|Weary Bruins stumble in Winnipeg, suffer first regulation loss in 16 games||12.06.11 at 11:16 pm ET|
No hockey team can win every game, and the Bruins proved that Tuesday night when their 15-game point streak came to an end in Winnipeg via a 2-1 loss to the Jets at the MTS Centre. The game was a tough task for the Bruins, who put up a valiant effort despite playing their third game in four days, but fell victim to a hot goaltender in the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec.
Winnipeg got on the board first when Andrew Ladd fired a wrister over Tuukka Rask‘s right shoulder 18:21 into the first period to give the Jets a 1-0 lead. In the second period, both teams went on the man-advantage twice, but neither team could find the back of the net.
Shawn Thornton tied the game in the third period on a redirect of a Daniel Paille shot after Greg Campbell stripped Jason Jaffray of the puck at the top of the Winnipeg zone. The Jets reclaimed the lead 4:50 into the third when the Bruins gave up a 2-on-1 off a faceoff and Bryan Little cashed in, beating Rask five-hole for the game-winner.
The Bruins will get a day off Wednesday before hosting the Panthers at the TD Garden Thursday night.
What went wrong for the Bruins
– Pavelec was simply phenomenal for the Jets Tuesday night as he tied a season-high record for saves with 39. While the Bruins had plenty of scoring chances, they simply could not find a way to beat the Czech goaltender. In the last five minutes of the third period, the Bruins peppered Pavelec with shots, but he was perfectly positioned for all of them. He made a particularly impressive save on a Milan Lucic shot with 37.8 seconds left, when he slid across the crease just in time to cover Lucic’s attempt.
Boston experienced the same frustration on the power play, when, despite putting up 11 shots on three power plays, could net find the back of the net with the man-advantage.
– It seemed like nothing was going right for David Krejci Tuesday night. The forward had a flurry of offensive chances early in the game, including a rebounder fired from the top of the crease off a Zdeno Chara shot early in the second, but Pavelec frustrated Krejci’s chances all night. Krejci then took two minor penalties, one of which ended the second period and another at the beginning of the third period.
– The Bruins were without Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games. Seguin was a healthy scratch because he missed team breakfast Tuesday morning. It was not the first time Seguin missed a team activity, and Peter Chiarelli decided to use the episode as a learning experience for the young forward. Rich Peverley took over Seguin’s second-line duties. Jordan Caron filled out the lineup.
What went right for the Bruins
– Rask kept the game close in the third period when he dove forward to rob Evander Kane from just in front of the net seven minutes into the third period. The stop was an important one for Boston, who was losing momentum fast following a Winnipeg goal to make it 2-1 Jets. Rask made a flashy glove save midway through the period with the Jets on a power play due to a tripping call against Benoit Pouliot.
Those two saves were especially welcome from Rask since the first goal he gave up, a high wrister off Ladd’s stick, was one he may have wanted back.
– Fourth lines are not supposed to be scoring lines, so it is always an added bonus for a team when its fourth line can put up some points. Thornton did just that Tuesday night, when a Paille shot bounced off his hand to beat the otherwise unbeatable Pavelec.
– Johnny Boychuk returned to the game after taking a booming Zach Bogosian shot to the leg. Immediately after blocking the shot, Boychuck writhed in pain on the ice before hobbling to the bench. Boychuk recovered well enough between periods to play the third, which was especially fortuitous since it was Boychuk who slowed up Kane on what could have been a breakaway to put the game away late in the third.
|Tim Thomas named NHL’s First Star of the Month for November||12.01.11 at 12:56 pm ET|
Goaltender Tim Thomas earned some national recognition for his no-loss November when he was named as the NHL’s First Star of the Month on Thursday. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was 9-0-0 in November with a .941 save percentage and a 1.76 goals against average. Thomas recorded three shutouts in the month, the first of which came on Nov. 5 against the Maple Leafs while the other two came in back-to-back fashion against the Islanders on Nov. 19 and the Canadiens on Nov. 21.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews took home Second Star honors while the Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul was the league’s Third Star. Toews finished the month with nine goals and nine assists via three multi-goal games and five multi-point games in the month. Chicago went 7-6-1 in November.
