|Shawn Thornton mum on healthy scratch||03.03.13 at 11:51 am ET|
Shawn Thornton was a surprise healthy scratch Saturday when Claude Julien sat him for the first time since last postseason. Wanting to get Jay Pandolfo in the lineup for the sake of shuffling his bottom-six forwards to team Daniel Paille with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, Julien made the move to sit the veteran enforcer.
Speaking to WEEI.com Sunday morning, Thornton seemed less than thrilled with the healthy scratch. Asked Sunday if he was caught off guard by the benching, Thornton was uncharacteristically brief.
“It’s a tough question to answer,” Thornton said. “Actually I’m not going to answer it.”
Thornton did say the scratch was not explained to him, and that he was unsure of whether he would be back in the lineup Sunday against the Canadiens. Julien said that he’ll make that decision prior to the game, and said he doesn’t have to explain healthy scratches to players (for what it’s worth, Tyler Seguin said in 2011 that he was never given a reason for the team scratching him late in the season and into the postseason).
“You don’t want to baby players,” Julien said. “A lot of them, like Shawn, understand exactly what’s going on. He knows and he’s always had a great attitude. I told him just before we went out there when we got to the rink that I was contemplating maybe making a change, and I wasn’t sure and I was going to decide after the warmup. As long as he had a heads up instead of catching a guy like that, a veteran, at the last minute and telling them, ‘By the way you’re out.’ I do those kind of things, but I don’t have to to go into explanations. I don’t have time for that. Our guys know how we operate by now and there’s never been an issue with that.”
Julien had said entering the season that he was going to be quicker with roster decisions in the 48-game schedule, one in which wins are more important. Julien showed that by shaking up the top-six forwards last month against Montreal, and he showed it again Saturday when he wanted three lines capable of matching up with Tampa’s top-six forwards. He doesn’t feel he’s ruffled any feathers in the process.
“There’s no issues with Shawn,” Julien said. “He’s always been a team-first guy. That wasn’t an issue. We move guys around and we’re still team tough. We have other guys that can step up, as you saw yesterday. Those are things, in a tight schedule, you’re probably going to see more and more as we move forward here.”
|Bruins come back to beat Lightning||03.02.13 at 3:37 pm ET|
Brad Marchand’s team-leading 11th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie and completed a come-from-behind victory for the Bruins as they beat the Lightning, 3-2, Saturday at TD Garden.
The Bruins had trailed, 2-0, before coming back and taking the lead on Marchand’s goal, a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. It was Boston’s second power goal of the day after the B’s had entered the game without a power play goal at home this season.
The Lightning jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period thanks to power play goals from Steven Stamkos and Alexander Killorn. Entering the second period facing their fifth multiple-goal deficit of the season, the Bruins pulled even thanks to a power-play goal from Tyler Seguin and an even-strength tally on a one-timer from Rich Peverley.
Shawn Thornton was made a healthy scratch for the first time this season, with Jay Pandolfo skating on the fourth line in his place.
Anton Khudobin picked up the win for the Bruins, stopping 20 of 22 shots faced. The Bruins improved to 14-2-2 on the season with the win and will face the Canadiens Sunday night at the Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It’s pretty impressive to think that of the five games in which the Bruins have trailed by two or more goals, they’ve tied it up three times. Boston came back from two and three-goal deficits against the Rangers before losing in overtime and a shootout, respectively, and they were able to erase Tampa’s 2-0 lead in the second period Saturday.
– The second-period power play on which Seguin scored was one of the Bruins’ best of the season, with great puck movement by the top unit of Seguin, Hamilton, Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. The goal was the Bruins’ first power play goal at home this season.
