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Capitals at Bruins preview

12.18.10 at 10:26 am ET
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A couple of teams in dire need of a win will hit the Garden ice on Saturday night as the Bruins (16-10-4), winless in their last three, take on the Capitals (18-11-4). Despite dropping their last seven games, Washington still leads the Southeast division with 40 points.

WHERE IT’S AT

– The Bruins are 7-5-3 in home games this season, a mark that was brought over .500 with a 2-0-1 showing in their most recent home-stand. Saturday marks the first of three home games in a row before they play seven of the following eight on the road.

– The Capitals are one of only three teams with 12 home wins (despite dropping their last five at the Verizon Center), but the road has been a different story. They’re 6-7-1 outside of the nation’s capital, and are looking for their first win as the away team since Dec. 1, when they picked up a 4-1 win in St. Louis. It remains the team’s only win this month.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

Milan Lucic is a goal away from tying his career-high of 17. The 22-year-old power forward hasn’t just led the Bruins in goals this season, he’s been cold-streak-proof. The longest stretch without a point this season for Lucic is two games, something he’s only done once (11/20 vs. LA, 11/22 at TB). Lucic scored his 16th goal of the season Thursday.

– In their seven-game winless streak, the Capitals have scored two goals just three times. They have been shutout twice in that span.

– I promise this is the last time that we’ll mention that Steven Kampfer has had 20-plus minutes of icetime twice despite being only four games into his NHL career, and that Matt Hunwick had two 20-minute nights in his 22 games for the B’s this season.

Playing with Zdeno Chara and seeing the time he’s seen of late on the power play helps, and Kampfer should continue to get big minutes as a result. It’s rather clear the B’s made the right choice in making Kampfer the guy when it came time to call someone up from Providence following the Mark Stuart injury.

STORYLINES GOING IN

– This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. The Bruins won the first two before dropping a 5-3 decision on Nov. 5. In that game, the B’s climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at three. This came after a goaltending switch and Tuukka Rask‘s entrance into the game in the third period. The loss, in which Rask allowed just one goal, remains perhaps the best single representation of the luck the Finnish goaltender has fallen on this season.

– It’s a good thing the Bruins are getting all of their games with Washington out of the way so early, because Alexander Ovechkin is bound to bust out of his season-long goal-scoring slump (by his standards, anyway) eventually. Ovechkin has just 12 goals this season, which puts him on pace for a career-low 30 goals. His lowest total in a season is the 46 he scored in 2006-07, his sophomore campaign. It is the only season of his five in which he did not register at least 50 goals.

Over his last 15 games, the 25-year-old has scored just twice. Ovechkin has one goal against the Bruins in three games thus far, an empty netter in the Nov. 5 contest.

Although he hasn’t scored nearly as much as one would expect from the 6-foot-2 winger, Ovechkin is on pace for a career-high 60 assists. He had 59 a season ago.

– The Capitals’ leading goal-scorer this season, Alexander Semin, will not play vs. the B’s after not traveling with the team to Boston, according to the Washington Post. Semin is out with a lower-body injury.

Semin has 18 goals this season despite not notching one in his last seven games.

Read More: Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Milan Lucic, Steven Kampfer

NHLPA appoints Donald Fehr as executive director

12.18.10 at 10:17 am ET
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The NHL Players Association announced Saturday morning that they have voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of appointing former MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr to the same position in the NHLPA.

Now 62, Fehr served as an advisor for the NHLPA last year. In his time as head of the MLBPA, he led them through the 1994-95 baseball strike, sued the owners for $280 million over collusion, and took rookie salaries from $30,000 to $400,000 over.

Here is the press release:

TORONTO, ON (December 18, 2010) ‘€“ The National Hockey League Players’€™ Association (NHLPA) announced today that the full membership of the NHLPA has voted overwhelmingly to appoint Don Fehr as the new NHLPA Executive Director, following the Executive Board’€™s endorsement.

Fehr, 62, is the former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) where he worked for the players for 33 years, serving as Executive Director from 1983 until 2009.

‘€œI am both humbled and honored by the expression of confidence that the players’ vote reflects,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the membership and the Executive Board.”

On September 8, 2010, the Search Committee, made up of Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rafalski, Brian Rolston and Mathieu Schneider, recommended to the Executive Board that Fehr be hired as Executive Director. This was endorsed by the Executive Board which then directed the matter be put to a full vote of the NHLPA membership.

