|Benoit Pouliot wins it for Bruins… of course||11.23.11 at 10:00 pm ET|
Benoit Pouliot wasn’t the Bruins’ first choice in the shootout Wednesday night, but he proved to be the only one who could score as he extended the Bruins’ winning streak to 10 games with a 4-3 victory over the Sabres Wednesday at First Niagara Center.
Whether Pouliot would even play Wednesday was in question after he racked up six unnecessary penalty minutes Monday against Montreal, but after Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth, who entered the night undefeated in five shootouts, stopped Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, Claude Julien went with Pouliot in what proved to be a game-winning decision.
The Sabres were seeking vengeance after Milan Lucic‘s hit on Ryan Miller on Nov. 12 left the Buffalo goaltender concussed on a play that saw no response from his teammates. Paul Gaustad did his best at responding Wednesday, dropping the gloves on Lucic’s first shift but falling to the Bruins’ left wing in Lucic’s first fight in his last 25 regular season games.
Though the Sabres didn’t completely get back at Lucic, they did get on the board first. With Lucic in the box on a questionable roughing call, Christian Ehrhoff beat Tim Thomas on the power play to make it 1-0.
Minutes later, Bruins killer Thomas Vanek did his latest damage on the power play, giving the Sabres a 2-0 lead that they held until Seguin beat Enroth on a one-timer in the second period to get the Bruins on the board. T.J. Brennan, who was playing in his first career NHL game, picked up his goal at 11:02 of the second to make it 3-1, but goals from Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara wiped out Buffalo’s lead.
The Bruins will next play Friday, when they host the Red Wings at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- After not registering a point in the Bruins’ first six games, Chara has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points over the last 14 games. He’s on a better pace this season than he was a season ago, as the giant defenseman had 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) over his first 20 games last season. Chara was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick.
- The Bruins successfully executed a massive penalty kill late in regulation and early in overtime after David Krejci took a hooking penalty with 1:03 remaining in the third period. Julien used Chris Kelly, Chara, Gregory Campbell and Dennis Seidenberg for the 5-on-4, with Chara and Campbell both blocking shots. Chara, Bergeron, and Seidenberg then played the first 57 seconds of overtime to kill off the 4-on-3.
- Seguin now has more goals this season (12) than he did as a rookie. It’s taken the 19-year-old just 20 games to do what he did in 74 games last season, so if for some reason you needed to be convinced that the young forward has made huge strides this season, that should do it.
Seguin’s goal, which got the Bruins on the board in the second period, was an absolute laser that the second-year player took upon receiving the feed from Patrice Bergeron. The fact that he was placed in the hardest shot competition in last year’s All-Star game festivities raised some eyebrows at the time, but just as he did last season in Carolina with a 97.1 mile-an-hour bomb, Seguin showed his slapshot shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- The Bruins responded Wednesday in a way the Sabres simply didn’t on Nov. 12. After Brad Marchand threw a big hit on Nathan Gerbe, Gaustad came in and took a run at the second-year forward in the corner of the Sabres’ zone. Marchand’s teammates came to his defense, creating a big scrum that led to a fight between Chara and Robyn Regehr.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Ehrhoff’s goal ended Thomas’ shutout streak at 145:00, and Wednesday marked the fifth time this season that the defending Vezina winner has allowed three goals in a game. He didn’t have much of a chance on Brennan’s goal, and may have been screened on Ehrhoff’s shot, but the fact that the 37-year-old has yet to turn in a bad game this season is a very good sign. Thomas made a gigantic save on Roy with the B’s shorthanded in overtime and stopped Gerbe with about a minute remaining in OT. He stopped Vanek, Gerbe, Pominville, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford.
- Some iffy officiating in the first period. Lucic was sent off for roughing halfway through the period when he finished his check along the boards on Jason Pominville. Both that penalty and a Seidenberg hooking call led to Sabres’ power play goals. On the scrum that followed Guastad’s hit on Marchand, the Bruins surprisingly wound up shorthanded, giving the Sabres yet another power play (they had four in the period). It was clear heading into Wednesday that the league was going to keep on eye on the two teams, but the B’s took the brunt of it in the first 20 minutes.
- More of the same from Vanek against Boston. With five goals and three assists, Vanek now has eight points in his last five games against the Bruins.
|Benoit Pouliot the hero as Bruins win sixth straight||11.15.11 at 9:35 pm ET|
The Bruins needed someone to play hero late in the third period Tuesday. If you thought that would be Benoit Pouliot, you’re a liar. Pouliot, who was a healthy scratch Saturday, banged home a rebound from a Joe Corvo shot, beating Devils netminder Johan Hedberg and giving the B’s a 4-3 victory at TD Garden, their six straight.
