|Sabres hand Bruins first regulation loss of season||01.31.13 at 9:33 pm ET|
The Bruins suffered their first regulation loss of the season Thursday, dropping a 7-4 contest to the Sabres at TD Garden in a game that stopped a four-game skid for Buffalo.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period thats most only notable action came when John Scott pulverized Shawn Thornton in a short-lived fight that knocked Thornton out of the game, but a combined six goals in the second period opened things up quite a bit.
Though the Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Thomas Vanek‘s first goal of a hat trick performance, the B’s answered back with Rich Peverley‘s first of the year and a pair of goals from Brad Marchand. Vanek and Tyler Ennis then scored to make it 3-3 heading into the third, and though David Krejci gave the B’s the lead 1:45 in, three unanswered goals from Alexander Sulzer, Cody Hodgson and Vanek put the game out of reach in Buffalo’s favor. Jason Pominville added an empty-netter with 13.6 seconds remaining.
The B’s, now 5-1-1 on the season, will return to action Saturday night in Toronto.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It did not look good for Thornton, who was dropped in such quick fashion that enforcers throughout the league will have to think three or four times before fighting the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott.
– Overall it was a defensively sloppy performance for the Bruins once the Sabres mounted their comeback in the second period. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for three of opponent’s goals, which is something you don’t see every day.
– For the third time in seven games, the Bruins’ penalty kill had to deal with a 5-on-3, but Thursday’s was for a full-two minutes, as Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara went off for boarding and holding, respectively, as 15:45 of the second period. The Sabres cashed in, with Vanek scoring his second goal of the game. The goal made it the second straight game in which the Bruins have allowed a power play goal.
– The Bruins negated half of a Tyler Myers double-minor for high sticking with the Bruins trailing by a goal in the third when Dennis Seidenberg took a tripping penalty about a minute into the power play. The B’s failed to capitalize on the two total minutes they did get on the man advantage and went 0-for-4 on the power play for the night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR BRUINS
– Because of everything else he brings to the table between his two-way play and his mouth, Marchand’s actual skill level can go unnoticed. The Sabres noticed it a bit too late on the 24-year-old’s first goal, as he took a pass from Patrice Bergeron at the blue line, went around Tyler Myers and executed a toe drag across the front of the net that took both Jordan Leopold and Ryan Miller across in unison before flipping it into the net. Marchand now has a team-high five goals on the season.
– Though he still has yet to score a real goal this season (he does have an empty-netter to his name), Tyler Seguin had his strongest performance of the early campaign. He had scoring chances on which he failed to capitalize (missing the net in the first period on a feed from Marchand and getting stopped in the second period after batting down a Gregory Campbell shot), but Seguin did more of the little things that have often been missing from his game. Most notably, Seguin battled in front of the net with two bigger defenders in order to create enough havoc for Marchand to fire his second goal of the game past Miller.
– Speaking of skill, David Krejci’s success this season continued, as he showed fantastic patience in delaying to take a sliding Leopold out of the picture to allow him to beat Miller stick-side from the right circle. It was Krejci’s second goal of the season, but he has been a very easy candidate for the team’s best offensive player through seven games. Both Krejci and Nathan Horton now have five-game point streaks.
– Peverley’s goal was long overdue not only for him, but for Chris Kelly‘s line as a whole. The goal, which came as a result of some hard work in front from Daniel Paille before Peverley controlled the puck in the high slot and fired a quick shot past Miller.
|Under the Boston microscope, Chris Bourque still seeking results||01.31.13 at 1:52 pm ET|
There haven’t been many changes to the Bruins’ lineup, so Chris Bourque hasn’t exactly been able to slide in under the radar.
Yes, he joined the Bruins this offseason with everyone knowing that he was the son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, but he also came in with people knowing he wasn’t able to stick on other NHL rosters, so he had something to prove. With that comes pressure. With a slow start to his Boston career came more pressure, and it’s been easy for fans to be down on the 27-year-old.
With Jordan Caron working his way back from a shoulder injury and a mediocre performance in the AHL, Bourque was handed the left wing spot on Chris Kelly‘s line, as well as a job on the Bruins’ second power-play configuration. He’s also been given a shot in each of the Bruins’ shootouts this season, but through six games he has gone pointless with a minus-4 rating and an 0-for-2 showing in shootouts.
Though the team has yet to lose a game in regulation, Bourque has felt the burden of a slow start, and it led to the team making him a healthy scratch in favor of Lane MacDermid for Thursday night’s game against the Sabres.
“I obviously put a lot of pressure on myself, especially to produce,” Bourque said after Thursday’s morning skate. “When you don’t produce, you feel like you’re not helping the team win, but we’ve been winning. We haven’t lost a game yet, so I can’t complain too much. Like I said, obviously I want to contribute and help the team win, so if that’s by getting points or just doing little things, that’s what I’m trying to focus on.”
Kelly himself didn’t score in his first 20 games for the Bruins after being acquired prior to the 2011 trade deadline, totaling just two assists in the process. He gets the sense that a lot of the pressure that Bourque is feeling will go away when he finally buries one.
“I’ve been in his shoes before, where you want to come in, you want to play the perfect game defensively, yet you’ve got to add some offense to kind of get noticed,” Kelly said. “I think Chris has done a great job and helped our line. He’s just a little unlucky here or there, but those bounces will eventually go in.”
In 39 career NHL games, Bourque has one goal and three assists for 13 points. He’s bounced around since playing at Boston University for a season, as he’s played in the Washington and Pittsburgh organizations while also spending time in the KHL and Swiss League. His skill set is apparent, as it wasn’t just his name that made him the 33rd overall pick in the 2004 draft, but the production hasn’t been yet.
“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”
Time will tell whether Bourque’s stay in the press box is prolonged. The Sabres have more fighters in their lineup than previous seasons thanks to the additions of John Scott and Steve Ott, so perhaps the Bruins simply wanted to add another fighter (MacDermid had seven fights in Providence this season) for Thursday. Either way, the value of Bourque hasn’t been lost on Kelly, who said Bourque has been a good addition to a line that just hasn’t been able to score yet this season.
“He gets in on the forecheck, he makes good plays in the breakout,” Kelly said of Bourque. “He’s in the right spot offensively and defensively. You get one of those bounces and you guys aren’t talking to us, we’re blending in.”
|Chris Bourque a healthy scratch vs. Sabres||01.31.13 at 12:07 pm ET|
After a challenging start to his Bruins career, Chris Bourque will be made a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Sabres, Claude Julien confirmed after the team’s morning skate.
Bourque, who has no points and a minus-4 rating through six games, stayed out later than his teammates in the skate, which is often a sign that a player won’t be in that night’s lineup. Tough guy Lane MacDermid will be inserted into the lineup on the fourth line, while Daniel Paille will move up to take Bourque’s spot on Chris Kelly‘s line.
“Chris spent a little extra time on the ice, and he’s a player that we’re going to sit out tonight,” Julien said Thursday. “I had a good talk with Chris this morning. I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know. I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Tyler Seguin pulls double duty in shootout win||01.29.13 at 11:57 pm ET|
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.”
|Tuukka Rask, Nathan Horton lead Bruins past Devils in shootout win||01.29.13 at 9:49 pm ET|
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.
|Brad Marchand: Jeff Skinner ‘slew foots all the time’||01.29.13 at 12:19 pm ET|
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.
“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.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien: Tyler Seguin ‘out of sync’||01.29.13 at 11:24 am ET|
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.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.