|Bruins set for divisional matchup with Senators||10.30.10 at 2:22 pm ET|
After spending the last three games getting comfortable with the Garden, the Bruins, undefeated on the road this season, are in Ottawa and set to take on the Senators in their second-straight game against a division rival. The Senators are 4-5-1 on the season, good for nine points, just one better than last-place Buffalo in the Northeast division.
– Tim Thomas will be in net for the Bruins, and manning the pipes for the Senators is 30-year-old Brian Elliott. Now in his third season with the Senators (he started one game in the 2007-08 campaign), Elliott hasn’t put up the prettiest numbers, posting a 3.27 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. The numbers look even worse when put up against Thomas’ league-leading 0.60 GAA and .981 save percentage. Thomas is 16-7-2 against the Senators in his career with a 2.10 GAA and .932 save percentage.
– Thomas’ chief concerns will be Daniel Alfredsson, who has six goals and six assists on the season, as well as Jason Spezza. The latter is returning from a groin injury that kept him out for the Sens’ last four games, though Ottawa has won their last two.
– Left wing Milan Michalek is out for about a week for the Senators thanks to tendinitis in his surgically repaired left knee. Michalek has four goals and an assist in eight games played this season.
– Old friend Sergei Gonchar was honored by the NHL on Tuesday as he dressed in his 1000th career NHL game. The Russian defenseman, who finished out the 2003-04 season and playoffs with the Bruins after a deadline deal with Washington, was inked to a three-year, $16 million deal by the Senators after playing the previous five seasons in Pittsburgh. Now 36 years of age, Gonchar has six assists on the season.
– For the Bruins, Nathan Horton’s season-opening point streak ended in Thursday’s 2-0 victory over the Maple Leafs, but he still leads the B’s with nine. The only change the Bruins have seen to roster was Friday’s move that sent Brian McGrattan to Providence for the weekend for conditioning. The move will have no impact on Saturday’s lineup, as McGrattan had been a healthy scratch in all five games he’s played in since signing with the Bruins.
Here are the lines, according to the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa:
Matt Hunwick – Dennis Seidenberg
Mark Stuart – Adam McQuaid
|Tim Thomas to start for Bruins vs. Senators||10.30.10 at 11:46 am ET|
Tim Thomas did not participate in the Bruins’ optional morning skate in Ottawa on Saturday, but Claude Julien told reporters that the 26-year-old netminder will be in goal for the B’s when they take on the Senators on Saturday night.
Thomas has won all five of his starts this season, allowing just three goals in the process. He currently leads the NHL with a 0.60 goals against average and a .981 save percentage, while tying for the league lead with two shutouts. Tuukka Rask, who started the season-opener in Prague, has lost each of his two starts this season.
|Don’t expect Tyler Seguin to live with Mark Recchi||10.29.10 at 4:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Tyler Seguin knows that he’s staying, but where is he staying?
After being told Thursday night that he would not be sent back to juniors, the biggest question immediately became whether he, like many young players before him, would live with a teammate, much like Patrice Bergeron in his rookie year with Martin Lapointe.
The obvious line of thinking would lead one to think Mark Recchi, a future Hall-of-Famer and Seguin’s linemate, could be an obvious choice to host the 18-year-old. As a result, both players were bombarded with questions about whether Seguin might should study up on the rules of the Recchi home.
The verdict? The mentorship will have to be limited to the ice and the locker room.
“I don’t have a big enough place right now,” Recchi told WEEI.com on Friday. “I think the team will let him go on his own around the guys. Everybody’s right down town. [Jordan Staal] lived with me [in Pittsburgh], and I had a guest cottage on my property, so it was kind of the best of both worlds. He had his own space, and he hung out with us all the time for dinner and stuff like that. They’ll figure out exactly what [Seguin] wants, and the guys are all within such a small area that everybody’s going to be looking after him anyways.”
Seguin figured as much, and it appears the teenager will try living on his own, but in close proximity to his teammates.
“Right now I think I might be getting my own place, and everyone else kind of in the same building.”
The second overall pick in June’s draft, Seguin has two goals and two assists, good for four points through seven games. Some tried stirring the pot when it came to suggesting there was even a possibility Seguin would return to the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, as the B’s could have sent him back to juniors without burning a year on his contract. In the end, the B’s elected to not wait for the nine-game trial to expire, telling Seguin after seven to get comfortable in Boston.
Recchi, who has seen just about everything in the NHL, couldn’t see a scenario in which the goal-scoring center didn’t stick.
“I didn’t think there would be any doubt [he’d stay],” Recchi said. “He’s talented, and the great thing about it is that he’s got the whole year to grow as a player and learn and get better. It’s a good spot for him to do it, so he’s in a good situation.”
Seguin still keeps in contact with some of his teammates from Plymouth and received a text message from head coach Mike Vellucci after he scored his first career goal. Seguin appreciated the kind thoughts from Vellucci, who essentially resurrected his junior career two years ago, but noted on Thursday that he isn’t rushing to tell him that they officially are no longer affiliated.
“I’m not going to be the one to call him and tell him that I’m staying up here,” Seguin said. “It’s not my place or my position. Once he finds out I’m sure he’ll call me.”
|Video: Tyler Seguin glad to be sticking with Bruins||10.29.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Tyler Seguin talking to the media after the Bruins’ practice on Friday morning. Seguin found out Thursday night that he will remain with the Bruins and not be sent back to the Plymouth Whalers, news that he embraced upon hearing it.
Seguin admitted that when he was first called into Claude Julien’s office after the team’s 2-0 victory over the Maple Leafs, he thought that he had done something wrong. Check out the video for his full reaction to everything.
|Bruins assign Brian McGrattan to Providence for conditioning||10.29.10 at 11:20 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins announced on Friday that they have assigned forward Brian McGrattan to Providence for conditioning. McGrattan, who played with the B’s throughout training camp on a tryout basis, was signed by the team following the second game of the season and has been a healthy scratch in each of the five games he’s technically been a member of the Bruins.
The Bruins plan on having McGrattan play in three games with the Baby B’s before returning to the NHL club this coming Monday. By sending him down for conditioning he does not have to clear waivers.
|Milt Schmidt meant more to Tim Thomas than Phil Kessel||10.29.10 at 1:14 am ET|
It’s just that on this night – one to honor a man with 75 years of history with the Boston Bruins – it was more important for the goalie to focus on getting the win, not the lightning rod of the Hub’s hockey fans.
And focus is exactly what Thomas did, turning away all 20 shots over 60 minutes in posting his 19th career shutout – a 2-0 dispatch of the Toronto Maple Leafs before a fired-up TD Garden sellout crowd.
“Yeah, you know, it being Milt Schmidt night, the best thing we could do for him I think was to get a win, and so we were trying hard to get a good result,” Thomas said. “I mean, just listening to the accomplishments, that that man has had as part of the Bruins organization, and he deserved the win tonight, so we were focusing on that.
“Now as far as Phil Kessel goes, the other side of that coin there the you’re talking about, we’re not thinking about that We’re thinking about the two points. We needed the win. Especially we needed to bounce back after a loss, so we’re not thinking about individuals like that. At least, I’m not.”
That doesn’t mean Kessel didn’t have his chances. He had six shots on net, including one point-blank in the second period when Kessel came up the slot and took possession of a loose puck in front of Thomas.
“Oh, was it? On the other side? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I remember that,” Thomas recalled.
When you’re stopping players like Phil Kessel point blank, you’re likely putting up great numbers. And that’s what Thomas has been doing, ever since getting the start in the season’s second game.
He has two shutouts, including Thursday’s 2-0 win. He is a perfect 5-0 with a 0.60 goals against average. His save percentage is a near-perfect .980.
Is the best start he’s ever had?
“Well, probably statistically? I feel obviously that I’m playing good. The team is playing very well in front of me. They’re really helping me out with rebounds, screens, blocking in the screens, I mean. [Dennis] Seidenberg had as many saves as I did tonight, and that’s making it very helpful.”
The five straight wins to start a season is the best by a Boston goalie since Tiny Thompson went 6-0-0 in his first six games of the 1937-38 season.
Added coach Claude Julien, “Solid again. I think we can’t say enough about the way he’s played. What I liked about his game too, you know, they had some shots from the point and he did a great job of not giving any rebounds. He kept those inside of him. I thought he did a great job of smothering those loose pucks and just solid challenging and confident.”
|Nathan Horton not as advertised, much to the Bruins’ delight||10.28.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has been soaking in each second of Boston and his new fanbase. His excitement to be in town has matched the Bruins’ fans excitement to have a true goal-scoring threat. Horton proved he can do more than score on Thursday, as he dropped the gloves with Dion Phaneuf in the second period of the team’s 2-0 win over the Leafs in front of a wild, sold-out TD Garden crowd. It was his first fight since the 2008 preseason.
“We kind of had a little battle going throughout the game up top, and [I figured I’d] maybe just try and put an end to it in the game,” Horton said after the game.
The two players exchanged blows as they tumbled to the ice, but it was only Horton who picked up a 10 minute misconduct in addition to his fighting major. Claude Julien disagreed with the call.
“I still don’t understand how he gets the 10 minutes,” Julien said. “We all saw Phaneuf punched him when he was on the ground.”
All in all, the fight served as yet another reminder positive reminder that the first-line winger, whose work ethic was called into question prior the June trade that send him to the Bruins, has not totally come as advertised. The former No. 3 overall pick received criticism for taking shifts off in his time as a Panther, but any traces of laziness and frustration are two characteristics he hasn’t displayed in Boston.
“I’m trying,” Horton said. “I want to show that I want to be here. I want to be a part of the team, and I want to have success here and be successful with my team. I can’t say it enough. Every day that I come to the rink, it’s been great.”
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