|Benoit Pouliot wins it for Bruins… of course||11.23.11 at 10:00 pm ET|
Benoit Pouliot wasn’t the Bruins’ first choice in the shootout Wednesday night, but he proved to be the only one who could score as he extended the Bruins’ winning streak to 10 games with a 4-3 victory over the Sabres Wednesday at First Niagara Center.
Whether Pouliot would even play Wednesday was in question after he racked up six unnecessary penalty minutes Monday against Montreal, but after Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth, who entered the night undefeated in five shootouts, stopped Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, Claude Julien went with Pouliot in what proved to be a game-winning decision.
The Sabres were seeking vengeance after Milan Lucic‘s hit on Ryan Miller on Nov. 12 left the Buffalo goaltender concussed on a play that saw no response from his teammates. Paul Gaustad did his best at responding Wednesday, dropping the gloves on Lucic’s first shift but falling to the Bruins’ left wing in Lucic’s first fight in his last 25 regular season games.
Though the Sabres didn’t completely get back at Lucic, they did get on the board first. With Lucic in the box on a questionable roughing call, Christian Ehrhoff beat Tim Thomas on the power play to make it 1-0.
Minutes later, Bruins killer Thomas Vanek did his latest damage on the power play, giving the Sabres a 2-0 lead that they held until Seguin beat Enroth on a one-timer in the second period to get the Bruins on the board. T.J. Brennan, who was playing in his first career NHL game, picked up his goal at 11:02 of the second to make it 3-1, but goals from Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara wiped out Buffalo’s lead.
The Bruins will next play Friday, when they host the Red Wings at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– After not registering a point in the Bruins’ first six games, Chara has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points over the last 14 games. He’s on a better pace this season than he was a season ago, as the giant defenseman had 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) over his first 20 games last season. Chara was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick.
– The Bruins successfully executed a massive penalty kill late in regulation and early in overtime after David Krejci took a hooking penalty with 1:03 remaining in the third period. Julien used Chris Kelly, Chara, Gregory Campbell and Dennis Seidenberg for the 5-on-4, with Chara and Campbell both blocking shots. Chara, Bergeron, and Seidenberg then played the first 57 seconds of overtime to kill off the 4-on-3.
– Seguin now has more goals this season (12) than he did as a rookie. It’s taken the 19-year-old just 20 games to do what he did in 74 games last season, so if for some reason you needed to be convinced that the young forward has made huge strides this season, that should do it.
Seguin’s goal, which got the Bruins on the board in the second period, was an absolute laser that the second-year player took upon receiving the feed from Patrice Bergeron. The fact that he was placed in the hardest shot competition in last year’s All-Star game festivities raised some eyebrows at the time, but just as he did last season in Carolina with a 97.1 mile-an-hour bomb, Seguin showed his slapshot shouldn’t be taken lightly.
– The Bruins responded Wednesday in a way the Sabres simply didn’t on Nov. 12. After Brad Marchand threw a big hit on Nathan Gerbe, Gaustad came in and took a run at the second-year forward in the corner of the Sabres’ zone. Marchand’s teammates came to his defense, creating a big scrum that led to a fight between Chara and Robyn Regehr.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Ehrhoff’s goal ended Thomas’ shutout streak at 145:00, and Wednesday marked the fifth time this season that the defending Vezina winner has allowed three goals in a game. He didn’t have much of a chance on Brennan’s goal, and may have been screened on Ehrhoff’s shot, but the fact that the 37-year-old has yet to turn in a bad game this season is a very good sign. Thomas made a gigantic save on Roy with the B’s shorthanded in overtime and stopped Gerbe with about a minute remaining in OT. He stopped Vanek, Gerbe, Pominville, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford.
– Some iffy officiating in the first period. Lucic was sent off for roughing halfway through the period when he finished his check along the boards on Jason Pominville. Both that penalty and a Seidenberg hooking call led to Sabres’ power play goals. On the scrum that followed Guastad’s hit on Marchand, the Bruins surprisingly wound up shorthanded, giving the Sabres yet another power play (they had four in the period). It was clear heading into Wednesday that the league was going to keep on eye on the two teams, but the B’s took the brunt of it in the first 20 minutes.
