|If Tuukka Rask plays, P.K. Subban says Canadiens must ‘make his life a living hell’||11.13.14 at 11:52 am ET|
“They said the same thing about Henrik Lundqvist last year,” Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said. “He seemed to play pretty well.”
Indeed, Lundqvist did.
After not winning in Montreal since 2009 and being sat in games at the Bell Centre since 2012, the Rangers’ netminder went into Montreal and allowed three goals over the first two games (both Rangers wins) of the Eastern Conference finals last year. New York would go on to win the series in six games.
Rask has a career record of 3-11-3 against the Habs in the regular season overall, and is 3-6-0 against them in Montreal (4-7-0 including playoffs). He also lost two of his three starts against them at the Bell Centre last postseason, though his one win was a shutout. The goaltender also blanked them in Montreal in the 2009-10 season. He’s actually been worse against the Habs at the Garden than he’s been at the Bell Centre.
It isn’t like Rask has been a disaster against the Canadiens, but then again, not beating the Canadiens qualifies as a disaster for the Bruins.
“I wouldn’t look too much into it,” Subban said. “When he comes to this building, whenever we play Boston, it seems that we do a good job of getting traffic in front of him and not make it easy on him. It’s not an easy building to play in, but to say that he can’t have a good game here — I mean, I think he’s one of the best goalies in the league. He’s proven that and he’s played well against us at time.
“To be honest with you, when you see some of the goals that we’ve scored, we’ve done a good job of creating traffic. It’s not easy stopping second and third shots. We’ve had a couple of breakaways against him — that’s a 50-50 chance — so I think if we’re not prepared to get traffic in front of him tonight and make his life a living hell, then I don’t think we’re doing ourselves justice.”
|Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev on emergency basis||11.13.14 at 9:22 am ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins have called up center Alexander Khokhlachev on an emergency basis for Thursday night’s game against the Canadiens.
The Bruins do not have a morning skate Thursday, so it’s tough to predict where Khokhlachev would slot in the team’s lineup. Because he was recalled on an emergency basis, Khokhlachev will make the trip to Montreal as a result of a Bruins injury. Brad Marchand did not play the final 6:23 of Wednesday’s loss, while Mark Divver of the Providence Journal suggested Thursday that Carl Soderberg could have some sort of ailment. Soderberg had a wrist injury earlier in the season, but did not miss any games.
Khokhlachev is amidst an impressive stretch in Providence, so it’s possible the B’s could put him in Chris Kelly‘s place on Milan Lucic‘s line with Seth Griffith, and return Kelly to Carl Soderberg’s line. Claude Julien shook up Boston’s lines in the second period of Wednesday’s loss to the Maple Leafs, moving Matt Fraser from Soderberg’s line to the fourth line.
A second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Khokhlachev has five goals and six assists for Providence in 12 games this season. The Moscow native has centered a line with wingers Jordan Caron and David Pastrnak, with Anthony Camara playing left wing on the line the last four games while Caron nursed an upper-body injury.
Thursday will be Khokhlachev’s second career NHL game. He skated in last season’s regular-season finale against the Devils.
David Krejci did not travel with the B’s to Toronto or Montreal. He remains out due to a hip injury suffered in the final game of the preseason.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Report: Nathan Horton deciding on career-ending back surgery||11.13.14 at 8:58 am ET|
Thursday, Horton spoke via the Columbus Dispatch about the condition for the first time.
“I can’t stand up like a normal person, I can’t bend over,” Horton said. “I can’t run. I can’t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’t move, so sleeping is out. I’m like a zombie in the daytime.”
The only way to get rid of the pain would be surgery, “likely a three-or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod,” the paper said. The surgery would end his career. Horton is only 29-years-old.
“I don’t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’t want to live with this pain, but I don’t want to make that decision. It’s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”
|5 things we learned as Maple Leafs made Bruins miss Zdeno Chara||11.12.14 at 10:32 pm ET|
TORONTO – The first eight games of the Zdeno Chara-less schedule looked like a group of largely winnable contests before they would have to face the Canadiens.
For as well as the Bruins survived that stretch, they ended it in disastrous fashion.
For all the bad moments have had this season — and they’ve had plenty between their early-season struggles and the injuries they’ve suffered – they hadn’t really gotten walloped by anyone, let alone a Maple Leafs opponent they had handled easily without Chara once already.
The Bruins’ 6-1 loss to the Maple Leafs (here is the box score) provided a reminder for anyone who had forgotten that, though Boston hasn’t played many good teams of late, things are a lot harder without No. 33 on the ice. Phil Kessel, a player who is usually silent against his former team because of Chara, enjoyed a two-goal night against Boston’s mortal blue line.
Tuukka Rask was yanked after giving up three goals early in the second period and four on the night. Even what looked like a well-targeted Bruins goal by Reilly Smith was negated in the second period by Carl Soderberg being in the crease.