David Clarkson got the Devils on the board with a 5-on-3 goal in the second period, with Chris Kelly responding late in the period. Brad Marchand, who had an up-and-down night thanks to a bad penalty he took in the second period (see below) scored six seconds into the third period to give the B’s a 2-1 lead, but Nick Palmieri scored the first of his two on the night to tie it when he tipped a shot from Andy Greene past Tim Thomas. Shawn Thornton then scored his first of the season to give the B’s another lead, but Palmieri answered back yet again.
The Bruins will host the Blue Jackets Thursday, the final game of their five-game home-stand.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It was a big night for Gregory Campbell, who contributed assists on goals by Kelly and Thornton. Campbell entered the game with a goal and an assist on the season, so Tuesday’s effort saw him double his points total for the year. Campbell got some shifts with Kelly and Rich Peverley in both the second and third periods.
- Marchand increased his points streak to six games and did it emphatically. After being benched for much of the second half of the second period, he started the third period and scored just six seconds in to give the B’s a 2-1 lead. He had additional chances, like when he couldn’t handle a nice feed in front from Seguin in the second period, but Marchand made sure that his contributions on the score sheet outweighed any of the low points.
- Patrice Bergeron has always been good on face-offs, and he was outstanding at the dot on Tuesday. He won 21 of his first 26 draws and finished the night 24 of 33.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- There was good and bad with Marchand on Tuesday, so here’s the bad: he wound up in Claude Julien‘s doghouse in the second period. Marchand, who took a goaltender interference penalty in the first period, wanted a piece of Adam Henrique punched the center, landing him in the bin for roughing at 9:07 of the second.
Clarkson’s goal came when he was in the box, a Johnny Boychuk delay of game penalty gave the Devils a 39-second 5-on-3. Marchand played just two more shifts in the period, with Pouliot playing left wing on the top line in his place. He was also sat during the Bruins’ power play after Zach Parise tripped Corvo with Kelly took his spot.
- The Bruins blew two leads in the third period. While they outshot the Devils by a large margin in the period and carried much of the offensive play, letting leads slip is not a habit the B’s want to develop.
- They came pretty close, but for the first time in six games, the Bruins did not score at least five goals. One probably could have guessed that entering the game given the fact that they were playing the Devils, but the face that the Bruins were still able to produce offensively against a team that has allowed five goals just twice the season shows that the hot-scoring B’s haven’t lost their touch.
|Bruins-Sabres Live Blog: Marc-Andre Gragnani makes it 6-2||11.12.11 at 6:56 pm ET|
|Benoit Pouliot feeling better, hopes to play better||11.02.11 at 2:54 pm ET|
Benoit Pouliot has been back on the ice for a few days now, but it’s probably too early to say he was a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Senators.
Pouliot, who was sick, first missed practice on Friday due to an illness, and he did not travel with the B’s to Montreal for Saturday’s game. He returned to practice Monday, took part in Tuesday’s optional morning skate with the scratches and did not play Tuesday. It was unknown at the time whether Pouliot was sitting as a healthy scratch or whether he still wasn’t ready. Asked Wednesday, the 25-year-old said it was the latter.
“Personally, no,” Pouliot said when asked whether he was healthy enough to play. “I didn’t feel right and I gotta get some reps in and the cardio in and feel better. When you’re not doing much, you use everything and I just gotta get back on track and I feel good.”
The Bruins will next play Saturday in Toronto. That’s a good thing for Pouliot, who will take all the days he can get as he works to get his legs and conditioning back. He said he first started to feel under the weather during the week last week and felt especially bad during Thursday’s game against the Canadiens.
“It was tough. it was a long one,” Pouliot said. “Just a bad cold but couple days now, I feel much better and hopefully it was on the right track. A bunch of things just kept me from doing much. I’ve been sleeping a lot and hanging out on my couch, but it’s better.”
Pouliot is the only skater on the Bruins’ roster to not have a single point this season. He’s missed three of the team’s 11 games (he was a healthy scratch in the season-opener), but he isn’t getting down on himself yet.
“Obviously the points and the stats aren’t there, I think everyone knows that,” he said. “But I think the way I am working and trying to figure out the systems and everything, I think I’m on the right track. I am doing as much as I can and working as hard as I can and if you work hard enough, things will fall into good places. It’s just a matter of getting a point and getting back the confidence and everything should be good.”
While he’s focused on producing more than he has, a lot of Pouliot’s focus has been on fitting into the system here in Boston. The former fourth overall pick is now in with his third different organizations in the last four years, so he came in determined to prove he’s capable of fitting in with Claude Julien‘s squad as a bottom-six guy.
