|Henrik Lundqvist blanks Bruins||02.14.12 at 9:41 pm ET|
Like many teams this season, the Bruins were reminded of just how good Henrik Lundvist is, as the New York goaltender blanked the B’s, 3-0, Tuesday at TD Garden.
The Bruins fell behind in the first period on a Ryan Callahan power-play goal, and were seconds away from heading into the first intermission down by just one before Ryan McDonagh threw a puck off Zdeno Chara and past Tim Thomas with 12 seconds remaining. The teams skated to a scoreless second period that was mostly dominated by the Bruins, but they couldn’t get anything past Lundqvist. Artem Anisimov made it 3-0 in the third period.
The Bruins thought they had a goal in the third period on a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the point, but replays showed that it missed and went in through the side of the net.
With the loss, the Bruins are now 8-8-1 over their last 17 games.
The Bruins will now leave for a six-game road trip that will begin Wednesday against the Canadiens in Montreal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Rangers’ second goal was a rather flukey one, as McDonagh threw the puck in front from the half wall, and it went off Chara and in. The timing of the goal was also hard on the Bruins, as it came with just 12 seconds left in the first period. Goals allowed late in periods can be discouraging, and there’s a big difference betewen trailing the Rangers by one and trailing them by two.
– For the second time this season, the B’s, who lead the NHL in goals per game, couldn’t beat Lundqvist. He allowed two goals in the team’s overtime win over the B’s last month, and didn’t give them anything to work with Tuesday. If you’re wondering who will be this year’s Vezina winner, look no further than Lundqvist.
It’s performances like Tuesday’s that should have hockey fans hoping for a Bruins-Rangers Eastern conference finals. Putting two brick walls against one another would make for a very tight and highly entertaining series.
– Speaking of goaltending, Thomas has now allowed three goals in three consecutive games. It’s the second time he’s done that this season after only having one such stretch last season (though that one lasted four games).
– Slumpwatch: Tyler Seguin. No 19 has just one point (a goal) over his last seven games.
– Through the first 15 minutes of the third period, the Rangers had only one shot on goal. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it went in.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The second period has plagued the B’s in recent games, but they came out Tuesday with a far stronger effort in the second. THe B’s dominated the period, outshooting the Rangers by a 14-6 margin but Lundqvist proved to be the difference. The best opportunity came when
Lundqvist and other bodies were down with action in front, but the puck never crossed the goal line.
– Not necessarily something right, but an important note. Claude Julien went back to his usual lines for Tuesday night’s game, returning David Krejci to the top line between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Chris Kelly went back to centering Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot.
|Bruins-Rangers Live Blog: B’s trail, 3-0, in third||02.14.12 at 7:07 pm ET|
|Quick reaction to the Johnny Boychuk extension||02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET|
My initial reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year extension: semi-surprise.
That’s a lot to pay your fourth-best defenseman, but the Bruins thought it was worth it for Boychuk. In the end, maybe it works out. Remember, once upon a time, people were blasting Peter Chiarelli for giving $2.25 million a year to Andrew Ference, and that deal has proven to be a heck of a bargain for the Bruins this year.
A common counterpoint to the idea that the B’s overpaid for Boychuk is that he would have made big bucks on the open market, and that’s true. With 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and a plus-23 rating that has been helped by playing with Zdeno Chara, Boychuk would have been the next pretty good defenseman to get paid like a very good defenseman. If Christian Ehrhoff can get a 10-year-deal, Boychuk probably could have gotten upwards of $4 million as a free agent.
But that’s the issue with the signing. The Bruins paid Boychuk too close to what a desperate overpaying team would have given him. The B’s should have been in the driver’s seat in negotiations. After all, they have Dougie Hamilton presumably coming along next season, and all they’d simply have to find a replacement for Joe Corvo (also a free agent) in order to have their six defensemen.
With all of these signings, the ultimate question is what it means for the rest of the players who are at or near the end of their contracts. Tuukka Rask and Chris Kelly are the team’s two biggest players with expiring deals, and Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are all up at the end of next season. Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are also unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
If Boychuk can prove to be more than the guy who plays with Chara, this could end up being a good deal. If the money allocated to him gets in the way of the team keeping some of their better players, this could go down as one that Chiarelli regrets.
|Josh Hennessy not treating callup like a vacation||02.14.12 at 11:47 am ET|
Josh Hennessy is happy to be back in the NHL. The Rockland native hasn’t played at this level since the 2009-10 season, when he played four games for the Senators.
After being called up Monday to joing the team on its upcoming six-game road trip, the 27-year-old doesn’t know whether he’ll find his way into the lineup, but he’ll use his past experience to handle the situation as best he can.
“I think I’m more mature and a little bit more responsible defensively,” Hennessy said after taking part in the Bruins’ morning skate Tuesday. “I might have been more one-dimensional then.”
Asked whether he was viewing the callup as a reward or an audition, Hennessy felt the it was a little of both.