The NHLPA also announces today that the membership has voted overwhelmingly to accept amendments that were put forward by the Constitution Committee, consisting of Steve Montador, Dominic Moore, Tim Thomas and Marty Turco, and endorsed by the Executive Board.

These amendments add clarity to, and simplify, the new Constitution as well as the Association’€™s decision-making process, allowing for more efficient and timely decision-making and encouraging cohesion. The new Constitution is now in effect and is available on nhlpa.com.

Fehr will start in his new position immediately.

Read More: Donald Fehr,

Slow start dooms Bruins in loss to Canadiens

12.16.10 at 9:46 pm ET
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It was a game that featured plenty of back and forth, but the Bruins didn’t join in until they had fallen behind early on and the Canadiens took a 4-3 victory Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

The Bruins started slow, allowing a penalty shot goal to Mike Cammalleri at 1:04 when Zdeno Chara hooked the winger on a breakaway that was the result of a Milan Lucic turnover, while Maxim Lapierre added his fifth of the season at 6:24.

The Bruins were able to come within a goal of the Habs in each period thanks to goals from Blake Wheeler, Marc Savard, and Milan Lucic, respectively, but goals in the first and second from Mac Pacioretty and Brian Gionta extended Montreal’s lead throughout the night.

With the loss, Tim Thomas fell to 14-3-3 on the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins didn’t give Tim Thomas much of a chance when they gave Mike Cammalleri a penalty shot just 64 seconds into the night, and they didn’t give themselves much of a chance when they fell behind by two goals less than seven minutes in. It was a tight and competitive game for most of the night, but the B’s dug themselves too big a hole in the game’s opening minutes.

– The four goals allowed by Thomas tied for the most he’s allowed this season. He also allowed four goals in the B’s 7-4 come-from-behind win over the Penguins on Nov. 10. It was also the third time this season he has faced 40 or more shots, as he faced 46 in the Pittsburgh game, 41 against the Flyers on Dec. 1 and 40 on Dec. 4 against the Maple Leafs.

– The Bruins are now winless in their last three games, and they will face the Capitals for the fourth and final time this season Saturday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Steven Kampfer eclipsed the 20:00 mark for the second straight night. For a comparison, Matt Hunwick saw 20 minutes of ice time twice in his 22 games with the Bruins this year.

It wasn’t the prettiest night for Kampfer, as he nearly gave the puck away in front of his own net in the second and had a shot blocked in the third that led to a Tomas Plekanec breakaway. Neither play did any damage on the scoreboard.

– Marc Savard scored his first goal of the season on a play set up by Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin. The line is finally forming some chemistry and Seguin had one of his better games of the season a night after sitting out as a healthy scratch

– Blake Wheeler picked up his first point in the last six games when he beat Carey Price from an odd angle in the first period. The 24-year-old now has seven goals on the season.

David Krejci dropped the gloves for the first time in his NHL career (he’d done it once in both the QMJHL and in the AHL). He went against Mike Cammalleri, another unlikely fighting candidate, and cut the winger above the eye in a tussle that ended with Cammalleri taking Krejci down.

The fight was symbolic of the majority of the second period: the Bruins had more pep in their step and were grabbing at anything to give them momentum.

Bruins trail Canadiens, 4-2, after two

12.16.10 at 8:50 pm ET
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The Bruins brought themselves within one with a goal from Marc Savard, but a bounce off Dennis Seidenberg has the Canadiens leading the B’s, 4-2, after two periods.

The Seguin – Savard – Ryder line had its coming out party Michael Ryder creed a 2-on-1 with Marc Savard and Tyler Seguin. The pass to the rookie seemed just out of reach, but he sent it back to Andrew Ference, who fired a shot from the point that Savard redirected past Carey Price for his first goal of the season.

How about David Krejci and Mike Cammalleri doing the twist? It was the first fight of the Czech center’s career, and despite losing was able leave the Montreal winger bloodied with a cut above the eye.

Later in the period, Max Pacioretty, who scored his first goal of the season in the opening period, send a puck in front of the net that bounced off Brian Gionta, then Seidenberg, then in. It made for Gionta’s team-leading 11th goal of the season.

