|Bruins, Blackhawks skate to scoreless first period||03.29.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
The Bruins and Blackhawks skated to a scoreless first period at TD Garden, but both teams have come out with energy Tuesday night.
The Bruins are playing a responsible defensive game thus far, as they have done a good job of getting back and have cleared out the loose pucks in front of Tim Thomas. As a result, the Blackhawks have only five shots on goal. The B’s had 12 in the first.
|Brad Marchand happy to be scoring again, has no complaints about Mark Recchi taking his puck||at 12:05 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand was itching to get his 20th goal of the season and his career, and though he called his recent span of 12 games without a goal a “frustrating” experience, was able to put things in context.
Prior to his goal-scoring drought, which he ended with the game winner Sunday and Philadelphia, the longest Marchand went this season without a goal was the first eight games of the season. Comparing the two stretches, Marchand can look at how he’s gone from a rookie struggling to score his first goal to one of four 20-goal-scorers on the B’s.
“That did creep in my mind a little bit,” Marchand said of remembering the beginning of the season. “I knew if I kept pressing and kept doing the little things right, it was going to come.”
Marchand, who remembers when cracking the lineup was his biggest obstacle prior to the season, said he wasn’t concerned about potentially being a healthy scratch during his recent skid. He was suspended a game for his hit on R.J. Umberger, but he never thought about Claude Julien extending his time off the ice.
“Every time you step on the ice, you go out and do your job,” Marchand said. “That’s all you can ask for. You can’t really worry about that stuff. When you start letting that stuff creep in your head, it might affect your head.
“I never really thought about [being a healthy scratch]. It never crossed my mind, I just wanted to go out and do my job every night. If I happened to be in the stands, then that’s how it goes.”
As for now being a 20-goal scorer, Marchand was not given the puck from the play. Instead, the puck went to teammate Mark Recchi, who put up a more impressive number. In assisting Marchand’s power-play tally, Recchi picked up his 1,531st point. He is now tied with Paul Coffey for 12th all-time.
Marchand is no stranger to sarcastic chirping, but he said there was no argument put up over where the puck went.
“I’ll just go buy a puck. I don’t really care,” he said with a laugh. “I’d probably lose the puck anyway.”
This time of year, some teams are already eliminated or close to it, and getting two points on a particular night is no longer a top priority. That’s why the Bruins’ recent schedule has made for some very interesting hockey. The B’s last six games have been against teams either in the playoffs or competing for a spot. Tuesday should feature another very intriguing matchup, as both the B’s and Blackhawks are coming off big victories that teams try to build momentum off of, especially given that the playoffs are just a couple of weeks away.
The Blackhawks are coming off an overtime win against Detroit Monday night in which former Red Wing Marian Hossa buried the game-winner on the power play. Chicago is eighth in the Western Conference, so they have every reason to bring everything they can Tuesday.
The Bruins, of course, are coming off a 2-1 victory in Philadelphia that saw both the appearance of a successful power play (2-for-3) and the return of Brad Marchand‘s scoring, as he picked up the game-winner for his 20th goal of the season and first strike in 13 games.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 18-12-5 at TD Garden this season, and it’s been a mixed bag for the B’s at home of late. After a huge 7-0 win over the Canadiens Thursday, the B’s struggled to get shots past Rangers bodies and on netminder Henrik Lundqvist Saturday.
– Chicago has won its last two road games after dropping the previous four. The Blackhawks haven’t been to the Garden since last season, when they took a 5-2 victory on Jan. 7.
If there’s one thing the Blackhawks are capable of, it is taking an opponent to overtime while playing on the road. The Blackhawks have gone into overtime 10 times on the road this season and have a league-high eight overtime/shootout losses on the road. Their overall record on the road is 18-11-8.
– The third line of Chris Kelly between Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley has looked good, but it has not produced. Seguin has just one goal in his last 14 games (dating back to before the line was in existence), while both Kelly and Peverley have totaled zero points and each have a minus-3 rating over their last five contests.
– The Blackhawks’ 3.13 goals per game on the road is second only to the Red Wings for tops in the NHL. The Red Wings certainly helped that number when they put six goals past Bruins goaltenders at TD Garden back on February 11, to the B’s will have to hope the Blackhawks don’t do the same.
– Tim Thomas has a bit more breathing room for the league lead in goals against average and save percentage. Thomas has led both categories since the second game of the season, but came one hundredth of a goal from being tied with Pekka Rinne after last Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs. After allowing just one goal over his last two starts, Thomas is now a tenth of a goal ahead of Rinne with a 2.00 GAA.
