|Bruins fall to Devils in regular season finale||04.10.11 at 5:20 pm ET|
The Bruins finished their regular season schedule Sunday, taking a 3-2 loss to the Devils in New Jersey.
Tuukka Rask took the loss for the B’s, getting the start after Tim Thomas sealed the single-season save percentage record in his final start Saturday. Rask allowed goals to Patrik Elias, Vladimir Zharkov and Alexander Urbom.
Rich Peverley scored the first goal for the Bruins, beating Johan Hedberg for his 18th goal of the year. A Dennis Seidenberg shot with less than four seconds remaining also yielded a Boston goal. Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara did not play for the Bruins, as they stayed in Boston after playing the first 81 games of the season.
The Bruins finished the regular season with a 46-25-11 record and 103 points. They will be the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed when they go against the Canadiens in the playoffs begin next week.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The game didn’t mean anything, but the B’s shouldn’t have shown it the way they did in the second period. They had just one shot on the goal in the second, while the Devils had 10.
– The one injury scare came for rookie Tyler Seguin, who took a high stick in the second period and left the bench, though it did not appear serious and he returned to the game in the third period.
– Dennis Seidenberg was on the ice for the first two Devils goals. He took the shot that led to the the final goal, but his minus-1 rating on the game means he finishes the season with a plus-3, worst among Bruins defensemen this season.
– Nathan Horton did not register a shot on goal Sunday, making it the 10th game this season in which he had zero shots on goal. Horton has picked it up of late (six goals over the final 10 games), but he needs to put pucks on net if he wants them to go in.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Nobody was hurt, and that’s the biggest thing the Bruins could have been hoping for in a meaningless regular-season-ending game.
More importantly, Tuukka Rask did not get injured or yanked in the game. He made the save of the game on David Clarkson in the second period. Plus, imagine all the re-adjusting of the Tim Thomas record stories.
– Peverley scored for the second time in as many games. The Bruins need to have both the David Krejci line and the Patrice Bergeron line going at the same time once the playoffs start, but it’s good to see that they are finally getting something out of Chris Kelly’s line.
|Tim Thomas gets start Saturday, aims for record||04.09.11 at 12:23 pm ET|
In what will likely be his final start of the regular season, Tim Thomas looks to break the NHL’s single-season save percentage record Saturday afternoon against the Senators. Through 56 games thus far, Thomas’ save percentage stands at .9376, .001 ahead of Dominik Hasek‘s record-setting mark of .9366 in 1998-99.
Before Saturday’s game, coach Claude Julien said he’s focused more on just making sure Thomas is ready for the playoffs than he is on the record.
“He seems to be feeling good,” Julien said. “He’s realized that he’s forced his game a little bit, especially the game in New York [on Monday], but other than that, I think he’s been pretty steady for us all year. He feels well-rested, he feels good and he feels ready to get into the playoffs.”
Julien made a couple changes to the lineup for Saturday’s game, giving both Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg the day off. This will be the first game Seidenberg has missed all season. Tyler Seguin will take Bergeron’s place as the second-line center, while Shane Hnidy will fill in for Seidenberg on the blue line.
|Michael Grabner has Islanders within one after two periods||04.06.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
The B’s continued to get pucks past Rick DiPietro in the second period, but a pair of Michael Grabner strikes have the Islanders within one. After two, the Bruins lead the Islanders, 3-2.
Grabner tied the game at one with his 32nd goal of the season, a power play strike at 3:24. Though the B’s would answer back with goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell, Grabner would make it 3-2 on a shorthanded goal at 14:26.
The Islanders outshot the B’s, 14-10, in the period. Through two, the Bruins are 0-for-4 on the power play and have allowed a shorthanded goal.
|Claude Julien says he doesn’t support Tuukka Rask’s displays of frustration||03.21.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When Claude Julien put Tim Thomas back in to start the third period against the Maple Leafs Saturday night, the logical reason as to why was because of Tuukka Rask‘s latest display of frustration. After Rask, who came in with over 11 minutes remaining in the second period in relief of Thomas, allowed the game’s fifth goal, he was visibly infuriated with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who screened him on the play.
Julien has maintained that the move was not disciplinary, and that it was because Thomas wanted to go back out. Monday, he shed light on Rask’s behavior on the ice.
“I don’t support that,” Julien said. “I don’t think anybody supports that, including him. Sometimes frustration sets in, you see players breaking their sticks after a goal against or something. You see them putting their heads up in the air after they miss an open net. There’s a frustration point, so I’m certainly not going to stand here and start accusing him of that, but it’s something you don’t want to see from anybody because it has a big impact on your team.
“Having said that, I think Tuukka’s aware of that, and if anything, he’s been playing some of his best hooky lately, so I don’t think there’s any need for that. I think it’s just that sometimes you’ve got to control your emotions. He’s frustrated with the first half of the year, and he wants to help this hockey club. Sometimes his emotions are probably running a little too high and he reacts that way, but having said that, it had no influence on my decision on Saturday.”
