NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson spoke with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning about the Bruins’ hot start, Dougie Hamilton‘s role, and which players aren’t quite in top form yet.
“I think the exciting thing is, they’ve got  points and they’re not anywhere near hitting on all cylinders,” Pederson said. “What I saw in November and December of  was, to me, the best I’ve sen a Bruins team play since the [Bobby] Orr and [Phil] Esposito days. When they were just totally dominating after those two months, and then just ran out of gas.
“That’s when the Bruins are hitting on all cylinders to me — when their team defense is good, they’re getting contributions from their special teams. This is a team that’s right up there as the best 5-on-5 team in the National Hockey League. It doesn’t take much to contribute on special teams to put them over the hump. But I think, more importantly, when you see this team playing physically and dominating teams on the forechecking game, that’s when they’re hitting on all cylinders.”
After seeing Tyler Seguin‘s shootout bid interrupted by an “unidentified food object” in Tuesday night’s shootout win over the Devils, Pederson offered some of the stranger things he saw thrown on the ice during his NHL career.
“Thumbtacks, some beer bottles. Of course it was crazy when beer bottles were glass,” he said. “There’s animals and rats and everything else. It was kind of funny there, but as we all know, one of the things you hate when you’re out there playing is something you can’t see on the ice and you step on it, and bang, somebody blows out a knee.”
When the Bruins went on their Stanley Cup run in 2011, they made a habit of scoring big goals late in games.
The last two nights, the Bruins have gone back to their Cup-winning formula, hanging in games close and winning them late.
In Raleigh Monday night, they needed someone to step up and it was Dougie Hamilton feeding David Krejci for the go-ahead marker with under two minutes left in regulation.
On Tuesday night, with the team battling to find its legs for 40 minutes, it was Tuukka Rask who held the fort until the burst of energy came in the form of a third-period awakening. The period started strong and finished strong as Nathan Horton beat Johan Hedberg with 4:05 remaining to send the game into a shootout.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Horton said. “That’s what we talked about, you’re not always going to be at your best, but we pull through. You’re down a goal, you’re down two goals, it doesn’t matter you just work hard and fight back. That’s the kind of team we are and the kind of guys we are on our team. We all know we can come back when we’re down and I think that’s what makes us so good.
“I think we knew all along we can come back, we’ve done it a lot before in the past. Just to reassure that, to know that we can come back at any time, I think again when we roll four lines here, we stay fresh, and you keep battling away, eventually you’re gonna win.”
Not even a sausage-throwing moron from the stands could stand in the way of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and the Bruins walking away with the hard-earned and well-deserved two points. Talk about tasty. Seguin had to score twice in the shootout to put the Bruins on the board and Marchand netted the game-winner in the sixth “inning” as the shootout went three extra rounds.
“It was tough, but we found a way,” Seguin said. “I think the main thing is, we have to keep our shifts short, and we were pretty good at that. We were pretty stingy. We didn’t give a ton. We played a good game. (more…)
Tyler Seguin wasn’t a happy camper when he had to follow up his shootout goal with another attempt Tuesday night against the Devils.
As Seguin was skating in on Johan Hedberg in the first round of the shootout, a fan threw what has officially been termed an unidentified food object (or UFO) onto the ice. That meant by rule that the play was going to be attempted again regardless of whether a goal was scored or not, but Seguin was miffed with the whole thing.
“I think it probably affected me more than the goalie,” he said. “I don’t really understand how it affected him more, but someone looked up the rules, and I guess that it’s a do-over.”
Had Hedberg stopped the shot, Seguin would have been given another go at it, so Claude Julien said after the game that the team respected the rule and the call. After beating Hedberg forehand on the first attempt, Seguin said he considered doing the same move again, but eventually decided to deke and go backhand. It worked out for the B’s, as he scored on the second attempt and Brad Marchand eventually delivered the game-winner in the fifth round.
“That’s a first,” Seguin said. “I’m still not sure what it was, maybe a hot dog. I’m hoping that there was a New Jersey Devil logo on the guy’s jersey who threw it, unless you’re one of the Bruins fans doing that, but I guess I’m glad it worked out in the end.”
