|Preview: Bruins prepare to take on Kings without Marc Savard||01.24.11 at 3:10 am ET|
As the Bruins (21-14-7) await word on the status of Marc Savard, they will look to sweep their two-game road trip when they take on the Kings (25-22-1) at the Staples Center. The B’s and Kings last met at the Garden on Nov. 20, with the Kings winning, 4-3, in a shootout.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Kings are 15-9-1 at home this season, and are 3-6-0 over their last nine home contests.
– The Bruins are 15-5-4 in away games this season. They have gotten at least one point in each of their road games since the Dec. 27 win over the Panthers, and are 6-0-3 over that stretch. Their last regulation road loss came on Dec. 16 vs. the Canadiens.
– The Bruins have averaged 4.0 goals a game since their 7-6 shootout loss to the Sabres on New Years Day. They had averaged 2.83 goals a night in the first 36 games of the season. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have seven goals apiece this month, while Zdeno Chara has six.
-Thornton’s 15 consecutive games without a goal is his longest such stretch of the season. It’s quite remarkable considering he went 72 straight games without a tally a season ago.
Thornton’s seven goals are a career-high, and he’s on pace for 12 this season.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– This road trip could have meant a visit with both of the Bruins’ cap causalities this season in Matt Hunwick (Colorado) and Marco Sturm (Los Angeles), but the B’s will have to settle with having seen Hunwick on Saturday. Knee tendinitis has Sturm on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 18.
The B’s traded the German winger to Los Angeles on Dec. 11 in a deal that landed them nothing in return, though the true prize of the trade was the freedom to proceed with the activation of Savard without having to worry about cap strife. In 15 games with the Kings this season, Sturm has four goals and four assists for eight points. He had 106 goals in parts of four seasons with the B’s after being acquired in the Joe Thornton trade.
– The Bruins have two games in hand when it comes to their race with the Lightning for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, but Tampa Bay grabbed another two points Sunday with a 7-1 win over the Thrashers. They have 65 points to the Bruins’ 61, while the B’s lead the Canadiens by two points in the Northeast Division.
– Should Thomas get the nod in net, he will have the opportunity to grab a piece of the league lead in wins, a category he hasn’t led since the beginning of the season. Jonas Hiller and Carey Price each have 24 victories this season, and with both the Ducks and Canadiens off Monday, Thomas (23-4-6) could make it a three-way tie. Thomas already leads the league in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.945) and is tied with Henrik Lundqvist for a league-leading seven shutouts.
Thomas has not lost a game in regulation since Dec. 20. He is 8-0-3 in 11 games (10 starts) since then.
|Marc Savard (head) won’t travel to Los Angeles with Bruins||01.22.11 at 6:02 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard will return to Boston for tests after a hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick caused him to leave Saturday’s game with a head injury. The team is traveling to Los Angeles on Saturday in anticipation of Monday’s game against the Kings.
“He’s going to be headed back home,” Claude Julien told NESN’s Naoko Funayama following the team’s 6-2 win. “He got shook up obviously, and for precautionary reasons, were going to send him back home to get evaluated by our own doctors.”
Savard fell to the ice following the hit, as his head appeared to hit to the boards. He missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome.
|Marchand’s four points lead Bruins past Avalanche||at 5:35 pm ET|
Four Bruins goals in the first two periods both chased Colorado netminder Craig Anderson from the game and helped the team to a 6-2 victory on Saturday.
Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi had four and three-point showings, respectively, while linemate Patrice Bergeron also scored and had an assist. Milan Lucic had two goals for the B’s, and with David Krejci‘s two assists on the day, five different Bruins had multi-point showings.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind an odd Paul Stastny goal at 2:00 of the first that bounced off of Dennis Seidenberg, but the B’s scored four unanswered goals to end Anderson’s day after 40 minutes. Peter Budaj took over in the third, allowing Bergeron’s goal.
Marc Savard took a hit from former Bruin Matt Hunwick in the corner in the second period and left the game with a head injury. He held a towel to his face as he skated off the ice.
Tim Thomas improved to 23-4-6 on the season with the win. He made 32 saves in the victory.
