Archive for November, 2011

Tim Thomas, Chris Kelly lead Bruins past Islanders

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Tim Thomas picked up his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their win streak to eight games with a 6-0 victory over the Islanders Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Chris Kelly scored twice for the Bruins, who also received scoring from Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara. Both Horton and Ference’s goals came on the man advantage. Kelly picked up a secondary assist on Ference’s goal, giving the third-line center his first regular-season three-point game as a member of the Bruins.

While Thomas was able to pick up a shutout in a fairly easy contest, nothing remotely similar could be said for Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro. The Boston University product was yanked after allowing three first-period goals,with Anders Nilsson playing the final two periods.

The Bruins will next play Monday, when they face the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Another strong showing from one Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old drew two penalties on the night, neither of which let to a power-play goal, but both of which drove home the fact that Seguin’s more involved play this season has helped the Bruins in more ways than one. He also set up Bergeron’s goal, grabbing a puck in front of the Bruins’ net following a Joe Corvo slip-up and dishing it to Dennis Seidenberg, who in turn fed it to Marchand, who fed it back to Seguin. The speedy forward took the puck through the neutral zone and into the Islanders’ zone, blowing past Nino Niederreiter and feeding Bergeron for the center’s fourth goal of the season. Seguin now has 21 points of the season, which leaves him one short of his rookie total.

– A couple of special teams notes: First off, Horton’s first-period tally was the Bruins’ first power-play goal in four games, and Ference made it a 2-for-5 night for the man advantage. For a while it appeared the Bruins had been on their way to their first game without a penalty this season, though Kelly’s trip on Josh Bailey changed that 6:53 into the third period. Either way, with the Islanders not scoring on the power play and Andrew MacDonald taking a penalty with 29 seconds remaining on it, the Bruins ended their streak of games in which they allowed a power play goal at four. The last time the B’s had allowed a power play goal in four straight games was Oct. 1-12 of 2009.

Speaking of special teams, Benoit Pouliot got some time on the power play in the first period, drawing a Milan Jurcina holding call to set up a 30-second 5-on-3, and, upon the original penalty expiring, set up Horton’s power-play goal.

– The Bruins allowed a grand total of two shots on goal in the first period, which for the Islanders is pretty much equivalent of Tim Tebow’s two completions a couple of weeks ago. The Islanders’ first shot of the night came over 10 minutes into the contest and a first period that B’s completely dominated.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– A couple of giveaways from Joe Corvo in his own end. Corvo had the puck knocked away from him behind the net in the first period, but it resulted in Seguin setting up the play that led to Bergeron’s gaol. It didn’t cost the Bruins in the second period either, but Corvo could certainly be better in his own end than he’s been thus far.

– The B’s got only six shots on goal in the second period, the only period in which they did not score. The Islanders also woke up a bit in the second, outshooting the Bruins, 11-6.

Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins take the Bill Belichick approach on trade rumors

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning for his weekly appearance. With their 2-1 shootout win over the Blue Jackets Thursday night, Ference and the Bruins have now won seven straight games, all in the month of November. But the win over Columbus was not as easy — or as pretty — as the other wins have been for Boston. Ference said that’s just all part of the game.

“It definitely wasn’t a pretty thing to watch,” Ference said. “They came to play and it was a weird game, it probably wasn’t the best game to watch. What can you do? Those happen, but come playoff time, we’ll take the points.”

Coming up big for Boston was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who had 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. Rask was part of trade rumors early in the week, as some have speculated that the Bruins would consider trading him for Blue Jackets high scorer Rick Nash.

The rumors only got more press when Rask appeared to have an angry meltdown in practice on Wednesday when he gave up a goal during a special teams drill and tried to break his stick over the crossbar. But Ference said he doesn’t think the team pays much attention to trade speculation.

“I’m not even really sure who pays attention to that stuff. I know most guys don’t,” Ference said. “I think most guys kind of go to the Bill Belichick, never read anything that goes on. It sounds like a cop out, but I really think guys don’t pay attention to it.”

