|First period summary: Bruins-Hurricanes||03.16.10 at 6:45 pm ET|
The Bruins couldn’t have scripted a better start to what could be considered a key – if not critical – conclusion to their season-long seven game road trip. And they took advantage of the early momentum to take a 1-0 lead after one.
Bruins outshot the Hurricanes, 18-7, in exerting their dominance.
The biggest concern, however, continues to be taking advantage of their momentum to build onto a lead, particularly on the power play as the Bruins couldn’t convert on a 5-on-3 power play and a more conventional 5-on-4 advantage.
Since their best playmaker Marc Savard went down with a concussion, the Bruins have scored just once in 11 tries on the power play and haven’t scored in their last nine tries.
|Boychuk admits ‘Oh, no’ feeling first game back||03.05.10 at 3:52 pm ET|
It’s rare when a hockey player admits the slightest amount of fear on the ice. It’s that lack of fear that separates those in the sport from many others.
But on Thursday at TD Garden, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk acknowledged that he had a few scary flashbacks to Feb. 6 on the same ice when Mikael Samuelsson’s slapshot hit him just to the side of his left eye, causing him to miss the final four games before the Olympic break and Tuesday’s game with Montreal.
But those fears were calmed somewhat when he let loose one of his own booming slapshots in the second period, beating J-S Giguere and giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead over Toronto.
“If felt good, actually,” Boychuk said of his return. “There was a couple of times where I just have to get back into things, I guess. Just little things, I guess, but overall it felt great.”
“It felt better if there was a slap shot coming from the point that I had a visor on. There were a couple of times when somebody wound up and I was like, ‘Oh, no’ and a flashback of that shot hitting me in the eye or side of the head so it’s just nice having that little extra protection.”
Boychuk said the piece of mind was more than worth the minor inconvenience of extra eye protection.
“I just have to wipe it down every once and a while from all the sweat,” he said. “That’s about it.”
It was that cannon of a slapper that earned Boychuk a place on the Bruins roster and possible future offensive force on the B’s blueline.
|Thomas proves he’s ‘ready for everything’||03.04.10 at 11:24 pm ET|
Tim Thomas admitted he felt a little rusty at first. After all, it had been seven games with the Bruins and six Olympic contests that he had served as a back-up.
But aside from a short-side goal off the stick of Viktor Stalberg in the first period, Thomas looked like the Vezina Trophy winner he was last season in helping the Bruins to a 3-2 shootout win over Toronto Thursday night at TD Garden.
“My confidence going into it was pretty good,” Thomas said. “I felt real good in practice. There’s a couple of things that happen in games that you can’t really practice. That put me on my heels a couple of different times. You’ve got to be ready for everything as a goalie, anything that’s thrown your way.”
Thomas stopped Phil Kessel not once, not twice but three times on point-blank chances, including a breakaway in the first and in the shootout.
“At the Olympics, at the end of the practice over the past two weeks, I probably took 400 breakaways after practice and 40 of them were against Phil,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know exactly where he was going to shoot because he can shoot anywhere. I was just trying to do the best I could and I was fortunate enough to be the one that ended up on top today.”
“Outstanding,” raved coach Claude Julien. “For a guy that hadn’t played in a month, for him to come in and do the job he did tonight, we needed him. There’s no doubt. He deserves a lot of credit for this win tonight.”
|Second period summary: Bruins-Maple Leafs||03.04.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk celebrated his first game back with a booming slap shot from the right point that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead after two periods.
Boychuk took a puck to the face on Feb. 6 against Vancouver, suffering a fractured orbital bone. He missed Boston’s previous five games before returning against the Leafs sporting a visor.
His shot from the right point beat J-S Giguere five-hole and gave Boston the lead at 15:24 of the period.
The Bruins penalty kill has been big, killing all four Toronto power play chances. The Bruins are 0-for-2 on the man-advantage.
Tim Thomas was again big in net as he stopped his second breakaway threat in as many periods when Nikolai Kulemin skated down the slot after Dennis Wideman was whistled for holding. Thomas, who is 0-4-2 in his previous six starts, has stopped 13 of 14 shots.
