|Bruins finally win two in a row, defeat Sabres||03.08.12 at 9:29 pm ET|
It took the Bruins long enough, but they finally won their second game in a row thanks to Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Sabres. The victory marked the first time in 26 games that the B’s have won back-to-back contests.
Jason Pominville gave the Sabres the lead in the first period when he beat Tim Thomas with a rocket over the veteran netminder’s glove. Gregory Campbell tied the game in the second, redirecting a Shawn Thornton slap shot past Buffalo starter Jhonas Enroth. Johnny Boychuk gave the B’s the lead in the third period with his fourth goal of the season, with David Krejci providing insurance at 15:52.
Thomas made 19 saves on 20 shots faced. The game was the seventh consecutive contest in which Thomas has played.
The Bruins will host the Capitals Saturday as they go for their — get this — third straight win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Claude Julien called for more secondary scoring after Saturday’s loss to the Islanders, and for the third straight game since, he got it. After Jordan Caron dominated Sunday and Tuesday as a third-liner (three goals, two assists over the two games), it was the fourth line that chipped in with the equalizer in the second period. A Buffalo turnover left the puck waiting for Thornton to fire on not, and Campbell got a piece of it to tie the game. The goal was Campbell’s seventh of the season.
– Speaking of Caron, Julien switched Caron and Brian Rolston, putting Caron with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the second line and Rolston with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. Rolston hasn’t made enough of a statement to earn top-six minutes since coming over in a trade from the Islanders last week, and it’s good for Julien to reward Caron for his improved play of late.
In picking up the assist on Boychuk’s goal, Caron extended his point streak to three games. The 21-year-old has three goals and three assists over his last three contests.
– The B’s new top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin has produced at least one goal in all five games since Julien put the trio together. Krejci has five goals over the last five games, while Seguin has four and Lucic has one. Some quick arithmetic shows that the members of the line have totaled 10 goals over their last five contests.
– The Bruins outscored their opponent in the second period for the third consecutive game. As has been well-documented, the Bruins have not been a good second-period team over the difficult stretch they’ve found themselves in since mid-January, but they have outscored their opponents 6-2 in the second over the last three games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Greg Zanon was made a healthy scratch for the first time since debuting with the B’s last week. Julien spoke highly of Zanon Thursday morning, calling him “sturdy” for the Bruins in his first four games with the Bruins, but the truth is that Zanon’s had a rough go of it since his debut. Zanon impressed in his first game with the B’s last Thursday, handling everything that was thrown his way and adapting to new partners as the team twice went to a five-man rotation. Since then, he’s had a rough time for the Bruins, having multiple flubs in front of Tim Thomas’ net, knocking a puck in and posting a minus-4 rating over his last three games. He was one of just two Bruins (Thornton being the other) to have a minus rating (minus-1) in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs.
Mike Mottau played in Zanon’s place, skating on pairing with Adam McQuaid.
– Bergeron and Marchand have both gone the last six games without a goal. The second line is one that’s effective for its prowess in all three zones, but the B’s need two of their better forwards in Bergeron and Marchand to get going.
|Bruins lose Tuukka Rask, then game to Islanders||03.03.12 at 3:40 pm ET|
The Bruins lost more than a winnable game against a non-playoff team Saturday, as they lost goaltender Tuukka Rask to injury and fell to the Islanders, 3-2, at TD Garden.
The Bruins got on the board in the first period when Milan Lucic scored on the power play, a goal assisted by Brian Rolston for the veteran forward’s first point since returning to the Bruins. The Islanders tied it late in the first on a Josh Bailey goal.
After Thomas took over for Rask in the second period, Matt Moulson gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on the power play. Tyler Seguin tied the game 7:29 into the third period, but the Islanders would regain the lead in the final five minutes on John Taveres‘ 26th of the season.
The Bruins will return to action Sunday when they face the Eastern conference-leading Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- After defeating the Devils Thursday, the B’s blew their latest chance at winning back-to-back games, and have still not one consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12, a span of 23 games.
- The B’s are in trouble if Rask’s injury keeps him out for a while. After Sunday’s game against the Rangers, the Bruins will still have games on back-to-back days three times for the remainder of the season. Given that Providence goaltenders Anton Khudobin (wrist) and Michael Hutchinson (flu) are out, the B’s could be looking at Adam Courchaine, who was called up to Providence from the ECHL and has played only five career AHL games.
- Rask wasn’t the Bruins’ only injury scare. Daniel Paille left the Bruins’ bench and headed down the tunnel after getting tripped by Steve Staios in the third period. Paille did not return to the game. Staios was the same guy who hit Paille in the face with a slapshot back on Nov. 7.
- Greg Zanon got beaten for the first time in a Bruins uniform. After playing early in the first period on a pairing with Joe Corvo, Zanon went back to playing with Adam McQuaid. Late in the first period, Anders Nillson sent a pass through Zanon to Bailey, who beat Rask to tie the game at one goal apiece.
- There was a pretty bad non-call late in the first period, as P.A. Parenteau got Brad Marchand in the face with a high stick that appeared to cut the Bruins forward. Marchand remained down on the ice for a few moments, but got back up and played the rest of his shift. Of course, a high-stick that draws blood should yield a four-minute double-minor. Overall, the officiating wasn’t great, as Shawn Thornton was given a questionable roughing call when both he and Travis Hamonic were shoving after Hamonic hit Thornton.
