|Michael Ryder, Steven Stamkos have Bruins and Lightning tied after one||12.28.10 at 8:21 pm ET|
The Bruins and Lightning traded power play goals in the first period, and the teams are tied at one goal apiece after 20 minutes of play.
Brad Marchand (who made his return to the lineup after battling soreness from the P.K. Subban hit earlier this month) and Sean Bergenheim got tangled up in the early going, and Bergenheim got minors for roughing and cross-checking, while Marchand only got went off for cross-checking. With the B’s on the early man advantage, Michael Ryder scored his 11th goal of the season 28 seconds into the game.
Steven Stamkos countered with his 29th goal of the year at 7:10. With Adam McQuaid in the box for high-stickingm Tim Thomas was able to knock down a Ryan Malone bid, but in doing so swatted it to Stamkos, who put it in to make it a tie game.
There were six minor penalties assessed (three apiece) between the two teams in the first period. Five seconds into a Lightning power play with Milan Lucic in the box, Steven Stamkos went off for tripping Zdeno Chara, making for 1:55 of four-on-four play.
The Bruins, fresh off of jumping into first place in the Northeast division with their 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers on Monday, will take on the Lightning, who lead the Southeast division, on Tuesday night. It’s the second of five straight road games for the Bruins, and the second of three games in four days.
The last time the Bruins faced the Lightning, they won in blowout fashion, crushing Tampa Bay, 8-1, at TD Garden on Dec. 2. The two teams have split the season series thus far, as the Lightning grabbed a 3-1 win at St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 22.
The Lightning have won six of their last seven games, while the Bruins are winners of their last two.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Lightning are 10-2-2 in Tampa and are a perfect 4-0-0 in home games this month.
- The Bruins are 10-5-1 on the road this season. Their shootout win on Monday was just their second road victory of the month, the first of which came on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia.
- Steven Stamkos is back on track following his statistical hiccup that lasted from late November into the beginning of the month. He has scored seven goals in his last eight games and has 28 on the season.
- Milan Lucic‘s scoreless streak has now reached four games and he has one point in the last six contests. Lucic had two points when the B’s faced the Lightning on Dec. 2.
- David Krejci and Michael Ryder starred in that 8-1 Bruins victory over the Lightning earlier this month with three points apiece. Both Krejci and Ryder had a pair of points in Monday’s win over the Panthers, and with their line with Blake Wheeler clicking, they’re certainly a couple of players worth keeping an eye on.
- After having three goals entering last Thursday’s game vs. the Rangers, Vincent Lecavalier has doubled that in his last two games. He has a pair of goals in Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Thrashers.
- After Monday, it’s now been five straight games without a start for Rask. If Thomas starts against the the Thrashers on Thursday, Rask will have gone more than two weeks without seeing any playing time. Thomas has been stellar in his last two starts, so the Bruins face some serious difficulty in trying to get Rask game experience to keep him sharp.
STORLYLINES GOING IN
- The Lucic – Savard – Horton line has not produced a goal in either of the two game s since it came into being in last week’s line shuffle. In fact, of the four non-special-teams goals the team has scored in the last two contests, half have come from Krejci, with Shawn Thornton scoring the other two.
- Will this one go to overtime, too? Judging by the opponent, it wouldn’t be surprising. The Lightning’s last three games have been decided either in overtime or a shootout. They’re 2-0-1 in that stretch.
|Bruins answer the call with convincing 4-1 win over Thrashers||12.23.10 at 9:38 pm ET|
The Bruins spent the past two days dealing with backlash from both fans and the media over their recent struggles. They responded in a big way Thursday, playing one of their better games of the season in defeating the Thrashers, 4-1, at TD Garden.
Though Patrice Bergeron got the B’s on the board with a shorthanded goal in the first and Michael Ryder tallied what proved to be the deciding goal, Shawn Thornton was the offensive hero for the 17,565 to pack the Garden seats. The energy line winger had a big night, beating Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec for two goals.
Tim Thomas improved his record to 15-4-3 on the season.
