|Nathan Horton makes his first goal in a long time count, Bruins beat Hurricanes||02.01.11 at 9:31 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron added to his current hot streak, while Nathan Horton scored his first goal since Jan. 3 as the Bruins defeated the Hurricanes, 3-2, on Tuesday night.
Daniel Paille also scored for the B’s, recording his first goal of the season when he tipped a Zdeno Chara shot past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.
Tim Thomas made 24 saves on the night and improved his season record to 25-5-6. His 25 wins put him in a tie with Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller for the league lead.
The Hurricanes received goals from Jamie McBain and Joe Corvo in the first and third period, respectively.
The Bruins will return the Garden Thursday night when they face the Stars.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- To say the Bruins needed Horton to get going in an understatement. The 25-year-old had just 12 goals entering the night, and only one of those had come in the last 20 games. With Marc Savard out, the Bruins need all their guys going, and can’t depend on Patrice Bergeron to continue scoring enough for multiple people. Speaking of which…
- Bergeron continues to score enough to make up for any slumps teammates may be going through. Bergeron, who was named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Month for January via his 17 points last month (8 G, 9 A) kicked off January in style by scoring his 17th goal of the season.
- With Adam McQuaid‘s plus-1 on the night, he is now a plus-16 on the season, good for fifth on the team. Chara was also a plus-1 and leads the Bruins with a plus-1 and leads the B’s with a plus-23 rating.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins found themselves shorthanded four times, with the last penalty, a Brad Marchand hooking call, resulting in a Carolina goal.
- Staying in the special teams department, the Bruins didn’t have a single power play over the course of the game, as the only time a Hurricanes player found the penalty box was when Jay Harrison got five for fighting following his first-period bout with Milan Lucic.
It was only the second game this season (Dec. 18 vs. Washington) in which the Bruins did not have a power play.
- Tyler Seguin played just 6:37 after he received an early benching for a shift early on that featured multiple turnovers and led to a Michael Ryder interference penalty.
|Claude Julien says Nathan Horton is ‘fine’ after leaving Bruins practice||01.31.11 at 3:46 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Nathan Horton left Monday’s practice with what he called a “stinger” on his right knee. The 25-year old skated off with trainers, though there is no concern on his or the Bruins’ part for his playing status.
“He’s fine,” Claude Julien said following practice. “It was just a precaution. … By the time he was ready to come back, we were done [with practice].”
Horton is currently in a scoring slump that has seen him produce just one goal over the last 20 games. So far, he has 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in his first season in Boston.
|Preview: Bruins look to continue dominance of Panthers||01.26.11 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.
|Nathan Horton quiet in more ways than one||01.20.11 at 10:29 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has fought his entire career to shake the reputation of a player who “disappears” from games. After catastrophic second and third periods Thursday night that led to a couple of the Sabres’ four goals in a 4-2 Bruins loss, Horton was missing from the dressing room. He was requested by the media, but was not available for postgame comment.
It likely would have been the Boston media’s one chance at seeing an upset Horton. The 25-year-old is known for his permanent grin and his extremely friendly attitude, but after one of his more forgettable games of the season, there was no Horton — for whatever reason — to be found.
“He is doing good things, but I think right now his confidence is probably at the lowest it’s ever been, because he understands that he needs to score and it’s not happening,” Claude Julien said after the game.
After scoring 11 goals in his first 28 games, including two in the season-opener, Horton has just one goal over his last 17 games.
“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself, which may not be helping him right now. I think everybody on this team — players and coaching staff — are really helping to see him score a few goals so that he can get himself going,” Julien said.
“I think that’s what’s happening right now. He’s really probably down as far as confidence is concerned and feeling the pressure.”
Zdeno Chara caught flak after making himself unavailable to the media following the team’s overtime loss to the Canadiens this month, but has redeemed himself with stellar play of late. If it can work for Horton, the famed smile may return to the winger — and a town that has spent the last couple of months confused about one of their best scorers.
|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.”
|Tim Thomas helps Bruins past Hurricanes again||01.18.11 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins beat the Hurricanes, 3-2, Tuesday night to grab their second win over Carolina in as many days.
Milan Lucic took a pass from Mark Recchi on the power play at 11:49 of the third period with the game tied at two and sent a wrist-shot past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to secure the game-winning goal. The Bruins also got goals from Johnny Boychuk and Brad Marchand in the first and third periods, respectively.
Tim Thomas made a season-high 43 saves as the Hurricanes put 45 shots on goal. Carolina got goals from Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu.
The Bruins went 2-for-5 on the power play while killing off four of their five penalties. They will return to the Garden to face the Sabres on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Thomas carried the Bruins throughout the night, but the second period stood out for the Vezina favorite. The Hurricanes outshot the B’s, 19-9 in the second, and on the night, Thomas made a season-high 43 saves. Thirty-seven were made in the first two periods.
- After initially being credited, having the goal taken away, and being credited once again, Boychuk finally has his first goal of the season in his 36th game. Boychuk had five in 51 games for the B’s last season.
