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Tuukka Rask gets first start since Dec. 15 as Bruins take on Sabres 01.01.11 at 3:01 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will get his first start since Dec. 15th when the Bruins (20-11-5) take on the Sabres (15-18-4) in a New Years Day matchup at HSBC Arena.

Rask, who is 2-7-1 this season, hasn’t been able to rack up the starts given Tim Thomas‘ success (1.74 goals against average, .947 save percentage), though that Dec. 15 start did come against the Sabres, a 3-2 loss.

WHERE IT’S AT

- The Sabres are 8-10-1 at home and have had just two games at HSBC since hosting the Bruins last month. In those games they defeated the Ducks and fell to the Panthers.

- The B’s are 11-5-2 in away games, most recently falling to the Thrashers Thursday in a shootout. They have been very successful so far on their current road trip, grabbing five of a possible six points. Buffalo is the second-to-last stop on the five-game road trip, as they will wrap it up Monday in Tortonto.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

- Just one point — an assist Tuesday — for Nathan Horton over his last eight games. The top line of Lucic-Savard-Horton isn’t showing up the stat sheet much, but they had a very encouraging showing against the Thrashers.

- David Krejci has four points — one goal and three assists — against the Sabres this season. Michael Ryder has a pair of goals and an assist vs. Buffalo. The two, along with Blake Wheeler, have made up the Bruins’ best line of late. Given their individual success against the Sabres thus far, it will be interesting how they perform together, something they’ve done very well.

- Though Ryan Miller made 29 saves on 31 shots in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Oilers, he hasn’t been tearing it up of late. In his two previous starts, he allowed four and five goals to the Panthers and Flames, respectively. Miller is 13-12-3 on the season with a 2.62 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

STORYLINES GOING IN

- The new year has come and Rask is unbelievably making just his 10th start of the season (he played one his previous nine in relief of Thomas and took the loss vs. Washington, thus explaining his 10 decisions). Thomas had seven straight starts following the team’s 3-2 loss to the Sabres with Rask in net, the longest streak for any Bruins goaltender this season.

Rask has not gotten back-to-back starts all season. With Thomas clearly this team’s No. 1 goaltender, it will be interesting to see if a sound performance on Saturday gets the Finnish netminder another go on Monday vs. the Maple Leafs, who have lost five of their last six.

- The Sabres lost center Derek Roy during their 4-3 loss to the Panthers last Thursday. Roy took a hit from Panthers blueliner Dmitry Kulikov early in the game and is now done for the season with a torn quad tendon. In the Sabres’ two games since losing Roy, who was leading the team in both goals (13) and assists (25), Buffalo has lost to Calgary and defeated Edmonton.

Read More: David Krejci, Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask
Bruins look to pick up third straight win as they face Steven Stamkos’ Lightning 12.28.10 at 5:14 am ET
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The Bruins, fresh off of jumping into first place in the Northeast division with their 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers on Monday, will take on the Lightning, who lead the Southeast division, on Tuesday night. It’s the second of five straight road games for the Bruins, and the second of three games in four days.

The last time the Bruins faced the Lightning, they won in blowout fashion, crushing Tampa Bay, 8-1, at TD Garden on Dec. 2. The two teams have split the season series thus far, as the Lightning grabbed a 3-1 win at St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 22.

The Lightning have won six of their last seven games, while the Bruins are winners of their last two.

Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand were the only Bruins to take the ice on Tuesday morning, suggesting it will be Tim Thomas in net.

WHERE IT’S AT

- The Lightning are 10-2-2 in Tampa and are a perfect 4-0-0 in home games this month.

- The Bruins are 10-5-1 on the road this season. Their shootout win on Monday was just their second road victory of the month, the first of which came on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

- Steven Stamkos is back on track following his statistical hiccup that lasted from late November into the beginning of the month. He has scored seven goals in his last eight games and has 28 on the season.

- Milan Lucic‘s scoreless streak has now reached four games and he has one point in the last six contests. Lucic had two points when the B’s faced the Lightning on Dec. 2.

- David Krejci and Michael Ryder starred in that 8-1 Bruins victory over the Lightning earlier this month with three points apiece. Both Krejci and Ryder had a pair of points in Monday’s win over the Panthers, and with their line with Blake Wheeler clicking, they’re certainly a couple of players worth keeping an eye on.