The Bruins will have two days off before returning to practice on Sunday. From there, they will embark on a five-game road trip before returning home to the Garden on Jan. 6.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Shawn Thornton came an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick and a goal away from a real one. His fight with Eric Boulton off the opening the face-off helped ignite everybody in attendance, while his two goals brought his season total to a career-high seven.
- The Bruins responded to the call for more passion and motivation. They were more offensively persistent and sustained energy throughout the night. Additionally, they did it against a very good Thrashers team. This game was looked at by some (including your’s truly) as a game the team could use to establish more of an identity. Now that they’ve shown they can respond to losses as ugly as Monday night’s, the next step is seeing to it that there aren’t any more like their embarrassment vs. the Ducks.
The fans undoubtedly left the house satisfied, as an all-out brawl broke out with 4:06 remaining in the game following a Freddy Meyer hit to Milan Lucic’s head. Lucic, Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference, and Marc Savard dropped the gloves for the B’s.
- Thornton wasn’t the only one to show up on the stat sheet multiple times. Patrice Bergeron (G, A) and Daniel Paille (2 A) also had two points on the night. With Brad Marchand still out due to soreness stemming from the P.K. Subban hit, it’s good for Paille to have a game that can give him some confidence should he stick in the lineup for another game or two.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- With the match penalty that Lucic received for punching Freddy Meyer in the helmet, he now faces a suspension, pending review. It was clearly intent to injure on Lucic’s part and it’s hard to believe anybody will view it as anything but.
- Of course, Dustin Byfuglien scored the Thrashers’ lone goal. Byfuglien had a goal and three assists when the Thrashers beat the B’s last month, so his tally on Thursday gave him his fifth point against the Bruins this season.
- Tyler Seguin and Steve Kampfer were the the lone Bruins players to have a negative rating. After his minus-1 on Thursday, Seguin is a plus-1 on the season.
- The Canadiens were held on for a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes after scoring twice in the final 3:03 of the second period. The B’s remain two points behind the Habs for the division lead.
|Bruins crush Lightning, 8-1||12.02.10 at 9:31 pm ET|
Twelve different Bruins had points and the B’s chased Tampa Bay starter Mike Smith from the net in a 8-1 victory at TD Garden.
In a contest that featured standout play from many a Bruin, David Krejci and Tim Thomas stole the show. Krejci, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 30, scored a pair of goals and added an assist en route to a plus-4 night.
Thomas improved to 13-2-1 on the season, having his shutout streak stopped at 107:22 by a Victor Hedman goal in the second period. Thomas had picked up his league-leading fifth shutout of the season a night before in Philadelphia.
With the victory, the Bruins improved to 14-8-2 on the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Lucic has now surpassed his point total from last season. In 50 games last season, Lucic had 20 points. Through 24 games this season, Lucic has 22 thanks to the assist he picked up on Krejci’s goal and his own second-period goal.
Not only is Lucic healthy, which is huge for him, but he’s played at a higher level and seems set to demolish the 20 goals he was hoping for entering the season (he has 12 thus far).
- It’s been beaten to death, yes, but as long as Thornton is outproducing Ilya Kovalchuk, it will receive attention. With his second-period tally, Thornton surpassed Kovalchuk with five goals to the Devils’ forward’s four.
- Thomas picked up his second assist of the season, getting the secondary helper on Thornton’s tally. The double-threat goaltender’s other point came on Seguin’s first career goal in Prague on Oct. 10.
- Ryder has assists in three straight games. The first assist he picked up on Thursday came on a goal that should have never been scored, but he’ll take it. Ryder was given the helper on Dennis Seidenberg’s goal, a shot from center ice that was misplayed by Smith.
Ryder also sniped one past Dan Ellis from the top of the circle in the third period to make it a 6-1 game. He added his third point of the night on Recchi’s power-play goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The idea of Seguin playing on a line with Savard is very intriguing, but the rookie wasn’t much of a factor on Thursday. Seguin registered one shot on goal and had two shots blocked on the night.
