|Bruins look to rebound from loss to Canadiens as they take on Penguins in Pittsburgh||01.10.11 at 2:03 am ET|
The Bruins (21-12-7) are in the midst of a rather tough stretch in their schedule, and it continues Monday night against the Penguins (26-13-4) in Pittsburgh. While the Penguins, whose 56 points are the second-most in the Eastern Conference, are looking for their first win without Sidney Crosby (concussion), the Bruins are simply looking for anything that can make people forget about their collapse against the Canadiens Saturday night in a 3-2 overtime loss.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Penguins are 14-8-1 at CONSOL Energy Center, and only the Capitals and Canadiens have more home points this season. On Saturday, they dropped a 4-0 contest to the Wild at home.
– Despite getting one point in a game in which they should have had two in Montreal, the B’s continue to rack up the points on the road. They are 12-5-4 in away games and haven’t lost a road contest in regulation since Dec. 16.
– Zero. That’s how many shots Milan Lucic, Marc Savard, and David Krejci combined for on Saturday. Especially in Lucic’s case, that’s about as inexcusable as it gets for a leading goal-scorer, and as we pointed out after the game, it’s something that has happened eight times this season.
– Kris Letang, one of four Penguins voted into the All-Star game in the fan-balloting process, is fourth among defensemen with 36 points. That’s already a career-high for the 23-year old, and he’s on pace to finish his fourth season with 69 points. Letang leads the Penguins with a plus-21 rating.
– If you’re a fan of power play goals, you might want to watch a different game. Over the last nine games, the Penguins are 3-for-32 on the man advantage, while the B’s are 3-for-27. The Bruins have gone five games without a power play goal.
To make matters worse for each team’s power play, they’ll be going against stiff competition. The Penguins and Bruins’ penalty kills rank first and seventh in the league, respectively.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– What will the Bruins’ blueline look like? The Bruins recalled Matt Bartkowski on an emergency basis Sunday, and reports indicate he’ll take the place of Adam McQuaid in the lineup. The Bruins have been mum on what ails McQuaid. Maybe he caught the “discomfort” that’s going around.
Speaking of which, whether or not Nathan Horton makes his way back into the lineup is another thing to keep an eye on. “Discomfort” is the only word of information the B’s will divulge regarding why the 25-year-old missed Saturday’s game.
Regardless of who the B’s have out, they won’t have the right to complain while in Pittsburgh. Crosby, who still leads the league with 32 goals and 66 points, has been out for the last two games, with the team going 0-1-1 in his absence.
– The Bruins pulled off a memorable one vs. Penguins last time they were in town. The B’s came back from a 4-2 deficit with five third-period goals and took a 7-4 victory behind a three-point night from Mark Recchi on Nov. 10.
– Will the Lucic-Savard-Ryder line live to see another day? With the way it performed on Saturday (two shots on goal, both of which were from Michael Ryder), Bruins fans should hope not. Savard just isn’t himself, and his presence on a top line isn’t helping the B’s quest for offense right now.
– While on the subject of Savard, Monday will be the center’s first trip back to Pittsburgh since suffering his concussion on a hit from Matt Cooke last March 7.
– This will be the first of two match-ups between the two teams over the next week. After the B’s leave Pittsburgh, they will return to the Garden, where they will face the Senators and Flyers this week before hosting the Penguins on Saturday. After Saturday, the two teams won’t meet again until they close out their season series on March 5.
|Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Blake Wheeler contribute to early Bruins lead||12.18.10 at 7:44 pm ET|
On a 2-on-2, Wheeler attracted the attention of both Washington defenders and dropped the puck off to Bergeron, who beat Michal Neuvirth at 3:27 for his sixth goal of the season. Ference then scored his first goal in 99 games by sending one past Neuvirth from the point.
Bergeron returned the favor in setting up Wheeler’s eighth of the season, and suddenly that second line is looking awfully good of late.
Following the Ference goal. Matt Bradley tried to swing the momentum in Washington’s favor by dropping the gloves with Adam McQuaid. Unfortunately for Bradley, the Garden only got louder as McQuaid unequivocally pummeled the Capitals winger.
