|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Panthers||04.01.10 at 8:35 pm ET|
If the Bruins somehow miss the playoffs, it would be appropriate that they do so by one point.
After all, this has been the year of the near-miss for the Bruins offense. The Bruins trail 1-0 after 40 minutes on Keith Ballard’s first-period goal.
Just watching the second period, fans witnessed a microcosm of what has been missing this season – the finishing touch.
Twice in the second period, Bruins began to raise their sticks in expectation of a goal, only to discover their shots were near-misses. Mark Recchi re-directed a shot in front of Scott Clemmensen midway through the second and felt confident it was past the Florida netminder as he raised his stick. The puck deflected wide.
With just five minutes left in the period, Milan Lucic had an even better chance and wristed it just high and wide when he thought it was in. Lucic wasn’t the only one fooled as one of the on-ice officials saw the water bottle on the net behind Clemmensen twitch and thought the puck might have gone in and out.
At the next stoppage – several minutes later – the play was reviewed and it was revealed that Clemmenson’s stick handle was the culprit.
The Bruins applied constant pressure throughout the period, spending most of the period in the Florida zone and outshooting Florida, 17-10.
|First period summary: Bruins vs. Panthers||04.01.10 at 7:47 pm ET|
Another Thursday night and another inexplicably flat first period against a non-playoff bound team from Florida.
This time, it was the Florida Panthers who grabbed the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to a shaky goal off the stick of defenseman Keith Ballard at 7:15 of the first period.
Ballard pinched up the slot and didn’t appear to get all of the puck but enough that it changed directions on Tuukka Rask and fluttered by as Patrice Bergeron was standing by helplessly watching it go in.
The goal ended Rask’s impressive shutout streak at 121 minutes, 42 seconds. Before the game, Rask was honored with the ‘Seventh Player Award’ for the Bruins player who ‘goes above and beyond’ the expectations of fans.
The only highlight for the Bruins came when Johnny Boychuk laid out Victor Oreskovich along the left corner boards just moments after the Panthers’ goal.
The Bruins held a 10-8 shots advantage in the first.
|Miller on Thomas: ‘It’s unfortunate’||03.30.10 at 1:45 am ET|
Don’t for a second think that Ryan Miller wasn’t happy when Tim Kennedy’s flukey wrist shot floated and fluttered past Tim Thomas at 6:08 of the second period to put the Sabres up, 3-1 against the Bruins.
But that doesn’t mean Miller couldn’t have at least a little compassion for a fellow goalie, with whom he came within an eyelash of winning a gold medal against Team Canada in Vancouver.
Tim Thomas was the goalie to allow that Kennedy score and it was Thomas who had to listen to the boos of fans as he skated off the ice, past the Bruins bench and down the hallway to take out his frustration on the cement walls on either side with his goalie stick which was betraying him on this night.
“I think it is unfortunate,” Miller said of the boos Thomas received. “It has been a tough season and fans in this town are tough. It's the same as it is in Buffalo. We have had some tough seasons and I have left the ice under duress a few times. It is part of being a goaltender. You are not always going to have things go your way. You have to hang with it and be a good teammate. I know Timmy is doing the right stuff. He is a battler and it is just not going the way he wants it to right now.”
It was the sixth time this season and the sixth time in 28 starts that Thomas has been replaced in the middle of a game, which is one of the loneliest feelings any athlete in any sport can experience.
“You don't like to see it,” Miller added. “We are competitive to a certain degree. I know he is a little frustrated but I don't know if there was a whole lot he could do on at least two of those goals. I think if you asked him about the second one he would want to control the rebound differently.”
The first goal Thomas allowed – by Tyler Myers – was through a heavy screen, and he didn’t see the puck until it changed direction through Dennis Wideman and went past him for the tying goal. The second goal was the result of a bad rebound that Wideman failed to clear, which was picked up by Paul Gaustad and backhanded past Thomas to give the Sabres the lead for good.
“Again I think that was Tyler making a hard shot cross body. Tyler has a hard shot; he's a big kid. Knocking down one of his wrist shots is all about you can do.”
The last straw came at 6:08 of the second when Tim Kennedy collected a loose puck to the left of Thomas and flicked it toward the net. Thomas appeared to get fooled by the lack of strength behind the shot, overplayed it and allowed it to flutter past him for a 3-1 Sabres lead.
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||03.29.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
One game after recording his fifth shutout of the season and his 17th career, Tim Thomas was pulled after allowing his third goal on just 14 shots. It was the sixth time this season he has been lifted from a game.
The off night for Thomas has put the Bruins in a 3-1 hole after two periods.
Thomas allowed a soft wrister from Tim Kennedy at 6:08 and he came off the ice, made his way down the tunnel, swinging his goalie stick in frustration. He remained away from the bench for about five minutes before returning.
