|Second period summary: Bruins-Thrashers||03.23.10 at 8:36 pm ET|
Boston is taking its own fate into its hands.
Maxim Afinogenov went to the penalty box at 1:29 in the second period for holding the stick of Dennis Seidenberg to give the Bruins the first power play of the game for either team. Though, like it has been since Marc Savard went down on March 7, Boston could not spur any offense on the man-advantage, mustering one shot in the process. After the Thrashers’s kill Boston was 1 for 20 on the power play since Savard was injured.
Despite the inefficiencies on the power play, Boston’s 5-on-5 play, a facet of the team’s game that has not exactly been a strength this year, came through for the Bruins at 7:29. David Krejci fed Milan Lucic with time and space in the mid-slot that allowed Lucic to unload a wrist shot that beat Hedberg over his glove side to make it 2-0.
The Thrashers had a chance late in the period when Colby Armstrong snuck into the Bruins zone and took a pass with a head of steam to march right in on Tuukka Rask for the point blank opportunity. Dennis Wideman, burnt by Armstrong coming down the wing, had to reach in for a hooking penalty to stop Armstrong’s opportunity. Though, instead of awarding the power play the referees decided to give Atlanta a penalty shot, the second in as many games (Daniel Paille had one against the Rangers on Sunday). Rask turned Armstrong’s shot away with his glove as the shot was headed wide anyway.
Boston struck again right at the end of the period. Patrice Bergeron won a face off and sent the puck back to Zdeno Chara on the point through traffic that may or may not have touched Miroslav Satan’s stick on its way passed Hebberg for the 3-0 lead with one skate already heading to the locker room.
Shots through second (total):
Bruins: 12 (22)
Thrashers: 10 (17)
|First period summary: Bruins-Thrashers||at 7:41 pm ET|
Tuesday’s contest basically amounts to a playoff game between the Bruins and the Thrashers in Atlanta. The Thrashers start the night one point behind the Bruins for the final playoff and an outright win would see them jump Boston in the standings.
Boston is doing its best to make sure that does not happen.
After a slow start Boston broke for the first goal when a Bruins shot got caught in traffic through the crease in front of Thrashers’ goaltender Johan Hedberg. Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder started banging around on the puck causing it to bounce to the far side of the crease where David Krejci snuck in from behind the goal line to pound it home for the goal advantage at 9:25.
After that the Bruins started gaining more opportunities and taking the momentum away from the Thrashers in their home at Phillips Arena. To try and stop that momentum the Thrashers forward Eric Boulton signaled Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton for a fight at 11:00. Boulton got his arm caught in his sleeve to start the fight and Thornton got a couple of shots in before the pair skated at center ice in a draw before Thornton tugged Boulton’s sweater over his head to end it.
Overall the compete level for each team is relatively high, as it should be at this juncture in the season but Boston leads 1-0 heading into the second.
Shots through first:
Boston – 10
Atlanta – 7
|Second period summary: Bruins-Flyers||03.11.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
The pattern continues …
Or does it?
The Flyers did not waste anytime mounting their comeback from a goal back. Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg went to the box 40 seconds into the second period for boarding. The ensuing faceoff came in Boston’s zone and Flyers’ sharp shooter Jeff Carter found the puck on the left circle for a one-timer that beat Tuukka Rask at :44.
The Bruins went back up, just like they did numerous times against Toronto on Tuesday. Patrice Bergeron found Mark Recchi closing in on Michael Leighton from the left wing on the rush. Leighton went down for the shot, Recchi went up and it was 2-1 at 4:37.
This is where the pattern breaks.
Whereas in against the Maple Leafs the Bruins kept on letting Toronto come back, the Bruins are burying Leighton and the Flyers heading into the third. The lead burgeoned from one to three by the 11:16 mark when David Krejci got his second point of the night after a feed from Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder.
Really, the equation has looked simple. Get in front of Leighton and try to make a play. The third goal was a rebound put back by Patrice Bergeron off a heavy shot from the point by Matt Hunwick at 10:30. Krejci’s goal was a matter of sitting in front of Leighton, getting the puck, waiting a half-second to let Leighton get himself out of position and depositing the puck to the scoring bank.
The game heads to the third with a 4-1 score in Boston’s favor.
Shots through second period (total):
Bruins — 14 (27)
Flyers -16 (23)
|First period summary: Bruins-Flyers||at 7:48 pm ET|
After 65 regular season games, definite patterns emerge. Recently, the trend has been that the Bruins will score first and then sit on their sticks until the other team comes back and the games goes to the final minutes if not overtime and a shootout.
Well, the Bruins did their part again in the first period at the Wachovia Center against the Flyers. Blake Wheeler broke through at 13:15 in the first with a backhand that beat Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton. The play started with David Krejci winning the puck on the half wall of Boston’s defensive zone and starting a 3-on-2 break the other way. He waited on the wing with the puck until the circle and hit Wheeler who side-stepped defender Lukas Krajicek and deposited the puck in the net.
About a minute later Mark Stuart and Philly forward Daniel Carcillo had fisticuffs behind the crease of Tuukka Rask. Stuart got the leverage on the forward and registered the take down.
After a slow start to the game the Bruins finally got some motion in gear and registered 13 shots on Leighton, all in the second half of the period.
Shots through first period:
Boston — 13
Philadelphia — 9
|Krejci reacts to an eventful Olympics||03.01.10 at 3:04 pm ET|
BOSTON — Two of the Bruins’ six Olympians returned to practice Monday morning at TD Garden. David Krejci and Marco Sturm were present, while the team expects Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, and Miroslav Satan to return to practice Tuesday morning.
