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Milan Lucic tallies goal and two assists as Bruins beat Canucks, 3-1 02.27.11 at 1:01 am ET
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Milan Lucic scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Western Conference-leading Canucks on Saturday night.

With the game tied, 1-1, Lucic scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season with 4:38 left in the game. David Krejci created the chance by weaving through a slew of Vancouver defenders before circling behind the net and finding Dennis Seidenberg at the point. Roberto Luongo (22 saves) stopped Seidenberg’s shot, but Lucic was there to bang home the rebound.

Vancouver’s Manny Malhotra opened the scoring 16:58 into the first when he buried a rebound past Tim Thomas (27 saves). Nathan Horton tied it up midway through the second when he took a pass from Lucic and beat Luongo from the low slot. Patrice Bergeron sealed the win with a late empty-netter.

The loss was the Canucks’ first of the season in a game in which they scored first, and just their sixth at home. The Bruins are now 4-0-0 on their current road trip.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-It was certainly a nice homecoming for Lucic. Friday night, he was inducted into the “Ring of Honour” for the Vancouver Giants, his junior team. Saturday night, he registered a game-winning goal and two assists against his hometown NHL team. Lucic now has four goals in four games on this road trip.

-The Canucks came into the game with the NHL’s best power play, converting 25.1 percent of such opportunities. But the Bruins held Vancouver’s man advantage scoreless in three attempts Saturday. They did a great job of making it difficult for the Canucks to get set up, and actually held them to zero shots on their first power play of the night.

-After going three games without a point, Horton now has four in his last four games. More importantly, he had five shots on goal and was buzzing around the offensive zone all night. The Bruins need Horton to be a scorer down the stretch, and it looks like he’s starting to become just that.

-Tomas Kaberle registered his first point as a Bruin with the second assist on Horton’s goal. He played well in his first two games with the B’s and the power play has been moving the puck well with him as the quarterback, but he had been held off the score sheet until Saturday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

-Andrew Ference left the game in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return. Saturday’s signing of Shane Hnidy looked smart no matter what, but it could look even smarter if the injury to Ference turns out to be anything serious. Ference is currently tied with Adam McQuaid for the team lead in plus/minus at plus-24.

-You can probably count on one hand how many times Brad Marchand has been mentioned under this section. But Saturday night, he took two penalties and posted a minus-1 rating. It marked the fourth time this season Marchand has made two visits to the sin bin in one game. Luckily for him, the Bruins’ penalty kill was able to bail him out.

-The third line of Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder is now scoreless in two games together. It’s certainly nothing to panic about, and obviously it’s going to take some time for them to develop chemistry since none of them has ever played together before, but the Bruins will need them to be productive.

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How is Adam McQuaid going to keep track of his nicknames? 02.20.11 at 1:44 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Remember the days when Adam McQuaid was “Adam McQuaid?” The defenseman has done some big things this season, proving himself a reliable enough blueliner to make Mark Stuart a healthy scratch for eight straight games and eventually expendable in a trade.

Yet for “‘Quaider,” as he’s more commonly known around the dressing room, he’s picked up more than experience and fighting majors this season. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog recently slapped him with the nickname “Lone Wolf” based on the Chuck Norris film “Lone Wolf McQuade,” but fellow defenseman Andrew Ference really upped the ante on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Bruins.com jack-of-all-trades John Bishop snapped Sunday of Ference’s new t-shirt.

Ference, who walked through the Bruins’ dressing room donning the tee, said that this was more than a light-hearted iron-on effort. He went online to customize the shirt.

“It’s high quality, huh?” Ference said with a laugh when asked about the effort put into making the shirt a reality.

McQuaid found the t-shirt amusing as well. He admitted he doesn’t quite know how he’ll keep up with all the nicknames, let alone suddenly becoming a brand name.

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Mike Milbury on D&H: Andrew Ference overstepped his role 02.09.11 at 1:32 pm ET
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Mike Milbury

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

B’s coach Claude Julien announced at the morning skate that Tyler Seguin would be a healthy scratch for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Canadiens. “Well, it’s been a long time coming,” Milbury said. “His level of involvement has been less than you would hope for. He’s got a lot of things to learn. There was a lot of pressure on this kid coming into the season. And the expectations, as I think we all knew, and I stated it earlier, were a little unrealistic.

“There are some 18-year-olds, the rare exception, who can come in and be an impact player of some form or another. But most go through a fairly long growing phase. And that’s what he’s in. And that’s what he’s going to have to go through when he sits out and watches the game, and hopefully sees the kind of pace he needs to play at and sees the kind of physical involvement, the price he needs to pay, and I’m sure that’s why Claude made this decision.”

