|Peter Chiarelli glad to see ‘deserving’ Patrice Bergeron get a rest at All-Star break||01.28.11 at 5:48 pm ET|
As the names are called one by one by Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom Friday night, the All-Star rosters will take shape, and Bruins fans will find out whether Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara will be teammates as usual, or whether they’ll end up going against one another come Sunday.
Yet some around these parts had been wondering whether the B’s might have ended up with a third player in the pool of names come Friday in Patrice Bergeron. With forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Ales Hemsky all bowing out due to injury and Jarome Iginla skipping the weekend to tend to an ill family member, Bergeron’s name came up across the web as a potential replacement. Philadelphia’s Danny Briere ended up getting the nod to replace Iginla, while Martin Havlat, Jeff Skinner, and Paul Stastny replaced the other three.
In all reality, the 25-year-old was a semi-long shot to head to Raleigh based on pure numbers despite having a great season for B’s. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 40 points and is tied for the league lead among forwards with a plus-21 rating. His point total fell short of Briere (45), Havlat (44) and Stastny (43), while Skinner had just as many as Bergeron. Skinner, who in his rookie season has emerged as one of the Hurricanes’ top forwards, held an edge over Bergeron based on location.
While Bergeron potentially could have been taking in the All-Star atmosphere with his teammates in Thomas, Chara and Tyler Seguin (the latter of whom’s talents will be showcased in the SuperSkills event on Saturday night), he will instead get the breather that many players can benefit from this time of year. His general manager has no problem with that.
“He’s deserving of it, but he also deserves a rest,” Peter Chiarelli said this week. “As a manager, you don’t mind if he’s not going, but he’s deserving.”
Bergeron is on pace for 66 points this year. He had 70 or more points in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 season.
|Only soreness for David Krejci after injury scare||01.27.11 at 1:06 am ET|
The Bruins aren’t exactly in a position to lose a skill center. Given Marc Savard‘s latest concussion, the team can play the “been there, done that” card with regard to such a scenario.
That’s why when David Krejci took a hit from Rostislav Olesz, crashed into the boards and remained down for a few minutes before leaving and making toward the tunnel in the first period, it was a clear-cut case of something the Bruins didn’t need.
“When he first went down, the last thing you want to see is [him] not come back,” coach Claude Julien said after the game. “We’re already minus one pretty good centerman so you certainly don’t want to lose that second one.”
Yet Krejci, who appeared to be in shoulder pain while down on the ice, didn’t end up missing a shift for the B’s. He was back on the bench shortly after the play and knew he was good to go.
“It wasn’t my shoulder, it was like my whole arm getting tweaked going for position and it was a little uncomfortable for a few seconds, so I stayed on the ice,” Krejci said. “It got a little better so it’s sore but obviously nothing major.
“I waited on the ice a long time and when I was skating off it felt a little better. I didn’t know if it was the shoulder or something. But when I was skating off the ice I knew the shoulder was fine so I was pretty sure I would come back.”
Krejci returned to make a huge play for the B’s, winning the faceoff that set up Milan Lucic’s second-period goal, the tally that proved to be the game-winner when all was said and done.
If any of the soreness lingers for Krejci, it couldn’t come at a better time. Teams now break for All-Star weekend, and the center and most of his teammates will have the next five days to rest up.
“There’s no doubt these next five days will be good for him and probably a lot of the other players too that are playing a little banged up,” Julien said. “It is, I guess, a break that we needed. We certainly didn’t need him going down and not getting him back.”
|After reaching 20 goals, Milan Lucic has a new number in mind||01.27.11 at 12:41 am ET|
Milan Lucic had a number in mind before the season. That number was 20.
Never in his three-year career had Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau, and after scoring 17 goals in the 2008-09 campaign, he took a statistical step backwards — both in games played and in scoring — when injuries limited him to 50 regular season contests last season.
After scoring nine goals in the injury-shortened season, Lucic entered training camp set on not only surpassing his career-high 17, but finally scoring 20.
“I feel like have the ability to help contribute to this team a little bit more,” Lucic said on Sept. 21. “I still in my three years haven’t been able to hit the 20-goal mark. I feel like that’s a realistic goal for me this year and that’s a personal goal that I should be able to meet.”
Lucic expanded his team-leading goal count in the second period when David Krejci won a face-off clean and drew it back to him at the top of the left circle. The 22-year-old fired a quick snapshot past Tomas Vokoun to give the B’s a 2-0 lead and meet his personal goal before the All-Star break.
“It’s great,” Lucic said of finally being a 20-goal scorer. “It’s obviously something that I talked about coming in, and that was a goal for myself and I reached it as quickly as [I did]. … It’s a good step for me and I couldn’t be happier right now, but definitely not satisfied.”
Twenty was the number in September. In revising his hopes for the season, Lucic had a new number Wednesday night.
“One game at a time, one goal at a time,” Lucic said, “so we’ll see where I can get to this year.”
The uptick in No. 17′s scoring has been a big factor in the team’s first-place standing in the Northeast Division at the break. Krejci doesn’t see Lucic as the only one benefiting from the left-winger’s scoring this season.
“It’s good,” Krejci said of seeing Lucic’s production. “Especially when he’s on my line.”
|Brad Marchand can also agitate goaltenders||01.26.11 at 10:59 pm ET|
People thought they knew what to expect out of Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the 2010-11 season. An agitator who could be just as big a pest with his mouth as with the rest of his game, it was safe to assume that if the other team’s forwards were frustrated, Marchand was doing his job.
