|Bruins cannot catch a break||02.06.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
When things are going bad there is a no such thing as catching a break. Sometimes the break catches you.
The Bruins were skating to what was looking like a 2-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday afternoon when Canucks defenseman Sami Salo broke his stick trying to send a blast on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The puck idled off the shot and was over-skated in a clearing attempt by Milan Lucic before Tanner Glass came in and found it in the high slot to send it back on Rask. Vancouver forward Pavol Demitra was in the perfect place to redirect it with the shaft of his stick to tie the game at two. Vancouver went on to win in a shootout.
“Bad luck, story of my season, [expletive deleted], nothing can go right. What can you do?” Lucic said.
Rask saw the play develop in front of him but the odd deflection was enough to get it passed him in his second straight start and second straight shootout loss.
“I saw it, I saw it,” Rask said. “But the guy tipped it in front of me and you can’t just stand there and wait for the tip. I try to be square for the puck and he just happened to make kind of a weird tip and he tipped it over my shoulder. That’s the kind of luck we haven’t gotten in the past couple of games. Just got to stick with it, and it’s coming.”
It is those type of plays that are really starting to wear on the Bruins patience. For three straight games Boston has played well only to see a seemingly innocuous play turn into the deciding factor in the game. On Thursday it was the Matt Hunwick’s penalty that led to the first on Montreal’s two goals in the final minutes of the second period that turned the game around. On Tuesday against the Capitals it was Blake Wheeler and David Krejci not being able to get the puck past Jose Theodore on a wide-open net and then watch as Washington comes storming back minutes later. Good games by the Bruins are turning into losses on a dime.
“It is disheartening. You guys watched that last goal. A guy breaks his stick, [Lucic] should be off on a break away, 2-on-1, and it just kind of flubs through his legs and skate and the guy turns and fires it away,” Savard said. “It is not even a clean tip, it hits his shaft and skips up in the top corner. It is just disheartening, like I said. We go through overtime trying to get the win but no break.”
The Bruins were good in the third period against Vancouver. They did not sit back and wait to lose the game, they were active in trying to put a third goal passed Luongo. The Canuck stoned them which allowed his team enough of an opportunity to catch the break that the Bruins have not been able to in their 10 game skid.
“I still thought we played well in the third with that 2-1 lead and then that mistake and that turned into a goal and that is the end of it,” coach Claude Julien said. “I really thought that we were playing well enough in the third that we could have won that game 2-1. When [Lucic] over-skated that puck and they just threw it at the net, those are the type of things where you say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, give me a break here’ . . . right now it is just the way it is.”
So it is. The Bruins 10th straight loss turned on a broken stick, a breakaway that wasn’t and a tip off the shaft of Demitra’s stick. With all the breaks, it is a wonder that the Bruins cannot catch one. That is just how things work when a team is in the skids.
|Bruins lose 10th straight to Vancouver||at 3:52 pm ET|
Summary — Boston scored two first period goals but could not hold onto the lead as Vancouver came back to tie the game in the third period and win it in a shootout 3-2 at a sold out TD Garden. Tuukka Rask took the loss in his second straight start for the Bruins with 29 saves in a duel with Roberto Luongo who made 41 in the decision. Pavol Demitra had the game-deciding goal in the shootout which the Canucks won 1-0.
The Bruins used to the power play to their advantage to go up two goals in the first period. Captain Zdeno Chara got the first on a perfect pinch play at 1:56 after Marc Savard cycled the puck to Marco Sturm in the corner and found Chara crashing to the net to beat Luongo. The second goal came also came courtesy of the power play at 14:20 when Savard sent a wrist shot on net that was redirected by Michael Ryder’s stick. It was the 10th time this season that Boston has had multiple goals on the power play.
Vancouver cut into the lead at 8:51 on an even-strength strike by Mason Raymond at 8:51 in the second period. Ryan Kesler won the puck from Milan Lucic off the back wall and fed it in front to Raymond who took to steps left and beat Rask on the stick side.
The game-tying goal came courtesy of Demitra at 15:18 in the third period. Demitra screened Rask and redirected a shot from defenseman Sami Salo. The score was Demitra’s first goal of the season.
Roberto Luongo — The star goaltender made 41 saves on the day and shut the Bruins out in the shootout for the victory.
Marc Savard — The Bruins center had two assists in the first period to give him five in the last five contests. It was his sixth multiple-point game of the season and he now now has 27 points through 33 games on the year.
