|Preview: Bruins prepare to take on Kings without Marc Savard||01.24.11 at 3:10 am ET|
As the Bruins (21-14-7) await word on the status of Marc Savard, they will look to sweep their two-game road trip when they take on the Kings (25-22-1) at the Staples Center. The B’s and Kings last met at the Garden on Nov. 20, with the Kings winning, 4-3, in a shootout.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Kings are 15-9-1 at home this season, and are 3-6-0 over their last nine home contests.
- The Bruins are 15-5-4 in away games this season. They have gotten at least one point in each of their road games since the Dec. 27 win over the Panthers, and are 6-0-3 over that stretch. Their last regulation road loss came on Dec. 16 vs. the Canadiens.
- The Bruins have averaged 4.0 goals a game since their 7-6 shootout loss to the Sabres on New Years Day. They had averaged 2.83 goals a night in the first 36 games of the season. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have seven goals apiece this month, while Zdeno Chara has six.
-Thornton’s 15 consecutive games without a goal is his longest such stretch of the season. It’s quite remarkable considering he went 72 straight games without a tally a season ago.
Thornton’s seven goals are a career-high, and he’s on pace for 12 this season.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- This road trip could have meant a visit with both of the Bruins’ cap causalities this season in Matt Hunwick (Colorado) and Marco Sturm (Los Angeles), but the B’s will have to settle with having seen Hunwick on Saturday. Knee tendinitis has Sturm on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 18.
The B’s traded the German winger to Los Angeles on Dec. 11 in a deal that landed them nothing in return, though the true prize of the trade was the freedom to proceed with the activation of Savard without having to worry about cap strife. In 15 games with the Kings this season, Sturm has four goals and four assists for eight points. He had 106 goals in parts of four seasons with the B’s after being acquired in the Joe Thornton trade.
- The Bruins have two games in hand when it comes to their race with the Lightning for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, but Tampa Bay grabbed another two points Sunday with a 7-1 win over the Thrashers. They have 65 points to the Bruins’ 61, while the B’s lead the Canadiens by two points in the Northeast Division.
- Should Thomas get the nod in net, he will have the opportunity to grab a piece of the league lead in wins, a category he hasn’t led since the beginning of the season. Jonas Hiller and Carey Price each have 24 victories this season, and with both the Ducks and Canadiens off Monday, Thomas (23-4-6) could make it a three-way tie. Thomas already leads the league in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.945) and is tied with Henrik Lundqvist for a league-leading seven shutouts.
Thomas has not lost a game in regulation since Dec. 20. He is 8-0-3 in 11 games (10 starts) since then.
|Marc Savard (head) won’t travel to Los Angeles with Bruins||01.22.11 at 6:02 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard will return to Boston for tests after a hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick caused him to leave Saturday’s game with a head injury. The team is traveling to Los Angeles on Saturday in anticipation of Monday’s game against the Kings.
“He’s going to be headed back home,” Claude Julien told NESN’s Naoko Funayama following the team’s 6-2 win. “He got shook up obviously, and for precautionary reasons, were going to send him back home to get evaluated by our own doctors.”
Savard fell to the ice following the hit, as his head appeared to hit to the boards. He missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome.
|Marchand’s four points lead Bruins past Avalanche||01.22.11 at 5:35 pm ET|
Four Bruins goals in the first two periods both chased Colorado netminder Craig Anderson from the game and helped the team to a 6-2 victory on Saturday.
Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi had four and three-point showings, respectively, while linemate Patrice Bergeron also scored and had an assist. Milan Lucic had two goals for the B’s, and with David Krejci‘s two assists on the day, five different Bruins had multi-point showings.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind an odd Paul Stastny goal at 2:00 of the first that bounced off of Dennis Seidenberg, but the B’s scored four unanswered goals to end Anderson’s day after 40 minutes. Peter Budaj took over in the third, allowing Bergeron’s goal.
Marc Savard took a hit from former Bruin Matt Hunwick in the corner in the second period and left the game with a head injury. He held a towel to his face as he skated off the ice.
Tim Thomas improved to 23-4-6 on the season with the win. He made 32 saves in the victory.
The Bruins will travel to Los Angeles, where they will face the Kings on Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Marchand continued to prove he’s been the best of an impressive bunch of Bruins’ rookies. He held his own with Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne in front of the net on his first-period goal, and drew Anderson so far out of his net on a 2-on-1 in the second period that the rookie was able to simply slide it to Mark Recchi for an easy one-timer goal.
His second goal of the game was an empty-though it came with Seidenberg in the bench and made for his fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Marchand now has 12 goals and 12 assists on the season.
- Recchi scored his 10th goal of the season, making him the eighth Bruins player with at least 10 goals this season. Last year, the B’s had eight players reach double-digits in goals, and it appears they will expand on that number given that four different Bruins have seven goals on the season.
- Lucic set a career-high in goals in a season with his first period goal and added to the number in the second period. With 19 goals thus far, Lucic is one strike away from the 20 he set as a pre-season goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Marc Savard had his second injury scare in the last Saturday’s game against the Penguins, but unlike the hit he took in that game from Deryk Engelland, his hit from former teammate Hunwick knocked him out of the game.
