|Bruins at Flyers preview||12.01.10 at 5:41 pm ET|
The Bruins are in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers for the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last May.
The team did not have a full morning skate, with just rehabbing players and a healthy scratch — Marc Savard, Marco Sturm and Daniel Paille — as well as Tuukka Rask, taking the ice. With Rask skating this morning, it is anticipated that Tim Thomas will start for the B’s.
WHERE IT’S AT
The Flyers are 9-4-1 at home this season, though they’re 1-1-1 in their last three games in Philadelphia.
The Bruins, on the other hand, continue to be a far better road team than they are a home team. Their away record stands at 8-3-0 compared to their 4-5-2 mark in home games. Still, the Bruins are slumping, and it’s hit them no matter where they’ve been playing. They’ve dropped two of their last three games away from TD Garden, the most recent of which was a 4-1 pounding from the Thrashers in Atlanta on Sunday.
- It’s almost time to send a search party out for Nathan Horton. The sharpshooting winger has gone seven games without a goal and is a minus-2 with zero points over his last five contests.
- Wednesday marks the 100th game of James van Riemsdyk‘s career. The 21-year-old forward spent two years at UNH before making the jump to the NHL last season. The former second overall pick has three goals in his last four games, which is a good sign for the Flyers when considering his benching last month. Of course, the three goals are his only three of the season. In 21 games this season, JVR has three goals and seven assists for 10 points.
- The Flyers have scored on just two of their last 34 power plays. The B’s penalty kill has been slumping, allowing four power play goals in their opponent’s last six opportunities. The majority of the damage was done last Friday, of course, when Carolina went 3-for-3.
- Thomas still leads the league in save percentage (.951) and goals against average (1.56) and is tied with Carey Price for the NHL lead with four shutouts. He is coming off what is one of his worst starts of the season statistically, though much like Rask could have in the season-opener, he can blame the numbers (three goals on 21 shots) on bad bounces and Daniel Paille.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Storylines in this game? Hard to think of any'¦ When the B’s last left Philadelphia, they had let the Flyers tie the series at three games apiece after leading it, 3-0. The Flyers took Game 7 in Boston, 4-3, to win the series and shock the NHL.
- It’s been bad for the Bruins of late. They’re 5-6-2 in their last 13 games, so what better motivation to turn things around than facing the team that embarrassed them last May?
- Adam McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season, but first since the trade of Matt Hunwick. With Hunwick now gone, the physical right-handed-shooting blueliner finally has a full-time job after going back and forth between dressing and sitting as a healthy scratch.
|Claude Julien goes with Tim Thomas, revamped lines vs. Hurricanes||11.26.10 at 11:21 am ET|
Thomas, 36, is 11-1-1 with a 1.46 goals against average in 14 starts. He leads the league with a .955 save percentage and is tied for the league lead with four shutouts. He most recently made 31 saves in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday.
Julien also said the the lines “will be kind of the same” as they were in the third period of Wednesday’s game. With the team trailing, 1-0, in the third period, Julien reunited the Blake Wheeler - David Krejci - Michael Ryder line of years past, sticking Patrice Bergeron between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Gregory Campbell centered Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi, while Tyler Seguin returned to center on a line with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton.
In warmups, however, it was Daniel Paille skating with Seguin and Thornton, with Marchand jumping up to Campbell’s line. Caron was not on the ice, an indication he could be a healthy scratch for the first time since the season-opener on Oct. 9 in Prague.
|Bruins defeat Panthers with strong third period||11.24.10 at 10:00 pm ET|
It was yet another game in which the B’s had to fight back in the third period, as they entered the period trailing, 1-0, before they got a shorthanded tally from Brad Marchand and a two goals from Mark Recchi.
The Panthers got their lone goal from Steve Reinprecht in the second period. Aside from that, Thomas was sound once again, stopping the other 31 shots he saw. Tomas Vokoun allowed three goals on 35 shots.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Brad Marchand, sheikh of the shorthanded goal. After Vokoun misplayed a puck behind the net and sent it in front of an unoccupied goal, Brad Marchand raced to it and chipped it in, picking up his second shorthanded goal and third goal of his career.
- With Recchi’s second goal, the Bruins are now a — brace yourself — plus-17 in the third period, which is of course tops in the league (the Capitals, at plus-11 are second in the league). Something just happens to this Bruins team in the third period, especially when they’re trailing.
- Recchi reached yet another milestone as his goal was the 1500th point of his career. He’s 13th all-time.
- The third-period shaking up of the lines seemed to work, though Recchi’s first goal came from Krejci. Here’s how they looked after the changes:
Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder
Lucic – Bergeron – Horton
Caron – Campbell – Recchi
Marchand – Seguin – Thornton
- The Bruins were essentially handed the dagger to put in Florida’s heart when Radek Dvorak flipped the puck into the stands from his own end early on in a Michal Repik penalty. The result was a 5-on-3 on which Recchi scored his second goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Dennis Wideman was instrumental in setting up the Panther’s first goal. The former Bruin faked out Jordan Caron at the point and slid it over to Michal Repek, whose shot’s rebound found its way to Reinprecht.
- Anyone with access to twitter, (or, at times, the Big Bad Blog) can see that Panthers fans are irate that their old dog in Nathan Horton came to Boston and became a star. Luckily for those Panther fans, they didn’t see Horton do much as their opponent on Wednesday night. Horton had two shots on goal, following up a dismal showing against Tampa by disappearing for most of the night at BankAtlantic Center.
Horton, like others, picked it up in the third period, but the Bruins have seen far better from him.
