|Turn up the volume: ‘We deserved two points’||11.13.09 at 12:58 am ET|
Last season, as the Bruins were on their way to 53 regular season wins and first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs, things couldn’t have been much better in the month of November. They went 11-1-1, racking up 23 of a possible 26 points in the month.
What a difference a year makes. This year the Bruins are 2-2-2 in six November games. Tim Thomas recorded his second straight shutout on Thursday night but it wasn’t good enough for a win. The Bruins were beaten in a shootout, 1-0, by a Florida Panthers team that was 5-9-1 coming in.
It was their third shutout loss and the eighth time they have scored fewer than two goals in a contest. Amazing they are even approaching .500 with an 8-8-2 mark.
How bad are things right now? They Bruins not only didn’t score in the 60 minutes of regulation, outshooting Florida 19-1 alone in the second period, they were held scoreless in the five-minute overtime. They failed to light the lamp in their first three shootout chances. And when Thomas gave them another chance by stopping the first three shootout attempts himself, he had reason or hope to think the Bruins would break through.
Not quite. After Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara missed in the first three rounds, Michael Ryder had his chance in the fourth and extra round. Not even an extended shootout could help the Bruins find the back of the net on this night.
Afterward, the Bruins talked about their hard work and frustration on a night that yielded just one point for the overtime loss.
|Quick hits: B’s-Pens||11.10.09 at 9:31 pm ET|
Tim Thomas made 27 saves as the Bruins blanked the Penguins, 3-0, at TD Garden, winning consecutive games for the first time this season. It Thomas’ second shutout this season and 14th career.
Matt Hunwick gathered a rebound of his own shot after sharply cutting to the net from the right point to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
The goal was Hunwick’s fourth of the season, but just his first point in seven games. Fellow defender Dennis Wideman picked up his first point in over a month, assisting on the goal.
Mark Recchi earned his 900th career assist, sending Daniel Paille in on a breakaway 3:34 into the third period. Paille gave Boston a 2-0 advantage, beating Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stick side for his first goal and first point of the season.
David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing two games with the H1NI virus (swine flu). Krejci took his usual spot centering a line with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder on the wings.
The defending Stanley Cup champs look like they are ready to get home. After opening the season with seven straight road wins, Pittsburgh suffered a 5-2 loss in LA last Thursday and a 5-0 drubbing by San Jose Saturday. The Pens, who are skating without Evgeni Malkin, Maxime Talbot, and Sergei Gonchar, finished the first period with two shots, a season low for a Bruins opponent.
Penguins forward Chris Bourque, the 23-year-old son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, is skating at the TD Garden for first time in a regular season NHL game. The third-year NHL forward has generated just one assist in nine games in his first season with Pittsburgh. He has played NHL preseason contests in Boston before.
Star of the Game – Still looking for players to step up offensively, Matt Hunwick launched an impromptu offensive attack in the second period. Bolting from the right point with little hesitation, Hunwick got the Bruins offense in gear.
Turning Point – The Penguins has started to gather momentum and appeared poised to tie contest when Marc Recci hit Daniel Paille with a breakaway pass setting up an insurance goal for Boston in the third period.
|Krejci set to return for B’s||at 6:41 pm ET|
Tim Thomas gets the call in net tonight for the Bruins while the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins counter with Marc-Andre Fleury.
Center David Krejci is taking part in warmups and is expected to make his return after missing the last two games with H1N1 virus.
After missing practice on Monday, Michael Ryder is available tonight for the B’s.
|Bruins continue to come up short on offense||11.03.09 at 11:26 pm ET|
The timing is simply too coated in irony to ignore.
The Bruins dropped another game to the Detroit Red Wings by a 2-0 score and lost two straight games for the first time this season in the process, and haven’t scored a goal in exactly 132:58 and counting. Once again they completely whiffed with an 0-for-3 on the power play — which drops them to 0-for-their-last-17 power play chances — and couldn’t muster up any notable offense over the course of the game aside from a pair of early Marco Sturm opportunities and a few post-worthy bids.
The B’s are averaging 1.85 goals per game in the seven contests since Savard landed on long term injured reserve with a broken left foot, and that isn’t going to win a lot of hockey games.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, Phil Kessel played his first game for the Maple Leafs coming off shoulder surgery and fired a career-high 10 shots on net while playing 23:50 of ice time in the overtime loss — a good two minutes more than the ice time logged for any member of the Bruins in their listless loss to the Wings. Kessel was buzzing around the net all night and showing the kind of dynamic offensive presence that Boston is sorely lacking. The Black and Gold have to work ridiculously hard for their offense right now, and things aren’t getting any better.
The B’s are playing solid enough defense (exactly 2 goals per game in their last seven), getting pretty decent goaltending and playing with effort and grit in most instances, but they simply have no finish to their game. David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron can both give the Bruins quality play at the center spot, but they don’t have wingers capable of finishing with anything approaching a flourish. Bergeron led the B’s with four shots attempted on net Tuesday night, and the Black and Gold simply don’t have that one game-changing force able to lift them out of the goal-scoring doldrums.
YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND, NOTHING’S EVER GONNA BRING YOU DOWN: Got to give it Kessel. He didn’t score and finished a minus-1 for the game, but he squeezed off a game-high 10 shots and showed more offensive dominance in one game than many of the Boston forwards have all season. He showed some toughness shaking off a Matthias Ohland hit in the first period that bloodied his lip, and gave Toronto fans a preview of the explosive skill set the 22-year-old brought to the table for three seasons with the Spoked B. Give Shawn Thornton full marks for skating the entire game as if his pants were on fire. The fourth-line tough guy finished with a game-high nine hits, but he couldn’t spark a genuinely lifeless Bruins bunch.
