|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.
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|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.
|Lines unchanged as Bruins prepare for Senators||02.28.13 at 11:47 am ET|
After completing a five-game road trip Tuesday night, the Bruins are set to kick off a three-game home stand when they host the Senators in what will be the first of three games in four days.
All members of the Bruins were on the ice at morning skate, with Tuukka Rask the first goaltender off the ice, suggesting he will start his fifth consecutive game. Here’s the projected lineup for Thursday.
Milan Lucic ‘ David Krejci ‘ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille ‘ Gregory Campbell ‘ Shawn Thornton
|Dougie Hamilton might look like Beaker, but he’s no Muppets buff||02.27.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton is a smart guy. He knows the game of hockey well, and he was a superb student before his NHL career, winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2011.
There is one thing he doesn’t know, however, and that’s the Muppets.
A photoshopped picture of Hamilton, done by the website bostonbruinsfan.com, made the rounds on Tuesday night. The image had a frowning Hamilton next to a picture of Beaker in a Bruins uniform. The Bruins saw it on the bus after their 4-1 win over the Islanders last night and had a good laugh over it.
The picture was hilarious to teammates, but though Hamilton said he found it funny, he didn’t get the joke as well as the rest of the team.
“I don’t know who Beaker is,” he admitted Thursday.
That didn’t sit well with Milan Lucic.
“Looch was really upset about that,” Brad Marchand said. “Looch asked every person on the plane last night if they knew who the Muppets were after Dougie said he didn’t know. We had some fun about that one. I hope Looch has settled down a little bit about that one.”
Often the target of jokes from teammates and opponents himself, Marchand is glad to see the Hamilton — a very business-like player for a rookie — get involved with the good-natured ribbing.
“Everyone gets it from day to day,” Marchand. “It’s funny to see Dougie react to things like that. He’s new and young and guys like to have fun with it. He’s good about it, he takes it in stride.”