– Milan Lucic has zero shots on goal over the last two games, while his center in David Krejci has totaled one over the same span. Despite leading the Bruins with 30 goals, Lucic is fourth on the B’s in shots on goal with 160. He’s far enough behind the likes of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton that his three games missed don’t seem to play a huge factor in the statistic.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Will Michael Ryder be a healthy scratch in consecutive games for the first time all season? Ryder watched Sunday’s game from the press box while Daniel Paille got in the lineup for the Bruins. If Ryder does return, it will likely be on Gregory Campbell‘s line.
-The Blackhawks know they need to keep the pedal to the medal after their win against Detroit. After Tuesday, the eighth-place Blackhawks will have played two more games than the Stars, who trail them by four points. This should mean the Bruins could see a very hungry team.
Not exactly a storyline related to this game, but if you have the NHL Center Ice package, it might be worth it to check out the Penguins-Flyers game during commercials. Despite a rut in February, the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin-less Penguins have been able to get the job done so well that a victory in regulation would give them as many points as the Flyers at 100. If the Penguins hope to take the division they’ll have to finish with more points than Philadelphia, as the Flyers hold the tiebreaker with less overtime/shootout wins.
|Brad Marchand lifts Bruins past Flyers, 2-1||03.27.11 at 9:44 pm ET|
Brad Marchand made his 20th goal of the season count, as he broke a late tie to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead over the Flyers in Philadelphia Sunday night. With the win, Boston clinches a playoff spot.
Marchand’s tally was his first in 13 games, as he banged home a rebound past Flyers netminder Brian Boucher on the power play at 16:17 of the third period. Both Bruins’ goals came on the man advantage, as Nathan Horton scored his 23rd goal of the season with the B’s on the power play in the second period. Kris Versteeg opened the game’s scoring with a tally for the Flyers in the first period.
Picking up the victory for the Bruins was Tim Thomas, who won his third game in a row and improved his record on the season to 32-10-8.
|Brad Marchand returns to Merlot Line||03.22.11 at 6:44 pm ET|
As we suspected this morning, Brad Marchand is indeed back on the Merlot Line upon his return from a two-game suspension. Michael Ryder is sticking on Patrice Bergeron’s line, while Daniel Paille, Steven Kampfer, and Shane Hnidy are the scratches. Here’s how the lines looked in warmups:
Michael Ryder – Patrice Bergeron – Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand – Gregory Campbell – Thornton
|Bruins hold optional skate||at 11:20 am ET|
After two days of high-energy practices, Claude Julien elected to make Tuesday’s morning skate optional. Just about everyone on the team agreed with this logic, as only Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille took the ice.
Reading into things, this could mean that Paille might be the healthy scratch among the forwards. Brad Marchand is eligible to return vs. the Devils after a two-game suspension, while Tyler Seguin‘s recent play has made him hard to sit. The last two practices have featured both Marchand and Michael Ryder on the wing opposite Mark Recchi, so if Paille is the scratch, Marchand could be a candidate to reunite with the Merlot line.
|Brad Marchand calls out Matt Cooke, while Claude Julien takes subtle jab||03.21.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ dressing room seemed to be silent Monday when it came to discussing Matt Cooke‘s latest cheap shot. Shawn Thornton didn’t like the idea of commenting on it, while Johnny Boychuk claimed to have not seen the hit. Despite not everybody talking, Brad Marchand and even coach Claude Julien said enough to make it clear that Cooke’s act is not appreciated in these parts.
The Bruins, of course, have a direct tie to Cooke in that they are currently playing without Marc Savard, who has not been the same since Cooke blind-sided him last season.
“I think that it’s about time he gets — he’s got to be taught a lesson,” Marchand said. “He’s doing that stuff left, right, and center. I expect that he’ll probably get a bunch of games, but he’s got to be taught a lesson. You can’t be running around doing that stuff all the time. He’s going to seriously hurt someone again. Look at Savvy, and now McDonagh. He could have easily hurt him.
“It just seems to be part of his game. He likes to throw cheap shots around. I don’t know if he’ll learn. Hopefully he does. Hopefully he doesn’t hurt someone to the point where their career is over. You want to get that stuff out of the game, and hopefully he does learn his lesson.”
Marchand is coming off a two-game suspension of his own for a blindside elbow on Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger last week. As a first-time offender, Marchand and Julien hope that theta young forward’s lesson has been learned, but when asked about Marchand, Julien worked in a jab at Cooke.
“I think you need to trust your players to do the right things,” Julien said. “You have to trust your players that they’ve learned from those things and they don’t let it happen, although there are certain guys in the league that don’t seem to be learning.”
There was a light-hearted reaction to the Cooke reference, though when asked to comment further on the Penguins forward, Julien got serious and politely declined.
“No reaction, no comment,” Julien said. “I think right now I’ve got my hands full with trying to get our team back on track. This is an opportunity for me to let the league do their job.”
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