Ference went on to say that it’s an advantage to have two solid goaltenders in Rask and Tim Thomas.

“[Rask] is great for us. I think it’s awesome to have two goalies that we can have complete confidence in,” Ference said. “From a player’s perspective, you want the best players on your team. Players that you have the greatest chance of winning with. And if I can look back and see two goalies that gives us an unbelievable chance of winning every night, why wouldn’t I want that? I’d be crazy not to.”

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David Krejci, Bruins know they ‘didn’t deserve to win’

Friday, November 18th, 2011

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He may have tricked Curtis Sanford on the decisive goal of the shootout that gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the lowly Blue Jackets Thursday night at TD Garden, but David Krejci wasn’t fooling anyone after the team’s seventh straight win.

This was a game in which the Bruins were outworked and outmuscled. But in the end, they found a way to get the two points.

They’ll take it.

“Yeah, I don’t know if we deserve this win tonight but we’ll take it,” Krejci said. “I think games like that happens sometimes and I think we battled through it and we got our two points, so we’ll take that.”

The Bruins led the Jackets 6-5 in shots after 20 minutes but then hit the wall of walls in the second, getting outshot 14-8 on their home ice and looking like a tired team that was finishing up a five-game homestand against a team that had won just three times in 17 previous tries.

“Yeah, well, I guess we kind of thought it was going to be an easy game but it wasn’t,” Krejci said. “They came here to play and they were really hard on their sticks and they were winning lots of battles, so I don’t think we were ready for that. So, it was a very tough game and, you know, like I said, I don’t think we deserved to win tonight but we’ll take the two points.”

Was it fatigue?

“Yeah, it could be,” the game’s hero said. “Maybe it — last week — especially the last few games, they were really hard and took lots of energy out of us so maybe it looked like it, but like I said, we still — the effort was still there, we still battled through it and at the end of the night we had our two points so we’re happy about that.”

As for his game-winner through the legs of Sanford, Krejci said he was just glad he wasn’t facing Tuukka Rask.

“I knew what I’m going to do,” Krejci said. “Obviously, we practiced some things. With Tuukks, we do shootouts at the end of the practice but Tuukks knows me pretty well in the last few years so it’s kind of hard to score. But these other goalies, they don’t know what I do, so I knew exactly what I’m going to do and it worked this time.”

And the lesson learned Thursday for the defending Stanley Cup champs?

“Well, don’t take anybody lightly,” Krejci said. “You know, to end a streak — you can lose against the last-place team, you can beat badly the first-place team. Just don’t take anybody lightly and just play your game. I think that’s what we have to do from now on.”

Tuukka Rask leads Bruins to shootout win over Blue Jackets

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

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Tuukka Rask and David Krejci came up big for the Bruins Thursday as they defeated the Blue Jackets, 2-1, in shootout fashion at TD Garden. Rask made 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. With the shootout tied at one after two rounds, Krejci beat Curtis Sanford stick-side before Rask stopped Antione Vermette to give the B’s the win. Rich Peverley also scored for the B’s in the shootout.

Derek MacKenzie tipped a Nikita Nikitin shot on the power play to give Columbus a 1-0 lead at 2:49 of the second period. Adam McQuaid then scored his first goal of the season at 4:24 on a goal that was initially credited to Peverley.

The Bruins outshot the Blue Jackets, 5-4, in overtime, with Columbus holding a 27-22 advantage during regulation and 31-27 advantage throughout the game. The game ended a stretch of six straight games in which the B’s scored at least four goals.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– McQuaid got his first goal of the season against the team that drafted him. The defenseman was taken by Columbus in the second round of the 2005 draft and was dealt to the B’s in 2007.

– Rask had a strong showing for the B’s on a night in which he had to be on his toes. The number of Bruins turnovers and the Blue Jackets’ shot advantage meant the 24-year-old had to come up big, time after time, and he did. Rask stopped MacKenzie point-blank in front after the Columbus center got a feed from behind the net, and he made a nice pad save on Jeff Carter in the second. He came up big once again in overtime on a pair of shots in front.

