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Adam McQuaid still missing from practice 01.31.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was once again the only player absent from practice as the Bruins skated Friday at Ristuccia Arena.

McQuaid has not played since the second period of the team’s shootout loss to the Blackhawks on Jan. 19 due to a leg injury. He has missed 23 total games this season due to multiple lower-body injuries.

The Bruins’ lines were the same in Friday’s practice as they were in Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens, with Chris Kelly on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

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Claude Julien in no mood to explain why he pulled Tuukka Rask 01.30.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask didn’t seem happy about being pulled Thursday, and Claude Julien was in no mood to explain why.

After Brian Gionta scored on the power play to make it 3-1 in the second period of Montreal’s win Thursday, Julien pulled Rask for the fourth time since Dec. 14. Rask was visibly upset as he left the ice, and after the game said that he felt “OK” in the game.

“I play as long as they tell me to play,” Rask said, “so I try to battle out there are hard as I can, I stay out there as long as I possibly can and today it lasted a little over one period. It’s too bad.”

The Habs’ second goal came on a breakaway off a turnover from Daniel Paille, while the first goal was a shot from the point that went through a lot of traffic. Though Gionta’s goal in which he tipped in a Tomas Plekanec shot was a bad goal to give up, it was still somewhat surprising to see Rask yanked given the circumstances of the goals he allowed.

“It’s a lot of everything,” Julien said after the game when asked why he pulled Rask. “That’s decisions that I make and I don’t feel I have to explain [them] every time.”

Later in Julien’s press conference, he was asked what “a lot of everything” includes.

“[It] includes what I want it to,” Julien said. “Don’t think I have to explain myself [for] why I pull a goalie, OK? Because this isn’t going to be one of those things where we make a big story out of a pulled goalie. Our team was poor tonight, ‘K? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’t think I have to explain everything to you guys for the reasons, because there’s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.”

The loss Thursday night dropped Rask to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. For a guy who has dominated most other teams, those numbers are alarming. It may be a little early in his career to bring up the Pedro Martinez-Yankees comparison, but the Canadiens have been Rask’s kryptonite.

“I don’t know,” Rask said of why he’s put up poor numbers against Montreal. “I mean, I haven’t played too many bad games against them; I just can’t get the wins. I mean, it sucks, but what can you do? Just hopefully by the end of my career, they’re better.”

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Canadiens chase Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins 01.30.14 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Canadiens interrupted the Bruins’ recent hot streak Thursday, taking a 4-1 contest at TD Garden and improving to 2-0-0 against the B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and dropped to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. He allowed three goals on 18 shots before being pulled a little over halfway through the second period. Chad Johnson allowed one goal in relief.

The Habs got on the board 2:16 into the game when an Alexei Emelin shot from the point went through plenty of traffic but didn’t appear to hit anything on its way past Rask. Max Pacioretty made it 2-0 later in the period when he took a feed from Brendan Gallagher off a Daniel Paille turnover, flew down the wing and held off Johnny Boychuk on his way to beating Rask five-hole.

Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board at 15:38 of the first when a shot from the point hit a Montreal body and got past Peter Budaj, but it would be Boston’s only goal of the night. A Brian Gionta power-play goal at 11:54 of the second chased Rask, and a Daniel Briere breakaway goal on Johnson made it a three-goal lead for the Habs.

The loss snapped the Bruins’ four-game winning streak. The B’s have four games left before the Olympic break and will host Andrew Ference and the Oilers on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Rask has now been pulled four times this season, all of which have come in the last month and a half. Rask was pulled Dec. 14 against the Canucks, Dec. 28 in Ottawa and Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Though Gionta’s goal was the only particularly bad one he allowed, getting yanked at least four times in a season isn’t a great thing to have on a Vezina resume.

– The Bruins had scored six goals in three straight games (3-0-0) prior to Thursday’s game, but they were able to muster exactly one sixth of that mark Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Peter Budaj, Tuukka Rask
Bruins set to host Canadiens 01.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will be in net Thursday night against the Canadiens, as he was the first goaltender off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate. He will face Peter Budaj, who gets the start for the Habs. Montreal last played Tuesday, with Carey Price making his eighth consecutive start.

It will be just the second meeting between the teams this season, with the Habs taking a 2-1 win Dec. 5 in Montreal.

The Bruins have been hot of late, going 6-1-1 over their last eight contests and scoring six goals in three straight (3-0-0), while the Canadiens are slumping. Montreal’s win Tuesday over the Hurricanes stopped a four-game skid, and the Habs currently stand fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. By comparison, the Habs, who have played 53 games to Boston’s 52, are 10 points behind the B’s (Boston has 71 points to Montreal’s 61).

Adam McQuaid did not take part in the morning skate as he remains out with a leg injury. Chris Kelly took line rushes with the fourth line, which is where he played for the first two periods of Tuesday’s win over the Panthers.

The anticipated lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Paille – Soderberg – Eriksson
Campbell – Kelly – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Report: Bruins in mix for outdoor game next season 01.29.14 at 11:37 am ET
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Bruins are among the teams in the mix for an outdoor game next season.

The Bruins hosted the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, defeating the Flyers in overtime. Dreger is reporting that there will be four outdoor games next season, which will be a drop-off from this season’s six.

