Archive for February, 2012

Bruins end skid, beat Blues

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The struggling Bruins got a much-needed win as they beat the Blues, 4-2, Wednesday night in St. Louis.

Brad Marchand had two goals for the B’s, scoring 2:29 into the first period and adding his 21st goal of the season in the third period. Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly also scored for the Bruins. Marchand, Lucic and Kelly all had multi-point nights.

Tim Thomas picked up the victory for the Bruins, making 29 saves and surrendering goals to Chris Stewart and Ryan Reaves. The win broke a two-game losing streak for the Bruins.

The B’s will next play on Friday, when they face the Sabres at First Niagara Center. The last time the two teams played, the Sabres handed the B’s a 6-0 loss on Feb. 8.

Shawn Thornton sick, could miss Wednesday’s game

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

According to reports out of St. Louis, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is sick and was not on the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate. B’s coach Claude Julien told reporters after the skate that Thornton is considered a game-time decision for Wednesday night’s game against the Blues.

If Thornton can’t go, Carter Camper would be the beneficiary. The B’s called up the forward from Providence on Monday, and he would be inserted into the lineup should Thornton be kept out.

Andy Brickley on D&C: Bruins ‘gripping the sticks too tight’

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ recent scoring troubles and their game against the Blues Wednesday night.

The Bruins, who have lost three of their last four games and have had injury problems with their forwards, face off against a stingy Blues team that has the third-most points in the Western Conference.

“This could be a huge game for Boston in terms of just winning the game and getting a couple of goals and knowing you beat one of the best defensive teams,” Brickley said. “Keep in mind they’€™ve played Montreal, they’€™ve played Winnipeg, they’€™ve played Minnesota; these are teams they should handle even if they aren’€™t 100 percent and they don’€™t have their full lineup. These are teams they should handle. The Bruins are superior teams to these teams. Maybe they go into this game as an underdog and maybe that’€™s the psyche that they have to have.”

Added Brickley: “Claude [Julien] has left that [Patrice] Bergeron line together ‘€” [Brad] Marchand, Bergeron, [Tyler] Seguin. He’€™s starved for goals, he being Claude. The team, as you pointed out, they need some goals and he’€™s left that line together thinking that he can at least rely on them to get some offensive production. I need that line to be real good tonight, I need Zdeno Chara to be really good tonight. You’re going to get some contributions from your role players, and when you’re injured the way they are with two top-six forwards out, those are the guys that have to deliver.”

Brickley said that a win over the Blues would come at the perfect time for the B’s.

“Even if they win this game 2-1, 3-2, low scoring, fight for every inch of the ice, I think this could be a really good victory if they can pull one out against a real good defensive team,” Brickley said. “And it will put them in a better frame of mind, because right now they are gripping the sticks too tight.”

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Potential Bruins deadline options: P.A. Parenteau

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Bruins’ biggest need as the trade deadline approaches is clear: They need a right wing (or two). With both Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley out, help is unquestionably needed on the top line, and the B’s could use it on the third line as well.

With that being said, it’s rather astonishing how slim the pickings are when it comes to right wingers this trade deadline. Only about seven teams appear to be out of the playoff race at this point, and few of them have good right wings at the end of their contracts.

One player who does fit that description is Islanders right wing P.A. Parenteau. Playing on the team’s first line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson, Parenteau has already tied his career high for points with 53 this season, which is second on the Islanders only to Tavares. Those 53 points are five more than Patrice Bergeron, who leads the B’s with 48 this season.

Parenteau scored 20 goals a season ago, and though he has 12 this season, it’s is 41 assists that jump off the page.

With that being said, the Bruins don’t need a winger who can rack up assists. As anyone who has watched the team in recent weeks could tell you, their issue is that they can’t score. If the B’s do swing a trade for Parenteau, they would likely do so with the hope that he could play on either David Krejci‘s line or Chris Kelly‘s line and help the team’s scoring woes.

A trade for Parenteau could also help the issues the B’s have been having on the power play. Seventeen of Parenteau’s points this season have come on the man advantage (five goals, 12 assists), while the B’s have been 2-for-21 on the power play this month.

Parenteau commands just a $1.25 million cap hit and will be a free agent at season’s end. Given that he is 28 years of age, a good showing with the Bruins could make him more than just a rental, as Benoit Pouliot‘s deal is up at the end of the season as well. Given how many free agents the Bruins have, it’s hard to tell how they’ll go about making up next season’s roster, but Parenteau could earn a spot on this Bruins team.

Bruins get lost in Minnesota’s Wild

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Hockey Day in America was a day the Bruins might want to forget, as Boston lost its second consecutive game of a six-game road trip Sunday afternoon when it fell to the Wild, 2-0, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Boston was doomed by a pair of second-period Wild goals. Chad Rau gave the Wild their first goal of the game off a wrist shot in transition 10:15 in the middle frame. Minnesota native Matt Cullen doubled the Wild lead with a power-play goal a little over five minutes later.

The Bruins put together a better effort offensively than they did in Winnipeg, but a hot goaltender spoiled their afternoon. Niklas Backstrom put together an outstanding game for the Wild in net, making 48 saves on the afternoon to shut out the Bruins.

Tim Thomas stopped 27-of-29 Minnesota shots.

The Bruins are back in action on Wednesday in St. Louis.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

— The Bruins took just one penalty in the first 40 minutes of the game, but the Wild made them pay via Cullen’€™s power-play tally on a Chris Kelly tripping infraction. The goal was a bad sign for the Bruins, who entered the game ranked seventh in the NHL on the penalty kill (85.1 percent) while the Wild power play was ranked 25th in the NHL (15 percent).

