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Claude Julien open to giving Tyler Seguin more time between Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi 01.05.11 at 1:02 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said following the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday that he feels comfortable using both rookie Tyler Seguin and veteran Patrice Bergeron interchangeably at center on the second line. Given both players’ experience at wing, Julien trusts either one at either position on their line with Mark Recchi.

Monday night in Toronto, Julien gave Seguin, who has typically played the wing with Bergeron and Recchi, more time as a pivot, with Bergeron playing left wing.

“Most of it was [at center],” Julien said of Seguin’s 14:21 of ice time in the team’s 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. “[Bergeron] was taking some face-offs, but for the most part, [Seguin] was at center. In cases like that, I’m kind of using them both. If it’s late in the game, and you really want to make sure you’re good in your own end, you go with the experienced guy, but at the same time, Tyler is obviously a little bit more comfortable at center using a little bit more of the ice, so you give him that opportunity as well.

“Bergy has played wing before, so I think we can alternate those two guys depending on the game situation.”

Seguin has made strides of late, and after getting just 6:30 of ice time against the Thrashers on Thursday, had a strong showing vs. the Sabres on Saturday. The 18-year-old had a goal and an assist and led the B’s with six shots on goal in the team’s 7-6 shootout loss while also scoring in the shootout.

“A lot of it is about feeling comfortable about his game and his overall game,” Julien said of Seguin’s recent play. “I think that’s what’s happening now.”

In 36 games this season, Seguin has six goals and seven assists.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin,
Shots, as far as the eye can see 12.29.10 at 5:34 pm ET
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Nathan Horton‘s been a popular guy lately for all the wrong reasons, as Tuesday’s no-show was the latest example of a contest that, if made into a movie, would not have a part for the winger.

Matt Kalman had an interesting post at the Bruins Blog today pointing out that Horton has had one shot or less in 12 games this season. I was astonished last night when seeing that he’s actually third on the team in shots despite how frequent these duds seem to come. With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of each line and its players shots on goal. Of course, the lines are listed just for organization’s sake, as the current lines have only existed for three games this season.

Milan Lucic (77) – Marc Savard (21) – Nathan Horton (81)

Mark Recchi (59) – Patrice Bergeron (81) – Tyler Seguin* (59)

Blake Wheeler (62) – David Krejci^ (68) – Michael Ryder (75)

Brad Marchand^ (55) – Gregory Campbell (40) – Shawn Thornton (77)

* Savard has played in 12 games,
** Seguin has played in 33 games.
^ Krejci has played in 28 games.
^^ Marchand has played in 32 games.

Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins with 110 shots on goal, while Dennis Seidenberg is second among B’s defensemen with 70. The Bruins as a team are fifth in the NHL with 32.9 shots per game.

Moral of the story? As good as Thornton is at getting pucks to the net and creating rebounds, he shouldn’t be nipping at Horton’s heals — and that’s not a plea for Thornton to shoot less.

Read More: Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara
Bruins answer the call with convincing 4-1 win over Thrashers 12.23.10 at 9:38 pm ET
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The Bruins spent the past two days dealing with backlash from both fans and the media over their recent struggles. They responded in a big way Thursday, playing one of their better games of the season in defeating the Thrashers, 4-1, at TD Garden.

Though Patrice Bergeron got the B’s on the board with a shorthanded goal in the first and Michael Ryder tallied what proved to be the deciding goal, Shawn Thornton was the offensive hero for the 17,565 to pack the Garden seats. The energy line winger had a big night, beating Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec for two goals.

Tim Thomas improved his record to 15-4-3 on the season.

The Bruins will have two days off before returning to practice on Sunday. From there, they will embark on a five-game road trip before returning home to the Garden on Jan. 6.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Shawn Thornton came an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick and a goal away from a real one. His fight with Eric Boulton off the opening the face-off helped ignite everybody in attendance, while his two goals brought his season total to a career-high seven.

- The Bruins responded to the call for more passion and motivation. They were more offensively persistent and sustained energy throughout the night. Additionally, they did it against a very good Thrashers team. This game was looked at by some (including your’s truly) as a game the team could use to establish more of an identity. Now that they’ve shown they can respond to losses as ugly as Monday night’s, the next step is seeing to it that there aren’t any more like their embarrassment vs. the Ducks.

The fans undoubtedly left the house satisfied, as an all-out brawl broke out with 4:06 remaining in the game following a Freddy Meyer hit to Milan Lucic’s head. Lucic, Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference, and Marc Savard dropped the gloves for the B’s.

- Thornton wasn’t the only one to show up on the stat sheet multiple times. Patrice Bergeron (G, A) and Daniel Paille (2 A) also had two points on the night. With Brad Marchand still out due to soreness stemming from the P.K. Subban hit, it’s good for Paille to have a game that can give him some confidence should he stick in the lineup for another game or two.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- With the match penalty that Lucic received for punching Freddy Meyer in the helmet, he now faces a suspension, pending review. It was clearly intent to injure on Lucic’s part and it’s hard to believe anybody will view it as anything but.

- Of course, Dustin Byfuglien scored the Thrashers’ lone goal. Byfuglien had a goal and three assists when the Thrashers beat the B’s last month, so his tally on Thursday gave him his fifth point against the Bruins this season.

- Tyler Seguin and Steve Kampfer were the the lone Bruins players to have a negative rating. After his minus-1 on Thursday, Seguin is a plus-1 on the season.

- The Canadiens were held on for a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes after scoring twice in the final 3:03 of the second period. The B’s remain two points behind the Habs for the division lead.

Read More: Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton
Patrice Bergeron has Bruins leading Thrashers after one at 7:45 pm ET
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The Bruins wanted to make some noise right off the bat, and after doing so they lead the Thrashers, 1-0.

With Claude Julien putting the energy line out to start the game, Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Atlanta winger Eric Boulton. The fight, which was the sixth between the two, energized both the B’s and the Garden crowd, but Patrice Bergeron would give them more to cheer about three minutes later.

Just 13 seconds into a Zdeno Chara hooking penalty, Bergeron put the B’s on the board by deking Ondrej Pavelec and putting it in low on the forehand. It was Bergeron’s 300th career point and the fifth Bruins shorthanded goal of the season.

The two teams have played one another tight this far, with each squad registering 10 shots on goal. There were five minor penalties handed out in the period between the two teams, with the B’s going 0-for-3 on the power play.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara,
With all eyes on them, Bruins can use this week as a turning point at 2:10 pm ET
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After a lackluster effort on Monday night (a 3-0 loss to the Ducks at the Garden), the Bruins were given two days to figure things out. While the rest of the town (foolishly) talked about whether Claude Julien should begin frequenting Monster.com, the B’s buckled down and did what they deemed necessary to help them regain the promise shown at the beginning of the season. They did so with two gritty, high-energy, high-intensity practices, and as they prepare to face Atlanta on Thursday — a “must-win” game by multiple players’ accounts — they hope the hard work will have paid off.

“The last two days have been very good,” Patrice Bergeron. “Practice has been very hard with lot’s of battle and lots of emotion, and I think that’s what we need to bring in games.”

The B’s didn’t hold a morning skate on Thursday, but the players in the dressing room exuded a confidence that suggested they know they’ve put the work in, and now they need to put it to good use.

“As long as we learn from it — and we do — we’re fine,” Mark Recchi said Thursday of the team’s two days following perhaps their worst loss of the season. “We have a good group of guys who care and want to get better. The tempo was great in practice. ‘€¦ We don’t get the opportunity to practice like that for a couple of days, especially with the schedule. To get that opportunity now is good.”

The Atlanta game is monumental for the young season for multiple reasons. In addition to the fact that the Thrashers beat the B’s, 4-1 last month, the Bruins will play five consecutive road games after Thursday. Given how much the team has struggled (1-3-1, 1.8 goals per game over their last five), the team also needs to show angry fans — who booed the team mightily on Monday — that the high expectations placed on them this offseason weren’t unwarranted.

A big part of the team’s struggles has been a difficulty to string 60-minute efforts together, with the forecheck and physically cutting in and out throughout the night. Recchi, who has spoken throughout the season of how difficult a team to play against the Bruins could be, knows the team has yet to reach that point, but that hope is not lost.

“We’re progressing. We’re getting there. We know when we do the right things, we’re a miserable team to play against, and we’re getting there, but it’s a process,” Recchi said. “It takes all year. … We’ve had our ups and downs, but I think the guys understand that it’s not easy being like that every night, but at the same time, it’s pretty rewarding.”

The Bruins can use Thursday, a game in which the town will be watching to see what the squad’s made of, to unveil new lines, and a new mindset for the B’s who with a win and a Canadiens loss could suddenly find themselves third in the Eastern conference. If they do, and the team does find a way to turn it around, this week could be one that’s looked back on as a turning point in the season.

“I think we needed some practices to get back on track and talk about our system a little bit more,” Bergeron said. “‘€¦ I think it was good to re-focus and re-set ourselves to be back on track.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Mark Recchi, Patrice Bergeron,
Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Blake Wheeler contribute to early Bruins lead 12.18.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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Goals from Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference (you read that second one right), and Blake Wheeler have the Bruins leading the Capitals, 3-0, after a period of play.

On a 2-on-2, Wheeler attracted the attention of both Washington defenders and dropped the puck off to Bergeron, who beat Michal Neuvirth at 3:27 for his sixth goal of the season. Ference then scored his first goal in 99 games by sending one past Neuvirth from the point.

Bergeron returned the favor in setting up Wheeler’s eighth of the season, and suddenly that second line is looking awfully good of late.

Following the Ference goal. Matt Bradley tried to swing the momentum in Washington’s favor by dropping the gloves with Adam McQuaid. Unfortunately for Bradley, the Garden only got louder as McQuaid unequivocally pummeled the Capitals winger.

Tim Thomas saw only five shots, stopping them all.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Andrew Ference, Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron
Bruins lead Islanders, 2-1, after two 12.09.10 at 8:41 pm ET
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A shorthanded goal from each team, including Brad Marchand’s third shorthanded strike of the season, has the Bruins leading the Islanders, 2-1, after two periods.

The Bruins fell victim to the old shorthanded penalty shot by Frans Nielsen. The Islanders center had a shorthanded breakaway but was tripped by Patrice Bergeron. A penalty shot was awarded, and Nielsen beat Tuukka Rask with a top-shelf backhander to tie the game at 3:41.

Then, with the Bruins shorthanded due to a David Krejci hooking penalty, Brad Marchand and Rick DiPietro both came chased after a puck at the top of the circle. DiPietro won the race, but Marchand blocked his bid, chasing after the puck to grab it behind the net and score with ease at 14:41. He’s now tied for thirst in the NHL with three shorthanded goals.

The Bruins are outshooting the Islanders, 25-24.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Frans Nielsen, Patrice Bergeron,
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