|Stamtoast: Bruins lose third straight, get crushed by Lightning||03.13.12 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Bruins came one step closer to surrendering their lead in the Northeast Division, getting shelled by the Lightning, 6-1, Tuesday night in Tampa.
With the loss, the Bruins’ third in a row, the B’s remain at 83 points — just two points ahead of the Senators, who will face the last-place Canadiens Wednesday night.
With Tim Thomas having played in the last nine games for the Bruins, backup Marty Turco was given his first start as a member of the team, but three quick Lightning goals from Tom Pyatt, Nate Thompson and Ryan Shannon in a matter of 4:31 led to the B’s yanking Turco in favor of Thomas. Turco returned to the game 3:06 into the second period after Steven Stamkos made it 5-0. Thomas also allowed an unassisted goal to Victor Hedman late in the first period.
The Bruins finally got on the board 1:55 into the third period, when a Johnny Boychuk shot went off Jordan Caron in front and past Lightning goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Stamkos made it 6-1 in the first with his NHL-leading 50th goal of the season.
The current Bruins’ three-game losing streak is their longest since October, when they lost to the Sharks before dropping back-to-back games against the Canadiens. The B’s will look to stop their skid Thursday in Florida.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
Where to begin’¦
– Tuesday was the latest bit of evidence that people shouldn’t be getting too carried away with David Krejci’s offensive production. The first-line center was on the ice for all four of the Lightning’s first-period goals, making it 13 goals against he’s been on the ice for over the last eight games.
– Patrice Bergeron left the game again with lower body pain, blocking a shot early in the third period — on the very shift that Caron scored — though he did return minutes later. The Bruins need points, but they also need to be cautious with their best players. Bergeron is without question their best forward, so if they need to sit him for a few games to ensure he’s OK for the postseason, they should.
– The B’s wanted to get Thomas rest, so it was a no-brainer to give Turco the start. What didn’t make too much sense was yanking Turco after the first three goals. The logic behind the move is obvious, as the B’s actually need the points, and Claude Julien wanted to see if the B’s could make a game of it with Thomas between the pipes. Still, the game appeared to be lost at the time Thomas went in, so the B’s were better off giving Thomas the whole night off.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– While the Bruins have struggled, Caron has kept up his pace of late. Caron’s goal made for his eighth point over his last six games (four goals, four assists).
– After managing only two shots on goal in the first period, the B’s outshot the Lightning, 20-7, the rest of the way. Shots on goal can be a deceiving stat, of course, and that was most definitely the case Tuesday.
|Brendan Shanahan on D&C: Brad Marchand ‘didn’t get it’ after five-game suspension||03.13.12 at 11:37 am ET|
NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan joined Dennis and Callahan Tuesday morning, discussing all things NHL and the job he has done in his first season on the job. Shanahan took over for Colin Campbell (father of Bruins forward Gregory Campbell) on June 1.
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin was not suspended or fined for his hit from behind on Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk Sunday. Shanahan explained the ruling on the hit, which was called boarding on ice.
“Boychuk’s shoulder is exposed, so it’s a green light, good time to hit, and just as the contact is about to be made Boychuk reverses the puck and turns his back,” he said. “It’s the same with [David] Krejci and Mark Stuart back in December. It was the same a while back when Zach Bogasian of Winnipeg hit Pierre Marc Bouchard of Minnesota, broke his nose and unfortunately there was a concussion, but we felt this was something we have to be consistent on.”
Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been punished multiple times by Shanahan this season, as he was fined $2,500 for his Dec. 5 slew foot on Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen and suspended five-games for his low bridge hit on Canucks blueliner Sami Salo on Jan. 5. Shanahan, who had talked to Marchand over the offseason at Marchand’s request over what he could and couldn’t do, said he had a “forceful” talk with him following his clip on Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin on Feb. 15.
“We had a conversation with Peter Chiarelli on the phone after the low hit on Emelin, which I didn’t think was as low as Salo. I didn’t think deserved a suspension,” he said. “There was just stuff about that hit that just sort of stunk. It wasn’t smart to be tempting fate almost as low. There was 1.6 seconds left in the period, it was in the offensive zone.