Zdeno Chara — The captain scored his fifth of the season in the first period and was very active in all phases of the game. The towering defenseman was instrumental in shutting down the explosive Sedin brothers and bottling up the Canucks attack.
Canucks defenseman Sami Salo had a slap shot from the point late in the third period that forward Pavol Demitra was able to get just enough of a piece of in front of the net to redirect it passed Rask for the game-tying goal at 15:18. The goal was Demintra’s first of the season in his 10th game of the year with Vancouver.
Demitra circled wide to the right in the shootout before attacking Rask on his glove side. Demitra was the only player to score in the shootout as Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were shutout. Over the last two games the Bruins have missed six straight shootout chances.
|Bruins try to keep focus||02.05.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Canadiens, the Bruins talked a lot of about getting good traffic, screens and rebounds in front of the net. It is the equivalent of “small ball,” but a quintessential way to score in the NHL — get the dirty goals when the goaltender is obstructed or out of position. Mark Recchi has made a good living doing it for years. This is how most of the league scores and how the Bruins are forced to play without a top-notch goal scorer who creates his own offense like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Ilya Kovalchuk.
Concerning Kovalchuk, if the Bruins players are crestfallen that he is now a member of the New Jersey Devils after Thursday’s trade, they are hiding it well.
“He is a great player and it would have been a nice addition but you are not going to lose sleep over it,” center Marc Savard said. “It would have been nice to get him but that is over with so you move on.”
Forward Milan Lucic did not want any part of the conversation.
“Obviously he could not get a deal done in Atlanta, he’s been a part of them for a long time. Good on New Jersey, looks like they got another lead scorer on their team and we will see what happens,” Lucic said. When asked if the players are looking for the front office to make a move, Lucic was noncommittal. “That is the least of my worries, it is nothing that I can control. Management does what they do and whatever they do, as a player, we have to be happy with their decision.”
Away from what has been happening in the rest of the NHL, the Bruins are focused entirely on themselves. Most of the work at Ristuccia Arena was focused on creating opportunities. The Bruins brought out shooting pads to elevate the puck off the ice and contain rebounds in screen drills. There was not a lot of contact but rather there will be some bruises where players took pucks off the body while standing in front of the goaltender as defensemen whipped shots from the blue line. Overall it was a day that the Bruins wanted to maintain a good work ethic and demeanor heading into Saturday’s matinee against Vancouver.
“It is kind of the way it has been going,” Savard said. ” We worked on the power play this morning, get some chop work and gets some shots.”
In terms of the goal drought in Boston, Savard said that he has never been a part of anything like it.
“For the amount of shots we put up and the scoring opportunities, I am not sure how many but I am sure it has been a lot over the past few games,” Savard said.
He was informed by a reporter that the Bruins have had 45 scoring opportunities in the last two games, good for one goal every 15 chances. “So, I don’t know what to say.”
Defenseman Andrew Ference skated with the team again and said that he “is making steps” towards a return from groin injury. He sounded doubtful that he would return next week but said that he was definite for after the Olympic break.
“Just keep taking steps. Stops and starts. Just another baby step,” Ference said. “I don’t know if it is going to get well enough before the break. Everyday I try to push it and see how it feels the next morning. You can only push it so fast so, honestly, I do not know. It has been going well so far so hopefully something before the break but I won’t know until I get to that day where I am taking full contact and full speed starts and stops.”
Here is the practice participation by sweater color:
White — Miroslav Satan, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic.
Red — Shawn Thornton, Steve Begin, Vladimir Sobotka, Byron Bitz.
|Canadiens set to invade TD Garden||02.04.10 at 1:27 pm ET|
If there was ever a game for the Bruins to get back to their winning ways, Thursday night against archrival Montreal Canadiens would be it. Boston has fallen from fifth to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings during its eight game losing streak and has watched division opponents like the Habs leapfrog them in the standings.
Over the past three games the Bruins have played with good energy and decent emotion but have not seen the results on the scoreboard. The team has not had a positive seminal moment during the season, a game that defines the squad and sets the pace for winning hockey. With the Canadiens in town and all the fanfare that comes along with them, Thursday could be a good time to turn things around.
“There is a lot of history in it, the crowd always gets into it. It is kind of cool when they have all those Montreal Canadiens fans in the crowd. It always gets us excited every time we play these guys,” Milan Lucic said.