Of course, it wasn’t just about Chara, Rask or Boston’s defense. This was one of those once-in-a-season colossal stinkers that a team can only hope will end up being their worst loss of the season with few other candidates.
Here are four other things we learned Wednesday night:
|Milan Lucic must use powers for good as he prepares for latest meeting with Canadiens||11.12.14 at 1:25 pm ET|
Thursday will mark Lucic’s first game at the Bell Centre since he made something of a spunky gesture toward Habs fans on Oct. 16, which was his first game in Montreal after he allegedly threatened players in the handshake line after Game 7 of the second round last season in Boston.
Translation: When Lucic goes to Montreal, there’s a whole lot of people waiting to let him hear it for something he did before.
Lucic knows that, and though his aim is to help the Bruins get a win against an opponent the B’s will need to start beating eventually (the Canadiens have won seven of the teams’ last eight regular-season meetings), going into that setting with a clear head is easier said than done.
“It’s tough, but that’s one of the things that you kind of learn when you become a pro,” Lucic said. “You block out all the stuff on the outside when you first come into the league it’s overwhelming playing in front of 20,000 people, but as time goes on you tend to figure that stuff out and focus on playing the game. I think that’s the main thing I have to focus on is just tuning everything out and focus on playing the best game I can for my teammates.
“I’m not going in there trying to make it me against them. It’s us going in there trying to get a job done and get a result we want. That’s the mindset that I have to have and we have to have in order to have success.”
|Tuukka Rask expected to start vs. Maple Leafs||11.12.14 at 12:36 pm ET|
Should Rask play Wednesday, it will make Thursday night’s matchup against the Canadiens even more interesting. The Bruins could sit Rask, who has historically struggled in Montreal, and play Niklas Svedberg against the Habs, or play Rask in both games. Rask has played both games of two back-to-backs this season, as he played on the first two days of the season and then made back-to-back starts on Oct. 15 and 16.
Rask started all five games of the team’s recent four-game homestand, winning all four.
Jonathan Bernier will start for Toronto. Bernier was in net for the Leafs the last time the teams met, allowing all four goals in a 4-1 Bruins victory.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Switch to Joe Morrow a big reason why Bruins have survived without Zdeno Chara||11.11.14 at 1:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are now 6-1-0 without Zdeno Chara. They’re also 5-0-0 with Joe Morrow in the lineup instead of Matt Bartkowski.
The latter point isn’t a shot at Bartkowski, a good player whose struggles with his game and his confidence led him to the press box for the time being, but it does tell part of the story as to why the Bruins have improved defensively over the course of this stretch without their best defenseman.
Paired with Adam McQuaid, Morrow, a 2011 first-round pick, has been safe. For a team that had been looking up to tighten up defensively, that’s all the B’s could have wanted. Like Bartkowski, Morrow is a good skater and passer, but Bartkowski’s decision-making and defensive coverage were uncharacteristically poor in his five games this season. The Bruins called up Morrow after the team’s Oct. 28 loss to the Wild to replace Bartkowski.
Decision-making was one of the questions attached to Morrow when the Bruins got him from the Stars as part of the Tyler Seguin trade. Peter Chiarelli said the day of the trade that the B’s would be patient with the twice-traded player and give him the proper AHL instruction. That potential red flag that has been mentioned at points of his two-year-plus AHL career has yet to pop up.
“I don’t know exactly what that means, but when you when you have the company of these players around you and that’s what you’re playing with, you kind of raise your game match theirs and to contribute,” Morrow said. “You don’t want to let anyone in the dressing room down. You know it’s really important to win up here, so you give that little extra effort.
“Yeah, I think I have a more suitable style to the National Hockey League than I do to the American Hockey League, but I guess time will tell if that’s really true.”
His coaches and former coaches aren’t the only ones who have been satisfied with what Morrow’s brought to the table. Tuukka Rask said that Morrow has brought some defensive stability to the B’s.
“I think he’s been playing really good and improving every game,” Rask said of Morrow. “Especially the past couple of games, I’ve really liked the way he’s played and played defense and carried the puck up the ice.”
Rask pointed to a third-period play Monday against the Devils in which Morrow’s positioning allowed him to break up a potential back-door scoring opportunity and skate the puck to safety.
“Things like that that people might not see,” Rask said, “I see and try to give them credit for it.”
All in all, Rask likes the way the team has looked defensively of late.
“Really good. Really good,” Rask said of the Bruins’ play in their own zone. “We’re eliminating chances we kind of want to eliminate and making little plays around the net and taking their sticks away and stuff. It’s paid off lately. I feel like we’re really taking steps in the right direction.”
Bartkowski is a better player than he’s shown and he will be better if and when he gets more games. His absence, however, has allowed the Bruins to get a look at another young defender and enjoy stronger defensive efforts.
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