|Tim Thomas helps Bruins head to All-Star break with win over Panthers||01.26.11 at 9:30 pm ET|
Fans braved the weather on Wednesday night in traveling to TD Garden, and were rewarded with a 2-1 Bruins victory behind Tim Thomas‘ 24th win of the season.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored in the first and second period, respectively. Marchand is now fourth on the B’s with 13 goals, while Lucic improved his team-leading total to 20. Defenseman Bryan Allen scored the Panthers’ lone goal at 8:37 of the third period.
Thomas, now 24-5-6 on the season, is now tied with Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price for second in the NHL lead in wins. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller leads the league with 25. Thomas sits atop the league in save percentage, goals against average, and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. He made 34 saves Wednesday night, with the B’s firing 35 shots on Tomas Vokoun.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star weekend. The skills competition will take place Saturday, with the actual game being played Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. The B’s will will return to action Tuesday in that very city, taking on the Hurricanes in the fourth meeting between the teams this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-Milan Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Less than two minutes into the second, linemate David Krejci won a faceoff straight back to Lucic at the top of the left circle, and the 22-year-old winger didn’t waste any time firing a quick snap shot into the top right corner. Lucic now has four goals in his last six games. Coming into the season, he said getting 20 goals was one of his targets. Time to raise the bar a little higher.
- The Bruins didn’t see another center suffer an injury, which was certainly a concern when David Krejci was down on the ice after crashing into the boards following a hit from Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz. Trainer Don DelNegro came out to tend to him, and Krejci left the ice and went down the tunnel. Moments after the scare, Krejci was back on the bench and returned to the ice in short order, not missing any shifts in the process.
Krejci went on to play a huge role in Lucic’s second-period tally, winning the face-off clean in the Panthers’ zone early in the period and drawing it to Lucic, who fired a quick snapshot past Vokoun from high in the circle.
- Brad Marchand remains hot for the Bruins. The surprising offensive contributor now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in his last 11 games and has 13 goals thus far in his rookie year. He beat Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period for the game’s first goal. Linemate Patrice Bergeron picked up the primary assist and now has 15 points over his last 10 games.
- The Bruins stayed out of the box. The Bruins avoided the sin bin until the refs found Dennis Seidenberg guilty of a hold 5:37 into the third. The one infraction matched a season low for the B’s.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Nathan Horton now has one goal over his last 20 games. His line had a much stronger effort on Wednesday than in the team’s 2-0 loss Monday in which he was demoted to a line with Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.
- Thomas lost what would have been a league-leading eighth shutout of the season when Bryan Allen made it a 2-1 game at 8:37 of the third. Thomas remains tied with Henrik Lundqvist with seven blankings on the season.
The Panthers outshot the B’s, 16-9, in the third.
- With how well Marchand has been playing, you almost wish he didn’t have to take five days off for the All-Star break.
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.
|Milan Lucic adds to Bruins lead in second period||at 8:37 pm ET|
Milan Lucic is a 20-goal-scorer for the first time, and after two periods the Bruins lead the Panthers, 2-0.
David Krejci, who had an injury scare on the first period after crashing into the boards, made the second period memorable for a more positive reason. The pivot won a face-off clean in the Panthers zone and drew it back to Lucic, who scored on a snapshot at 1:52. Lucic’s career-high for goals in a season was 17, which he scored in 2008-09, a season in which he played 72 games.
There were no penalties in the period, and through two the only penalty came in the form of a first-period high-sticking call on Panthers forward Christopher Higgins.
The shutout remains intact for Tim Thomas, with the B’s outshooting the Panthers, 26-19.
NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury gave his thoughts on the Marc Savard situation, after news broke Wednesday morning that Savard went home to Ontario to rest his head.
“With the two hits that he took recently, and now this reaction, I think long term is the way it’s going to be,” Milbury said. “Whether they do it officially or not is I guess another matter to discuss. Either way, they’re going to have to handle this one very delicately. We all know the concussion thing is a huge concern these days and a huge topic of discussion in the NHL. So, I think the Bruins will handle this one very conservatively.”
Milbury said people who want to remove the instigator penalty are barking up the wrong tree. “Does anybody really think that being able to go up and smack somebody in the head with his fist without the guy being ready is a really good thing for concussion prevention?” he said. “I just don’t get it when I hear the argument about the instigator penalty. You want to fight somebody, who cares about the two minutes? Just take the two minutes. But you’ve got to leave the instigator penalty in, and we can stop talking about it, in my opinion.”
When co-host Dale Arnold said he disagreed, Milbury deadpanned: “I know you disagree with me, but if I come up and smack you in the head, you might change your mind. And I’m likely to do it if you continue along this path.”
Milbury was asked his opinion of David Krejci. “He doesn’t look like he’s reacting as quickly as he has in the past,” Milbury said. “And I can’t tell that this is the reason why, but listen, he had a severe concussion last year. It took Patrice Bergeron a full year and then some to come back from that. It takes a lot of guys a full year to come back from an injury. That could be it. His timing seems to be OK, his vision seems to be OK, but he just doesn’t have that sharpness to his game that you like to see. But otherwise, it’s the same Krejci. It’s just the pace isn’t where I think it’s been at in the past.”
