|Claude Julien goes with Tim Thomas, revamped lines vs. Hurricanes||11.26.10 at 11:21 am ET|
In speaking with the media prior to Friday’s noon start, Bruins coach Claude Julien said that Tim Thomas will be between the pipes when the B’s take on the Hurricanes at TD Garden.
Thomas, 36, is 11-1-1 with a 1.46 goals against average in 14 starts. He leads the league with a .955 save percentage and is tied for the league lead with four shutouts. He most recently made 31 saves in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday.
Julien also said the the lines “will be kind of the same” as they were in the third period of Wednesday’s game. With the team trailing, 1-0, in the third period, Julien reunited the Blake Wheeler - David Krejci - Michael Ryder line of years past, sticking Patrice Bergeron between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Gregory Campbell centered Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi, while Tyler Seguin returned to center on a line with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton.
In warmups, however, it was Daniel Paille skating with Seguin and Thornton, with Marchand jumping up to Campbell’s line. Caron was not on the ice, an indication he could be a healthy scratch for the first time since the season-opener on Oct. 9 in Prague.
|Video: Tyler Seguin joins the media, stumps Jordan Caron||11.01.10 at 1:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With Jordan Caron getting the attention from a couple of reporters after Bruins’ practice on Monday, fellow rookie Tyler Seguin decided to try his hand as a member of the media. First, he leaned in as Caron answered a question, and then, once the pack had swarmed to Caron, submitted a question of his own regarding Caron’s “selfish” play. Special thanks to ESPN’s Jimmy Murphy for the video, and of course, for cooperating with Seguin.
|Jordan Caron continues to be at home at the Garden||10.21.10 at 11:05 pm ET|
Rookie Jordan Caron admittedly hit a speedbump when the team was in Belfast. He got a bit of a pep-talk from Patrice Bergeron in Prague. He spent plenty of time on the road, and it’s hard to imagine he wasn’t champing at the bit to get back to the Garden.
Yes, back to the Garden. Don’t forget, the 19-year-old had a hat trick in the first of two rookie games against the Islanders back in September. He may not be as used to the Garden as the veterans, but he can certainly do some damage there. He proved in Thursday’s 4-1 win when he netted his second goal of the season, a tally in the second period that gave the B’s a 2-0 lead at the time.
“It feels great [to score at home],” Caron said after the game. “I told [Bergeron] on the bench, I think I was more happy tonight than for [my first career goal Saturday vs. the Devils]. From the crowd here, it was a great feeling again.”
Caron is still mastering English, with the emphasis on mastering. A Quebec native, Caron’s English has improved dramatically over the span of the last few months, though the language isn’t the only adjustment he’s dealing with. He, like Tyler Seguin, is getting used to a new league and a new group of fans. So far, he likes what he sees.
“It was great,” Caron said of the atmosphere in his first regular season game at TD Garden. “We had a great second period. We came out really strong and we put good pressure and I think the fans loved it. It was a fun game to play.”
As the adage goes, it’s fun when you’re winning, and the Bruins, riding a four-game win streak, are certainly having a lot of fun.
|Video: Julien discusses Bruins home opener vs. Capitals||at 12:06 pm ET|
Here’s the video of Bruins coach Claude Julien talking with the media in anticipation of Thursday’s home opener against the Capitals.
|A statistical look at the Bruins’ win over the Devils||10.17.10 at 10:34 am ET|
The Bruins went into Newark and beat the Devils with a well-balanced offensive attack and impressive goaltending from 36-year-old Tim Thomas in a 4-1 win. Each line contributed a goal — Milan Lucic, Jordan Caron, Michael Ryder, and Shawn Thornton represented lines one through four on the scoring sheet — and Thomas’ 31 saves helped him outduel Martin Brodeur in a battle of Vezina-winning netminders. Here’s a closer statistical look at the victory.
- Nathan Horton led the Bruins with five shots on goal, and after three games, Zdeno Chara has the most on the team with 13. Offensively, here’s how many shots on Brodeur each line produced (naturally, this stat doesn’t take into account special teams bids, but it still gives you a good idea. Defensemen are not included).
