Archive for February, 2013

Patrice Bergeron helps Bruins past Senators in overtime

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It needed video confirmation, but a Dennis Seidenberg wrister from the point deflected by Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins a 2-1 overtime win over the Senators Thursday night at TD Garden.

The win improved the Bruins 13-2-2 on the season, one point behind the Canadiens, who have played 29 games this season.

All of the game’s regulation scoring came in the second period, with Nathan Horton putting the Bruins on the board at 5:48 thanks to some good puck movement between he and Dougie Hamilton. The B’s allowed a rare power-play goal to Jim O’Brien later in the period.

The Bruins will play two more home games this weekend, hosting the Lightning Saturday and the Canadiens on Sunday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Tuukka Rask had a strong showing for the B’s, helping to keep the momentum on the Bruins’ side after Horton’s goal. Shortly after Horton gave the B’s the lead, Rask stopped Kyle Turris on a partial breakaway. Thursday’s game marked the fifth straight start for Rask.

- Horton’s goal was the product of both great execution and a bit of luck. After Milan Lcic pout in the work to keep the puck in the zone, Horton passed it to Hamilton at the right circle, who dished it back to Horton in front. Horton’s stick was being lifted by Zach Smith, so while he wasn’t able to get much on the puck, he was able to touch it just enough to change its direction and make for a bit of a changeup as it trickled past Lehner.

In picking up the primary assist, Hamilton now has five points over his last six games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins’ perfect penalty kill streak came to an end after 27 successful kills, and it ended in a rather preventable way. With less than 20 seconds left in a too-many-men penalty, the B’s allowed a long pass from Patrick Wiercioch to be completed through the neutral zone to give Kaspars Daugavins a breakaway. Rask made the save, but the B’s were unable to clear the puck in front afterwards, with O’Brien knocking it in to tie the game. Claude Julien had David Krejci and Nathan Horton out at the end of the penalty kill.

- It wasn’t Chris Bourque’s best night, with an interference penalty with the B’s on the power play in the second period didn’t help matters. Even a good effort to dive and keep the puck in on a third-period power play ended poorly, as he knocked the puck off a Senators player and into the neutral zone.

- Speaking of special teams, the B’s were 0-for-3 on the power play, making them 0-for-26 on the man advantage at home this season.

- Boston had to spend the final 31 seconds of regulation and the first 1:29 of overtime on the penalty kill as the result of a Milan Lucic penalty for closing his hand on the puck. The B’s came through, with trios of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg as well as Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference coming up big in the overtime session.

Senators staying competitive despite injuries

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Senators are a team playing without some of their key players, but their results haven’t shown that.

Ottawa was already hurting with Jason Spezza done potentially for the season due to back surgery, but they suffered another big blow when reigning Norris Trophy Winner Erik Karlsson was lost for the year as the result of Matt Cooke‘s skate cutting his Achilles tendon on Feb 13. Additionally, goaltender Craig Anderson hasn’t played since Feb. 21 due to an ankle injury.

Yet as the injuries have piled up for the Senators, so too have the win. Ottawa comes into Boston for Thursday night’s matchup with the Bruins riding a five-game winning streak. Two of the victories were divisional wins over Toronto and Montreal, with three of the victories of shootout variety. They beat the Rangers last Thursday, and now they enter Boston looking to make another statement against another one of the Eastern Conference’s more talented squads.

“They’re well-coached and everybody’s buying into the system,” Chris Kelly said of his former club. “You need to be that way when you lose key players and really good players. You lose your goaltender, you lose arguably your best forward and your best defenseman. That’s going to hurt any team, and you give them credit for finding ways to get two points.”

Behind the success for Ottawa has been goaltender Ben Bishop, who has won his last four games and has spelled Anderson admirably since the other half of Ottawa’s netminding tandem. When Claude Julien looks at how Ottawa’s been able to win despite the losses of Spezza and Karlsson, he looks at Bishop and Anderson, when healthy.

“They have an unbelievable goaltending tandem right now that is so good for them,” Julien said. “The last game that they played in Montreal, [Bishop] did make a difference. There’s no doubt there. The other part is I think they still play a good team game, which allows them to win hockey games. We’ve been through that before. When you have lots of injuries, you’ve just got to be even better at playing a good team game, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Entering Thursday night, the Senators are third in the Northeast Division with 26 points (12-6-2) in 20 games. They’ve played four more games than the B’s (16) and as many games as the Canadiens, who lead the division with 29 points. A win against the B’s could help keep them in the mix despite all the games the Bruins have in hand, and it would also show that they can stick around despite injuries. So far, they’ve done that.

Lines unchanged as Bruins prepare for Senators

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

After completing a five-game road trip Tuesday night, the Bruins are set to kick off a three-game home stand when they host the Senators in what will be the first of three games in four days.

All members of the Bruins were on the ice at morning skate, with Tuukka Rask the first goaltender off the ice, suggesting he will start his fifth consecutive game. Here’s the projected lineup for Thursday.

Milan Lucic ‘€“ David Krejci ‘€“ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand ‘€“ Patrice Bergeron ‘€“ Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque ‘€“ Chris Kelly ‘€“ Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille ‘€“ Gregory Campbell ‘€“ Shawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Dougie Hamilton might look like Beaker, but he’s no Muppets buff

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton is a smart guy. He knows the game of hockey well, and he was a superb student before his NHL career, winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2011.

There is one thing he doesn’t know, however, and that’s the Muppets.