Yes, there is history between these two Original Six hockey clubs, but recent history between the players on each roster is not worth much going into Thurday’s contest. Last year Boston and Montreal hooked up for a memorable, fight filled battle in the Bruins last home game of the regular season and tensions and between the two were high during the Boston’s three game, first round sweep in the playoffs. Yet, significant agitators on last year’s Habs roster such as Mike Komisarek (Toronto), Saku Koivu (Anaheim), Georges Laraque (released late January) and Andrei Kostitsyn (knee injury, out till after Olympics) are not around as are several players from last year’s Bruins roster. Hence, there are not many hard feelings carried over between the players going into Thursday’s contest.
“I wish [there was carry over] but they have kind of revamped their lineup so a lot of those guys who we had the big rivalries with in the last three years are gone. I would not mind creating new ones, I suppose,” Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton said. “We don’t like each other, we haven’t for years. I think it will be a fun game to play in, I think everybody will be up for it. So, I hope we will turn it around, yeah.”
The Bruins roster turmoil has had some effect on their goal output recently as they strive for chemistry on newly formed lines with the roster turnover or players returning from injury. As players such as Marco Sturm and Marc Savard get their health and timing back, the hope is that Boston can start generating more goals and find a way to win some games.
“We have not helped ourselves either with all the different line combinations but we are not the only team going through that and we are not going to make excuses but we have not had the same lines,” coach Claude Julien said. “The chemistry with injuries and the lines, it is a challenge and kind of have to fight through that and hopefully as we are getting a little healthier hopefully that comes back.”
At the same time, the Bruins goaltenders would do the rest of the team a big favor if they could completely shutdown an opposing team. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice after Thursday’s morning skate and will likely get the start against the Canadiens. He said that both him and Tim Thomas are always approach games with the notion that the goaltender might be able to steal a win for the team.
“We got to have that state of mind before every game. The past few games have been like that, we can’t let in any weak goals. We approach games that way that we are going to steal them and hopefully it is going to happen soon,” Rask said. “We really feel that we have been playing better and better here just without the results but I am trying to get the win here today.”
10 Bruins forwards participated in the morning skate with Mark Recchi, Savard, Sturm and Michael Ryder the missing men. On the blue line Boston had six skaters with Andrew Ference taking the ice and Dennis Wideman absent. Ference has missed the last 12 games with a groin injury. Mark Stuart will still be sidelined with a broken finger he sustained against the Kings last Saturday and is expected to be out until after the Olympics at the very least. It remains doubtful that Ference will play against the Canadiens which probably means that Adam McQuaid and Wideman will be on the rink when the puck drops barring a last minute change of plans.
|Bruins use power play to gain momentum||02.02.10 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
|Thornton, Sobotka make way for Sturm, Begin||01.30.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
He missed the last six games with a leg injury, taking his 15 goals with him.
Steve Begin also returned after missing the last five games with a lower body injury. Shawn Thornton and Vladimir Sobotka were healthy scratches to make room on the 20-man game roster.
Thornton, with just one goal in 50 games, and Sobotka (4g, 3a in 43 games) have been very disappointing in their production as forwards and the Bruins are in desperate need of a jump-start to their offense. Entering Saturday, they had an NHL-low 128 goals.
“Patrice has been good for us all year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It hasn’t been an issue at all with him. He’s been our most reliable player from day one.”
To Julien’s point, the Bruins are 15-5-3 when Bergeron scores or records an assist. Bergeron entered Saturday with 21 assists, second on the team to Zdeno Chara’s 25.
Savard returned on Friday after missing eight games with a knee injury. He had an assist in the 2-1 loss at Buffalo. The team is 11-3-1 when he records a point in a game. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins ready to bounce back against Buffalo||01.28.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After a week of practice to get healthy and screw their heads on straight, the Bruins will travel to Buffalo on Friday to take on the Northeast Division leading Sabres. It is an interesting challenge for Boston as the Buffalo is 15 points ahead of the Bruins in the standings but has been in a bit of a funk for the last week, going 1-3-1 in its last five games. The Sabres did snap a three game skid by beating the Devils 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday night in New Jersey and remain a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
“They are a pretty good team, they are playing well,” coach Claude Julien said. “I saw them play yesterday against New Jersey. They are playing with lots of confidence, they got great goaltender which keeps them in the game. They gave up 40 shots last night and only gave up a goal. We are already challenged a little bit in the goal scoring department so we are going to have to work just that much harder to get past this guy.”
The Sabres goaltender is Ryan Miller who is expected to be the starting net-minder for Team USA in the Vancouver Olympics and is second in the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against average. As Julien said, with the Bruins scoring woes, it will indeed be a challenge. Read the rest of this entry »