- After having three goals entering last Thursday’s game vs. the Rangers, Vincent Lecavalier has doubled that in his last two games. He has a pair of goals in Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Thrashers.

- After Monday, it’s now been five straight games without a start for Rask. If Thomas starts against the the Thrashers on Thursday, Rask will have gone more than two weeks without seeing any playing time. Thomas has been stellar in his last two starts, so the Bruins face some serious difficulty in trying to get Rask game experience to keep him sharp.

STORLYLINES GOING IN

- The Lucic – Savard – Horton line has not produced a goal in either of the two game s since it came into being in last week’s line shuffle. In fact, of the four non-special-teams goals the team has scored in the last two contests, half have come from Krejci, with Shawn Thornton scoring the other two.

- Will this one go to overtime, too? Judging by the opponent, it wouldn’t be surprising. The Lightning’s last three games have been decided either in overtime or a shootout. They’re 2-0-1 in that stretch.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, Marc Savard, Michael Ryder
That’s what Christmas means to Zee: A look at European Bruins’ traditions 12.24.10 at 6:10 pm ET
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The Bruins gave fans an early Christmas with a statement-making win on Thursday, but when it comes to the Black and Gold, there’s plenty about Christmas that the average Bostonian doesn’t know. David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, and Dennis Seidenberg spoke to WEEI.com about what Christmas is like in their native countries.

Here’s a look at each player’s customs and holiday memories:

DAVID KREJCI: STERNBERK, CZECH REPUBLIC

Santa who? Jezisek (pronounced “eshishik”) is the man, er, boy for the job back home for Krejci. Czech for “Child Jesus,” Jezisek is a child who delivers gifts to families, much like St. Nick would in these parts.

As is the case in Europe, Krejci’s family is all done with sharing gifts by the time the 25th rolls around.

“We have dinner on the 24th, and right after, we open gifts, so Christmas is the 24th,” Krejci said.

Given his years in juniors and now in the NHL, Krejci, like his European teammates doesn’t get to celebrate Christmas back home.

“It’s been a long time since the last time I was back home for Christmas,” Krejci said. “I guess I’m used to it. It still sucks that you’re not with your family, but I’m getting older and it’s been a long time, so I guess I’m getting used to it now.”

Teammate Tyler Seguin, like many North American kids in the ’90′s, remembers asking for Power Rangers toys and all things Barney. Over in Sternberk, then a part of Czechoslovakia, Krejci couldn’t think of anything but his future career.

“When I was growing up I always wanted skates, hockey sticks, and all the cool stuff that was really expensive that I couldn’t afford,” Krejci said. “So I asked my parents. I never got it, but I was excited for it anyways.”

TUUKKA RASK: SAVONLINNA, FINLAND

What do Rask and Santa Claus share in common? Nothing, besides the fact that they hail from the same land.

“Santa Claus is Finnish,” the 23-year-old goaltender told a now-enlightened WEEI.com. It’s a fact that can be confirmed here.

Aside from that interesting tidbit and opening presents on the 24th (“That’s the only thing I’ve known, ever since growing up”), Rask doesn’t think his time on Christmas as a child is too dissimilar from that of an American.

“The food is different,” Rask, who remembers meals of ham, salmon, and bread, said. “I think every family has their different traditions, but to stay at home and be with the family, that’s the same everywhere.”

DENNIS SEIDENBERG: VILLINGEN-SCHWENNINGEN, WEST GERMANY

The biggest difference that Seidenberg notices between the States and West Germany around the holidays is level to which it’s taken.

“It feels like there’s a lot more toys under the Christmas tree here,” said a smiling Seidenberg. “It’s just a lot more done-up, it seems, than in Europe.”

A traditional Christmas meal is also different from in the USA, and from the countries of his European teammates.

“We eat a lot of duck with cabbage, mashed potatoes, and stuff like that,” Seidenberg said.

The Bruins will practice on Sunday, which probably wouldn’t take place over in West Germany. After eating and opening presents on the 24th, they get the 25th and 26th off as Christmas holidays.

