|Tim Thomas returns to form following four straight losses||03.22.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
Tim Thomas entered Tuesday night in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He hadn’t won a game in nearly three weeks, going 0-2-2 in his last four starts. It marked the first time all season he had gone four games without a win and the first time all season he had given up three or more goals in four straight.Tuesday night, Thomas returned to form in the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Devils. He stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to earn his 30th win of the season.
“I think it was mutual for both, the team and Timmy,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of getting back in the win column. “I don’t think we have to worry about him. He’s been a good goaltender for us this year, so it certainly wasn’t a concern on our part more than our team play. And our team play was much better.”
Thomas was especially strong in the early going, as the Devils registered 12 of the game’s first 13 shots. New Jersey did manage to score during that span, but it came on a power-play one-timer by Ilya Kovalchuk that Thomas didn’t have much of a chance to stop.
“I thought we were a little fragile there with what’s been happening,” Julien said. “But we were able to resist and obviously Tim made some big saves early on just to keep us in there.”
Thomas said the key to turning around his recent lack of success was that his defensemen did a better job of allowing him to see the puck.
“They had a few shots, they had a few good chances,” Thomas said. “But they were also letting me see the puck a little bit more than we had in the last few games. … I think that’s definitely a right step forward. We need to build off it and make sure we continue on. And we need to do the same things that gave us success tonight.”
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle said getting out of Thomas’ way is something the team has been focusing on in practice.
“You want him to see the shot,” Kaberle said. “You don’t want to tip the puck or something. You just want to box out in front of the net and hopefully he’ll make the big saves. Especially on the outside, he’s going to make the save every time. We talked about it before the game and in between the periods. He’s been a key to success for us this season and hopefully we keep it that way.”
After the slow start, Boston was able to take control of the game and relieve Thomas of some of the pressure. Following the early 12-1 shot deficit, the Bruins outshot the Devils 29-19 the rest of the way. They also drew five straight penalties at one point and were able to net four unanswered goals.
“I think by the end of the first, or last half of the first period, we started to get our legs moving and that was the difference,” Thomas said. “I think that’s what led to them taking the penalties in the second period, because we were moving our feet and that leads to penalties, drawn penalties. We were able to continue that throughout the game.”
|Bruins improve to 5-0-0 on road trip with 3-2 win over Edmonton||02.27.11 at 10:48 pm ET|
The Bruins gave up a season-low 17 shots en route to a 3-2 win in Edmonton on Sunday night. The B’s improved to 5-0-0 on their current road trip, which wraps up Tuesday in Ottawa, giving them their first five-game winning streak of the season.
Ales Hemsky put the Oilers on the board first when he fired a rebound inside the left post just 1:05 into the game. The Bruins picked up the pace as the first period went on, though, and ended up taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
Michael Ryder registered Boston’s first goal with 4:30 left in the first when he collected a rebound in the slot and waited out goalie Devan Dubnyk (37 saves) before lifting a shot under the crossbar.
The B’s took the lead three minutes later. After an exhibition of tic-tac-toe passing, David Krejci fed Nathan Horton in the left circle and Horton buried the opportunity.
Rich Peverley netted his first goal as a Bruin to make it 3-1 with 52 seconds left in the second. He took a pass from Ryder in the lower left circle and cut across the front of the net before beating Dubnyk.
The Oilers made things interesting 3:14 into the third when Gilbert Brule beat Tuukka Rask (15 saves) glove-side with a slapper from the left half-wall. But the Bruins were able to hang on down the stretch and get the win.
Rask improved to 8-11-1 on the season, and he is now 5-0-0 in his last five road games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-Horton continued his recent stretch of solid play with his third goal in the last four games. He also dropped the gloves with Theo Peckham in the first period and took the Oiler down with a hard right. Horton once again was a presence in the offensive zone all night, as he tied for the team lead with five shots on goal.
-After being held scoreless in its first two games together, the new third line of Ryder, Peverley and Chris Kelly broke out with two goals Sunday night. Ryder netted the Bruins’ first goal and then set up Peverley for what proved to be the game-winner. The trio combined for a plus-4 rating on the night.
-The Bruins got off to a bit of a slow start against the worst team in the NHL, but they really turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes of the first. They ended up outshooting the Oilers, 15-5, in the opening frame and netted the two late goals to head into the locker room with the lead. The momentum carried over into the second, during which the B’s outshot Edmonton, 17-7.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-The Bruins opened the game with a bad first couple shifts and paid for it when Hemsky scored a little more than a minute in. It seemed like they were just standing around waiting for something to happen. As mentioned above, that certainly changed as the period went on.
-Despite completely dominating in terms of shots and puck possession, the Bruins struggled to slam the door shut and let Edmonton hang around. The Oilers managed to pull within one early in the third on Brule’s goal and had a few chances to tie it up down the stretch. Dubnyk was the biggest reason the score was as close as it was, as he played great for the Oilers, but the B’s still should’ve won by a more convincing margin.
