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Hat trick: A point made in loss 04.06.10 at 12:18 am ET
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All season long the Bruins have had their doubters, especially when it concerned matters of the heart. Specifically, do they have the intestinal fortitude to get the job done when the odds are against them?

On Monday night, during a 3-2 overtime loss to Washington (click here for the full recap) ‘€” the most dominant team in the NHL this season ‘€” the Bruins may have shown they do want to play into the second season.

With Adam McQuaid playing nine minutes and Andrew Bodnarchuk playing just six, and their regular rotation of defensemen shortened to four because of 15 stitches in Dennis Seidenberg’s left wrist, the Bruins managed to hang punch-for-punch with Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and the team that has the President’s Trophy wrapped up.

Here are three things we learned:

THE BRUINS SHOW HEART

When Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period, the Bruins had to wait nearly seven minutes through a painfully slow video review, only to have the goal upheld.

But following that goal, the Bruins picked up their skating and forechecking.

The scoring chances were again plentiful for Boston, and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.

While the Bruins were frustrated on the power play again ‘€” going 0-for-3 ‘€” they did their best to put pressure on Theodore.

Maybe most importantly, the Bruins showed they weren’t intimidated by the Captials, even when they fell behind 1-0 on Backstrom’s goal. If the two teams meet in the first round, the Bruins coaching staff is likely to show the team a tape of this game and show them why and how they can win.

DENNIS WIDEMAN PICKS UP HIS PLAY

It’s no secret that Dennis Wideman has been the whipping boy for all that ails the Bruins this year. Every time there has seemed to be a critical turnover or penalty, it’s been Wideman at the center of the storm.

And true to form, Wideman was again in the middle of things when he was whistled for a high sticking penalty 24 seconds into overtime. The Capitals made the Bruins pay with the game-winning goal off the stick of Brooks Laich 20 seconds later.

But long before that, Wideman had been doing his best to help the cause.

Just before Backstrom’s shot slipped by Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.

The Capitals had carried the pace of play. But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game and shift the momentum.

EYE ON THE BOTTOM LINE

As a result of Monday night’s outcome, the Bruins gained a point, giving them 85 and a one-point leg up on the Flyers for seventh in the East. Boston is now just one point behind Montreal for sixth. Monday was the game-in-hand the Bruins had on the Flyers and Canadiens. The Rangers are just two points behind the Flyers, and those two teams play each other in a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday.

Now, the Bruins play Buffalo and Carolina at home on Thursday and Saturday before returning to Washington on Sunday with the season possibly on the line against the best team in the NHL.

But if the Bruins win on Thursday and Saturday, they could make life a lot easier on themselves.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Dennis Wideman, NHL, Washington Capitals
Capitals turn out Laich on Bruins 04.05.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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Summary ‘€“ Brooks Laich poked in a loose rebound just 44 seconds into overtime as the Washington Capitals claimed a 3-2 overtime win against the Bruins at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Monday night.

The game-winning goal came on the power play as Dennis Wideman was whistled for a high-sticking penalty just 24 seconds into the five-minute overtime.

Alex Ovechkin assisted on the power play score, as the Bruins moved just one point ahead of the eighth-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins had to play the game without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who skated in pre-game but couldn’t make a go of it after taking 15 stitches to close a gash in his left wrist on Saturday in Toronto.

Considering the Bruins faced the top-scoring team in the NHL on their home ice and without a top-four defenseman, their effort was as much about courage as it was execution.

And they were just mere millimeters away from a one-goal lead after a 20 minutes.

Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.

The scoring chances were again plentiful for the Bruins and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.

But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game.

Prior to that goal, the Bruins spent the final 60 seconds of the first period in the Washington zone, peppering Theodore.

And just after Backstrom’s goal, Michael Ryder had three great chances from close in but couldn’t finish.

The Bruins picked themselves up off the mat with 1.6 seconds left in the first period to tie the game going into intermission with some valuable momentum.

This time – with 28.8 seconds to go in the second – the Caps took that momentum away with a goal from Mike Knuble, who crashed Tuukka Rask. For Knuble, it was his 47th of the season for the Capitals, making it 2-2 after two periods.

The goal was originally credited to Knuble then changed to Ovechkin and then back to Knuble. Ovechkin has two assists tonight.

Since Wideman scored late in the first, the Bruins appeared to be energized. That was apparent when Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic crashed Jose Theodore, with Bergeron stuffing one past the Washington goalie for his 19th of the season.

Three Stars

Alex Ovechkin ‘€“ One of the most skilled players in the world showed why you don’t have to score to dominate. Ovechkin did precisely that by commanding extra defensive attention on a depleted team that could ill afford the luxury. He made them pay by assisting on all three goals.

Patrice Bergeron ‘€“ He, along with linemate Milan Lucic seemed re-energized since Michael Ryder was placed on the checking line. Both rushed the net frequently, putting pressure on Jose Theodore, getting rewarded in the second when Bergeron scored his 19th to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

Dennis Wideman ‘€“ Yes, he was called for an overtime high-stick that was embellished with theatrics that led to the game-winner by Laich, but Wideman all night seemed to be in the right place, if not the right time. His cannon of a shot past Theodore with 1.6 seconds left in first period, tied the game.

