|Bruins use Monday to knock off Christmas shopping||12.14.10 at 9:38 am ET|
WOBURN — Christmas shopping is crazy enough, but it’s a little crazier when professional athletes are doing the same, easily identifiable by their jerseys and Santa Clause hats.
That was the scene at Woburn’s Target store on Monday as the B’s did their annual Holiday Toy Shopping to pick up presents for local hospitalized children.
“It’s always nice, especially when you know it’s going to kids that won’t have a chance to be home for Christmas,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “At least this way, we want t make it really easy and comfortable for them. Hopefully they’re going to enjoy it.”
This was no case of grabbing the first things you can find and calling it a day. Players were given checklists, shopping carts and Target employees as they went through the store. Nathan Horton, a father who admittedly is learned on the popular gifts, had no trouble filling shopping carts with toys and even iPods.
It wasn’t long ago that 18-year-old Tyler Seguin was getting giddy over Christmas presents. The youngest player on the team, Seguin said he enjoyed Power Rangers toys as a child. As he picked presents on Tuesday, he was careful and deliberate in taking a good look at each gift before tossing it in the cart.
“This is a lot of fun,” Seguin said as he inspected the toys. “Any time you get to give back to the community and fans, it’s always a nice feeling. I get to tell my family all the good stuff and good causes we’re supporting.”
The B’s have been picking up presents for hospitalized children since the days of Ray Bourque. After Bourque was sent Colorado, Concord-born Hal Gill took over the operation, with P.J. Axelsson succeeding Gill. Patrice Bergeron, the longest-tenured current Bruins player, runs the show now.
“I liked doing it when Hal was here, and then P.J. took care of it,” Bergeron said Monday. “Once they left, I told [Director of Community Relations] Kerry [Collins] I wanted to take over because it’s something that I like and I think it’s something that the kids enjoy. It’s something that’s very important for the community.”
The next step of the process is actually delivering the gifts, which players noted is the best part.
“Today, it’s fun. You’re throwing a bunch of toys and stuff in the cart, but the big thing is when we drop them off at the hospitals,” Mark Stuart said. “It’s good to actually meet the kids and actually know where it’s going. That’s important with any charity.”
|Bruins at Flyers preview||12.01.10 at 5:41 pm ET|
The Bruins are in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers for the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last May.
The team did not have a full morning skate, with just rehabbing players and a healthy scratch — Marc Savard, Marco Sturm and Daniel Paille — as well as Tuukka Rask, taking the ice. With Rask skating this morning, it is anticipated that Tim Thomas will start for the B’s.
WHERE IT’S AT
The Flyers are 9-4-1 at home this season, though they’re 1-1-1 in their last three games in Philadelphia.
The Bruins, on the other hand, continue to be a far better road team than they are a home team. Their away record stands at 8-3-0 compared to their 4-5-2 mark in home games. Still, the Bruins are slumping, and it’s hit them no matter where they’ve been playing. They’ve dropped two of their last three games away from TD Garden, the most recent of which was a 4-1 pounding from the Thrashers in Atlanta on Sunday.
– It’s almost time to send a search party out for Nathan Horton. The sharpshooting winger has gone seven games without a goal and is a minus-2 with zero points over his last five contests.
– Wednesday marks the 100th game of James van Riemsdyk‘s career. The 21-year-old forward spent two years at UNH before making the jump to the NHL last season. The former second overall pick has three goals in his last four games, which is a good sign for the Flyers when considering his benching last month. Of course, the three goals are his only three of the season. In 21 games this season, JVR has three goals and seven assists for 10 points.
– The Flyers have scored on just two of their last 34 power plays. The B’s penalty kill has been slumping, allowing four power play goals in their opponent’s last six opportunities. The majority of the damage was done last Friday, of course, when Carolina went 3-for-3.
– Thomas still leads the league in save percentage (.951) and goals against average (1.56) and is tied with Carey Price for the NHL lead with four shutouts. He is coming off what is one of his worst starts of the season statistically, though much like Rask could have in the season-opener, he can blame the numbers (three goals on 21 shots) on bad bounces and Daniel Paille.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Storylines in this game? Hard to think of any’¦ When the B’s last left Philadelphia, they had let the Flyers tie the series at three games apiece after leading it, 3-0. The Flyers took Game 7 in Boston, 4-3, to win the series and shock the NHL.
– It’s been bad for the Bruins of late. They’re 5-6-2 in their last 13 games, so what better motivation to turn things around than facing the team that embarrassed them last May?
– Adam McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season, but first since the trade of Matt Hunwick. With Hunwick now gone, the physical right-handed-shooting blueliner finally has a full-time job after going back and forth between dressing and sitting as a healthy scratch.
|Tim Thomas, Bruins to take on Panthers Wednesday night||11.24.10 at 12:37 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was the first to leave the ice at the Bruins’ morning skate on Wednesday, indicating he will likely be between the pipes when the B’s take on the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday night. The Panthers will counter with Tomas Vokoun.
The Bruins are second in the Northeast Division with 24 points, the Panthers’ 18 points are fifth in the Southeast and third from worst in the conference.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 7-2-0 on the road this season, dropping their most recent away game on Monday in Tampa, 3-1, and splitting their last four away from TD Garden.
– The Panthers are 5-3-0 at BankAtlantic Center and have won three of their last four home games.
– Three. That’s how many goals Lucic had against the Panthers last Friday and how many assists former Panther Nathan Horton had. It was Horton’s first regular-season game against his old club (for more on Horton and how he felt about playing for the Panthers, click here.)
– The Panthers have allowed nearly the same average of goals per game at home (2.50) as they have on the road (2.54).