A photoshopped picture of Hamilton, done by the website bostonbruinsfan.com, made the rounds on Tuesday night. The image had a frowning Hamilton next to a picture of Beaker in a Bruins uniform. The Bruins saw it on the bus after their 4-1 win over the Islanders last night and had a good laugh over it.

The picture was hilarious to teammates, but though Hamilton said he found it funny, he didn’t get the joke as well as the rest of the team.

“I don’t know who Beaker is,” he admitted Thursday.

That didn’t sit well with Milan Lucic.

“Looch was really upset about that,” Brad Marchand said. “Looch asked every person on the plane last night if they knew who the Muppets were after Dougie said he didn’t know. We had some fun about that one. I hope Looch has settled down a little bit about that one.”

Often the target of jokes from teammates and opponents himself, Marchand is glad to see the Hamilton — a very business-like player for a rookie — get involved with the good-natured ribbing.

“Everyone gets it from day to day,” Marchand. “It’s funny to see Dougie react to things like that. He’s new and young and guys like to have fun with it. He’s good about it, he takes it in stride.”

Bruins ready to welcome Michael Ryder back to Boston-Montreal rivalry

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

WILMINGTON — If Bruins fans were hoping Michael Ryder would return to his old stomping grounds, they should have been more specific.

The Canadiens swung a deal with the Stars Tuesday night to bring back the former Hab and Bruin, sending Erik Cole to Dallas for Ryder and a third-round pick. The 32-year-old has six goals and eight assists for 14 points this season after scoring a career-high 35 goals a season ago.

Ryder, who was in the final year of the two-year deal he signed with the Stars after the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship, would have been a logical fit for the B’s at the trade deadline. In addition to getting some payroll off the books (Cole has a $4.5 million cap hit through 2014-15), the Canadiens managed to cross one target off Boston’s list entering trade season.

Given that the roster has gone largely unchanged since Ryder and the B’s won the Cup in 2011, it will be strange for some Bruins players to see Ryder as a division rival rather than a teammate. Tyler Seguin still remembers how much Ryder’s presence helped him in his rookie year, from his Hail Mary pass on Seguin’s first career goal to their explosive work together in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.

“[He helped me] a lot. He was on my first NHL goal, he made that pass to me,” Seguin said Wednesday. “He wasn’t as loud as some of the other guys, but when he did talk to me, he was a guy you’d look up to. He could definitely snipe the puck, and it was a treat playing with him.”

The Canadiens weren’t expected to be a team that would be wheeling and dealing to improve their roster for this season, as few expected them to seriously contend after a miserable 2011-12 campaign in which they went 31-25-16 and were sellers when it came to trading. Led by coach Michel Therrien, the Habs have turned their fortune around with a with a 12-4-3 start, leading the Northeast Division with 27 points (though they’ve played three more games than the B’s).

While many are surprised by the fact that the Habs have been for real this season, the Bruins aren’t.

“I think Montreal, as bad as their record was last year, I think they’re a way better team than what it showed last year,” Rich Peverley said. “‘€¦ Nothing’s set in stone, and they are a good team with obviously one of the best goalies in the league.”

The Bruins will face Ryder and the Habs Sunday night at TD Garden, and while his former teammates haven’t forgotten what he meant to the B’s, they’re hoping his first game back in Boston since departing isn’t too pleasant.

“We obviously have a lot of good memories together, going to the Cup there, but every guy on this team has buddies on other teams that we play against night in and night out,” Brad Marchand said. “When you’re on the ice, you hate the guy just as much as the other guy beside him.”

Andy Brickley on M&M: Contraction good for NHL, but ‘I can’t see it happening’

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the proposed NHL realignment, how it could be complicated by team relocations, and Tuukka Rask‘s contract status as he continues to put together a strong year.

“I like that you play every team in the league home and home,” Brickley said of the realignment plan. “I like that you play down out of your division once you get into the postseason. I think that’s truly what builds rivalries, which is what they’re looking for. That was certainly the case back in the day, when you had to get out of your division before you could advance deeper into the postseason. I like that. And I think the divisions the way they’re created are going to cut down on travel, wear and tear, the time zone travel, and that’s all good.

“What I don’t like is the unevenness of the number of teams in the division, and the uneven number of games played against opponents in your own division. And does the number of teams in your division negatively affect your team’s chances of making the postseason? Those are my concerns. And then looking forward, are we looking at this formula because we’re preparing for two more teams, to prepare for two more cities? And what happens to realignment if a Western Conference team has to relocate to Quebec City and we’re just going to do the whole exercise all over again?”

Brickley said attendance at the Bruins’ recent games on Long Island and in Florida was sparse, but that the league is far more likely to relocate those teams, or the league-owned Coyotes, than to contract the number of teams in the league.

“Those things will never happen,” he said. “They will never take backward steps in that direction. I certainly can’t see it. There’s too much money at stake. ‘€¦ There’s too much strength in the union to allow that number of loss of jobs. I don’t see it, although it might be good for the game in the long run, but I can’t see it happening.”

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Streaking Bruins return to Ristuccia

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

WILMINGTON — All Bruins players were accounted for Wednesday as they returned to Ristuccia Arena following their five-game road trip. The B’s will begin a three-game home stand when they host the Senators at TD Garden on Thursday.

Here are the color-coded forward lines for the B’s from practice:

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Seguin
Bourque/Pandolfo – Kelly – Peverley
Paille/MacDermid – Campbell – Thornton