Archive for February, 2011

Bruins acquire Anton Khudobin from Minnesota

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The Bruins acquired goaltender Anton Khudobin from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenseman Jeff Penner and the restricted free agent (RFA) rights to forward Mikko Lehtonen.

Originally drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Khudobin has appeared in six career NHL games, all with Minnesota. He has a 4-1-0 record, a 1.39 GAA and a .955 save percentage with one shutout.

Penner, a 23-year-old native of Steinbach, Minnesota, has 5-14=19 totals with 30 PIM in 57 games this season with Providence. At the time of the trade, he led the P-Bruins in plus/minus with a plus-10 rating. He has appeared in two career NHL games, both during the 2009-10 season with Boston, and had no points or PIM. Penner was undrafted and played one season of collegiate hockey with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. In 207 career AHL games, all with Providence, he had 22-60=82 totals with 108 PIM.

Lehtonen has spent this season with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League. In 52 games, the 23-year-old has 29-27=56 totals and 32 PIM. Minnesota will now own his NHL restricted free agent rights. He has appeared in two career NHL games, both with Boston, and he has no points or PIM. The 6’€™3’€, 196-lb native of Espoo, Finland was originally drafted by the Bruins in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Bruins trade Brian McGrattan to Ducks

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The Bruins announced Sunday night that they have traded forward Brian McGrattan and defenseman Sean Zimmerman, both of whom had been playing in the AHL for Providence, to the Ducks in exchange for forwards David Laliberte and Stefan Chaput.

McGrattan, whom the Bruins signed after the season’s second game, never played a game for Boston, and he registered five points and 97 penalty minutes in 39 games this season for Providence.

Both Laliberte, 24, and Chaput, 22, will report to Providence. They have 18 and 10 points, respectively in the AHL this season. Chaput has not played in the NHL, while Laliberte totaled three points in 11 games with the Flyers.

Bruins improve to 5-0-0 on road trip with 3-2 win over Edmonton

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The Bruins gave up a season-low 17 shots en route to a 3-2 win in Edmonton on Sunday night. The B’€™s improved to 5-0-0 on their current road trip, which wraps up Tuesday in Ottawa, giving them their first five-game winning streak of the season.

Ales Hemsky put the Oilers on the board first when he fired a rebound inside the left post just 1:05 into the game. The Bruins picked up the pace as the first period went on, though, and ended up taking a 2-1 lead into the break.

Michael Ryder registered Boston’€™s first goal with 4:30 left in the first when he collected a rebound in the slot and waited out goalie Devan Dubnyk (37 saves) before lifting a shot under the crossbar.

The B’€™s took the lead three minutes later. After an exhibition of tic-tac-toe passing, David Krejci fed Nathan Horton in the left circle and Horton buried the opportunity.

Rich Peverley netted his first goal as a Bruin to make it 3-1 with 52 seconds left in the second. He took a pass from Ryder in the lower left circle and cut across the front of the net before beating Dubnyk.

The Oilers made things interesting 3:14 into the third when Gilbert Brule beat Tuukka Rask (15 saves) glove-side with a slapper from the left half-wall. But the Bruins were able to hang on down the stretch and get the win.

Rask improved to 8-11-1 on the season, and he is now 5-0-0 in his last five road games.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-Horton continued his recent stretch of solid play with his third goal in the last four games. He also dropped the gloves with Theo Peckham in the first period and took the Oiler down with a hard right. Horton once again was a presence in the offensive zone all night, as he tied for the team lead with five shots on goal.

-After being held scoreless in its first two games together, the new third line of Ryder, Peverley and Chris Kelly broke out with two goals Sunday night. Ryder netted the Bruins’€™ first goal and then set up Peverley for what proved to be the game-winner. The trio combined for a plus-4 rating on the night.

-The Bruins got off to a bit of a slow start against the worst team in the NHL, but they really turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes of the first. They ended up outshooting the Oilers, 15-5, in the opening frame and netted the two late goals to head into the locker room with the lead. The momentum carried over into the second, during which the B’€™s outshot Edmonton, 17-7.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

-The Bruins opened the game with a bad first couple shifts and paid for it when Hemsky scored a little more than a minute in. It seemed like they were just standing around waiting for something to happen. As mentioned above, that certainly changed as the period went on.

