|Pre-game notes: Shawn Thornton says cool it with the 1972 comparisons||03.03.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
No time for celebration, as the Bruins, fresh off a 6-0-0 road trip, are back at the Garden for a huge game with the Lightning on Thursday. The teams are tied with 81 points apiece through 63 games, with the B’s holding the tie-breaker for second place given that they’ve won less games via shootout.
It will be Tim Thomas between the pipes, as he’ll put his 28-8-6 record on the line after last playing Saturday night in Vancouver. Tuukka Rask started the Bruins’ last two, earning victories over the Oilers and Senators.
Thomas is 2-0-0 in two starts against Tampa Bay, allowing four goals with a .944 save percentage.
While the Bruins have won their last six, the Lightning have gone 3-2-1 in the same span. They lost a 2-1 contest to the red-hot Devils on Wednesday.
Here are some pre-game notes:
- Comparisons are nice, but even Roger Clemens would say people are beating references to 1972′s perfect six-game road trip with a dead horse.
“I don’t look at it at all,” Shawn Thornton said after the morning skate. “I honestly don’t. It’s purely a coincidence as far as I’m concerned.
“We’ve got a six game thing going here, and it doesn’t matter about anything else. We’re just trying to get seven in a row and then eight in a row. We’ll take it one at time here.”
“He got examined yesterday by our doctors and things are going extremely well for him,” Julien said. “We hope to see him back on the ice the beginning of next week. That could be as early as Sunday if things keep going well.”
- No Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning. He’s out with a mid-body injury on which the Lightning haven’t elaborated much.
- The three new guys in Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly will play in the Garden as Bruins for the first time Thursday. Kaberle and Kelly have played five games for the B’s since being acquired via trade, while Peverley has four under his belt.
While Bruins fans will welcome all three to the Garden, the focus will likely be on Kaberle, who was the big fish of trade season. Neither of the newcomers have lost a game as a member of the Bruins, and after years of limited team success in Toronto, that’s something Kaberle welcomes.
“My first six years I played in the playoffs every year. The last five, it wasn’t there. It’s tough to always answer the questions to the media of ‘why not,’” Kaberle said after the morning skate. “Hopefully we’ll have a good rest of the season and prepare for the playoffs.”
Kaberle said he is feeling more and more comfortable as he familiarizes himself with the Bruins way.
“I feel good. Obviously it’s a great team. Every line’s got something on the ice, and everybody can score. It’s nice to see that, and with two goalies behind us, we feel pretty comfortable.”
- Kaberle is undoubtedly the biggest name the team added when the moves were made, but Kelly and Peverley are fitting in very nicely on the third line. Both were among the leagues better faceoff men at the time they were acquired, and having both taking draws and killing penalties is something Julien likes to see.
“Right now, you’ve got to be extremely pleased with first of all [Peverley's] faceoffs, how dominant he’s been on draws,” Julien said. “With that line you’ve got a guy taking him on the strong side, and Kelly, a lefty and a righty, so you’ve got to be comfortable with that situation.”
“At the same time I think both Kelly and Peverley have seemed to have built some pretty quick chemistry there on the penalty kill as well. They seem to read off each other extremely well.”
- Thornton doesn’t want the new guys’ ability to come in and contribute immediately to go unnoticed. All three players have wound up on the scoring sheet since joining the B’s.
“They’re a big part of it too. These guys came in and stepped in seamlessly,” Thornton said. “It’s been a really easy transition for us and them.”
- How about this one from the stat truck? Over the last 10 games, Tyler Seguin has more goals than Steven Stamkos. Take that, development.
Well, not exactly. By Stamkos’ standards, the Tampa Bay star is in a slump as far as goals go. He has just two over the last 10 games (Seguin has three), but continues to lead the league with 41. Seguin has no points over his last four games.
|Shawn Thornton used the All-Star break to boost his celebrity in a different way||03.03.11 at 12:33 pm ET|
In case you live under a rock, Shawn Thornton‘s celebrity has increased to a national scale this week with the debut of the Dropkick Murphys music video for their latest single, “Going Out in Style.”
“It was fun. It was awesome. It came out really well, so I was happy,” he said. “I never thought I’d be on the Rolling Stone website. It’s a pretty cool experience.”
The video was shot on the last day of the All-Star break. Thornton laughed at the notion that given his All-Star candidacy at the time of booking (a career-high seven goals), the band was taking their chances in trying to secure his availability for that weekend.
“[Dropkick Murphys bassist and singer Ken Casey] called me last minute and asked if I could do it,” Thornton said with a laugh.
If there’s one thing that stands out about the video, it’s that Lucic appears to get the short end of the stick. Orr gets to sing along, Thornton gets to come off as a tough guy at the bar, and Lucic “is beating up a kid” (Thornton’s words). The video ends with Casey’s son throwing a snowball at Lucic who then chases after the youngster.
“It was pretty funny though. I liked his part.” Thornton said. “It was a good video though, I liked it.”
Click here to see the video, which contains explicit lyrics.
|Bruins end perfect road trip with win over Senators||03.01.11 at 9:52 pm ET|
The Bruins capped their six-game road trip with a 1-0 victory over the Senators, making it a perfect 6-0-0 on a trip that also featured stops in Long Island, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.
With the game scoreless in the third period, Nathan Horton beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson on a rebound from an Adam McQuaid wrist-shot at 1:43.
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves in the shutout victory, improving to 9-11-1 on the season.
The Bruin will return to the Garden on Thursday to face the Lightning, who are currently second in the Eastern Conference.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Don’t look now, but here comes Nathan Horton, and just at the right time. Horton has goals in three consecutive games for the first time since pulling a Bruins sweater over his pads. He’s also a plus-5 over his last five games.
Horton now has 18 goals on the season.