- That pesky second period got to the Bruins again, as the Islanders took the lead on Moulson’s goal. The Bruins have outscored their opponents in the second period only once over their last eight games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The B’s got Johnny Boychuk back after he missed the last two games with a concussion sustained last Saturday on a hit from Senators forward Chris Neil. Boychuk didn’t seem to take much time getting back to his usual self, as he led all players with four hits in the first period.
- Seguin is heating back up for the Bruins, and it’s no coincidence that his output has increased since being teamed with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Seguin had gone 10 games without a goal leading into Thursday night’s game against the Devils, but he now has goals in two straight. On the season, Seguin has 22 goals, which doubles last season’s total of 11.
|Bruins-Islanders Live Blog: Tuukka Rask leaves with injury||at 12:52 pm ET|
|Johnny Boychuk skates before Bruins practice||02.29.12 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk skated prior to Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, marking the first time he has taken the ice since suffering a concussion Saturday night against the Senators.
Coach Claude Julien said after the practice that he had yet to hear any feedback on how well Boychuk handled his return to the ice, but that the team will soon know how he is feeling.
“He skated this morning, and those are more [situations in which] we find out the next day if everything’s good, then we move forward here,” Julien said. “Again, it’s a day-by-day situation, and we saw what happened with [Nathan Horton, who skated and suffered a setback earlier in the month], so we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed.”
With Boyhcuk still out, the Bruins had seven defenseman at practice, as Greg Zanon joined the team for the first time since being acquired at Monday’s trade deadline.
|Johnny Boychuk has concussion, Bruins not sure when Nathan Horton will return||02.27.12 at 6:02 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday at TD Garden that defenseman Johnny Boychuk has a mild concussion after taking a hard hit from Senators forward Chris Neil Saturday.
The Bruins added two defenseman at Monday’s trade deadline in Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau, and when Boychuk is healthy, the B’s will have eight blueliners.
As for Nathan Horton, who is still out with a concussion, Chiarelli said that he expects the forward back before the end of the regular season, but that he isn’t certain.
“I expect him back, but with these things, I don’t know,” he said.
Chiarelli said that he would have liked to add two forwards at the deadline, but that the deals weren’t there to be made.
With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, NESN Bruins studio analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Monday afternoon to talk about what the Bruins need to improve and what kind of moves they should make, if any.
Very few major moves have been made by any teams, but Pederson said that he would be more surprised if the Bruins made no move than if they made a major trade.
“I think they need some depth, especially when Andrew Ference went down, that really showed me that you needed another left-handed defenseman,” Pederson said. “I would look for them to try to add that because I know that Dennis Seidenberg can play the right side, he showed that and then some in the playoffs what he could do when he's with [Zdeno] Chara, and I think they'll want to do that come playoff time again.
“I think you want to get some depth up front for the reasons we just talked about — you're not sure what's going to happen with Nathan [Horton], you're hoping he can come back, and Rich Peverley with that knee injury, you never know what they're going to be like.”
That being said, Pederson noted that the Bruins would be wise to not jeopardize the promising future that they have with their current roster.
“They're still in great, great shape,” Pederson said. “They've got a great core, they're well-positioned salary cap-wise, they're young, they're talented, they're physical, they're packing the building over here.
“The Bruins fans are excited not only because of last year's win, but if you look ahead and you go, 'You know what? Barring any major injuries, this organization is built to be good for a number of years to come.’ ”
Part of the reason the Bruins should be weary of a major trade, to Pederson, is that trades often come with a wide array of variables and can often backfire.
“The difficult part with that, and it's the same thing I'm sure the Rangers are kind of talking about and Pittsburgh with [Sidney] Crosby, is you have concussions and you also have great chemistry, and that's something that you can't take for granted,” Pederson said. “One of the major reasons for the Bruins to be so successful in that Cup run last year was they had each other's back.
“It was an all-for-one, one-for-all type of mentality. The Rangers, I think, have that right now, I think Pittsburgh's getting that. That, to me, is so important.”
|Quick reaction to the Johnny Boychuk extension||02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET|
My initial reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year extension: semi-surprise.
My reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $3.36: lots of surprise. In what galaxy is Boychuk worth more than Dennis Seidenberg?
That’s a lot to pay your fourth-best defenseman, but the Bruins thought it was worth it for Boychuk. In the end, maybe it works out. Remember, once upon a time, people were blasting Peter Chiarelli for giving $2.25 million a year to Andrew Ference, and that deal has proven to be a heck of a bargain for the Bruins this year.
A common counterpoint to the idea that the B’s overpaid for Boychuk is that he would have made big bucks on the open market, and that’s true. With 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and a plus-23 rating that has been helped by playing with Zdeno Chara, Boychuk would have been the next pretty good defenseman to get paid like a very good defenseman. If Christian Ehrhoff can get a 10-year-deal, Boychuk probably could have gotten upwards of $4 million as a free agent.
But that’s the issue with the signing. The Bruins paid Boychuk too close to what a desperate overpaying team would have given him. The B’s should have been in the driver’s seat in negotiations. After all, they have Dougie Hamilton presumably coming along next season, and all they’d simply have to find a replacement for Joe Corvo (also a free agent) in order to have their six defensemen.
With all of these signings, the ultimate question is what it means for the rest of the players who are at or near the end of their contracts. Tuukka Rask and Chris Kelly are the team’s two biggest players with expiring deals, and Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are all up at the end of next season. Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are also unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
If Boychuk can prove to be more than the guy who plays with Chara, this could end up being a good deal. If the money allocated to him gets in the way of the team keeping some of their better players, this could go down as one that Chiarelli regrets.
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- Fresh Links: Wound Licking Edition
- Friday Morning Skate: Get Well Soon, Johnny
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