First line (11): Lucic (2, G) – Krejci (4, A) – Horton (5, A)
Second line (3): Caron (1, G) – Bergeron (2) – Wheeler (0)
Third line (6): Recchi (1, A) – Seguin (1, A) – Ryder (4, G)
Fourth line (6): Marchand (3, A) – Campbell (0, A) – Thornton (3, G)
The most alarming number that should come from this is that the fourth line had twice as many shots on goal as the second line. With his goose egg on Saturday, Blake Wheeler now has just two shots on goal in his last two games. His play throughout the preseason and to this point has been much improved from where it was a year ago, but he’ll need to focus more on putting pucks on net, as he did five times in the season-opener.
- After going 0-for-3 with a man advantage, the Bruins’ power play is now 1-for-11 on the season, good for a 9.1 power play percentage, which is 24th in the league. Killing off four penalties effectively helped the Bruins push their penalty kill percentage up 85.7, good for 13th in the NHL.
- The first line has been consistently productive on the young season, with Lucic, David Krejci, and Horton all registering points in each game. Horton leads with the team with three goals and Krejci leads the B’s with four assists.
- Not to overreact to a two-game sample size, but this is statistically the best start Thomas has gotten off to in such a short stretch. He leads the league in broth goals against average (0.50) and save percentage (.984). Fellow Hockey East product Jonathan Quick of the Kings (0.97) is the only other goalie in the league with a sub-1.00 GAA. The problem, of course, is that Thomas is splitting time with the guy who led both categories last season in Tuukka Rask.
- Caron’s minutes certainly appear to be on the upswing, as the rookie followed up last Sunday’s 9:42 of ice time with 13:01 on Saturday.
|Bruins beat Devils, 4-1||10.16.10 at 9:18 pm ET|
For the second straight game, it took until the second period for the Bruins to come alive offensively, but once they did, it was substantial enough to seal a victory. The B’s responded to a 1-0 Devils lead with four unanswered goals — one from each line — in the second off Martin Brodeur and hung on for a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Notable individual feats were accomplished for the Bruins, as Jordan Caron picked up his first NHL goal, Tyler Seguin had his first career assist, and Nathan Horton picked up his 300th career point in assisting Milan Lucic‘s tally.
Tim Thomas earned the victory for the Bruins, following up a shutout last Sunday with a 31-save effort.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It was good to see Caron get his first career goal out of the way. The 19-year-old struggled with confidence and over-thinking things as the preseason wore on, and was a scratch in the season-opener as a result. After Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron took notice, Bergeron, who has served as a mentor for the rookie, took Caron out for dinner and Prague to remind him that he’d be fine if he stuck to his game. The two have been linemates since Sunday’s 3-0 victory and the jitters seem to be a thing of the past.
- There weren’t any real struggles for Seguin in the preseason, but it’s still greatly encouraging to see the rookie center do more than his specialty in scoring. Seguin’s pass to set up Michael Ryder‘s go-ahead goal in the second provided proof of two things: that the second overall pick is already making a big impact and that the chemistry between Seguin and Ryder, who had a down year last season, is something that could very well take off.
- It won’t be every game that the Brad Marchand - Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton line puts together a well-executed goal on Martin Brodeur, so let’s give credit where credit is due. It was Thornton’s first goal since the second game of last season, a 7-2 win over the Hurricanes at home.
- It will be very interesting to see how Claude Julien handles the decision of who starts in net for Tuesday, because Tim Thomas continued to prove on Saturday that he is no backup goalie. The 2008-09 Vezina winner stood on his head at various points of the night and kept it a close game in the early going.
Thomas made 31 saves on the night, doing so six days after stopping all 29 shots he faced in last Sunday’s 3-0 shutout over the Coyotes. Dainius Zubrus scored the lone Devils goal on a rebound in the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Yes, it is but three games into the season, but the power play in its small sample size has not provided much to write home about. With the team’s 0-for-3 showing with the man advantage on Saturday, the Bruins are now 1-for-11 on the season, with Nathan Horton’s power-play goal in the third period of last Saturday’s 5-2 loss their lone saving grace.
