|Milan Lucic plays hero in win over Lightning||03.03.11 at 9:28 pm ET|
Milan Lucic kept up his recent hot streak and improved the Bruins’ win streak to seven games by scoring the game-winning goal at 16:18 of the third in a 2-1 victory over the Lightning at TD Garden.
Lucic, who had eight points over the B’s recent six-game road trip, fired a wrist shot past both a mess of bodies and Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at an odd angle to give him his 28th goal of the season and the Bruins a big victory. With the win, the Bruins now lead the Lightning by two points for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Eric Brewer opened the scoring in the game, beating Tim Thomas at 4:04 of the second for his ninth goal of the season. Steven Kampfer responded with his his fifth of the season at 6:06. Kampfer would later take a big hit in the corner from Mattias Ritola and not return to the game.
Thomas made 27 saves and picked up the victory, improving to 29-8-6 on the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Kampfer did a good job of both redeeming himself and scoring his first goal in quite a while. After his turnover in the Bruins’ zone led to Brewer’s goal, he responded in short order by beating Smith with a snapshot from the point to tie the score at one. It was Kampfer’s fifth goal of the season, and first since Jan. 13. His status after leaving the game, however, is unclear.
– It was a good home debut for Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, both of whom have been able to strike up good chemistry on their line with Michael Ryder. Both Kelly and Peverley, donning home sweaters for the first time at TD Garden, were credited with a helper on Kampfer’s goal and were a plus-1 on the night.
– Johnny Boychuk was crushing people. He laid a huge hip check on Nate Thompson in the third and followed it up with a big hit in the corner on Blair Jones.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– When things get chippy between the Bruins and their opponents, the obvious way to settle it is by dropping the gloves. The Lightning aren’t that kind of team (they’re 27th in the league in major penalties while the B’s are 4th), and it seemed the only way the B’s could find a fight was to wind up shorthanded. That was the case in the second period, when a Nathan Horton trip and Lucic roughing penalty resulted in Lucic dropping the gloves with Brewer. The B’s wound up having to kill a 5-on-3, but they did so successfully.
– Once again, the power play looked very good despite the fact that it didn’t get results. Still, sooner or later, results are how that facet must be judged. The B’s were 0-for-3 on the man advantage Thursday, and they’re now 1-for-16 since acquiring Tomas Kaberle, who looked good in keeping the puck in during Brewer’s high sticking penalty but also sent the puck out with a blind pass. Still, the unit appeared to be vastly improved, and it’s hard to imagine results not coming in the near future.
– Smith entered the game with a 3.20 goals against average, but he sure didn’t play like it. The Lightning netminder came up with huge saves throughout the night, robbing Patrice Bergeron in the first, Horton on a breakaway in the second and Brad Marchand in the slot in the third.
|Bruins and Lightning get on the board (and in the box) in second period||03.03.11 at 8:38 pm ET|
Things got ramped up a bit (both scoring-wise and otherwise) in the second period, and the Bruins and Lightning are tied at one goal apiece entering the third.
From a goals perspective, it was a tale of two Steve Kampfers. The rookie blueliner couldn’t get the puck out of the Bruins’ zone just over four minutes into the period, and the play resulted in Eric Brewer beating Tim Thomas for his ninth goal of the season at 3:04. Kampfer would make up for it, as he scored his fifth of the season with a blast from the point at 6:06. Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, both making their home debut as Bruins, picked up assists on the play.
The Bruins have shown throughout the season that they can handle the high intensity, high physicality games. They’ve done so against some of the tougher teams in the league, and it seems they’re trying to do the same against a team that isn’t known for dropping the gloves.
There was a lot of chippy play in the second period Thursday night (some of which even came from Martin St. Louis) and it finally culminated in a fight when Milan Lucic tangoed with Brewer at 10:10. While seemingly a potential momentum-booster in a tied game at first glance, the play resulted in the Lightning getting a two-man advantage. Nathan Horton had tripped Sean Bergenheim, and when Bergenheim responded, Lucic jumped in and was eventually assessed a roughing minor. The B’s ended up killing off the 5-on-3.
|Bruins, Lightning scoreless after one||03.03.11 at 7:42 pm ET|
The Bruins and Lightning are as close as it gets in the standings. It seems that has translated to Thursday’s game, as the two teams are scoreless after a period of play at the Garden.
The Lightning outshot the Bruins, 10-8, in the period. After an ill-advised maneuver by Tim Thomas behind his net early on, he had to rush back to make a kick-save on Teddy Purcell. Thomas later robbed Mattias Ritola in front with just over 12 minutes left in the period, but the Milan Lucic went to the box afterwards for a clear-as-day cross-check.
Simon Gagne had a great opportunity on the power play, but went the puck across the crease. With 25 seconds remaining on the penalty, Steven Stamos beat Thomas with a wrist-shot but clanked it off the post.
Adam Hall drew the Lightning’s only penalty, going off for hooking David Krejci at 10:47. The Bruins are now 1-for-14 on the power play since Tomas Kaberle entered the fold, though they’re getting their chances.
|Tyler Seguin scratched vs. Lightning||03.03.11 at 7:01 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin is the healthy scratch for the Bruins as they take on the Lightning Thursday night. Seguin has zero points in his last four games, and with the 19-year-old out, Daniel Paille is in, skating with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
This will be Seguin’s fifth scratch (fourth of the healthy variety) this season.
|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.
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