|Senators at Bruins preview, 11/13||11.13.10 at 12:29 pm ET|
The Bruins are set to take on the Senators on Saturday night at TD Garden. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins in their morning skate, with Cory Clouston telling reporters following the Senators’ skate that he will start Brian Elliot, who is 8-4 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 12 games this season. Both teams have 17 points on the young season, though the Senators, who are 8-7-1, have played three more contests than the 8-4-1 Bruins.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 2-3-1 as the home team this season, and 2-2-1 when playing at the Garden. They’ve gone 0-2-1 in their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday night.
- The Senators are 3-3-1 on the road this season, though they have won their last two contests away from Ottawa and beat the Canadiens in Montreal last Saturday.
- Thomas has started just two games at home this season, and the only goal he allowed in the six periods was one he gave away to Jason Chimera of the Capitals. Overall, the 36-year-old is 8-0-0 with a 1.39 goals against average and an NHL-best .959 save percentage in nine starts. He shut out the Senators on Oct. 30th, one of three shutouts he’s picked up this season.
- Old friend Sergei Gonchar is a minus-nine for the Senators in his first season with the club. Yeesh.
- Even Nathan Horton has seen a dip in production at the Garden as of late. Since picking up a goal and an assist in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 23, he’s been held off the scoring sheet in three contests in Boston. Such a statistic should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the Bruins have been able to score just four goals over their last three games at the Garden.
Horton still leads the Bruins with four goals in home games this season, though two of them came in Prague.
- Only three Bruins have positive plus/minus ratings in home games this season: Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand, all of whom are a plus-one. Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as each are a minus-four in home games.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- There are two things the Bruins are dealing with: injuries and struggles at home. One is beyond their control, and the other remains a growing problem. They’ve faced good teams at the Garden this season, but they’ve had no trouble beating top teams on the road. Stay tuned as more develops.
- Filip Kuba will make his season debut for the Senators, with Clouston indicating he will be paired with Erik Karlsson. The 33-year-old has been out with a fractured fibula. In 61 games last season, the Czech-born defenseman had three goals and 25 assists.
- When the Bruins last faced the Senators, Ottawa was sitting at 4-5-1, but they’ve picked it up since. The Senators are 4-1-0 since that Oct. 30th contest, though the loss came in their most recent game, an ugly showing in which the Canucks handled them in 6-2 fashion.
|Is Tuukka Rask snake-bitten? It sure looks that way||11.12.10 at 10:19 am ET|
It must be hard for Tuukka Rask right now.
His Bruins teammates got off to a red-hot start and his fellow netminder one stall over in the dressing room was off to one of the best starts in team history.
But after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Rask stands with an 0-4-1 record. How bad is it? He has more losses than games started.
When the Bruins came back to tie the Washington Capitals last Friday night, he came on in relief of Tim Thomas, only to allow the go-ahead goal and get charged with the loss. He has a 2.75 goals against average but his coach hasn’t lost faith because he believes Rask deserves a better fate.
“I don't know if it's at home, but I think it's just overall,” Claude Julien said after Thursday’s latest setback. “It's unfortunate, because so far, I don't think we've played great in front of him. That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren't a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don't know that I would go after him and say that he's not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it's because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have.”
He was respectable again on Thursday night, stopping 25-of-26 shots before a power play goal inside the first minute of the third period gave the Canadiens control.
Rask, who was the starter in the playoffs last year and figured to be this season after surgery to Tim Thomas, can’t seem to catch a break.
“Well, I think pros are pros and you can't do everything for them,” Julien added. “That's part of being a pro. You've got to be mentally strong, and you've got to fight through those things and the coach will always more or less always help them out, but he's got to do his share to work through those things if confidence becomes an issue, but I don't think he's there.”
What does Rask think?
“That's hockey, you know,” he said. “Try to do your best and save every puck and if you don't get the bounce, you don't, and if you do, just that's great. Today there was more unlucky bounces again.”
Can’t blame him if it seems like he’s seen more than his fair share so far this season.
|Tim Thomas, Bruins return to Pittsburgh hoping to Cooke up better results||11.10.10 at 11:57 am ET|