|Gameday notes: Bruins looking for first win vs. Habs||02.09.11 at 3:02 pm ET|
With the Canadiens in town on Wednesday, a regulation win for either team means a four-point swing in the standings. With the Bruins leading the Habs by two points, that means a ton right now.
The unfortunate thing for the Bruins is that they have yet to win against the Canadiens this season, going 0-2-1 in their three games and blowing a 2-0 lead late in the third period Jan. 8 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss.
“It’s a long season,” Shawn Thornton said of the B’s lack of success against the rival Habs. “The last game in there we definitely should have won. ‘¦ We had a couple of breakdowns, they ended up pulling it out late, and give credit to them for not giving up, but it’s a long season. We’ve got three more against them, and hopefully we can do some damage control.”
The Canadiens are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Devils on Sunday. Here are a few other notes:
– In case you haven’t seen it yet, Tyler Seguin is a healthy scratch for the Bruins. It’s technically the second time he’s been a “healthy” scratch, with the team listing flu-like symptoms as the reason he didn’t play on Dec. 11 against the Flyers. Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron are both in the lineup playing on the third and fourth line, respectively.
– Patrice Bergeron, who left Tuesday’s practice and had to go to the hospital for stitches after getting a puck to the face, is fine and will play Wednesday. Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara were not on the ice for morning skate but were just given the morning off to rest. They’ll both play as well.
– It looks like the recent exchange between former Bruin Hal Gill and rookie P.K. Subban in which Gill called the fellow blueliner an “a–hole” over his treatment of the team’s jersey was blown way out of proportion. Members of the Montreal media here who observed the exchange are saying the it was very obviously a joke after Gil accused Subban of “throwing” the Habs’ jersey on the ground while getting undressed.
– Speaking of Subban, Tuesday will be his first game at the Garden since destroying Brad Marchand with a very clean but very hard hit in Montreal on Dec. 16. Subban’s done some damage against the Bruins, as he has a goal and an assist against them this season in addition to the hit that kept Marchand out for three games with “soreness.” The Gregory Campbell penalty he drew following the hit also led to a power play goal.
“I’d like him to elevate it all the time. It’s something that I think he strives to be consistent, and I think he’s a good player, but he’s got the ability to be a great player. When he’s given that challenge he seems to rise to that occasion.”
Krecji has no goals over his last 19 games.
|How the Bruins have become Team Unity, and why it matters||02.04.11 at 8:57 am ET|
Just four minutes into Thursday’s slugfest at the Garden, Stars forward Adam Burish came in on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and fired a shot several seconds after the whistle had clearly blown, stopping play.
That is a big hockey no-no.
And Andrew Ference made sure Burish paid the penalty. The Bruins defenseman came over to enforce the hockey the law, eventually drawing Burish into a fight ‘ which Ference clearly won ‘ and a message had been sent. Don’t mess with these Bruins or you pay the price, especially on Boston’s home ice.
“We’re a tight group,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice and assisted on an empty-netter. “We’ve always said that and we all know that. We’re ‘¦ we get along real well off the ice and we try to bring that on the ice. I think that Ference fight is the best example just by showing that he took a shot after the whistle on Tuukka and Andy responded right away. So I think it’s ‘¦ it showed our unity, and we’ve got to keep going.”
As for Ference himself, he said Thursday’s win showed how the Bruins can get back to being the right mix of talent and toughness, just like 2008-09, when they were the top seed in the East and a favorite to get to the Stanley Cup finals.
“One of the good things we did in that year, and something we’ve established over the last few is, when our team is emotionally and physically involved, we’re a very good team,” Ference said. “We’ve proven that the other way around, too. When it’s not there, we lose games. You know, go back to the Carolina series a couple years ago. I think that’s what almost all of us pointed our fingers at, it was missing. We know that that has to be there for us to be successful, and it was good [against Dallas].”
Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly had no problem with it.