“This is why I play,” he said. “This is why I’ve played forever, so I’m not just going to act like I’m on vacation. I’m going to try to make an impression in any way possible and help this organization in any capacity. I’m just absolutely thrilled to be here.”
B’s coach Claude Julien hadn’t gotten to speak to Hennessy before meeting with the media Tuesday morning, but he likes what the Bruins have in Hennessy. Through 49 games in Providence, Hennessy leads the Baby B’s with 15 goals.
“We knew when we got him that he was a pretty good player. …A skilled player,” Julien said. “I think he’s done a pretty good job in Providence.”
Julien said that Hennessy getting into the lineup “could be a possibility,” either as a potential replacement for an injured player or otherwise.
“You don’t want guys getting comfortable,” Julien said, “but at the same time, if there’s an injury on this road trip, it’s a lot easier to bring that guy along if he’s been around the team than to just fly him out and expect him to jump in there and do the job.”
|Bruins hold optional morning skate||02.14.12 at 11:26 am ET|
With Tuesday night’s tilt with the Rangers on tap, the Bruins held an optional morning skate Tuesday morning at TD Garden.
The skate had a fairly heavy turnout, with Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Rich Peverley, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg the missing parties. Recent callups Andrew Bodnarchuk and Josh Hennessy were present for the skate.
|Bruins looking forward to second meeting with Rangers||02.13.12 at 6:38 pm ET|
After grinding out a hard-fought win Saturday in a shootout against the Predators, the Bruins will need to bring another complete effort if they want two points Tuesday night against the Rangers.
Yet when it comes to facing the Rangers, the B’s have more to gain than just two points. A win against John Tortorella‘s club in their second meeting can prove that the Bruins can hang with the squad that’s been the best team in the Eastern conference this season.
The Bruins were able to hang with the Rangers last time around, but lost, 3-2, in overtime after Andrew Ference was ejected for shoving Ryan McDonagh into the end boards, making way for a Marian Gaborik power-play goal to give the Rangers the win. It was an ugly way to end it for the B’s, but they’re determined to bring another strong effort to the table against New York Tuesday.
“We’re a good team. We’re a confident group,” Chris Kelly said after Monday’s practice. “This is a great challenge, a great opportunity for us to play another good team.”
This season, the Rangers have been more than just a good team. They boast a conference-best 77 points and are second in the league in goals-against against (the Bruins are fourth). The B’s average a league-best 3.4 goals per game, and the Rangers are 10th with 2.8.
The Bruins and Rangers have their similarities and differences — both teams get outstanding goaltending from the best netminders in the league, while the Rangers block far more shots than the Bruins — but the biggest difference between the two teams this season is consistency. After both teams got off to slow starts, the B’s caught fire for two months and began slumping, while the Rangers really haven’t slowed down since heating up. They’ve won five of their last six games.
The Bruins have played one less game than the Rangers this season (53 to New York’s 54) and trail them by seven points for the conference lead. Should the race come down to wire late in the regular season, the Bruins will be hurt by the fact that they’ve gotten six of their wins in the shootout this season, while the Rangers have won only three in the shootout. When teams finish the season tied in points, the tie-breaker is ROW, or regulation and overtime wins. The Rangers currently have 33 such victories, tops in the NHL, while the B’s have 28. For that reason, it’s likely that the Bruins will simply need to finish the regular season with more points in order to secure the top seed. A regulation win over the Rangers Tuesday would go a long way in helping their cause.
“It’s a very big game,” Brad Marchand said Monday. “They’re obviously at the top of the conference right now and we want to try and catch them. They’re playing very good hockey right now. We have to make sure we’re prepared for that and out out best game on the ice.
|Bruins call up Andrew Bodnarchuk, Josh Hennessy||02.13.12 at 5:57 pm ET|
The Bruins made a pair of callups Monday, recalling defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk in the morning and forward Josh Hennessy in the afternoon. Bodnarchuk practiced with the B’s Monday, while Hennessy is expected to be with the team for Tuesday’s morning skate.
In the case of the Bodnarchuk move, the team recalled the former fifth-round pick two days after sending Steven Kampfer to Providence. Kampfer has been up with the Bruins for the majority of the season but had played in only 10 NHL contests prior to his demotion. Experience is the biggest thing the B’s see as missing from the 23-year-old’s game, so they hope an extended stay in the AHL serves him well.
“We sent Kampfer down so he could play,” coach Claude Julien said after Monday’s practice at TD Garden. “It’s been a long year for him, and we’ve been fortunate enough to not have any real injuries back there. When you sit around that long, you lose a lot of your game, so we’ve got to get him back playing, just like we did with Jordan Caron. … Having done that, we’re heading on a big road trip and we needed a defenseman back up. I think Bodnarchuk’s done a pretty good job with us the few times he’s been up.”
Selected in the 2006 draft, Bodnarchuk has four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 47 AHL games this season. He played five games for the B’s in the 2009-10 season
For Hennessy, the callup marks the first time in his career that he’s been summoned to the NHL level. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 49 AHL games this season.