- Lucic scored his first goal in the last 13 games when he put the B’s up, 3-2, on the power play. He continues to lead the Bruins with 17 goals.
- The members of the Wheeler-Campbell-Thornton were strong for the B’s, as Wheeler drew an elbowing penalty from Tuomo Ruutu and the line’s pressure late in the second period forced the Hurricanes to flip it over the glass in their own zone for a delay of game penalty.
- The Bruins weren’t handed too many opportunities in the second period, so they took advantage when handed one in the third. Following an icing by the Hurricanes, Mark Recchi won the face-off and Zdeno Chara threw a shot on Ward from the point, with Marchand scoring on the rebound.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Despite Marchand scoring and drawing a gift penalty from Eric Staal, he had a regrettable hooking penalty in the first period. With the B’s leading, 1-0, Marchand whiffed on a puck from right around the hashmarks, and as the play went the other way, he hooked Ian White to put the Hurricanes on the man advantage. It was on his power play that Jokinen tied it up at one.
- Nathan Horton still has just one goal over his last 16 games, as he was robbed in the second period when Ward picked his wrist-shot from the slot.
Horton, who has struggled to consistently get pucks on net, tied for the Bruins’ lead with four shots on goal on Tuesday. He had just one on Monday.
|Post-morning skate notes: Milan Lucic out, Tim Thomas off first, Mark Stuart takes another step||01.13.11 at 12:23 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was first off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate, so it looks like he’ll be rewarded with the start vs. the Flyers after shutting out the Senators on Tuesday. He faces a tougher challenge against Philadelphia, as the Flyers are third in the league with their 3.4 goals per game, while the Senators’ 2.2 goals per game rank 29th.
Forward Milan Lucic will be out for the second straight game, as the undisclosed injury (which seems to be going around these days) hasn’t healed to the point at which Claude Julien is comfortable putting the slumping winger back in the lineup.
“[He's feeling] better,” coach Claude Julien said following the skate. “Obviously he won’t be i tonight, but he’s getting better.”
Julien likened Lucic’s situation to that of Nathan Horton, who missed a pair of games with an undisclosed injury prior to returning in Tuesday’s 6-0 victory over the Senators.
“[He's] day-to-day,” Julien said. “It’s a lot like Horton. He’s dealing with the same kind of situation as far as day-to-day is concerned.”
When Lucic does return, he’ll be looking to both shake of rust and bust out of an 11-game goal drought. Lucic leads the Bruins with 16 goals this season.
While Lucic wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate, defenseman Mark Stuart was. Stuart has been out since suffering a fractured hand and dislocated finger on Dec. 7 and hopes to return to the lineup sometime next week.
Given the impressive play of Steven Kampfer, who was called up following Stuart’s injury, as well as Adam McQuaid‘s safe and solid play on the blueline, the B’s will have a decision to make when it comes to making room for Stuart. To Stuart, the fact that both have played so well tells him that the team is in good shape, and that he shouldn’t assume anything will be handed to him.
“This is the best position to be in, and it’s going to make me work even harder to get back and to play well,” Stuart said.
“It’s definitely the case,” he added regarding the competition he anticipates for his spot. “You have to earn your way back. I don’t care who you are. … Guys are playing well. It would probably be different if the team was on a downswing and they were looking to change things up.
“It’s good to see, though. That’s what you need. That’s what all good teams have. You look around the league at the good teams. They all have guys coming up, guys coming in and out. Everybody can play, everybody comes in and does the job. I think that’s what you’ve seen with us the last month or so.”
Julien noted that with Stuart still a week to 10 days away, he isn’t in any rush to make a quick decision on how things will unfold.
“It’s probably a little early to answer that question,” Julien said. “… [We have] lots of games and so sometimes you have to make those decisions, sometimes you don’t so I’ll give myself a little break on that one.”
Here are some other notes from the skate:
- The lines looked the same for the Bruins as they were on Tuesday against Ottawa.
- McQuaid probably likes getting attention more from his play and his fighting rather than from perhaps the scariest moment of his career. With the Flyers in town, though, so too is Jody Shelley, who sent him head-first into the end boards on Dec. 11 when the two were chasing an iced puck.
The B’s blueliner wanted to move on from the play, which got Shelley suspended for two games, at the time, and as the spotlight returns with Flyers, he would rather not dwell on it.
“You never want to kind of see yourself going head-first into the boards at any point in time, but it’s not really something I’m thinking too much about,” McQuaid said. “I’ve moved on, moved past it, and just want to be focused for tonight.”
- Horton wasn’t around following Tuesday’s game or during Thursday morning’s media availability, so it’s tough to gauge exactly how comfortable the winger feels since returning from his undisclosed injury. Julien liked what he saw from the winger on Tuesday, but on Thursday didn’t know if Horton’s feeling completely better.
“Let’s put it this way: he’s well enough to play,” Julien said. “I don’t know that I’d say he’s 100 percent, because you don’t come back from missing games and all of a sudden you’re 100 percent.
“[He was] close enough that the risk factor was kind of pushed aside, and they’re minimal, and that he was able to give us what we wanted and well enough to play.”