Five was the magic number for the Bruins Tuesday night, as Nathan Horton beat Johan Hedberg five-hole to tie the game late and Brad Marchand took the same approach in scoring the game-winner in the sixth round of a 2-1 shootout win over the Devils at TD Garden.
With the B’s trailing, 1-0, Nathan Horton went five-hole with 4:05 remaining in regulation to tie the game after Martin Brodeur’s backup had blanked the B’s through the first two and a half periods of play.
Hedberg was given the start for the Devils in place of Brodeur, who was given the night off for the first time this season. He made 25 saves on 26 shots, while Tuukka Rask stopped 27 of Devils’ 28 shots. The lone Devils’ goal came from David Clarkson on the power play, marking the first time this season that the B’s allowed a power-play goal.
The 5-0-1 B’s will return to action Thursday at TD Garden as they face the Sabres in the first of five meetings between the teams this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Two of Horton’s three goals this season have come at crucial moments in the third period this season. Horton tied the game in last Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Rangers and turned in the equalizer Tuesday against the Devils. For a guy who developed a reputation as a clutch player in the 2011 postseason, he sure is reminding Bruins fans what they were missing late last season.
- Rask was very good for the B’s, making key stops on close-range attempts by the Devils. With less than five minutes to go in the first period, Krys Barch was parked in front and controlled a shot from the point, but Rask did a split to get a pad in front. Later in the period, Rask came up big in stopping Ryan Carter, who took a pass in front on the rush from Jacob Josefson. He also came up with a big save on Henrik Tallinder from the high slot in overtime.
There wasn’t much he could do about Clarkson’s goal, as there was traffic in front and the puck was redirected, though Rask did make a nice save in coming across the crease to stop Clarkson during a Devils power play that came as a result of Krejci’s penalty.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Not having an effective power play cost the Bruins an attempt to pull even earlier. The team went 0-for-3 on the man advantage, most notably failing to capitalize on a Dainius Zubrus holding call with 8:15 remaining in regulation and the Devils up, 1-0. The only two shots of that power play came when Hedberg stopped Patrice Bergeron on the rush and stuffed Chris Bourque on the rebound.
- The Bruins’ perfect penalty kill streak ended at 24, as Johnny Boychuk’s second-period tripping penalty yielded Clarkson’s power play tally. The Bruins were the last team to allow a power play goal this season.
- Though he scored in the shootout for the second time this season, six games are in the books and Tyler Seguin still has just an empty netter to his name as goals go. He had one of his better performances of the season, but he let up big time in a second-period footrace with Andy Greene to avoid getting hit on a play that could have prevented icing.
Speaking of the shootout, Seguin had to re-do his attempt in the first round of the shootout when a fan appeared to throw something on the ice during his first attempt.
Seguin led the Bruins with 29 goals last season, but he’s yet to bury one the old fashioned way in 2013.
- The B’s took a pair of goaltender interference penalties, at least one of which was a rough call. Daniel Paille was whistled for taking down Hedberg in the second period, but replays showed that it looked more like Bryce Salvador took out his own goalie’s legs. David Krejci was also called for goalie interference in the third period moments after he had a scoring chance when he redirected a Dougie Hamilton pass from the point in front.
Shawn Thornton provided early energy for the Bruins with his bout vs. Devils forward Krys Barch. (AP)
Brad Marchand scored the decisive goal in the sixth round while Tuukka Rask stopped 5-of-6 shots in the shootout as the Bruins beat the Devils, 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night at TD Garden. The Bruins (5-0-1) have gained at least a point in all six games this season. The highlight of the shootout came when Tyler Seguin had to re-do his first shot that produced a goal because a fan threw something on the ice. Seguin repeated his effort and scored again.
The Bruins and Devils are the only teams in the Eastern Conference without a regulation loss so far, joining San Jose and Chicago in the West, who were perfect coming into Tuesday’s action.
