|Tuukka Rask hopes to return in time for playoffs||03.28.12 at 3:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask told ESPNBoston and other outlets Wednesday that his recovery from an abdominal strain/groin strain is going well and that he hopes to be ready for the postseason.
‘I want to be back as soon as possible,’ Rask said. ‘The playoffs was, and is, the goal.’
Rask said that he hopes to return to the ice at some point next week, with him hopefully being ready for game action following the soon after. The B’s will play their last game of the regular season next Saturday against the Sabres.
‘It’s tough to speculate,’ Rask said. ‘You never know. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll hit the ice next week if everything goes good and go from there.’
Rask leads the Bruins with a 2.05 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He had an 11-8-3 record with three shutouts in 23 games before suffering his injury against the Islanders on March 3.
If Rask is not ready in time for the first round of the playoffs, the B’s would likely go with Providence starter Anton Khudobin as the backup to Tim Thomas. The Bruins signed veteran goaltender Marty Turco following the injury to Rask, but Turco would not be eligible for postseason play because he was signed after the trade deadline.
|Bruins hold optional practice, with more likely to come||03.28.12 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Fresh off their fourth game in six nights, the Bruins held an optional practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena to prepare for yet another four in six stretch.
Healthy scratches Daniel Paille, Mike Mottau, Joe Corvo and Torey Krug were joined by Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Benoit Pouliot, Greg Zanon and Marty Turco. Coaches Bob Essensa, Doug Houda and Doug Jarvis were on the ice while Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli watched from above.
Julien had said the team was tired after Tuesday’s win over the Lightning, due in large part to their busy schedule and having to travel back from California this week. As a result, an optional skate was in everyone’s best interest.
“Some of those guys are logging big minutes here, and I think it’s just about managing it,” he said Wednesday. “Again, we’ve got four [games] in six [days] coming up, so we need to get some rest somewhere along the way.”
With a busy schedule the rest of the way (six games in the next 10 days), Julien said it’s likely that optional practices will be more frequent.
“I think there’s a good chance some of it’s going to be like that,” he said. “We’ve talked about [finding ways to stay rested] since the start of the year, and we have to find some times where we can get some of our rest. When you come back from a trip like we did, Monday wasn’t a day off. Monday was a travel day, so today was about giving some of those guys some recuperation time, and hopefully get set for the stretch run here.”
|Bruins beat Lightning for third straight victory||03.27.12 at 10:11 pm ET|
Tuesday night was all about “3” at TD Garden Tuesday night. No. 33, Zdeno Chara, notched three assists for the third time in his career to help lead the Bruins to their third straight victory. The B’s defeated the Lightning, 5-2.
The Bruins received scoring from Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley to give them three wins in a row for the first time since Dec. 19-28, a span of 41 games.
Steven Stamkos had both of Tampa’s goals to give the 22-year-old a league-leading 55 tallies on the season. Tim Thomas made his return to the net after having Sunday off, with the reigning Vezina winner facing only 18 shots and making 16 saves. Dwayne Roloson stopped 33 of 27 shots.
The Bruins will be back in action Thursday against the Capitals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Thornton’s goal was his first in 35 games. His last goal prior to it was a memorable one, as he last scored when he beat Ondrej Pavelec on a penalty shot against the Jets on Jan. 10.
– In fact, Thornton’s line with Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron had a strong showing for the B’s. Thornton broke up a play at the blue line in the Bruins’ zone to give himself a breakaway before being stopped by Roloson in the first period, while Campbell was denied on multiple bids in the second period. Campbell was initially credited with the secondary helper on Thornton’s goal but a scoring change took it away.
– Brian Rolston extended his point streak to seven games with the assist on Pouliot’s goal. Rolston has three goals and nine assists in that span, while Pouliot now has five points (three goals, two assists) over his last three games.
– Patrice Bergeron was once again stellar in the faceoff circle. The veteran center won 20 of 25 draws.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– In addition to not playing his best hockey, Tyler Seguin has been taking a lot of minor penalties of late. He took two more Tuesday, the first of which came late in the second period when the second-year player went off for tripping Steven Stamkos. At full speed and without the benefit of replays, the play looked like a slew foot, and but Seguin has to watch it even if it wasn’t. Including a third-period high-sticking penalty, Seguin has more minor penalties (six) than points (five) over his last seven games.
– Stamkos has an NHL-leading 55 goals this season, and five of those goals have come against the Bruins in four meetings. Stamkos has had two goals in each of the teams’ last two meetings, with each goal Tuesday tying the game. If it makes the B’s feel any better, Stamkos scores a lot against every other team, too.
|Bruins-Lightning Live Blog: B’s looking for third straight win||03.27.12 at 7:28 pm ET|
|Torey Krug ready to make the most of his time in Boston||03.27.12 at 2:07 pm ET|
Former Michigan State captain Torey Krug thinks he’s ready to make the jump from the college hockey to the NHL, and after signing with the Bruins over the weekend following his junior season, the 20-year-old defenseman skated with his new teammates for the first time Tuesday morning.
“A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my house in East Lansing getting ready to study for a test, and here I am sitting in a locker room full of NHLers,” Krug said. “It’s been a great past couple of days, and I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks.”
