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Bruins beat up Stars, 6-3 02.03.11 at 9:44 pm ET
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Three fights in the first four seconds, a goalie change in the first 80 seconds, and a 6-3 Bruins’ victory after 3,600 seconds. Boston has to like that result.

The Bruins played a hard-fought (literally) game on Thursday behind lots of fighting majors and timely scoring. Patrice Bergeron had two first-period goals for the B’s, with Milan Lucic opening the scoring and Shawn Thornton also scoring in the first. Tyler Seguin provided the B’s with an important goal after the team, leading 4-0 in the second period, allowed three unanswered goals.

Gregory Campbell, who was cheap-shotted by Steve Ott two years ago while Campbell was still a member of the Panthers, clearly didn’t forget about their history. He was the first of the Bruins players to drop the gloves, as he squared off with Ott just one second into the game. Ott tossed him a pretty good beating, though, and Campbell left the ice bloodied. He did return to the game later in the period. Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid also fought for the B’s two and four seconds into the game, respectively. Andrew Ference fought Adam Burish at 3:51.

With the Bruins leading 4-0 after the first period, the Stars outshot the B’s 16-9 in the second period and got three pucks past Tuukka Rask, courtesy of Karlis Skrastins, Brenden Morrow, and Brad Richards over the course of the final two periods. Seguin put the game out of reach with his eighth goal of the season, while Brad Marchand scored an empty netter after Bergeron hit the side of the net going for the hat trick.

Tuukka Rask earned the victory for the Bruins and improved his , The Stars went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-4.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Any time there’s a fight off the opening draw, the crowd is going to go crazy. But two fights in the first two seconds? Three in the first four? Needless to say, the Garden was rocking, especially since Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid scored decisive victories in the latter two bouts. Milan Lucic made sure the energy boost didn’t go to waste by scoring 35 seconds into the game when he took in a pass from David Krejci and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrester. Patrice Bergeron kept the wave of momentum going when he tipped home a Brad Marchand centering pass 45 seconds later. From there, the Raycroft’s night was done.

- Seguin redeemed himself in a big way in the third period. It had been nine games without a point for the second overall pick, and he was coming off perhaps his worst showing of the season Tuesday in Carolina. Seguin didn’t get off to a great start Thursday, as he seemed to be treading water between Adam Burish and Skrastins on the Stars’ first goal in the second period, but his third-period goal gave the Bruins some much-needed breathing room.

- How’s this for a crazy one from the WEEI.com stat truck: Thursday was the second time this season that Shawn Thornton has dropped the gloves two seconds into a game and scored. The other time, of course, was on Dec. 23 against the Thrashers, when Thornton fought Eric Boulton and scored two goals in the Bruins’ victory.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Daniel Paille laid a very dirty hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawada in the second period. Paille lined Sawada up from a good 10 feet away and left his feet for a blindside shoulder to the ear that left Sawada slow to get up. He was handed a five minute major and match penalty for a head shot.

It’s very difficult to see how Paille doesn’t get suspended for the play, as the match penalty carries a suspension pending review. That’s exactly the type of play the NHL is trying to get rid of, and Paille will have to answer to the league.

- The Bruins appeared to take a 5-0 lead 4:10 into the second when McQuaid fired through a Blake Wheeler screen for what would’ve been his second career goal. Instead, the goal was waved off and Wheeler was sent to the box for a goaltender interference call that was questionable at best. Wheeler had himself planted a good foot outside the crease and it appeared that Kari Lehtonen was the one who initiated contact by coming out of his crease.

- The Bruins won just 22 of the game’s 64 faceoffs. All four of Boston’s starting centers failed to win 50 percent of their draws. Blake Wheeler was the biggest culprit as he went four of 16, while Patrice Bergeron won just seven of 20, Gregory Campbell four of 10, and David Krejci six of 14.

Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask
Stars get on the board, Bruins lead 4-1 02.03.11 at 8:53 pm ET
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The Stars finally got on the board in the second period, but the Bruins still hold a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Daniel Paille had the most notable play of the period, and it wasn’t for a good reason. With Stars winger Raymond Sawada skating into the Bruins’ zone, Paille blindsided him between the top of the circles, getting him tossed with a five-minute major and a match penalty. As Bruins fans should know, there is no need for that in the game, and it was definitely a play worthy of a suspension.

