|Bruins set to play the first of two vs. Red Wings||02.11.11 at 1:33 am ET|
Winners of four of their last five, the Bruins (69 points) will host the Red Wings (70 points) at TD Garden on Friday. It will be the first of two the teams will play against one another in three days, as the Bruins will travel to Detroit to face the Wings for a Sunday matinee.
Starting for Detroit will be former University of Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard, who is one of five goaltenders with 26 wins this season. He was pulled halfway through Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Predators after allowing all four Nashville goals. Expect Tuukka Rask to start for the B’s after he didn’t participate in Friday’s optional skate.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 15-10-3 in home games (14-10-3 at TD Garden) and have won three of their last four at the Garden. Their most recent was Wednesday’s high-scoring penalty fest against the Canadiens, an 8-6 victory.
- The Red Wings are 16-8-2 on the road this season. They lost their most recent road game, getting blanked, 3-0, in Nashville on Feb. 5.
- Nathan Horton is coming off the first five-point night of his career, as he had a goal and four assists Wednesday vs. the Habs. His five points were more than he had in his previous 13 contests.
- Brad Marchand has a plus-25 rating on the season, putting him behind only Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros for the league lead. The only other forward in the top five is Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, whose plus-23 puts him in a tie for fifth.
- The Bruins got a power-play goal from Michael Ryder on Wednesday, but their power play is still struggling to produce. Ryder’s tally was the first strike with a man advantage for the Bruins in six games, and also the first since Marc Savard went down on Jan. 22 in Colorado.
STORLYINES GOING IN
- Despite being second in the Western Conference, the Red Wings haven’t exactly been tearing it up of late. They have lost three of their last four contests and are 5-6-1 over their last 12 games.
- The last three games and the coming two against the Red Wings have made for the Bruins’ most difficult five-game stretch in their schedule, and so far they have to be pleased with how they’ve fared. With slugfest wins over the Stars and Canadiens and a tough 1-0 loss to the Sharks, they are 2-1-0 so far.
- After a lot of fighting on Wednesday, Micky Ward will drop a ceremonial first puck prior to Friday’s game. In other pre-game news, we’ll keep an eye (or ear) on whether the revamped hip-hop warmup music selected by Johnny Boychuk sticks. The team skated out to Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Black and Yellow’ rather than Metallica’s cover of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ on Wednesday.
|Price tagged: Bruins crush Habs||02.09.11 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Bruins lit up Montreal goaltender Carey Price for eight goals as they picked up their first victory against the Canadiens this season, a 8-6 win at the TD Garden.
The game featured 192 penalty minutes between the two teams. The more notable of the fights was a goalie brawl between Tim Thomas and Price at 12:36 of the second period. The netminders squared off in the Canadiens’ zone, with Price getting the better of Thomas.
Despite losing the fight, Thomas improved to 26-6-6 on the season, and the victory puts the B’s four points ahead of the Habs in the Northeast Division. The Bruins will return to action Friday when they host the Red Wings Friday night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Patrice Bergeron‘s line continues to impress. Before the floodgates opened on both sides and the game turned into a high-scoring affair, it was Marchand that got the B’s on the board after a beautiful display of passing from the rookie, Mark Recchi, and Bergeron.
- It was good to see Ryder’s two-goal performance given his struggles earlier in the game. Ryder entered the game having not scored in eight straight games, and he lost the puck in front of the net early in the second. Ryder’s first goal was set up by a beautiful backhanded pass from Zach Hamill. Both players had to be encouraged by their nights. Ryder had what he thought was his second goal of the night waved off in the third period, as Brad Marchand was pushed into Price. He would make up for it with a power play goal at 10:01.
- Nathan Horton had five points (1 G, 4 A) on the night, the most he’s had in a game as a member of the Bruins. He had three helpers on Nov. 18 against the Panthers at the Garden.
Horton has definitely sprinkled in some very good games in the midst of his goal-scoring slump. See below regarding his penalties, but offensively, Wednesday was one of them those games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- P.K. Subban is a pain in the Bruins’ you-know-what. He scored on the power play in the second period and added an assist in addition to once again getting under the skin of the Boston players. In four games against the B’s this season, Subban has four points (2 G, 2 A) and on Dec. 16 drew the penalty that led to a Habs power play goal. Whether it’s on the stat sheet or by getting in players’ heads, the rookie blueliner has been able to be pest to the Bruins. The B’s got the last laugh, of course, as the rookie ended up with a minus-3 rating for the night.
- As encouraging as Horton’s assists were, his penalties cost the B’s in both the second and third periods. Horton went off twice for tripping, and the Habs scored on each of the power plays, getting Subban’s second-period strike and a Max Pacioretty goal 7:06 of the third.
