|Gameday notes: Bruins looking for first win vs. Habs||02.09.11 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.
|Brad Marchand puts Bruins on top in first||at 7:46 pm ET|
The Bruins lead the Panthers 1-0 after one thanks to the latest contribution from Brad Marchand.
The gritty rookie beat Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun on a wraparound for his 13th goal of the season at 13:31. The play was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck clearly cross the goal line. Marchand now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) over his last 11 games.
There was another scary moment for the Bruins when David Krejci took a hit into the corner from Rostislav Olesz. Krejci stayed down on the ice, holding his left shoulder as trainer Don DelNegro tended to him. He skated off the ice and went down the tunnel, though he returned to the bench in short order and did not miss a shift.
Tim thomas has stopped all 11 shots he has faced. The Bruins are 0-for-1 on the power play.
|Gameday Notes: Thomas expected to start||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.
-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.
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.
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