Bruins trail Canadiens, 3-1, after one

12.16.10 at 7:56 pm ET
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Two goals in the first seven minutes and an unnecessary penalty by the Bruins have the Canadiens leading Boston, 3-1, after a period.

A Milan Lucic turnover in the neutral zone led to a Mike Cammalleri breakaway, which in turn yielded a penalty shot when Zdeno Chara hooked the Montreal winger. Cammalleri beat Tim Thomas to give him his 11th goal just 1:04 into the game.

Maxim LaPierre made it 2-0 by beating Thomas in a scrum in front of the net — a play that began when Shawn Thornton had to take a faceoff in his own end — while Blake Wheeler broke a five-game pointless streak by notching his seventh goal of the season at 15:52.

The Bruins found themselves guilty of an unnecessary crime when Gregory Campbell found himself in the box for roughing following an incredible hit by P.K. Subban on Brad Marchand. The undersized B’s winger had a full head of steam from taking the puck into the offensive zone from his own end and was absolutely leveled on a beautiful open-ice hit from the Canadiens blueliner. Less than two seconds after Campbell got out of the box, Max Pacioretty scored his first goal of the season to make it a two-goal lead again.

The truth of the matter is that it could have been much worse for the Bruins. Thomas made a couple of huge saves on the likes of Brian Gionta and Benoit Pouliot.

Tyler Seguin back in the lineup for the Bruins

12.16.10 at 7:08 pm ET
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Dry your tears, Bruins fans, Tyler Seguin is back in the lineup as the B’s take on the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday night. The second overall pick missed the last two games with flu-like symptoms and as a healthy scratch, respectively. They were the first two games he’s missed this season.

With Seguin in, Daniel Paille is back to being a healthy scratch. Seguin has five goals and five assists in 27 games this season.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin,

Bruins at Canadiens preview

12.16.10 at 4:57 pm ET
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The Bruins are in Montreal Thursday to take on the Canadiens for the second time this season. They were handed a 3-1 loss on Nov. 11 at the Garden in a game started by Tuukka Rask, but it appears Thursday will feature a dream matchup between two of the league’s best goalies.

Tim Thomas, who will man the pipes for the Bruins, is first in nearly every statistical category. He’s tops in save percentage (.954), goals against average (1.51) and is tied with Henrik Lundqvist with five shutouts. Carey Price, meanwhile, is tied with Jimmy Howard with 17 wins, the most in the NHL.

WHERE IT’S AT

– The Habs are 11-5-2 at home, most recently dropping a 5-3 decision to the to Flyers at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night.

– After the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Sabres in Buffalo on Wednesday, the team is now 9-4-1 on the road. The Bruins are 2-2-1 in their last five road contests.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

Zdeno Chara had the Bruins’ lone goal the last time the B’s played the Habs. He hasn’t scored in the 16 games since, though he came close when he rang a shot off the post Wednesday in Buffalo.

With his four goals, Chara is on pace to pick up 11 this season. He scored seven goals last season after picking up a career-high 19 in 2008-09.

– After a slow start to the season, Habs captain and former Boston College standout Brian Gionta is tied for the team lead with 10 goals this season. He had eight shots on goal and scored one the Canadiens’ three goals in their loss to the Flyers on Wednesday.

– The Bruins lead the NHL is goals against (1.9 per game) while the Canadiens (2.1) are second in the league. If you’re a fan of goaltending duels, this is about as good as it gets.

STORYLINES GOING IN

– The Habs have struggled of late, as they’ve lost three in a row. Only the Islanders’ at six games have a longer current losing streak.

– This is a matchup of the top two teams in the Northeast division, as the Canadiens have 38 points to the Bruins’ 36. With a victory, the B’s can tie the Habs for the division lead despite having played two less games.

Tyler Seguin could be handed his second consecutive healthy scratch and third straight game missed if he spends Thursday night in the press box with Doug Jarvis. It’s worth noting that Steven Stamkos was also a healthy scratch as a rookie and responded pretty well.

Habs defenseman P.K. Subban also missed three games as a healthy scratch this season. Bruins fans might remember him for scoring the first goal of the Nov. 3 game (and his career) by notching a power play tally against Tuukka Rask.

Read More: Brian Gionta, Carey Price, Tim Thomas,
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