GOAT HORNS: The power play might be taking permanent residence in this spot soon enough. The B’s have put up a pungent 0-for-17 on the PP, and went 0-for-3 with two cruddy shots on goal for the entire night. The B’s are 1-for-20 on the PP without Marc Savard and sit at a miserable 11.5 percent success rate. That’s 6-for-52 on the season, and a 2-for-44 mark without counting their four power play goals against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second game of the season.
|US Olympic roster to be announced at Winter Classic||at 12:34 pm ET|
As expected, USA Hockey announced that they will reveal their 23-man US Olympic Team roster during the Jan. 1 NBC broadcast of the Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the only current B’s player invited to the Olympic orientation camp on Aug. 17-19 in Woodbridge, Ill., but is expected to get some stiff competition for starting goaltending honors with Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson among others.
There are three goalie spots on the 23-man roster put together by Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke. The XXI Winter Olympic games set in Vancouver, B.C. will begin on Feb. 16 and wind up 12 days later with the gold medal game on Feb. 28 during a two-week break in the NHL season. Team USA will begin their schedule with a game against Team Switzerland on Feb. 16.
The U.S. roster will include 20 skaters and three goaltenders. It is expected that all 23 players will come from the NHL. Ron Wilson, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, with Scott Gordon, head coach of the New York Islanders, and John Tortorella, head coach of the New York Rangers, serving as assistant coaches.
|Bruins Move in Right Direction in Loss||10.30.09 at 12:44 am ET|
Tim Thomas was disappointed like everyone else hoping the Bruins, not the Devils, would score late and pull out a two-pointer on Thursday night against the Devils.
But the puck fell behind him with 1:26 remaining in the third period, and Dainius Zubrus was there, more than willing to scoop up the spare change and flick the puck into the vacant net behind the Bruins netminder for the winning goal in New Jersey’s 2-1 win.
So there was no miracle finish like last Saturday night, when the Bruins scored two extra-attacker goals in the final two minutes against Ottawa, winning in a shootout. Despite the loss, however, Thomas insisted that there was plenty of reason for optimism on the ice.
“The direction we’ve been playing in the past few games is the right direction,” Thomas said. “And we’re getting effort and getting people moving their legs and we’re getting guys playing physical and we’re getting going toward the net so we’re doing lots of good things. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins drop one to Devils in final minutes||10.29.09 at 9:30 pm ET|
It wasn’t pretty, but when is it ever against the New Jersey Devils?
The Bruins played an incredibly well-matched game against New Jersey in their second of back-to-back road games, but dropped a 2-1 decision in the final two minutes of Thursday night’s showdown with the Devils. Dainus Zubrus slammed home a loose puck behind Tim Thomas with 1:26 remaining to hand Boston their first regulation loss in four tries.
The B’s fell behind early when an errant puck bounced off the boards and got behind Shawn Thornton. The quick bounce of the puck allowed the Devils to break things out, and get in behind the B’s defense and a scrambling Thornton. Nicklas Bergfors carried the puck up the left side of the ice with speed, and unleashed a low liner at Thomas’ pads.
The puck sneaked between the B’s goaltender’s leg pads and trickled out into the painted area in front of the Boston goal. In a case of perfect timing, David Clarkson was crashing toward the cage from the right side and swept home the loose biscuit. It was a brief defensive lapse for the Black and Gold, however, as both Derek Morris and Zdeno Chara were able to prevent nearly certain goals later in the game with some very strong stick work in front of Thomas.
The Bruins finally tied things up in the second period immediately after time expired on their second power play of the game. Zdeno Chara leveled a bomb from the right point that whistled through traffic in front, and Devils’ goaltender Yann Danis kicked it off to the right. Marco Sturm corralled the rebound and shoveled a backhand shot toward the Devils net, but it ricocheted off sticks and skates before landing on Patrice Bergeron’s stick blade.
Bergeron flicked the puck into the vacated net, and the game was tied at 1-1. It was Bergeron’s fourth goal of the season, and his team-leading eighth point after enduring Tuesday’s two-year anniversary of his career-threatening concussion at the hands of Randy Jones. The scoring stayed that way until Zubrus’ gut-punch score with less than two minutes to go in the contest. To add insult to injury, Zdeno Chara had a deflection hit off the crossbar in the final seconds that could have tied the game and pushed things to overtime. In the end, the Devils were simply one bounce of the puck better than the hard-working Bruins.
YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND AND NOTHING’LL EVER KEEP YOU DOWN: Patrice Bergeron worked and persevered through last season when he clearly didn’t feel 100 percent, but it’s all paying off now. Bergeron tied the game in the second period, and is again developing that all-important nose for the goal. Bergeron trailed only Shawn Thornton with his four shots on net for a Bruins team that needs all the offense they can get right now.
GOAT HORNS: The first instinct was to go with Tim Thomas who was otherwise solid but allowed two pucks to squeeze through the goaltender’s pads — including the game-winner to Dainus Zubrus with less than 90 seconds to go in the game. The two goals were virtual carbon copies of each other, as Thomas slowed down each shot with his pads. But the reigning Vezina Trophy winner couldn’t quite close the sliver of an opening in time. In both instances, the puck slowed behind the B’s netminder and an attacking Jersey skater was able to bang home the loose puck. But the game-winner, it should be noted, was a tipped puck that changed direction before it hit the net.
The better choice for the horns is Boston’s still toothless power play that finished 0-for-2 tonight — although the B’s did score immediately following their second power play chance — and is sitting at a 14.3 percent efficiency for the season. That’s six goals in 42 chances. The B’s had plenty of good looks and chances against the Devils, but simply couldn’t finish. That’s beginning to become a pattern of concern.
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