- Statistically, Wednesday night’s was Thomas’ worst game of the season. The six goals he allowed was the most he’s given up in a game this season. Thomas allowed five goals to the Flyers on Jan. 13 in a 7-5 win. He faced 35 shots in that game, making 30 saves, whereas he only saw 33 shots Wednesday night.
Marchand scored his 15th of the season in his line’s latest clinic on pretty passing. Marchand hit Recchi as he was coming out of the defensive zone, who then sent it up to Bergeron. The center found Marchand in front of the net, who got Carey Price to bite on a deke and made it 1-0.Marchand made a bid for his second of the night on a back-hander later in the period, but Price made the save.
The Bruins brought it up the ice on the face-off following Marchand’s goal, with Nathan Horton sending a wrist-shot on Price that the Habs netminder allowed a high, slow pop-up of a rebound on. By the time the puck was on its way down, Seidenberg was in front and ready to send it to the back of the net.
Jan. 10 was the last time the B’s scored two goals in 12 seconds.
The period ended with fireworks, as Price shoved Milan Lucic twice in the back before the winger shoved back. Lucic ended up getting into it with P.K. Subban, and was assessed a double-minor for roughing, while Price was given a roughing minor. Travis Moen got a 10 minute misconduct.
|Gameday notes: Bruins looking for first win vs. Habs||at 3:02 pm ET|
With the Canadiens in town on Wednesday, a regulation win for either team means a four-point swing in the standings. With the Bruins leading the Habs by two points, that means a ton right now.
The unfortunate thing for the Bruins is that they have yet to win against the Canadiens this season, going 0-2-1 in their three games and blowing a 2-0 lead late in the third period Jan. 8 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss.
“It’s a long season,” Shawn Thornton said of the B’s lack of success against the rival Habs. “The last game in there we definitely should have won. ‘¦ We had a couple of breakdowns, they ended up pulling it out late, and give credit to them for not giving up, but it’s a long season. We’ve got three more against them, and hopefully we can do some damage control.”
The Canadiens are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Devils on Sunday. Here are a few other notes:
- In case you haven’t seen it yet, Tyler Seguin is a healthy scratch for the Bruins. It’s technically the second time he’s been a “healthy” scratch, with the team listing flu-like symptoms as the reason he didn’t play on Dec. 11 against the Flyers. Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron are both in the lineup playing on the third and fourth line, respectively.
- Patrice Bergeron, who left Tuesday’s practice and had to go to the hospital for stitches after getting a puck to the face, is fine and will play Wednesday. Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara were not on the ice for morning skate but were just given the morning off to rest. They’ll both play as well.
- It looks like the recent exchange between former Bruin Hal Gill and rookie P.K. Subban in which Gill called the fellow blueliner an “a–hole” over his treatment of the team’s jersey was blown way out of proportion. Members of the Montreal media here who observed the exchange are saying the it was very obviously a joke after Gil accused Subban of “throwing” the Habs’ jersey on the ground while getting undressed.
- Speaking of Subban, Tuesday will be his first game at the Garden since destroying Brad Marchand with a very clean but very hard hit in Montreal on Dec. 16. Subban’s done some damage against the Bruins, as he has a goal and an assist against them this season in addition to the hit that kept Marchand out for three games with “soreness.” The Gregory Campbell penalty he drew following the hit also led to a power play goal.
“I’d like him to elevate it all the time. It’s something that I think he strives to be consistent, and I think he’s a good player, but he’s got the ability to be a great player. When he’s given that challenge he seems to rise to that occasion.”
Krecji has no goals over his last 19 games.
|Patrice Bergeron continues hot streak with three-point night||02.03.11 at 10:48 pm ET|
After being named the NHL‘s first star of the month for January, Patrice Bergeron has continued his hot streak right on into February. After scoring the game-winning goal Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes, he Bruins assistant captain registered two more tallies and an assist in Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Stars to give him four points in two games so far this month.
Bergeron scored the game’s second and third goals, his 18th and 19th markers of the season, eight minutes apart in the first when he buried two Brad Marchand centering passes.
‘It’s been going well,’ Bergeron said of playing with Marchand. ‘[Marchand] has that speed and he has those great hands. He made two easy tap-ins for me.’
Bergeron returned the favor by setting up Marchand for an empty-netter late in the third after missing a chance at the hat trick when he shot wide of the open net.
‘That last one, I guess I didn’t want it, so I gave it to him,’ Bergeron joked. ‘I guess one [hat trick] was good enough this year.’
For Bergeron, Thursday marked his team-leading 13th multi-point game of the season. He now has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 14 games. When asked if this is the best stretch of his career, though, Bergeron said he’s not really concerned with that.
‘To be honest, I’ve kind of stopped thinking about that,’ he said. ‘But I feel good and got to keep it going.’
He also noted that his linemates ‘ Marchand and veteran winger Mark Recchi ‘ have been a big part of that. Recchi started the rushes that led to all three of the line’s goals Thursday with crisp breakout passes.
‘That’s all because of him,’ Bergeron said of Recchi. ‘The three breakouts on those three goals, that all starts with him.’
Bergeron was also quick to deflect credit for his first star of the month honor.
‘I have to give credit to all my teammates and my linemates for this award,’ he said. ‘There’s no award that can be credited only to yourself. It’s all about my teammates. I’m trying to work hard each and every night and bring everything I can to put up wins for the team, so I’m happy to get recognized like that.’
|Brad Marchand can also agitate goaltenders||01.26.11 at 10:59 pm ET|
People thought they knew what to expect out of Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the 2010-11 season. An agitator who could be just as big a pest with his mouth as with the rest of his game, it was safe to assume that if the other team’s forwards were frustrated, Marchand was doing his job.
As goaltenders have learned this season, Marchand has a way of annoying them too.
The 22-year-old struck for his 13th goal of the season when he beat Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period of Wednesday night’s win. If one were to project 13 goals for the undersized forward at the beginning of the season, they likely would have received strange looks, yet Marchand achieved the feat before the All-Star break.
“I don’t think anyone even thought that I might score 10 this year,” Marchand said following the win. “It is nice to kind of have a little bit of an offensive flair here and there. I don’t care what anyone says. I have to go out and work hard. Whatever happens, that’s how it goes.”
Marchand has surprised hockey fans throughout town, but has he surprised himself? For a guy who was itching to score his first career goal earlier in the season, the confident yet humble Marchand admits he’s surpassed his own projection.
“Yeah, I thought I might be able to score 10,” the forward said when asked if he’s surprised himself with his statistical output. “I knew I could, and I know last year I could have had a bunch and they just weren’t going in. They weren’t bouncing the right. This year, I knew if that if I kept getting those opportunities, they’d eventually go in.”
Marchand’s 13 goals this season put him fourth amongst the Bruins. He has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) over his last 11 games.
Fans braved the weather on Wednesday night in traveling to TD Garden, and were rewarded with a 2-1 Bruins victory behind Tim Thomas‘ 24th win of the season.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored in the first and second period, respectively. Marchand is now fourth on the B’s with 13 goals, while Lucic improved his team-leading total to 20. Defenseman Bryan Allen scored the Panthers’ lone goal at 8:37 of the third period.
Thomas, now 24-5-6 on the season, is now tied with Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price for second in the NHL lead in wins. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller leads the league with 25. Thomas sits atop the league in save percentage, goals against average, and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. He made 34 saves Wednesday night, with the B’s firing 35 shots on Tomas Vokoun.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star weekend. The skills competition will take place Saturday, with the actual game being played Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. The B’s will will return to action Tuesday in that very city, taking on the Hurricanes in the fourth meeting between the teams this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-Milan Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Less than two minutes into the second, linemate David Krejci won a faceoff straight back to Lucic at the top of the left circle, and the 22-year-old winger didn’t waste any time firing a quick snap shot into the top right corner. Lucic now has four goals in his last six games. Coming into the season, he said getting 20 goals was one of his targets. Time to raise the bar a little higher.
- The Bruins didn’t see another center suffer an injury, which was certainly a concern when David Krejci was down on the ice after crashing into the boards following a hit from Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz. Trainer Don DelNegro came out to tend to him, and Krejci left the ice and went down the tunnel. Moments after the scare, Krejci was back on the bench and returned to the ice in short order, not missing any shifts in the process.
Krejci went on to play a huge role in Lucic’s second-period tally, winning the face-off clean in the Panthers’ zone early in the period and drawing it to Lucic, who fired a quick snapshot past Vokoun from high in the circle.
- Brad Marchand remains hot for the Bruins. The surprising offensive contributor now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in his last 11 games and has 13 goals thus far in his rookie year. He beat Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period for the game’s first goal. Linemate Patrice Bergeron picked up the primary assist and now has 15 points over his last 10 games.
- The Bruins stayed out of the box. The Bruins avoided the sin bin until the refs found Dennis Seidenberg guilty of a hold 5:37 into the third. The one infraction matched a season low for the B’s.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Nathan Horton now has one goal over his last 20 games. His line had a much stronger effort on Wednesday than in the team’s 2-0 loss Monday in which he was demoted to a line with Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.
- Thomas lost what would have been a league-leading eighth shutout of the season when Bryan Allen made it a 2-1 game at 8:37 of the third. Thomas remains tied with Henrik Lundqvist with seven blankings on the season.
The Panthers outshot the B’s, 16-9, in the third.
- With how well Marchand has been playing, you almost wish he didn’t have to take five days off for the All-Star break.
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.
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