The Stars got their goal from Karlis Skrastins, as the Dallas defenseman scored his third of the season at 10:36 on a play Tyler Seguin could have easily prevented.

Adam McQuaid nearly scored his first goal of the season, but it was called off due to a really questionable goaltender interference call on Blake Wheeler.

Read More: Daniel Paille,
Bruins lead 4-0 after physical (and simply crazy) first period 02.03.11 at 7:53 pm ET
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A lot of skaters saw the penalty box, and a starting goaltender saw the bench very early on as the Bruins outmuscled and outscored the Stars in the first period to the tune of a 4-0 lead.

An astonishing three fights took place in the first four seconds of the game, while Andrew Raycroft, starting in an exciting matchup against Tuukka Rask was pulled from the game after only 1:20.

Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves off the face-off with Steve Ott, and their tango just one second into the contest made for the quickest into a game this season that a Bruin has tangoed with an opponent. Campbell was bloodied and left the ice for the locker room. He would return later in the period.

The guy who previously held the distinction of quickest to get in a fight for the B’s this season, Shawn Thornton, wasn’t to be outdone. He fought Krystofer Barch one second later (the second time this season he dropped the gloves two seconds into the first period, Dec. 23 vs. Thrashers). Adam McQuaid did the twist with Bryan Sutherby two seconds later, with Andrew Ference and Adam

Thirty-one seconds after McQuaid’s fight (and still just 35 seconds into the game), Milan Lucic opened the scoring for the Bruins when he beat Raycroft with a wrist shot for his 21st goal of the season.

Forty-five seconds later, Brad Marchand took a pass from Mark Recchi and fired a shot from the top of the circle. Patrice Bergeron redirected it past Raycroft, ending his night after just 80 seconds. Bergeron would score his second goal of the night with 10:25 remaining in the first. The 25-year-old picked up his 19th of the season when Marchand returned his pass in offensive zone to set up the goal.

Thornton beat Kari Lehtonen top left corner with an absolute lacerate 16:01 for his eighth goal of the season. It is the second time he has fought two seconds into the first and also scored in a game, as he had two goals on Dec. 23.

Tuukka Rask stopped all nine shots he saw.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron
Gameday notes: It’s a tradeoff! 02.03.11 at 1:51 pm ET
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Former Calder Trophy-winning Bruins netminder Andrew Raycroft will get the start in net for the Stars on Thursday, making it the first time he faces the man he was traded for in Tuukka Rask. After shining in his rookie year in 2003-04 and struggling in the season following the lockout, Raycroft was traded to the Leafs for Rask in June of 2006.

Raycroft has continued to struggle since leaving Boston, as he became a bit of a journeyman, making stops in Colorado and Vancouver following two years in Toronto. He has picked it up a bit with the Stars in his first season in Dallas, posting a .920 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average that is mostly inflated by an ugly start Jan. 21 in which he allowed seven goals in a loss to the Flames.

With the Bruins clearly having won the trade involving the two goaltenders they now look to win Thursday night’s game. The B’s haven’t turned in steady play in front of Rask, and it shows with the 23-year-old’s 4-10-1 record despite his .923 save percentage.

“I think we have a good goaltender in Tuukka and we know his statistics are good. The only negative thing is the win-loss column right now, and I have a feeling that’€™s going to turn around,” coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate. “Tuukka’€™s a good goaltender and we have to use him and he has to give us some games and he got to give us some wins and he’€™s got to give us the performance we know he’€™s capable of.”

Here are some other notes from the Garden:

- If it weren’t for the world needing a bunch of useless information about music, today is a today that I could consider hanging up my twitter skates. The internet has gone crazy saying tonight’s matchup is overhyped, but there are simply too many reasons as to why this game is very important for the Bruins to win.

First of all, there’s the aspect of Rask being in net. The Finnish netminder was essentially victimized by his team’s play in front of him prior to the All-Star break, and the team can really make a statement by playing well enough for him to earn a win against a very good Stars team.

Then there’s the “very good Stars team” part. Dallas, despite losing three of it’s last four games, is currently third in the Western Conference and went 8-2-1 in January. The Bruins have struggled against Western Conference teams this season (2-4-2) and have been especially bad when they have hosted the (0-2-2). When you consider that the Sharks are in town on Saturday and that the B’s have a pair of games against the Red Wings coming up, there are just too many reasons as to why this a very important game for the Bruins.

