same page. Let’s just talk about making the playoffs right now.”

If the Blues drop any further back in the standings, however, that could mean that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound left-handed shot with 11 power play strikes could be available for regular duty on Boston’s PP team and on their third line. It’s a scenario that Davidson, Tkachuk and his agent, Bob Murray, have already discussed in detail as it would require the former BU star to waive his “no movement” clause.

“When it gets down to crunch time, which is on the trade deadline day, that’s when we’ll probably make a final decision. Right now we haven’t,” said Davidson. “We’ve had some calls, but nothing serious has been talked about because we still have this concept as an organization that’s wanting to make the playoffs.

Keith wants to be on a club that makes the playoffs this season. Keith doesn’t even want to talk about (not making the playoffs). His rep came in (Tuesday) and we chatted,” added Davidson. “Both sides have a pretty good understanding of where we’re going, what we’re thinking of doing, even though a lot of it is still in the air regarding our club, how they play the next three games.”

There seems to be a pair of consistent knocks against Tkachuk, and the Bruins pursuit of the 36-year-old: A) he’s always been viewed as something of a “Me” guy that’s struggled in his past trips to the playoffs and B) his offensive play has tailed off in the second half of the season after a red-hot start. Davidson threw cold water on the statistical downturn by painting a picture of a player that willingly took on a third line role that’s affected his offensive numbers — and a player that clearly now “gets it” after early years where perhaps he didn’t.

“The thing about Keith is, he’s been through it. We respect what he’s done this year. He’s been a really good player for us on the ice,” said Davidson. “He’s been terrific with our young players off the ice. He started the season scoring like crazy, but then with all our injuries we asked him to become a checking center for us.

“He’s done a great job with that, which takes away from some of his scoring. He hasn’t complained. He’s been a real pure player for us this season. He’s also to the point in his career where he’s mature.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Chris Pronger, Keith Tkachuk, Phil Kessel

No place like home for the Boston Bruins

02.25.09 at 4:41 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — There’s no sense in clicking their hockey skates three times and chanting “There’s no place like home,” but the Black and Gold reached a welcomed portion of the schedule when they notched a victory over the Panthers Tuesday night. The tilt against the upwardly mobile Eastern Conference team was the first of six straight games at the Garden that will take the Bruins crew past the March 4 trade deadline and right on through a March 7 matinee against the Chicago Blackhawks.

It’s a mighty positive development for the Good Ship Bruins as the Spoked B play 14 of their final 21 games within the friendly, frozen confines, and have a chance to put themselves in a solid season-ending position with the right amount of energy, strength and determination.

The Big, Bad B’s are 20-4-4 in 28 games at the Vault on Causeway Street this season, and have been pretty successful at making life difficult for opponents inside the loud and rowdy Boston rink. It should be a fun next couple of weeks, as a young hockey club continues to get their groove back and readies themselves for a long run through the postseason. The next handful of games should start warming up the B’s crowd for the fever pitch expected once Lord Stanley’s playoff challenge begins.

Two guys home means quite a bit to: Milan Lucic and Dennis Wideman. Wideman has 18 points in 32 road games this season, but is nearly one point per game at the Garden (5 goals and 18 assists in 29 games) while Looch has 15 points in 29 road games as opposed to 8 goals and 11 assists in 24 home tilts this season.

“It was great for our team to be back (home),” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “It was a tough road stretch and the fact that we were able to find our game a little bit was great. I think it was about getting out of our funk. Every team goes through that during the season at some point, and the good thing for us is to get out of it sooner rather than later as we head toward the end of the season.”

The B’s aren’t exactly chopped bratwurst on the road either, as the 21-8-4 record in hostile hockey territory would attest. But the first trip back to the Garden coincided with the B’s finally putting disciplined play, fearless ventures by the forwards into the goal area and the danger zones of the rink, aggressive support by the defensemen and normally solid goaltending into a once-again unbreakable chain.

It all starts on Thursday with a pretty stiff challenge against an Anaheim Ducks squad that’s sitting squarely below the cusp of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, and could start selling off valuable wares like Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer if things don’t start improving. In other words, the B’s will be facing yet another talented hockey team filled with desperation while they protect the pole position in the East.

“The 50 or the 60 game mark is historically the toughest part (of the schedule), but at this point we’re over that and the last 20 games or so you start gearing up for the Big Push,” said tough guy Shawn Thornton, who participated in the ultimate “Big Push” when he was a member of the Ducks squad that won the Stanley Cup back in the 2006-07 season. “I think we’re starting to feel that now. We had a little slide, but I think now we’re starting to back on track mentally and bringing it every night.”

There it is. The Boston Garden: where the Black and Gold “bring it” on a nightly basis.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Shawn Thornton,

Matt Hunwick called back up to the Bruins

02.25.09 at 9:55 am ET
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As expected, Matt Hunwick was called back up to Boston in time for B’s practice this morning. Hunwick hadn’t played in live action since early February, but finished with an assist and a pair of shots on net in Providence’ss 3-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs on Tuesday night.

Here’s the release:

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Matt Hunwick from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League). Hunwick is expected to be practice with the club today at 11:30 a.m. at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA.

Hunwick was assigned to Providence yesterday, Tuesday, February 24, and recorded an assist in the P-Bruins’ 3-2 shootout loss to Manchester last night. He has seen action in 38 games this year for Boston and has recorded 3-12=15 totals and a +9 plus/minus rating. Hunwick skated in three games for the Providence this season, registering three assists.

Spending the majority of the 2007-2008 season in Providence, Hunwick posted 2-21-23 totals in 55 games.  He was recalled to Boston on four separate occasions last year and tallied one assist in 13 games.  The University of Michigan graduate was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round (224th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bruins continue a six-game homestand when they host the Anaheim Ducks on February 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET at the TD Banknorth Garden.

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