|10.12.09 at 1:05 pm ET|
Bruins rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice during Monday’s pregame warmups, and that’s a sure indicator it’ll be Rask rather than Tim Thomas in the net for the Bruins Monday afternoon against the Avalanche. Rask made 35 saves in Boston’s 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night, and clearly impressed Claude Julien enough for a second consecutive start
|10.12.09 at 12:31 pm ET|
Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman will miss Monday afternoon’s game with a left shoulder injury sustained during Saturday night’s game against the New York Islanders. Wideman hit the boards awkwardly in the third period of the shootout win over the Isles, and B’s head coach Claude Julien termed the blueliner “day-to-day” prior to Monday’s matinee against the Colorado Avalanche. Johnny Boychuk was a healthy scratch for the first four games of the season, but will dress and play in Wideman’s place in Monday’s lineup.
“It’s not a long-term injury and it’s being evaluated every day,” said Julien. “If he practices then it’s a good sign for Friday, so we’re going to evaluate him as we move on here. It’s nothing more than a day-to-day situation.”
|10.11.09 at 12:42 am ET|
There is a formula for success that works for just about every facet of life you can imagine: K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, stupid.
This principle is especially pertinent in hockey. If players start pushing too hard, gripping their sticks and getting cute with the offense then there is a good probability that their team will not score. That was essentially the problem with the Bruins for the first 52 minutes in tonight’s 4-3 come-from-behind shoot-out victory over the New York Islanders.
The Bruins ended up with a respectable 30 shots but it took a flurry at the end to get to that point. As of 9:50 in the third period the Bruins had 17 shots with only three in the period. Not a good combination for a team looking to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Until that point the Bruins were flat, had problems controlling the puck and thus sustaining momentum against one of the lesser-skilled teams in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.10.09 at 8:51 pm ET|
The Bruins went from mediocre to bad to really bad in nightmarish second period that saw them give up three goals while losing two key players.
Defenseman Dennis Wideman left the ice with three minutes remaining in the second period holding his left side. Wideman crashed into the boards while battling with Matt Moulson for a puck. Then two minutes later, Steve Begin left the ice limping after taking a shot to the foot. Begin returned to the bench for the start of the third but not Wideman.
The Bruins are not forechecking, they’re not skating consistently and odds are we’ll hear that from Julien in his post-game rant, which would be deserving if the Bruins don’t score 4-5 goals in the final 20 minutes.
|10.10.09 at 7:53 pm ET|
The Bruins were outshot, if not outplayed, in the opening 20 minutes as the Islanders peppered Tuukka Rask with 16 shots while the B’s could only get off seven shots on Dwayne Roloson.
The Islanders were aided by a 5-on-3 for a minute, 38 seconds. But Rask, making his first start of the season, looked up to the challenge and didn’t allow many second chances.
The Bruins were 11-for-21 in face-offs for a 52 percent win rate.
|10.10.09 at 7:32 pm ET|
It’s Rask’s first start of the season while Tim Thomas gets the night off after allowing six goals in Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The Islanders, who are playing just their third game of the season, counter with Dwayne Roloson.
|10.10.09 at 12:17 pm ET|
It was a benevolent optional skate for the Bruins on Saturday morning after Claude Julien’s grueling bag skate practice on Friday following the blowout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
Only goaltender Tuukka Rask and defenseman Johnny Boychuk took part in the on-ice portion of the skate, and — with that in mind — it’s likely that Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t have any lineup changes in mind for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.
Julien didn’t reveal any specifics in store for Saturday night’s game, and said he was looking for more of a mental makeover than roster shuffling. The vast majority of a Bruins lineup that piled up 116 points during the regular season still hangs their equipment in the Boston dressing room. In the coach’s mind, it’s just a matter of strapping on the Black and Gold-colored work boots and diving into the muck.
“It all depends on what you talk about with changes,” said Julien. “I think it’s more that we have to come out a little hungrier, we have to come out more committed and we have to work hard. The team that we’re playing tonight is hard-working team, so it’ll be a good test.”
–Not a lot of production to speak of out of Boston’s second line over the course of the first three games. Aside from power play points, Michael Ryder and David Krejci have been held scoreless in 5-on-5 play and Blake Wheeler carries the line’s only goal produced thus far. Even that tally came on a quick line change against the Carolina Hurricanes. Steve Begin created the play with a rush up the left side, and dished to Wheeler as he crashed down on the Hurricanes cage.
Krejci led the NHL in plus/minus last season, but is off to a slowpoke minus-3 thus far this year. Ryder is a minus-3 as well and Wheeler is slightly better at minus-2. The sluggish start for the trio is at least partially explained by Krejci’s absence during the entire preseason, and it stands to reason that it’s going to take the nifty 24-year-old center a modicum of time for his full two-way game to return.
Wheeler called it “building confidence” for Krejci, who didn’t get a chance to work on that solid hockey foundation while missing all six of Boston’s preseason games.
“He was thrown into the fire when it counts, so he’s been doing it on the fly,” said Wheeler. “I think he’s done a great job of going from Day One and having to play. I think we’re coming around, and it only takes one puck going into the net for Krejch to be like his old self. It’s pretty simple.”
What has Julien seen of the last year’s prolific line during the B’s first three games?
“Well, not much,” said Julien. “They’re not where we’ve seen them in the past, and a lot of is because we haven’t seen them together. With a guy like Krejci, he never played until the first regular season game. So you’ve got to give him time to find his game. You find chemistry the longer you play together, so that’ll come.
“Michael Ryder, I thought the second game he played well. I thought Krejci in his first game played well. I think Wheeler is coming around, so it’s all pointing in the right direction as far as them coming around. Right now, it’s hard to assess them because — to be honest with you — they haven’t a chance to go on all cylinders.”
The Krejci/Wheeler/Ryder line squeezed off 18 shots on net in Boston’s three games thus far, and Wheeler said he’d be more concerned about the their production if they weren’t collectively producing plenty of shots. It appears that the big minus numbers speak to a lessened commitment to backchecking and defensive responsibilities, but panic hasn’t quite set in after three games.
“When you’re not getting chances, that’s when the frustration creeps in,” said Wheeler. “If you’re creating chances and creating scoring opportunities, that’s all you can do. The puck going in the net, sometimes that’s something you can’t control. That last game guys had pucks going off their head and going into the net.
“It’s something where as long as you’re producing scoring chances, that’s what you’re going to measure yourself on. Sooner or later they’re going to go in. It’s just the way it works.”
Thursday’s loss was eye-opening for the young Bruins skaters, though. Make no mistake. Wheeler had never experienced a home spanking like the one endured Thursday night at the hands of a Anaheim Ducks squad that simply poured it on. The last time Boston was humbled like that on their home ice actually predated Wheeler’s time with the Bruins back in March of 2008.
“It was funny, Krejci and I were talking about that on the way to the rink yesterday. We hadn’t lost like that once last year,” said Wheeler. “Nothing had really happened like that. It should be an eye-opener and a real gut-check. The only way to show it is how we play tonight, so we’ll see what happens.”