- As previously noted, Mark Stuart will be a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game. Given the play of Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer, it isn’t too shocking, but the fact that Julien admitted it isn’t even at the point where it’s a game-time decision anymore is a bit telling.

“I’€™m not going to mix anything up right now,” Julien said. “It is what it is and we keep talking about that almost everyday as well, is that we’€™ve got a guy in Stuey that so far has had a great attitude towards not disrupting the team and understanding how tough it is to play.

“At the same time, our six D’€™s are doing a great job so you don’€™t punish other guys for that kind of stuff. Things always work out and Stuey knows that and has been a real, I guess helpful player in regards to that, at not disrupting the team. He’€™s still working hard, and when he gets his chance he’€™ll be ready.”

- Julien was asked Thursday morning if he feels Tim Thomas, who leads the NHL with a .945 save percentage (on pace to be the best ever), 1.82 goals against average, seven shutouts (tied with Henrik Lundqvist) and 25 wins (tied with three others), is the best goaltender in the league. The answer wasn’t very surprising.

“I’€™m going to back that up 100 percent,” Julien said. ” The way he’€™s played for us definitely a great goaltender and the thing with Timmy that helps this hockey club is we play well in front of him, but when we do break down he’€™s there to keep us in the game at those key times. And that’€™s what’€™s important for our team. And again we may give up a certain amount of shots, at the end of the night we say ‘€˜how many scoring chances did we give up?’€™ and some of those scoring chances we may not give up a ton but they’€™re real good scoring chances and Timmy comes up big. That’€™s what makes a difference and that’€™s why Timmy’€™s a good goaltender.”

Read More: Andrew Raycroft, Claude Julien, Mark Stuart, Tim Thomas
Could Tim Thomas see himself getting in a goalie fight? 02.03.11 at 1:01 pm ET
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Goalie fights. There’s nothing like them.

Wednesday night, those who live to see the blockers and mitts dropped were treated to an entertaining ‘€” albeit very brief ‘€” bout between Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro after DiPietro took a cheap shot at (and here’s the ironic part) Penguins forward Matt Cooke. The former Boston University netminder has a history with Cooke, as Cooke twice was called for goaltender interference the last time the Islanders were in Pittsburgh. A scrum ensued after the hit, with Johnson skating the length of the ice to his teammate’s defense.

The fight didn’t take long, as it took, to quote philosopher Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, “one shot, bro” before DiPietro was down on the ice.

Vezina favorite Tim Thomas saw the fight and shared his thoughts on netminders dropping the gloves with WEEI.com on Thursday.

“Well, it was two American guys going at it,” Thomas said. “That’s the first thought that crossed my mind. The second thought that crossed it was that if I’m in the same situation, watch for both hands, because I don’t think DiPietro was ready for the left.

“The third thing I thought was, I’m glad that wasn’t me that got hit and knocked down on Versus, because so many people watch on Versus.”

While the play was certainly amusing given how short-lived the fight ended up being, Thomas could appreciate why it unfolded, as DiPietro was responding to Cooke, with Johnson simply having the back of his teammate.

“I just saw the way it played out with Cooke and DiPietro, and that’s hockey, and it kind of played out in the way that it should,” Thomas said. “DiPietro was frustrated, I understand that, but Johnson coming down and sticking up for his teammate, I understood that, too. It was just a fair hockey play.”

Could Bruins fans, who were delighted back in the day when Byron Dafoe squared off with Olaf Kolzig, see one of their goaltenders fight any time soon? Thomas admits he hasn’t envisioned himself fighting another netminder, regardless of how frustrated he may be with a certain player on a particular night.

“You don’t think about it,” Thomas said. “It’s hard. I try to play honest, so because of that it’s going to lower the chances that it ever happens with me. DiPietro stepped out of his way at Cooke. I try not to do that.

“I have been frustrated enough to do that before, don’t get me wrong. I’ve responded to [Sean] Avery, and probably went a little bit over the edge against the Capitals at the end of the season. I overreacted when Jason Chimera hit me, but I don’t know. I’m so focused on stopping the puck and getting the win that night, that my mind doesn’t switch to that way of thinking very easily.”

Here’s the Avery incident:

And the Chimera play:

Read More: Brent Johnson, Goalie fights, Rick DiPietro, Sean Avery
Marc Savard expected back in Boston on Thursday 02.03.11 at 12:06 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday morning that center Marc Savard is en route to Boston after returning home to Peterborough, Ontario following the diagnosis of his fourth concussion. Savard, who missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome, suffered his second concussion in just over 10 months on a routine hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22.

