|Sabres at Bruins preview||12.07.10 at 12:45 pm ET|
After falling to the Maple Leafs in a shootout on Saturday night, the Bruins are back at TD Garden, where they will face the Sabres. The B’s had no trouble handling handling Lindy Ruff’s squad in Buffalo on Nov. 3, scoring five goals against a backup cocktail of Jhonas Enroth and Patrick Lalime.
The groin injury that kept Ryan Miller out of that contest is a thing of the past, and the reigning Vezina winner is on fire. He’s coming off back-to-back shutouts, including a 1-0 shootout victory Saturday in Ottawa.
The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday. Tim Thomas and Mark Recchi were the only two to miss it, but given that Thomas is on a hot streak of his own (three goals allowed on 119 shots over the last three games), one would think he’d be between the pipes.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 5-5-2 in home games and are 5-4-2 in games played at TD Garden. They throttled the Lightning to the tune of an 8-1 victory last Thursday, their most recent home contest.
- Like the Bruins, the Sabres are a much better road team than they are a home team. They’ve compiled a 6-5-2 record away from Buffalo, while their 5-8-1 home record has a lot to do with why they’re currently fourth in the Northeast with 25 points.
- Thomas continues to lead the NHL in the three major goaltending statistics. His .956 save percentage, 1.46 goals against average, and five shutouts are tops in the league.
- Former Bruin Steve Montador is tied for second in the league with a plus-16. In 13 games for the Bruins in 2008-09, Montador a plus-3 and had two points. He added three more points and was a plus-5 in 11 playoff games.
- The Sabres are just about as bad offensively this year as the Bruins were last year. The B’s averaged a league-worst 2.39 goals per game last season, while Buffalo currently averages 2.4 a night, which is 25th in the league.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Nathan Horton has shown signs of picking it up as of late, getting points in each of the last two games, including his first goal in 10 games Saturday. The sharpshooting winger still has just two points in his last eight games after registering 18 in the 17 prior.
- This will be the Bruins’ first game since sending Jordan Caron to Providence. Caron had been a healthy scratch in the last two games due to the return of Marc Savard, so geting the 20-year-old playing time is clearly in everyone’s best interest.
“It’s never an easy decision because the guy has been here since the beginning of the year,” Claude Julien told reporters after the morning skate. “At the same time, he’s a young player. I mean, David Krejci went back and forth and I don’t think that it hurt his career, except that it probably helped him, so I think those decisions are always made with the right intentions. Management wants to see him play and at this stage of his career, he can be brought up and down as much as we want, so I don’t think it’s an issue there because there’s no, he doesn’t have to clear waivers or anything like that. We just want to see him progress and he’s going to progress by playing.”
- Julien went into the logic behind Michael Ryder moving to the left wing, and it’s all about the utilization of Tyler Seguin with center Marc Savard.
“With [Seguin's] speed and using Savvy as a left hand shot, it’s a lot easier for him to pass to the right side. But we just kind of made that decision and all three guys are comfortable with that.”
|Looking back on a busy day of Marco Sturm comings and non-goings||12.02.10 at 11:11 pm ET|
The Bruins came right out and said it on Thursday night: Marco Sturm is not a member of the Los Angeles Kings. The same day that he reportedly waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to LA, health issues held up the trade and kept him in Boston for the time being.
Amidst all the uncertainty, the Bruins went out on Thursday night and gave the Lightning a thorough beating, running up the score on Mike Smith and Dan Ellis to the tune of an 8-1 victory. It was a long day for the Bruins, and they end it with a big win in hand and Sturm still on the roster. Here’s a look back at the day:
11:00 a.m.: Sturm is one of five Bruins to take the ice at TD Garden, as he skated with Marc Savard, Daniel Paille, Jordan Caron, and Tuukka Rask.
Noon hour: Darren Dreger of TSN reports via twitter that a deal was struck between the B’s and Kings that would send Sturm to LA. The deal seemingly would end the team’s salary cap woes, as Sturm, who is in the final year of his contract, has a $3.5 million cap hit.
1 p.m. hour: ESPN.com reports the Bruins would receive a conditional fifth-round pick for Sturm.