Savard appeared to be bleeding as he left the ice following the second-period hit. After missing the first 23 games of the season due to post-concussion syndrome, any time the center (who is in the first year of a seven-year deal) leaves the ice holding his head is greatly concerning.
- Nathan Horton is still searching for that goal to break him out of his slump. He had two shots on goal and had an interesting chance when he swung at a bouncing puck in the second period, but now has just one goal over his last 18 games.
- Former Boston University Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk was a thorn in the Bruins’ side, getting the primary assist on Stastny’s goal and making it a two-goal game with a goal of his own early in the third.
|Marc Savard leaves game, but Bruins add to lead||01.22.11 at 4:42 pm ET|
Both Bruins goals in the period came on 2-on-1 opportunities. Brad Marchand took advantage of Craig Anderson coming far out of his net to cut down the angle, and hit Recchi in front for a one-timer. Lucic added his 19th of the season and second of the game with 56 seconds remaining in the period.
Marc Savard will not return to the game after taking a hit in the corner during the second period from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick. Following the hit, Savard fell to the ice, holding his head before trainer Don DelNegro came to his aid.
Through two periods, Tim Thomas has stopped 21 of 22 shots he has faced. The B’s have put 28 shots on Anderson.
|Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic have Bruins leading Avalanche||01.22.11 at 3:47 pm ET|
Some funny bounces and a fight have the Bruins leading the Avalanche, 2-1, after one in Denver on Saturday.
The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead on a flukey Paul Stastny goal that bounced off Dennis Seidenberg before going in.
Brad Marchand tied the game at 9:20. A Mark Recchi pass deflected off an Avalanche player before making its way to the front of the net, where Marchand was trying to outmuscle Ryan O’Byrne. The puck appeared to hit O’ Byrne’s skate before Marchand sent it past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal of the season.
O’Byrne did further damage to the Avalanche’s case Saturday when he sent the puck over the glass in his own zone, landing him a costly delay of game penalty. With the B’s on the power play, David Krejci fired a shot off the end boards that bounced in front. Anderson was unable to control it, and Milan Lucic flew in to send it past the Avalanche netminder for his career-high 18th goal of the season. Recchi got the secondary assist, giving him a pair of helpers in the period.
O’Byrne would take another penalty when he went off at 15:51 for roughing Gregory Campbell. The B’s went 1-for-2 on the power play. They were not shorthanded in the first period.
The lone fight of the period was between Campbell and Cody McLeod following Stastny’s goal. The bout itself was non-eventful, though it accomplished Campbell’s objective of shifting the momentum in the Bruins’ favor. The B’s controlled the tempo of the period from there, scoring both their goals and rattling off a 12-0 shots on goal stretch.
One interesting but ultimately not too surprising bit is that Mark Stuart is a healthy scratch, allowing Adam McQuaid into the lineup. While such a scenario would seem suspicious earlier in the year, Claude Julien is simply giving all seven defensemen — who have played well — an opportunity to get ice time without missing long stretches.
|Tim Thomas to start for Bruins vs. Avalanche||01.22.11 at 2:37 pm ET|
Tim Thomas led the Bruins onto the ice at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, meaning he will be between the pipes for the team’s bout with the Avalanche. Tim Thomas last started on Tuesday, making a season-high 43 saves in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
On the season, Thomas is 22-4-6 with a league-best 1.83 goals against average, .945 save percentage, and seven shutouts.
Facing Colorado also means seeing Matt Hunwick, whom the Bruins traded to the Avalanche on Nov. 29 in exchange for Colby Cohen. The defenseman was a victim of the team’s salary cap spot as they prepared for the return of Marc Savard.
In 22 games with the Bruins this season, Hunwick had three points (1 G, 2 A) and a plus-4. In 23 games with the Avalanche, he has three assists and is a minus-9.
|Nathan Horton quiet in more ways than one||01.20.11 at 10:29 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has fought his entire career to shake the reputation of a player who “disappears” from games. After catastrophic second and third periods Thursday night that led to a couple of the Sabres’ four goals in a 4-2 Bruins loss, Horton was missing from the dressing room. He was requested by the media, but was not available for postgame comment.
It likely would have been the Boston media’s one chance at seeing an upset Horton. The 25-year-old is known for his permanent grin and his extremely friendly attitude, but after one of his more forgettable games of the season, there was no Horton — for whatever reason — to be found.
“He is doing good things, but I think right now his confidence is probably at the lowest it’s ever been, because he understands that he needs to score and it’s not happening,” Claude Julien said after the game.
After scoring 11 goals in his first 28 games, including two in the season-opener, Horton has just one goal over his last 17 games.
“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself, which may not be helping him right now. I think everybody on this team — players and coaching staff — are really helping to see him score a few goals so that he can get himself going,” Julien said.
“I think that’s what’s happening right now. He’s really probably down as far as confidence is concerned and feeling the pressure.”
Zdeno Chara caught flak after making himself unavailable to the media following the team’s overtime loss to the Canadiens this month, but has redeemed himself with stellar play of late. If it can work for Horton, the famed smile may return to the winger — and a town that has spent the last couple of months confused about one of their best scorers.
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