Upon Savard’s return to Boston, he will receive further evaluation from the team doctors.

“Savvy is due in today, but I don’t think we’re going to get an answer today, and people are all waiting for an answer here,” Julien said. “He still has to see the medical staff. Again, that doesn’t mean the decision will be made tomorrow or the day after.”

Julien added that while he can understand why updates on Savard are so heavily sought, he doesn’t know when the answer regarding what the center’s short-term and long-term future holds.

“Right now, I know he’s on his way back,” Julien said. “From there on [out], it’s kind of out of my hands. It’s out doctors and our medical people and our trainers that are going to be dealing with him.

“With concussions, as you know, it could be a matter of saying, ‘Well, we’re going to give it another week and see how he feels,’ but we don’t know when that answer’s going to come. That’s where we’re at right now with Savvy. How’s that going to impact the team? I think we’ll only be able to find that out when we do have that answer that everybody’s looking for.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Marc Savard, Matt Hunwick,
Predicting what’s next for Nathan Horton, and why 10 is his lucky number 02.02.11 at 6:31 pm ET
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In case you haven’t heard, Nathan Horton scored on Tuesday. Who would have thought when the Bruins acquired the talented scorer over the summer that such a basic feat, and one that he’s accomplished 155 times, would be a big deal in February?

Inconsistency set in with Horton after a great start to the season, and more recently he had been unable to score even when he had positive showings. Such is the life of a streaky goal-scorer, but after scoring his first goal after 10 days without one, what is next for the 25-year-old?

Thanks to the good old stat truck, we can actually do a bit of projecting here, and it looks good. Turns out that Horton, who is known to have slumps, really turns it on when they reach 10 games.

Horton went 10 games without a goal to begin his career back in the 2003-04 season. Despite the fact that he was the team’s first-round draft choice (they traded down from the top spot and grabbed him at No. 3 overall), rookies get cut a bit of slack in that department. Hell, Tyler Seguin has had stretches of 11 and nine games (the latter of which is active) without a goal, but you don’t get on a rookie for struggling to find the back of the net. But I digress.

The story with Horton is that he is no stranger to these extra-long stretches of games without a goal. He’s probably the most talented scorer on the team (though Seguin should eventually dethrone him there), but he has had his struggles with getting goals on a consistent basis.

The good news is that 10 seems to be some sort of magic number for Horton. He reaches either 10 or 11 straight games without a goal and then finds a way to not only score, but score often. Take that rookie season of his for example. Horton scored his first career goal in the 11th game and followed it up with another tally the next game. From there he cooled again, but over the course of his career, Horton has been able to follow cold streaks that reach double digits by reminding people why his talents are so highly regarded.

Here’s the rub on Horton’s other stretches of 10 or more games without a goal over the course of his career:

- Horton failed to register a goal over 10 games from Dec. 22 to Jan. 8 in the 2005-06 season. Similar to this season, Horton scored after 10 games, and followed it up with another goal the next game. Upon scoring the slump-breaking goal against the Blues on Jan. 12, Horton went on to notch five goals in his next 10 games.

- In the 2007-08 season, Horton went 11 games (Jan. 5-Jan. 30) without a goal. He caught fire following the stretch, scoring eight goals over the next nine games, including a stretch of four straight games with a goal.

- The 2008-09 campaign also saw a prolonged scoring slump for Horton. He went 10 games without a goal from Nov. 14 to Dec. 26 (with some missed games sprinkled in therewith an ankle injury). Horton followed that up with six goals over his next eight games. You’ve probably caught onto the pattern from now on.

Last time Horton found himself the topic of “it’s been ___ games since this guy scored” columns and discussions (Dec. 15 to Jan. 1), he scored after nine games, getting one in the second period of the team’s 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs on Jan. 3. That didn’€™t seem to be the slump-breaker that he’€™s gotten in the past, as he followed it up with the freezing 10-game stretch that he finally broke Tuesday.

Maybe nine doesn’€™t do the trick when it comes to Horton’€™s slumps. Once it gets to 10, the statistical output that may have seemed to be hiding finally emerges, and does so in a big way. The Bruins can only hope that 10 proves to be the magic number once again.

Read More: Nathan Horton,
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