 

 

Tim Thomas defends role in altercation with Carl Soderberg 01.28.14 at 11:04 pm ET
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Things hadn’t gone great for Tim Thomas after he had allowed six goals in what would eventually be a 6-2 Bruins win Tuesday, and they got worse when he went after Bruins forward Carl Soderberg with 3.4 seconds left over a play and could put himself in Brendan Shanahan‘s phonebook.

Soderberg was going for a rebound in front of the net his stick appeared to make contact with Thomas’ mask. Thomas didn’t like it and struck Soderberg in the head with the paddle of his stick.

“Soderberg, the play before that he did quite a hard jab and then all of the sudden the puck is up in the air, you’€™re catching it, and his stick is in my throat,” Thomas said after the game. “With less than a minute left in a game and they’€™re up by four goals, 6-2, I took exception to that.”

The idea that a player shouldn’t go for a rebound late in a blowout is preposterous, especially coming from as hard a worker as Tim Thomas. There’s no unwritten rule about players letting up in already decided games, just like there’s no unwritten rule about batter striking out in the top of the ninth inning when their team is winning.

Told of Thomas’ suggestion that there was something wrong with playing until the final whistle, Soderberg found the logic rather silly.

“We can’t stop playing just because the game has like 30 seconds left,” Soderberg said. “We have to try to score the whole way.”

Thomas has never been suspended in his career, but Tuesday’s whack at Soderberg’s head is a strong candidate to be his first.

Claude Julien agreed with Soderberg, taking no issue with the player going to the net as he usually does.

“Well Carl does that even in practice,” Julien said. “I’m not going to say he’s reckless, but he has no fear. It’s great to see a guy like that just go in there and get his nose dirty. It doesn’t matter what time of game; you tell your players to play until the final whistle, and that’s what he does.”

Soderberg said that Thomas hit him in the ear but that he was OK. He disagreed with Thomas’ assertion that he put his stick in Thomas’ throat.

“Oh, not really,” Soderberg countered. “I was just going for a rebound.”

Tuesday’s game was the first Thomas had played against the Bruins in Boston. The first question asked to him in a heavily attended postgame media scrum was whether he’d had fun in his return to the Garden.

“Well, no,” Thomas said. “I think I might’ve enjoyed myself watching the State of the Union more. No, probably not.”

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Bruins score 6 goals on Tim Thomas in rout of Panthers 01.28.14 at 9:38 pm ET
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Tim Thomas‘ first start back at TD Garden didn’t go like a lot of his previous ones, as he allowed six goals in a 6-2 win over the Panthers Tuesday night.

Milan Lucic scores on Panthers goalie Tim Thomas during Tuesday's 6-2 Bruins victory. (AP)

Milan Lucic scores on Panthers goalie Tim Thomas during Tuesday’s 6-2 Bruins victory. (AP)

Things got heated late in the game, as Thomas hit Carl Soderberg in the head with his stick with 3.4 seconds remaining in the game after Soderberg went for a rebound up high. Thomas was assessed a high-sticking minor.

Milan Lucic had a pair of goals for the Bruins, who are 6-1-1 over their last eight games. The game was the third straight in which the B’s have scored three goals.

Lucic got the Bruins on the board by burying the rebound of a Jarome Iginla shot at 7:41 of the first. Later in the period, Zdeno Chara fired a shot from the point with Lucic battling in front. Thomas tried to nab the puck with his glove, but it bounced off a body and then Thomas’ head before bouncing into the net. Though Lucic was initially credited with the goal, it was changed to Chara’s.

Lucic didn’t have to wait long to get back to 15 goals on the season, as he scored 1:46 into the second period to make it 3-0. Reilly Smith built the lead further with a power-play goal off a feed from Carl Soderberg.

Former Bruin Brad Boyes broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid with 33 seconds left in the second period. Dmitry Kulikov made it 4-2 in the third period with a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the point that beat Rask. The goal was the Panthers’ first power-play goal of 2014.

Shawn Thornton made it 5-2 with some impressive work out of the corner and a backhand bid that beat Thomas top-shelf. The goal was Thornton’s fourth goal of the season.

Chris Kelly made his return to the lineup and played the first two periods on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Thornton while Soderberg continued to center Daniel Paille and Loui Eriksson on the third line. Campbell and Kelly switched lines for the third period.

The Bruins will host the Canadiens at TD Garden Thursday in the teams’ second meeting of the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Soderberg has fed Smith for a back-door power-play goal five times this season. It had been a while since the pair had connected for such a play, as the last one prior to Tuesday was on Dec. 23 in Nashville.

– Though 15 is a more round number, the Bruins now have five players with at least 14 goals (Smith, Brad Marchand, Iginla, Patrice Bergeron, Lucic) this season and six 13-goal-scorers including Chara. With 13 goals, Chara is tied with Shea Weber for the NHL lead in goals among defensemen.

– The Bruins had only scored six goals in a game once prior to this three-game stretch, and now they’ve done it three times in a row. The B’s have combined for 18 goals beginning with Saturday’s trouncing of the Flyers.

– Smith now has the team lead in goals all to himself with 18 on the season. With his goal Tuesday, he improved his current point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists for eight points). Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both saw their point streaks end at six games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Tuesday’s game was the first game since Jan. 11 (seven games) that the Bruins did not score a goal with the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith trio on the ice. Smith’s goal came on the power play.

– Some fans apparently weren’t listening when it was announced the Bruins’ second goal had been credited to Chara and not Lucic. When Lucic scored early in the second, a few fans (under 10) threw their hats onto the ice for Lucic’s second goal of the game. Whoops.

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