Key play ‘€“ Brook Laich’s game-winner. Alexander Semin, who escaped a high-sticking call on Zdeno Chara in the second period, took a shot from the left circle. But Rask couldn’t contain and Laich was there to put it back and give Washington a remarkable 116 points on the season.

Turning point ‘€“ David Krejci’s near miss in final minute. The forward fired wide on Theodore who was late to slide over, otherwise it’s the Bruins who skate out of the national capital with their most satisfying win of the season.

Read More: Bruins, Capitals, NHL, NHL power rankings
Second period summary: Bruins vs. Capitals 04.05.10 at 8:53 pm ET
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The Bruins picked themselves up off the mat with 1.6 seconds left in the first period to tie the game going into intermission with some valuable momentum.

This time – with 28.8 seconds to go in the second – the Caps took that momentum away with a goal from Mike Knuble, who crashed Tuukka Rask. For Knuble, it was his 47th of the season for the Capitals, making it 2-2 after two periods.

The goal was originally credited to Knuble then changed to Alex Ovechkin and then back to Knuble. Ovechkin has two assists tonight.

Since Dennis Wideman scored late in the first, the Bruins appeared to be energized. That was apparent when Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic crashed Jose Theodore, with Bergeron stuffing one past the Washington goalie for his 19th of the season.

The Bruins had taken command, carrying play throughout the period, even though the Capitals outshot the Bruins, 11-6, in the period.

Read More: Alex Ovechkin, Bruins, Captials, NHL
First period summary: Bruins vs. Captials 04.05.10 at 7:53 pm ET
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Considering the Bruins are facing the top-scoring team in the NHL on their home ice and without a top-four defenseman, being tied, 1-1, with Washington is not all bad. As a matter of fact, it’s downright remarkable.

And they were just mere millimeters away from a one-goal lead after a 20 minutes.

Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Dennis Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.

Before that, the Bruins had managed to contain the high-powered Caps without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who skated before the game but could not play after suffering a gash in his left wrist that required 15 stitches.

The scoring chances were again plentiful for the Bruins and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.

But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game.

Prior to that goal, the Bruins spent the final 60 seconds of the first period in the Washington zone, peppering Theodore.

And just after Backstrom’s goal, Michael Ryder had three great chances from close in but couldn’t finish.

The Bruins outshot the Caps, 12-7.

Read More: Bruins, Captials, Dennis Wideman, Jose Theodore
Julien vs. Ryder: Two takes on same problem 04.02.10 at 11:33 am ET
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Claude Julien was pulling no punches following Thursday’s 1-0 head-scratching loss to the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

“There’s no doubt we have some players who could’ve been much better for us,” the Bruins coach said. “And a lot of those players are the players we need to help us get through this. You can’t stand here and say, ‘We were outstanding.’ We just lost the game. If everyone were as good as they could be, we would have won this game.”

And if punches equate to shots on net, Michael Ryder wasn’t throwing any.

And therein lies the fundamental problem Julien had with his team and the player he considers his best shooter on the team.

“Ryder is probably our best shooter and ends up with zero shots,” Julien said. “Those are the things we needed from those players.” Julien. “I thought Ryder played a much better game in New Jersey and we needed more out of him [Thursday] as well.

“He’s one of a few more that we needed more out of.”

But Julien made it a point to say that Ryder was hardly alone. There’s Blake Wheeler, without a goal in nine games.

“The chances… Wheeler goes on the 2-on-1 and doesn’t get shot.” Julien on Wheeler’s short-handed chance in third period.

But Ryder said the effort is still there.

“If I had an answer maybe we could figure it out,” Ryder said. “It’€™s definitely disappointing when you’€™re supposed to have the advantage at home and you can’€™t find a way to put wins together. We have one more game left here, I think, and it’€™s a big game. We have to make sure we get a win there. Right now every point counts and we are on the road for Toronto and Washington. Two big games and we have to find ways to put the puck in the net.”

Ryder has just one goal in his last 18 games.

“It has been a tough year overall for us scoring goals,” Ryder said. “We got that time of year where you have to find ways [to score]. It’€™s getting into the grind with only five games left. We need to start getting some wins and getting ourselves some space. But we did a lot of good things tonight that we can look at. It’€™s just a matter of us still throwing pucks at the net and maybe getting more traffic or maybe bearing down a little bit more.”

Read More: Bruins, Claude Julien, Michael Ryder, NHL
Always believe in BC 04.02.10 at 11:09 am ET
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In one week, Scott Clemmensen will be wrapping up his NHL season as the back-up goalie to Tomas Vokoun with the Florida Panthers.

His season will end on the same weekend his alma mater will be looking for its second NCAA hockey championship in three years as the Boston College Eagles take on the Miami Redhawks in the national semifinals on Thursday in Detroit.

It was in 2001, Clemmensen’s senior year at the Heights, when he led the Eagles to their first NCAA hockey title in 52 years.

Drafted by the Devils in 1997, Clemmensen had a successful career at BC before becoming the first player born in Iowa to play in the NHL.