- It was the third consecutive game in which the Bruins were trailing entering the third period. They’re 1-1-1 in that span.
|Tim Thomas, Bruins to take on Panthers Wednesday night||at 12:37 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was the first to leave the ice at the Bruins’ morning skate on Wednesday, indicating he will likely be between the pipes when the B’s take on the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday night. The Panthers will counter with Tomas Vokoun.
The Bruins are second in the Northeast Division with 24 points, the Panthers’ 18 points are fifth in the Southeast and third from worst in the conference.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 7-2-0 on the road this season, dropping their most recent away game on Monday in Tampa, 3-1, and splitting their last four away from TD Garden.
- The Panthers are 5-3-0 at BankAtlantic Center and have won three of their last four home games.
- Three. That’s how many goals Lucic had against the Panthers last Friday and how many assists former Panther Nathan Horton had. It was Horton’s first regular-season game against his old club (for more on Horton and how he felt about playing for the Panthers, click here.)
- The Panthers have allowed nearly the same average of goals per game at home (2.50) as they have on the road (2.54).
- The Panthers are 17th in the league in goals per game with 2.7. Center Mike Santorelli leads them with six goals in 19 games. The Bruins, meanwhile, have scored 2.9 goals per game (15th in the league) and are led by Lucic with 10.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Comparing how a team plays vs. the Lightning to how they fare against the Panthers won’t lead one to rock-solid conclusions, but it will be interesting to see if the team’s heavy practice on Tuesday got them in gear to play a full 60 minutes. It was the same old story on Monday, as they came out flat for two periods before turning it up in the third period (15 shots through two periods, 12 in the third).
- The Bruins score over a goal per game more in front of Thomas than they do in front of Tuukka Rask. They score a whopping 3.23 goals per game in front of Thomas, with Rask getting just 2.21 goals of support a night.
- It’s been a week since the Bruins allowed an opponent to score a power play goal, so here’s the reminder of how dominant the penalty kill has been. The B’s 90.3 penalty kill percentage is second only to Montreal’s 90.8.
|Tim Thomas third among goalies in NHL All-Star voting||11.23.10 at 3:27 pm ET|
The NHL released the results of All-Star voting by the fans thus far, and the Bruins are far from well-represented. This means Boston fans either didn’t vote, or they, like everybody else, voted for Sidney Crosby.
Crosby leads all vote-getters with 118,755 votes, while no Bruins are currently on pace to get in via the fan vote. Patrice Bergeron is 35th among forwards with 15,020 votes, while Zdeno Chara‘s 41,081 votes are 10th among defensemen.
The most popular Bruins on the ballot is Tim Thomas, who is third among goaltenders with 47,646 votes. The odd part is that the two goalies he trails, Carey Price (71,199) and Sergei Bobrovsky (58,101), were both write-ins. Should Thomas not get in through the fan vote, which ends Jan. 3, he can still be selected in the new fantasy draft format.
Thomas leads the league in goals against average (1.49), save percentage (.954), and is tied for the league lead with four shutouts.
|Bruins trail Kings after first period||11.20.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
The Bruins entered Saturday night having not allowed a goal in their last two home games, but the Kings put an end to that with goals from Brad Richardson and Michal Handzus. Despite Los Angeles getting just seven shots on B’s netminder Tim Thomas, the Kings lead the Bruins, 2-0, after 20 minutes.
Richardson got the Kings on the board just 57 seconds into the game, beating Thomas with a wrist shot from the circle. Handzus added to the lead at 11:17, putting in a puck that came to him as a result of Patrice Bergeron blocking a Davis Drewiske shot.
The Bruins are 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Kings failed to convert on their lone man advantage, a high sticking call on Zdeno Cahara at 8:08. The B’s have outshot the Kings, 14-7.
|Kings at Bruins preview||at 10:33 am ET|
With the Bruins heating up at home, they will face a test against a very good Kings team that has been cooling off of late. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins, an indication that he will likely be between the pipes for the B’s against UMass product Jonathan Quick.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 4-4-1 in home games this season, but are 4-3-1 in games played at TD Garden given that the first game was actually in Prague. Things are looking up for them in Boston, though, as they have won their last two home games, shutting out both the Senators and Panthers.
- The Kings are a dominant home team, but the same can’t be said for they’re road play. They’re 4-5-0 outside of Los Angeles and have dropped their last two road games.
- Ten. That’s how many victories both Tim Thomas and Quick have been able to attain in just 12 starts this season. Thomas is 10-1-0, with Quick entering the game at 10-2-0. Thomas has four shutouts to Quick’s one.
Despite the impressive play and 1.73 goals against average for Quick, he’s coming off a rough game Wednesday in which he allowed four goals to the Blue Jackets on just 25 shots.
- Thomas leads the NHL in save percentage (.959), but one might be surprised that Tuukka Rask is third in the league in the category with a .939 clip, ahead of Quick and many others. Not bad for a guy with a 1-4-1 record, eh?
- This might be the only time one could point out that Milan Lucic is on pace for 48 goals, so why the hell not? His career high is 17, though he’s never had an 82-game season in his career.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- This is a battle of two teams that have been at opposite ends of the spectrum recently. The Bruins are winners of their last three, while the Kings have lost three in a row after a 12-3-0 start to the season.
- The last time these teams faced one another, it was an interesting one. It wasn’t until the sixth round of the shootout that Jarret Stoll sealed a 3-2 Kings victory in Boston. The game was the Bruins’ seventh of their 10-game losing streak that stretched from Jan. 16 (another loss to the Kings) to Feb. 16.