Getting pucks on net hasn’t been a struggle for Seguin has worn on, so the lack of shots isn’t exactly a sign of a slump. Seguin had three or more shots in his last four games entering Wednesday’s game with the Flyers. He scored his fifth goal of the season in the 3-0 win in Philadelphia.
- Nathan Horton had a better game and had a golden opportunity on Ellis in the third period, but he has now gone nine contests without a goal. He was, of course, a plus-4 with one assist on the night, so it would be hard for the Bruins to complain.
|Steven Stamkos, Lightning beat Bruins in Tampa||11.22.10 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Bruins became the most recent team to fall victim to Steven Stamkos and the Lightning as they fell to Tampa Bay, 3-1, on Monday night.
Michael Ryder scored the lone Bruins’ goal at 10:38 of the third, with Tampa Bay getting goals from Dana Tyrell, Stamkos, and Teddy Purcell in the second period.
Though the notable lineup news for the B’s entering the game was Tyler Seguin‘s promotion to the second line, it was the first line that got attention for all the wrong reasons. Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton failed to registered just one shot on Lightning goaltender Mike Smith, who made26 saves to improve to 7-3-0 on the season.
Tuukka Rask relived the season opener once again, as the Bruins stalled in front of him for two periods before attempting a comeback that didn’t prove to be good enough. Rask make 33 saves on 36 shots. With the loss, Rask is now 1-5-1 on the season despite entering the game second third in the league in save percentage.
From Tampa the Bruins will travel to Florida, where they will face the Panthers on Wednesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The top line went wrong for the Bruins. Claude Julien doesn’t like to identify his lines in the first, second, third, fourth manner, and on Monday, he wouldn’t be able to if he wanted to.
The lack of shooting this season on Nathan Horton’s part has been well-documented, but on Monday it was his entirely line that failed to get the puck on net. The line got just one shot on goal, which Krejci contributed late in the third period.
- Nothing derails a comeback attempt like a penalty in the third period. After failing to capitalize on a hooking penalty assessed to Steve Downie at 1:28, the B’s were caught with too many men on the ice at 4:20, rendering them down a man and postponing a shot at a comeback for a couple of minutes. Luckily for the Bruins, the Lightning returned the favor shortly after with a too-many-men call of their own.
- Momentum, or lack thereof, was once again the story of the first two periods. No gloves were dropped after either of Tampa Bay’s three goals in the second period, and it’s something that could have aided the Bruins.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Seguin responded well to being moved to the second line, shooting more (four shots on goal) and drawing a key hooking penalty on Downie early on in the third.
- Patrice Bergeron had a team-high five shots on goal, which tied his high on the season. Bergeron also had five shots against the Capitals on Oct. 21.
- Ryder and Jordan Caron really battled to set up the Blake Wheeler shot that led to Ryder’s goal. The two had to outmuscle Lighting skaters to bring the puck up and get it to Wheeler in the offensive zone, with Ryder tipping it past Smith.
|Tim Thomas shuts out Devils as Bruins win||11.15.10 at 9:24 pm ET|
Tim Thomas picked up his fourth shutout of the season as the 36-year-old blanked the Devils in front of a sold out crowd at TD Garden on Monday night, leading the Bruins to a 3-0 win. Thomas stopped all 28 of the shots he saw, as he improved to 9-1-0 on the season.
Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton and Blake Wheeler scored for the Bruins in the first, second, and third periods, respectively. Horton leads the team with eight goals, while Ryder picked up his fifth goal and Wheeler scored his third.
The Bruins will travel to New York to face the Rangers on Wednesday in Claude Julien’s 500th game as a coach.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- All three of the Bruins’ scorers had either a bit of intrigue or relief accompany their goals Horton had cooled off a bit at home, so getting on the board at the Garden is huge for the Bruins as they aim to get some offense going in front of the home crowd this year.
Ryder, meanwhile, continues to make it harder for the Bruins to send him to Providence when Marco Sturm and Marc Savard return from long term injury reserve. Ryder has a $4 million cap hit, but he’s third on the team in goals and is on pace to surpass his 18-goal total of a year ago.