“It’s not illegal to hit a guy with 1.6 seconds left. It’s not. You can hit a guy whenever you want. But there were things about that hit ‘¦ it was low again. It seemed from his remarks after the first suspension that he sort of didn’t get it. So we had a really good forceful conversation that didn’t result in a fine or a suspension, but I hope we got to him.”
As for the Bruins in general, Shanahan responded to the idea that he has a bias against the B’s when it comes to suspensions. Marchand, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference have all been suspended this season for various infractions.
“It’s funny, people in Boston might think I have something against the Bruins, which is so absurd and crazy,” he said. “It makes you feel any better I can promise you all I have to do is flip on my Twitter page, or if I ever wanted to venture onto the internet, almost every team in the league thinks there a specific reason I hate their market and hate their city as well.
“I have to defend why I don’t hate Pittsburgh, or why I don’t hate Montreal, or why I don’t hate Buffalo, or why I don’t hate Minnesota. For Boston, it’s even more absurd, quite honestly. Talk about a team I grew up admiring. Cam Neely is probably the one player I tried to model my game after more than anybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s a team you grew up admiring, or a team you played for, there’s so much scrutiny in this job, you can do this job and you can’t sleep at night, if you don’t do it with as much integrity as possible. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect. You would love to have a perfect season in sports. You can objectively look at this hit and disagree with the assessment, and that’s fair. That’s always going to be fair. But it’s absurd to suggest in any market that we have a grudge or have it in against anybody.”
|Injuries add up as Bruins fall to Penguins||03.11.12 at 3:02 pm ET|
The Bruins suffered a 5-2 loss that saw Tim Thomas get yanked after a period, but it was the other players who left the game that should have the already injury-riddled B’s concerned.
Adam McQuaid left the game in the first period after hurting himself trying to hit Penguins forward James Neil, but he wasn’t the only Bruin to suffer an injury. Patrice Bergeron was hurt blocking a shot in the second period. After leaving the bench and going to the room, he came back for a shift but left the game again. Bergeron took one more shift in the third period, but ended up leaving the game for the third time and did not return. Max Sauve, making his NHL debut in place of the injured Benoit Pouliot, was also injured in the second period, meaning the B’s played with only 10 healthy forwards.
To make matters even worse, defenseman Johnny Boychuk was the victim of a hit from Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin that could be looked at by the league. Boychuk was slow to get up after his head went into the boards, though he stayed in the game.
The Bruins spotted the Penguins a 3-0 lead in the first period, as Pittsburgh got goals from Arron Asham, Matt Niskanen and James Neal in the first 20 minutes. Thomas was pulled following the period, with Marty Turco coming in to make his Bruins debut in the second period. David Krejci scored two second-period goals for the B’s, with Chris Kunitz adding to the Penguins’ lead. Pascal Dupuis made it 5-2 in the third period.
The Bruins will next play Tuesday, when they face the Lightning in Tampa.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins had injury scare after injury scare, and that was the last thing they needed given how dinged up they were to begin with. Between McQuaid leaving the game due to his latest injury suffered while trying to hit someone, Sauve’s absence and Bergeron’s status, it wasn’t looking good.
While McQuaid would be a bad loss, the Bruins’ depth on the blue line would allow them to get by without him. The real worry is obviously Bergeron. The fact that he kept coming back out suggests neither he nor the Bruins saw the injury as being severe, but if he is out for any period of time, it’s going to be rough for the Bruins. For the Bruins and their system, Bergeron is the team’s best forward and is every bit as important to their group of forwards as Chara is to the team’s blueliners. The B’s managed to split the first two games of the conference finals last year without him, but a Bergeron-less Bruins team is not a safe bet to go far in the playoffs, especially when considering the team’s other injuries. He’ll be one to keep an eye on in the next few days.
– Thomas has now allowed at least three goals in four of his last five games, and had he stayed in, it likely would have been worse. The reigning Vezina winner has allowed four goals in three of the aforementioned contests.
