|Bruins lead Capitals, 2-1, after two||10.19.10 at 9:07 pm ET|
The Capitals are on the board after the second period, but it may be more the doing of some bad bounces behind the net for Matt Hunwick and Tyler Seguin than it was a product of Capitals rookie Marcus Johansson. It was Johansson’s first career goal, and he potted it after gathering a puck that shot out to him as a result of the botched pass.
The Bruins’ power play woes continued, with the team being able to add 53 seconds of passing on a 5-on-3 to their man advantage resume. On the other hand, the B’s were able to kill off a 5-on-3 of their own, so an effective penalty kill can serve as the special teams’ saving grace.
Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi, and Johnny Boychuk each have a team-high three shots on goal for the Bruins, while Alexander Ovechkin has just one shot on Tim Thomas. The Bruins’ netminder has made 17 saves, with the Capitals outshooting the B’s, 18-16, through two periods.
|Bruins leading Capitals, 2-0, after one||10.19.10 at 8:18 pm ET|
For the first time this season, a first period update has some Bruins goals to discuss — and a goalie change! Less than 13 minutes into the first period, the Bruins were looking at a cool 2-0 lead on goals from David Krejci and Milan Lucic, while the Capitals were suddenly looking at Semyon Varlamov in net due to a touch of the flu for Michal Neuvirth.
Nathan Horton had a nice pass to Krejci on a 2-on-1 to set up the first line center’s first goal of the season at 9:12, and with Lucic scoring minutes later all three first-liners now have at least one point in each of the team’s first four games.
The Bruins went 0-for-1 on the power play and are now 1-for-12 on the season. Tim Thomas saved all nine shots he faced, stopping a couple of large bids by the Capitals’ high-powered offense. Michal Neuvirth stopped just five of the seven shots the Bruins had on him before he left the game.
|Report: Marc Savard skates, says issues are not limited to PCS||10.19.10 at 6:24 pm ET|
While the rest of his teammates were in the nation’s capital getting ready for Tuesday’s tilt with the Capitals, Bruins center Marc Savard took the ice at Ristuccia Area as he continued his rehab from post-concussion syndrome related symptoms and depression.
Savard, who suffered a Grade 2 concussion from a Matt Cooke hit last March 7, spoke with ESPN’s Joe McDonald following the 25-minute skate, saying that he has gone from 15 minute sessions to 20 minute sessions on the ice, to Tuesday’s 25.
“I’m obviously feeling better because I’m out skating,” Savard told McDonald. “That’s good news, but I’m still definitely not 100 percent. I still have some issues, but a lot of them aren’t from the injury. My head isn’t screwed up after I work out right now. Obviously, there are other ongoing issues.”
The other ongoing issues to which Savard refers presumably includes depression, which is among the non-physical symptoms of PCS. Savard told McDonald that he would rather not comment on whatever depression he may be experiencing, calling it “the toughest thing to talk about.”
“I’m obviously still having some issues with that, but being around the guys, and getting the doctor’s help that I’m getting, things are going up,” Savard said. “I still have my down days, that’s for sure, but I’m getting by.”
Savard also told McDonald that he appreciated the kind words from Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who called him “one of the best playmakers” in the game and said that he couldn’t play because of Cooke’s “stupid, smartass hit.”
Given that Savard is on long-term injured reserve, he cannot play in the first 10 games of the season, and a timetable for his return remains unknown.
|History lesson has similarities to Tim Thomas/Tuukka Rask debate||10.19.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
The season is still young — the Bruins have played one 27th of their regular season schedule — but if somebody suggested during the thick of the “lose Tim Thomas‘ $5 million cap hit at any cost” days this summer that Thomas, and not Tuukka Rask, would be the starting goaltender in three of the Bruins’ first four games, they would have been run out of town, much like many hoped Thomas would be.
Yet through no injuries and no reason other than riding the hot hand, Thomas will indeed be between the pipes as the B’s take on Alexander Ovechkin and the offensively potent Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. When it became clearer and clearer that Thomas would not be moved in the offseason, the natural line of thinking is that the two netminders would split time, with Rask seeing a clear majority of the time for the Bruins.
Rask has done nothing wrong to this point. In fact, given how poorly the Bruins played in front of him in the season-opener, he can really only be held responsible for just one of the four goals he allowed in the 5-2 loss to the Coyotes. The plan was to split time, but when Thomas took his turn and posted a shutout in the team’s 3-0 victory the next day, it was to be expected that he’d be rewarded with the start against the Devils. He once again parlayed his reward into another start, and here we are. Four games, and three starts for Tim Thomas.
It’s always fun to dig up old stories and columns and see how they pertain to the present moment (people all over the world are likely still deleting their “Don’t settle for Seguin” columns as this is being written). Here’s one written by colleague Graig Woodburn about the goaltending situation, written days after the Flyers eliminated the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Woodburn warned that though the season ended with Rask seemingly the man, the Bruins would be wise to hold onto Thomas — even given his high price tag — to see if an Ilya Bryzgalov/ Jean-Sebastian Giguere situation could unfold. For those who don’t remember there, here’s the story: team has award-winning veteran goaltender, rookie comes in and dethrones him, team loses in playoffs, and veteran proves his worth a season later in leading the team to a Stanley Cup.
Bryzgalov didn’t struggle in his time with the Ducks that 2007-08 season (2.55 GAA, .909 save percentage), but Giguere beat him out nonetheless as the team went on to beat the Senators in the Cup finals. The enormously big difference between the two stories is that Bryzgalov ended up being waived in November, something that quite frankly would never happen with Rask, so though the story of the Ducks’ goaltending situation serves as a history lesson, it serves as quite the drastic one.
For all intents and purposes, there’s no reason to believe Rask and Thomas don’t split time in net this season, with the 23-year-old Rask perhaps still likely seeing more time. Simply put, Rask is too good. He was the best statistical goalie last season in leading the NHL in both GAA and save percentage, yet with Thomas off to a hot start, the 36-year-old has made it very difficult for the people of Boston to set their clocks to Tuukka Time just yet. Did anybody expect this? Even to those who didn’t write Thomas off, who saw the entire city of Boston nodding in approval upon hearing that Thomas would start a third straight game in October?
Neither goalie seems to be getting too high or low based on how the starts have been divvied up, and Claude Julien said on Monday that trying to pick between the two accomplished goalies “continues to be a problem for everybody but us.”
History has proven it unwise to give up on the veteran, but who needs history? Thomas is proving it now.
|Tim Thomas expected to start for Bruins vs. Alexander Ovechkin’s Capitals||10.19.10 at 11:40 am ET|
Word out of D.C. this morning is that Tim Thomas was the first off the ice at the Bruins’ morning skate, meaning he is the likely starter between the pipes for the Bruins as they play the first of two games with the Capitals this week. Thomas is 10-4-2 in his career against the Capitals and upon hearing the stats on Monday joked that they should give him some confidence against the likes of Alexander Ovechkin.
With Thomas in goal Tuesday, he will have been the starter in three straight games after Tuukka Rask got the not in the season-opener in Prague. In two starts this season, both of which the Bruins won, Thomas has allowed just one goal — a second period tally to the Devils’ Dainius Zubrus on Saturday night — on 61 shots.
|Brad Marchand and the ‘give it to Thornton’ Bruins offense||10.18.10 at 8:31 pm ET|
Sometimes it’s hard to argue with a player’s logic. Monday was not one of those days.
After going from player to player discussing how one prepares for a player like Alexander Ovechkin, a stop by Brad Marchand‘s locker in the Bruins’ dressing room brought about a most peculiar discussion. Reporters were talking about the undersized winger and how he and Gregory Campbell go about setting up Shawn Thornton, who on Saturday notched his first goal in over a calendar year in the Bruins’ 4-1 victory over the Devils.
“I think he’s really underestimated, and we always talk about it in the [dressing] room: Just give it to Thornton, go in front of the net, and he’s going to put it in,” Marchand said as reporters laughed. “That’s what our game plan is.”
Upon his suggestion that the team would enter a game planning on feeding Thornton, who, in all fairness, did have as many shots on goal Saturday (three) as all three second-liners combined, reporters noted that such logic would apply more to the likes of Ovechkin. Fifty-goal scorer or one-goal scorer, Marchand still trusted the plan of getting it to their enforcer, and joked that the coaches agree.
“Yeah, they pulled us in and they were like, ‘Listen guys, your whole game plan is to give it to Thornton, and you guys just skate around and make him look pretty,” Marchand said.
|Report: Savard passes exertion test||10.18.10 at 6:18 pm ET|
It appears that Marc Savard can start down the road of getting into playing shape for this season, as Peter Chiarelli recently told Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe that the center has passed the exertion test that he failed on the first day of training camp back on September 17.
Savard has been dealing with post-concussion syndrome symptoms since late in the summer, when the effects of the March 7 Matt Cooke hit prevented him from continuing his training.
Since he is on long-term injury reserve, Savard must miss the season’s first 10 games and 24 days, though Shinzawa writes that Savard has skated since passing the test. The test clears Savard for more physically demanding activity, including weight lifting more intense cardio work.
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