Milbury also opined on Michael Ryder: “They signed him to be a goal-scorer. He’s not. He’s going to be a 20-plus goal-scorer. He’s not a physical presence. He and [Blake] Wheeler are in the same boat, as far as I’m concerned. They put some effort into the game, I think there’s more there.”
As for Milan Lucic and his lack of physical play this season, Milbury said: “I firmly believe that if he doesn’t bring that [physical] element to his game, he sells himself short and his team short. He was, as you remember, in his rookie year, changing games not with scoring lots of goals but with momentum-changing hits and an occasional fight. Those are almost as important as scoring goals. And he doesn’t bring that that often anymore. I know he’s being dinged up a little bit. ‘¦ I’d like to see it a whole lot more often. I’d like to see it from the Bruins in general more often.”
|Milan Lucic says Marc Savard shouldn’t return this season if it ‘puts his life in jeopardy’||at 12:16 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic spoke with concern about teammate and friend Marc Savard on Wednesday. Savard suffered his second concussion in less than a year when he banged his head against the glass Saturday in Colorado following a hit from Matt Hunwick.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Wednesday that Savard has since returned home to Ontario to rest. Lucic noted that it’s tough to project when a player might return from a concussion, he would rather Savard do what’s best for his health than rush back.
“We hope that we get to see him back this year, but you’ve got to think for his health number one,” Lucic said. “You’ve got to make sure he makes a full recovery and doesn’t make a mistake in coming back too early and puts his life in jeopardy.”
Savard missed the final 18 games of the 2009-10 season after suffering a concussion on March 7 on a hit from Penguins forward Matt Cooke. He returned for the second round of the playoffs but went on to miss the first 23 games of this season with post-concussion syndrome. In 25 games with the B’s this season, the 33-year-old has two goals and eight assists for 10 points and a minus-7 rating.
|Preview: Bruins look to continue dominance of Panthers||at 7:01 am ET|
Coming off a rare road loss in regulation Monday, the Bruins (27-15-7) return to TD Garden Wednesday to face the 22-21-5 Panthers. It is the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season, with the Bruins having won the first three. The B’s took their most recent matchup in a shootout on Dec. 27. The game remains the Bruins’ only shootout win this season.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 12-9-3 at home this season. They have lost two of their last three games at the Garden, most recently dropping a 4-2 contest to the Sabres last Thursday.
-The Panthers are 11-13-0 on the road. Wednesday will mark just their fifth road game in January. They are 2-2-0 on the road so far this month.
- Milan Lucic has three goals over his last four games after going his 12 previous games without a goal. His continued output is key for this offense without Marc Savard getting a chance to improve to being his old self. Lucic had a hat trick agains the Panthers on Nov. 18.
- No surprise that David Booth leads the Panthers with 168 shots on goal this season. The Florida winger put 14 shots on Rask in that Nov. 18 contest. It was the lone game this season in which Booth has had double digit shots on goal, though he’s had multiple nights with nine. He’s 17th in the league in shots on goal.
- The Panthers are 0-for-13 on the power play over their last four games and are 30th in the league with an 11.4 power percentage. The B’s are third in the NHL with a 84.9 penalty kill percentage.
- In the same game that Lucic had his hat trick, Nathan Horton had three assists, which made for his season-high in points. The slumping winger has just one goal over his last 19 games.
STORLYINES GOING IN
- Tuukka Rask got his only shout of the season in the B’s 4-0 win over the Panthers on Nov. 18. He made 41 saves in the victory. On the season, Rask is just 4-10-1 despite his .923 save percentage.
- With the Canadiens taking a 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night, the Bruins have an opportunity at expanding their lead in the Northeast Division four points. The B’s and Habs will have played an equal amount of games (50) at the All-Star break after the Bruins played the season’s first four months with games in hand.
- The Panthers have just one win over their last five games (1-2-2), a 4-3 victory over the Rangers Tuesday night. Florida is 3-5-0 when playing their second game in as many days.
|Marchand’s four points lead Bruins past Avalanche||01.22.11 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.
|Marc Savard leaves game, but Bruins add to lead||at 4:42 pm ET|
Both Bruins goals in the period came on 2-on-1 opportunities. Brad Marchand took advantage of Craig Anderson coming far out of his net to cut down the angle, and hit Recchi in front for a one-timer. Lucic added his 19th of the season and second of the game with 56 seconds remaining in the period.
Marc Savard will not return to the game after taking a hit in the corner during the second period from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick. Following the hit, Savard fell to the ice, holding his head before trainer Don DelNegro came to his aid.
Through two periods, Tim Thomas has stopped 21 of 22 shots he has faced. The B’s have put 28 shots on Anderson.
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