7 p.m. hour: After crickets from the Bruins regarding an announcement, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets that “medical issues” had complicated the deal and that there was “uncertainty” as to whether it could get done.
9:43 p.m.: Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issues the following statement on Sturm:
“I am aware of the various media reports today regarding Marco Sturm. I can confirm that I spoke to Marco about waiving his no trade clause and have had discussions regarding Marco with other teams. I can also confirm that there is no trade in place with Marco. At this time, Marco is a member of the Boston Bruins and will continue to train with our team.”
11:20 p.m.: McKenzie tweets the following:
“Final word on aborted Sturm deal: LAK were furnished with player’s medical records. They had concerns with what they saw.”
POSTGAME: Teammates acknowledge an odd day in which they thought Sturm was gone, only to learn he would stick around.
“It was a little different, that’s for sure,” Savard said. “Especially a good friend like that.”
Savard, who made his season debut on Thursday night, had done much of his on-ice rehabbing with Sturm, as the two would take the ice together before they were cleared to practice with teammates.
“We’ve had a tough run together, that’s for sure,” Savard said. “We’ve supported each other along the way, so when the news came that he was getting traded, it was tough for both of us, because we’re good friends, obviously. I’m going to see him tomorrow, and be happy he’s still there.”
Shawn Thornton noted that until Sturm is a member of another team, he is going to continue to embrace him as a teammate.
“I really don’t know what’s going on, except that he’s still part of our team,” Thornton said. “He’s a good friend of mine. Our families get along really well. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still here, so I’m going to continue to treat it as such.”
|Bruins crush Lightning, 8-1||12.02.10 at 9:31 pm ET|
Twelve different Bruins had points and the B’s chased Tampa Bay starter Mike Smith from the net in a 8-1 victory at TD Garden.
In a contest that featured standout play from many a Bruin, David Krejci and Tim Thomas stole the show. Krejci, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 30, scored a pair of goals and added an assist en route to a plus-4 night.
The Bruins also got goals from Dennis Seidenberg, Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler.
Thomas improved to 13-2-1 on the season, having his shutout streak stopped at 107:22 by a Victor Hedman goal in the second period. Thomas had picked up his league-leading fifth shutout of the season a night before in Philadelphia.
Marc Savard made his return to the lineup, centering Tyler Seguin and Ryder and posting a plus-1 rating. He was treated to multiple standing ovations by a sellout crowd of 17,565 at the Garden.
With the victory, the Bruins improved to 14-8-2 on the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Lucic has now surpassed his point total from last season. In 50 games last season, Lucic had 20 points. Through 24 games this season, Lucic has 22 thanks to the assist he picked up on Krejci’s goal and his own second-period goal.
Not only is Lucic healthy, which is huge for him, but he’s played at a higher level and seems set to demolish the 20 goals he was hoping for entering the season (he has 12 thus far).
- It’s been beaten to death, yes, but as long as Thornton is outproducing Ilya Kovalchuk, it will receive attention. With his second-period tally, Thornton surpassed Kovalchuk with five goals to the Devils’ forward’s four.
- Thomas picked up his second assist of the season, getting the secondary helper on Thornton’s tally. The double-threat goaltender’s other point came on Seguin’s first career goal in Prague on Oct. 10.
- Ryder has assists in three straight games. The first assist he picked up on Thursday came on a goal that should have never been scored, but he’ll take it. Ryder was given the helper on Dennis Seidenberg’s goal, a shot from center ice that was misplayed by Smith.
Ryder also sniped one past Dan Ellis from the top of the circle in the third period to make it a 6-1 game. He added his third point of the night on Recchi’s power-play goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The idea of Seguin playing on a line with Savard is very intriguing, but the rookie wasn’t much of a factor on Thursday. Seguin registered one shot on goal and had two shots blocked on the night.
Getting pucks on net hasn’t been a struggle for Seguin has worn on, so the lack of shots isn’t exactly a sign of a slump. Seguin had three or more shots in his last four games entering Wednesday’s game with the Flyers. He scored his fifth goal of the season in the 3-0 win in Philadelphia.