-The fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton combined for a minus-3 rating and just four shots on goal. Campbell and Seguin also combined for five of the Bruins’ 15 turnovers in the game.
|Milan Lucic tallies goal and two assists as Bruins beat Canucks, 3-1||02.27.11 at 1:01 am ET|
Milan Lucic scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Western Conference-leading Canucks on Saturday night.
With the game tied, 1-1, Lucic scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season with 4:38 left in the game. David Krejci created the chance by weaving through a slew of Vancouver defenders before circling behind the net and finding Dennis Seidenberg at the point. Roberto Luongo (22 saves) stopped Seidenberg’s shot, but Lucic was there to bang home the rebound.
Vancouver’s Manny Malhotra opened the scoring 16:58 into the first when he buried a rebound past Tim Thomas (27 saves). Nathan Horton tied it up midway through the second when he took a pass from Lucic and beat Luongo from the low slot. Patrice Bergeron sealed the win with a late empty-netter.
The loss was the Canucks’ first of the season in a game in which they scored first, and just their sixth at home. The Bruins are now 4-0-0 on their current road trip.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-It was certainly a nice homecoming for Lucic. Friday night, he was inducted into the “Ring of Honour” for the Vancouver Giants, his junior team. Saturday night, he registered a game-winning goal and two assists against his hometown NHL team. Lucic now has four goals in four games on this road trip.
-The Canucks came into the game with the NHL’s best power play, converting 25.1 percent of such opportunities. But the Bruins held Vancouver’s man advantage scoreless in three attempts Saturday. They did a great job of making it difficult for the Canucks to get set up, and actually held them to zero shots on their first power play of the night.
-After going three games without a point, Horton now has four in his last four games. More importantly, he had five shots on goal and was buzzing around the offensive zone all night. The Bruins need Horton to be a scorer down the stretch, and it looks like he’s starting to become just that.
-Tomas Kaberle registered his first point as a Bruin with the second assist on Horton’s goal. He played well in his first two games with the B’s and the power play has been moving the puck well with him as the quarterback, but he had been held off the score sheet until Saturday night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-Andrew Ference left the game in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return. Saturday’s signing of Shane Hnidy looked smart no matter what, but it could look even smarter if the injury to Ference turns out to be anything serious. Ference is currently tied with Adam McQuaid for the team lead in plus/minus at plus-24.
-You can probably count on one hand how many times Brad Marchand has been mentioned under this section. But Saturday night, he took two penalties and posted a minus-1 rating. It marked the fourth time this season Marchand has made two visits to the sin bin in one game. Luckily for him, the Bruins’ penalty kill was able to bail him out.
-The third line of Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder is now scoreless in two games together. It’s certainly nothing to panic about, and obviously it’s going to take some time for them to develop chemistry since none of them has ever played together before, but the Bruins will need them to be productive.
|Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins top Flames||02.22.11 at 11:41 pm ET|
Milan Lucic tallied two goals and Tim Thomas made 28 saves as the Bruins extinguished the Flames, 3-1, Tuesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Lucic opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the game when he went hard to the net and redirected David Krejci’s centering pass by Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff (26 saves) for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Brad Marchand added some insurance 5:55 into the third when he gathered the puck in the right circle and wristed it under the crossbar for his 19th goal.
Curtis Glencross made things interesting with a power-play goal that cut the lead in half with 2:33 to go, but Lucic sealed the win with an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining.
Thomas improved to 27-8-6 with the win and he continues to lead the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-The Flames were hot coming in, having won three in a row and 11 of their last 14, but the B’s were able to pour some water on them and quiet the crowd early on. They got on the board less than a minute in when they caught Calgary in a line change. Adam McQuaid moved the puck up to Krejci to create an odd-man rush and Krejci faked a shot before centering for Lucic.
-Krejci continued his stretch of hot play, as he assisted on both of Lucic’s goals to give him six points in his last three games and 13 in his last 11. He had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s win over the Islanders and followed that up with two more assists in Friday’s win against the Senators.
-Marchand added to his impressive rookie season with his third goal in his last two games. The marker came as the result of hard work from the entire second line. Patrice Bergeron forced a turnover with a hard check in the corner and then went to the net to redirect Andrew Ference’s shot right to Marchand, who was left with an open cage to shoot at.
-It seemed like there were bodies and pucks zipping around the front of the Boston net all night, but Thomas stood tall between the pipes. His biggest save came with a little more than four minutes left in the game when he flashed the leather and snagged Olli Jokinen’s one-timer from the slot. It turned out to be even bigger than it appeared at the time given the fact the Flames scored less than two minutes later.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the B’s were outplayed for much of the first half of the game. The Flames were able possess the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches of play and maintain steady pressure on the B’s. They outshot Boston, 13-7, in the first period and built the lead to 21-12 by the middle of the second before the B’s picked it up and recorded five of the final six shots in the period.
-The B’s had a four-minute power play starting late in the second and carrying over to the third, but failed to score. It was a golden opportunity to up the lead to two and although the B’s created a few good chances, they couldn’t capitalize. It marked the first time in seven games Boston failed to score at least one power-play goal.
