|Milan Lucic muscles up so Nathan Horton can finally do his thing||02.10.11 at 10:21 am ET|
They both clicked Wednesday night and as a result, the impact on the Bruins’ offense was dramatic – as in eight goals dramatic.
Lucic added to his team lead in goals with tallies Nos. 22 and 23 and Horton – with a goal and four assists – had his most productive night of his career in an 8-6 knock-down, drag-out KO of the Habs.
“We are just happy that we were able to get that win,” Lucic said. “They have been a tough opponent for us. We lost last time but not [this time]. Most of all we are happy to get those two points and to keep moving up in the standings.”
Indeed, for all the excitement over the pugilistic debut of Tim Thomas against Carey Price, this game was a huge one in the standings. The Bruins increased their lead to four points over the Habs, with a game in hand, still.
As for his line of center David Kreji and Horton, it was on fire.
“I mean I felt like that ever since we were put back together lately we have been ok, I mean we have had no goal here, one goal there,” Lucic said. “We knew we could be a threat every time we went on the ice and that is what we have kind of talked about as a line yesterday we wanted to be that threat and you know get in there and play with that emotion. Be the guys that Coach counts on, and so its definitely great that we had a game the way we did we have to keep pushing it and keep getting more.”
Horton’s struggles have been well-chronicled. Even coach Claude Julien has pointed to Horton’s struggles often in the last two months. Wednesday night, Julien admitted that the Bruins have been waiting for this breakout ever since Horton started the season with eight goals and 10 assists in the first 17 games of the season.
“Well, that’s what we have wanted from him for a while now, so it happened tonight,” Julien said after Horton’s career game. “We are certainly happen with that. Now it’s a matter of hopefully him continuing to do that for our team, he was a big help for us.”
“It’s nice,” Horton said in the understatement of the night. “Obviously, it helps me a little bit with my confidence. It is nice but it’s nice to get the points, it’s a big game for us. It was a four-point game, and we won.
“It was just working hard. I think we were ready to go. We talked about it as a line, before the game, we need to start playing and start contributing. I think we did that tonight but it’s only one game and hopefully we can continue to keep bringing it.”
But nothing means more than to have the support of a fellow teammate and linemate.
“It seemed like he was getting really hard on himself getting really down on himself but it these last few games you can see he is on his game again and its all starting to find his game again,” Lucic said of Horton. “It all starts with him skating, using his speed, his body, and you know he had a big night tonight and hopefully he continues with his confidence.”
It was almost like fighting your brother. You know deep down you don’t want to but as a matter of pride – and territory – you need to.
So Tim, what happened?
“Which part? I mean’¦well he was jumping in,” Thomas said of Price’s actions when Brad Marchand drilled James Wisniewski on an icing touch-up. “I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease. And then so I’m like okay, and then he went in again and you just can’t let it be an outnumbered situation and so that’s what I was thinking when I went down there. He was more than willing to fight. And I had this big old plan. I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts because I know he’s bigger and taller and has a reach on me.
“I thought I could do a better job throwing lefts in him and when I went to grab he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, oh now what do I do? Because I know he’s got a big right cocked and ready to come so I tried to switch arms and get my right free and I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and when he threw the right I pulled on’¦I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell and’¦actually as I was falling my left arm came free and but then it was over. He fought with the fighter’s manners as far as not hitting when you’re down.”
Fighter’s manners. There’s a new one. Fighter’s manners apparently included patting each other on the shouler and backside after it was over, after only 15 seconds of grabbing and tugging.
“We’re on opposing teams but we spent some time together at hockey camp a few summers ago and we were just at the All-Star game together,” Thomas said. “We’re on friendly terms. It was business. But once business is done, it’s done.”
“Well, I know Timmy pretty well,” Price added. “I think we were just out there play-fighting more than anything. Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess.”
Price was surprised when he saw Thomas skating right for him but in the end, he didn’t think the wrestling match was going to amount to much and certainly not like the fight between the Islanders’ Rick DiPietro and Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson that ended when Johnson knocked out DiPietro, breaking the orbital bone of his face with a punch.
“Yeah, we didn’t really know what is going on, but really there is not much to get thrown out about,” Price said. “The biggest thing is that we didn’t back down. Our guys stood behind each other. I think these are good games to play in. I think they are good character builders.”
What was also new to Thomas was the idea of fighting the opposing goalie.
“I’ve been playing a long time and it’s just never a situation where it’s worked out like that but tonight it did,” he said.
Bruins coach Claude Julien sounded a much more serious but still, understanding tone.
