|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.
UPDATE [6:04 p.m.]: It appears that Claude Julien said during his session with French-speaking reporters that Tuukka Rask will be in net for the B’s.
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.
|What to expect without David Krejci in the Bruins lineup Wednesday||11.09.10 at 2:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – With David Krejci still out because of a concussion that was suffered in overtime of the Bruins 2-1 shootout loss to the Blues on Saturday, the Bruins did some work with their power-play prior to the official start of practice Tuesday morning. They plan to have Nathan Horton fill in for the injured Krejci on the No. 1 power-play unit, assuming the left-side half-wall position.
“I think he’s one of those guys that can take that step on the half wall and then shoot the puck very well,” coach Claude Julien said about the switch after practice. Julien also said he’s been impressed with the improvements Blake Wheeler has made on the goal line position.
“So we thought that was for now the best way to kind of stabilize our power-play and hopefully keep it going in the right direction,” Julien said.
The lines otherwise remained the same in practice today as yesterday, with Patrice Bergeron centering the first line between Milan Lucic and Horton. Here’s how the other lines were organized:
Mark Recchi-Blake Wheeler-Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille-Tyler Seguin-Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Julien says he feels confident with the line decisions that have been made for the game against the Penguins on Wednesday, but that he also won’t be afraid to shuffle it up some more if it doesn’t work. “That’s part of the situation that you’re in at times,” Julien said. “You have to be open minded about maybe moving some guys around.”
|Nathan Horton knows he needs to shoot more for Bruins||11.06.10 at 5:43 pm ET|
There isn’t much that Nathan Horton hasn’t brought to the Bruins since coming from the Panthers in June. Entering Saturday night’s bout with the Blues, he leads the team in both goals (6) and points (11), and even treated the Garden crowd to a bout with Dion Phaneuf.
One statistic of his that is rather surprising is shots on goal. Considering that he’s buried more shots than any of his teammates it’s rather peculiar that he is not in the top five on his team in shots on goal, as Horton has put just 19 shots on net in 10 games this season. The good, of course, is that he has scored on nearly one third of his shots this season, while the bad is that the low shot total stands out in games in which he can’t find his way onto the box score.
“I definitely need to take more shots,” Horton admitted upon being told that 26 of 148 career goals have come on his only shot of the game. “The only way to score goals is to have more shots. It’s definitely something that I need to get better at, and don’t pass up an opportunity to score.”
Horton said that he has been told as much throughout his career, and that Claude Julien is among those who has encouraged him to fire the puck as much as he can.
“I think that’s one thing that I want to get better at in my game, is when the opportunity is there, to get a good opportunity to score,” Horton said. “When you’re doing too much, too fancy, you miss an opportunity to score.”
|Nathan Horton not as advertised, much to the Bruins’ delight||10.28.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Nathan Horton has been soaking in each second of Boston and his new fanbase. His excitement to be in town has matched the Bruins’ fans excitement to have a true goal-scoring threat. Horton proved he can do more than score on Thursday, as he dropped the gloves with Dion Phaneuf in the second period of the team’s 2-0 win over the Leafs in front of a wild, sold-out TD Garden crowd. It was his first fight since the 2008 preseason.
“We kind of had a little battle going throughout the game up top, and [I figured I'd] maybe just try and put an end to it in the game,” Horton said after the game.
The two players exchanged blows as they tumbled to the ice, but it was only Horton who picked up a 10 minute misconduct in addition to his fighting major. Claude Julien disagreed with the call.
“I still don’t understand how he gets the 10 minutes,” Julien said. “We all saw Phaneuf punched him when he was on the ground.”
All in all, the fight served as yet another reminder positive reminder that the first-line winger, whose work ethic was called into question prior the June trade that send him to the Bruins, has not totally come as advertised. The former No. 3 overall pick received criticism for taking shifts off in his time as a Panther, but any traces of laziness and frustration are two characteristics he hasn’t displayed in Boston.
“I’m trying,” Horton said. “I want to show that I want to be here. I want to be a part of the team, and I want to have success here and be successful with my team. I can’t say it enough. Every day that I come to the rink, it’s been great.”
|Bruins see improvement in Maple Leafs||10.27.10 at 3:57 pm ET|
The Bruins are preparing for their first match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night, in an always-anticipated clash of original six teams. In the 2009-10 season, the Maple Leafs were nothing special, finishing at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 30-38-14 record. Now, eight games into 2010-11, it seems the Leafs have turned things around. Toronto won its first four starts, then dropped three games in a row before picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night. The Leafs’ 5-2-1 record currently has them sitting atop the division standings.
“They’re a good team, they’re a young team,” Patrice Bergeron said after practice on Wednesday. “Their players have developed into good players so I think that’s why they’re improved.”
Right wing Nathan Horton said he knows the Leafs have shown plenty of reasons for other teams to fear them thus far.
“Their defensemen are big, strong, physical, and their forwards are quick and fast,” Horton said, adding the Bruins will need to be prepared to work for 60 minutes on Thursday. Coach Claude Julien seemed to agree, noting that the B’s are “facing a team that’s coming in with lots of confidence, lots of speed and lots of energy.”
Speaking of energy, it has seemed to be just that the B’s have lacked early on in each of their losses this season. On Saturday, the Rangers put up a quick 2-0 lead on the Bruins in the first period, and the Bruins, despite getting goals from Zdeno Chara and Horton, were never quite able to make a full comeback.
“I think it’s just about making sure we have a good first couple shifts and be good on the forecheck right away,” Bergeron said. “If we get scored one goal against, we’ve got to make sure we keep our balance instead of just getting back over our heels for a couple shifts and letting them score another one.”
|Wisdom teeth holds Krejci out of practice||10.25.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Johnny Boychuk was expected to be the lone Bruin missing from the team’s Monday practice, so when Daniel Paille was sporting a white first-line jersey in place of an absent David Krejci, the team’s top center suddenly became the topic du jour at Ristuccia Arena.
The reason for Krejci’s absence? The removal of his wisdom teeth. Claude Julien called it a regular maintenance day for the center, so there’s no reason not to expect he’ll be back to skating with the team in short order and will be good to play when the B’s take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
In six games this season, Krejci has a goal and six assists, good for seven points, a total that is second only to linemate Nathan Horton.
|Nathan Horton on D&H: ‘It’s like a family already’||10.22.10 at 1:33 pm ET|
Bruins forward Nathan Horton checked in with the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the B’s fast start to the season. Horton has four goals and three assists in five games as the Bruins have gone 4-1-0.
To hear the interview, including Horton’s thoughts on David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Horton is enjoying his new team after spending his first six seasons with the Florida Panthers in the Miami area, where hockey obviously does not have the same importance. “This is what every player dreams about playing, just this type of atmosphere, and this city,” he said of Boston. “It’s not like you can imagine. Once you’re there, it’s pretty amazing.”
Horton said no matter where he is, his style remains the same. “You have to perform,” he said. “Even if you’re not putting up points or anything, you have to work hard and be a team guy and just play hard for your teammates. I think that’s what everyone’s trying to do. We like each other as a team. It’s like a family already. Everyone gets along. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you want to come to the rink every day, you’re going to win games, and I think everyone’s having fun.”
Regarding the B’s goaltending situation, Horton said Tuukka Rask has not shown any signs of disappointment despite serving as Tim Thomas‘ backup the last four games. “He’s been great,” Horton said. “He knows he’s a great goaltender. He’s going to get his shot. … He’s still having fun. Nobody can score on him in practice, too.”
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