The Bruins will travel to Los Angeles, where they will face the Kings on Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Marchand continued to prove he’s been the best of an impressive bunch of Bruins’ rookies. He held his own with Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne in front of the net on his first-period goal, and drew Anderson so far out of his net on a 2-on-1 in the second period that the rookie was able to simply slide it to Mark Recchi for an easy one-timer goal.
His second goal of the game was an empty-though it came with Seidenberg in the bench and made for his fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Marchand now has 12 goals and 12 assists on the season.
– Recchi scored his 10th goal of the season, making him the eighth Bruins player with at least 10 goals this season. Last year, the B’s had eight players reach double-digits in goals, and it appears they will expand on that number given that four different Bruins have seven goals on the season.
– Lucic set a career-high in goals in a season with his first period goal and added to the number in the second period. With 19 goals thus far, Lucic is one strike away from the 20 he set as a pre-season goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Marc Savard had his second injury scare in the last Saturday’s game against the Penguins, but unlike the hit he took in that game from Deryk Engelland, his hit from former teammate Hunwick knocked him out of the game.
Savard appeared to be bleeding as he left the ice following the second-period hit. After missing the first 23 games of the season due to post-concussion syndrome, any time the center (who is in the first year of a seven-year deal) leaves the ice holding his head is greatly concerning.
– Nathan Horton is still searching for that goal to break him out of his slump. He had two shots on goal and had an interesting chance when he swung at a bouncing puck in the second period, but now has just one goal over his last 18 games.
– Former Boston University Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk was a thorn in the Bruins’ side, getting the primary assist on Stastny’s goal and making it a two-goal game with a goal of his own early in the third.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Problems loom for B’s if first line cannot improve||01.19.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports NHL analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury said this is the best he’s seen Patrice Bergeron play. “[He’s] seeing the ice, quick to the puck, totally unafraid, does all the little things right, good on the draws, goes to the front of the net, sees the ice well ‘ there’s nothing to not like about his game,” Milbury said.
The lack of production from the first line is a concern to Milbury. “[Nathan] Horton, [Marc] Savard and [Milan] Lucic have got to find a way to put points on the board,” he said. “They’ve been winning a whole bunch of games without a lot of support from those three guys. Listen, there’s no getting around, it’s their top line. And if your top line isn’t producing the way you expect it to, you’re going to run into problems sooner or later.
“The flip side of that is, because of the balance that they now have, they’re able to do it while the first line finds their rhythm.”
Of Horton, Milbury said. “He’s yet to get fully engaged in the game on a regular basis. By that I mean hustle to loose pucks, work really hard to get there. I’ve seen him fight and he can really go, so I know he’s not afraid. But the point is ‘ and this is the common catchword ‘ there’s got to be more urgency to his game. He’s got to want it more. He’s got to fight for loose pucks a little bit more. He’s got to be a little bit more reckless in his game. Until he gets that, his progress is going to be checked, in my opinion.”
Meanwhile, Milbury likes what he’s seeing from the fourth line. “The Bruins have as good a fourth line as there is in the game right now with [Brad] Marchand, [Gregory] Campbell and Shawn Thornton,” Milbury said. “[Campbell] plays hard every night. He’s a coach’s dream, because you know what you’re going to get shift after shift.”
As for Marchand, Milbury said: “He uses his assets, which are his feet, and a little bit of grit to get where he needs to go. ‘¦ We talk about Horton and engaging and getting the most out of what you’ve got. Well, this kid is getting all of what he can give and then some.”
Looking at the Eastern Conference, Milbury said, “I still think Pittsburgh is the team to beat, and Philly second.”
As for the Bruins, “It’s still a team that I think has yet to hit its full stride,” Milbury said. “But things have changed now for the Bruins. [Tuukka] Rask is back in the picture, [Tim] Thomas is still playing incredibly well, the defense is starting to act like it can jump into the offense or produce when it comes to getting shots on goal, and you’ve got three lines, at least right now, that are playing I think well enough to win on most nights ‘ and they are winning on most nights. If they can ever get that first line humming, they’ve got to be be a strong candidate to come out of the Eastern Conference.”
|Bruins and Hurricanes tied after one||01.18.11 at 7:51 pm ET|
The Bruins and Hurricanes find themselves knotted at one after Marc Savard and Jussi Jokinen scored in the first period Monday night at RBC Center.