- Nathan Horton had a better game and had a golden opportunity on Ellis in the third period, but he has now gone nine contests without a goal. He was, of course, a plus-4 with one assist on the night, so it would be hard for the Bruins to complain.
|Bruins lead Lightning, 4-1, after two||12.02.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
The Bruins added two and the Lightning finally got on the board, and after 40 minutes of play, the Bruins have a 4-1 lead.
Milan Lucic picked up his 12th goal of the season at 6:48, taking a feed from David Krejci on a 3-on-2 and beating Mike Smith. Lucic and Krejci have two points apiece on the night, while Nathan Horton grabbed his first point in seven games on the play.
Tim Thomas allowed his first goal in two games, getting beaten in front on a bang-bang play by Victor Hedman on a feed from Ryan Malone.
Shawn Thornton scored his fifth goal of the season late in the period, with Brad Marchand and Thomas getting the assists. Thomas now has two assists on the season. He picked up his first on Tyler Seguin’s first career goal on Oct. 10 in Prague.
|Bruins lead Lightning, 2-0, after one||12.02.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
It may be Marc Savard‘s season debut, but after a period, the Bruins have another center and a wacky play to thank for their 2-0 lead over the Lightning.
David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic at the blue line, flew past a defender and fired a wrist shot past Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at 10:52. It was his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 30. Dennis Seidenberg puked up first goal tally of the season thanks to a lazy shot gone awry from center ice. Smith misplayed the puck to allow the odd goal with 20 seconds left in the period.
Tim Thomas kept up the impressive play that shut out the Flyers a night earlier, as he stopped all 15 of the Lightning’s shots in the first period. He did allow Tampa Bay an opportunity on a big rebound when he was out of position, but Steven Stamkos‘ line was unable to capitalize on it.
Savard got a standing ovation when he took his first shift of the night, and was once again recognized on the jumbotron during a timeout.
Both teams are 0-for-1 on the power play. The Lightning are outshooting the B’s, 15-9.
|Report: Marco Sturm trade is off for time being||12.02.10 at 7:00 pm ET|
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal that would send Bruins forward Marco Sturm to the Kings is up in the air due to medical concerns. Sturm is coming off a second major knee surgery and is weeks away from being able to play in games.
Sturm had reportedly waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal. McKenzie is reporting that there is “no deal in place at this time” and that there is uncertainty over whether a deal could be completed.
|Tyler Seguin hopes to continue to following Steven Stamkos’ path||12.02.10 at 3:01 pm ET|
If there’s anybody a young scorer would want to be compared to this season, it’s Steven Stamkos. The Lightning center already has 21 goals this season and is on pace for 69. It’s remarkable production considering Stamkos is just 20 years of age.
In the case of Tyler Seguin, the comparisons he has received to Stamkos are undoubtedly cases of high praise, but the measurables seem to warrant them.
Both players were both highly coveted right-handed centers in their respective drafts, as Stamkos went first overall in 2008 and Seguin was taken second overall in 2010. They both had dominant OHL careers as well, with Stamkos potting 58 goals in 2007-08 with the Sarnia Sting, and Seguin winning the Red Tilson award for the OHL’s most outstanding player with 48 goals last year for the Plymouth Whalers. They’ve also got similar body types (Seguin is 6-foot-1, 186 pounds while Stamkos is 6-foot-0, 176 pounds). Finally, Stamkos’ hometown of Markham, Ontario is a 45-minute drive from Seguin’s native Brampton.
Stamkos has established himself as one of the league’s most explosive players at a very young age, and Seguin — the same guy who doesn’t like to “over-respect” his opponents before a game — would love if his billing as the next Stamkos proves to be true.
“I try to [play like Stamkos],” Seguin said Thursday. “He’s definitely doing really good right now.”
Seguin has five goals this season through 23 games. He is on pace for 18 goals, which would be less than Stamkos’ 23 as a rookie, but Seguin seems to be right where the Tampa Bay star was two years ago. Through 23 games, Stamkos actually had just three goals on the season. He didn’t really kick things into high gear until February, and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.
“He adapted to the league [and] I think it took him probably half a season in his rookie year,” Seguin said of Stamkos. “I’ll probably be around there hopefully and just keep on going.”
The two players met over the summer at the increasingly legendary Atlantic City Bauer campaign. It was there that Seguin also met and got to know Phil Kessel.
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