Thomas’ last win was on Jan. 14 in San Jose when he made a season-high 41 saves and four in the shootout.
The Bruins out-shot Toronto, 11-6, and lead the Leafs in that category, 20-14, for the game.
Once again, Bruins are just 20 minutes from ending their drought at home, now at 10 games. Maple Leafs have lost all 33 games this season when trailing after two periods, going 0-27-6.
|First period summary: Bruins-Maple Leafs||03.04.10 at 7:51 pm ET|
The game is tied 1-1 after 20 minutes with the Bruins holding a 9-8 shots lead.
The Bruins again came out with good energy in the first period and appeared to grab the lead 63 seconds into the game when Steve Begin came around the net behind J-S Giguere and centered a pass that went off Michael Ryder’s left skate.
After a review by the booth, it was deemed that Ryder kicked the puck into the net and the goal was disallowed..
But the Bruins kept up the pace and finally were rewarded when Miroslav Satan snapped a wrister from the left circle and beat Giguere five-hole at 9:36.
The Leafs regained some momentum when Viktor Stalberg beat Tim Thomas to the short side with just under five minutes left..
Thomas, who hasn’t started a game of any kind since Feb. 2 against Washington, redeemed himself big-time when he stoned Phil Kessel in the final 30 seconds of the period on a rush up the right boards.
|Bergy, Rask out vs. Leafs||03.04.10 at 2:14 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask will miss tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a lower body injury, according to NESN.com, and Tim Thomas is expected to get the start in net for the first time since returning from the Olympics.
Rask did not skate this morning, according to the Bruins twitter page, and is day-to-day with the injury. The team recalled goaltender Matt Dalton from the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League on an emergency basis and placed goaltender Dany Sabourin on re-entry waivers for the purpose of recall.
Dalton is expected to join the team tonight and be available for tonight’s game. This is Dalton’s second recall to Boston, as he was recalled on an emergency basis on Wednesday, February 24 and practiced with the team from February 25 to March 1 while Thomas participated in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron told reporters this morning that he will miss his second straight game with tightness in his groin, an injury he suffered while playing for Team Canada in the Olympics.
|Chiarelli gets defensive||03.03.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
Call it spin or creative marketing.
But Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, while admitting frustration in not landing one of eight snipers they hoped to add before Wednesday’s trading deadline, did say the Bruins accomplished something significant that indirectly could result in a better offense.
In making two deadline-day trades while shipping one of their current defenseman and a forward out of town, they remade their blue line. The centerpiece is 28-year-old defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, a defenseman aquired from Florida, along with the rights to Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski, in exchange for forward Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second-round draft pick in this year’s draft.
‘I know a lot of the questions will be, ‘Why didn’t we get scoring?’ And those are very good and valid questions. Firstly, we wanted to change the composition of our defense. I can say that was an equal priority to getting some more scoring,’ Chiarelli said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Bruins sent 31-year-old defenseman Derek Morris to Phoenix for a conditional pick in the 2011 draft. On Tuesday, the Bruins added defensemen Cody Wild from Edmonton and the rights to University of Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer from Anaheim.
‘I put [defense] as an equal priority because I feel that if we change the composition that will, in itself, allow us to improve from the backend out and that should result in better offensive production,’ Chiarelli said. ‘It allows defensemen to play in their appropriate roles and that was the motivation behind that now.’
Chiarelli said he and his staff targeted eight potential forwards around the NHL as possible acquisitions prior to the deadline but he deemed the asking price too high. Names such as Edmonton’s Steve Staios, Raffi Torres, who wound up being traded from Columbus to Buffalo and Carolina’s Ray Whitney, who wasn’t dealt at all, were among the names rumored to be on Boston’s radar.
‘With regard to improving the scoring, there were some players out there and we were in on more than a couple,’ Chiarelli said. ‘But I guess at the end of the day, I just wasn’t in a position to give what they wanted. I didn’t think additions that I contemplated would produce more than marginal improvement. Hard to believe after scoring one goal [Tuesday] night, I really believe our group can score more and we will score more.’