In fairness to Thomas, he was again let down by his defense who had trouble clearing bodies. Tuukka Rask was tested late in the period as breakdowns continued to thwart the B’s.
Jason Pominville had a short-handed breakaway with just 63 seconds left in the second period as the Bruins, desperate for some energy from their power play, pinched early and left Pominville alone in the neutral zone.
Boos rained down on the Bruins, who will begin the final period with 13 seconds of power play.
Each team had 14 shots on net in the second, with Boston holding a 28-25 advantage after 40 minutes.
|First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||03.29.10 at 7:48 pm ET|
A good start but rough finished has left the Bruins trailing the Sabres, 2-1, after 20 minutes at TD Garden.
The Bruins were buzzing around Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller for the first 10 minutes, resulting in several quality chances, a penalty shot and eventually rewarded with a pretty goal from David Krejci at 7:43.
Moments earlier, Marco Sturm broke in on a quick rush and was hooked from behind by Craig Rivet. Sturm was awarded a penalty shot but his shot – a routine backhander – was stopped easily by Miller.
Following the Krejci goal, a switch seemed to go on for the Sabres as they applied pressure on Thomas and controlled the final half of the period. Tyler Myers threw a soft shot from the right point through a heavy screen in front of Thomas to tie the game two minutes after the Krejci goal.
Then Paul Gaustad gave the Sabres the lead with a backhander that seemed to fool Thomas and put Buffalo up, 2-1, just 80 seconds later.
Boston outshot the Sabres, 14-11, in the period.
|Thomas: Easy does it||03.27.10 at 9:15 pm ET|
Everyone in Bruins black and gold knew Tim Thomas hadn’t played much in the last two weeks.
And, after watching video, every Bruin knew what the Calgary Flames wanted to do on Saturday. The Flames figured if they could crash the net they could eventually get to – and frustrate – the Bruins goalie.
So when push came to shove on Saturday, the Bruins and Thomas were ready.
Thomas stopped all 31 shots he faced in leading the Bruins to a 5-0 cakewalk over the Flames at TD Garden.
“Timmy hasn't played in a while and obviously, he is a very competitive guy and it's great to see him out come here and play a good game for us,” said Mark Recchi, one of five different goal-scorers for Boston on Saturday.
“It's nice when you have two goaltenders you can really count on and Timmy has been here for a number of years and has done a great job and it was great to see him. Tuukka [Rask] carried the load for a little bit and did a wonderful and it's nice when you pull him and don't miss a beat because Timmy does a great job.”
Thomas had started in goal exactly once in the last eight games, losing a 3-2 decision to New Jersey on March 15.
“That was like my fifth full game in like seven weeks,” Thomas said of Saturday’s return to action. “I played periods, but not [a full game]. So I didn't really know what to expect, but the team came out strong in front of me. They did a really good job of making me feel comfortable and that helped a lot.”
And when the Flames took a pair of goalie interference calls in the second period, Thomas and the Bruins were ready.
“Well that's what they do,” Thomas said. “We actually saw that in the video before the game. That's what they do so you're prepared for it. I'm just not going to change the way that I play. That's the worst thing you can do, because they'll get goals off of it, if you change the way that you play. You have to put yourself in vulnerable positions sometimes and that's what kind of happened on that one play.”
Thanks to the win, the Bruins tied Philadelphia with 80 in seventh place in the East while dropping Calgary further into a ninth-place hole behind Detroit in the West.
“They were behind the eight ball more than us,” Thomas said. “At this point we were sitting in the playoff spot before this game. So really, especially after that last they had against the Islanders, we knew that they must really be feeling the pressure. Part of our game plan was to be the relaxed team, be the team that relaxes and plays and has fun and hopefully good things come of it, and it worked.”
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Flames||03.27.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
Apparently, the Bruins wanted to show Marc Savard they can score on the man advantage – even with their best power play weapon out with a serious concussion.
Savard said before the game he wished he could help them on the power play and general manager Peter Chiarelli smiled a painful smile in agreement since the Bruins entered play Saturday mired in a hideous 0-for-22 slump.
Well, after Dennis Seidenberg finally found the net in the first period, the Bruins doubled their pleasure in the second to take a 3-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
David Krejci fired a rocket from the low left point 89 seconds into the period to make it 2-0 and Zdeno Chara scored on the man advantage from the high slot at 6:15 and all of sudden the Bruins were 3-for-3 on the PP.
They had a chance to make it 4-for-4 toward the end of the period but had to settle for a hat trick. And settle they did with a smile of satisfaction heading to the dressing room.
The Flames are outshooting the Bruins, 23-22, but Tim Thomas has been perfect so far.
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