As goaltenders have learned this season, Marchand has a way of annoying them too.
The 22-year-old struck for his 13th goal of the season when he beat Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period of Wednesday night’s win. If one were to project 13 goals for the undersized forward at the beginning of the season, they likely would have received strange looks, yet Marchand achieved the feat before the All-Star break.
“I don’t think anyone even thought that I might score 10 this year,” Marchand said following the win. “It is nice to kind of have a little bit of an offensive flair here and there. I don’t care what anyone says. I have to go out and work hard. Whatever happens, that’s how it goes.”
Marchand has surprised hockey fans throughout town, but has he surprised himself? For a guy who was itching to score his first career goal earlier in the season, the confident yet humble Marchand admits he’s surpassed his own projection.
“Yeah, I thought I might be able to score 10,” the forward said when asked if he’s surprised himself with his statistical output. “I knew I could, and I know last year I could have had a bunch and they just weren’t going in. They weren’t bouncing the right. This year, I knew if that if I kept getting those opportunities, they’d eventually go in.”
Marchand’s 13 goals this season put him fourth amongst the Bruins. He has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) over his last 11 games.
|Tim Thomas helps Bruins head to All-Star break with win over Panthers||01.26.11 at 9:30 pm ET|
Fans braved the weather on Wednesday night in traveling to TD Garden, and were rewarded with a 2-1 Bruins victory behind Tim Thomas’ 24th win of the season.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored in the first and second period, respectively. Marchand is now fourth on the B’s with 13 goals, while Lucic improved his team-leading total to 20. Defenseman Bryan Allen scored the Panthers’ lone goal at 8:37 of the third period.
Thomas, now 24-5-6 on the season, is now tied with Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price for second in the NHL lead in wins. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller leads the league with 25. Thomas sits atop the league in save percentage, goals against average, and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. He made 34 saves Wednesday night, with the B’s firing 35 shots on Tomas Vokoun.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star weekend. The skills competition will take place Saturday, with the actual game being played Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. The B’s will will return to action Tuesday in that very city, taking on the Hurricanes in the fourth meeting between the teams this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-Milan Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Less than two minutes into the second, linemate David Krejci won a faceoff straight back to Lucic at the top of the left circle, and the 22-year-old winger didn’t waste any time firing a quick snap shot into the top right corner. Lucic now has four goals in his last six games. Coming into the season, he said getting 20 goals was one of his targets. Time to raise the bar a little higher.
- The Bruins didn’t see another center suffer an injury, which was certainly a concern when David Krejci was down on the ice after crashing into the boards following a hit from Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz. Trainer Don DelNegro came out to tend to him, and Krejci left the ice and went down the tunnel. Moments after the scare, Krejci was back on the bench and returned to the ice in short order, not missing any shifts in the process.
Krejci went on to play a huge role in Lucic’s second-period tally, winning the face-off clean in the Panthers’ zone early in the period and drawing it to Lucic, who fired a quick snapshot past Vokoun from high in the circle.
- Brad Marchand remains hot for the Bruins. The surprising offensive contributor now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in his last 11 games and has 13 goals thus far in his rookie year. He beat Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period for the game’s first goal. Linemate Patrice Bergeron picked up the primary assist and now has 15 points over his last 10 games.
- The Bruins stayed out of the box. The Bruins avoided the sin bin until the refs found Dennis Seidenberg guilty of a hold 5:37 into the third. The one infraction matched a season low for the B’s.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Nathan Horton now has one goal over his last 20 games. His line had a much stronger effort on Wednesday than in the team’s 2-0 loss Monday in which he was demoted to a line with Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.
- Thomas lost what would have been a league-leading eighth shutout of the season when Bryan Allen made it a 2-1 game at 8:37 of the third. Thomas remains tied with Henrik Lundqvist with seven blankings on the season.
The Panthers outshot the B’s, 16-9, in the third.
- With how well Marchand has been playing, you almost wish he didn’t have to take five days off for the All-Star break.
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.
|Milan Lucic adds to Bruins lead in second period||01.26.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
Milan Lucic is a 20-goal-scorer for the first time, and after two periods the Bruins lead the Panthers, 2-0.
David Krejci, who had an injury scare on the first period after crashing into the boards, made the second period memorable for a more positive reason. The pivot won a face-off clean in the Panthers zone and drew it back to Lucic, who scored on a snapshot at 1:52. Lucic’s career-high for goals in a season was 17, which he scored in 2008-09, a season in which he played 72 games.
There were no penalties in the period, and through two the only penalty came in the form of a first-period high-sticking call on Panthers forward Christopher Higgins.
The shutout remains intact for Tim Thomas, with the B’s outshooting the Panthers, 26-19.
|Brad Marchand puts Bruins on top in first||01.26.11 at 7:46 pm ET|
The Bruins lead the Panthers 1-0 after one thanks to the latest contribution from Brad Marchand.
The gritty rookie beat Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun on a wraparound for his 13th goal of the season at 13:31. The play was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck clearly cross the goal line. Marchand now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) over his last 11 games.
There was another scary moment for the Bruins when David Krejci took a hit into the corner from Rostislav Olesz. Krejci stayed down on the ice, holding his left shoulder as trainer Don DelNegro tended to him. He skated off the ice and went down the tunnel, though he returned to the bench in short order and did not miss a shift.
Tim thomas has stopped all 11 shots he has faced. The Bruins are 0-for-1 on the power play.
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