Archive for March, 2011

Hey Tim Thomas, what do you think of your Cup chances after another loss to Leafs?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

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Before the reporter could even get the question out of his mouth, you could see the smirk on the face of the man who will likely win the Vezina Trophy this year.

The question to Bruins goalie Tim Thomas? Seems like Toronto (now 4-2-0 against Boston this season) has a done pretty good job of handling you guys. How do you feel your [playoff] chances are going forward?

“They’€™re terrible. We have no chance in the playoffs, we lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs at home,” Thomas said, with sarcasm showing his playoff-ready intensity.

It wasn’t the best of nights for Thomas, who had his shutout streak snapped at 122 minutes, 21 seconds when Luke Schenn scored just over seven minutes into the game. And yes, the Bruins did lose for just the third time this season in 31 games when leading after two periods. And yes, they also fell to 2-6 this year in shootouts.

But after his brush with sarcasm, Thomas gave a more direct and heartfelt response.

“I mean Toronto has definitely had our number and they’€™ve played better than us when we’€™ve played against them this year. But they have a good team with a lot of speed and a lot of talent. I don’€™t get to watch them all year long, but if they played the same way every game this year like they played against us, I’€™d expect them to be in a better spot.”

Hmmmm. That could be taken two different ways. Toronto – with players like Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel – is talented. But they also have 82 points now, and still on the outside, looking in on the race for the eighth and final playoff spot. Which brings us to the Bruins.

How important is it for the Bruins to get that momentum heading into the NHL’s second – and most important – season?

“I think it’€™s pretty good to take the same theory that you’€™re going to have to take in the playoffs, which is the same theory that you should have in the regular season, which is not too high and not too low. We’€™ve had some big wins here recently, beating Montreal, Philadelphia, Chicago, and now it’€™s kind of a tough loss to take. But in either case it should be not too high, not too low. Don’€™t think you’€™re too good if you get that win and don’€™t think you’€™re too bad if you get that loss.”

As for the goals the Leafs scored, Thomas said they were pretty similar to the ones they’ve scored all season against the Bruins.

“They’€™re typical Toronto goals,” Thomas said. “They’€™ve had a lot of those against us this year. Montreal had the same at one point, just seems to be the way it’€™s worked out.”

But to Thomas, it means nothing going foward.

Bruins lose to Maple Leafs in shootout

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Bruins fell to the Maple Leafs, 4-3, in a shootout Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins got goals from Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Andrew Ference. All three Bruins goals came in the second period. Tim Thomas made 32 saves in regulation, and made the save of the game in stopping Mikhail Grabovski on a penalty shot in overtime.

However, the Bruins blew two leads in the game. Joffrey Lupul struck for two goals for Toronto ‘€” both of the Toronto forward’s tallies were of game-tying variety, as his second period power-play goal knotted the game at two, and his third-period goal made it 3-3. Lupul went off for slashing Tomas Kaberle with 1:05 remaining in overtime.

The Capitals defeated the Blue Jackets Thursday, so the Bruins are now four points behind Washington. Bruins will wrap up their three-game home-stand on Saturday when they host the Thrashers in a matinee.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

Milan Lucic became the 10th player in the post-lockout NHL to have 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a season when he assisted Krejci’s second-period goal. Lucic later added to his penalty minute total by fighting Jay Rosehill.

– With Marchand’s shorthanded goal, he moved into a three-way tie for second in the NHL. It also gave him points in three straight games, and he now has five points (2 G, 3 A) over his last five contests.

– Krejci’s goal preserved the high level at which the B’s center has produced. Since Jan. 11, Krejci has not gone more than two consecutive games without a point. He has five (1 G, 4 A) over his last five games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

Zdeno Chara went missing for a bit. After his shift with 2:46 remaining in the second period, the Bruins captain was not on the bench, and he was nowhere to be seen as the third period began. He ended up returning to the at 3:05 and playing the third period without appearing hindered, so the B’s seem to have dodged a bullet after a scare to one of their most important players.

– Toronto initially got on the board because a puck deflected off former Leaf Tomas Kaberle. The tally was credited to Luke Schenn. The goal also gave Schenn goals against Thomas in the last two meetings between the two clubs. Not bad for Schenn considering he’s scored just three other times this season.

– Schenn’s first-period tally broke up Thomas’ shutout streak at 1:22:21. For a while it seemed it would take a flukey goal to end the streak, and it did.

– Bruins fans seemed to dislike hearing a Phil Kessel assist being announced more than they did seeing a Toronto goal scored. The former Bruin picked up helpers on both of Lupul’s goals.

Bruins lead Maple Leafs after two

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

After not scoring in the first period, the Bruins got production early in the second and lead the Maple Leafs, 3-2.

Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board when he scored a beautiful short-handed goal at 2:09. It was Marchand’s fifth shorthanded tally of the season, putting him in a three-way tie for second in the NHL. Fifty-nine seconds later, David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic in front of the net and put it past James Reimer for his 13th goal of the season. With the assist, Lucic became the 10th player of the post-lockout NHL to have 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a single season. Lucic celebrated the mark later in the period by fighting Jay Rosehill.

After a Joffrey Lupul goal tied the game at two goals apiece, Andrew Ference put a slapshot through the legs of Reimer for a soft five-hole strike.

The Bruins held a 19-7 advantage in shots on goal in the period and are outshooting the Leafs, 27-17, after two.

Maple Leafs lead Bruins after one

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Maple Leafs came into Boston desperate for a win, and they lead the Bruins 1-0 thanks to some help from a former friend.