ZDENO CHARA: TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA

While Krejci had Jezisek and Rask had Santa Claus, the Bruins’ captain grew up with both.

“One thing we have is Santa — that’s ‘Mikalas’ — and then whoever brings the presents is Jezisek,” Chara said.

Chara shares Rask’s logic that despite the differences between the countries, there’s no cultural differences (hey, remember those? Those were funny!) when it comes to the most important part of the holidays: family.

“It’s pretty much the same as over here,” Chara said. “We all get together, the families gather together and want to spend it together. We have a nice dinner, and in Europe we open the presents on the 24th at night.

“As far as everything else, it’s almost the same. We have different food traditions for dinners. You guys have different over here, but I think the atmosphere around Christmas is pretty much the same.”

Happy holidays from the Big Bad Blog and WEEI.com.

Read More: Christmas, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Tuukka Rask
Bruins, Sabres tied after one 12.15.10 at 7:45 pm ET
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David Krejci and Drew Stafford each scored and the Bruins and Sabres are tied after 20 minutes of play.

Krejci got his fifth goal of the season and fourth point against the Sabres when he redirected a Dennis Siedenberg shot past Ryan Miller at 17:59.

With Milan Lucic in the box for boarding, Drew Stafford buried a third-chance opportunity at 18:41 to tie it at a goal apiece.

Andrew Ference took a big hit from Patrick Kaleta, who bounced off the B’s defender in the Bruins’ end. Ference responded by shoving Kaleta following the play and was headed off for roughing.

Less than a minute into the Sabres’ power play, David Krejci was attempting to catch a pass as he entered Buffalo’s end but was, slashed by Drew Stafford at the blueline.

Steven Kampfer saw time at the point on the Bruins’ power play after having just six seconds on the man advantage through two games.

The Sabres are outshooting the Bruins, 18-14.

Read More: David Krejci, Tuukka Rask,
What the return of Marc Savard really means to the Bruins 12.03.10 at 11:08 am ET
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Less than an hour after the Bruins croaked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if the team was given an emotional boost by the return of Marc Savard after a bout of post-concussion syndrome.

“Boy, you’€™re giving him a lot of credit, aren’€™t you?” Julien quipped in his classically wry sense of humor. “It’€™s nice to have him back, obviously everybody’€™s happy to have him back, but you know, I think our players, as a whole, even yesterday when he wasn’€™t in the lineup, decided that they were going to play hard and play well and they did. So he just added to that, I guess, fuel for tonight.”

Savard skated 21 shifts in 15 minutes and 45 seconds, taking one shot while winning 5-of-10 face-offs on the night. But his impact was felt early when he got into the fray early with a fore-check. He played on several combo lines and everyone thought he didn’t miss a beat.

“I mean, he brought a lot of offense today,” two-goal scorer David Krejci said. “He wasn’€™t on the score sheet but he had a lot of last minute chances. We have big depth now with him and all four lines can score goals and it’€™s hard for their top defensemen to defend our top guys. So, it’€™s good to have him back and it’€™s good to see him and hopefully we will keep doing the same thing we did tonight.”

And that can only help this Bruins offense. It certainly appeared that way Thursday night.

“I think that’€™s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’€™t had anything on it, but I kept telling Claude I was a presence tonight,” Savard said BEFORE Julien’s post-game observation. “I felt good, obviously had some shifts where I felt a little tired and as the battles wore on, I just stood in front of Timmy [Thomas], so hopefully he can stop it. It was great to be back. The fans were fantastic. I got a little emotional there. It was a little tough to go out on that shift there, but it was special.”

Tim Thomas set the tone for the night, stepping aside before leading the team on the ice for pre-game warm-ups. Instead, Savard had that honor against Tampa Bay.

“I didn’€™t know what he was doing there. I didn’€™t even realize. I just thought he was stepping aside, that’€™s maybe what he does now. I just kept skating, then I looked over and no one was there, so it was kind of nice of the guys, I think they did that on purpose, but it was funny.”

Still, for skating in a game for the first time since May, it was quite the adjustment for Savard.