-With 3:04 to go, one of the last guys the B’s wanted in the penalty box was Bergeron, their top penalty-killing forward. But that’s exactly where he ended up after being called for a slash while pursuing the puck behind the Calgary net. The penalty ultimately cost Thomas his would-be league-leading eighth shutout.
|Bruins struggle on power play in loss to Sharks||02.05.11 at 4:59 pm ET|
On the Bruins’ first power play of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Sharks, Milan Lucic had a golden opportunity to tie the game up. A Zdeno Chara one-timer led to a rebound at the left side of the net and gave Lucic a brief look at an open cage. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Lucic’s bid went wide right.
That was the closest the Bruins would get on the power play, as they ultimately finished the game 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Not only did they fail to get another great look on their final three power plays, but they struggled to even get set up in the offensive zone.
“Our power play tonight had a tough time,” said coach Claude Julien. “Tonight was probably one of the tougher times we’ve had at getting the puck in. When we did get it in, we weren’t winning those battles for loose pucks and they kept shooting it back down the ice. That was probably, to me, the biggest difference in tonight’s game.”
The Bruins have now gone 0-for-12 on the power play over their last five games and 1-for-19 over their last seven. Julien said Saturday’s problems with getting organized and maintaining possession don’t really reflect how the power play has performed lately, though.
“I think the other night against Dallas, even though we didn’t score, our power play was good,” Julien said. “We moved the puck well and we had some chances and we didn’t score. … So we really felt our power play had taken a stride in the right direction. Tonight was a totally different case. We weren’t good enough in that area. This is our best players having to be at their best.”
Julien credited the Sharks with doing a good job on the penalty kill, but he also said his players could’ve made better decisions with the puck to try and overcome that.
“They were here the other night watching us, obviously, and they made some adjustments with their PK,” Julien said. “At the same time, we still have other options, and I don’t think our guys always took the best options. Consequently, we weren’t getting in clean.”
As much as the power play struggled, David Krejci said he liked some of the chances the Bruins generated on it in the first period. He also said he thinks it has looked pretty good lately despite the dearth of goals.
He pointed out that if Lucic’s rebound bid had gone in instead of going wide, he probably wouldn’t have to answer questions about the power play’s struggles.
“If that goes in,” Krejci said, “it would be a different game and we wouldn’t be talking about how the power play was bad tonight.”
|Patrice Bergeron continues hot streak with three-point night||02.03.11 at 10:48 pm ET|
After being named the NHL’s first star of the month for January, Patrice Bergeron has continued his hot streak right on into February. After scoring the game-winning goal Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes, he Bruins assistant captain registered two more tallies and an assist in Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Stars to give him four points in two games so far this month.
Bergeron scored the game’s second and third goals, his 18th and 19th markers of the season, eight minutes apart in the first when he buried two Brad Marchand centering passes.
“It’s been going well,” Bergeron said of playing with Marchand. “[Marchand] has that speed and he has those great hands. He made two easy tap-ins for me.”
Bergeron returned the favor by setting up Marchand for an empty-netter late in the third after missing a chance at the hat trick when he shot wide of the open net.
“That last one, I guess I didn’t want it, so I gave it to him,” Bergeron joked. “I guess one [hat trick] was good enough this year.”
For Bergeron, Thursday marked his team-leading 13th multi-point game of the season. He now has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 14 games. When asked if this is the best stretch of his career, though, Bergeron said he’s not really concerned with that.
“To be honest, I’ve kind of stopped thinking about that,” he said. “But I feel good and got to keep it going.”
He also noted that his linemates – Marchand and veteran winger Mark Recchi – have been a big part of that. Recchi started the rushes that led to all three of the line’s goals Thursday with crisp breakout passes.
“That’s all because of him,” Bergeron said of Recchi. “The three breakouts on those three goals, that all starts with him.”
Bergeron was also quick to deflect credit for his first star of the month honor.
“I have to give credit to all my teammates and my linemates for this award,” he said. “There’s no award that can be credited only to yourself. It’s all about my teammates. I’m trying to work hard each and every night and bring everything I can to put up wins for the team, so I’m happy to get recognized like that.”
|Tyler Seguin says All Star weekend will be surreal||01.27.11 at 12:15 am ET|
While most of his teammates will be going home this weekend, Tyler Seguin will be heading to North Carolina to participate in the rookie SuperSkills competition as part of the All Star festivities. He said he’s looking forward to being around some of the game’s biggest stars for the weekend.
“I’m still a fan,” Seguin said. “I was watching the NHL like any other fan last year and now I’m on the ice, so it’s starting to be a surreal experience.”
When asked if he was going to ask anyone for autographs, Seguin said he might have to, but that he would be “low-key” about it. He added that his sister is going to be disappointed because Sidney Crosby had to back out of the game with a concussion.
“I was supposed to ask Crosby if he wanted to date my sister, too,” he said. “That’s not going to work out now that he’s gone.”
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