The Leafs got on the board when a shot bounced off Tomas Kaberle and past Tim Thomas at 7:06. Luke Schenn was credited with the goal, which ended Thomas’ shutout streak at 1:22:21.

As far as the sin bin went, stick penalties by rookies plagued the Bruins. Six seconds after Tyler Seguin was out of the box for hooking, Steven Kampfer took the same penalty. Extracurricular activity at 4:00 left Phil Kessel with minors for slashing and roughing, while Andrew Ference went off for slashing. Seguin would make up for his earlier penalty by drawing a hook from NIkolai Kulemin. The B’s will begin the second period with five seconds remaining on the power play.

After one, the Leafs are outshooting the B’s, 10-8.

John Scott says he’ll ‘kick the [expletive]‘ out of Shawn Thornton

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Shawn Thornton was not happy after somebody chirped at him from the Chicago bench while he was leaving the ice Tuesday night. Thornton, who was bloodied after getting his face mangled by Fernando Pisani‘s blade, said after the game that he wanted to find out who it was, and has since said that the Blackhawks like to chirp. One Blackhawk took exception to it with some colorful language.

“He can say what he wants,” Blackhawks defenseman John Scott told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going after some of our littlest guys on our team to start a fight. He’s trying to challenge Pisani to a fight. What’s that say about him?

“He’s Mr. Tough Guy and he’s trying to challenge Pisani. If I’m in the lineup, he’s more than welcome to come chirp at me. I’ll kick the [expletive] out of him.”

Based on what happened on the ice and what Thornton said after the game, Scott’s talk of Thornton picking a fight might be a bit exaggerated. Thornton and Pisani did have words in a scrum earlier, but he said the play in which Pisani’s skate cut his face was a complete accident and that he held no ill feelings toward him after it.

Gameday notes: Bruins face another desperate team in Maple Leafs

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Unsurprisingly, Shawn Thornton’s face was a popular topic Thursday morning as the Bruins prepared for the Maple Leafs. The large comma-shaped gash above Thornton’s right eye will keep him out against Toronto, meaning Thornton will sit for the first time after playing the season’s first 76 games.

“It’€™s just day-to-day,” Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “He took a lot of stitches but not just what you see on the outside, but on the inside as well. So it’€™s obviously a dangerous area. They certainly want to be cautious about it and we’€™re going to respect that.”

Thornton skated with a new helmet in the morning skate, saying a “big hole” was cut to make room for the swelling and so the stitches wouldn’t touch the helmet. Another noticeable alteration to the helmet was that it featured a visor.

“I’m not a big fan of it,” Thornton said after the skate. “I’m not used to it. Let’s just say that.”

Thornton touched on his preference to play without a visor. He noted that if he were to get into a fight, he would have to take his helmet off, running the risk of falling on his head.

“I’m aware of the risks of not wearing a visor, but it’s my choice,” he said. I think it’s more of a risk to fall on my head in a fight.”

Here are some other notes:

With Thornton out, Michael Ryder is back in the lineup after being scratched in the last two contests. He will skate on Gregory Campbell’s line with Daniel Paille as he tries to break out of his funk and show he can be an asset in the playoffs.

“You definitely don’t want to be out of the lineup, that’s for sure,” Ryder said. “When you get in there, you don’t want to try and do too much. You just go out there and work hard and try and make sure you help the team instead of hurting them. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.

“Things get worse if you [try to do too much]. You’ve just got to go out and play your game. If you play well, it’s up to the coach’s decision after that.”

Julien hopes Ryder can make it an easy decision.

“When Michael is on his game, he’€™s a real good asset to our hockey team,” Julien said. “He makes things happen out there on the ice and he gets great quality chances. He’€™s just got to find his game. I think it’€™s not us being down on him, it’€™s us wanting more out of him and we hope that we can find that moving forward because he can be a valuable player for us in the playoffs. And he’€™s proven that in the past.”

Ryder has just one goal over his last 19 games.

– Steven Kampfer is back in the lineup for the first time since costing the B’s the game March 17 in Nashville. Johnny Boychuk is sitting in his place, as Julien is aiming to give his players rest while also working the scratches into the lineup. Shane Hnidy could play Saturday.

– Julien likes that the B’s have played against some desperate teams of late. That continues with the Leafs, who are seven points out of a playoff spot.

“I think it’€™s helped us all. We talked about the consistency of our game, and when you play teams that are obviously either battling to get in or battling to stay in or battling for position, this time of year you’€™re facing a good team every night.

“It’€™s been good for Tim [Thomas] obviously, but it’€™s been good for our whole team. Because that’€™s the one thing we’€™ve struggled with a little bit as the season went on, was consistency in our play. We went stretches where we played well and then we kind of flatten out there for a while and then picked it up again. So it’€™s been good all around for our hockey club, and I think that’€™s been great to play the teams that we’€™ve played in the last little while.”

Shawn Thornton out for Bruins, Michael Ryder and Steven Kampfer make return to lineup

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, who recieved around 40 stitches for a gash above his right eye after being cut by a skate in Tuesday’s game, is not medically cleared to return to the lineup and will not play Thursday against the Maple Leafs. Coach Claude Julien said the forward is considered day-to-day. In Thornton’s place, Michael Ryder will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games.

Thornton participated in the morning skate wearing a helmet with a shield. Tuesday will be the first game Thornton has missed all season, leaving Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg as the only Bruins to play in each game this season.

Thornton’s absence isn’t the only lineup change for the B’s Thursday. Rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer, who has not played since March 17 in Nashville, will play in place of Johnny Boychuk as part of Julien’s plan to keep everybody fresh for the playoffs. Julien suggested that Shane Hnidy, who has not played an NHL game this season, could play Saturday