Archive for January, 2011

Preview: Bruins look to continue dominance of Panthers

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Coming off a rare road loss in regulation Monday, the Bruins (27-15-7) return to TD Garden Wednesday to face the 22-21-5 Panthers. It is the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season, with the Bruins having won the first three. The B’s took their most recent matchup in a shootout on Dec. 27. The game remains the Bruins’ only shootout win this season.

WHERE IT’S AT

– The Bruins are 12-9-3 at home this season. They have lost two of their last three games at the Garden, most recently dropping a 4-2 contest to the Sabres last Thursday.

-The Panthers are 11-13-0 on the road. Wednesday will mark just their fifth road game in January. They are 2-2-0 on the road so far this month.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

Milan Lucic has three goals over his last four games after going his 12 previous games without a goal. His continued output is key for this offense without Marc Savard getting a chance to improve to being his old self. Lucic had a hat trick agains the Panthers on Nov. 18.

– No surprise that David Booth leads the Panthers with 168 shots on goal this season. The Florida winger put 14 shots on Rask in that Nov. 18 contest. It was the lone game this season in which Booth has had double digit shots on goal, though he’s had multiple nights with nine. He’s 17th in the league in shots on goal.

– The Panthers are 0-for-13 on the power play over their last four games and are 30th in the league with an 11.4 power percentage. The B’s are third in the NHL with a 84.9 penalty kill percentage.

– In the same game that Lucic had his hat trick, Nathan Horton had three assists, which made for his season-high in points. The slumping winger has just one goal over his last 19 games.

STORLYINES GOING IN

Tuukka Rask got his only shout of the season in the B’s 4-0 win over the Panthers on Nov. 18. He made 41 saves in the victory. On the season, Rask is just 4-10-1 despite his .923 save percentage.

– With the Canadiens taking a 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night, the Bruins have an opportunity at expanding their lead in the Northeast Division four points. The B’s and Habs will have played an equal amount of games (50) at the All-Star break after the Bruins played the season’s first four months with games in hand.

– The Panthers have just one win over their last five games (1-2-2), a 4-3 victory over the Rangers Tuesday night. Florida is 3-5-0 when playing their second game in as many days.

Aaron Ward on D&H: Marc Savard ‘understands the risk that he’s taking’

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Former Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward joined the Dale & Holley show on Tuesday to discuss the status of B’s center and former teammate Marc Savard. The team announced Monday night that Savard, who missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome, had suffered another another concussion on Saturday vs. the Avalanche and will be out indefinitely.

Ward told Dale Arnold and Larry Ridley there isn’t much Savard can do to prevent further concussions, and he doesn’t feel the Bruins should take any extreme measures when it comes to handling Savard this season.

“No,” Ward said when asked whether the Bruins should shut Savard down for the season to be safe. “I was in Boston, and you have great doctors [there]. You have Mass. General doctors, everybody involved, they’re smart people. They went to school for umpteen years to qualify and be able to assess these players. The relationship between a player and a doctor is essential, and i think those guys have a great rapport with the players. Marc Savard will communicate to those doctors whether he can or can’t go. He’s a competitive guy.

“Doctors have to know when a guy isn’t built that way. You can tell if a guy is not really excited about getting back because there’s a fear of playing. If he doesn’t have any apprehension about going back out there and taking another hit, let him play. He understands that this is his career. If he has reservations about stepping out there, doctors should communicate it to the coaches and accept the fact that that’s the state of affairs. If it doesn’t exist, let him go out there, and he understands the risk that he’s taking by stepping out there.”

Ward played parts of three seasons with the Bruins from 2007 to 2009.

Jonathan Quick blanks Bruins

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The Bruins were shut out for the third time this season when Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick handed them a 2-0 loss at the Staples Center on Monday night.

The former UMass netminder made 34 saves on the way to the shutout, his fifth of the season. The Kings received goals from Ryan Smyth and Andrei Loktionov in the first and third periods, respectively.

Tim Thomas made 32 saves on 34 shots in the loss. It was Thomas’ first regulation loss since Dec. 20.

The Bruins will return home to face the Panthers on Wednesday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Just a sloppy game all in all for the Bruins, as both of the Kings goals came off of turnovers. An Andrew Ference turnover at the blue line of the offensive zone buried the B’s by making it a 2-0 game. With the way Quick was playing, it was pretty clear scoring for Boston would be hard to come by, and a two-goal deficit in the third period was simply insurmountable.