- Tuukka Rask had no problems leaving his net Tuesday, but never to the point where it hurt the Bruins. Unlike Sunday, where he faced only 17 shots, Rask was relied on a bit more heavily. He came up with big stops on Jason Spezza multiple times, including a breakaway in the second period.
In addition to playing well (something he has done at points this season without anything to show for it), Rask is winning. He has now taken victories in his last four games, and his quest to get that record to .500 after a 5-11-1 start is looking more and more promising.
- Adam McQuaid has three assists in his last four games. His wrist shot led to Horton’s goal, and it also boosted his league-best plus-minus up to a plus-27.
- The Bruins found themselves killing penalties on Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand early and late in the third period, but the Senators failed to get a shot on goal while on the man advantage. The B’s have allowed zero power play goals over their last three games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The B’s drew just one penalty the entire game, a tripping call on Jason Spezza. They failed to convert, making it four straight games without a power play tally. In fact, since acquiring Tomas Kaberle, who figures to strengthen the unit, the B’s have scored just once on the man advantage.
- Speaking of Kaberle, he has just one shot on goal since joining the Bruins. Nobody expected him to shoot a ton, but it seems “puck-moving defenseman” may mean just that — and only that. Kaberle had at least one shot on goal in seven of his final eight games with the Maple Leafs.
|Bruins, Senators remain scoreless||03.01.11 at 9:02 pm ET|
Another scoreless period means the Bruins and Senators will enter the third period knotted at zero.
While the period did not feature the game’s first goal, it did feature the contest’s first penalty in the form of a Jason Spezza tripping minor for taking down Brad Marchand. The B’s failed to convert on the power play, though a bid from Zdeno Chara was reviewed.
Once again, it was the second line that came up with a major scoring bid for the Bruins. Zack Smith used his skate to break up a scoring opportunity between Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. The play led to a breakaway for Jason Spezza, with Tuukka Rask coming through with one of his 12 saves in the period.
UNH alum Bobby Butler hit the crossbar behind Rask with less than 30 seconds in the period.
|Bruins, Senators scoreless after one||03.01.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t burst out of the gate Tuesday in Ottawa, as they enter the second period in a scoreless tie with the Senators.
The Bruins had their best opportunity of the period when Brad Marchand drew Senators netminder Craig Anderson out of position off a Brian Lee turnover. Marchand left a drop pass for Patrice Bergeron with an open net, but Colin Greening swatted at it to break up the play.
Tuukka Rask was alert enough to make a save on an unexpected Jason Spezza shot as Spezza fell down in the slot slot, and followed it up with another on Sergei Gonchar’s bid on the rebound.
The Senators are outshooting the Bruins, 10-6. Johnny Boychuk leads the B’s with two shots on goal thus far.
|Latest Dropkick Murphys video features Bruins Bobby Orr, Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic||03.01.11 at 6:19 pm ET|
Rolling Stone premiered the music video for the Dropkick Murphys’ latest single, “Going out in Style,” and it unsurprisingly featured a Boston theme. The Boston-based group’s newest video featured the likes of Bobby Orr, Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic.
Orr smiles at the camera and throws snowballs, while Thornton can be seen at the bar taking shots with NESN’s Heidi Watney. Lucic sings along and falls victim to a snowball. Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is also in the video singing along.
The song contains some choice lyrics, so we’ll link to it rather than posting the video.
|Seguin elaborates a bit more on expectations, playing time to Montreal Gazette||03.01.11 at 4:30 pm ET|
Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has had an up-and-down rookie season, and as a result his minutes have predictably gone up and down. It can’t be an easy thing for an 18-turned-19-year old to deal with, especially one who has dominated every level at which he has played previously.
Yet to Seguin’s credit, as unhappy with his ice time as he may be at times, he hasn’t let it seep its way onto the public record. He told me recently that he had previously been “blaming the wrong people” for a cut in ice time that included healthy scratches, but that he was done doing so. If he was more unhappy about it, he kept it to himself.
Yet in talking to the Montreal Gazette recently, he touched on a couple of the same subjects he’s been approached about over and over, and this time he elaborated a bit more.
“It’s hard to meet those expectations, whether it’s points or your individual bonuses in your contract when you get less opportunity and less ice,” Seguin told the Gazette. “But the coaches know what they’re doing to help me as a person and as a player.”
Seguin and Taylor Hall were as 1-and-1a as it gets in a given draft year, and the Oilers opted for Hall, the No. 2 prospect in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting. After a rough start, Hall has come into his own for an Oilers team that is on pace to finish last in the league for a second year. Seguin, despite some encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks, still has yet to hit his stride. He has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points this season, which puts him 17th amongst rookies. Hall’s 40 points (21 G, 19 A) puts him third, behind only Jeff Skinner (chosen after both players at seventh overall by the Hurricanes) and San Jose’s Logan Couture.
Seguin knew before last year’s draft that this could be the case if he came to Boston. Because they had Toronto’s first-round pick, the team that made it to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals would be able to add a type of player that generally would be given room to develop as a rookie.
‘In the end it’s still the NHL so I’m happy to go to either team,’ Seguin said in a conversation with WEEI.com prior to the draft. ‘I don’t have a preference. Edmonton is a Canadian city so they have a great fan base and they are a bit of a weaker team so there might be more opportunity there. With that being said, Boston’s already a contender. You can hop in the NHL and get a run for the Stanley Cup.’
Now, he’s experiencing just that.
“That’s one of the things with coming to a top team,” Seguin told the Gazette. “The young guys aren’t going to get as many opportunities on this type of team as maybe a guy like Taylor Hall in Edmonton. Not taking anything away from him, he’s had a great year so far and I know he’s going to finish off strong, he always does. And I’m going to be going into the playoffs, and that’s where my head is at.”
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