Shawn Thornton got an opportunity to drop the gloves when he squared off with Jared Boll at 8:35 of the second period. It was a pretty lengthy bout, and one that grew pretty heated, as the two were still in each other’s faces and screaming at one another following the fight. Boll may have been mad at Thornton for trying to continue the fight after refs tried to break it up.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Sloppy, sloppy play for much of the first two periods. Turnovers led to Columbus chances, including a slip-up to the right of Rask’s net by Steven Kampfer, Mark Letestu gained control on the play, but Rask bailed the B’s out, as he often had to do amidst a generally drowsy night for Boston.

Benoit Pouliot took a really dumb roughing penalty after some work in the corner of the offensive zone with Aaron Johnson led to him taking it too far and getting his hands in the face of the Columbus defenseman right in front of a referee. With the game tied in the third period and Pouliot’s spot in the lineup not solidified, it wasn’t the smartest move in the world. Pouliot stayed in the lineup with the return of Daniel Paille, meaning Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch. We’ll see if Pouliot’s penalty costs him an opportunity Saturday against the Islanders.

– Speaking of Pouliot, the winger nearly made it two straight games with a goal when he beat Sanford high stick side. The puck appeared to go in and bounce out at first glance, but play continued and there was no video review at the next stoppage, suggesting it rang off the post/crossbar.

– A hell of a stat dug up by the great Scott McLaughlin, who notes that the Bruins’ four straight games with a power play goal allowed marks their longest such stretch since Oct. 1-12 of 2009.

– With no points in the game, Tyler Seguin now has a season-worst two-game points drought. That should borderline go in the “What Went Right” section, as it illustrates how insane Seguin has been statically this season. Seguin was tied for the lead amongst Bruins forwards with three shots on goal Thursday.

Bruins-Blue Jackets Live Blog: Headed to overtime

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Bruins-Blue Jackets Live Blog

Zdeno Chara’s case closed with Quebec police

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We’ll keep this is short as possible in an attempt to finally put this ridiculous topic to bed. Quebec’s director of criminal prosecutions released the following statement regarding the criminal investigation on Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty last March:

“After carefully examining all the information provided in this affair, the (office) is not reasonably convinced it could establish evidence of guilt.”

Case closed.

Adam McQuaid not feeling Blue since Jackets traded him

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Adam McQuaid never got to play for the team that drafted him, but all things considered, he doesn’t mind it.

McQuaid, a second-round pick of the Blue Jackets (55th overall) in 2005, was still playing junior hockey for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL when he was traded to the Bruins for a fifth-round draft pick on May 16, 2007.

From the moment he was drafted, McQuaid was able to add a jersey to his NHL dream. He saw himself one day manning the blue line for Columbus, but it was not be.

“Obviously, you hope the team that you get drafted by, you envision yourself being with that team,” McQuaid said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You go to camp, and you go back to junior, your mindset is on eventually someday playing with that team. Probably a little disappointed, but at the same time, it’s pretty hard to be disappointed when you come to a team like Boston, and you think about how there’s so much history in the organization. That was probably the biggest difference between the two at the time.”

McQuaid said he wasn’t necessarily upset when he was traded, but that it was something he didn’t see coming.

“More surprised than anything. I never really gave it a thought,” he said. “My whole focus was on someday playing with the Blue Jackets. Trades happen. Everyone knows that’s the business side of the game. As soon as the trade happens, you shift the focus to a new organization. I was pretty happy with where I ended up going.”

“Pretty happy” eventually became “really happy” for McQuaid. After spending two seasons developing in Providence, McQuaid began getting opportunities in the NHL with the Bruins in the 2009-10 season. He then played 67 regular season games for the B’s in 2010-11, cementing his place on the squad and winning the Stanley Cup with the team in June.

“I kind of always look at things as ‘everything happens for a reason'” McQuaid said. “Coming to Boston, they helped developed me and worked with me on my skating, puck skills, the areas that I needed to work on in order to make it to this level. Looking back, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out.”