“It was an opportunity for us to step up for each other, and we did and I thought it certainly played in our favor,” Julien said of the four fights in four minutes ‘ three in the opening four seconds. “We’re a team that can handle that and guys seem to be ready for it and certainly that part of it was good. Those two quick goals also were proof that we were ready to play.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins beat up Stars, 6-3||02.03.11 at 9:44 pm ET|
Three fights in the first four seconds, a goalie change in the first 80 seconds, and a 6-3 Bruins’ victory after 3,600 seconds. Boston has to like that result.
The Bruins played a hard-fought (literally) game on Thursday behind lots of fighting majors and timely scoring. Patrice Bergeron had two first-period goals for the B’s, with Milan Lucic opening the scoring and Shawn Thornton also scoring in the first. Tyler Seguin provided the B’s with an important goal after the team, leading 4-0 in the second period, allowed three unanswered goals.
Gregory Campbell, who was cheap-shotted by Steve Ott two years ago while Campbell was still a member of the Panthers, clearly didn’t forget about their history. He was the first of the Bruins players to drop the gloves, as he squared off with Ott just one second into the game. Ott tossed him a pretty good beating, though, and Campbell left the ice bloodied. He did return to the game later in the period. Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid also fought for the B’s two and four seconds into the game, respectively. Andrew Ference fought Adam Burish at 3:51.
With the Bruins leading 4-0 after the first period, the Stars outshot the B’s 16-9 in the second period and got three pucks past Tuukka Rask, courtesy of Karlis Skrastins, Brenden Morrow, and Brad Richards over the course of the final two periods. Seguin put the game out of reach with his eighth goal of the season, while Brad Marchand scored an empty netter after Bergeron hit the side of the net going for the hat trick.
Tuukka Rask earned the victory for the Bruins and improved his , The Stars went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Any time there’s a fight off the opening draw, the crowd is going to go crazy. But two fights in the first two seconds? Three in the first four? Needless to say, the Garden was rocking, especially since Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid scored decisive victories in the latter two bouts. Milan Lucic made sure the energy boost didn’t go to waste by scoring 35 seconds into the game when he took in a pass from David Krejci and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrester. Patrice Bergeron kept the wave of momentum going when he tipped home a Brad Marchand centering pass 45 seconds later. From there, the Raycroft’s night was done.
– Seguin redeemed himself in a big way in the third period. It had been nine games without a point for the second overall pick, and he was coming off perhaps his worst showing of the season Tuesday in Carolina. Seguin didn’t get off to a great start Thursday, as he seemed to be treading water between Adam Burish and Skrastins on the Stars’ first goal in the second period, but his third-period goal gave the Bruins some much-needed breathing room.
– How’s this for a crazy one from the WEEI.com stat truck: Thursday was the second time this season that Shawn Thornton has dropped the gloves two seconds into a game and scored. The other time, of course, was on Dec. 23 against the Thrashers, when Thornton fought Eric Boulton and scored two goals in the Bruins’ victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Daniel Paille laid a very dirty hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawada in the second period. Paille lined Sawada up from a good 10 feet away and left his feet for a blindside shoulder to the ear that left Sawada slow to get up. He was handed a five minute major and match penalty for a head shot.
It’s very difficult to see how Paille doesn’t get suspended for the play, as the match penalty carries a suspension pending review. That’s exactly the type of play the NHL is trying to get rid of, and Paille will have to answer to the league.
– The Bruins appeared to take a 5-0 lead 4:10 into the second when McQuaid fired through a Blake Wheeler screen for what would’ve been his second career goal. Instead, the goal was waved off and Wheeler was sent to the box for a goaltender interference call that was questionable at best. Wheeler had himself planted a good foot outside the crease and it appeared that Kari Lehtonen was the one who initiated contact by coming out of his crease.
