|Bruins look to pick up third straight win as they face Steven Stamkos’ Lightning||12.28.10 at 5:14 am ET|
The Bruins, fresh off of jumping into first place in the Northeast division with their 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers on Monday, will take on the Lightning, who lead the Southeast division, on Tuesday night. It’s the second of five straight road games for the Bruins, and the second of three games in four days.
The last time the Bruins faced the Lightning, they won in blowout fashion, crushing Tampa Bay, 8-1, at TD Garden on Dec. 2. The two teams have split the season series thus far, as the Lightning grabbed a 3-1 win at St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 22.
The Lightning have won six of their last seven games, while the Bruins are winners of their last two.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Lightning are 10-2-2 in Tampa and are a perfect 4-0-0 in home games this month.
– The Bruins are 10-5-1 on the road this season. Their shootout win on Monday was just their second road victory of the month, the first of which came on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia.
– Steven Stamkos is back on track following his statistical hiccup that lasted from late November into the beginning of the month. He has scored seven goals in his last eight games and has 28 on the season.
– Milan Lucic‘s scoreless streak has now reached four games and he has one point in the last six contests. Lucic had two points when the B’s faced the Lightning on Dec. 2.
– David Krejci and Michael Ryder starred in that 8-1 Bruins victory over the Lightning earlier this month with three points apiece. Both Krejci and Ryder had a pair of points in Monday’s win over the Panthers, and with their line with Blake Wheeler clicking, they’re certainly a couple of players worth keeping an eye on.
– After having three goals entering last Thursday’s game vs. the Rangers, Vincent Lecavalier has doubled that in his last two games. He has a pair of goals in Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Thrashers.
– After Monday, it’s now been five straight games without a start for Rask. If Thomas starts against the the Thrashers on Thursday, Rask will have gone more than two weeks without seeing any playing time. Thomas has been stellar in his last two starts, so the Bruins face some serious difficulty in trying to get Rask game experience to keep him sharp.
STORLYLINES GOING IN
– The Lucic – Savard – Horton line has not produced a goal in either of the two game s since it came into being in last week’s line shuffle. In fact, of the four non-special-teams goals the team has scored in the last two contests, half have come from Krejci, with Shawn Thornton scoring the other two.
– Will this one go to overtime, too? Judging by the opponent, it wouldn’t be surprising. The Lightning’s last three games have been decided either in overtime or a shootout. They’re 2-0-1 in that stretch.
|Blake Wheeler scores in shootout to lead Bruins past Panthers||12.27.10 at 10:09 pm ET|
David Krejci provided the Bruins with two goals, beating Clemmensen on a rebound in the second period and finishing with on the back-hand in the third. Michael Ryder received assists on both goals, while Wheeler and Zdeno Chara each had a helper.
David Booth and Mike Santorelli each had goals for the Panthers in the second period. Santorelli’s was reviewed to determine if his stick was above crossbar height when he redirected a Michael Frolik shot from the point.
With the victory, the Bruins jumped into third in the Eastern Conference, as they now have 42 points, tied with the Canadiens for most in the Northeast division. The B’s are now first in the division, as they have played 34 games to the Habs’ 36. The Bruins will face the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– A couple of unflattering streaks were broken on Krejci’s first goal. It was the 24-year-old center’s first goal in five games and his first point in three games, while the assist for Chara was his first point in seven contests.
It was the Krejci’s fourth career two-goal game. He now has seven goals on the season.
– The members of the Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder line seems to be enjoying their reunion. The line was the Bruins’ most consistent of the night and had solid opportunities in each period.
Krejci led the Bruins with six shots on goal, while Ryder was second with five.
– It’s hard to believe that with all he’s done this season, Thomas had one of his best showings in a game in which he allowed two goals, but he truly kept the Bruins in the game. Thomas came up big on breakaways for Chris Higgins and Marty Reasoner and was sound on odd-man rushes.
Perhaps the save of the game came with just over two minutes left, with Thomas diving across the net to stop Dennis Wideman off a pass from Booth.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Rookie Steven Kampfer had a blunder that cost the the Bruins for the first time. The 22-year-old Michigan product turned it over in his own end, leading to David Booth — who is dangerous enough when he isn’t handed opportunities — bearing Thomas with a snap shot.
– The Lucic – Savard – Horton line didn’t fare quite as well as Krejci’s, as Horton and Savard were the only Bruins on the ice for both Panthers goals.
– The Bruins had a couple of avoidable penalties called against them. Chara went off for a dive in the first, while Thomas was called for delay of game when he played the puck outside of the trapezoid late in the second period.
|Panthers lead Bruins, 2-1, after two||12.27.10 at 9:03 pm ET|
After some back-and-forth, as well as some video review, the Panthers are leading the Bruins, 2-1, heading into the third period.
After a Steven Kampfer turnover in the Bruins’ end led to David Booth scoring his ninth of the season on a snapshot, Tim Thomas came up big in stopping Chris Higgins on a breakaway.
David Krejci scored his first goal in five games when he whacked a rebound off a Michael Ryder bid past BC product Scott Clemmensen. Zdeno Chara, whose slapshot set up the initial rebound to Ryder, picked up his first point in seven games.
Michael Frolik snapped one off from the point that was redirected by Mike Santorelli and past Thomas. The play was reviewed to determine whether Santorelli’s stick was above cross-bar height and was ultimately ruled a goal.
|Bruins, Panthers scoreless after one||12.27.10 at 8:11 pm ET|
The Bruins and Panthers are scoreless after one, with the B’s outshooting Florida, 12-10.
Panthers right wing Bill Thomas had the only penalty of the period, a goaltender interference call at 16:23. With 18 seconds remaining on the power play, Zdeno Chara was hooked by Marty Reasoner but was called for a dive.
|Bruins at Panthers preview||12.27.10 at 4:46 am ET|
The Bruins are coming off perhaps their most monumental win of the season, a 4-1 victory over the Thrashers that featured the grit and emotion the team had lacked over its previous 1-3-1 stretch.
The B’s play the next five on the road, starting with Monday’s matchup with the Panthers. The Bruins have won both games against Florida this season, most recently grabbing a 3-1 victory at BankAtlantic Center behind two goals from Mark Recchi on Nov. 24.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Panthers are 7-6-0 at BankAtlantic Center this season, though they probably feel as though they don’t know the place anymore with the way their schedule has been. Nine of their last 12 games have been played on the road. They’re 2-4-0 in their last six home contests dating back to Nov. 22.
– The Bruins are 9-5-1 on the road and have dropped their last three away from the Garden.
– The Panthers are the only team in the NHL to not have an overtime loss this season. The Bruins have come away with the single point in four contests.
– Milan Lucic has gone without a point in three straight games for the first time this season. His last point came on Dec. 16 in Montreal, a third-period power play goal. Despite his mini-slump, he continues to lead the Bruins with 16 goals.
– Each of the Bruins goaltenders have put together impressive performances vs. the Panthers this season. Tuukka Rask grabbed a shutout on Nov. 18 at the Garden, while Tim Thomas allowed on goal on Nov. 24th. Florida is the only team that both Bruins goaltenders have beaten.
– The Bruins have allowed 35 shots or more in seven games in December. If David Booth comes close to the 14 shots he had against the Bruins on Nov. 18, they might be in for a high shots allowed total again.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– The biggest question for this Bruins team is how they can sustain what they did Thursday for an entire road trip, and then beyond that. They have Tampa Bay Tuesday, followed by a rematch against the Thrashers on Thursday. If the Bruins want to carry momentum from their victory last Thursday they will need to kick off the road trip with a win over the Panthers.
– The Bruins have not sat Tuukka Rask for five straight games yet this season. Tim Thomas has started the last four, and has had such a stretch only twice this season. It might make sense for Rask to get the nod against the lowly Panthers, which would avoid overwhelming Thomas with three starts in four days, but reports out of Florida suggest Thomas will be between the pipes.
– The Bruins benefit greatly from the fact that Lucic was not suspended for Monday’s game. This way, they can take their time with bringing Brad Marchand (soreness) back and not have to summon an extra forward while they’re away. Claude Julien told reporters Monday that Marchand will not play.
|Brad Marchand returns to practice with Bruins||12.26.10 at 2:27 pm ET|
Injured Bruins forward Brad Marchand (soreness from Dec. 16’s P.K. Subban hit) made a step Sunday toward his eventual return to the lineup when he skated with teammates in practice for the first time since leaving last Saturday’s game vs. Washington.
Marchand had skated with fellow injured Bruin Mark Stuart (hand) on Thursday morning, but Sunday marked the 22-year-old’s first full practice with the team since the Washington game. The undersized winger was in the lineup for the bout with the Capitals but left in the second period after feeling too uncomfortable from Subban’s hit on him two days prior.
Coach Claude Julien told reporters on hand for Sunday’s practice in Wilmington that the team has yet to determine whether he’ll be able to go on back-to-back days, as the Bruins will face the Panthers on Monday and the Lightning on Tuesday.
The uncertainty over Marchand’s status is also tied to the other Bruins news of the day. The fact that Milan Lucic will not be suspended after receiving a match penalty on Thursday night means the team could play Daniel Paille in Marchand’s place without having to call up an extra forward for the team’s five-game road trip.
|Milan Lucic not suspended for punching Freddy Meyer, gesturing to Atlanta bench||12.26.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
Bruins left wing Milan Lucic will not be suspended after sucker punching Thrashers defenseman Freddy Meyer in the head and gesturing to the Atlanta bench in the third period of the B’s 4-1 victory at TD Garden on Thursday. He will instead receive fines totaling $3,500.
Lucic had received an intent to injure match penalty for punching Meyer after the Thrashers defenseman hit Lucic high, a hit deemed dirty by all Bruins skaters on the ice, as a line brawl broke out between the two teams. The match penalty carries with it an automatic suspension pending a review, and after Lucic met with NHL vice presidents of hockey operations Mike Murphy on Sunday, it was determined that he will not miss any time.
Following is the statement released by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli:
‘The NHL has informed us that Milan will not be suspended as a result of the match penalty assessed to him during our game against the Thrashers last Thursday. He will be fined $2,500 for the punch thrown in the scrum and $1,000 for making an obscene gesture directed at the Thrashers bench. He will join the team on the flight to Florida and be available for Monday’s game against the Panthers.’
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