|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.
|Four in a row: Bruins tame Panthers in shootout||02.13.10 at 9:59 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins played a sleepy game on Saturday in Sunrise but were able to take two points from the Panthers with a 3-2 shootout win. Mark Recchi was the hero for the Bruins in the eighth round of the shootout. Tuukka Rask took the win for his fourth consecutive victory with 26 saves while Tomas Vokoun was the loser for the Panthers with 37 stops.
Mark Recchi tied the game at two in the second half of the third period when he deflected a Dennis Wideman shot passed Vokoun.
The Panthers took the early lead when Nick Tarnasky scored his first of the year at 10:12 in the first period after he was left alone in front of Rask on a rebound. Boston came back when David Krejci scored his 11th of the year at 15:54 when he threw the puck on Vokoun from the corner that beat the net-minder through the legs to tie the game at one.
The lead did not last as Stephen Weiss flew through the neutral zone and put an inside-out move on Zdeno Chara to burn the Bruins captain and knock down Rask’s door with with a wrist shot at 18:54 in the first period.
Mark Recchi — The veteran forward played in his 1550th game to move into ninth on the all-time list and tied the game with his ninth power play goal of the year (team high) in the third period. He had the game-deciding goal in the shootout.
Dennis Wideman — The Bruins defenseman had two assists on the night to give him 19 for the season
Stephen Weiss — The Panthers leading scorer had the best looking goal of the game when he burned through Chara in the first period.
The Bruins went on their first power play of the game at the 9:44 in the third period and made the Panthers pay. Recchi camped in front of Vokoun and was rewarded when he redirected a Wideman shot from the top of the right circle to tie the game at 11:44.
The Bruins and Panthers went back and forth in the shootout that went to sudden death eight rounds. Recchi proved to be the hero again when he deposited the puck top-shelf over Vokoun’s shoulders for the game-deciding goal. Krejci and Marc Savard scored in the shootout for the Bruins to keep the Bruins alive. David Booth and Kamil Kreps tallied for the Panthers.
|Panthers lead B’s after first||at 7:50 pm ET|
The Bruins are in Sunrise, Florida and may have left their game at the beach as they trail for the first time on their four game road trip after the first period. Boston is skating well enough but the urgency of the previous three games does not seem to be present as of yet.
Nick Tarnasky beat Tuukka Rask on a rebound put-away rebound at 10:12 to give the Panthers the early lead. The Bruins have not trailed in regulation since losing to the Washington Capitals last Tuesday. It was Tarnasky’s first goal of the year for the Panthers in his 11th game.
The lead would not last long though as David Krejci tallied his 11th of the year when he threw a wrist shot on Tomas Vokoun on a rush from the baseline on the right wing at 15:54.
Florida took the lead again when the Panthers leading scorer, Stephen Weiss, flew through the neutral zone and put and inside-out move on Zdeno Chara to march straight in on Rask and bury the chance at a 18:54. It was a power play strike as Shawn Thornton was the the box for a holding call at 18:27.
End of first, Panthers up 2-1.
Bruins — 10
Panthers — 8
|Bruins win second in a row in shootout||02.09.10 at 10:08 pm ET|
Summary — Daniel Paille scored two first period goals for the Bruins at Buffalo on Tuesday at HSBC Arena, but the Sabres came back with two second-period goals to tie the game before Boston won the game 3-2 on a David Krejci score in a sudden-death shootout. Ryan Miller took the loss with 32 saves, while Tuukka Rask was the winner for Boston with 43 saves. It was Rask’s fourth straight start for the Bruins, and he has been able to get a point for Boston in all four with a 2-0-2 record.
Paille netted the first of the game at 4:51 when he scored on a wraparound against Miller to give the Bruins the early lead. Paille would strike again at 11:58 in the period when he crossed the crease in front of Miller to tip a slap shot from Zdeno Chara at the point for the two-goal advantage.
The lead would not last, as the Sabres came out strong in the second period and turn a lot of pucks over in the neutral zone. The first goal in the comeback came courtesy of Buffalo center Derek Roy with a wrist shot that beat Rask at 4:35 in the second on a 5-on-3 power play. Dynamic Sabres rookie defenseman Tyler Myers would tie it at 18:35 with a wrist shot from the blue line that surprised Rask just enough to beat him on the glove side.
Daniel Paillle — Acquired on Oct. 20 in the first ever trade between the Bruins and Sabres, the speedy forward came back to haunt his former team with two first period goals to give him nine on the year for the Bruins.
Tuukka Rask — The Bruins goaltender had a career-high 43 saves and made three stops in the shootout to give the Bruins consecutive wins and points in their last four games.
David Krejci — Krejci had the game-deciding goal in the shootout as he crossed in front of Miller and buried the puck to give Boston the two-point victory.
The Sabres comeback came in the second period courtesy of the power play. Milan Lucic went for hooking penalty at 2:54 and was joined by Steve Begin for a hook at 3:46 to set up 1:08 of 5-on-3 for Buffalo. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff took a timeout with his team down two goals to talk about the situation and was rewarded when Roy found time and space in front of Rask and put a wrist shot passed the young goaltender for Buffalo’s first goal of the game. The Sabres would play well from there on out to complete the comeback and gain a point.
