|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.
|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.
|Bruins/Canadiens Preview, 11/11||11.11.10 at 11:33 am ET|
The Bruins likely have a ton of positive energy following a five-goal third period that propelled them to a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. They return home to face the Canadiens for the first time this season on Thursday.
Here’s everything you need to know going in.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are a modest 2-2-1 as the home team this season (they were the home team in the season-opening 5-2 loss against the Coyotes in Prague).
The Habs are 5-2-0 on the road, with their most recent road loss coming last Tuesday, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
- After scoring in the third period of the Bruins’ victory in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, Nathan Horton now has 149 career goals. He can go for No. 150 against the Habs on Thursday night in front of the home crowd.
- The Bruins have averaged 2.2 goals this season in the third period when entering the period trailing.
- The Canadiens have the worst power play in the league, scoring on just 7.8 percent of their power plays.
- The Bruins have had back-to-back games just twice this season. They are 1-0-1, beating the Coyotes on Oct. 10 in Prague and losing in a shootout to the Blues on Saturday.
- After playing a career-high 17:22 giants the Sabres last Wednesday, Tyler Seguin has played 12:21, 9:49, and 12:32 in three games since. He is averaging 13:06 of ice time each night, and after assisting Mark Recchi’s goal, he has six points on the season (3 G, 3A). Seguin is on pace for a 21-goal, 21-assist campaign.
- While we’re extrapolating stats, seven Bruins are on pace to score at least 20 goals this season: Horton, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder, Zdeno Chara, Shawn Thornton (!), Jordan Caron, and Seguin. Remember, Marco Sturm was the only Bruin to score 20 last year, as he led the B’s with 22.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Former Boston College star and current Canadiens captain Brian Gionta has had a rough start to the season, but things are starting to look up. After having just three points through the team’s first 12 games, Gionta has a goal and an assist over the last two games.
- Carey Price has been a rock in net for the Habs, softening the blow of just how good Jaroslav Halak has been (1.79 GAA, .932 save percentage). In 14 starts, Price has gone 8-5-1 with a 2.28 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Price is coming off a shutout against the Canucks on Tuesday, but has allowed three goals in three of his last five starts, all three of which the Habs lost.
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