Wheeler, who like teammate Mark Stuart donated $5,000 worth of tickets to local military troops, was due for a goal. He both created plays on Saturday night and had them fall apart, getting the wrath of the fans when he knocked one in the Senators’ net hit his glove.
- The woes continue for the $100 million man, Ilya Kovalchuk, and the Devils. The Bruins held the sniper to just two shots on goal, and Kovalchuk finished the night a minus-one. Through 17 games, Kovalchuk has nine goals and is a minus-nine.
- On November 15, Tim Thomas is just one shutout away from tying his career-high of five, a feat he has been accomplish in the last two seasons.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Tyler Seguin has just one point in his last seven games. The Bruins don’t need him to be the star he’s expected to become right away, but with Krejci out there was certainly opportunity for him to showcase his talents and get a little more playing time. He continues to hover in the 12:00-13:00 range as far as ice time goes, and with Ryder no longer on his line, he may have a harder time keeping the point total up. Patience is the key, and this scribe isn’t ready to go back on his 23-goal prediction for Seguin in his rookie year.
- Ryder’s seen a bit of a spike in penalty minutes these last couple of games. He entered the Senators game on Saturday with just two on the season and, after going off for a dive on Saturday, was called for tripping at 1:35 of the third. He did, of course draw a Mattias Tedenby double-minor in the second period, negating the four minutes he’s compiled over the last two games.
|Michael Ryder, Bruins hope home struggles not a repeat of last season||11.13.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Bruins are dealing with inconsistency at home, but hold the “what else is new?” comment.
The B’s can’t seem to shake whatever it is that made them 17-17-6 at the Garden a season ago and 2-2-1 this season, but that isn’t to say that they’re willing to accept their fate as a bad home team.
“We knew last year that we struggled at home, but we’ve tried to block it out and get to our mentality that we have on the road,” Michael Ryder said following the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday. “Maybe when when we’re on the road, we’re a little more focused than we are at home. I think we’re aware of it, but I don’t think we need to panic. It’s still early in the year, and I think if we win tonight it will be a big step forward.”
The Bruins will face an Ottawa team on Saturday that is 3-3-1 on the road this season, though the Senators have won their last three road contests. The key to victory will be getting past goaltender Brian Elliot, and that will require more scoring than the Bruins have been able to turn in at home this season.
Counting both the “home” and “away” game in Prague, the Bruins have scored 3.7 goals per away game, while they’ve averaged just 2.2 goals per game at home. Ryder, who has gotten his points both on the road and at home, doesn’t quite know how to diagnose what the team’s done differently from one place to the next.
“Not really,” Ryder said when asked if he felt the team was doing anything specifically different. “Maybe it’s just that at home, sometimes you try and do things a little different than you do on the road. You keep it more simple when you get on the road, and I think at home we just get away from that and our style of play. I think if we do that tonight, we’ll be fine and we’ll start winning at home a lot more.”
The most recent loss suffered at the Garden came Thursday, when the Bruins lost their legs after coming out flying early in the first period en route to a 3-1 defeat against the Canadiens. It’s after games such as the Habs contest that the veterans stress that the team be encouraged by what they do right.
“We’ve got to just keep plugging along,” Mark Recchi said. “We got off to a great start last time, but the puck didn’t go in. Just keep plugging. We have a good road mentality, to just go out there and play our game. We know what makes us tick as a team and what makes us go. If we play that way, we’re going to be fine at home or wherever we are, really. We just have to get back to that, and make sure we continue it.”
Like Ryder, Recchi knows that it’s easy to look at the struggles at home and think that it’s simply a case of continuing down a road embarked upon a season ago, but he also sees a distinct difference in this Bruins club from that of a season ago.
“We believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we’re doing and we believe that if we do the right things, we’re going to win hockey games,” Recchi said. “We’ve got a strong belief in each other, and that’s very important. We know if we play the right way and play Bruins hockey and lay physical, get pucks deep, and skate, we’re very tough to play against. We’re still trying to grow that identity, and it’s a process, and it’s early, and we’ve still got a long ways to go, but the guys are forging ahead here and want to get better.”
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