Krejci spoke to reporters following practice and expressed his disappointment that the Czech Republic came away empty-handed and also talked about how hard it was to watch the championship game.
“I couldn’t watch it. I just watched overtime. It’s tough. It’s something I dreamed about — an Olympic medal. It hurts every time I heard about the Olympics.”
Although Krejci came away from the Olympics disappointed, he was adamant about wanting to play in the 2014 Olympics in Russia. There have been reports that the NHL will not allow its players to participate in the next Games. Krejci made it clear that he wants to play.
“I think they should play,” he said. “I think it’s the best tournament ever. If they don’t allow us to play it’s going to be very bad for hockey, but after what they saw I’m sure they’re going to find a way for all NHL players to play.”
|Update: Bruins in the Olympics||02.18.10 at 3:47 pm ET|
Six Bruins are playing in the Olympics in Vancouver. The first round of preliminary games has been played, let’s take a look how the boys from the black and gold have faired.
Patrice Bergeron – The Bruins center had 12:50 of ice time in Canada’s 8-0 win against Norway on Tuesday. Bergeron had an assist on Mike Richard’s goal that made it 3-0 in the second period. Bergeron had a plus/minus of 1 and two penalty minutes with an interference call in the second period.
Marco Sturm — The German captain had 15:14 of ice time and two shots on goal in Sweden’s 2-0 win on Wednesday.
Zdeno Chara — The Slovakian captain had four penalty minutes and a shot on goal in 26:28 of ice time in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic.
Miroslav Satan — The Bruins front line forward was a scratch against the Czech’s. Satan sustained a laceration to his hand against Tampa Bay last Thursday before the break.
David Krejci — The Bruins second line center had a shot of goal in 14:20 of ice time against the Czech’s.
Tim Thomas — Dressed as Ryan Miller’s backup against Switzerland on Tuesday and Norway on Thursday.
|Olympic hockey: Group B breakdown||02.16.10 at 1:55 pm ET|
Continuing to break down the Olympic hockey rosters, Group B looks like the deepest of the three groups. Russia is the standout favorite while the Czech Republic and Slovakia field strong teams. The joke about the group is that if the Czechs and Slovaks were still one country (Czechoslovakia) then it would be a powerhouse. Of course, that is not the case. Latvia will will attempt to fight for respectability.
Note: After the preliminary round, each of the 12 teams will be ranked on the basis of points. The top four teams advance to the quarterfinals, with the remaining teams playing to advance.
Schedule (All times ET)
Feb. 16 — Russia vs. Latvia, midnight
Feb. 17 — Czech Republic vs. Slovakia, midnight
Feb. 18 — Russia vs. Slovakia, midnight
Feb. 19 — Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 — Latvia vs. Slovakia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 — Russia vs. Czech Republic, 3 p.m.
Captain — Aleksey Marozov
Assistants — Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk
Goaltenders — Evgeni Nobokov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Semyom Varlamov
Players to Watch — Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov
Breakdown — Malkin, Ovechkin and Datsyuk all were finalists for the NHL’s Hart Trophy last year as the league MVP. That is about as impressive of a trio as it gets in Vancouver. The Russians have scoring power to spare but could use a top-flight goaltender to cover the back end. Nobokov is a good, serviceable NHL goaltender but he is never going to be confused with Patrick Roy. The matchup nightmare comes as the Russians roll out line after line of great goal-scorers (Kovalchuk, Ovechkin) mixed with good set-up men (Malkin). Expect the Russians to have a say in the medal rounds.
Captain — Patrick Elias
Assistants — Tomas Kaberle, Jaromir Jagr
Goaltenders — Tomas Vokoun, Jakub Stepanek, Ondrej Pavelec
Players to Watch — Jagr, Vokoun, Milan Michalek
Bruins on the roster — David Krejci
Breakdown — The Greatest Show on Ice returns to North America. That, of course, means Jagr. Now plying his wares in the KHL, Jagr is one of the top five greatest players of the last 20 years and can still skate well. It will be interesting to watch him take on NHL talent again, and Group B is full of it. Krejci is an interesting member of this team and likely will serve as a second- or third-line center to try to set up Michalek and company. For the Czechs to be there in the end, it will come down to Vokoun. The backstop has played well for a bad Florida Panthers team this year and probably will appreciate having some talent in front of him for once.
Captain — Zdeno Chara
Assistants — Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra
Goaltenders — Jaroslav Halak, Peter Budaj, Rastislav Stana
Players to Watch — Chara, Halak, Marian Hossa, Miroslav Satan
Bruins on roster — Chara, Satan
Breakdown — The strength will be in the defense, with Chara leading the way in front of Halak or Budaj. Milan Jurcina and Andrej Sekera give the Slovakians decent depth on the blue line. The Czechs probably are a little bit deeper overall, but this is a second-tier team that could turn some heads if Hossa gets hot and one of the goaltenders can sustain a roll. Satan will play a part, but do not expect him to carry the team.
Captain — Karlis Skrastins
Assistants — Herberts Vasiljevs, Aleksandrs Nizivijs
Goaltenders — Ervins Mustukovs, Sergejs Naumovs, Edgars Masalskis
Players to Watch — Skrastins, Oskars Bartulis, Martins Karsums
(Former) Bruins on the roster — Karsums
Breakdown — Latvia is better known as Dinamo Riga of the KHL. Fifteen players from Dinamo Riga are on the Latvian roster, including Karsums, who was assigned to HC MVD of the KHL from the Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals but did not join the team and instead went to Dinamo. Bartulis and Skrastins are both defensemen and the only Latvian players currently on NHL rosters (Flyers and Stars, respectively). Latvia has never finished higher than ninth in any international competition and should get handled easily by the other three teams in the group.
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