|Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler’||02.23.11 at 12:52 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Looking at the Bruins’ recent flurry of moves, Milbury said he’ll miss defenseman Mark Stuart ‘ “a great depth defenseman and a terrific guy and a character guy” ‘ who was sent to the Thrashers. However, he isn’t lamenting the loss of Blake Wheeler, also sent to Atlanta. “I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler,” Milbury said. “I thought he was a near-miss ‘ a near-miss when he went to hit a guy, a near-miss when he went to shoot a puck. It looked like he was a ball of energy, but when the moment of truth came, he came up short for me. That was a hole that needed to be patched.”
Added Milbury: “I think Peter Chiarelli did a great job in acquiring character players. I think the third and fourth lines for the Bruins, however they construct them right now, will be as good as anybody else’s third and fourth lines in the National Hockey League. The defense is solid. The [Tomas] Kaberle addition brings them the puck-moving guy that they wanted. I still wish they had somebody else that could deliver it to the net with some authority, but I’m certainly not going to complain about that.”
Milbury said the Bruins’ success will come down to this: “Are the top six forwards on the Bruins good enough to get it done?”
One of the players giving the B’s reason for hope is winger Brad Marchand. “His assets are significant,” Milbury said. “He’s got great speed. He’s got courage ‘ he’s totally unafraid to go where he needs to go. He’s got a terrific shot. I’m not really prepared to say how well he sees the whole ice, he sees it well enough. He’s put himself in position for people to say ‘ obviously, time will tell, but it looks like he could be a top-six forward.”
Looking elsewhere around the league, the Devils are red hot ‘ eight straight wins and a 16-1-2 record in their last 19 games ‘ and Milbury said he’s pulling for them to resurrect their season and make the playoffs, with a caveat. “I don’t know that they’re going to make it, but I sure hope they do,” he said. “I hope they make it and get knocked out in the first round, because they’re still boring as hell.”
|Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins top Flames||02.22.11 at 11:41 pm ET|
Lucic opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the game when he went hard to the net and redirected David Krejci‘s centering pass by Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff (26 saves) for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Brad Marchand added some insurance 5:55 into the third when he gathered the puck in the right circle and wristed it under the crossbar for his 19th goal.
Curtis Glencross made things interesting with a power-play goal that cut the lead in half with 2:33 to go, but Lucic sealed the win with an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining.
Thomas improved to 27-8-6 with the win and he continues to lead the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-The Flames were hot coming in, having won three in a row and 11 of their last 14, but the B’s were able to pour some water on them and quiet the crowd early on. They got on the board less than a minute in when they caught Calgary in a line change. Adam McQuaid moved the puck up to Krejci to create an odd-man rush and Krejci faked a shot before centering for Lucic.
-Krejci continued his stretch of hot play, as he assisted on both of Lucic’s goals to give him six points in his last three games and 13 in his last 11. He had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s win over the Islanders and followed that up with two more assists in Friday’s win against the Senators.
-Marchand added to his impressive rookie season with his third goal in his last two games. The marker came as the result of hard work from the entire second line. Patrice Bergeron forced a turnover with a hard check in the corner and then went to the net to redirect Andrew Ference‘s shot right to Marchand, who was left with an open cage to shoot at.
-It seemed like there were bodies and pucks zipping around the front of the Boston net all night, but Thomas stood tall between the pipes. His biggest save came with a little more than four minutes left in the game when he flashed the leather and snagged Olli Jokinen‘s one-timer from the slot. It turned out to be even bigger than it appeared at the time given the fact the Flames scored less than two minutes later.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the B’s were outplayed for much of the first half of the game. The Flames were able possess the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches of play and maintain steady pressure on the B’s. They outshot Boston, 13-7, in the first period and built the lead to 21-12 by the middle of the second before the B’s picked it up and recorded five of the final six shots in the period.
-The B’s had a four-minute power play starting late in the second and carrying over to the third, but failed to score. It was a golden opportunity to up the lead to two and although the B’s created a few good chances, they couldn’t capitalize. It marked the first time in seven games Boston failed to score at least one power-play goal.
-With 3:04 to go, one of the last guys the B’s wanted in the penalty box was Bergeron, their top penalty-killing forward. But that’s exactly where he ended up after being called for a slash while pursuing the puck behind the Calgary net. The penalty ultimately cost Thomas his would-be league-leading eighth shutout.
|Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask lead Bruins past Senators||02.18.11 at 10:07 pm ET|
The new-look Bruins didn’t get off to the prettiest of starts, but they finished strong to earn a 4-2 victory over the Senators at Scotiabank Place on Friday night.
