|Tuukka Rask, Bruins beat Blue Jackets in shootout to snap skid||03.15.11 at 9:47 pm ET|
The Bruins fell behind in the final minute of the first period when Grant Clitsome sent a blast from the blue line past Rask, but a Zdeno Chara shot that went off David Krejci would tie it in the second. With the Bruins trailing in the third period and Nathan Horton in the box for holding the stick, Rich Peverley scored the B’s eighth shorthanded goal of the season, beating Steve Mason for his 16th goal of the season.
Rask, who had 32 saves in regulation, made timely saves in the third period in stopping Jakub Voracek, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett on key Blue Jackets opportunities. He followed that by stopping Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin in the shootout.
The Bruins will head to Nashville to face the Predators on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- While benching Michael Ryder may have opened some eyes, there’s no debating that the Bruins are in better shape for a shootout with Seguin in the lineup. The rookie has struggled to pin down the NHL game physically, but when it comes to skating down the ice untouched, talent trumps all.
- The Bruins may have not seen much time on the power play, but they scored more than Columbus on Blue Jackets power plays. The B’s killed off all six penalties they took, with Peverley scoring the timely short-handed goal.
- Either Milan Lucic or Krejci were bound to see their point streaks continue due to the B’s first goal, and after a scoring change it proved to be Krejci. Lucic hit Johnny Boychuk with a pass in the offensive zone, with Boychuk setting up a Chara blast that went off Krejci before sailing past Steve Mason. Though Lucic didn’t get an assist on the play, he still has six points (2 G, 4 A) in his last six games. Krejci now has at least one point in each of his last six games, and eight points (2 G, 6 A) over the span.
- Good to see Rask play the role of stopper, as he picked up the Bruins’ first win in five games. The Bruins’ four-game skid was the ninth time this season the team had lost at least two games in a row. Of the previous eight occurrences, Tim Thomas had gotten the win that followed the first five losing streaks, with Rask now serving as the stopper in the last four. That’s a combination of both coincidence and the fact that Claude Julien is giving his young goaltender more time down the stretch.
- Mark Recchi continues the climb up the list for most games played. Tuesday, he surpassed former Bruin Dave Andreychuk, and at 1,640 games, Recchi is now fifth all-time.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins had just one power play in the game, and it lasted all of five seconds. Patrice Bergeron took an interference penalty following the face-off that began an Antione Vermette hooking minor. The team’s power play struggles have been well-documented (just one power play goal since Feb. 28), and having just five seconds on the man advantage isn’t exactly the right way to remedy them.
- Scottie Upshall continues to haunt Rask. Nice puck-movement by his line drew Rask way out of his net with less than eight minutes to go, and Upshall easily put his 20th of the season into an unoccupied net. The goal was his third goal against Rask in three games facing him.
- That’s now two games in a row in which Nathan Horton has taken a penalty in the final seven minutes of the game with the Bruins trailing. Horton was called for interference at 13:12 of the third period against the Islanders on Saturday, and he went off at 13:06 for holding the stick. Of course, the Bruins ended up tying the game with Horton in the box, but it certainly isn’t the type of habit the B’s want to develop. Krejci would later be called for a cross-check with 4:34 remaining.
|Nathan Horton has Bruins leading Sabres, 1-0||03.10.11 at 7:42 pm ET|
Horton scored his 19th over the year at 8:54, finishing a 3-on-2 with Milan Lucic and Krejci getting the assists. The play came about thanks to nice work by Adam McQuaid in breaking it out of the Bruins’ zone.
The period featured a fight between Gregory Campbell and Cody McCormick, with the Sabres forward winning the bought. Each team had power plays that lasted just seconds, as Tyler Myers went to the box for tripping just five seconds after Shawn Thornton went off for interference.
Tim Thomas had an impressive period, making big saves on Jordon Leopold and Jason Pominville, the latter of which he made by quickly sliding from side to side to rob the Bruins killer (eight points in five games vs. Boston this season).
The B’s are outshooting the Sabres, 15-11.
|When it comes to the Bruins’ recent stretch, top line has been tops||03.07.11 at 6:53 pm ET|
As has been well-documented, the Bruins have had plenty of success lately, earning at least one point in each of their last eight games (7-0-1). The stretch has brought them within two points of the top spot in the Eastern Conference and has made believers out of whatever non-believers still existed.
There may be no one factor that has helped the team more over their last eight than the fact that the top line is really clicking, and has been producing to their potential for the last few weeks.
Since the beginning of the season, the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton has had its ups and downs. Individual players have gone on tears, while others have remained a few degrees away from heating up. Horton had a stretch of 20 games in which he scored just one goal. Lucic went 12 games straight without burying one. Krejci saw a stretch in which he had one point over seven games. There was a boom-or-bust nature to the line, but it’s been booming of late.
Both Krejci and Lucic, the latter of whom leads the Bruins with a career-high 28 goals, have 11 points over their last eight games. Horton has averaged a point per game over the last eight, scoring four goals in the process. Plus, the line has been producing tallies that count. Horton provided the only goal of the game in last Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Senators. Lucic scored the game-winner Thursday against the Lightning in the third period, while Krejci tied Saturday’s game against the Penguins with 32.5 seconds remaining in regulation. Things haven’t always gone right for the top line, but they are now.
‘I think the main thing is that we’re having fun again,’ Lucic said Monday. ‘It seemed like there was a time there where things weren’t really going our way and we were kind of fighting the puck, but since after the All-Star break, it seems like we’ve found that chemistry once again. We’re having fun and playing with confidence too.
‘Every time we get the puck on our stick, we know where the other guy is and you know that if the guy sees you, he’s going to make that play and put the puck on your stick. I think that’s why we’re having success thus far.’