For what it’s worth, Rask has been cool as a cucumber off the ice all season despite the uncertainty as to when he’ll play. On the ice, however, he’s never shied away from expressing his emotions, and Julien hopes he can keep them in check.
|Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg give Bruins 2-0 lead in first period||02.09.11 at 7:48 pm ET|
Marchand scored his 15th of the season in his line’s latest clinic on pretty passing. Marchand hit Recchi as he was coming out of the defensive zone, who then sent it up to Bergeron. The center found Marchand in front of the net, who got Carey Price to bite on a deke and made it 1-0.Marchand made a bid for his second of the night on a back-hander later in the period, but Price made the save.
The Bruins brought it up the ice on the face-off following Marchand’s goal, with Nathan Horton sending a wrist-shot on Price that the Habs netminder allowed a high, slow pop-up of a rebound on. By the time the puck was on its way down, Seidenberg was in front and ready to send it to the back of the net.
Jan. 10 was the last time the B’s scored two goals in 12 seconds.
The period ended with fireworks, as Price shoved Milan Lucic twice in the back before the winger shoved back. Lucic ended up getting into it with P.K. Subban, and was assessed a double-minor for roughing, while Price was given a roughing minor. Travis Moen got a 10 minute misconduct.
|Peter Chiarelli’s willingness to trade Maple Leafs pick makes things interesting||02.08.11 at 3:59 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, making an appearance on Dale & Holley on Tuesday, fired the proverbial gun to kick off trade speculation with the NHL’s deadline just 20 days away. While he reiterated his preference to add a defenseman and potentially a forward, he shed light on the team’s financial situation as it moves toward the trade deadline (something he generally refers people to capgeek.com for), but that isn’t the real news. The GM said that, unlike last year, he is willing to put the Maple Leafs’ first-round pick, which has had “top five” written all over it for quite some time, in play.
“Yeah, I’d look at it, sure. I would,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve had discussions involving that pick. I certainly would look at it. We’ve got a lot of assets, so that alone allows us to be creative also, but I would look at it.”
Already having opened a big door, Michael Holley asked Chiarelli to elaborate on how Toronto’s first rounder, one of two received in the Phil Kessel deal in September of 2009, has come up in trade talks.
“There’s been one [deal] that we’ve thrown around here internally. I don’t know that I would do it, but it’s something that warrants further discussion,” Chiarelli said.
The fact that Chiarelli is willing to consider dealing the Maple Leafs’ selection ‘ on pace to be fifth overall in a draft in which he admitted there being “uncertainty as to what the order of the top five is” ‘ gives the Bruins a leg up on other contending teams. Sellers want top prospects or the ability to obtain top prospects, and the Bruins are the only team with two first-rounders this year, let alone a potential top five pick.
Plus, with Marc Savard being shut down and thus placed on long-term injury reserve, the team has cap space (seemingly enough to add a player with a cap hit in excess of $4.5 million without removing anyone from its own roster) to add a top player.
“Basically you can replace [Savard’s] salary, that cap number,” Chiarelli said. “So that’s [$4 million] and a little bit of change [$4,007,143 to be exact]. We’ve got about $500,000 in cap space, so with Savard on LTI you have the ability to replace that player with a number of players up to an amount of $4 million. That’s not cap space, that’s actual salary. We’ve got some good flexibility right now.”
While the Bruins have been able to make deadline deals in recent seasons to land them major contributors including Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi, the team has not made a blockbuster at the deadline since perhaps 2004, when the old regime gave up first and second round picks as well as Shaone Morrisonn for Sergei Gonchar. If the team is willing to see how far that Toronto pick can take them on the trade market, Chiarelli might be able to pull off something of similar magnitude.
While you can count out guys like Brad Richards (possessing a no-trade clause and playing on a third-place team in the West) or Jarome Iginla (no-trade clause and captain of a playoff team) the Bruins might not be kidding around when it comes to more realistic options. A top-five pick can go a long way, especially if it’s sent to a team that will need young stars to anchor a rebuilding effort.
This isn’t to say that Chiarelli will blindly toss the chip of all chips up for grabs blindly. It is, to borrow a term from the GM, an asset that franchises throughout the league would take considerable steps to acquire. And now, it seems an asset that could land the Bruins the major piece they’re hoping for without having to announce it at a podium in Minnesota.
Chiarelli said that he would “bet” the Bruins make a trade before the deadline. After Tuesday, how big a deal it is seems to be the only thing in question.
|Dennis Seidenberg has Bruins leading Sabres after one||01.20.11 at 7:44 pm ET|
The B’s have 13 shots on net, with Tuukka Rask stopping all 11 shots he saw in the period.
Steven Kampfer drew the game’s first penalty when he hooked Thomas Vanek as the winger came around the net and sent a pass to Jason Pominville, who was promptly robbed by Rask.
With Kampfer in the box, David Krejci made a sharp move to keep the puck in the zone on a shorthanded bit. He sent it a few feet up Blake Wheeler, who was promptly tripped by Marc-Andre Gragnani, who was called up to take the place of the Drew Stafford (groin) in the lineup.
Vanek and Milan Lucic would add penalties for slashing and tripping, respectively, with each team going 0-for-2 in the period. The Bruins’ best opportunity on the power play came when, with Vanek in the box, a puck bound in front of the net to Horton with Miller out of position. Rather than taking the easy shot, Horton looked for Michael Ryder, and the play disintegrated.