-Despite completely dominating in terms of shots and puck possession, the Bruins struggled to slam the door shut and let Edmonton hang around. The Oilers managed to pull within one early in the third on Brule’€™s goal and had a few chances to tie it up down the stretch. Dubnyk was the biggest reason the score was as close as it was, as he played great for the Oilers, but the B’€™s still should’€™ve won by a more convincing margin.

-The fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton combined for a minus-3 rating and just four shots on goal. Campbell and Seguin also combined for five of the Bruins’€™ 15 turnovers in the game.

Milan Lucic tallies goal and two assists as Bruins beat Canucks, 3-1

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Milan Lucic scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Western Conference-leading Canucks on Saturday night.

With the game tied, 1-1, Lucic scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season with 4:38 left in the game. David Krejci created the chance by weaving through a slew of Vancouver defenders before circling behind the net and finding Dennis Seidenberg at the point. Roberto Luongo (22 saves) stopped Seidenberg’€™s shot, but Lucic was there to bang home the rebound.

Vancouver’€™s Manny Malhotra opened the scoring 16:58 into the first when he buried a rebound past Tim Thomas (27 saves). Nathan Horton tied it up midway through the second when he took a pass from Lucic and beat Luongo from the low slot. Patrice Bergeron sealed the win with a late empty-netter.

The loss was the Canucks’€™ first of the season in a game in which they scored first, and just their sixth at home. The Bruins are now 4-0-0 on their current road trip.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-It was certainly a nice homecoming for Lucic. Friday night, he was inducted into the “Ring of Honour” for the Vancouver Giants, his junior team. Saturday night, he registered a game-winning goal and two assists against his hometown NHL team. Lucic now has four goals in four games on this road trip.

-The Canucks came into the game with the NHL‘€™s best power play, converting 25.1 percent of such opportunities. But the Bruins held Vancouver’€™s man advantage scoreless in three attempts Saturday. They did a great job of making it difficult for the Canucks to get set up, and actually held them to zero shots on their first power play of the night.

-After going three games without a point, Horton now has four in his last four games. More importantly, he had five shots on goal and was buzzing around the offensive zone all night. The Bruins need Horton to be a scorer down the stretch, and it looks like he’€™s starting to become just that.

-Tomas Kaberle registered his first point as a Bruin with the second assist on Horton’€™s goal. He played well in his first two games with the B’€™s and the power play has been moving the puck well with him as the quarterback, but he had been held off the score sheet until Saturday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

-Andrew Ference left the game in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return. Saturday’€™s signing of Shane Hnidy looked smart no matter what, but it could look even smarter if the injury to Ference turns out to be anything serious. Ference is currently tied with Adam McQuaid for the team lead in plus/minus at plus-24.

-You can probably count on one hand how many times Brad Marchand has been mentioned under this section. But Saturday night, he took two penalties and posted a minus-1 rating. It marked the fourth time this season Marchand has made two visits to the sin bin in one game. Luckily for him, the Bruins’€™ penalty kill was able to bail him out.

-The third line of Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder is now scoreless in two games together. It’€™s certainly nothing to panic about, and obviously it’€™s going to take some time for them to develop chemistry since none of them has ever played together before, but the Bruins will need them to be productive.

Bruins sign Shane Hnidy

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

The Bruins announced Saturday that they have signed defenseman Shane Hnidy to a one-year contract. Hnidy, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered with the Coyotes in training camp, had been practicing with the team on a tryout basis since Wednesday.

Hnidy played parts of two seasons in Boston previously, skating in 108 regular season and 14 playoff games over the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns. The B’s traded a sixth-round pick and Brandon Bochenski to the Ducks for Hnidy during the 2007-08 season.

The Bruins also announced that they have signed forward Kirk MacDonald to an NHL contract. MacDonald has 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 60 games for Providence this season.

Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler’

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Looking at the Bruins’ recent flurry of moves, Milbury said he’ll miss defenseman Mark Stuart ‘€” “a great depth defenseman and a terrific guy and a character guy” ‘€” who was sent to the Thrashers. However, he isn’t lamenting the loss of Blake Wheeler, also sent to Atlanta. “I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler,” Milbury said. “I thought he was a near-miss ‘€” a near-miss when he went to hit a guy, a near-miss when he went to shoot a puck. It looked like he was a ball of energy, but when the moment of truth came, he came up short for me. That was a hole that needed to be patched.”