– For all the talk of the Bruins having games in hand on the Senators when it comes to the Northeast division race, they just lost another one. With 14 games to go, the B’s now have two games in hand on Ottawa and lead the Senators by just two points. We’ll say it again: A team can be caught when it’s playing .500 hockey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Turco played well in his Bruins debut. His most notable stop was a phenomenal save on a second-period Jordan Staal breakaway. The longtime Stars netminder made an acrobatic save on the play, stacking his pads and becoming a human pinwheel to rob the Penguins forward. Because the Bruins did not score a third goal, Thomas still took the loss.
– With two more goals, Krejci now has 20 on the season and is a safe bet to at last tie his career-high of 22 goals. Krejci scored 22 in the 2008-09 campaign, his first full season with the Bruins.
|Bruins can’t complete comeback vs. Capitals||03.10.12 at 3:31 pm ET|
The Bruins came just short in their comeback bid Saturday, falling by a 4-3 score to the Capitals at TD Garden.
With the team trailing by two, Johnny Boychuk buried a rebound with just over three minutes in regulation to make it a one-goal game, but it wasn’t enough to bring the B’s back.
The Capitals got two goals within a 25-second span, as Alexander Semin and Matt Hendricks scored at 7:50 and 8:15 of the first period, respectively. Milan Lucic brought the Bruins within one with less than six seconds remaining in the first period, and Brad Marchand tied the game with an unassisted goal 4:58 into the second period. Jay Beagle broke the 2-2 tie 11:22 into the second period, and Brooks Laich provided insurance with a power-play goal just over six minutes later.
Benoit Pouliot was a last-second scratch for the B’s, resulting in the team having to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Lane MacDermid was moved up to the third line, while defenseman Mike Mottau played some forward on the fourth line.
Playing in his eighth straight game, Tim Thomas took the loss for the Bruins. Tomas Vokoun was the winning goalie for Washington.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Thomas has now played in eight straight games for the B’s. While that has some fans crying that they’re overplaying him, the Bruins really aren’t working him any more than they did down the stretch last season. Remember, Thomas played in 13 of the final 19 games of the regular season last year. Marty Turco should get in one of the Bruins’ next two games.
Playing time might not necessarily be the problem for Thomas, but the fact that he’s allowed four goals in three of his last four games is.
– Krejci took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 12:02 of the second period with the B’s trailing, 3-2. The 25-year-old center was called offsides and flung the pick at linesman Jean Morin, resulting in the easy call. Getting frustrated on the ice is one thing, but taking it to the point where you’re putting your team in a bad spot when you’re trailing by a goal is quite another.
– Speaking of penalties, Greg Zanon was called for two of them in his latest shaky outing since coming over to the B’s at the trade deadline last Monday. The second of the two penalties led to Laich’s power-play goal, though the roughing call on Zanon was pretty questionable to begin with.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– With Pouliot out, Julien did plenty of mixing and matching with his lines, and it paid off. A shift after Tyler Seguin and David Krejci skated with Gregory Campbell, a line of Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Brian Rolston produced a late goal after Bergeron won the faceoff against Beagle and Lucic squeezed a shot through Vokoun’s five-hole.
– Jordan Caron continues to impress for the B’s. The 2009 first-round pick played most of the game with Bergeron and Marchand, and also saw time on the power play in Pouliot’s place. Marchand threw a big hit on Alexander Ovechkin to created the turnover that led to Marchand’s unassisted tally. That won’t show up on the stat sheet, but it’s clear that Caron is still in the zone and plenty capable of handling the opportunity he’s being given.
Caron kept his four-game point streak, getting the secondary helper on Boychuk’s goal.
– Playing in his fourth career game and skating on the third line, MacDermid drew a pair of first-period penalties to put the B’s on the man advantage. Mathieu Perreault hooked MacDermid at 11:19, while Roman Hamrlik went off for tripping the 22-year-old at 16:03.
|Bruins-Capitals Live Blog: Tim Thomas in net for eighth straight game||03.10.12 at 12:48 pm ET|
|Still adjusting, Greg Zanon reacts to healthy scratch||03.09.12 at 2:05 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When the Bruins traded for Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau at the trade deadline, it created a situation in which they would have multiple veteran defensemen battling for playing time. After all, when everyone is healthy, the B’s will have eight defensemen. That would likely leave the likes of Mottau, Zanon and perhaps Joe Corvo competing for one spot.