“I mean, it’€™s been six months, so it’€™s been a long time,” Savard said. “Shaking off a bit of rust, but you know, I felt I made some good plays. I felt there’€™s some stuff I can build off of, some things I can work on still, obviously. Battles I had a little trouble as the shift wore on in our zone a couple times, but I felt good, I felt strong. I got in there a couple times, tried to bang around, didn’€™t really move anybody, but it was a lot of fun.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, David Krejci, Marc Savard, NHL
Bruins crush Lightning, 8-1 12.02.10 at 9:31 pm ET
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Twelve different Bruins had points and the B’s chased Tampa Bay starter Mike Smith from the net in a 8-1 victory at TD Garden.

In a contest that featured standout play from many a Bruin, David Krejci and Tim Thomas stole the show. Krejci, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 30, scored a pair of goals and added an assist en route to a plus-4 night.

The Bruins also got goals from Dennis Seidenberg, Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler.

Thomas improved to 13-2-1 on the season, having his shutout streak stopped at 107:22 by a Victor Hedman goal in the second period. Thomas had picked up his league-leading fifth shutout of the season a night before in Philadelphia.

Marc Savard made his return to the lineup, centering Tyler Seguin and Ryder and posting a plus-1 rating. He was treated to multiple standing ovations by a sellout crowd of 17,565 at the Garden.

With the victory, the Bruins improved to 14-8-2 on the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-  Lucic has now surpassed his point total from last season. In 50 games last season, Lucic had 20 points. Through 24 games this season, Lucic has 22 thanks to the assist he picked up on Krejci’s goal and his own second-period goal.

Not only is Lucic healthy, which is huge for him, but he’s played at a higher level and seems set to demolish the 20 goals he was hoping for entering the season (he has 12 thus far).

- It’s been beaten to death, yes, but as long as Thornton is outproducing Ilya Kovalchuk, it will receive attention. With his second-period tally, Thornton surpassed Kovalchuk with five goals to the Devils’ forward’s four.

-  Thomas picked up his second assist of the season, getting the secondary helper on Thornton’s tally. The double-threat goaltender’s other point came on Seguin’s first career goal in Prague on Oct. 10.

- Ryder has assists in three straight games. The first assist he picked up on Thursday came on a goal that should have never been scored, but he’ll take it. Ryder was given the helper on Dennis Seidenberg’s goal, a shot from center ice that was misplayed by Smith.

Ryder also sniped one past Dan Ellis from the top of the circle in the third period to make it a 6-1 game. He added his third point of the night on Recchi’s power-play goal.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The idea of Seguin playing on a line with Savard is very intriguing, but the rookie wasn’t much of a factor on Thursday. Seguin registered one shot on goal and had two shots blocked on the night.

Getting pucks on net hasn’t been a struggle for Seguin has worn on, so the lack of shots isn’t exactly a sign of a slump. Seguin had three or more shots in his last four games entering Wednesday’s game with the Flyers. He scored his fifth goal of the season in the 3-0 win in Philadelphia.

- Nathan Horton had a better game and had a golden opportunity on Ellis in the third period, but he has now gone nine contests without a goal. He was, of course, a plus-4 with one assist on the night, so it would be hard for the Bruins to complain.

Read More: David Krejci, Michael Ryder, Tim Thomas,
Bruins lead Lightning, 2-0, after one at 7:46 pm ET
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It may be Marc Savard‘s season debut, but after a period, the Bruins have another center and a wacky play to thank for their 2-0 lead over the Lightning.

David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic at the blue line, flew past a defender and fired a wrist shot past Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at 10:52. It was his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 30. Dennis Seidenberg puked up first goal tally of the season thanks to a lazy shot gone awry from center ice. Smith misplayed the puck to allow the odd goal with 20 seconds left in the period.

Tim Thomas kept up the impressive play that shut out the Flyers a night earlier, as he stopped all 15 of the Lightning’s shots in the first period. He did allow Tampa Bay an opportunity on a big rebound when he was out of position, but Steven Stamkos‘ line was unable to capitalize on it.

Savard got a standing ovation when he took his first shift of the night, and was once again recognized on the jumbotron during a timeout.

Both teams are 0-for-1 on the power play. The Lightning are outshooting the B’s, 15-9.

Read More: David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Marc Savard,
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