The B’s case for a comeback was further hurt when they had to kill a Shawn Thornton holding penalty at 10:38. The Kings didn’t convert on the power play, but the 120 ticks off the clock did plenty of damage.

– Here’s proof of an offense that struggled to get going: Through the first two periods, Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi were the only two Bruins forwards with more than one shot on Quick. Ryder had three, all of which which came in the first period, while Ryder had two shots on goal through the game’s first 40 minutes.

– Given that the B’s couldn’t get on the board, it was another night without a goal for Nathan Horton. He now has just one goal over his last 19 games, and has also now posted a minus-1 rating in each of the last four games.

– The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the power play Monday, including their two opportunities in the second period.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– For someone who entered the game having never defeated the Kings (0-0-4), Thomas sure didn’t play like somebody incapable of winning. He turned in another very impressive performance, keeping the B’s in the game in a scoreless second period. Monday made for the fourth straight game in which Thomas allowed two goals or less (3-1-0).

– If watching that regulation road loss for the Bruins felt odd, it’s because it hasn’t happened much of late. Monday marked the first time the B’s lost an away game in regulation since Dec. 16.

Nothing doing for Bruins in second period

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Tim Thomas made some big saves in the second period, but the Bruins’ offense was unable to get on the board in the second, so the B’s trail the Kings, 1-0, entering the third period.

Los Angeles outshot Boston for the second straight period, and the B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play after Wayne Simmonds and Alexei Ponikarovsky each took holding penalties.

Through two, the Kings have outshot the B’s 25-20. Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi are the only Bruins forwards with multiple shots on goal through two.

Ryan Smyth gives Kings the lead after one

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Ryan Smyth has the Kings leading the Bruins after a period of play Monday night.

With Zdeno Chara in the box for hooking, Jarret Stoll fired a one-timer from the point off a pass from Drew Doughty. Smyth whacked at the bouncing rebound and sent it over the stick of a lunging Tim Thomas.

Shawn Thornton tried to swing the momentum in the Bruins’ favor when he dropped the gloves with Kyle Clifford. It seemed that Clifford got the better of Thornton in the fight, and a few minutes later Blake Wheeler went off for holding the stick at 17:31. The Kings went 1-for-2 on the man advantage, while the Bruins did not have a power play in the period.

Michael Ryder, skating on a line with Tyler Seguin and Blake Wheeler, is leading the B’s with three shots on goal in the first. The Kings are outshooting the Bruins, 13-11.

Peter Chiarelli confirms Marc Savard has concussion

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Monday night that center Marc Savard has suffered a moderate concussion and it out indefinitely following a hit he took Saturday from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick. Savard flew back to Boston Sunday and underwent testing on Monday.

“After being examined by the Bruins medical staff today, Marc has been diagnosed with a moderate concussion,” Chiarelli said in a statement. “There is no timetable on his return and no further updates at this time.”

Savard was slow to get up after the second-period hit from his former teammate led to his head hitting the glass at the Pepsi Center. He had a cut on his head and held a towel to his face as he left the ice with the assistance of teammates and trainer Don DelNegro.

The center missed the first 23 games of the season as he worked to come back from post-concussion syndrome, which stemmed from the hit to the head he took last March 7 from Penguins forward Matt Cooke.

For a frame of reference, David Krejcis concussion on Nov. 6 was also deemed moderate on the mild-moderate-severe scale that is currently used to grade concussions. He returned on Nov. 20 after missing six games.

Tim Thomas named NHL’s First Star of the Week

Monday, January 24th, 2011

The NHL announced Monday that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has been named the First Star of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 22. Thomas went 3-0-0 over three starts last week, recording a shutout against the Hurricanes Monday and following it with a season-high 43-save effort on Monday. He made 32 saves in the team’s 3-2 win over the Avalanche on Saturday.

Thomas, who will play in this weekend’s All-Star Game, leads the NHL in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.945), and his tied with Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist for the league lead with seven shutouts. He is second in wins with 23.

This is the fourth time this season a Bruins player has received a “Star” distinction. Thomas was the First Star of the Week for the week ending on Oct. 31 and was October’s Second Star of the Month. Patrice Bergeron was named Second Star of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 15.