|Bruins looking forward to second meeting with Rangers||02.13.12 at 6:38 pm ET|
After grinding out a hard-fought win Saturday in a shootout against the Predators, the Bruins will need to bring another complete effort if they want two points Tuesday night against the Rangers.
Yet when it comes to facing the Rangers, the B’s have more to gain than just two points. A win against John Tortorella‘s club in their second meeting can prove that the Bruins can hang with the squad that’s been the best team in the Eastern conference this season.
The Bruins were able to hang with the Rangers last time around, but lost, 3-2, in overtime after Andrew Ference was ejected for shoving Ryan McDonagh into the end boards, making way for a Marian Gaborik power-play goal to give the Rangers the win. It was an ugly way to end it for the B’s, but they’re determined to bring another strong effort to the table against New York Tuesday.
“We’re a good team. We’re a confident group,” Chris Kelly said after Monday’s practice. “This is a great challenge, a great opportunity for us to play another good team.”
This season, the Rangers have been more than just a good team. They boast a conference-best 77 points and are second in the league in goals-against against (the Bruins are fourth). The B’s average a league-best 3.4 goals per game, and the Rangers are 10th with 2.8.
The Bruins and Rangers have their similarities and differences — both teams get outstanding goaltending from the best netminders in the league, while the Rangers block far more shots than the Bruins — but the biggest difference between the two teams this season is consistency. After both teams got off to slow starts, the B’s caught fire for two months and began slumping, while the Rangers really haven’t slowed down since heating up. They’ve won five of their last six games.
The Bruins have played one less game than the Rangers this season (53 to New York’s 54) and trail them by seven points for the conference lead. Should the race come down to wire late in the regular season, the Bruins will be hurt by the fact that they’ve gotten six of their wins in the shootout this season, while the Rangers have won only three in the shootout. When teams finish the season tied in points, the tie-breaker is ROW, or regulation and overtime wins. The Rangers currently have 33 such victories, tops in the NHL, while the B’s have 28. For that reason, it’s likely that the Bruins will simply need to finish the regular season with more points in order to secure the top seed. A regulation win over the Rangers Tuesday would go a long way in helping their cause.
“It’s a very big game,” Brad Marchand said Monday. “They’re obviously at the top of the conference right now and we want to try and catch them. They’re playing very good hockey right now. We have to make sure we’re prepared for that and out out best game on the ice.
|Bruins call up Andrew Bodnarchuk, Josh Hennessy||02.13.12 at 5:57 pm ET|
The Bruins made a pair of callups Monday, recalling defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk in the morning and forward Josh Hennessy in the afternoon. Bodnarchuk practiced with the B’s Monday, while Hennessy is expected to be with the team for Tuesday’s morning skate.
In the case of the Bodnarchuk move, the team recalled the former fifth-round pick two days after sending Steven Kampfer to Providence. Kampfer has been up with the Bruins for the majority of the season but had played in only 10 NHL contests prior to his demotion. Experience is the biggest thing the B’s see as missing from the 23-year-old’s game, so they hope an extended stay in the AHL serves him well.
“We sent Kampfer down so he could play,” coach Claude Julien said after Monday’s practice at TD Garden. “It’s been a long year for him, and we’ve been fortunate enough to not have any real injuries back there. When you sit around that long, you lose a lot of your game, so we’ve got to get him back playing, just like we did with Jordan Caron. … Having done that, we’re heading on a big road trip and we needed a defenseman back up. I think Bodnarchuk’s done a pretty good job with us the few times he’s been up.”
Selected in the 2006 draft, Bodnarchuk has four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 47 AHL games this season. He played five games for the B’s in the 2009-10 season
For Hennessy, the callup marks the first time in his career that he’s been summoned to the NHL level. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 49 AHL games this season.
|Bruins assign Steven Kampfer to Providence||02.11.12 at 5:30 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced after Saturday’s game that the team has sent defenseman Steven Kampfer to Providence.
Kampfer, 23, has played 10 games for the Bruins this season, registering no goals, two assists and a plus-6 rating. He was last in the lineup on Jan. 31, but has served as the team’s seventh defenseman.
The assignment will give Kampfer a chance to play for the P-Bruins against Albany on Sunday, giving him some playing time to prevent rust as he remains out of the Bruins’ lineup.
|Bruins beat Predators in shootout||02.11.12 at 3:42 pm ET|
Goals from Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron delivered the Bruins a 4-3 shootout victory over the Predators Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Tim Thomas stopped both shots he saw in the shootout and improved to 4-0 in shootouts this season.
Bergeron got the Bruins on the board at 16:00 of the first period with a shorthanded goal. The B’s held their lead until Shea Weber beat Thomas with a slap shot from the point for a power play goal at 7:32 of the second period. Daniel Paille gave the Bruins the lead back when he slid a backhander past Pekka Rinne 2:55 into the third period, but Patric Hornqvist tied the game minutes later. The Predators took the lead on a Mike Fisher backhander with less than four minutes to go in regulation, but a power play goal from Milan Lucic with 67 seconds to play tied the game.
The B’s will host the Eastern conference-leading Rangers Tuesday at TD Garden before embarking upon a six-game road trip.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins-Predators Live Blog: Headed to overtime||02.11.12 at 1:13 pm ET|
|Claude Julien says Nathan Horton ‘back to square one’ in recovery from concussion||02.10.12 at 12:21 pm ET|
When Bruins coach Claude Julien frustratingly declared Tuesday that he was “done talking about” Nathan Horton‘s progress after he was supposed to have skated Sunday, something seemed fishy. As it turns out, Horton has indeed had a setback.
Julien said after Friday’s practice that Horton did not react well to skating earlier this week, and is “back to square one” in his recovery from his latest concussion.
“He’s been pulled back,” Julien said. “He’s got some symptoms, so we pulled him back. That’s why I said as far as for me to come out every and [say there’s a] step forward, a step backward. He’s back to square one and we’re giving him some time here. Those symptoms, once he got back on the ice, came back.”
Horton rode the stationary bike late last week and took to the ice on Sunday, but when symptoms returned, the team pulled the first-line winger back.
Horton suffered his second concussion since June on a hit from Philadelphia’s Tom Sestito on Jan. 22. His concussion has kept him out of the last six games.
|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.”