– More of the same from Vanek against Boston. With five goals and three assists, Vanek now has eight points in his last five games against the Bruins.
|Bruins-Sabres Live Blog: Headed to shootout||11.23.11 at 7:02 pm ET|
|Lindy Ruff: Lack of response ‘won’t happen again’||11.23.11 at 3:22 pm ET|
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told reporters after Wednesday’s morning skate that the Sabres are more focused on playing a “hard game” than on providing an overdue response to Milan Lucic‘s hit on goaltender Ryan Miller earlier this month.
Asked if retaliation was on the Sabres’ minds, Ruff replied, “I don’t think [NHL disciplinarian Brendan] Shanahan would like to hear that.”
Though Ruff was brief with his answers, he did indicate that if something similar were to happen, he would expect more of a response from his team. Lucic hit Miller in the first period on Nov. 12, leaving the goaltender with a concussion.
“I’ll answer the question one more time,” Ruff said. “We were disappointed in our response, and that won’t happen again.”
The Bruins have won nine games in a row, and now have as many points (24) as the Sabres. With both teams two points behind the Maple Leafs and focused on moving up, Ruff steered away from talk of retaliation and said he’s more concerned with his team coming out hard.
“We have to play a real hard game,” he said. “That would be the message tonight.”
|Tim Thomas, Chris Kelly lead Bruins past Islanders||11.19.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
Tim Thomas picked up his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their win streak to eight games with a 6-0 victory over the Islanders Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Chris Kelly scored twice for the Bruins, who also received scoring from Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara. Both Horton and Ference’s goals came on the man advantage. Kelly picked up a secondary assist on Ference’s goal, giving the third-line center his first regular-season three-point game as a member of the Bruins.
While Thomas was able to pick up a shutout in a fairly easy contest, nothing remotely similar could be said for Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro. The Boston University product was yanked after allowing three first-period goals,with Anders Nilsson playing the final two periods.
The Bruins will next play Monday, when they face the Canadiens at Bell Centre.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Another strong showing from one Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old drew two penalties on the night, neither of which let to a power-play goal, but both of which drove home the fact that Seguin’s more involved play this season has helped the Bruins in more ways than one. He also set up Bergeron’s goal, grabbing a puck in front of the Bruins’ net following a Joe Corvo slip-up and dishing it to Dennis Seidenberg, who in turn fed it to Marchand, who fed it back to Seguin. The speedy forward took the puck through the neutral zone and into the Islanders’ zone, blowing past Nino Niederreiter and feeding Bergeron for the center’s fourth goal of the season. Seguin now has 21 points of the season, which leaves him one short of his rookie total.
– A couple of special teams notes: First off, Horton’s first-period tally was the Bruins’ first power-play goal in four games, and Ference made it a 2-for-5 night for the man advantage. For a while it appeared the Bruins had been on their way to their first game without a penalty this season, though Kelly’s trip on Josh Bailey changed that 6:53 into the third period. Either way, with the Islanders not scoring on the power play and Andrew MacDonald taking a penalty with 29 seconds remaining on it, the Bruins ended their streak of games in which they allowed a power play goal at four. The last time the B’s had allowed a power play goal in four straight games was Oct. 1-12 of 2009.
Speaking of special teams, Benoit Pouliot got some time on the power play in the first period, drawing a Milan Jurcina holding call to set up a 30-second 5-on-3, and, upon the original penalty expiring, set up Horton’s power-play goal.
– The Bruins allowed a grand total of two shots on goal in the first period, which for the Islanders is pretty much equivalent of Tim Tebow’s two completions a couple of weeks ago. The Islanders’ first shot of the night came over 10 minutes into the contest and a first period that B’s completely dominated.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– A couple of giveaways from Joe Corvo in his own end. Corvo had the puck knocked away from him behind the net in the first period, but it resulted in Seguin setting up the play that led to Bergeron’s gaol. It didn’t cost the Bruins in the second period either, but Corvo could certainly be better in his own end than he’s been thus far.