– The Bruins won just 22 of the game’s 64 faceoffs. All four of Boston’s starting centers failed to win 50 percent of their draws. Blake Wheeler was the biggest culprit as he went four of 16, while Patrice Bergeron won just seven of 20, Gregory Campbell four of 10, and David Krejci six of 14.
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.
A lot of skaters saw the penalty box, and a starting goaltender saw the bench very early on as the Bruins outmuscled and outscored the Stars in the first period to the tune of a 4-0 lead.
An astonishing three fights took place in the first four seconds of the game, while Andrew Raycroft, starting in an exciting matchup against Tuukka Rask was pulled from the game after only 1:20.
Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves off the face-off with Steve Ott, and their tango just one second into the contest made for the quickest into a game this season that a Bruin has tangoed with an opponent. Campbell was bloodied and left the ice for the locker room. He would return later in the period.
The guy who previously held the distinction of quickest to get in a fight for the B’s this season, Shawn Thornton, wasn’t to be outdone. He fought Krystofer Barch one second later (the second time this season he dropped the gloves two seconds into the first period, Dec. 23 vs. Thrashers). Adam McQuaid did the twist with Bryan Sutherby two seconds later, with Andrew Ference and Adam
Thirty-one seconds after McQuaid’s fight (and still just 35 seconds into the game), Milan Lucic opened the scoring for the Bruins when he beat Raycroft with a wrist shot for his 21st goal of the season.
Forty-five seconds later, Brad Marchand took a pass from Mark Recchi and fired a shot from the top of the circle. Patrice Bergeron redirected it past Raycroft, ending his night after just 80 seconds. Bergeron would score his second goal of the night with 10:25 remaining in the first. The 25-year-old picked up his 19th of the season when Marchand returned his pass in offensive zone to set up the goal.
Thornton beat Kari Lehtonen top left corner with an absolute lacerate 16:01 for his eighth goal of the season. It is the second time he has fought two seconds into the first and also scored in a game, as he had two goals on Dec. 23.
Tuukka Rask stopped all nine shots he saw.
|Bruins and Flyers tied after one||01.13.11 at 7:48 pm ET|
An oddball goal from Scott Hartnell and a Zdeno Chara snipe on a two-man advantage have the Flyers and Bruins tied at one after a period of play.
After Hartnell made it 1-0 by batting a puck in mid-air past Tim Thomas from behind the net, a pair of hooking penalties gave the B’s a two-man advantage. Marc Savard stood out on the 5-on-3, nearly scoring in front of the net and making the pass to set up a blast from Chara from the point.
David Krejci is getting big opportunities but is an early candidate for post-game questions about being snakebitten. The skilled center intercepted a pass in the first minute in the Flyers’ end but couldn’t control it well enough to fire a shot from the dot. With 6:36 in the period, Krejci decked out front and brought Boucher with him.
The good news on Krejci’s missed opportunity late in the period was that he drew a Mike Richards hooking call on the play. Hartnell and Braydon Coburn added hooking penalties later in the period, and Chara tied it up on the 5-on-3.
Shawn Thornton did indeed go after Jody Shelley, and the two squared off in a bout that left Thornton bloodied. Shelley delivered a shove from behind to Adam McQuaid on Dec. 11
The Flyers are outshooting the B’s, 13-11.
The Bruins made it through the first half of the season with some of everything. From other-worldly goaltending, to injuries, to special teams highs and lows, there wasn’t much the first 41 games of the season didn’t feature.
One of the things that has made the 2010-11 Bruins a tough squad to figure it out is their inconsistent play. Winning streaks quickly turned to droughts, while it seems they had a knack for following up “worst loss of the season” candidates with statement-making wins. Take the Anaheim loss at home on Dec. 21, for example. The B’s put on a lineup-wide clinic on the art of disappearance in a 3-0 Ducks win that had fans booing at their loudest. The next game, they beat up on the Thrashers, both figuratively and literally.