“It’s not something you like to see,” Julien said. “I don’t think, you never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things but, certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that, it’s the heat of the game. They were both willing combatants and you live with that.”
|Price tagged: Bruins crush Habs||02.09.11 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Bruins lit up Montreal goaltender Carey Price for eight goals as they picked up their first victory against the Canadiens this season, a 8-6 win at the TD Garden.
The game featured 192 penalty minutes between the two teams. The more notable of the fights was a goalie brawl between Tim Thomas and Price at 12:36 of the second period. The netminders squared off in the Canadiens’ zone, with Price getting the better of Thomas.
Despite losing the fight, Thomas improved to 26-6-6 on the season, and the victory puts the B’s four points ahead of the Habs in the Northeast Division. The Bruins will return to action Friday when they host the Red Wings Friday night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Patrice Bergeron‘s line continues to impress. Before the floodgates opened on both sides and the game turned into a high-scoring affair, it was Marchand that got the B’s on the board after a beautiful display of passing from the rookie, Mark Recchi, and Bergeron.
- It was good to see Ryder’s two-goal performance given his struggles earlier in the game. Ryder entered the game having not scored in eight straight games, and he lost the puck in front of the net early in the second. Ryder’s first goal was set up by a beautiful backhanded pass from Zach Hamill. Both players had to be encouraged by their nights. Ryder had what he thought was his second goal of the night waved off in the third period, as Brad Marchand was pushed into Price. He would make up for it with a power play goal at 10:01.
- Nathan Horton had five points (1 G, 4 A) on the night, the most he’s had in a game as a member of the Bruins. He had three helpers on Nov. 18 against the Panthers at the Garden.
Horton has definitely sprinkled in some very good games in the midst of his goal-scoring slump. See below regarding his penalties, but offensively, Wednesday was one of them those games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- P.K. Subban is a pain in the Bruins’ you-know-what. He scored on the power play in the second period and added an assist in addition to once again getting under the skin of the Boston players. In four games against the B’s this season, Subban has four points (2 G, 2 A) and on Dec. 16 drew the penalty that led to a Habs power play goal. Whether it’s on the stat sheet or by getting in players’ heads, the rookie blueliner has been able to be pest to the Bruins. The B’s got the last laugh, of course, as the rookie ended up with a minus-3 rating for the night.
- As encouraging as Horton’s assists were, his penalties cost the B’s in both the second and third periods. Horton went off twice for tripping, and the Habs scored on each of the power plays, getting Subban’s second-period strike and a Max Pacioretty goal 7:06 of the third.
- Statistically, Wednesday night’s was Thomas’ worst game of the season. The six goals he allowed was the most he’s given up in a game this season. Thomas allowed five goals to the Flyers on Jan. 13 in a 7-5 win. He faced 35 shots in that game, making 30 saves, whereas he only saw 33 shots Wednesday night.
Marchand scored his 15th of the season in his line’s latest clinic on pretty passing. Marchand hit Recchi as he was coming out of the defensive zone, who then sent it up to Bergeron. The center found Marchand in front of the net, who got Carey Price to bite on a deke and made it 1-0.Marchand made a bid for his second of the night on a back-hander later in the period, but Price made the save.
The Bruins brought it up the ice on the face-off following Marchand’s goal, with Nathan Horton sending a wrist-shot on Price that the Habs netminder allowed a high, slow pop-up of a rebound on. By the time the puck was on its way down, Seidenberg was in front and ready to send it to the back of the net.
Jan. 10 was the last time the B’s scored two goals in 12 seconds.
The period ended with fireworks, as Price shoved Milan Lucic twice in the back before the winger shoved back. Lucic ended up getting into it with P.K. Subban, and was assessed a double-minor for roughing, while Price was given a roughing minor. Travis Moen got a 10 minute misconduct.
|Bruins struggle on power play in loss to Sharks||02.05.11 at 4:59 pm ET|
On the Bruins’ first power play of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Sharks, Milan Lucic had a golden opportunity to tie the game up. A Zdeno Chara one-timer led to a rebound at the left side of the net and gave Lucic a brief look at an open cage. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Lucic’s bid went wide right.
That was the closest the Bruins would get on the power play, as they ultimately finished the game 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Not only did they fail to get another great look on their final three power plays, but they struggled to even get set up in the offensive zone.
‘Our power play tonight had a tough time,’ said coach Claude Julien. ‘Tonight was probably one of the tougher times we’ve had at getting the puck in. When we did get it in, we weren’t winning those battles for loose pucks and they kept shooting it back down the ice. That was probably, to me, the biggest difference in tonight’s game.’
The Bruins have now gone 0-for-12 on the power play over their last five games and 1-for-19 over their last seven. Julien said Saturday’s problems with getting organized and maintaining possession don’t really reflect how the power play has performed lately, though.