Miller came up big in overtime to stop the Bruins and send the game to the shootout. Early in the extra frame the Bruins had a great chance when Marco Sturm and Matt Hunwick had a 2-on-1 in front of Miller. Sturm crossed to Hunwick who let go of a one-timer that Miller crossed the crease to make a kick save off his pads and send the puck into the corner. Krejci had the game-deciding goal in the shootout that was tied at one after the first three rounds off of goals by Marco Sturm and Jason Pominville.
|Bruins come up short against Capitals||02.02.10 at 9:33 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins hung tough with the best team in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday but ultimately could not hang with the Capitals as they dropped their eighth straight game 4-1 in front of a sold out TD Garden. Brooks Laich had the game-winner for Washington early in the third period off a feed from Alexander Semin and Boyd Gordon added a goal later to break a 1-1 tie to start the final frame. Tim Thomas took the loss for the Bruins with 21 saves while Jose Theodore stood on his head at times stopping 41 Bruins shots. The eight game losing streak is tied for the second longest in Bruins history and longest since Dec. 22, 1955 to Jan. 12, 1956.
The Bruins struck in the first by taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play at 6:58 when Marc Savard cross the puck to David Krejci on the baseline. Krejci bent his knee and whipped a shot back across Theodore’s pads for the early lead. The score was Krejci’s 10th of the year. The Bruins were able to keep the pressure on most of the period and outshot the Capitals 12-5 heading into the second.
It would not take long for Washington to come back. At 2:04 in the second Tom Poti broke deep down the left wing and crossed a pass to a crashing Mike Knuble who was able to beat Thomas out of position for the game-tying goal.
Then something happened that you do not see in regulation NHL hockey all that often — a penalty shot awarded on a shorthanded breakaway. With Marco Sturm in the box for holding, David Krejci found himself alone with the puck facing down Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore. Knuble caught Krejci from behind and hooked him a couple of times and Krejci missed the ensuing shot. The officials gave Krejci a penalty shot, which he subsequently missed wide right to end the unusual drama. It was the Bruins second shorthanded penalty shot of the season after Marco Sturm was unsuccessful against the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist on Jan. 9.
Brooks Laich — The Washington center scored the game-winner with his 17th of the year in the third period off a feed from Alexander Semin.
David Krejci — The Bruins second line center now has a two game point streak after his first period goal and though he was unsuccessful on the penalty shot he was able to put himself in position for the play and helped kill Boston’s penalties on the night.
Tom Poti — The Capitals defenseman assisted on Washington’s first and third goals of the night and now has two goals and 17 assists for the season.
The Bruins best chance of getting on top of Washington came in the second period when Blake Wheeler and Krejci had near open net chances against Theodore but were unable to slam the puck home. Wheeler had two points blank chances and Krejci missed on the follow up and the Capitals cleared the puck to end the threat. The Bruins would never really threaten Theodore for the rest of the game.
Semin was able to redeem himself after taking three penalties through the first two periods when he founds the puck in space off the half wall in the offensive end and flipped it through the circle to Laich in front of Thomas. Laich let go of a wrist shot that beat the Bruins goaltender on the stick side for the game-winner at 5:04 in the third.
|Capitals knot it up, Bruins hang tough||at 8:46 pm ET|
It did not take long for the Capitals to come back. Washington came out for the second period and was able keep the pressure in the Bruins zone and turned the aggression into a game-tying goal at 2:04 when defenseman Tom Poti carried the puck hard down the left wing and centered to a crashing Mike Knuble. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas was not quick enough across the crease and the Capitals were back in the at a goal apiece.
Then something happened that you do not see in regulation NHL hockey all that often — a penalty shot awarded on a shorthanded breakaway. With Marco Sturm in the box for holding, David Krejci found himself alone with the puck facing down Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore. Knuble caught Krejci from behind and hooked him a couple of times and Krejci missed the ensuing shot. The officials gave Krejci a penalty shot, which he subsequently missed wide right to end the unusual drama.
The Bruins still had to kill off Sturm’s penalty and he was joined by Patrice Bergeron at 11:09 to give Washington a :19 second two-man advantage. Boston killed off both and were able to turn around and put some pressure on itself a couple minutes later. Alexander Semin took went to the penalty box for a hook (his third penalty of the game) after Blake Wheeler and David Krejci had multiple opportunities against Theodore that Washington was able to thwart. Boston had more opportunities on the ensuing power play with Bergeron hitting a post as the Bruins rained shots on goal.
After the rocky start to the period, the Bruins have stayed tough and stayed within their game and have been able to generate shots and keep Alex Ovechkin from causing any havoc on the ice.
Second period shots (total):
Bruins 16 (29)
Capitals 12 (17)
|Bruins use power play to gain momentum||at 7:46 pm ET|
The Capitals are giving the Bruins some power play chances early. For once, Boston has been able to capitalize.
The Bruins got on the power play early when Washington center Nicklas Backstrom went to the box for a hold at 1:04. It was for naught though as the Bruins’ Blake Wheeler gave the man-advantage back with an interference call at 2:16. The Bruins may have lost the opportunity but were able to kill the rest of Wheeler’s penalty to get back to even strength.
Minutes later, the Bruins found themselves with a golden opportunity to jump on the best team in the Eastern Conference. Capitals’ forward Matt Bradley went to the box for a hold and was joined 1:12 later by Alexander Semin on a high stick. Boston wasted no time with the two-man advantage as seconds later Marc Savard crossed the puck across the crease to David Krejci on the baseline. Krejci bent his knees and torqued a shot back across Washington goalie Jose Theodore’s pads to the back of the net for a 1-0 Boston advantage.
The Bruins are doing what they need to do — putting pucks in front of the net, keeping the pressure on and limiting the explosive Capitals chances. It has resulted in a significant shot advantage and, most importantly, a one goal lead heading into the second period.
Bruins – 13
Capitals – 5
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