Then there was the blown 2-0 lead against the Canadiens in the third period on Saturday. The Habs came back to sink the B’s in overtime, and the Bruins followed it by scoring four goals in the final 3:23 against the Penguins two days later for a 4-2 win. It’s tough to find patterns with this team, and with the Bruins having won two in a row, it’s tricky to assume whether things are trending upward for the Northeast Division-leading B’s.
“Most of us have been around long enough to know that it’s a long season with a lot of ups and downs,” Shawn Thornton said Thursday. “‘¦ Obviously there’s going to be a couple of blips there, but you can’t let it bother you too much.”
“It’s a long season. Every team goes through their highs and their lows, but the big thing, if you look around at teams that are at the top of the league, they’re consistent,” Adam McQuaid said. “Every team has their off night every once and a while, but I think the big thing is this league is consistency.
This season’s edition of the B’s is a confident bunch, and while they look to make strides in the second half, they aren’t going to take anything as a given or assume there won’t be more lows.
“You learn from your mistakes,” Thornton said. “There’s going to be downs, too. It’s not the end of the world when we lose, and don’t order the rings when you win a game.”
|Why the Bruins feel so bad for Tuukka Rask||01.06.11 at 11:54 pm ET|
Thornton called out the rest of the team for non-support of goalie Tuukka Rask. The Bruins netminder made several athletic saves, including a spectacular one on Martin Havlat to keep the Bruins tied. But the save was for naught as the Bruins fell, 3-1, Thursday night to the Minnesota Wild.
“Tuukka was awesome again,” Thornton said. “I think its awful that that kid plays so good for us all the time and we don’t get the wins for him its’¦we care about him and we should probably show it in a better way, he stood on his head for us pretty much every night and I don’t know his save percentage is .940 or something stupid like that.
“That should be good enough to win a lot of hockey games so we have to look ourselves in the mirror as far as that goes.”
Not that anyone is nit-picking at this point, but his save percentage is .928 after stopping 31-of-33 shots he faced, not including the empty-netter by Mikko Koivu with less than a minute to go that sealed Boston’s fate.
“It has been disappointing for him all season,” B’s benched center Marc Savard added. “He comes in and gives us a solid effort. We can’t seem to score at all when he is in there. I feel bad for him. He is one of the best goaltenders in the league.”
What about the man himself?
“I always try to have a good feeling, you know?” Rask said. “We definitely’¦ we talked about playing better after the second period and, you know, digging deep but, an awful’¦ an awful mistake there went in and cost us the game. I don’t even know what happened, it’s just, I guess we just lost our focus.”
As frustrated as he gets, Rask said he is doing everything in his power to stay upbeat – though the stat sheet shows otherwise, at least in terms of wins and losses.
“Yeah, you know I try to feel good about myself everyday and think positive, and you know, the past couple games have been solid,” Rask said. “Tough to lose like this, it’s kind of frustrating but you always try to feel good about yourself, but the last three games have been a step in the right direction.”
Rask has stopped 67-of-70 shots in his last two games, showing Claude Julien that he might just be ready to pick it up for the second half of the season. There was no better example of that than his save on Martin Havlat late in the second period to keep the game tied, 1-1. From his stomach, he put his left hand up at the last moment to rob the man who already had beaten Rask for the first goal of the game.
“I saw him at the last second, and I just dove there, and I guess the puck was bouncing a bit for him too, and he didn’t get enough wood on it,” Rask said. “But, you know, it’s’¦ you got to be lucky to make those saves, too, but, I guess, half luck, half skill.”
In just his 13th game – and 12th start – Rask fell to 3-8-1 despite a 2.58 goals against average, a record neither Thornton nor their coach – Julien feels Rask even remotely deserves.
“This is a goaltender tonight that was outstanding for us, deserving a better fate and gave us a chance to win,” Julien lamented. “And so I feel bad for him because he deserves probably to be in the win column tonight, not in the loss column.”
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