Tim Thomas saw only five shots, stopping them all.
|Claude Julien doesn’t think players will get too comfortable now that cap is sorted||12.14.10 at 2:57 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins players can rest easy now that the team has trade Marco Sturm to the Kings. With the deal, which they made on Saturday, the team could go the rest of the season with it’s current squad and not have to worry about the salary cap, as they’re a little less than $300,000 under the cap.
Rumors swirled throughout the beginning of the season regarding the likes of Matt Hunwick, Michael Ryder, and Blake Wheeler. Of the three, only Hunwick was dealt, and the rest of the team can now breathe easy. Still, Claude Julien doesn’t see it as reason for complacency.
“I think for a player, it certainly has to give them a little bit of relief as far as saying ‘all these question marks have been answered,”’ Julien said Tuesday. “At the same time, I think players have to realize that just because we’re there now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stay there if we don’t get the results we want.
“You’re always fighting for a spot in the lineup, you’re always fighting to keep your job, and you’re always fighting to stay on the team. I think that part should stay the same time, what’s been lingering over their heads now has more or less been taken care of.”
MCQUAID FEELING IT A BIT, PRACTICES
Julien seemed to suppress any opinions when commenting on the league’s decision to suspend Flyers forward Jody Shelley for two games. The league made the decision on Monday, and Shelley will lose nearly $12,000 in salary over the two contests.
“They obviously took it seriously enough to suspend him, and you’ve got to respect that,” Julien said.
The B’s coach was glad to have Adam McQuaid, the recipient of the suspension-inducing shove from behind Saturday, on the ice with the team as they skated Tuesday. McQuaid said on Monday that he was still sore, but his coach noted that he wasn’t limited in practice after simply having the wind out of him Saturday.
“He’s still a litte stiff, but not stiff enough to keep him out of the lineup or keep him out of practice,” Julien said. “I think he still feels the effect of that hit, but he’s a tough individual. He’s battling through it to the point where I don’t think it’s going to be a factor as far as affecting his game.”
POWER PLAY FOR KAMPFER?
If Steven Kampfer ends up seeing time on the power play, as he did on Tuesday, you can bet he’ll be in for even more comparisons for former Michigan teammate Matt Hunwick.
Kampfer has essentially stepped in to replace the skill-set of Hunwick since last week’s injury to Mark Stuart. He’s been compared to the now-Avalanche defenseman quite a bit, but he’s had a hardly robust six seconds on the power play in his two games since being called up.
The 22-year-old was told by the Bruins to watch film on Hunwick and study the types of things he does. Kampfer says he is flattered by the comparisons but feels that he is not yet the skater Hunwick is. He remains the Bruins’ best puck-moving option.
|Report: Flyers GM expects Jody Shelley to be suspended for hit on Adam McQuaid||12.12.10 at 5:06 pm ET|
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the NHL has scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Monday in regard to Flyers forward Jody Shelley‘s hit on Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. The play, in which Shelley received a boarding major and game misconduct, occurred in the second period of the Flyers’ 2-1 overtime win. The players were racing for an iced puck when Shelley pushed McQuaid, who went head-first into the boards and had the wind knocked out of him.
Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio tweeted Sunday that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren expects Shelley to be suspended for one game.
|Claude Julien, Adam McQuaid not fans of Jody Shelley hit||12.11.10 at 10:55 pm ET|
In his postgame press conference, Bruins coach Claude Julien called Jody Shelley’s hit from behind on Adam McQuaid “definitely uncalled for” and that he didn’t know what the intent of the play was. McQuaid and Shelley were racing after an iced puck when Shelley pushed the B’s defenseman. The momentum carried McQuaid into the boards head-first, and the 24-year-old blueliner remained on the ice as play was stopped.
“I looked at it again and personally, I didn’t think there was any need for it,” Julien said. “I don’t know what [Shelley’s] intention was, but certainly, there was no need for that at all and I think that’s one of the things we’re trying to get out of game.