When negotiating with the Bruins, it was agreed upon that Krug (pronounced KROOG), would spend the rest of the regular season in the NHL, which burns a season of his three-year entry level contract. Krug doesn’t know whether he’ll get into any games, but he’s eager to learn from players he grew up looking up to. In the case of Zdeno Chara, the 5-foot-9 (if that) Krug takes the expression literally.
“I’m looking up very high,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know if they built these lockers for him, but I can barely reach my helmet up top. It’s pretty funny, and I look forward to learning from him.”
His lack of size is something Krug has heard about his whole life. It’s likely why he went undrafted, but he uses as motivation.
“My whole life, I’ve been told I’m too small, and I think that’s one of the reasons that I wasn’t drafted,” he said. “At the same time, not being drafted is a blessing in disguise. There are few times in pro sports where guys get to pick where they want to play. I had the opportunity, and here I am in Boston.”
What Krug lacks physically, he makes up for with his leadership skills. He was a captain at Michigan State the last two seasons, wearing the ‘C’ for the first time as a sophomore.
“The kid’s got tremendous character,” Peter Chiarelli said on Sunday. “He’s not a big player, but he’s got a lot of heart.”
Said Krug: “I’d like to think I’m a dynamic skater. I can definitely play both sides of the puck. A lot of guys see me as a smaller defenseman and they think, ‘Oh, he’s just an offensive defenseman,’ but I like to take care of the D zone. I take a lot of pride in making that first pass out of the zone.”
When Krug decided to leave after his junior season, he had his choice when it came to where he wanted to play. Having watched the playoffs last spring, he saw a lot to like about the Bruins, so they were the pick.
“When you make a decision like that, it comes down to a lot of things, but the one thing that it always came back to is I want to be part of a winning organization,” he said. “That’s what the Boston Bruins have here.”
|Bruins look to avoid getting lit up by Lightning again||03.27.12 at 1:00 pm ET|
The Bruins had some low points during their two months of mediocrity from mid-January through this month. There was the 6-0 loss to the Sabres in Buffalo on Feb. 8, or the 6-2 loss to the Panthers on March 15.
Right up (or down) there with those ugly games was March 13 against the Lightning. The B’s, with Marty Turco making his first start for Boston, got trounced in Tampa Bay to the tune of a 6-1. Turco was yanked after three goals in the first 4:31, and the Bruins gave Tim Thomas 18:35 and two goals on five shots of work before returning returning Turco to the net for good. The team was a mess defensively, and the Lightning treated the Boston zone like it was a free skate. Steven Stamkos had two goals in the game, including his 50th of the season, scored on a lazy wrist shot past Turco that NHL goaltenders usually stop with ease.
Since that loss, and the ensuing one vs. the Panthers, the B’s have showed more signs of life. They’ve won four of their last five games, have scored more, and haven’t allowed more than two goals in their last five contests.
Rich Peverley could only watch that March 13 game, as he was rehabbing his right knee, but after playing Sunday in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Ducks, the forward can see a difference in how the B’s are playing. When the B’s host the Lightning on Tuesday, they hope to avoid looking the way they did in the teams’ last meeting.
“I feel like it’s a tale of two teams, to be honest,” Peverley said of the Bruins now vs. then. “I was watching the way we’ve played of late, and I feel like we’ve done a really good job of managing the game. I think it’s confidence, and if we can keep building our confidence towards the end of the season, it’s going to help.”
Guy Boucher‘s squad is currently out of the playoff picture, as Tampa is seven points out of a playoff spot, but the Bolts are currently riding a three-game winning streak. They picked up a 5-3 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia Friday night.
If March 13 taught the Bruins anything, it’s that their former Eastern Conference finals opponent isn’t to be taken lightly. The Bruins will keep that in mind as they look to put forth a stronger effort and avoid another embarrassment.
“That Tampa game was obviously an embarrassing game for us,” Chris Kelly, who was a minus-1 against the Bolts on March 13, said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “If you ask anyone in this locker room, that wasn’t our style of hockey, and give them credit. They came out hard and played well and played right until the final buzzer like they should have, and we didn’t show up at all that game. They played well last night and are coming off a big win, so we’re going to need a much, much better than the last time we played them.”
Said Claude Julien: “It’s never a bad thing to feel the sting a little bit of it. There’s no doubt we didn’t play very well [vs. the Lightning last time]. They came out extremely hard against us, and we weren’t ready for that and because of that we lost a game. It was a pretty easy win for them.
“Let’s put it this way ‘ the way we gave them goals and the mistakes we made along the way, so we have to be better tonight. If anything, we have to make sure we’re skating against this team. They play a system that if you’re not playing well, they’re going to keep taking the puck and putting it into their own end and take advantage of the offensive players that they have.”
|Bruins plan to go with same lineup vs. Lightning||03.27.12 at 12:16 pm ET|
The Bruins kept their same lines from Sunday night’s game when they took the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate, and after the skate coach Claude Julien said that the team will probably go with the same lineup vs. the Lightning.
“More than likely we’re looking at the same lineup,” Julien said.