Brad Marchand had a pair of goals, while Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton and David Krejci also multi-point performances. Krejci now has 11 points over his last 10 contests. Dennis Seidenberg also scored for the B’s.
Marlborough native and former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Bobby Butler provided the Senators with their first tally, beating Tuukka Rask at 2:50 of the second period for his third goal in three games. Butler’s strike opened the game’s scoring, but Marchand’s goal from Tyler Seguin and Ference pulled the B’s even. After Horton gave them the lead at 9:47 of the third, the B’s never looked back. Alexei Kovalev scored for the Senators with 1:30 remaining in the game.
Rask made 32 saves in the game, improving to 7-11-1 on the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Almost unbelievably, Rask has won back-to-back games for the first time all season. The 23-year-old netminder hasn’t really gotten many opportunities to string together much success, but with Claude Julien clearly willing to give him more starts down the stretch, Rask’s performances Thursday and Friday are good for both the confidence of the Finland native and the B’s.
- Friday was about a couple of veterans making their Bruins debuts, but it was the rookies who once again came up big for the B’s. Seguin took a pass from Ference to set up Marchand’s 17th goal of the year, and considering how he’s played the last two nights, it will be hard for the Bruins to scratch the second overall pick when the team returns to action Tuesday in Calgary. With Marchand’s two tallies, he now has 18 on the season.
- On a night in which it appeared Horton may be regressing back to the point where he was back to slumping, the 25-year-old came up big. He entered the night with just one point over his last four games, but he fired a beautiful wrester past Robin Lehner off a nice pass from Krejci at 9:47 of the third. He also drew a holding penalty on holding penalty on Erik Karlsson in the second period, though he went off for holding Milan Michalek at 11:38 of the third.
- The team showed how their power play will be able to operate with Tomas Kaberle, as the newcomer helped orchestrate Seidenberg’s goal. On the night, the B’s power play went 1-for-5.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins came out in the first period like a team that had spent the day selling off assets, and not gaining them. They played with very little energy in the first, getting outshot 12-5. Rask came up big throughout the period, which is the silver lining in a surprisingly flat start by the Bruins.
The Bruins did pick it up after their sluggish period, grabbing a 13-8 advantage in shots in the second period and sustaining that increased energy through the third.
- Johnny Boychuk was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. With Kaberle now in the fold, Boychuk could be the guy that is a regular healthy scratch, with Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer also candidates.
|Phil Kessel, Mikhail Grabovski sink Bruins||02.15.11 at 9:36 pm ET|
Kessel ‘ who entered Tuesday riding a streak of 14 straight games without a goal ‘ scored twice on the power play for the Leafs, while Grabovski had two of his own.
Paille, who was playing in his first game since being suspended four games for a blindside hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawada, opened the scoring 8:04 into the first period thanks to an odd bounce off Mike Komisarek. The Leafs responded in the first period when Kessel batted a rebound past Tim Thomas with Zdeno Chara in the penalty box for boarding.
Toronto took a 2-1 lead in the second thanks to Grabovski’s strike, though the B’s came back with a power-play tally from Campbell and went ahead on Bergeron’s 20th goal of the season in the third period. Grabovski put the Leafs up for good at 18:59 with a wrist shot that beat Thomas.
With the loss, Thomas fell to 26-8-6 and has now allowed 15 goals in his last 10 periods. James Reimer got the win for the Leafs, improving to 7-4-1.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Not only did Kessel score for the first time in 14 games, but he scored his first and second goals against his old team. Not counting Kessel’s shootout tally against the B’s on Dec. 4 (which does not count as an actual goal in the player’s stats), Kessel went without a goal in his first nine games against the Bruins since being traded to the Maple Leafs in September of 2009.
Both of Kessel’s goals came on the power play, so he was still a minus-2 on the night given that he was out there for Paille and Bergeron’s goals.
|Bruins tied with Leafs entering third||at 8:42 pm ET|
The Bruins and Maple Leafs each tallied a goal for the second straight period Tuesday night, and the teams enter the third period tied, 2-2.
A Maple Leafs shot from the point bounced off a Bruins’ skate at around the hashmarks, and with Tim Thomas out of position, Mikhail Grbovski took advantage of an open net to give the Leafs their first lead of the night.
With Grabovski in the box for high-sticking later in the period, Brad Marchand fired a shot on James Reimer, with Gregory Campbell whacked the rebound into the net from out of mid-air to tie the game up.