Though Jokinen did the damage against the B’s, he also helped their case when he tripped Zdeno Chara just 17 seconds into the game to set up Boston’s first power play.
Johnny Boychuk thought he had his first goal of the season when, with Jokinen in the box, Boychuk sent a shot from the point past Cam Ward. The goal was later changed to Savard’s, who appeared to have tipped it.
With less than 20 seconds left in a hooking penalty to Brad Marchand, Blake Wheeler tried skating the puck out of the zone but had it stolen near the blueline. That cost the Bruins after Jokinen sent a rebound off an Eric Staal shot past Tim Thomas.
Each team took two penalties in the period, with the Bruins potentially taking a third, as it appeared Thomas was called for roughing at the end of the period. They’ll begin the second period down a man.
The B’s are being outshot, 19-11. Thomas looked good ast the Hurricanes picked it up in the second half of the period, and over the course of the first made a couple of big kick saves on Sergei Samsonov and Erik Cole.
|Marc Savard hasn’t forgotten about Matt Cooke||01.15.11 at 5:22 pm ET|
Savard did come back and appeared in the playoffs, scoring the game-winning overtime goal against the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis. But still, he was not the same.
On Saturday, Matt Cooke returned to Boston with the Penguins and was booed lustily by the Bruins crowd each time he touched the puck. The Bruins Johnny Boychuk even tried to engage him long enough to drop the gloves. No luck.
“He won’t do a thing,” Savard said. “Johnny [Boychuk] has tried him last few games and he just skates away. He’ll get you from different areas but he won’t get you head on, obviously.”
But on Saturday, it wasn’t Cooke but rather defenseman Deryk Engelland that leveled him with a clean hit along the far boards in the third period, knocking him off-balance and into the boards.
“A little woozy, to be honest with you,” Savard said. “But we’ll see how I feel the rest of the day here tonight and stuff, because’¦ I don’t know I haven’t seen the replay, it felt like he just got my head, so I don’t know. But a little woozy.”
Savard, as was the case in Pittsburgh last March 8, was caught off-guard.
“Yeah, I think I was looking kind of behind me for a pass to make, and I think he closed me off,” Savard said. “I felt okay, I felt a little bit’¦ a little winded king of thing. Nothing bad right now.
“All I wanted to do, is make sure I gathered my thoughts, you know, and everything came back together ‘¦ fine so, I’ll monitor it and watch the rest of the day here, see how I feel a little bit ‘¦ I was a little bit shaken up.”
He is just hoping he’ll be okay to skate with the team during it’s Sunday practice in advance of Monday’s matinee with the Hurricanes.
“Just a little dazed,” Savard said. “I haven’t gotten a headache yet or anything like that. Just a little dazed and just getting your bell rung a bit. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about right now.”
Rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer was sent to the hospital with a broken nose after being bloodied by teammate Zdeno Chara 57 seconds into the second period. Chara became entangled with Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis in the offensive corner when Kampfer came skating by, catching Chara’s stick in the face.
“He went to the hospital and has a broken nose,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “They are just checking him out. We’re going to find out more and the severity of it [Sunday].”
Dupuis was called for the major high-sticking penalty but TV replays clearly showed it was Chara’s stick that did the damage.
“I think it was my stick but not 100 percent sure,” Chara explained after the 3-2 loss to the Penguins. “I was batting and somehow my stick got high, hit Stevie. Just an unfortunate play. But I don’t know exactly how it happened.”
Meanwhile, Marc Savard took a header into the far boards in the third period, after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland but after spending about a minute on the ice, he got to his knees and skated off on his own power.
“From what I’m told, there was nothing wrong. It was a clean hit,” Julien said. “He was off-balance, got his bell rung a little bit but he’s alright.”
Savard, of course, was hit by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke last March 8 on a blindside hit and missed several weeks with a Grade 2 concussion. The two had a couple of run-ins on Saturday but no major brush-ups.
Still, Savard will pay close attention to how he feels over the next 24 hours before getting ready for the Hurricanes on Monday afternoon at TD Garden.
“I’ll monitor it and watch the rest of the day, see how I feel a little bit,” Savard said. “I was a little bit shaken up.”