To stick with special teams, the penalty kill was quite impressive, with Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk looking very sharp in killing off a 5-on-3 to end the first period.
- After having just two last Sunday, Blake Wheeler went all of Saturday without a shot on net. Wheeler didn’t exactly have a poor showing on Saturday, but he’ll need to read a certain Wayne Gretzky quote if he wants to improve on his 18-goal mark from last season.
|Quebec connection paying dividends for Jordan Caron, Patrice Bergeron||10.15.10 at 1:34 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A player’s rookie year in the NHL presents some pretty predictable obstacles. Getting used to the speed of the game, limiting mistakes, and not letting the game get inside one’s own head. When the player is under 20 years of age and learning a new language, perhaps the jitters felt and the speedbumps experienced become enhanced a bit, and the rookie naturally seeks the guidance of a player who was once in similar shoes.
That may be exactly the relationship that exists between Bruins second-liners Jordan Caron and Patrice Bergeron. Both players come from Quebec, and like Bergeron did as an 18-year-old in the 2003-04 season, Caron, 19, is entering a new league while also trying to master a new language. To this point, both his English and his game have come along nicely, though the whole package has been aided by the now 25-year-old Bergeron.
After over-thinking situations on the ice at points in the team’s scrimmage in Belfast, Bergeron and Mark Recchi, at the time linemates with Caron, had lunch and discussed the challenges the young winger was facing. The lunch concluded with the two deciding that it would be best if Bergeron took Caron for dinner to remind him of how big a difference he could make.
“It’s been a long camp for me, but I don’t want to take that as an excuse,” Caron said a few days after the Belfast game. “I guess it has been a long training camp for me, but I have to get over it and just try to do my best.”
While in Prague, Bergeron did take Caron, who by then had been demoted to the third line, out for the meal, one that both players feel helped the rookie.
“We went for dinner in Prague. I didn’t say much. It was just to make him feel comfortable and realize that he’s part of the team and he’s a good player and that even though he’s young, he’s good,” Bergeron said, adding that he told Caron to, “just play the same game that he’s been playing throughout his career.”
After scoring in the team’s preseason finale in Liberec, Czech Republic, Caron was a scratch in the season-opener against the Coyotes, a game in which the team fell to Phoenix, 5-2. He made his NHL debut on Sunday, being bumped back up to the second line with Bergeron and Blake Wheeler. Caron logged a team-low 9:42 minutes of ice time but got a couple of shots on net in the process, making an overall first impression that he’s glad to have gotten out of the way.
Since the team returned from Prague, Caron has skated with the second line and though he has taken to the “anything can happen” mentality, it appears his ice time will only go up as the season progresses. As that comes, so too may more rookie challenges, but Bergeron has made it clear to Caron that he is more than happy with aiding in the adjustment as well as he can. After all, it wasn’t long ago that he had a go-to guy in the locker room for the same purpose.
“Martin Lapointe was always there [for me] my first year,” Bergeron recalled. “He was always calming me down and helping me make sure I wasn’t getting ahead of myself.”
Bergeron lived with Lapointe and his family in his rookie year. On the ice, he made big strides, contributing 39 points as rookie despite facing the challenges that accompany someone learning English off the ice.
“It was pretty hard, especially that first year. It was different and difficult as well, just for opening bank accounts and all that, social security number, and all that stuff,” Bergeron said. “Things that were different with me are pretty much the same with Jordan. They’re all things you’ve got to go through, but with help it’s pretty easy.”
A difference can definitely be observed in Caron’s English from the summer’s rookie development camp until now. He notes that he’s “getting comfortable with everything,” but that he’s not afraid to be persistent with Bergeron if it means getting a firmer grasp on things.
“I don’t want to be annoying, but he told me not to be scared to ask him anything, and that’s what I do,” Caron said.” If I don’t understand a drill sometimes because the language is different, I’ll go right up to him and ask him.”
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