The Bruins drew three penalties in the second period, the third of which they converted on. Dion Phaneuf went off for slashing Milan Lucic at 8:37, while some tougher play from Tyler Seguin in front of the Leafs’ net produced a Keith Aulie interference minor at 12:26. Grabovski went off for high-sticking Mark Stuart at 16:44.
David Krejci had multiple opportunities on Leafs netminder James Reimer in the period, but Reimer came up big, stuffing Krejci when he elected to shoot and Lucic when the center dished it.
Through two, the B’s have a 25-19 advantage in shots on goal.
|Bruins drop second straight to Red Wings||02.13.11 at 2:58 pm ET|
The Bruins dropped a 4-2 decision to the Red Wings on Sunday and have now lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 15 and 16, when they dropped contests to the Sabres and Canadiens in succession.
Todd Bertuzzi had two goals for the second straight game against the Bruins, with Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper also beating Tim Thomas. Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand provided the scoring for the B’s.
Jimmy Howard, who played his college puck at Maine, improved his record to 28-10-3, giving him the most wins in the NHL. He made 23 saves on 25 shots.
Thomas on the other hand, saw his record fall to 26-7-6. Steven Kampfer, who grew up in Ann Arbor and played his college hockey at the University of Michigan, was a healthy scratch for the game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton had minimal impact on the game. That can’t happen down the stretch, and it certainly can’t happen in the playoffs. Krejci and Lucic had two shots apiece, which was more than could be said for Horton’s one. With Horton having no shots on goal Friday, he has just one over the last two games.
- Brad Marchand was second in the NHL with a plus-25 rating entering Friday’s game, but he’s been a minus-5 over the two contests since. After a minus-3 rating on Friday, he was on the ice for two of the four Detroit goals Sunday.
Marchand had a particularly costly turnover in the first period, as he sent a blind pass right to Bertuzzi in front of the net in the first period. Bertuzzi turned the play into his third goal against the B’s in two games, and second gift goal. He capitalized on blunder made by Tuukka Rask while playing the puck on Friday night.
- Tyler Seguin turned a very encouraging first game back from back-to-back healthy scratch into further proof as to why Claude Julien has been taking it easy with the rookie. After scoring the Bruins’ first goal by staring involved in the play in front and sending a rebound off a Blake Wheeler wraparound past Howard in the first period, he played a large role in the game-winning goal for the Red Wings. The second overall pick didn’t stick with Kris Draper, and the right winger scored the go-ahead goal in the second period off a saucer pass from Patrick Eaves.
- Tim Thomas has allowed 11 goals over his last seven periods. That might be a Hart-breaker for the Vezina shoo-in.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Lucic was fine after getting hit square on the front of his right skate with a shot from the point. Trainer Don DelNegro came to the ice to tend to him, and the 22-year-old winger left the ice slowly, but under his own power. He returned to the bench moments later.
- After going five straight games without a power play goal, the B’s have been able to convert with a man advantage in each of the last two games. Krejci had the Bruins’ lone power play tally on Friday, a night in which the B’s went 1-for-3, and Marchand scored on the first of three Bruins’ power plays on Sunday.
- Michael Ryder had his second multi-point performance in the last three contests. After scoring twice against the Canadiens on Wednesday, he had a pair of assists Sunday. The original scoring of Seguin’s goal gave Wheeler credit for the goal, with Seguin getting the lone assist, but upon correction, Wheeler and Ryder were each credited with a helper. Ryder made a beautiful pass to set up Marchand’s goal on the power play.
The Bruins have a 2-1 lead after a period at Joe Louis Arena, which is a big step up after never leading in Friday’s 6-1 loss.
Tyler Seguin, playing for the first time in three games, got the Bruins on the board when he banged home a Jimmy Howard rebound off a Blake Wheeler wraparound at 1:29. The goal was credited to Wheeler, with Seguin getting the assist, but a review should clarify that it was Seguin’s goal. Should he rightfully be given credit, it will be his last three games.
UPDATE: The scoring was indeed changed to give Seguin the goal. Wheeler and Michael Ryder got assists.
Brad Marchand had an up and down first period for the Bruins. He made a blind pass in front of the Bruins’ net with only he and Todd Bertuzzi in the zone. Bertuzzi gained possession in front of Tim Thomas, took his time, and beat the B’s netminder for his third goal against Boston in two games.
Marchand would make up for his blunder, as he gave the B’s a 2-1 lead by scoring his 16th of the season off a beautiful pass from Ryder. The Wings will begin the second on the power play, as Ryder has 1:06 remaining on a roughing minor he took late in the period.
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