He played his first NHL game in 2004 and spent parts of several seasons with the Devils and Maple Leafs before signing on as a free agent last summer with Florida.

On Thursday night, he turned away all 36 Bruins shots for a 1-0 win, his first shutout of the season.

“I was hoping I got my first shut out before April,” Clemmensen quipped. “Better late than never.

“They came at us pretty good. We killed penalties really well. I got kind of lucky on some saves here and there. I know they are a little bit of a snake bitten team right now and that played to my advantage. A couple of those saves I got pretty lucky.”

To do what he did on Thursday took on added significance because of the building he was in.

“I will always have a special place in my heart for Boston,” he said. “I love this city and obviously BC alumni here in this building. I have a lot of good memories in this building as well. A couple bad ones too, so I am trying to stock pile as many as I can. While I’€™m still playing that is the time to do it.”

He even took time to look up in the rafters for some of the banners he’s responsible for.

“Absolutely. I looked at both sides of the scoreboard during the national anthem,” he said with a proud smile. “Both sides have it; Beanpot champs and Hockey East champs. I expect it every year really.”

As for the current edition of the Eagles, he’ll find time to pay attention next weekend.

“I hope BC wins it,” Clemmensen said. “I wish they played this weekend but they do not want to compete with basketball. We are going to have to wait and I wish coach [Jerry] York nothing but the best.”

Read More: Boston College, Bruins, Frozen Four, NCAA Hockey
Recchi doesn’t see everybody there 04.02.10 at 9:50 am ET
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After another frustrating home loss and the Bruins’ second straight game without a regulation goal, B’s coach Claude Julien and team leader Mark Recchi openly questioned the team’s desire and heart.

“We have to find ways to win these games,” Recchi said. “We did in New Jersey because we had everyone in. Tonight, we didn’t have everybody there, so the results are there.”

Julien added that he was frustrated to see the team’s best shooter, Michael Ryder, finish with zero shots on goal. “There’s no doubt we have some players who could’ve been much better for us tonight,” Julien said. “Ryder is probably our best shooter and ends up with zero shots. Those are the things we needed from those players.”

After the game, Julien said the ‘push’ has to come from within the dressing room.

And at 42 years young, it was Recchi pushing the hardest.

“We had a lot of good chances and we just didn’€™t score,” Recchi said. “I mean, we can’€™t ask for much more, effort-wise. I still don’€™t think we had 20 guys tonight, but you know, the guys that were going were generating a lot of opportunities and you got to put those in. We need ‘€“ like I said, this time of year, you need 20 guys, regardless, so that’€™s a little bit of a disappointment, but we definitely controlled the game and played the right way and we should have won this one.”

Recchi saw a Florida Panthers team that, while not in the playoff chase, would come in and play a conservative, hard-checking style. And, when the visitors went up, 1-0, in the first period, that’s exactly what the Bruins got.

“They played hard,” Recchi said. “We knew they were going to play hard. I mean, we’€™ve had some tough games against them this year and, you know, if anybody watches the games and I don’€™t know, I’€™m not sure how many guys do, but they play hard. They compete. They haven’€™t quit. They’€™ve got some young players that want to play well and you know, they’€™ve got some, obviously some leaders over there who are not letting those young guys quit and I don’€™t know if we underestimated them or not, but this time of year, I don’€™t think you should underestimate anybody.

“I’€™ve been on the other end where you’€™re spoiling opportunities and there’€™s nothing more enjoyable when you know you’€™re five games away from the end of the season and if you can hurt somebody’€™s chances of making the playoffs, that’€™s what you play for and that’€™s what those guys are playing for right now.”

Recchi was trying so hard on the ice, he thought he was rewarded midway through the second period when he re-directed a shot and raised his stick a bit prematurely, almost willing the puck in the net when nothing else was working.

“Yeah, I thought it went in, but obviously, it didn’€™t, but yeah, I thought it went in,” Recchi admitted. “We had a lot of good opportunities. Their goalie [Scott Clemmensen] made some good saves. You’€™ve got to give him some credit too, but, you know, a lot of pucks ‘€“ he’€™s a big kid and he played big, and a lot of pucks hit him and we weren’€™t able to capitalize.”

But again, it comes down to having everyone in and Recchi made it clear Thursday night that, with just five games left, that’s something he expects.

“In a game like this, if you have 20 guys, we don’€™t lose, and we still miss,” he said. “[In] New Jersey, we had 20 guys, and we win. It’€™s no secret this time of year. The teams that have guys that are ‘€“ and we talked about this after the last game ‘€“ you might not feel good, but this time of year, chances are you don’€™t feel great but, you know, you have to dig deep down and do it for your teammates, do it for yourself. You have to find ways.

“If you’€™re a goal scorer and you’€™re not scoring goals, you got to be physical; and you got to play great defensively, and if you’€™re a physical guy, then you know, you got to chip in at times, so there’€™s a whole bunch of factors that play into this and I think we have to, with five games remaining, I think we shouldn’€™t have to be talking about it, but the results are there. [If] we don’€™t have 20 guys, we don’€™t win, and [if] we do, we win.”

Read More: Bruins, Claude Julien, Mark Recchi, NHL
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