Added Milbury: “I think Peter Chiarelli did a great job in acquiring character players. I think the third and fourth lines for the Bruins, however they construct them right now, will be as good as anybody else’s third and fourth lines in the National Hockey League. The defense is solid. The [Tomas] Kaberle addition brings them the puck-moving guy that they wanted. I still wish they had somebody else that could deliver it to the net with some authority, but I’m certainly not going to complain about that.”

Milbury said the Bruins’ success will come down to this: “Are the top six forwards on the Bruins good enough to get it done?”

One of the players giving the B’s reason for hope is winger Brad Marchand. “His assets are significant,” Milbury said. “He’s got great speed. He’s got courage ‘€” he’s totally unafraid to go where he needs to go. He’s got a terrific shot. I’m not really prepared to say how well he sees the whole ice, he sees it well enough. He’s put himself in position for people to say ‘€” obviously, time will tell, but it looks like he could be a top-six forward.”

Looking elsewhere around the league, the Devils are red hot ‘€” eight straight wins and a 16-1-2 record in their last 19 games ‘€” and Milbury said he’s pulling for them to resurrect their season and make the playoffs, with a caveat. “I don’t know that they’re going to make it, but I sure hope they do,” he said. “I hope they make it and get knocked out in the first round, because they’re still boring as hell.”

Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins top Flames

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Milan Lucic tallied two goals and Tim Thomas made 28 saves as the Bruins extinguished the Flames, 3-1, Tuesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Lucic opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the game when he went hard to the net and redirected David Krejci‘€™s centering pass by Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff (26 saves) for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.

Brad Marchand added some insurance 5:55 into the third when he gathered the puck in the right circle and wristed it under the crossbar for his 19th goal.

Curtis Glencross made things interesting with a power-play goal that cut the lead in half with 2:33 to go, but Lucic sealed the win with an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining.

Thomas improved to 27-8-6 with the win and he continues to lead the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-The Flames were hot coming in, having won three in a row and 11 of their last 14, but the B’€™s were able to pour some water on them and quiet the crowd early on. They got on the board less than a minute in when they caught Calgary in a line change. Adam McQuaid moved the puck up to Krejci to create an odd-man rush and Krejci faked a shot before centering for Lucic.

-Krejci continued his stretch of hot play, as he assisted on both of Lucic’€™s goals to give him six points in his last three games and 13 in his last 11. He had a goal and an assist in Thursday’€™s win over the Islanders and followed that up with two more assists in Friday’€™s win against the Senators.

-Marchand added to his impressive rookie season with his third goal in his last two games. The marker came as the result of hard work from the entire second line. Patrice Bergeron forced a turnover with a hard check in the corner and then went to the net to redirect Andrew Ference‘€™s shot right to Marchand, who was left with an open cage to shoot at.

-It seemed like there were bodies and pucks zipping around the front of the Boston net all night, but Thomas stood tall between the pipes. His biggest save came with a little more than four minutes left in the game when he flashed the leather and snagged Olli Jokinen‘€™s one-timer from the slot. It turned out to be even bigger than it appeared at the time given the fact the Flames scored less than two minutes later.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

-Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the B’€™s were outplayed for much of the first half of the game. The Flames were able possess the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches of play and maintain steady pressure on the B’€™s. They outshot Boston, 13-7, in the first period and built the lead to 21-12 by the middle of the second before the B’€™s picked it up and recorded five of the final six shots in the period.

-The B’€™s had a four-minute power play starting late in the second and carrying over to the third, but failed to score. It was a golden opportunity to up the lead to two and although the B’€™s created a few good chances, they couldn’€™t capitalize. It marked the first time in seven games Boston failed to score at least one power-play goal.

-With 3:04 to go, one of the last guys the B’€™s wanted in the penalty box was Bergeron, their top penalty-killing forward. But that’€™s exactly where he ended up after being called for a slash while pursuing the puck behind the Calgary net. The penalty ultimately cost Thomas his would-be league-leading eighth shutout.