‘I think the other night against Dallas, even though we didn’t score, our power play was good,’ Julien said. ‘We moved the puck well and we had some chances and we didn’t score. ‘¦ So we really felt our power play had taken a stride in the right direction. Tonight was a totally different case. We weren’t good enough in that area. This is our best players having to be at their best.’
Julien credited the Sharks with doing a good job on the penalty kill, but he also said his players could’ve made better decisions with the puck to try and overcome that.
‘They were here the other night watching us, obviously, and they made some adjustments with their PK,’ Julien said. ‘At the same time, we still have other options, and I don’t think our guys always took the best options. Consequently, we weren’t getting in clean.’
As much as the power play struggled, David Krejci said he liked some of the chances the Bruins generated on it in the first period. He also said he thinks it has looked pretty good lately despite the dearth of goals.
He pointed out that if Lucic’s rebound bid had gone in instead of going wide, he probably wouldn’t have to answer questions about the power play’s struggles.
‘If that goes in,’ Krejci said, ‘it would be a different game and we wouldn’t be talking about how the power play was bad tonight.’
|Bruins lead 4-0 after physical (and simply crazy) first period||02.03.11 at 7:53 pm ET|
A lot of skaters saw the penalty box, and a starting goaltender saw the bench very early on as the Bruins outmuscled and outscored the Stars in the first period to the tune of a 4-0 lead.
An astonishing three fights took place in the first four seconds of the game, while Andrew Raycroft, starting in an exciting matchup against Tuukka Rask was pulled from the game after only 1:20.
Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves off the face-off with Steve Ott, and their tango just one second into the contest made for the quickest into a game this season that a Bruin has tangoed with an opponent. Campbell was bloodied and left the ice for the locker room. He would return later in the period.
The guy who previously held the distinction of quickest to get in a fight for the B’s this season, Shawn Thornton, wasn’t to be outdone. He fought Krystofer Barch one second later (the second time this season he dropped the gloves two seconds into the first period, Dec. 23 vs. Thrashers). Adam McQuaid did the twist with Bryan Sutherby two seconds later, with Andrew Ference and Adam
Thirty-one seconds after McQuaid’s fight (and still just 35 seconds into the game), Milan Lucic opened the scoring for the Bruins when he beat Raycroft with a wrist shot for his 21st goal of the season.
Forty-five seconds later, Brad Marchand took a pass from Mark Recchi and fired a shot from the top of the circle. Patrice Bergeron redirected it past Raycroft, ending his night after just 80 seconds. Bergeron would score his second goal of the night with 10:25 remaining in the first. The 25-year-old picked up his 19th of the season when Marchand returned his pass in offensive zone to set up the goal.
Thornton beat Kari Lehtonen top left corner with an absolute lacerate 16:01 for his eighth goal of the season. It is the second time he has fought two seconds into the first and also scored in a game, as he had two goals on Dec. 23.
Tuukka Rask stopped all nine shots he saw.
|After reaching 20 goals, Milan Lucic has a new number in mind||01.27.11 at 12:41 am ET|
Milan Lucic had a number in mind before the season. That number was 20.
Never in his three-year career had Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau, and after scoring 17 goals in the 2008-09 campaign, he took a statistical step backwards — both in games played and in scoring — when injuries limited him to 50 regular season contests last season.
After scoring nine goals in the injury-shortened season, Lucic entered training camp set on not only surpassing his career-high 17, but finally scoring 20.
‘I feel like have the ability to help contribute to this team a little bit more,’ Lucic said on Sept. 21. ‘I still in my three years haven’t been able to hit the 20-goal mark. I feel like that’s a realistic goal for me this year and that’s a personal goal that I should be able to meet.”
Lucic expanded his team-leading goal count in the second period when David Krejci won a face-off clean and drew it back to him at the top of the left circle. The 22-year-old fired a quick snapshot past Tomas Vokoun to give the B’s a 2-0 lead and meet his personal goal before the All-Star break.
“It’s great,” Lucic said of finally being a 20-goal scorer. “It’s obviously something that I talked about coming in, and that was a goal for myself and I reached it as quickly as [I did]. ‘¦ It’s a good step for me and I couldn’t be happier right now, but definitely not satisfied.”
Twenty was the number in September. In revising his hopes for the season, Lucic had a new number Wednesday night.
“One game at a time, one goal at a time,” Lucic said, “so we’ll see where I can get to this year.”
The uptick in No. 17′s scoring has been a big factor in the team’s first-place standing in the Northeast Division at the break. Krejci doesn’t see Lucic as the only one benefiting from the left-winger’s scoring this season.
“It’s good,” Krejci said of seeing Lucic’s production. “Especially when he’s on my line.”
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