– The B’s got only six shots on goal in the second period, the only period in which they did not score. The Islanders also woke up a bit in the second, outshooting the Bruins, 11-6.
|Tuukka Rask leads Bruins to shootout win over Blue Jackets||11.17.11 at 9:42 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and David Krejci came up big for the Bruins Thursday as they defeated the Blue Jackets, 2-1, in shootout fashion at TD Garden. Rask made 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. With the shootout tied at one after two rounds, Krejci beat Curtis Sanford stick-side before Rask stopped Antione Vermette to give the B’s the win. Rich Peverley also scored for the B’s in the shootout.
Derek MacKenzie tipped a Nikita Nikitin shot on the power play to give Columbus a 1-0 lead at 2:49 of the second period. Adam McQuaid then scored his first goal of the season at 4:24 on a goal that was initially credited to Peverley.
The Bruins outshot the Blue Jackets, 5-4, in overtime, with Columbus holding a 27-22 advantage during regulation and 31-27 advantage throughout the game. The game ended a stretch of six straight games in which the B’s scored at least four goals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– McQuaid got his first goal of the season against the team that drafted him. The defenseman was taken by Columbus in the second round of the 2005 draft and was dealt to the B’s in 2007.
– Rask had a strong showing for the B’s on a night in which he had to be on his toes. The number of Bruins turnovers and the Blue Jackets’ shot advantage meant the 24-year-old had to come up big, time after time, and he did. Rask stopped MacKenzie point-blank in front after the Columbus center got a feed from behind the net, and he made a nice pad save on Jeff Carter in the second. He came up big once again in overtime on a pair of shots in front.
– Shawn Thornton got an opportunity to drop the gloves when he squared off with Jared Boll at 8:35 of the second period. It was a pretty lengthy bout, and one that grew pretty heated, as the two were still in each other’s faces and screaming at one another following the fight. Boll may have been mad at Thornton for trying to continue the fight after refs tried to break it up.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Sloppy, sloppy play for much of the first two periods. Turnovers led to Columbus chances, including a slip-up to the right of Rask’s net by Steven Kampfer, Mark Letestu gained control on the play, but Rask bailed the B’s out, as he often had to do amidst a generally drowsy night for Boston.
– Benoit Pouliot took a really dumb roughing penalty after some work in the corner of the offensive zone with Aaron Johnson led to him taking it too far and getting his hands in the face of the Columbus defenseman right in front of a referee. With the game tied in the third period and Pouliot’s spot in the lineup not solidified, it wasn’t the smartest move in the world. Pouliot stayed in the lineup with the return of Daniel Paille, meaning Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch. We’ll see if Pouliot’s penalty costs him an opportunity Saturday against the Islanders.
– Speaking of Pouliot, the winger nearly made it two straight games with a goal when he beat Sanford high stick side. The puck appeared to go in and bounce out at first glance, but play continued and there was no video review at the next stoppage, suggesting it rang off the post/crossbar.
– A hell of a stat dug up by the great Scott McLaughlin, who notes that the Bruins’ four straight games with a power play goal allowed marks their longest such stretch since Oct. 1-12 of 2009.
– With no points in the game, Tyler Seguin now has a season-worst two-game points drought. That should borderline go in the “What Went Right” section, as it illustrates how insane Seguin has been statically this season. Seguin was tied for the lead amongst Bruins forwards with three shots on goal Thursday.
|Bruins-Blue Jackets Live Blog: Headed to overtime||11.17.11 at 6:51 pm ET|
|Zdeno Chara’s case closed with Quebec police||11.17.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
We’ll keep this is short as possible in an attempt to finally put this ridiculous topic to bed. Quebec’s director of criminal prosecutions released the following statement regarding the criminal investigation on Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty last March:
“After carefully examining all the information provided in this affair, the (office) is not reasonably convinced it could establish evidence of guilt.”