Archive for March, 2012

Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas lead Bruins past Kings

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

The Bruins maintained their two-point lead on the Senators Saturday night thanks to a 4-2 victory over the Kings in Los Angeles.

Patrice Bergeron scored a shorthanded goal 5:18 into the second period to give the B’s a 1-0 lead, but Colin Fraser‘s second goal of the season tied it later in the period. The Bruins would increase their lead to 3-1 thanks to goals from Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly, but a Slava Voynov goal with 5:14 left in regulation made it a one-goal game. The B’s would hang on to win after killing off a Jordan Caron penalty with 4:03 remaining in regulation. Brad Marchand scored an empty-netter in the final second of the game.

The Bruins’ victory broke a six-game winning streak for the Kings, who are fighting for one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Tim Thomas played in his 15th consecutive game for the Bruins and made 40 saves on 42 shots in the victory. The win was the Bruins and Thomas’ third in his last four games.

The B’s will finish their three-game west coast road trip when they face the Ducks Sunday night in Anaheim.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Another fine example of why the Bruins are still dangerous when on the penalty kill. Bergeron poked the puck away from Anze Kopitar, sending the puck into the neutral zone. When Drew Doughty tried to bring the puck back through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’ zone, Marchand picked off his pass to create a shorthanded break, the rebound of which was buried by Bergeron to give the Bruins’ the 1-0 lead.

– Bergeron’s goal was his first in 13 games. Because of everything he brings special-teams wise and just as one of the premier two-way forwards in the game, Bergeron can never be considered “slumping,” but his return to the goal column is a sign the Bruins will welcome. Bergeron has now scored 20 goals in back-to-back seasons and four of the six seasons in which he’s played 70 or more games.

– Thomas was once again big for the Bruins, and it’s starting to look like he’s finally busted out of his midseason malaise. The reigning Vezina winner is 3-1-0 in his last four games with six goals allowed and one shutout. Thomas came up with a big stop on Dustin Brown in the second period with the Bruins caught in the midst of a line change, but his best work came in the final minute of the game, rejecting an onslaught of bids from the Kings.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins could have really put the game out of reach with six minutes left in the game, but Jonathan Quick robbed David Krejci. Lucic created the play by bursting past multiple Kings players in the neutral zone, and he and Krejci broke into the Kings’ zone with a 2-on-1. Lucic fed Krejci, only to see Quick rob him and keep it a two-goal game. The Kings got within one less than a minute later.

– The Bruins couldn’t have picked a worse time to be killing a penalty, as Caron went off for high sticking with 4:03 remaining in the game. The Kings had momentum thanks to Voynov’s goal less than a minute earlier, but the B’s were able to kill off the man advantage as past of a big night for the team’s penalty kill.

– One game after mustering a season-low 17 shots on goal, the Bruins struggled with consistently getting pucks to the net. The B’s finished the night with 26 shots on goal, but had only eight and six shots on goal in the second and third periods, respectively.

Bruins’ comeback falls short vs. Sharks

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The Bruins couldn’t keep up with the Sharks, falling in San Jose by a 2-1 score Thursday.

A Milan Lucic giveaway in the first period led to Joe Pavelski’s 27th goal of the season just 3:57 into the game, and the Sharks added to their lead with a Daniel Winnik goal early in the third period. Zdeno Chara broke up Antti Niemi’s shutout bid with 4:15 remaining in regulation, but the B’s were unable to get the equalizer.

The loss keeps Boston at 87 points on the season. With 73 games played, they remain three points ahead of the Senators with one game in hand.

The B’s will remain out west, as they will face the Kings on Saturday and the Ducks on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins came out sluggish, which could be a product of the fact that they flew across the country and were dealing with a time change. Still, the B’s travelled to California Wednesday, so there isn’t too much of an excuse for not having their legs in the first period.

– The other wing changed over the course of the game, but David Krejci and Milan Lucic were both on the ice for both of San Jose’s goals, and both now have a minus-4 rating over their last five games. When Claude Julien recently put Jordan Caron on that top line (Tyler Seguin eventually was moved up to the line in the third period), he probably did so with the idea that it would be a more balanced, defensively responsible line. They aren’t just there yet.

– Speaking of top lines, the members of the Krejci and Patrice Bergeron lines had two and one shots on goal, respectively, for the first 50 minutes of the game. Lucic and Caron each had one shot on goal, while Brad Marchand was the only member of Bergeron’s line to get a shot on Antti Niemi.

– The B’s allowed a season-low 13 shots against the Maple Leafs on Monday, but on Thursday they posted a season-low 17 shots on goal.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Thomas kept the Bruins in the game for the first two periods, making a particularly impressive save on Martin Havlat after Logan Couture fed the veteran winger. Thomas would probably like to have Winnik’s goal back, but the soon-to-be 38-year-old was sharper than his teammates for the vast majority of the night. Even though it comes in a loss, the Bruins have to take Thomas’ improved play of late as a very encouraging sign.

– While the first two lines didn’t exactly show up for the B’s, their third line of Chris Kelly between Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston brought their game. Rolston had three shots on goal, and a strong drive from the line led to Boston’s only goal, as Chara jumped up in the play and banked a shot off Niemi and in.

Marty Turco starting to look the part for Bruins

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

WILMINGTON — Marty Turco took the ice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday wearing brand new bright gold pads. They certainly match his Bruins’ uniform better than his old shiny gold ones, but why get new pads when you’ve only got a few weeks left with a team?

For starters, as Turco pointed out, “These aren’t your dad’s [pads]” — meaning the technology with equipment these days means they can be broken in with just a few practices. More importantly, he got them because he’s determined to make the most of the rest of the season with the Bruins.

The backup goaltender, who was signed following Tuukka Rask‘s injury and cannot be on the playoff roster, is determined to show that his second appearance and lone start with the B’s — a disaster in Tampa in which he allowed four goals on 12 shots — isn’t indicative of what he brings to the table. With another week practicing with the team and working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, Turco feels more up to speed with the NHL after playing part of the season in Austria.

“As much as I’d like to make an excuse for the Tampa Bay game, the beginning, I feel probably better conditioned now, but that really had nothing to do with the Tampa game,” Turco said. “Not much has changed — just keeping getting caught up with the speed of the game as quick as guys get on you. I think that’s the main thing. As much as I’d like to change stuff in that game and really produce and play great, I know how good I felt. I just have to tidy up a few things. I believe that goes with every day, and it’s nice to work with Bob a few times here.”

Claude Julien has seen the work that Turco’s put in, and the coach sees a goaltender who’s better positioned to handle NHL competition than he was before.

“There’s no doubt,” Julien said. “When he’s been facing the kind of shots that he’s been facing now for an extra week, he keeps getting better. I think that’s why he’s putting in the extra time. He wants to get his timing on. The timing here vs. the timing where he was is not the same, [as] you’ve got the best shooters in the world playing in this league.”

While the Bruins would like to get Tim Thomas rest wherever they can down the stretch, Turco has been putting in extra work after practices. With back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday against the Kings and Ducks, respectively, the opportunity is likely there for Turco to get a start during the Bruins’ upcoming road trip. While Turco isn’t sure when he’ll next be called upon to play in a game, he’s doing what he can to be prepared to turn in a better result than last time.

“When I’m not playing, that’s part of the gig in order to be sharp,” he said. “We’re going on a California trip where we have three teams a point in, a point out. ‘€¦ You expect some work anyway. To prepare and work to not expect work is probably not a good thing. It wouldn’t be helpful at all, so I’m putting in the work. More than anything, I’m enjoying seeing shots from these guys, just getting back up to speed and continuing to challenge myself and challenge them.

“It’s fun, but at the end of the day I realize my position here is not as long you’d like, but it’s still a good opportunity for me, and I don’t want to disappoint these guys.”

No change in Nathan Horton’s status, but Rich Peverley will travel with Bruins

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s optional practice that forward Rich Peverley will join the team on its upcoming three-game west coast road trip.

Peverley has not played since Feb. 15 due to a knee sprain, but started skating again last Wednesday. He has yet to take physical contact, but is considered day-to-day by the team.

Julien also said that there is no news regarding the status of concussed forward Nathan Horton, and that the winger will not be traveling with the team.

“No, same old same old,” Julien said of Horton. “Nothing different. He’s still working out but not on the ice yet.”

Horton has not played since Jan. 22. He has 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points in 46 games this season

Bruins destroy Maple Leafs

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Brian Rolston had a four-point night as the Bruins crushed the Maple Leafs, 8-0, Monday at TD Garden.

The win was the Bruins’ second straight after the team’s recent four-game losing streak. With the victory, the B’s now have 87 points on the season.

The Bruins scored four first-period goals, getting tallies from Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot and Brad Marchand. They added three more in the second thanks to goals from Pouliot, Zdeno Chara and Rolston before Tyler Seguin made it 8-0.

Tim Thomas got the easy victory for the Bruins, facing only 13 shots and stopping them all. The Bruins’ previous low for shots allowed was 17, which they had done twice this month. James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson each allowed four goals for the Leafs.

The Bruins will begin a three-game road trip this week, heading out west to face the Sharks, Kings and Ducks.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– As bad as the Maple Leafs were defensively and in goal, they had nothing going offensively either. Toronto had just seven shots on goal through two periods and finished the game with 13. Not exactly the toughest night for Thomas, so he got a combination of results and rest Monday.

– Funny that less than right after general manager Peter Chiarelli declared he wasn’t going to give any more contract extensions during the season, the Bruins’ free-agents-to be did most of the damage. Kelly, Campbell, Pouliot and Rolston will all see their deals expire at season’s end. Marchand and Chara were the only Bruins signed beyond this season to score Monday.

– Here’s a good stat pointed out by the Patriot Ledger’s Mike Loftus: Phil Kessel is a minus-11 against the Bruins this year. Yeesh.

– The Bruins dodged a bullet, as Daniel Paille was hit with a shot late in the game but was not injured.

– Chara’s goal was his first in 13 games, though it was his third point in his last four games. Paired with Dennis Seidenberg once again to create a formidable top pairing, the Bruins’ captain was a plus-1 for the B’s.

– The Bruins had to be happy to see Rolston come through with a big night. The veteran forward tied a career high with four points, a feat he had accomplished three times previously. Once Rich Peverley is ready to return, it will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with that third line. The veteran forward will probably be battling for a spot in the lineup, and he helped his case Monday, even if it was against the Maple Leafs.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be learned from a game like Monday’s contest just because the opponent is such a disaster. Yes, the game served as a reminder that the Bruins could score, but anyone could score against goaltending as horrific as what the Leafs turned in. The Bruins clearly weren’t even trying to run up the score, as they iced it often once they took a big lead, but the Maple Leafs are just that bad.

Bruins-Maple Leafs Live Blog: B’s look to make it two in a row

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Bruins-Maple Leafs Live Blog

Bruins make Shawn Thornton extension official

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The Bruins made Shawn Thornton‘s extension official Monday, as the team announced a two-year deal for the forward. The deal reportedly carries a $1.1 million cap hit each season.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is scheduled to meet with the media at 6:45 p.m.