– The Panthers are 17th in the league in goals per game with 2.7. Center Mike Santorelli leads them with six goals in 19 games. The Bruins, meanwhile, have scored 2.9 goals per game (15th in the league) and are led by Lucic with 10.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Comparing how a team plays vs. the Lightning to how they fare against the Panthers won’t lead one to rock-solid conclusions, but it will be interesting to see if the team’s heavy practice on Tuesday got them in gear to play a full 60 minutes. It was the same old story on Monday, as they came out flat for two periods before turning it up in the third period (15 shots through two periods, 12 in the third).
– The Bruins score over a goal per game more in front of Thomas than they do in front of Tuukka Rask. They score a whopping 3.23 goals per game in front of Thomas, with Rask getting just 2.21 goals of support a night.
– It’s been a week since the Bruins allowed an opponent to score a power play goal, so here’s the reminder of how dominant the penalty kill has been. The B’s 90.3 penalty kill percentage is second only to Montreal’s 90.8.
|Bruins beat Panthers behind Milan Lucic hat trick and Tuukka Rask shutout||11.18.10 at 9:30 pm ET|
Lucic and the first line provided the majority of the offense for the Bruins, beating Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun on a goal assisted by former Panthers third overall pick Nathan Horton. He added another from virtually the same spot in the third and made it a hat trick seconds later, stuffing in a rebound to make it 3-0. With the game, Lucic reached 10 goals, surpassing Horton (8) for the team lead. Shawn Thornton added his fourth of the season at 16:04.
Tuukka Rask hadn’t been getting consistent play in front of him to begin the season, so he made it a little easier on teammates, shutting out the Panthers. It was his first victory of the season. Rask stopped all 41 shots he saw, frustrating a busy Panthers offense and improving his record to 1-4-1.
“You know, you play five, six games and you feel like you are playing good and the puck is not bouncing our way,” Rask said after the game. “That’s all it is and that’s what I said before, just keep working hard and good things will happen and today they did.”
The victory improved the Bruins’ record to 11-5-1. They are now 4-4-1 in home games and 4-3-1 in games played at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Uh, Lucic. Lucic. And Lucic again.
– It took much longer than one would have expected on, say, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. Prague Time, but Rask finally got his first win of the season. Entering the night, Rask was 0-4-1 in five games, but he had played well enough to win on a few occasions, notably the team’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Blues on Nov. 6.
– Brad Marchand may be a pest to other trash-talking players, but on Thursday he was even more of a pest to Vokoun. The third-line winger led the B’s with five shots on goal. The total tied his career high, which he reached last season on Nov. 1 against the Rangers.
– A top line missing its center is like a rock band losing its lead singer — you just assume it won’t be the same. Yet with David Krejci out, Patrice Bergeron has channeled his inner Sammy Hagar/Ronnie James Dio and proven that the first line can be fantastic with him in the middle.
For the second straight game, the line was able to manufacture a well-executed goal on the opening tally. Of course, Vokoun should have been able to stop Lucic’s first one, which he took after receiving a drop pass from Horton, but it was the latest example of how well these three are starting to play together.
– Once again, the penalty kill came up big for the Bruins. A night after killing off a 5-on-3 late in a one-goal game in New York, the Bruins kept the Panthers off the board despite being shorthanded five times throughout the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The power play only got two chances, and it didn’t see anything come of them. Bryan McCabe went off for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second and Cory Stillman was called for interference at 5:08 of the third. In not converting, the Bruins now have just one power play goal in their last five games.They’ve had 18 opportunities. Hard to think they’re not missing Krejci in that respect.
– Rask was sensational, but that didn’t mean he had to face as many shots as he did. David Booth usually gets a lot of pucks on net, but he had 11 shots through the first two periods. All in all, the Panthers put 41 shots on Rask, 12 of which came off the stick of Booth.
|Bruins lead Panthers after one||at 7:42 pm ET|
Milan Lucic scored his eighth goal of the season at 15:37 of the first period, and it’s a 1-0 Bruins lead after 20 minutes.
The Panthers came awfully close twice in the middle of the period, with a David Booth shot trickling off Rask’s glove but falling wide of the net, and Jason Garrison firing one that hit the post. Later in the period, Booth took a pass in front from Rostislav Olesz, with Rask getting in position and making a fantastic save.
Shawn Thornton and Darcy Hordichuk provided the fighting for the period, squaring off at 16:31 in a twist that left Thornton with a bloody nose. The lone injury scare of the period when Patrice Bergeron took a Dennis Wideman shot off the foot, but he returned to the ice.
Florida is outshooting the Bruins, 16-11. The Panthers are 0-for-1 on the power play, with 13.2 seconds remaining on a high sticking on a high stick call on on Blake Wheeler.
|Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic have Bruins leading Rangers after two||11.17.10 at 8:32 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Tyler Seguin scored his fourth goal of the season (his first since Oct. 30th) and the Bruins lead the Rangers, 2-1, after two periods.
Seguin stole a puck from Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy, took it through the neutral zone himself, and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf for the tally.
Brandon Dubinsky has hurt the Bruins enough this season, but that didn’t stop the Rangers’ forward from making it even worse on the B’s. Dubinsky, who fractured Johnny Boychuk’s forearm with a slash on Oct. 23 in Boston, drew a Nathan Horton double-minor for highsticking, and put the Rangers up, 1-0, on the ensuing power play.
Horton would make up for his costly penalty, setting up Milan Lucic’s seventh goal of the season, a game-tying tally from the slot.
The Rangers are outshooting the Bruins, 20-15, through two periods.
|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.