Lupul found his way onto the scoresheet in 12-of-14 games the Maple Leafs played in November. He started the month with a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Devils and finished with a seven-game point-scoring streak. Toronto was 7-6-1 in November. This is the second time this season a Maple Leaf took home a monthly honor, as Phil Kessel finished as the league’s First Star in October.
|Ryan Miller: Neck pain, not concussion from Milan Lucic hit||11.28.11 at 4:04 pm ET|
Over two weeks ago, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller made headlines when he publicly complained after Bruins forward Milan Lucic charged into him in the first period of the Bruins Nov. 12 win. The hit was so hard that it knocked Miller’s mask off, and Miller was removed from the game after the second period.
The team said at the time that Miller had a concussion. Miller later revealed that the team released that information as part of a bid to get Lucic suspended.
But NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan did not suspend or fine Lucic, and Miller has yet to play in a game since the hit. On Monday, Miller was on the ice in Buffalo before practice taking some shots and said he hoped to return to regular practices soon. Miller also noted that he doesn’t think he suffered a concussion, saying it was more of a neck injury related to a disc problem.
“I feel good symptom-wise,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “It was more neck and something where I aggravated a disc in my neck pretty good and we had an MRI and CT-scan showing that which kind of backed that up and was the source of a lot of the tension and a lot of the discomfort.”
|Bruins exact revenge on Canadiens, record ninth-straight win||11.21.11 at 10:28 pm ET|
Throughout much of the Bruins’ current nine-game win streak, Boston grabbed victories by blowing out opponents. On Monday night, the Bruins proved they could win the close, low-scoring games as well when they shut out the Canadiens, 1-0, in Montreal.
The win moved the Bruins into second place behind the Penguins in the Eastern Conference and into first in the Northeast Division after residing in the basement of both the conference and division just 16 days ago. The last Bruins loss came at the hands of the Canadiens on Oct. 29 at the Bell Centre.
Tim Thomas made 32 saves to earn his second consecutive shutout, both of which came on the road. Defenseman Andrew Ference scored the only goal of the game on a wrister 15:41 into the first period. Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly recorded assists on the tally.
The Bruins will attempt to carry their win streak into double digits when they return to the ice on Wednesday in Buffalo.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Ference ended Carey Price‘s six-period shutout streak 15:41 into the game with a goal on a cross-ice feed from Rich Peverley that Ference roofed over Price’s glove. The goal was Ference’s second in as many games. It came on a delayed penalty against Montreal, but the extra-attacker had yet to reach the zone.
– Thomas was outstanding in net on Monday night. He saw the puck extremely well and was in perfect position all night. Thomas made quite a few spectacular saves, including one at the end of the second period when he robbed Mike Camalleri on a power-play jam attempt. He proved how well he was tracking the puck when he snagged a Scott Gomez tip of a Camalleri shot that changed direction at the last moment.
– The Bruins penalty kill had to step up in big moments on Monday. They were tasked with stopping the Canadiens on a four-minute kill that bridged the second and third periods, and then, with Price getting pulled in the waning moments of the game, had to kill off a 6-on-4 for the final 1:39 of the game. The saying goes that a good penalty kill starts with strong goaltending, and although Thomas was strong in net, the Bruins defenders did an admirable job clearing out pucks and pinning plays against the boards. At the end of the second period, Daniel Paille proved the Bruins commitment to the penalty kill when he dove to clear out a puck despite being fresh off surgery for a broken nose.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Former Canadien Benoit Pouliot put the Bruins’ lead in peril with six penalty minutes off of stick penalties in the second period. Pouliot’s second penalty, a four-minute double minor for high sticking, came less than three minutes after the end of his first. Bruins coach Claude Julien made Pouliot pay in the third by benching him for all but 13 seconds of the period.
– The Bruins were unable to sustain much offensive pressure throughout the game, and the top two lines were quiet for most of the night. Brad Marchand and David Krejci failed to put any shots on net. The Bruins in all barely tested Price, putting up 18 shots on the night. They were outshot 14-5 in the third period.