|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 Panthers were in town last Friday, with the Bruins taking a 4-0 game behind a shutout from Tuukka Rask and a hat trick from Milan Lucic.
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|
On a night that was seemingly all about Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic stole the show with his second career hat trick in a 4-0 Bruins victory over the Panthers at TD Garden.
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.
The most shots on goals the Bruins have allowed this season is 46, which Tim Thomas faced on Nov. 6 against the Penguins.
|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.
Nathan Horton dropped it for Lucic at the face-off circle, and Lucic took it from there, beating Tomas Vokoun top shelf. Patrice Bergeron also picked up an assist on the play.
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.
- Mark Recchi now leads the Bruins with 10 assists. He entered the game tied with David Krejci for the team lead with eight, and picked up helpers on the goals by Ryder and Wheeler.
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.
|Nathan Horton adds to Bruins’ lead in second period||at 8:46 pm ET|
Apologies for some technical difficulties making this a couple of minutes late…
The Bruins added to their lead in the second period, and it sure was a welcomed sight.
The Bruins had just two goals over their previous three home games at the Garden, and Nathan Horton, the team’s top scorer, had zero points in his last four home games. That changed when he beat Martin Brodeur with a wrister 43 seconds into the second period. Horton has just one shot on goal in the game, but he’s made it count.
Through two periods, Tim Thomas has saved all 14 shots he’s seen. The Bruins are outshooting the Devils, 17-14.
|Nathan Horton left off fans’ All Star ballot||11.12.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
Boston fans have taken a liking to Nathan Horton since he came to Boston, and he’s returned the favor by leading the Bruins in both goals (seven) and points (13) through 13 games.
Yet if Horton wants to be in Carolina for the All-Star game this season, he can’t count on the fans to get him there. The NHL announced the 100 players that will be on the fan ballot for this year’s All-Star games, and though the Bruins had four representatives, Horton was not among them. Instead, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will have a chance to be selected by the public. The fans, who could technically write Horton in, begin their balloting on Monday and can choose six players to send to Carolina.
Horton could obviously still be selected to represent the Eastern Conference, as the rest of the roster will be made up in a fantasy draft between team captains. The captains will choose to fill the remaining 36 roster spots from a group of players determined by a combination of the the fans’ voting and the NHL hockey operations department.
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