|Canadiens set to invade TD Garden||02.04.10 at 1:27 pm ET|
If there was ever a game for the Bruins to get back to their winning ways, Thursday night against archrival Montreal Canadiens would be it. Boston has fallen from fifth to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings during its eight game losing streak and has watched division opponents like the Habs leapfrog them in the standings.
Over the past three games the Bruins have played with good energy and decent emotion but have not seen the results on the scoreboard. The team has not had a positive seminal moment during the season, a game that defines the squad and sets the pace for winning hockey. With the Canadiens in town and all the fanfare that comes along with them, Thursday could be a good time to turn things around.
“There is a lot of history in it, the crowd always gets into it. It is kind of cool when they have all those Montreal Canadiens fans in the crowd. It always gets us excited every time we play these guys,” Milan Lucic said.
Yes, there is history between these two Original Six hockey clubs, but recent history between the players on each roster is not worth much going into Thurday’s contest. Last year Boston and Montreal hooked up for a memorable, fight filled battle in the Bruins last home game of the regular season and tensions and between the two were high during the Boston’s three game, first round sweep in the playoffs. Yet, significant agitators on last year’s Habs roster such as Mike Komisarek (Toronto), Saku Koivu (Anaheim), Georges Laraque (released late January) and Andrei Kostitsyn (knee injury, out till after Olympics) are not around as are several players from last year’s Bruins roster. Hence, there are not many hard feelings carried over between the players going into Thursday’s contest.
“I wish [there was carry over] but they have kind of revamped their lineup so a lot of those guys who we had the big rivalries with in the last three years are gone. I would not mind creating new ones, I suppose,” Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton said. “We don’t like each other, we haven’t for years. I think it will be a fun game to play in, I think everybody will be up for it. So, I hope we will turn it around, yeah.”
The Bruins roster turmoil has had some effect on their goal output recently as they strive for chemistry on newly formed lines with the roster turnover or players returning from injury. As players such as Marco Sturm and Marc Savard get their health and timing back, the hope is that Boston can start generating more goals and find a way to win some games.
“We have not helped ourselves either with all the different line combinations but we are not the only team going through that and we are not going to make excuses but we have not had the same lines,” coach Claude Julien said. “The chemistry with injuries and the lines, it is a challenge and kind of have to fight through that and hopefully as we are getting a little healthier hopefully that comes back.”
At the same time, the Bruins goaltenders would do the rest of the team a big favor if they could completely shutdown an opposing team. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice after Thursday’s morning skate and will likely get the start against the Canadiens. He said that both him and Tim Thomas are always approach games with the notion that the goaltender might be able to steal a win for the team.
“We got to have that state of mind before every game. The past few games have been like that, we can’t let in any weak goals. We approach games that way that we are going to steal them and hopefully it is going to happen soon,” Rask said. “We really feel that we have been playing better and better here just without the results but I am trying to get the win here today.”
10 Bruins forwards participated in the morning skate with Mark Recchi, Savard, Sturm and Michael Ryder the missing men. On the blue line Boston had six skaters with Andrew Ference taking the ice and Dennis Wideman absent. Ference has missed the last 12 games with a groin injury. Mark Stuart will still be sidelined with a broken finger he sustained against the Kings last Saturday and is expected to be out until after the Olympics at the very least. It remains doubtful that Ference will play against the Canadiens which probably means that Adam McQuaid and Wideman will be on the rink when the puck drops barring a last minute change of plans.
|Slumping Bruins: ‘We have to win sooner or later’||02.03.10 at 3:04 pm ET|
Three of the most prominent leaders on the Bruins are sounding the same theme ‘ wins are right around the corner.
The problem is the Bruins have to turn the corner first. On Wednesday, they got back to practice in Belmont and the business of pounding the pavement ‘ or ice ‘ and looking for the positive street signs ahead.
‘We always can get going and find a way to motivate ourselves,” said Chara, who has been playing with a dislocated left pinkie finger that will likely need surgery in the offseason, according to ESPN. “We have to put this one behind us and there’s a new day tomorrow. We just have to get ready for the next game and keep trying. We have to win sooner or later.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Julien: ‘We deserved the win if we scored the goals’||02.02.10 at 10:54 pm ET|
It seemed very innocent and obvious when Bruins coach Claude Julien gave his team credit for battling the hottest and best team in the NHL to a 1-1 draw after two periods. After watching his team surrender three in the third, it became nothing more than another in a string of eight straight losses, 4-1 to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In short, Julien said they deserved the win on Tuesday night “if we had scored some goals.” Julien believed his team could have been up, 4-1, after two instead of tied.
And of course, deserving the win and earning the win is a bridge these struggling Bruins have yet to cross.
Here is what Julien had to say for his troops following Tuesday’s setback, an eighth straight loss that gave them their longest losing skid in 54 seasons.
|B’s need to be two-timers||01.31.10 at 2:35 am ET|
His Bruins, despite getting back the services of Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, still couldn’t find a way to hold a 2-1 third period lead and fell in a shootout. Yes, the Bruins captured one point but as Bergeron pointed out afterward, when you’ve now lost seven in a row and six straight at home for the first time in 85 years, that one point seems of extremely little consolation.
“Tonight was a good effort but we’ve got to find a way to get those two points,” Bergeron said. “We kept having some chances. We scored a goal, on the power play. I don’t think they were all over us with that 2-1 but they found a way to come back and tie it.”
|Bruins show their true focus||12.31.09 at 1:39 am ET|
The Bruins head coach was more concerned with his team just finding consistency and focus – both of which have been lacking in a season after finishing atop the Eastern Conference.
But on Wednesday night at the Garden, Julien watched from behind the Bruins bench with a smile as his team executed a nearly flawless performance in a 4-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.
|B’s extend assistant coaches||11.30.09 at 9:24 am ET|
Several assistants under Claude Julien had reason to be very thankful over the just-completed holiday weekend when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli extended them to multi-year extensions.
Chiarelli announced on Sunday that the club has signed assistant coaches Doug Houda, Craig Ramsay and Geoff Ward, goaltending coach Bob Essensa and video coach Brant Berglund to multi-year contract extensions.
Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
The team’s release is below:
Houda, hired by the Bruins on July 25, 2006, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Black & Gold. He came to the Bruins following three seasons as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. The Amerks had a 125-86-16-13 record over his three seasons as an assistant, including a franchise record 112 points in 2004-05.
Houda was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (28th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed a 15-year playing career. He had 19-63=82 totals and 1,104 penalty minutes in 561 career NHL games with Buffalo, Detroit, Hartford, New York Islanders, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Read the rest of this entry »
|Turn up the volume: Thomas makes amends||11.29.09 at 12:55 am ET|
There wasn’t a bigger Michael Ryder fan in the building before his shootout chance in the first extra round than the man defending the Bruins goal.
Tim Thomas was making his first start since Nov. 14, a span of six games and early and late, the rust showed. He allowed a pair of goals in the first period, including one on the second shot he faced.
But the goal he surrendered to Milan Michalek was a back-breaker. It came with 19.3 seconds remaining from a bad angle-a really bad angle. A angle so bad that Michalek was practically parallel with the goal when he flipped a back-hander on net.
As if the goal wasn’t bad enough, the timing was worse. The Bruins had just fought back with three power play goals to take a 3-2 lead and were poised to take a two-point lead in the Northeast Division.
As it was, the Bruins had to settle for a one-point gain over Ottawa as the Bruins earned two points and Ottawa one for the 4-3 Boston victory. Here’s what it sounded like in the Bruins dressing room.