Asked for a particular criticism on Seguin’s game, Milbury said: “I think he’s way too comfortable. I’m not talking about being a Shawn Thornton fighter or a [Brad] Marchand-type hitter, but he’s got to get involved physically. He’s got to scrum for loose pucks, he’s got to brush a body on the way by. Right now, he’s a circler. He circles forward and he circles back. There’s got to be a little more stop-and-go to his game and a little more determination.”

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged Tuesday that it’s likely the Bruins will make a move in an effort to bolster the roster following the loss of Marc Savard. Milbury is not surprised. “If the Bruins feel that they’re in the position to take a swing at a Stanley Cup, then much like Chicago last year, they have to throw everything at it,” he said.

The other big Bruins news of the past week was Danielle Paille‘s four-game suspension for his hit on Dallas’ Raymond Sawada on Thursday. Following the game, Andrew Ference spoke out about the hit. Milbury was among those who criticized Ference for speaking out against a teammate.

“I agree with Andrew Ference. This was a play that was worthy of suspension, and this was something that the league quickly acted on and did suspend the player,” Milbury said, adding that he was surprised Paille didn’t get more than four games. “I don’t have any trouble with him going to Danny Paille and discussing the issue with him. I don’t have any trouble going to his player rep and discussing it with him. I don’t have any trouble having a discussion in the locker room with any of those guys or the coaches or the manager. But it’s not his role, it’s just not his role to pontificate about this thing in the media.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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How the Bruins have become Team Unity, and why it matters 02.04.11 at 8:57 am ET
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Just four minutes into Thursday’s slugfest at the Garden, Stars forward Adam Burish came in on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and fired a shot several seconds after the whistle had clearly blown, stopping play.

That is a big hockey no-no.

And Andrew Ference made sure Burish paid the penalty. The Bruins defenseman came over to enforce the hockey the law, eventually drawing Burish into a fight — which Ference clearly won — and a message had been sent. Don’t mess with these Bruins or you pay the price, especially on Boston’s home ice.

“We’re a tight group,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice and assisted on an empty-netter. “We’ve always said that and we all know that. We’re … we get along real well off the ice and we try to bring that on the ice. I think that Ference fight is the best example just by showing that he took a shot after the whistle on Tuukka and Andy responded right away. So I think it’s … it showed our unity, and we’ve got to keep going.”

As for Ference himself, he said Thursday’s win showed how the Bruins can get back to being the right mix of talent and toughness, just like 2008-09, when they were the top seed in the East and a favorite to get to the Stanley Cup finals.

“One of the good things we did in that year, and something we’ve established over the last few is, when our team is emotionally and physically involved, we’re a very good team,” Ference said. “We’ve proven that the other way around, too. When it’s not there, we lose games. You know, go back to the Carolina series a couple years ago. I think that’s what almost all of us pointed our fingers at, it was missing. We know that that has to be there for us to be successful, and it was good [against Dallas].”

Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly had no problem with it.

“It was an opportunity for us to step up for each other, and we did and I thought it certainly played in our favor,” Julien said of the four fights in four minutes — three in the opening four seconds. “We’re a team that can handle that and guys seem to be ready for it and certainly that part of it was good. Those two quick goals also were proof that we were ready to play.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Andrew Ference says Bruins can’t be hypocrites after Daniel Paille’s blindside hit 02.03.11 at 11:09 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference didn’t beat around the bush after the team’s 6-3 win over the Stars Thursday. B’s forward Daniel Paille cheap-shotted Stars forward Raymond Sawada with a blindside hit in the second period, and Ference, having seen the same thing happen to teammate Marc Savard last March, was honest in identifying it as a dirty play.

“I mean it’s a bad hit, right? That’s what they’re trying to get rid of and you can’t be hypocritical about it when it happens to you, and say it’s fine when your teammate does it,” Ference said. “It’s a hit they’re trying to get rid of. I mean you hear it from every player after they do it, they feel bad, and same thing. I talked to Danny and he feels bad. It’s tough, that backchecking forward, to make those kind of hits, it’s so hard to do it in a clean fashion, with the new rules. It is what it is. He hurt the guy, and I’m sure he’ll have a conversation.”

Paille was given a given a game misconduct for the hit, and the league will likely look into a suspension for the forward.

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Post-morning-skate notes: Claude Julien doesn’t want a repeat of last Sabres meeting 01.20.11 at 1:12 pm ET
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With the Bruins seeing the return of Andrew Ference to the lineup on Thursday, Adam McQuaid isn’t necessarily the odd man out yet, so to speak.