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the opening 20 minutes. Each team recorded nine shots on goal but neither team sustained serious pressure. The main highlight of the first period was a fight between Boston enforcer Shawn Thornton and New Jersey tough guy Krys Barch. In a bout that lasted for nearly a minute and a half, Thornton landed several clean shots before the two were broken apart by the officials, with both teams applauding their skater for staying on their feet the entire time.
The Bruins killed off an Andrew Ference tripping penalty with five minutes left in the first, giving them 24 straight kills to open the season.
But the Bruins were not as lucky in the second period as Johnny Boychuk was whistled for tripping at 7:22. David Clarkson redirected a Marek Zidlicky shot from the left point past Tuukka Rask for the first power play goal allowed by the Bruins in 25 chances this season.
The Bruins would kill off the next three power play chances and finished the game 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. They are 27-of-28 on the penalty kill this season.
The Bruins came out with much greater intensity in the opening minute of the third period and were buzzing around Johan Hedberg. Boston’s best chance came when Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the left point that just went wide, missing the stick of David Krejci. Instead of a goal, Krejci was called for goaltender interference, taking some momentum away from the Bruins. (more…)
Patrice Bergeron was uncharacteristically irate at the end of Monday night’s 5-3 win over the Hurricanes when Carolina forward Jeff Skinner appeared to slew-foot the Selke winner behind the Bruins’ net. Bergeron said Tuesday that he isn’t overly concerned with whether the league punishes Skinner, but one of his linemates was a little more fired up about it.
Brad Marchand, who was fined last season for slew footing Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen, said that Skinner’s behavior was nothing new.
“Skinner slew-foots all the time,” Marchand said Tuesday. “He’s always doing that to guys and I think Bergy just had enough of it. We even spoke about it before the game in the room. The guys were talking about how much he slew foots and you’ve got to watch out for him. You can see it’s very blatant. He kicks his legs out and throws him back.
“I remember I got a fine for that last year. It’s not a good play, it’s frowned upon and if you continue to do that to guys, you’re going to get it. Bergy just had enough, and it was good for Bergy to stand up for himself like that.”
Marchand called the move “a greasy play” and said he regretted doing it himself last season, noting that Skinner should break the habit.
“He’s got to stop doing that,” he said. “If he does it again, I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy got up and took exception. It’s just not a good play.”
[An underrated part of the whole fiasco: Watch Tyler Seguin, who scored an empty-netter after the incident went down, asking, "No goal?" at 0:47]
Bergeron was quite a bit more reserved in addressing the situation, saying that though Skinner had never personally slew-footed him prior to Monday, that was enough to set him off.
“It was the first time he did it [to me], but I thought it was uncalled for,” Bergeron said. “The puck wasn’t even close.”
As for a potential punishment for Skinner, Bergeron said, “I’m not going to get into that.”
“I haven’t looked at the replay,” he said. “I know he did it, but still, at the same time I don’t really care what happens. I don’t think anything’s going to happen out of it.”
It took an empty-netter on Monday night for Tyler Seguin to break his early season scoring drought, and Seguin’s first goal of the season was followed by his coach saying that the 20-year-old is still making adjustments.
Seguin is in his third year with the B’s, playing right wing after spending the majority of his junior career at center. He’s also getting reacclimated to the smaller ice of the NHL after spending the lockout playing in Switzerland.
“I think he is out of sync,” Claude Julien said Tuesday morning. “I think where the puck battles are along the boards, I think is somewhere where he’s always going to have to work a little harder at to get better because he’s always played center. At center, you’re always a support guy. He didn’t have to battle as much along the boards. He’s been put in a position that he hasn’t really played his whole life until he came here to Boston.
“That’s maybe a little bit of it, but he has been out of sync because of the way they played in Europe with the bigger ice surface. I mentioned how [much] more passive the game is over there, so he’s got more time and more room. Tyler, if you give him time and space he’s going to make something happen, but it’s a little more aggressive, a little tighter here and he’s readjusting. We hope that that goal last night really helped him get himself back on track and get a little bit of that confidence back.”
Seguin led the Bruins with 29 goals last season. In 29 games in the Switzerland during the lockout, Seguin had 25 goals and 15 assists for 40 points.