|Tim Thomas: Political comments ‘personal’||02.08.12 at 11:30 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was asked two questions about his Facebook comments about the Catholic church Wednesday. The first question wasn’t finished before he responded.
“That’s my personal life,” he said. “I won’t be talking about that. It has absolutely nothing to do with the game of hockey.”
Thomas was then asked whether he worried about the attention that his comments on Facebook attract.
“That’s my personal life,” he said. “I won’t be commenting on that. It has nothing to do with the game of hockey or my job as a Boston Bruin.”
|Bruins allow season-worst six goals, get crushed by Sabres||02.08.12 at 10:16 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Amid weeks of up-and-down hockey, the Bruins suffered perhaps their ugliest loss of the season, getting blanked by the Sabres, 6-0, Wednesday at First Niagara Center.
Tuukka Rask was chased after allowing three goals on the first 10 shots he faced, and the Sabres got a two-goal performance from captain Jason Pominville. Goalie Ryan Miller‘s shutout marked the second time in the last four games that the B’s have been kept scoreless.
The Sabres got on the board 6:23 into the first period, when a wrist shot fired by Christian Ehrhoff from the point went off Gregory Campbell‘s stick and past Rask. After a Milan Lucic goal was disallowed on a controversial call from referee Rob Martell, the Sabres took a 2-0 lead on Pominville’s first of the night.
Tyler Ennis made it 3-0, 1:52 into the second period, which ended Rask’s night early. While Tim Thomas stopped the bleeding for a bit, Patrick Kaleta made it 4-0 late in the period. Pominville added his second of the night 1:18 into the third period. Drew Stafford made it 6-0 with just over a minute to play.
The Bruins will return to Boston, where they will face the Predators on Saturday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It appeared that Lucic had tied the game nearly halfway through the first period when he tipped a shot from the point past Miller, but the goal was not allowed because Rich Peverley, made contact with Miller while he was tangled up with a Sabre in front. Replays showed that Miller was out of the crease and that the contact made by Peverley was minimal. The Bruins obviously have a history of contact with Miller (see: Lucic), but that was just a horrid call that cost the B’s.
– You don’t see Zdeno Chara with a bad rating too often, but his pairing with Johnny Boychuk was on the ice for three of the Sabres’ goals. Charas minus-3 rating makes for his worst rating since Nov. 5, 2010, when he was a minus-4 against the Capitals. Boychuk was given the traffic cone treatment by Ville Leino on Pominville’s goal in the first period.
– It was obviously not Rask’s night, as he faced only 10 shots and allowed three goals. It was the fourth straight loss for Rask, who has now allowed at least three goals in five of his last six games. Prior to that stretch, he allowed just one goal over five games. It wasn’t long ago that Rask was leading the NHL in both save percentage and goals-against average, but he hasn’t been his elite self of late.
– Miller had to put in minimal work to pick up the shutout Wednesday night. The Bruins got very little going offensively, and managed just seven shots on goal in the second period.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It isn’t saying much, but at least the Bruins won their fights. Shawn Thornton got the takedown in a short-lived, high-energy bout with Cody McCormick in the first period, and later in the period Lucic dropped the gloves with Kaleta. While Lucic won the fight in convincing fashion, Kaleta celebrated and attempted to pump up the crowd as though the fight played out differently.
Thornton beat up on Mike Weber in the second period after he didn’t like Weber’s hit on Benoit Pouliot, but Thornton was given an instigator penalty on the play. Adam McQuaid also tussled with Kaleta in the third.
– Speaking of fights, Thornton’s first-period fight with McCormick was the 100th of his career. Unfortunately for Thornton, he had to double-up his workload in attempts to swing momentum because of how poorly the team was playing.
|Bruins-Sabres Live Blog: Sabres leading, 5-0, in third||02.08.12 at 7:17 pm ET|
|Tim Thomas posted another thing on Facebook||02.08.12 at 3:30 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas took to Facebook again Wednesday to express his political views.
Thomas posted the following on Wednesday:
“I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom.
‘In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.’
— by Martin NiemÃ¶ller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came….”
Thomas famously posted his reasoning for not visiting the White House on his Facebook page last month, and has used Facebook to post messages and quotes.
|Bruins not taking Sabres lightly||02.08.12 at 1:11 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday that he’d like to see his team play better against non-playoff teams. The B’s will face one Wednesday in Buffalo, and the Sabres are desperately trying to climb up the standings to shake the “non-playoff team” label.
The Sabres were a tough team to project at the beginning of the season. They had spent money in the offseason, but there was still question as to whether they were deep enough to be a legitimate contender. Injuries and inconsistency have answered those questions, and Sabres are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of the last-place Hurricanes.
Yet Buffalo has picked it up of late, going 3-0-1 over its last four games to follow up a five-game losing streak. This might be the point in the season in which cellar-dwelling teams begin to embrace the role of “spoiler,” but when the Bruins look at the Sabres, they see a hungry team that wants to make up the 11 points that currently separate Buffalo from a playoff spot.
“There are obviously maybe some teams that are out of the playoff picture, but [Buffalo] is definitely not one of them,” Bruins center Chris Kelly said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I think they’ve been playing well of late. They want to come out and play well, just like we do and they want to move up the standings, just like we do as well.”
The Bruins expect a hard game from the Lindy Ruff-less Sabres, but at this point in their schedule, they expect a hard game from every team they face.
“If you look, there’s a lot of three-point games. There’s no secret to that,” Kelly said. “Teams are bearing down, and if there’s a for at least one point, you’d better believe both teams are going to get that one point and they’re going to fight for that second point. There’s no easy points in the second half, and that hasn’t been a secret for years.”
The Bruins are 2-0-0 against the Sabres this season, and they hope to carry momentum from Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Capitals into Wednesday’s contest.
“Especially in the Washington game, I thought we played a consistent 60 minutes,” Kelly said. “For the most part, we were in control the entire game. We got back to doing those little things that make us successful, the attention to detail, a lot of things that maybe go unnoticed and don’t make the highlights, but are needed if you’re going to be successful.”
Based on the lines in Wednesday’s morning skate, Claude Julien is going to go with the same lines against the Sabres that he used against the Capitals. That means that Kelly will remain on the team’s top line between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley.
|Injured Lindy Ruff won’t coach Sabres Wednesday||02.08.12 at 12:48 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Sabres’ will be without an important piece Wednesday night against the Bruins, and it isn’t anyone who shows up on the stat sheet.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, who broke three ribs earlier this week in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold, will not be behind the bench when the teams meet Wednesday at First Niagara center. In place of Ruff, assistant coach James Patrick will call the shots from behind the Buffalo bench.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the hit shows the potential danger that coaches face in practices, and said that coaches wearing helmets would be logical, though he wouldn’t want to wear one.
“I guess it just goes to show there is a risk in our job as well as those players have, especially in practice,” Julien said. “I’ve had a few collisions with players. It happens. That’s why you’ve got to be ready all the time. When you see it, you can brace yourself, but when you don’t, it can be a tough fall. We don’t have that much protection underneath that sweat suit, except for the extra weight we carry.”
The Sabres will also be without forward Thomas Vanek, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Vanek participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, but Patrick said after the skate that Vanek would not play.
|Tuukka Rask to start for Bruins vs. Sabres||02.08.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t usually flat-out say which goaltender will start that night’s game, but he made an exception a day after declaring he would not answer any more questions about concussed forward Nathan Horton.
Julien revealed Wednesday night’s starting goaltender, saying that Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the B’s against the Sabres.
Rask is third in the NHL in both save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.88), but has not won any of his last three starts (0-2-1). His last victory came on Jan. 16 against the Panthers in Florida.
The team’s forward lines remained the same as they were in Tuesday’s practice, with David Krejci still on the third line between Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron.