|Gameday Notes: Thomas expected to start||01.26.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice at the team’s morning skate, an indication that he will be the starting goalie against the Panthers on Wednesday. Thomas, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week last week, took a 2-0 loss to the Kings Monday night in Los Angeles.
Thomas is 23-5-6 on the season and leads the league with a .945 save percentage, 1.83 goals against average. He is tied with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with seven shutouts.
While the goaltender for the night appears to be known, it isn’t so easy regarding Boston’s blue line. Mark Stuart has been a healthy scratch the last two games, and Claude Julien said following the skate that the team will make a game-time decision regarding who sits.
Here are some notes from the morning skate:
- The lines were similar to what they were Monday night:
- Marc Savard returned home to Peterborough, Ontario to rest, with Julien saying “that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion.” There remains no timetable on when the center might be able to rejoin the B’s.
With Savard out, Julien doesn’t feel the Bruins necessarily need to call a player up from Providence.
“Right now we’ve got 12 forwards and a lot of that will depend on management and the salary cap and all that stuff and whether is makes sense or not. So that’s probably going to be dealt with as we move on here but as we’re speaking right now, it’s no.”
Some have wondered whether this could mean a promotion for a former first-rounder in Zach Hamill or Joe Colborne, but given the team’s stability with capable centers in Seguin and Wheeler, it doesn’t seem the call-up options should be limited to centers.
- Steven Kampfer said he is not going to get surgery on his nose over the All-Star break after previously considering the procedure. Kampfer broke his nose last Saturday against the Penguins and has worn a full shield since. While his difficulty breathing had led to him considering surgery, he hopes that he will be able to lose the full shield when the team returns from the All-Star break next week.
Instead of surgery, the 22-year-old will return home to Michigan, where he plans on watching his alma mater take on Michigan St. at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. He’ll be there with some other former Wolverines, including Kings defenseman Jack Johnson.
- While Kampfer is making a name for himself on the ice, but if anyone wants to keep up with him off it, they can do so, as Kampfer is on twitter. While it’s pretty rare to see the B’s on twitter, @SteveKampfer47 says he has fun with it while not going too crazy. Twitter has definitely been used as a sounding board of sorts for professional athletes across all the major sports. Coyotes forward Paul Bissonette is probably the NHL’s equivalent of Chad Ochocinco.
- Brad Marchand, who has pretty much shocked the world (or greater Boston) with his 12 goals so far this season, earned the praise of teammates and his coach on Wednesday. Lucic noted that he saw his talents at the junior level and isn’t ultimately surprised by what he’s brought, while Julien is glad to see that the rookie has made offense a part of his game without the other areas suffering.
“I think he’s building confidence and knows that he can give a little bit more to his team as he gets more experience,” Julien said. “And I think the grit is there, it’s still there but yet productively he’s gotten better.”
- The Bruins All-Stars didn’t appear to be on the same page when it came to discussing the fantasy draft for the All-Star game. Tim Thomas said he’ll watch it from his hotel room — if his room gets VS. — while Zdeno Chara assumed the players had to be there.
|Preview: Bruins prepare to take on Kings without Marc Savard||01.24.11 at 3:10 am ET|
As the Bruins (21-14-7) await word on the status of Marc Savard, they will look to sweep their two-game road trip when they take on the Kings (25-22-1) at the Staples Center. The B’s and Kings last met at the Garden on Nov. 20, with the Kings winning, 4-3, in a shootout.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Kings are 15-9-1 at home this season, and are 3-6-0 over their last nine home contests.
- The Bruins are 15-5-4 in away games this season. They have gotten at least one point in each of their road games since the Dec. 27 win over the Panthers, and are 6-0-3 over that stretch. Their last regulation road loss came on Dec. 16 vs. the Canadiens.
- The Bruins have averaged 4.0 goals a game since their 7-6 shootout loss to the Sabres on New Years Day. They had averaged 2.83 goals a night in the first 36 games of the season. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have seven goals apiece this month, while Zdeno Chara has six.
David Krejci, Shawn Thornton, Adam McQuaid, and Daniel Paille are the only Bruins’ skaters without goals this month.
-Thornton’s 15 consecutive games without a goal is his longest such stretch of the season. It’s quite remarkable considering he went 72 straight games without a tally a season ago.
Thornton’s seven goals are a career-high, and he’s on pace for 12 this season.
- Jonathan Quick is fifth in the NHL with a 2.22 save goals against average. Tim Thomas is first with a 1.83 mark.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- This road trip could have meant a visit with both of the Bruins’ cap causalities this season in Matt Hunwick (Colorado) and Marco Sturm (Los Angeles), but the B’s will have to settle with having seen Hunwick on Saturday. Knee tendinitis has Sturm on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 18.
The B’s traded the German winger to Los Angeles on Dec. 11 in a deal that landed them nothing in return, though the true prize of the trade was the freedom to proceed with the activation of Savard without having to worry about cap strife. In 15 games with the Kings this season, Sturm has four goals and four assists for eight points. He had 106 goals in parts of four seasons with the B’s after being acquired in the Joe Thornton trade.
- The Bruins have two games in hand when it comes to their race with the Lightning for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, but Tampa Bay grabbed another two points Sunday with a 7-1 win over the Thrashers. They have 65 points to the Bruins’ 61, while the B’s lead the Canadiens by two points in the Northeast Division.
- Should Thomas get the nod in net, he will have the opportunity to grab a piece of the league lead in wins, a category he hasn’t led since the beginning of the season. Jonas Hiller and Carey Price each have 24 victories this season, and with both the Ducks and Canadiens off Monday, Thomas (23-4-6) could make it a three-way tie. Thomas already leads the league in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.945) and is tied with Henrik Lundqvist for a league-leading seven shutouts.
Thomas has not lost a game in regulation since Dec. 20. He is 8-0-3 in 11 games (10 starts) since then.
|Marchand’s four points lead Bruins past Avalanche||01.22.11 at 5:35 pm ET|
Four Bruins goals in the first two periods both chased Colorado netminder Craig Anderson from the game and helped the team to a 6-2 victory on Saturday.
Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi had four and three-point showings, respectively, while linemate Patrice Bergeron also scored and had an assist. Milan Lucic had two goals for the B’s, and with David Krejci‘s two assists on the day, five different Bruins had multi-point showings.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind an odd Paul Stastny goal at 2:00 of the first that bounced off of Dennis Seidenberg, but the B’s scored four unanswered goals to end Anderson’s day after 40 minutes. Peter Budaj took over in the third, allowing Bergeron’s goal.
Marc Savard took a hit from former Bruin Matt Hunwick in the corner in the second period and left the game with a head injury. He held a towel to his face as he skated off the ice.
Tim Thomas improved to 23-4-6 on the season with the win. He made 32 saves in the victory.
The Bruins will travel to Los Angeles, where they will face the Kings on Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Marchand continued to prove he’s been the best of an impressive bunch of Bruins’ rookies. He held his own with Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne in front of the net on his first-period goal, and drew Anderson so far out of his net on a 2-on-1 in the second period that the rookie was able to simply slide it to Mark Recchi for an easy one-timer goal.
His second goal of the game was an empty-though it came with Seidenberg in the bench and made for his fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Marchand now has 12 goals and 12 assists on the season.
- Recchi scored his 10th goal of the season, making him the eighth Bruins player with at least 10 goals this season. Last year, the B’s had eight players reach double-digits in goals, and it appears they will expand on that number given that four different Bruins have seven goals on the season.
- Lucic set a career-high in goals in a season with his first period goal and added to the number in the second period. With 19 goals thus far, Lucic is one strike away from the 20 he set as a pre-season goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Marc Savard had his second injury scare in the last Saturday’s game against the Penguins, but unlike the hit he took in that game from Deryk Engelland, his hit from former teammate Hunwick knocked him out of the game.
Savard appeared to be bleeding as he left the ice following the second-period hit. After missing the first 23 games of the season due to post-concussion syndrome, any time the center (who is in the first year of a seven-year deal) leaves the ice holding his head is greatly concerning.
- Nathan Horton is still searching for that goal to break him out of his slump. He had two shots on goal and had an interesting chance when he swung at a bouncing puck in the second period, but now has just one goal over his last 18 games.
- Former Boston University Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk was a thorn in the Bruins’ side, getting the primary assist on Stastny’s goal and making it a two-goal game with a goal of his own early in the third.
|Marc Savard leaves game, but Bruins add to lead||at 4:42 pm ET|
The Bruins added to their lead in the second period and now hold a 4-1 edge over the Avalanche heading into the third period thanks to goals from Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic.
Both Bruins goals in the period came on 2-on-1 opportunities. Brad Marchand took advantage of Craig Anderson coming far out of his net to cut down the angle, and hit Recchi in front for a one-timer. Lucic added his 19th of the season and second of the game with 56 seconds remaining in the period.
Marc Savard will not return to the game after taking a hit in the corner during the second period from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick. Following the hit, Savard fell to the ice, holding his head before trainer Don DelNegro came to his aid.
Through two periods, Tim Thomas has stopped 21 of 22 shots he has faced. The B’s have put 28 shots on Anderson.
|Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic have Bruins leading Avalanche||at 3:47 pm ET|
Some funny bounces and a fight have the Bruins leading the Avalanche, 2-1, after one in Denver on Saturday.
The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead on a flukey Paul Stastny goal that bounced off Dennis Seidenberg before going in.
Brad Marchand tied the game at 9:20. A Mark Recchi pass deflected off an Avalanche player before making its way to the front of the net, where Marchand was trying to outmuscle Ryan O’Byrne. The puck appeared to hit O’ Byrne’s skate before Marchand sent it past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal of the season.
O’Byrne did further damage to the Avalanche’s case Saturday when he sent the puck over the glass in his own zone, landing him a costly delay of game penalty. With the B’s on the power play, David Krejci fired a shot off the end boards that bounced in front. Anderson was unable to control it, and Milan Lucic flew in to send it past the Avalanche netminder for his career-high 18th goal of the season. Recchi got the secondary assist, giving him a pair of helpers in the period.
O’Byrne would take another penalty when he went off at 15:51 for roughing Gregory Campbell. The B’s went 1-for-2 on the power play. They were not shorthanded in the first period.
The lone fight of the period was between Campbell and Cody McLeod following Stastny’s goal. The bout itself was non-eventful, though it accomplished Campbell’s objective of shifting the momentum in the Bruins’ favor. The B’s controlled the tempo of the period from there, scoring both their goals and rattling off a 12-0 shots on goal stretch.
One interesting but ultimately not too surprising bit is that Mark Stuart is a healthy scratch, allowing Adam McQuaid into the lineup. While such a scenario would seem suspicious earlier in the year, Claude Julien is simply giving all seven defensemen — who have played well — an opportunity to get ice time without missing long stretches.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Problems loom for B’s if first line cannot improve||01.19.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports NHL analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury said this is the best he’s seen Patrice Bergeron play. “[He's] seeing the ice, quick to the puck, totally unafraid, does all the little things right, good on the draws, goes to the front of the net, sees the ice well — there’s nothing to not like about his game,” Milbury said.
The lack of production from the first line is a concern to Milbury. “[Nathan] Horton, [Marc] Savard and [Milan] Lucic have got to find a way to put points on the board,” he said. “They’ve been winning a whole bunch of games without a lot of support from those three guys. Listen, there’s no getting around, it’s their top line. And if your top line isn’t producing the way you expect it to, you’re going to run into problems sooner or later.
“The flip side of that is, because of the balance that they now have, they’re able to do it while the first line finds their rhythm.”
Of Horton, Milbury said. “He’s yet to get fully engaged in the game on a regular basis. By that I mean hustle to loose pucks, work really hard to get there. I’ve seen him fight and he can really go, so I know he’s not afraid. But the point is — and this is the common catchword — there’s got to be more urgency to his game. He’s got to want it more. He’s got to fight for loose pucks a little bit more. He’s got to be a little bit more reckless in his game. Until he gets that, his progress is going to be checked, in my opinion.”
Meanwhile, Milbury likes what he’s seeing from the fourth line. “The Bruins have as good a fourth line as there is in the game right now with [Brad] Marchand, [Gregory] Campbell and Shawn Thornton,” Milbury said. “[Campbell] plays hard every night. He’s a coach’s dream, because you know what you’re going to get shift after shift.”
As for Marchand, Milbury said: ”He uses his assets, which are his feet, and a little bit of grit to get where he needs to go. … We talk about Horton and engaging and getting the most out of what you’ve got. Well, this kid is getting all of what he can give and then some.”
Looking at the Eastern Conference, Milbury said, “I still think Pittsburgh is the team to beat, and Philly second.”
As for the Bruins, “It’s still a team that I think has yet to hit its full stride,” Milbury said. “But things have changed now for the Bruins. [Tuukka] Rask is back in the picture, [Tim] Thomas is still playing incredibly well, the defense is starting to act like it can jump into the offense or produce when it comes to getting shots on goal, and you’ve got three lines, at least right now, that are playing I think well enough to win on most nights — and they are winning on most nights. If they can ever get that first line humming, they’ve got to be be a strong candidate to come out of the Eastern Conference.”
|Tim Thomas helps Bruins past Hurricanes again||01.18.11 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins beat the Hurricanes, 3-2, Tuesday night to grab their second win over Carolina in as many days.
Milan Lucic took a pass from Mark Recchi on the power play at 11:49 of the third period with the game tied at two and sent a wrist-shot past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to secure the game-winning goal. The Bruins also got goals from Johnny Boychuk and Brad Marchand in the first and third periods, respectively.
Tim Thomas made a season-high 43 saves as the Hurricanes put 45 shots on goal. Carolina got goals from Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu.
The Bruins went 2-for-5 on the power play while killing off four of their five penalties. They will return to the Garden to face the Sabres on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Thomas carried the Bruins throughout the night, but the second period stood out for the Vezina favorite. The Hurricanes outshot the B’s, 19-9 in the second, and on the night, Thomas made a season-high 43 saves. Thirty-seven were made in the first two periods.
- After initially being credited, having the goal taken away, and being credited once again, Boychuk finally has his first goal of the season in his 36th game. Boychuk had five in 51 games for the B’s last season.
- Lucic scored his first goal in the last 13 games when he put the B’s up, 3-2, on the power play. He continues to lead the Bruins with 17 goals.
- The members of the Wheeler-Campbell-Thornton were strong for the B’s, as Wheeler drew an elbowing penalty from Tuomo Ruutu and the line’s pressure late in the second period forced the Hurricanes to flip it over the glass in their own zone for a delay of game penalty.
- The Bruins weren’t handed too many opportunities in the second period, so they took advantage when handed one in the third. Following an icing by the Hurricanes, Mark Recchi won the face-off and Zdeno Chara threw a shot on Ward from the point, with Marchand scoring on the rebound.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Despite Marchand scoring and drawing a gift penalty from Eric Staal, he had a regrettable hooking penalty in the first period. With the B’s leading, 1-0, Marchand whiffed on a puck from right around the hashmarks, and as the play went the other way, he hooked Ian White to put the Hurricanes on the man advantage. It was on his power play that Jokinen tied it up at one.
- Nathan Horton still has just one goal over his last 16 games, as he was robbed in the second period when Ward picked his wrist-shot from the slot.
Horton, who has struggled to consistently get pucks on net, tied for the Bruins’ lead with four shots on goal on Tuesday. He had just one on Monday.