After putting forth a strong showing in his Bruins debut last Thursday, Zanon appeared to be a good candidate to stick as one of the six blueliners in the B’s lineup each night. In the games that followed, however, he took a few strides backward, knocking a puck into the net Sunday against the Rangers and screening Tim Thomas on a Maple Leafs goal. He was a minus-4 over a three-game stretch, and was made a healthy scratch Thursday against the Sabres in favor of Mottau.
“I don’t make those decisions, so I just come,” Zanon said of being scratched. “I prepare the same every day. I prepare like I’m playing, and then when you find out if you’re in or you’re not in, that’s the way it goes. That’s the staff, that’s the management’s choice. All I can do is make sure that I’m ready for Saturday’s game, whether I play or not play, and just make sure my body’s ready to go at all times.”
If there was any message delivered by Claude Julien Thursday, Zanon prefers to keep it between him and the coach. Julien had said after Thursday’s morning skate that he had liked the way Zanon was playing, yet he still opted to sit the 31-year-old against Buffalo.
“It was [Julien’s] decision,” Zanon said. “I don’t ask questions about it. It was, you know, ‘You’re not going tonight.’ He said I’d been playing well. It’s just, I wasn’t going.”
After Friday’s optional practice (in which Zanon took part) at Ristuccia Arena, Julien said the move was more about getting Mottau into a game. The 33-year-old hadn’t played since making his Bruins debut last Tuesday against the Senators, so Julien wanted to make sure he kept the Quincy native fresh.
“It was an opportunity to put Mike Mottau in,” Julien said of the decision. “We’re trying to do a little bit of what we did with [Shane] Hnidy last year, trying to keep everybody I guess as fresh and as sharp as we can. Every once in a while, you pull a guy out, you put another guy in. When Ference is back, we’ve got eight D, so we’ve just got to kind of monitor that in a way that we’re going to try to do the best we can, so that guys don’t sit around too too long.”
Added Julien: “I didn’t mind [Mottau’s] game last night. He’s a smart player, he makes smart plays, good decisions. He finishes his checks when he has to. I thought he was good last night. I really did. You say that because he’s been sitting around for a while, watching some games, and he gets back in the lineup and plays the way he did. That’s exactly what we need from the players that aren’t playing every night. When you come in, remain sharp.”
As for Zanon, the former Wild blueliner says he is still getting adjusted to how the Bruins handle rushes, and that a lot of the acclimation process is getting used to the other defensemen and their positioning. Known as a safe defenseman capable of blocking a lot of shots, he doesn’t feel the flubs in his own end led to him spending Thursday night’s game in the press box.
“The D zone thing, I don’t think it’s been the issue,” he said. “You’d have to ask [Julien]. I don’t know what it was. Obviously, any time you can watch from up top, it’s a lot slower. It’s a way different game when you watch from up top. Obviously, when you’re on the ice, you base everything more on reaction and what you see on the time. It helps a little bit to be up there, but you also want to be in the game.”
|Andrew Ference, Daniel Paille still day-to-day as Bruins hold optional practice||03.09.12 at 11:58 am ET|
WILMINGTON — On the day before a busy weekend that will feature games against the Capitals and Penguins, the Bruins took to the ice at Ristuccia Arena.
There were nine forwards, six defensemen and one goalie on the ice for the B’s for an optional skate. Missing from the skate were Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas and coach Claude Julien.
After the skate, coach Claude Julien said that both Paille and Ference remain day-to-day.
“To be honest with you, [I’m] not sure,” Julien said of their statuses. “I know that they’re day-to-day. ‘¦ I would still have to look at where they are tomorrow morning and decide whether to put them out in the warmup and make that decision or now.”
Marchand, who woozily skated back to bench in the third period Thursday after taking a hit from Tyler Myers, is fine, according to the coach.