Whether or not the top line can sustain their output may prove to be critical to the team’s postseason success. Their offense has produced consistently this season, but no line has the ability to wear down the opposition like the highly skilled Krejci line. The Bruins saw what happened when Krejci went down in the Philadelphia series last year, and Claude Julien has intimated throughout the season that he holds the 24-year-old pivot to a very high standard. He hopes that their recent success can remind them of how big an impact they can have.
‘I think right now they’re feeling pretty good about their game,’ Julien said Monday. ‘The fact that every one of them is competing is extremely hard had certainly been a key to their success. Right now, they’re reaping the benefits.
‘Once you see what you can get out of those kind of efforts, you want to keep doing it. They like what they see, they like what’s happening to them, and hopefully they’ll want to keep it going.’
|Bruins come back but lose to Penguins in overtime||03.05.11 at 9:35 pm ET|
The Bruins fell to the Penguins, 3-2, in overtime Saturday night, stopping their winning streak at seven games.
The Penguins, who have been without star forwards Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, picked up just their second victory in their last eight games, largely on the strength of two tallies from Dustin Jeffreys, the last of which decided the game at 1:52 of overtime.
Of course, in some ways, the Bruins were fortunate to get a single point. With the Bruins trailing, 2-1, and Tim Thomas pulled, Tomas Kaberle blocked a shot from Boston nemesis Matt Cooke the B’s moved the puck up the ice and attacked the Pittsburgh goal, with David Krejci scoring with 32.5 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Zdeno Chara opened the game’s scoring, taking a pass from Krejci and firing a wrist shot past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for his 11th goal of the season. Chara’s goal came at 7:26 of the second period, though a Penguins 2-on-1 less than three minutes later would result in a Jordan Staal goal to tie it up at 10:09. The Penguins would take the lead at 11:19 on Jeffreys’ sixth goal of the season.
Thomas took the loss for the Bruins, falling to 29-8-7 on the season. The Bruins will next play on Tuesday, when they travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens for the fifth time this season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- There may not be a more frustrating penalty for a team to take than too-many-men on the ice, and the Bruins did just that in the first minute of the second period. Milan Lucic served the bench minor at 0:53, though the Penguins did not capitalize on the power play.
That wasn’t the extent of the frustrating penalties for the Bruins, as Lucic would go off for hooking at 14:49 of the third with the B’s trailing by a goal. Like the too-many-men penalty, it didn’t end up proving costly on the scoreboard, though it chopped two minutes off a comeback bid.
- The infusion of Kaberle into the power play still hasn’t led to the results the Bruins need. The B’s found themselves with a man advantage just once on the night, and in failing to convert have now gone 1-for-17 on the power play since acquiring Kaberle. Again, it isn’t a case of the power play looking necessarily bad, as Kaberle’s passes have made him appear as advertised. The lack of finishing touch, however, remains a big problem for the unit.
- The winning streak wasn’t going to last forever, but the Bruins had a chance to come within a point of the Flyers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers lost to the Sabres, 5-3, on Saturday and have dropped their last three game. They’ve gone 2-4-1 in their last seven, so the Bruins have been able to gain on them significantly of late.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- In begin credited with the assists on Chara’s goal and contributing the equalizer, Krejci and Lucic each have 11 points over their last eight games. Krejci, who hit Chara with a nice pass at the blue line, has two goals and nine assists over the span, while Lucic has scored five and gotten six helpers.
- Remember Chara’s fun Peter Bondra-inspired celebration when he picked up a hat trick against the Hurricanes on Jan. 17? That was the last time he had scored until Saturday. Chara broke a 19-game goal-less streak with his wrister from the high slot.
- The Bruins, who have battled back in the third period many a time this season, did so again. After the Penguins outshot Boston by a 29-10 count through two periods, the Bruins put more pucks on the net than Pittsburgh in the third. Matt Cooke had the opportunity to bury the game with an empty-netter, but his bid was blocked.
|Bruins trail Penguins entering third||at 8:36 pm ET|
The Bruins got on the board first, but they trail the Penguins, 2-1, after two periods of play. The Penguins are outshooting the B’s, 29-20.
The Bruins opened the scoring when David Krejci hit Zdeno Chara in the high slot, where the captain fired off a wrist shot that beat Marc-Andre Fluery. It was Chara’s first goal in 20 games, with his last coming on Jan. 17 vs. the Hurricane (Chara had a hat trick in the 7-0 win).
The Penguins took less than three minutes to respond, as a good opportunity from the third line turned into a 2-on-1 for the Penguins when Johnny Boychuk failed to keep the puck in the zone. Jordan Staal scored on the 2-on-1, his seventh of the season.
Dustin Jeffrey made it 2-1 at 11:19 when he slid one past Thomas from the hahmarks.
|Bruins, Lightning scoreless after one||03.03.11 at 7:42 pm ET|
The Bruins and Lightning are as close as it gets in the standings. It seems that has translated to Thursday’s game, as the two teams are scoreless after a period of play at the Garden.
The Lightning outshot the Bruins, 10-8, in the period. After an ill-advised maneuver by Tim Thomas behind his net early on, he had to rush back to make a kick-save on Teddy Purcell. Thomas later robbed Mattias Ritola in front with just over 12 minutes left in the period, but the Milan Lucic went to the box afterwards for a clear-as-day cross-check.
Simon Gagne had a great opportunity on the power play, but went the puck across the crease. With 25 seconds remaining on the penalty, Steven Stamos beat Thomas with a wrist-shot but clanked it off the post.
Adam Hall drew the Lightning’s only penalty, going off for hooking David Krejci at 10:47. The Bruins are now 1-for-14 on the power play since Tomas Kaberle entered the fold, though they’re getting their chances.
|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.
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