— The Bruins top defensemen struggled again on Sunday afternoon. Zdeno Chara was unable to keep up with Rau on his goal in the second period, and Dennis Seidenberg was facing the net with his back to Cullen on Cullen’€™s power-play tally. Chara is now a minus-9 over his last six games. Ironically, the game matched Chara’€™s best performance in his last four games as he finished with a minus-1 on the afternoon.

— The loss marked the fourth time this month that the Bruins offense was shut out. Aside from the Wild, the Bruins were unable to score against the Hurricanes, Sabres and Rangers. The offensive struggles are especially painful when considering that the Rangers are the only one of those teams in the top 10 in their conference. Prior to February, the Bruins were shut out just twice on the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

— This is the first time in his last five games that Thomas has allowed less than three goals, as Thomas allowed three goals in all four starts before Sunday’s game against the Wild. Thomas had to make some difficult saves in the game, as the Wild heavily pressured the Bruins for a five-minute stretch early in the third period. He stoned the Wild on multiple odd-man rushes and was beat only on a power play and on a semi-breakaway.

— The Bruins had many good offensive chances and put 49 shots on goal. Milan Lucic was robbed by Backstrom on a one-timer from the right side of the net, a shot that caused Lucic to slam his stick against the ice in frustration. David Krejci and Tyler Seguin both put six shots on net, but none of the Bruins could figure out a way to beat Backstrom.

— The fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille was reunited after spending a game apart in Winnipeg. The threesome played well, combining for eight shots on net. Paille had a breakaway chance but shot directly into Backstrom’€™s chest.

Blake Wheeler’s three-point night leads Jets past Bruins

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The Bruins began life without Rich Peverley in an ironic way, as the man they traded for him helped hand them a 4-2 loss Friday night in Winnipeg.

Former Bruin Blake Wheeler had three points for the Jets, scoring in the second period and assisting a pair of Bryan Little goals in the third period.

After a scoreless first period, the Jets took the lead early on in the second period with Alex Burmistrov’s 12th goal of the season. Jordan Caron scored his third goal of the season minutes later to tie the game, but the Jets would head into the second intermission with the lead thanks to a goal from Wheeler shortly after a Bruins power play.

David Krejci tied the game once again 49 seconds into the third period, but Little scored two goals in 2:04 to give the Jets a two-goal lead.

Tuukka Rask took the loss for the Bruins and is now winless in his last five starts (0-4-1). Friday night also marked the Finnish goaltender’s second loss in Winnipeg this season, as Rask lost to the Jets on Dec. 6.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins didn’t score on either of their power plays, but they did allow goals in the “vulnerable minute” after them. Wheeler went five-hole on Rask and beat him with a wrist shot on a 3-on-2 opportunity just 30 seconds after the conclusion of an Evander Kane penalty for elbowing Andrew Ference.

The B’s got their second power play of the night when Bryan Little went off for hooking Caron 1:43 into the third period, but he made up for his penalty by scoring 33 seconds after he left the penalty box.

– With the loss, the Bruins blew an opportunity at picking up back-to-back wins after they squeezed by with a victory Wednesday night in Montreal. The Bruins still have not won consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12.

– Friday night was the latest contest in which the team’s top defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk registered a negative rating. Boychuk has now had a negative rating in four of the Bruins’ last five games, including three ratings of minus-2 or worse.

– Wheeler really brought it against his former team, and it’s good to see his game reaching a new level in Winnipeg. His three-point effort increased his team-best total to 42 (11 goals, 31 assists) on the season. Wheeler’s apple on Little’s first goal was the 100th assist of his career, and he got to 101 just 2:04 later. Given his status as a top-5 pick, Wheeler was a common target by fans in Boston when things weren’t going right, so perhaps the change of scenery has been a good thing for the former Bruin.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– With Rich Peverley out for the next month (or longer), Caron has a chance to earn a spot in the B’s lineup, and he got off to a good start with his goal Friday. In reality, the B’s should be looking to add at least one forward, and quite possibly two before the trade deadline, but it wouldn’t hurt to get some consistency out of their 2009 first-round pick to show that they have in-house options to make up for lost production.

– Krejci’s goal was his first point in February, and it took took him eight games to get it. Still, Krejci has had a negative rating in his last five games, and has yet to register a positive rating this month.

Brad Marchand on M&M: Actions of Canadians fans ‘just embarrassing’

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Friday afternoon to discuss his criticism of Canadians fans and his father’s role in keeping him stable after the Stanley Cup last summer, among other things.

After Canadiens fans cheered Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara getting hit in the face with a puck in the Bruins’ 4-3 win Wednesday, Marchand was publicly outspoken about the fans’ reaction. To him, it was a disrespectful move that is never justified in sports, no matter what teams are playing.

“Anytime a guy gets hurt, you have to respect the fact that he’€™s out there doing his job, trying to make a living,” Marchand said. “It’€™s a dangerous sport, it’€™s a dangerous game and when people are cheering’€¦if he takes a puck in the throat, it could have been a really bad situation. The fact that they were cheering when he got hurt, it’€™s just embarrassing.”

Marchand has found himself in the news recently for his off-the-ice actions, as he revealed in a recent Sports Illustrated interview that he was too drunk to appear in the Bruins’ commemorative championship DVD. He admitted that he had too much fun in the aftermath of winning the Stanley Cup, but that his father was a crucial figure in helping him stay in line.

“He sat me down after a while and was actually really upset with me, just like, ‘€˜You’€™re taking it too far, you’€™ve only won it one time. I don’€™t want you to win it once, I want you to win it three or four [times],'” Marchand said. “So he said, ‘€˜If you win two Cups in the next three years, I’€™ll leave you alone and let you celebrate and party the way you want to.  He said, ‘€˜Until then, I’€™m going to be all over you until you do it again.’€™ I like the challenge.” (more…)