|Bruins aren’t only team coming off a big win as Blackhawks come to town||03.29.11 at 4:04 am ET|
This time of year, some teams are already eliminated or close to it, and getting two points on a particular night is no longer a top priority. That’s why the Bruins’ recent schedule has made for some very interesting hockey. The B’s last six games have been against teams either in the playoffs or competing for a spot. Tuesday should feature another very intriguing matchup, as both the B’s and Blackhawks are coming off big victories that teams try to build momentum off of, especially given that the playoffs are just a couple of weeks away.
The Blackhawks are coming off an overtime win against Detroit Monday night in which former Red Wing Marian Hossa buried the game-winner on the power play. Chicago is eighth in the Western Conference, so they have every reason to bring everything they can Tuesday.
The Bruins, of course, are coming off a 2-1 victory in Philadelphia that saw both the appearance of a successful power play (2-for-3) and the return of Brad Marchand‘s scoring, as he picked up the game-winner for his 20th goal of the season and first strike in 13 games.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 18-12-5 at TD Garden this season, and it’s been a mixed bag for the B’s at home of late. After a huge 7-0 win over the Canadiens Thursday, the B’s struggled to get shots past Rangers bodies and on netminder Henrik Lundqvist Saturday.
- Chicago has won its last two road games after dropping the previous four. The Blackhawks haven’t been to the Garden since last season, when they took a 5-2 victory on Jan. 7.
If there’s one thing the Blackhawks are capable of, it is taking an opponent to overtime while playing on the road. The Blackhawks have gone into overtime 10 times on the road this season and have a league-high eight overtime/shootout losses on the road. Their overall record on the road is 18-11-8.
- The third line of Chris Kelly between Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley has looked good, but it has not produced. Seguin has just one goal in his last 14 games (dating back to before the line was in existence), while both Kelly and Peverley have totaled zero points and each have a minus-3 rating over their last five contests.
- The Blackhawks’ 3.13 goals per game on the road is second only to the Red Wings for tops in the NHL. The Red Wings certainly helped that number when they put six goals past Bruins goaltenders at TD Garden back on February 11, to the B’s will have to hope the Blackhawks don’t do the same.
- Tim Thomas has a bit more breathing room for the league lead in goals against average and save percentage. Thomas has led both categories since the second game of the season, but came one hundredth of a goal from being tied with Pekka Rinne after last Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs. After allowing just one goal over his last two starts, Thomas is now a tenth of a goal ahead of Rinne with a 2.00 GAA.
- Milan Lucic has zero shots on goal over the last two games, while his center in David Krejci has totaled one over the same span. Despite leading the Bruins with 30 goals, Lucic is fourth on the B’s in shots on goal with 160. He’s far enough behind the likes of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton that his three games missed don’t seem to play a huge factor in the statistic.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Will Michael Ryder be a healthy scratch in consecutive games for the first time all season? Ryder watched Sunday’s game from the press box while Daniel Paille got in the lineup for the Bruins. If Ryder does return, it will likely be on Gregory Campbell‘s line.
-The Blackhawks know they need to keep the pedal to the medal after their win against Detroit. After Tuesday, the eighth-place Blackhawks will have played two more games than the Stars, who trail them by four points. This should mean the Bruins could see a very hungry team.
Not exactly a storyline related to this game, but if you have the NHL Center Ice package, it might be worth it to check out the Penguins-Flyers game during commercials. Despite a rut in February, the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin-less Penguins have been able to get the job done so well that a victory in regulation would give them as many points as the Flyers at 100. If the Penguins hope to take the division they’ll have to finish with more points than Philadelphia, as the Flyers hold the tiebreaker with less overtime/shootout wins.
|Brad Marchand lifts Bruins past Flyers, 2-1||03.27.11 at 9:44 pm ET|
Brad Marchand made his 20th goal of the season count, as he broke a late tie to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead over the Flyers in Philadelphia Sunday night. With the win, Boston clinches a playoff spot.
Marchand’s tally was his first in 13 games, as he banged home a rebound past Flyers netminder Brian Boucher on the power play at 16:17 of the third period. Both Bruins’ goals came on the man advantage, as Nathan Horton scored his 23rd goal of the season with the B’s on the power play in the second period. Kris Versteeg opened the game’s scoring with a tally for the Flyers in the first period.
Picking up the victory for the Bruins was Tim Thomas, who won his third game in a row and improved his record on the season to 32-10-8.
|Henrik Lundqvist blanks Bruins||03.26.11 at 3:23 pm ET|
The Bruins failed to keep up the momentum from Thursday night’s win over the Canadiens, as they dropped a 1-0 game to the Rangers Saturday at TD Garden.
Derek Stepan redirected a Michael Sauer shot past Tuukka Rask at 6:39 of the first period to give the Rangers the only goal they would need. In taking the loss, Rask fell to 10-13-2 on the season.
Henrik Lundqvist picked up the victory for the Rangers, improving his league-leading shutout total to 11.
From Boston, the Bruins will travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Sunday. Philadelphia is currently the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The refs missed a pretty obvious offsides call prior to Stepan’s goal, and it proved to be the difference when all was said and done. Claude Julien was furious on the bench, and rightfully so.
- The Bruins had only two power plays in the game, but the second came with less than 21 seconds remaining.The B’s have had six games this season with one power play or less, and have surprisingly gone 6-0-1 in such contests.
- These matinees at TD Garden simply have not been good to the Bruins this season. With Saturday’s loss, the B’s are now 1-3-0 in such games this season, taking losses to the Hurricanes, Penguins, Sharks and now Rangers.
- Brad Marchand had a golden opportunity to both tie the game and get to 20 goals with a point-blank opportunity with plenty of open net in the final eight minutes of the game. He missed the net, however, in a play that generally summarized the Bruins’ day.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Despite that the Bruins could never really get any momentum going, the penalty kill came up all four times they were asked to in the game. Chris Kelly might not bring anything special to the table, but he has been solid on the PK since arriving.
- Rask was sound for the B’s in a game in which few of his teammates were. There’s been a season-long trend of the B’s not playing well, and it could be coming back up. Rask has won only one of his last four starts, though he allowed four goals in two of the contests.
- The improved play without production continues for Tyler Seguin. The rookie led all Bruins forwards with four shots on goal. The face that he and Dennis Seidenberg (5 SOG) were the only Bruins with more than three on the day shows that this might belong in the “What went wrong” section.
|Bruins still trail Rangers entering third period||03.26.11 at 2:32 pm ET|
The Bruins still have yet to get on the board as the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead entering the third period at TD Garden.
It was almost halfway through the period before the Bruins got their first shot on goal, and the B’s finished the period with six shots.
Penalties seemed to get in the way of any shot at momentum for the B’s, as Mark Recchi went off for hooking at 1:07 and Milan Lucic took a late slashing penalty. With Lucic in the box, the B’s had a shorthanded bid that resulted in Patrice Bergeron crashing into Henrik Lundqvist. The Bruins failed to register a shot on their lone power play, a Marian Gaborik boarding call at 11:31.
|Officiating blunder costs Bruins in first period||03.26.11 at 1:41 pm ET|
The Bruins fell victim to an officiating error in the first period, and it shows on the scoreboard as the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
Marian Gaborik had to reach back for the puck after entering the offensive zone with about six and a half minutes into the game. When no off-sides call was made, Michael Sauer fired a shot from the point off the following face-off that forward Derek Stepan would redirect past Tuukka Rask at 6:39.
The Bruins weren’t able to respond in short order, as Tyler Seguin was called for interference just over two minutes later. The period featured one fight, with Gregory Campbell dropping the gloves with Sean Avery at 2:44.
After one, the Rangers hold a 9-8 advantage in shots on goal.
|Bruins playoff tickets to go on sale Wednesday, March 30||03.25.11 at 3:48 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Friday that tickets for the Bruins’ first three home playoff games will go on sale Wednesday at 11 a.m. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets either at the TD Garden box office, online at bostonbruins.com, or by calling Ticketmaster.
Tickets for games that don’t end up being played due to the conclusion of a round will be refunded in full.
|Mark Recchi sees Tyler Seguin becoming a ‘good pro’ late in his rookie year||03.25.11 at 4:34 am ET|
Tyler Seguin might not be showing up on the score sheets, but he’s certainly been leaving a positive impression with his play of late. The rookie isn’t shying away from contact the way he had earlier in the season, and took it a step further Thursday.
Seguin, a skill player, has avoided scrums on the ice, as many skill players do. Yet Thursday, with Mark Recchi getting caught up with Paul Mara after the whistle in front of Carey Price‘s net, Seguin came to his teammate’s aid, exchanging a few shoves with Habs blueliner Brent Sopel. There was no shortage of praise from Recchi after the game.
“His growth the last month has been wonderful,” Recchi said after the game. “He’s really learning how to be a good pro. His work ethic is awesome. He’s really stepped up. He’s using his speed, he’s using his skill, and he’s really learning to battle hard, and it’s great to see.”
In eight games from Feb. 18 to March 15, Seguin played more than 12 minutes just once, totaling 12:13 on March 5. Since March 15, he has played at least 12:30 in all four games. Claude Julien has further expressed his faith in the youngster by giving him time on the second power play unit.
The bump in responsibility still hasn’t led to increased production (he has just one point, a goal, in his last 11 games), but Seguin has certainly shown in recent games that he is coming along. With each game, it seem he is making a stronger and stronger case to eliminate any talk of future healthy scratches.
“He’s a great kid, and he’s getting better and better,” Recchi said. “This has been a good process for him.”
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