|10.23.10 at 9:32 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and the Bruins suffered a bit of deja vu on Saturday night, as the young goaltender played well but allowed goals due to a couple of flukey plays and a breakaway in a 3-2 Rangers victory.
Artem Anisimov and Alex Frolov netted first-period tallies for the Rangers on a batted-in rebound and knuckling puck off Mark Stuart’s glove, respectively. Marc Staal scored on a breakaway fresh out of the penalty box in the second to give New York their third goal.
Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara picked up the goals for the Bruins, with Chara sending one past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist while the B’s were on a two-man advantage with five seconds left in the first period. Nathan Horton scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period to make it 3-2.
The Bruins are now 4-2-0 on the season, with both losses coming in games started by Rask.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Tuukka Rask has now allowed seven goals in two games, and whoever predicted the Garden crowd would be chanting “We want Timmy!” halfway through Rask’s second game should probably head to Vegas.
Though the numbers are obviously on Thomas’ side, for how many of these goals is Rask really responsible? One by this writer’s count, and it dates back to Prague. Four of the other shots have been flukey, and two (one of which was the fault of Daniel Paille) were on breakaways. Rask likely won’t make excuses, but he’s certainly earned the right.
– The Bruins went up against a team that’s been bitten by the injury bug, and they left the game hoping they haven’t come down with something themselves. Johnny Boychuk left the game with an injury sustained on a first-period slash from Brandon Dubinsky.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Peter Chiarelli likely won’t be throwing a fit when the Panthers choose with their third-round pick in the the next draft — Nathan Horton has been worth every bit of the package sent to Florida (15th overall pick, Dennis Wideman, and the aforementioned third-rounder) in the June trade.
Horton now has five goals in six games played and has picked up at least one point in each game this season, the only player on the B’s to do so. He had just one shot on goal in the game, but he made it count by beating Henrik Lundqvist from the hashmarks in the second period.
– Blake Wheeler seems to be just a play away from exploding for the B’s. He’s helped create opportunities that haven’t panned out yet, like when threaded a beautiful pass across to linemate Jordan Caron, who would have had his third goal of the season were it not for Lundqvist getting a skate on it.
Though he had a strong night and played well on the penalty kill, the name of the game for Wheeler is going to be shots on goal. He had just one on Saturday, bringing his season total to 11. The rest of the game has been there of late, and with the shots so too will likely come the goals.
– The power play has produced goals in consecutive games. Last week, it didn’t look like the B’s would see too many goals on the man advantage this season. They’ve now had four in the last two contests, two of which have come from Chara.
|10.23.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
The Bruins and Rangers each added a goal in the second period, and for the second straight period the B’s find themselves down by one as they head to the locker room with a bit of momentum.
The Rangers are the most recent team to disobey the “Don’t let Nathan Horton’s skate touch the hashmarks” rule, and as a result the goal-scoring winger now has five on the season. Horton’s goal, his second point of the day, was set up by David Krejci on a pass between his legs and Dennis Seidenberg, who picked up his 100th career assist.
The 5-on-3 on which the Bruins go a power-play goal from Chara in the first proved to be as big a curse as it was a blessing. When Marc Staal’s penalty expired less than a minute in, he raced out of the box and found Mark Recchi and Ryan Callahan battling for a puck at the bleu line. Once he scooped up the loose puck, he was off to the races, beating Tuukka Rask on a breakaway at 0:48 and making it a two-goal lead once again for the Rangers.
Gregory Campbell returned to the ice in the second period after getting hit buy a shot in the first. He also returned to another familiar place in the penalty box by picking up a minor for slashing. He added a double-minor for high-sticking Brandon Prust at 19:30. He leads the Bruins in penalty minutes this season with 24.
Through two periods, the Bruins are outshooting the Rangers, 27-18. They’ll begin the third down a man, as 3:30 remains on Campbell’s penalty.
|10.23.10 at 7:53 pm ET|
Artem Anisimov picked up his third goal of the season, a power play tally at 11:34 to give the Rangers their initial lead. The play was reviewed, as Anisimov waved at a Rask rebound that was right around crossbar level. Alex Frolov scored his second of the season shortly thereafter on a waffling puck that fooled Rask, and 12:01.
The Bruins and Rangers did plenty of fighting in the first period, as Mark Stuart found himself tangoing with Sean Avery after hitting Ruslan Fedetenko up high at the blue line. Following the second of the Rangers’ goals, Shawn Thornton tried to inject a bit of energy into his team and the Garden crowd by squaring off with Derek Boogaard in a dance that brought Thornton’s career penalty minutes past the 500 mark. He now has 503 penalty minutes in his career. Milan Lucic and Brandon Prust provided the rest of the period’s fighting.
Just a minute and 13 seconds after the Stuart/Avery fight in which Avery took a two-minute instigating minor, Johnny Boychuk found himself on the tough end of a pretty hearty slash from Brandon Dubinsky. The B’s weren’t able to capitalize on a 47-second 5-on-3, but were later given the crack at another one that will cary ore to the second thanks to penalties to Michal Rozsival and and Marc Staal at 18:34 and 18:39, respectively. Chara scored his second power-play goal in as many games with 55 seconds remaining.
A couple of notes health-wise for the B’s: Boychuck left the ice briefly following the Dubinsky slash, but returned to the ice within minutes. Gregory Campbell was also dinged up a bit, as he was struck by a shot more than halfway through the first and wasn’t spotted on the ice for the rest of the period.
|10.23.10 at 6:46 pm ET|
The pre-game warmup has concluded for the Bruins, and they’re set to face off against the Rangers in just over 20 minutes. Henrik Lundqvist, who lost a 3-2 game to the Avalanche in his last start on Monday, is between the pipes for the Rangers. Tuukka Rask will make his second start of the season. Here are the lines for the B’s.
Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference
|10.23.10 at 1:53 pm ET|
If you think very highly of the Bruins’ fourth line after its most recent example of high-energy play on Thursday, you’re not alone. The combination of youngster Brad Marchand, newcomer Gregory Campbell and fan favorite Shawn Thornton has made for a line that has impressed many on the young season, including the guy who determines their minutes.
“That’s as good as I think we’ve seen our fourth line here in the years that I’ve been here as far as what they do, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start these guys,” Claude Julien said following Saturday’s game. “They’re reliable enough that if the other team puts their top line in, they know, and what’s good about them is that they don’t question what they’re going to do. They put pucks in deep and they’re going to work and they work hard and they seem to be in sync with the fore-check, but they seem to set the stage and the tempo for the game early on.”
The line can expect about 10 minutes of ice time a game, with Campbell and Marchand both seeing time on the penalty kill. Thornton and Campbell both have a plus-one rating, while Marchand’s is even. There’s a lot to like, and the members of the fourth line are taking pride in it.
“We work hard,” Gregory Campbell said following Saturday’s morning skate. “The coaching staff has given us a lot of confidence and that helps out a lot as a player. [They’ve] kind of expected us to do more than just be a responsible checking line. That’s something that we have to take pride in, to be an energy line and to be responsible and to be hard to play against. On the flip side of that, we have to try to create things, and that helps a lot when we have three good lines that are playing before us, and for us to go out there at key times in the game and provide that energy and wear the other teams down. It helps over the course of a game and the season.”
The players undoubtedly appreciate the minutes that they’ve been given each night. Marchand knows that if they are to continue getting as much ice time as they’ve gotten, they’ll need to prove capable of passing each test they face. Going against Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals’ top line on Thursday was the most recent example of them doing so, and perhaps a big reason for Julien’s postgame praise. Marchand hopes that as the games pile up, the fourth line continues to handle whichever line they’re up against.
“I think that the main thing as that we want to take advantage of the other teams’ fourth lines,” Marchand said on Saturday. “We just want to get it deep in the other team’s end and try to take as many pucks to the net as we can. We want to be defensive and be accountable in our end. It’s nice of [Julien] to trust us against other team’s top lines. We played against Ovechkin’s line there the other night, and I think we held our own, so it’s nice that they trust us and they know we’re accountable out there.”
|10.23.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
Taking an Alexander Ovechkin shot off the foot isn’t one of the NHL feats a player hopes to accomplish in their career, but as of Thursday, Bruins fourth-line winger Brad Marchand, like it or not, finds himself among the group of players to do so. Marchand was limited to two shifts after the occurrence and sat out Friday’s practice. He was on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate, however, and said afterwards that he feels he’s good to go.
“I feel a lot better today. It was nice to have that day off yesterday to rest my foot up, and it felt good when I was out there today,” Marchand said, later adding that “it’s a little tender, but I’ll be able to go tonight.”
Asked where the shot hit him, Marchand seemed apologetic in answering, “somewhere in the foot.” Though he didn’t seem overly concerned with the foot on Saturday, he admitted that the same couldn’t be said for how he felt Thursday.
“I couldn’t put any pressure on it when I was on the ice, and it just went numb. Guys have told me before that when you break your feet and your hands, it just goes numb, so I was kind of panicking at that point in time,” Marchand said. “I got back to the room, started to get some more feeling back as time went on, but I was just more scared when it was broken.”
Reporters have been hard-pressed to find certainty regarding who they can expect to play in net each night, but Claude Julien was more than accommodating in commenting on Marchand’s status. The coach seemed optimistic as the team prepares to take on the Rangers in their second game at the Garden.
“He seems good,” Julien said. “This morning I talked to him again and he felt good, and obviously we’ll make that final decision after warm-ups if there is an issue. If not, he’ll be in the lineup.”
The verdict: He should play unless the pain comes back.
“I can’t afford to miss any games and sit out,” Marchand said. “It’s not that bad.”
|10.23.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice during the Bruins’ morning skate Saturday, typically signifying that he will be getting the start in net when the B’s host the Rangers. Rask, however, was also thought to be the starter Thursday when he not only exited the ice first during his team’s morning workout, but insinuated that he would be receiving his first start between the pipes since the season opener on Oct. 9. ‘It’s fun,’ Rask said after the skate, Thursday. ‘It’s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.’
during his team’s morning workout, but insinuated that he would be receiving his first start between the pipes since the season opener on Oct. 9. ‘It’s fun,’ Rask said after the skate, Thursday. ‘It’s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.’
After Bruins’ win over the Capitals, Tim Thomas (who improved his record to 4-0 with a 0.75 goals against average), explained the situation, saying ‘I knew [I was going to start] from yesterday, and nobody asked me this morning.’
Claude Julien didn’t note who would be between the pipes in his press conference following Saturday’s morning skate but did comment on how Rask has approached a long stretch in which the only ice time he’s seen has been in practice.
“When you don’t play much, these practices have to be games for you,” Julien said. “You’ve got to be sharp and on top of everything, and that’s how you stay sharp.”
Rask said the same thing when asked following the morning skate. One reporter sarcastically quipped that Rask seemed more ready on Saturday than he did Thursday. The goaltender didn’t offer much of a response, simply laughing and saying, “I don’t think so.”
Rask hasn’t started since the Oct. 9 season-opener in Prague, a game in which he faced 36 shots and allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss. Thomas, meanwhile has a .978 save percentage and 0.75 goals against average in four games played. Both statistics are tops among goalies who have started a game this season.