McQuaid missed last Monday’s game with an undisclosed injury, with the team calling up Matt Bartkowski to play in his place. The medical staff still doesn’t feel that McQuaid is in tip-top shape, so Claude Julien isn’t yet ready to say that the 24-year-old will once again be relegated to life as a healthy scratch.

“If they keep playing the way they are, it’s going to be difficult [to make a choice],” Julien said. “There’s no doubt. It’s certainly not going to be an easy decision to make, and if they’re all playing well, I’ve seen situations where you alternate and make sure they’re all playing.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s not something you look forward to but it’s something that you have to deal with at times. Right now I think our back end’s been pretty good for us, and they all deserve to play.”

With Steven Kampfer considering surgery on his broken nose, Julien isn’t very surprised that the right-handed puck-mover has played through the discomfort he’s been experiencing. Kampfer broke his nose Saturday against the Penguins when Zdeno Chara got him in the face with his stick.

“It’s been getting a little better, but I think that there’s blood up there that has clogged up his sinuses and has made it hard for him to breathe, but he’s certainly playing through it, and that’s what we’re talking about [with guys playing through pain].

“We know what Kampfer brings to our team,” Julien added. “We haven’t got a lot of guys that are offensive minded and mobile defensemen like he is, and when you make a decision [on who to play], you make it based on that as well.”

Tuukka Rask is expected to start. Here are some other notes from the morning skate:

- The lines all looked the same for the Bruins on Thursday morning. They are as follows:

Ryder – Savard – Horton

Marchand – Bergeron – Recchi

Lucic – Krejci – Seguin

Wheeler – Campbell – Thornton

- This will be Blake Wheeler‘s third straight game on the “energy line.” While many would have expected the 24-year-old to be a top-9 forward, Julien said the emergence of Brad Marchand has allowed them to use Wheeler with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

“I think the fact that we put Marchand with [Patrice] Bergeron and that line was going well, we thought that Wheels is probably really similar to [Marchand] as far as his relentless forecheck and his good skating. I thought he’d be a good fit for that line and we’ve always liked that line since the beginning of the year and somehow without moving Marchand [back] we’re trying to keep it a lot of the same.”

Wheeler has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points this season. He picked up an assist on Campbell’s second-period goal on Monday.

- Julien is hoping to not see anything resembling a repeat of the B’s last meeting with the Sabres. The Bruins blew three different leads on Jan. 1 before losing, 7-6, in a shootout. Julien said the game was a shootout in more ways than one given the back-and-forth nature of the game, calling the contest “uncharacteristic of the way these two teams play each other.”

Luckily for the Bruins, Drew Stafford, who had a hat trick and scored in the shootout, will not play for Sabres tonight due to a groin injury.

On the season, the Bruins have gone 2-1-1 against the Sabres.

- Tyler Seguin, who has spent the last couple of games on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, doesn’t have a point over his last four games. Seguin and Krejci seem a natural fit for one another given their speed, and Julien said that he likes the rookie on the wing with Krejci in the middle.

Seguin is obviously in a more comfortable place than he was at the beginning of the year, and he’s had flashes of brilliance that he’s tried to sustain. Julien said Thursday that the second half of the season will be another challenge that the second overall pick will encounter.

“I think we still know there’s room for him to continue to improve. And you know, as we get closer to the end of the year, games get tougher and tougher and he’s got to learn to be able to battle in those circumstances and that’s what we expect from him,” Julien said. “His skill level is what it is, it’s great and it’s going to keep showing more and more as he progresses with experience.

“The one thing he hasn’t faced yet is that second half of the year where games mean so much to teams and that grinding part of it means more and more and he’s got to be able to battle through that.”

Seguin is 15th among rookies with 16 points this season.

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Tuukka Rask off first for Bruins, Andrew Ference to play vs. Sabres at 12:03 pm ET
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Andrew Ference will make his return to the Bruins' lineup Thursday night. (AP)

Bruins coach Claude Julien described defenseman Andrew Ference as “good and cleared to go,” meaning the blueliner will make his return to the lineup when the B’s host the Sabres on Thursday night. Ference has missed the team’s last three games with an upper-body injury. Adam McQuaid, who missed last Monday’s game against the Penguins, is out, with Julien adding that he still is less than 100 percent.

“It’s not a tough decision [to sit McQuaid] because in his case, he’s been playing banged up for the last couple of weeks,” Julien said. “I think the medical staff said it would probably be beneficial for him to take a bit of a break. I think he could certainly play through it if he had to.”

Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice in the morning skate, an indication that he will start in goal. In Rask’s last start against the Sabres, he allowed three goals in the first period an was replaced by Tim Thomas at the start of the second. The Bruins went on to lose the game, 7-6, in a shootout.

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