– He didn’t face many shots, but considering the he was going up against the top-scoring team in the NHL and the Lightning spent over a quarter of the game on the power play, the results were pretty good for Anton Khudobin. He was decked out of his pads on Killorn’s goal, and there was nothing anyone could have done on Stamkos’ score. Khudobin came up big in stopping Killorn on a shorthanded partial breakaway with less than five minutes left in the third.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– After killing 27 straight penalties, the Bruins have now allowed power play goals to opponents in back-to-back games. The B’s had gone seven games without allowing a power play goal prior Jim O’Brien’s second-period goal for the Senators on Thursday.
In fact, the three power-play goals they allowed over a four-period span matches what they had allowed in their previous 11 games. Saturday was the first game of the season in which the B’s allowed multiple power-play goals.
– Though the fans weren’t thrilled with the referees, the Bruins took five minor penalties in the first period. The most contested by the B’s were a pair of boarding calls on Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic. Seidenberg forced Benoit Pouliot out of the game on his hit, as Pouliot didn’t have much time to brace himself prior to it. Milan Lucic also went off for boarding in the final seconds of the period.
Those weren’t the only boarding calls in the game, as Pandolfo slammed Killorn into the boards midway through the second period. Vincent Lacavalier had gone off earlier in the second for boarding Johnny Boychuk. The refs became a bit of a punchline throughout the game for all the boarding calls, but they were largely justified.
– Brad Marchand nearly made it a one-goal game midway through the first period when he fired a shot off Mathieu Garon from behind the net. The puck trickled off Garon and back toward the net, but stopped just before the goal line. Eric Brewer cleared the puck away before Patrice Bergeron could push it in.
|Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch vs. Lightning||03.02.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
Though Thornton missed two games in February due to a concussion, Saturday marks the first time this season he’s been a healthy scratch. Pandolfo is playing in his second game of the season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins prepare for action-packed March||03.01.13 at 3:24 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien kept his top six forwards (among others), five of his six starting defensemen and his No. 1 goalie off the ice Friday, and it wasn’t because they didn’t have their legs Thursday against the Senators, but because they’re going to need their legs this weekend and this month.
March will be an especially busy month for the Bruins after having a lighter schedule to open the season. The B’s have played 17 games since the season began on Jan. 19, but they’ll have 17 games in 31 days in the month of March. That includes four sets of back-to-backs.
“We have to take it game by game,” David Krejci said. “When you look at it as 17 games in a month, that’s a lot. When you look at it game-by-game, it’s not that bad.”
The Bruins are set to host the Lightning Saturday afternoon and the Canadiens Sunday night. The former is an offensively skilled team that’s lost three straight and needs to get its record back to .500 (9-10-1), while the latter is perhaps the NHL’s biggest surprise team, leading the Eastern Conference with 29 points in 20 games.
The Bruins’ 17 games played is the least in the NHL. They’ve actually been the conference’s most productive team, as they’re just a point behind the Habs with three games in hand, but seeing any team above them in the standings is enough to keep them from getting complacent.
“It’s easy to stay motivated right now,” Julien said after Friday’s session. There are teams that are ahead of us and we want to be at the top. You work to get there, and you can’t afford to have any letdowns. Those are all motivational factors that keep us going.”
March’s busy schedule means the B’s will have to go about things differently. There will be less practices and more video work to make up for lost time between games. There will also be more of Anton Khudobin, who will spell Tuukka Rask more frequently than he has thus far. Khudobin has played just three of the Bruins’ first 17 games, but he should get into at least four this month with the back-to-backs. Khudobin will be in net Saturday against the Lightning.
|Bruins hold smaller practice||03.01.13 at 11:42 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had rather light attendance Friday, with the majority of the team as well as Claude Julien getting a day off the ice.
Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Daniel Paille, Chris Bourque, Jay Pandolfo, Lane MacDermid, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell were joined by Anton Khudobin. Assistant coaches Doug Jarvis and Doug Houda led the practice.
|Patrice Bergeron helps Bruins past Senators in overtime||02.28.13 at 9:42 pm ET|
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||02.28.13 at 12:44 pm ET|
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.