“I know [Jody] Shelley a little bit from a long time ago and he’s actually a good person and, to me, he’s a tough guy. I don’t know that he’s purposely gone out there to injure people like that so I found that a little bit strange that he would do that. It’s unfortunate. … Hopefully the League deals with it the proper way and we’ll go from there.”
McQuaid said that he could hear Shelley saying he didn’t mean it while he was on the ice, but regardless of intent, McQuaid wasn’t a fan of the play.
“I mean, I didn’t go in on my own,” McQuaid said when asked if he felt it was a reckless play. “I felt like I got pushed.”
McQuaid said he got the wind knocked out of him, and after undergoing a few tests was allowed to return to the ice later in the period.
|Bruins trail Flyers after two||at 8:36 pm ET|
James van Riemsdyk scored his fifth goal of the season, a wrester off the glove of Tim Thomas at 18:39 of the second period, and the Flyers lead the Bruins, 2-0 at the second intermission.
With Adam McQuaid and Jody Shelley both chasing an iced puck in the Bruins’ zone, Shelley pushed McQuaid — clearly the winner of the foot-race — and the defenseman’s momentum took him right into the boards, where he remained motionless for a few moments.
Shelley was handed a five-minute major penalty for hitting from behind and a 10-minute game misconduct. McQuaid returned to the ice later in the period.
The B’s outshot the Flyers, 13-7, in the second and lead them in shots, 22-17.
|Adam McQuaid ready to stick in the Bruins’ lineup for good||11.30.10 at 6:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid has gotten plenty of attention this season, but each time he’s been in the spotlight, it seems it’s been because of another player. That’s generally the life of a healthy scratch, but it’s a life McQuaid no longer leads.
When Johnny Boychuk‘s forearm ended up being fractured following a slash he took from Brandon Dubinsky on Oct. 23 against the Rangers, McQuaid, who had spent the first six games of the season in a suit, got the call. He’s received attention lately for post-practice battle drills with Marc Savard, something the team hopes will get the center ready for the physical aspect of the game. Now, the questions about McQuaid regard how he can step in and replace Matt Hunwick, who the team traded to Colorado on Monday in a team to clear cap space.
“It’s an opportunity. I’m not going to try and change too much,” McQuaid. “I’m obviously not going to step in and replace what [Hunwick] did. I’ll just play my own game, and hopefully secure a spot.”
Indeed, McQuaid will not replace what Hunwick brought to the table, as speed and puck-moving are not McQuaid’s forte. Instead, McQuaid’s safe and bruising style (and right-handed shot) will have to suffice. The “secure a spot” talk doesn’t really apply to McQuaid right away at least, as the move to send Hunwick out was also a vote of confidence for McQuaid from the Bruins. This isn’t a quick fix or a temporary replacement while a guy is hurt — McQuaid is now part of the six, something he hasn’t been able to say without somebody being injured.
“It can be mentally tough when you’re in and out of the lineup, and from game to game not sure if you’re going to play,” McQuaid said. “I think if anything, it’s made me mentally tougher. Being here all year and practicing, it gives me the opportunity to be up here at this level.”
In 10 games this season, McQuaid has an assist and an even rating to go along with 21 penalty minutes. His teammates know that there’s some give and take involved with swapping McQuaid in for Hunwick, but they’re excited to see what he can do with a job that is definitely his own.
“It gives us another right-handed shot. Hunwick’s a good skater, and it gives an opportunity for Adam to step in and do a good job,” Boychuk said.
McQuaid played in 19 games last year, registering one goal and 21 penalty minutes before adding six more penalty minutes in nine playoff games. A lower-body injury forced him out of Game 3 against the Flyers and kept him out for the rest of the playoffs.
“He was basically playing very safe last year. He didn’t want to make mistakes, and I think this year, he’s got more confidence,” Julien said. “That confidence is coming from a little bit more experience. That’s probably what’s changed the most about his game.”
McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season when the Bruins take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday.