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Mike Milbury on midday show: ‘I like that trend’ of physical play from B’s 03.02.11 at 12:57 pm ET
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Mike Milbury

NESN and NBC Sports analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the WEEI midday show Wednesday to talk about the red-hot Bruins. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.

The B’s completed a perfect six-game road trip with a 1-0 victory over the Senators on Tuesday night. Milbury said the resurgence of Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder was a key from the trip.

“The sign that was great for me was Nathan Horton doing something to make a difference,” Milbury said. “Because Horton and Ryder on the right side have to be active and productive. They’ve been uneven all year long. I think it’s important that they stay this way. The fight [Horton] had against Theo Peckham in Edmonton was a brawl. He came out clearly on top. This guy is tough. If he can get the fuse lit for him, the Bruins are going to be a very dangerous team to beat.

“The same is true of Ryder, who I actually think has skated much better along the road trip, and even prior to the road trip, than he has at any time since I’ve seen him. The puck’s not going in as regularly as I think he’d like, but you can see that he’s getting things done.”

Tomas Kaberle, acquired from the Maple Leafs last month, is not signed past this season. Asked if it would be worth it to the Bruins to only have the defenseman for a third of a season, Milbury said: “When you have a chance to make a run for the roses, you’ve got to take it. You’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins lead Sabres after one period 12.07.10 at 8:15 pm ET
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Ryan Miller had his career-high shutout streak of 161:35 snapped when he let a Milan Lucic shot from the right circle sneak behind the left post. As a result, the B’s are leading the Sabres, 1-0, after 20 minutes of play at TD Garden.

- The Michael RyderMarc SavardTyler Seguin line has gotten its chances, but sloppiness has been the demise of their opportunities. Seguin couldn’t catch two of Savard’s passes, and when the rookie hit Ryder on a 3-on-2 in which Miller was focused on Savard, Ryder missed the net.

- Shawn Thornton took an Andrew Ference shot off the right hand/wrist area in front of the net. After a brief trip down the tunnel, Thornton returned to bench and later returned to the ice.

- Tim Thomas has been sharp, as he stuck a leg out to stone former Boston College center Nathan Gerbe and later nearly chased Tyler Ennis around the net to squash a scoring bid.

- Former Bruin Steve Montador did the twist with Johnny Boychuk at 14:04, the only fight of the period. Montador got a roughing minor in addition to his fighting major, with the B’s failing to convert on their only power play. The Sabres have yet to go on the man advantage.

- The Bruins are outshooting the Sabres, 11-8.

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Sabres at Bruins preview at 12:45 pm ET
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After falling to the Maple Leafs in a shootout on Saturday night, the Bruins are back at TD Garden, where they will face the Sabres. The B’s had no trouble handling handling Lindy Ruff’s squad in Buffalo on Nov. 3, scoring five goals against a backup cocktail of Jhonas Enroth and Patrick Lalime.

AP

The groin injury that kept Ryan Miller out of that contest is a thing of the past, and the reigning Vezina winner is on fire. He’s coming off back-to-back shutouts, including a 1-0 shootout victory Saturday in Ottawa.

The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday. Tim Thomas and Mark Recchi were the only two to miss it, but given that Thomas is on a hot streak of his own (three goals allowed on 119 shots over the last three games), one would think he’d be between the pipes.

WHERE IT’S AT

- The Bruins are 5-5-2 in home games and are 5-4-2 in games played at TD Garden. They throttled the Lightning to the tune of an 8-1 victory last Thursday, their most recent home contest.

- Like the Bruins, the Sabres are a much better road team than they are a home team. They’ve compiled a 6-5-2 record away from Buffalo, while their 5-8-1 home record has a lot to do with why they’re currently fourth in the Northeast with 25 points.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

- Thomas continues to lead the NHL in the three major goaltending statistics. His .956 save percentage, 1.46 goals against average, and five shutouts are tops in the league.

- Former Bruin Steve Montador is tied for second in the league with a plus-16. In 13 games for the Bruins in 2008-09, Montador a plus-3 and had two points. He added three more points and was a plus-5 in 11 playoff games.

- The Sabres are just about as bad offensively this year as the Bruins were last year. The B’s averaged a league-worst 2.39 goals per game last season, while Buffalo currently averages 2.4 a night, which is 25th in the league.

STORYLINES GOING IN

- Nathan Horton has shown signs of picking it up as of late, getting points in each of the last two games, including his first goal in 10 games Saturday. The sharpshooting winger still has just two points in his last eight games after registering 18 in the 17 prior.

- This will be the Bruins’ first game since sending Jordan Caron to Providence. Caron had been a healthy scratch in the last two games due to the return of Marc Savard, so geting the 20-year-old playing time is clearly in everyone’s best interest.

“It’s never an easy decision because the guy has been here since the beginning of the year,” Claude Julien told reporters after the morning skate. “At the same time, he’s a young player. I mean, David Krejci went back and forth and I don’t think that it hurt his career, except that it probably helped him, so I think those decisions are always made with the right intentions. Management wants to see him play and at this stage of his career, he can be brought up and down as much as we want, so I don’t think it’s an issue there because there’s no, he doesn’t have to clear waivers or anything like that. We just want to see him progress and he’s going to progress by playing.”

- Julien went into the logic behind Michael Ryder moving to the left wing, and it’s all about the utilization of Tyler Seguin with center Marc Savard.

“With [Seguin's] speed and using Savvy as a left hand shot, it’s a lot easier for him to pass to the right side. But we just kind of made that decision and all three guys are comfortable with that.”

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Bruins set to take on Sabres 11.03.10 at 6:56 pm ET
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The Bruins and Sabres aren’t far from the puck dropping on their first contest since the B’s eliminated Buffalo in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Tim Thomas is in net for the B’s, and with Ryan Miller battling a lower-body injury, Jhonas Entroth will make his second career start (he allowed four goals to the Bruins in a Sabres loss last November).

The Sabres are off to a wretched start, sitting in last place of the Northeast divison with just eight points in 12 games. The B’s have 12 points in eight games, thanks to wins in all six of Thomas’ starts this season. The lines appear to be the same as they have been in practice this week. Here are the lines according to the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa:

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Caron – Bergeron- Recchi
Wheeler -Seguin- Ryder
Marchand – Campbell- Thornton

Chara – Ference
Hunwick – Seidenberg
Stuart – McQuaid

Thomas
Rask

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Injury could cause Ryan Miller to miss Wednesday’s game vs. Bruins 11.02.10 at 4:41 pm ET
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A lower body injury could cause Ryan Miller to miss Wednesday's game against the Bruins (AP Photo)

According to the Associated Press, Sabres goaltender and reigning Vezina winner Ryan Miller may not play in Wednesday’s game against the Bruins due to an lower-body injury.

Miller did not practice on Monday, but did see limited ice time in Tuesday’s skate. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said that the decision on whether Miller, whom he said is not dealing with a groin injury, will be healthy enough to go against the B’s will come Wednesday morning.

“I thought he looked OK,” Ruff said on Tuesday. “I thought he was also taking it a little bit easy, just to give it a try. I think he’s just trying to find out exactly where he is at.”

Miller hopes to play but doesn’t want the struggling Sabres, off to a 3-7-2 start, to have a less-than-capable guy in net against the Bruins, winners of six of their last seven games.

“I felt better than I anticipated,” Miller said. “… I want to play, but I want to be sure that I’m giving the guys the best chance.”

Miller began feeling pain during Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Thrashers. If he is unable to go, Patrick Lalime, who allowed four goals against the Stars on Saturday, will man the pipes for Buffalo.

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Ryan Miller says Savard is out because of ‘smartass’ hit 10.12.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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Bruins fans have plenty of reason to not want to see any more ugly hits. Having watched the concussion-inducing blows that cost both Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard significant time, it would be understandable. At any rate, here’s the hit from Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarrson on Sabres forward Jason Pominville that had Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller all charged up when speaking to WGR Sports Radio.

“I don’t care if it’s unintentional. It’s what we have to get away from in hockey right now, is the culture of, ‘I was trying to make a play, therefore it’s not my fault,’” Miller said, adding that the hit ”absolutely needs to be punished.”

“I don’t even know if there’s enough made of it is because Jason is walking out with just stitches,” Miller added. “What if Jason has a fractured neck? We don’t even know if it’s going to have an impact with concussions.”

Miller spoke very passionately against dirty hits and called for players to take more accountability in wake of such plays.

“I just think more people should be a little more outraged,” Miller said. “When [Hjalmarsson] left the ice he was surprised he got kicked out. Are you serious? I would have probably started shading towards the locker room if I were him.”

The reigning Vezina trophy winner said that he hopes “the league wakes up and sets a precedent for the year,” so that players will no longer be at risk of losing time or their careers to concussions. One of the plays mentioned was Matt Cooke‘s March 7 hit on Savard.

“Savard’s still not playing,” Miller said. “One of the best playmakers we have in this game is still not playing because of a stupid, smartass hit.”

Savard, despite returning for the team’s second-round matchup with the Flyers, has been out since training camp with post-concussion syndrom symptoms.

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Bruins slam the door on the Sabres 04.26.10 at 9:40 pm ET
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Summary — For the second straight season the Boston Bruins are headed to the Eastern Conference semifinals as they closed out their series against the Sabres with a 4-3 win at TD Garden on Monday night. Tuukka Rask earned the first series-clinching victory of his young career with 27 of saves while Ryan Miller was the loser, allowing four goals on 32 Boston shots.

The Bruins got on the board first with their fifth power play strike of the series. Mark Recchi shot from the right wing with David Krejci in the slot, slightly off-center from Miller. Krejci got enough stick on the puck to change its direction ever so slightly but enough to get it into the net for his second of the series at 13:39. It was the first time in the series that Boston scored the first goal of the game and entered the second period with a lead.

The Bruins took a two-goal lead early in the second period, again on the power play, this time a 4-on-3 with Zdeno Chara, Tim Connolly and Henrik Tallinder in the box. Krejci and Recchi were the culprits again, this time switched around as Krejci used the extra space to pick apart the Sabres triangle defense with a cross through the slot to Recchi on Miller’s doorstep for the pop in goal at 1:01.

The Sabres got one back in second period when an aggressive forecheck led to a couple snap passes to Patrick Kaleta wide open in front of Rask. Kaleta flipped it up and Rask had no chance to make it a 2-1 game at 6:34. The strike was Kaleta’s first of the series.

The teams traded goals within a minute of each other midway through the third period. The first was scored by Krejci on a snap shot to the side of Miller’s crease after receiving the puck from behind the goal line at 7:18. Former Boston College product Nathan Gerbe kept Buffalo’s playoff dream alive by bringing the Sabres back within a goal at 7:40 for his first career playoff strike.

Miroslav Satan got the goal back at 14:49 with his second of the playoffs when he beat Miller off a centering pass from Dennis Wideman that deflected off Milan Lucic as he passed through the crease. Thomas Vanek then brought the Sabres back yet again as Buffalo operated for the last two minutes with an empty net. He beat Rask at 18:47 to push the action to the final seconds of the game.

Three Stars

David Krejci — Opened the scoring with a tip goal passed Miller and put the helped on the second with a zip pass to set up Recchi. He added the game-winner in the third to cap his three-point night.

Mark Recchi — The veteran forward registered his 75th career postseason assist in the first period and scored his third goal of the series in the second. The strike was the 53rd of his playoff career.

Milan Lucic — Got two big assists in the third period for his first playoff points of the year in the Bruins biggest game of the year.

Turning Point – Krejci’s second goal of the game gave the Bruins a cushion that would prove essential as Gerbe brought the Sabres back within a goal 22-seconds later. The puck was pushed from behind the goal line by Milan Lucic to Krejci on the elbow of Miller’s crease for the snap shot goal at 7:18. Gerbe’s goal was unassisted after taking the puck off the half wall and turning with a whipcord to go far side on Rask to keep the Sabres playoff hopes alive.

Key Play – Satan’s goal sealed it as he crashed the net to put a Dennis Wideman centering pass into the net at 14:41 of the third. Lucic had cleared the way for the puck as he passed through the crease moments before and deflected the pass slightly to earn the primary assist on the play, his second of the period.

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