“Coming from Montreal, it was a lot different system wise,” he said. “Here, it is a lot different. Everyone stay in your lane, up-and-down, not east-west, north-south. Sometimes I am used to going to support the guy on the other side and then I lose my position completely. That’s a thing that I need to learn here and I’ve talked about it and coach has talked to me about it and it’s nice to hear. It’s a thing I need to learn but besides that everything is going pretty good.”
|Ice-cold Bruins return to practice||10.31.11 at 11:09 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Benoit Pouliot was the first to take the ice Monday as the Bruins, coming off three straight losses and a rough home-and-home with the Habs, returned to practice at Ristuccia Arena. Pouliot was sick over the weekend and did not travel with the team to Montreal for Saturday’s game.
The lines appear to be the same as they were to begin Saturday’s game:
All seven defensemen were present.
|Benoit Pouliot’s mindset vs. Canadiens: ‘You don’t want to keep me? I’ll show you’||10.27.11 at 12:17 pm ET|
Benoit Pouliot has had one three-point game in his career, and it came in his only meeting against a former team. Might that be a sign that the former Canadien could be in for a big night Thursday, when he faces the Habs for the first time since they non-tendered him?
On March 20 last season, Pouliot had three assists in the Habs’ 8-0 win over Minnesota, the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2005 and eventually shipped him out in 2009. Now that he’s facing the Habs, the 25-year-old forward can identify that there’s natural motivation in facing a former club.
“I think when you face your old team, you obviously want to prove, ‘Hey, you don’t want to keep me? I’ll show you,’” Pouliot said with a grin. “It pumps you up even more I think. Obviously this is going to be our first game against Montreal, but we’re going to get plenty of them all year long, so I see this as a little boost. At the same time, I’ll just play the same way I’ve been playing and rack up some points.”
A big night statistically would be a good thing for Pouliot, who has looked good in spurts put has yet to register a point this season.
Pouliot hasn’t been shy when it comes to taking digs at Habs coach Jacques Martin, who scratched him for the final four games of the first round against the B’s last season. The forward feels there was a lack of faith in him from the Canadiens coach, and when asked Thursday the difference between playing for the two teams, Pouliot said it’s the communication between he and Claude Julien.
“It’s just a matter of knowing what you do right or wrong. Maybe not hiding it, and let the guy know and he’ll work on it. It’s something that Claude’s been good to me so far,” Pouliot said. “He’s been talking to me, and the assistant coach has been talking to me all the time, [showing] video and stuff. For me personally, I just have to show up, work hard and be consistent every night in practice and games. So far, things have been going pretty well. Maybe not the points, but everything else for me is to work hard. It’s good so far. We’ve just got to start winning games and things will be good.”
Pouliot led the team during stretches at the end of Thursday’s morning skate.
|Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot? Pt. 2||10.08.11 at 11:50 am ET|
Might there be a slight change made to the Bruins’ lineup Saturday?
Winger Jordan Caron stayed out on the ice a little longer than Benoit Pouliot in Saturday’s morning skate, taking some extra skating in what could be an indication that he may be the healthy scratch vs. the Lightning. There’s both a “could” and a “may” in that sentence just to illustrate how tough it is to tell.
If Caron does sit, Pouliot would make his Bruins debut. One would think that whichever of the two played the first game (Caron) would get a few games to prove himself, and it would be surprising to see changes made based on losing a one-goal game to a good team on a night in which the B’s had obvious distractions.
Said Claude Julien after the skate: “I don’t think I would make any changes based on the result of the game and the way it was played. I don’t think I would ever do that. I didn’t think we played well as a team, but that’s about where I’ll leave it.”
That’s pretty cryptic, but it may suggest that if Julien makes a change, it was one he had planned on doing anyway, perhaps as a way to give both Caron and Pouliot ice time in the first two games.
Caron himself says didn’t know until just before the ceremonies Thursday that he was playing vs. the Flyers. Skating on a line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, Caron registered no shots on goal in 10:20 of ice time.
“It wasn’t my best game, but overall I thought it went pretty good,” he said Saturday. “We did some good stuff, and I did some good stuff defensively. I had a few chances offensively, Segs had a few good chances. It was an OK game overall.”
Even if Caron does play Thursday, one would imagine that with the third line being the only to carry an extra guy in practice, he and Pouliot are in a close competition for ice time. Considering Caron was in a similar situation last year entering the season with Daniel Paille, he doesn’t mind it.
“I think it’s good in a certain way,” Caron said. “It pushes you even harder. You can’t take a day off in practice. You always have to go 100 percent. I think it’s a good battle.”
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