|Tyler Seguin has another big night vs. Maple Leafs as Bruins win||10.20.11 at 9:35 pm ET|
While Seguin, the team’s leader in points, was one of the night’s stars with a goal and two assists, the Bruins were able to go from trailing, 1-0, to leading thanks to a strong first period from defenseman Andrew Ference. The Bruins’ alternate captain assisted the Bruins’ three goals in the first period, tying a career high in both assists and points. The Bruins received goals from Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara, Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin.
Tim Thomas picked up the victory for the Bruins. The reigning Vezina winner has been between the pipes for all three of the Bruins’ victories this season. Jonas Gustavsson allowed all six goals for Tortonto, who suffered their first regulation loss of the season (4-1-1).
With the win, the Bruins improved to 3-4-0 on the season. The B’s will next play Saturday, when they host Joe Thornton and the Sharks at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Shawn Thornton got in his first regular-season fight in a long time, as his bout with Colton Orr marked the first time since February 5 that he dropped the gloves in the regular season. Thornton and Orr’s fight lasted a while and was evenly matched before eventually being broken up.
Thornton’s lack of fighting this season hasn’t been for lack of trying. The Bruins’ fourth-line forward has tried to engage players all season to no avail.
– The Bruins had their best night on the man advantage with a pair of power play goals. Chara took a feed from Ference after a Bruins’ face-off win and put a slapshot on net, yielding an easy rebound for Horton to capitalize on. The Bruins’ captain then sniped one of own from the top of the circle on the power play.
The Bruins’ power play has now scored in consecutive games for the first time this season. It’s the first time they’ve gotten power play goals in two straight games since Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers last May.
– A couple of Bruins who needed to have bounce back nights did. Horton’s goal and assists will help fans forget the fact that his roughing double-minor cost the Bruins the game Tuesday night. Lucic scored, had the primary helper on Kelly’s goal and assisted Seguin’s tally. The two still have a way to go before they’ve returned to their 2010-11 forms, but any production from the Bruins’ power forwards has to be taken as a sign of progress at this point.
– Another big night for Seguin, who skated through a Dion Phaneuf hook to complete his rush with Lucic and set up the Bruins’ left wing for the team’s fourth goal. With two assists on the night, Seguin now has two multi-point games this season. He had three in the regular season as a rookie.
|Chris Kelly ready for top-six duties, but not ready to panic||10.20.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins alternate captain Chris Kelly has been on some Ottawa teams that have gotten off to slow starts. With all due respect to the Ottawa squad that began last season 1-4-1, there’s probably a different feeling when it’s the defending Stanley Cup champions that is struggling out of the gate.
“We need to go out and play well,” Kelly said of the 2-4-0 bruins. “I think people quickly forget that you won the Stanley Cup. They come out and they want to win. I think we’re going to get everyone’s best game, and we have so far. We just need to answer the bell a little better.”
With the changes to the lines made by Claude Julien, Kelly has gone from being the team’s third-line center to becoming a top-six forward, as he has centered Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin the last two days in practice. Kelly has plenty of experience playing with Seguin since coming to Boston, as he played with the youngster last season and began this season on a line with the 19-year-old, but Thursday will mark the first time he’s been on a regular line with Lucic. He likes the rapport he’s developed with Lucic in his limited time working with him in practice.
“Looch plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Kelly said. “He’s up and down the ice, he plays his position, he works hard on both ends. I don’t see it being much of a problem playing with him.”
Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes has easily been the ugliest showing from the B’s this season, as they lost their composure and saw them play themselves right out of the game with unnecessary penalties.
“I think you always want to bounce back from losses,” Kelly said. “This is a character locker room. I was fortunate to come into this locker room. They showed that [before I was here] and we need to show that. I don’t see that being that different tonight.”
The B’s will have their work cut out for them Thursday. The Maple Leafs have yet to lose a game in regulation (4-0-1), while the B’s are merely trying to turn a corner after a disappointing start to the season. As ugly as Tuesday’s loss is, Kelly looks at the character of the Bruins’ room and the fact that the season is young and feels there’s only reason for optimism.
“I think we’ve also done some things right, but there’s a lot of things that we want to do better,” Kelly said. “‘¦ We’re six games in, and there’s 82 games for a reason. We all know we can play better.”
|Steven Kampfer likely to make season debut, David Krejci a game-time decision||10.20.11 at 12:11 pm ET|
David Krejci will be a game-time decision against the Maple Leafs Thursday night, with defenseman Steven Kampfer “likely” to play and Adam McQuaid out, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate.
Krejci has been out since injuring his core in last Tuesday’s practice but has returned to skating and practicing with the team this week. If he is to play, he will likely skate on a line with Rich Peverley and either Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot. Julien also indicated that lines could be changed if Krejci does not play, but Peverley has centered the third line with Caron and Pouliot at points in practice over the last two days.
Kampfer suffered a left knee sprain in the team’s Sept. 29 preseason game agaisnt the Senators. With the Bruins sending Matt Bartkowski to Providence and McQuaid still out with a neck injury (he did not participate in morning skate), the indication is that Kampfer will play.
“Medically I’m cleared for contact and everything like that,” Kampfer said after the morning skate. “‘¦ Obvioiusly it’s [Julien’s] call what the deal is for today, but I’m going to prepare as if I’m going to play.”
Should something go wrong with Kampfer during the day, Julien said the Bruins would call someone up from Providence.
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, meaning he is expected to get the start against Toronto.
|Bruins send Matt Bartkowski down, meaning they’ve received good news||10.20.11 at 10:27 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday morning that they have sent defenseman Matt Bartkowski to Providence, indicating that either Steven Kampfer or Adam McQuaid is healthy and ready to return to the lineup against the Maple Leafs.
Bartkowski had a rough go of it in a season in which he likely wouldn’t have made the team if not for Kampfer’s left knee injury. In three games, Bartkowski was a minus-2. He averaged 6:08 of ice time.
Kampfer, who dealt with a right knee injury late last season and into the playoffs, sprained his left knee in a Sept. 29 preseason game against the Senators, but recently returned to practice and on Wednesday took contact for the first time. McQuaid, who injured his neck last Wednesday, was considered a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game against Carolina, but has not been seen on the ice since that day’s morning skate, seemingly due to a setback.
|Slumping Bruins must now face red-hot Phil Kessel||10.20.11 at 12:49 am ET|
Phil Kessel is returning to Boston once again, and this time he probably has more confidence than ever.
The former Bruin, whose trade to the Maple Leafs is still closely monitored to this day, has been a statistical monster early on this season. While Tyler Seguin, drafted with one of the three picks received in the 2009 trade between the Leafs and B’s, leads Boston with five points, Kessel more than doubles that with a league-leading 12 points. Kessel added to his already league-leading goal total with his seventh tally of the season in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Jets. He also had two points Wednesday.
The Bruins used the final pick of the deal in June’s draft, selecting Niagara (OHL) defenseman Dougie Hamilton ninth overall. Here’s a quick look at the players from the trade this season.
Phil Kessel 5 GP 7 G 5 A 12 P
Tyler Seguin 6 GP 1 G 4 A 5 P
Jared Knight 9 GP 7 G 3 A 10 P
Dougie Hamilton 9 GP 5 G 12 A 17 P
Though the Leafs have done poorly enough to get the Bruins top-10 draft picks in each of the last two seasons, they, like Kessel, are off to a great start to the 2011-12 campaign. Toronto has yet to lose a game in regulation this season (4-0-1) and leads the Northeast division with nine points. The Bruins, meanwhile, are 2-4-0.
|Nathan Horton says he thought Tim Gleason wanted to fight, reflects on disappointing start||10.19.11 at 3:48 pm ET|
Nathan Horton did not speak to the media after his roughing double-minor with 8:30 remaining in a one-goal game essentially secured a Bruins’ loss against the Hurricanes Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Horton faced both the media and a sign from his coach that his slow start needs to end quickly.
After skating on the second line in practice for the first time all season (click here to see the Bruins’ revamped lines, which featured a demotion for Horton and a jump to the first line for Chris Kelly), Horton shed light on Tuesday’s incident in which he continuously punched Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason, who had declined to fight.
Though Gleason, who had slashed Horton, kept his gloves on and did not engage Horton after his challenge, the Bruins’ right wing said Wednesday that he was unaware the Hurricanes defenseman did not want to go.
“I thought he wanted to fight,” Horton said. “I turned around and waited for him. He kept acting like he was going to, but it was not the right time. I know that. It was just a little frustration, I guess.”
Added Horton: “I don’t know what [Gleason] was thinking. I just thought he wanted to [fight] because he turned around and slashed me. I turned around and he was right there. He was looking at me the whole time, and I thought he nodded his head. It’s my fault. Obviously I can’t be taking penalties like that, especially after we just scored.”
Losing his cool Tuesday hasn’t been the only bad thing to happen to Horton this season. An incredibly strong starter last season (he led the B’s with nine points through six games), Horton has just two points through six contests this season, a goal and an assist.
“It’s not something where I want to be, or as a team, not playing the way we can. We just need to get back to playing the way we can, especially myself, playing the way I can.”
The type of play to which Horton is likely referring is that of a power forward, as he displayed at points last season. One knock on Horton throughout his entire career has been his tendency to disappear for games at a time, and motivation was something with which he struggled as a member of the Panthers prior to coming to Boston.
Both Horton and the Bruins, who are now 2-4-0 on the season, seemed to be turning a corner on Saturday when the 26-year-old scored the game-tying goal, his first tally of the season, in a game the B’s would eventually win in a shootout against the Blackhawks. In a season in which positive signs have been scarce, the Bruins were unable to build any momentum from the win, as they suffered a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes that got out of hand late.
“You can always think that way, but until you actually do it, it doesn’t matter,” Horton said of taking the Chicago win as a positive step. “Obviously, we got back to playing the way that we were before that, and it’s not going to work. As you can see, we didn’t win.”
All of Horton’s struggles and the team’s frustrations coincided in ugly fashion when Horton took his costly penalty late in the game.
“We’re not scoring, me personally or the team,” Horton said. “We’re not playing how we want to play. It’s just a little bit of frustration there. It was a bad time, obviously. I didn’t mean to hurt my team there, but that’s the way it happened and I can’t change it now.”
With new lines and three tough home games coming up against the Maple Leafs, Sharks and Canadiens, Horton and the B’s have to hope at this point that there’s nowhere to go but up. As such, Horton expressed no frustration with the fact that he was demoted and taken off Milan Lucic‘s line.
“I think there definitely comes a time when you have to change it,” he said. “[Claude Julien]’s been overly patient with us, and we definitely need to start turning things around now.
|David Krejci not taking any chances, still not pushing 100 percent||10.19.11 at 2:01 pm ET|
Bruins center David Krejci seems to be proceeding with caution above all else as he works his way back from a core injury suffered last Tuesday in practice. He is back to taking contact and skating with a new line, but he said after practice that he has no plans of rushing back if he isn’t ready.
“If I can, I would love to play tomorrow, but I have to be smart about it. I don’t want to make it worse and be out for who knows how long. If I feel better tomorrow, then I’d love to play and that’s where we’re at I guess.”
Wednesday marked Krejci’s third straight day of skating, and second with him teammates. Krejci skated by himself prior to Monday’s practice and took part in Tuesday’s morning skate. He took some contact Wednesday but has yet to simulate the intensity and physicality of an actual game.
“I was doing some contact drills, but I don’t think anybody really hit me,” Krejci said. “If I feel better tomorrow, then I’ll ask a couple guys to do a little corner stuff and I guess we’ll decide tomorrow if I’ll play.”
Coach Claude Julien did not disagree with Krejci calling himself 50-50 for Thursday, but from how cautious both the player and the team seem to be on the matter, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Krejci wait until Saturday.
“It’s a really hard decision. yesterday I skated for the first time with the guys, and it was just a morning skate,” Krejci said. “Today was a real practice and I pushed it a little harder. I can’t say that I pushed it 100 percent, but I felt pretty good about the way things went this morning. Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and if I feel good, I’ll push it 100 percent, and who knows? I might play tomorrow.”