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Patrice Bergeron takes home the hardware in regular season finale 04.28.13 at 7:59 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron. (AP)

The Bruins announced their regular season award winners before the regular season finale with the Senators Sunday night. Patrice Bergeron was the recipient of the Eddie Shore Award (exceptional hustle and determination, chosen by the “Gallery Gods”) as well as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy (outstanding performance during home games, determined by the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association).

Gregory Campbell was selected for the John P. Bucyk Award (greatest off-ice charitable contributions, chosen by John Bucyk); and Tuukka Rask (First Star), Bergeron (Second Star) and Tyler Seguin (Third Star) were named the Bruins Three Stars (top performers at home over the course of the season).

Eddie Shore Award and Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy

Bergeron, the team’s alternate captain to Zdeno Chara, was also selected by the “Gallery Gods” as the Eddie Shore Award winner for demonstrating exceptional hustle and determination throughout the 2013 campaign. The reining Selke Trophy winner currently leads the Bruins with a +25 rating (5th NHL), is second in assists (22) and is tied for fourth in points with 32 (10-22). The Bruins centerman also leads the NHL in faceoff percentage, winning puck drops at a 61.9-percent clip.

In addition to the Eddie Shore Award, the BPHWA has selected Bergeron as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy recipient for his outstanding performance during Bruins home games this season. At TD Garden this year, Bergeron has notched eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. The forward’s +20 rating and 66.8% (280/419) faceoff percentage in Boston, leads all Bruins players.

John P. Bucyk Award

Gregory Campbell has been an active participant in the Boston Bruins off-ice charitable events in this years condensed NHL season. Campbell has spent many of his rare off days making community visits throughout the Greater Boston area, including visits to the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Home for Little Wanderers and was a one of the team’s participants in their annual “Cuts for a Cause” event. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Boston Bruins Foundation, Gallery gods, Gregory Campbell
Will the playoffs be the time for Tuukka Rask to shine? 04.26.13 at 4:58 pm ET
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The last time Tuukka Rask started a playoff game was one all Bruins fans would like to forget.

It was May 14, 2010. Rask was spotted a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. The Bruins would lose the game on a power play goal by Simon Gagne when the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice.

The game marked Boston’s collapse after going up 3-0 in the series and three goals in the final game on home ice. Rask was thrown into the spotlight that season when Tim Thomas was nursing an injured hip that eventually required surgery. Rask was 7-6 in the playoffs that season with a 2.61 goals against and a .912 save percentage. Not bad but a lot of Bruins fans felt Rask was exposed.

Of course, that was all forgiven 12 months later as Thomas and the Bruins won their sixth Stanley Cup in history.

Now, Thomas is gone. It’s Tuukka’s time to shine, and shine is exactly what Rask has done this season. He has five shutouts, including a 2-0 blanking of the Lightning on Thursday in which he turned aside all 30 shots. He is a leading candidate for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the top goalie, sporting a 19-9-4 record with a sparkling 1.97 goals against and a .930 save percentage.

There’s no doubt he’s the goalie going into the playoffs. Still, there were questions about Rask and the Bruins in the last three weeks, as the team has struggled with consistency.

How important was Thursday night in terms of confidence? Even Rask isn’t sure it means all that much.

“I don’t know. I guess you always try to take the positives no matter how it goes, but the playoffs is a different season,” Rask said. “Everybody knows that. I just try to feel comfortable out there and play the game one at a time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, NHL, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask
Claude Julien on bounceback win: ‘I’m not looking for perfection, I’m looking for reaction’ at 12:59 am ET
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After his team shut out the Lightning, 2-0, to clinch home ice in the first round of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he was happy with his team’s response to Tuesday night’s loss in Philadelphia.

“Like I said [Thursday] morning, we’re going to find out quickly if it was just a little bump in the road or whether it was a step back,” Julien said. “I thought our guys played hard tonight. I’m not looking for perfection, I’m looking for reaction.”

What kind of reaction?

“Reaction, to play with some emotion, play with some grit, desire, determination,” Julien added. “I saw all those things tonight. The identity of our team is as such, we’re a team that prides ourselves on being a physical team, a team that’s hard to play against. We have to create that, the rest of the game will come along. That’s what we’re looking to see from our guys for 60 minutes and I think they did a good job of playing a full 60 tonight.

Tuukka Rask was a big part of the reaction Thursday, turning back all 30 shots in recording his fifth shutout of the season.

“Overall, I thought we played hard, we moved the puck quickly, when there was a breakdown Tuukka was there to make the big saves. I was pretty happy with the game, I know that if we keep playing that way we’ll only get bet better.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL, Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask, Bruins blank Lightning to lock up home ice in first round 04.25.13 at 10:05 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask makes one of 30 saves on the night for his 5th shutout of the season. (AP)

Tuukka Rask made all the timely saves a coach could ask for as the Bruins clinched home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning at home on Thursday.

Rask earned his fifth shutout of the season, tying a career high set in the 2009-10 season. Dennis Seidenberg chipped in with his third goal of the year, a slap shot through traffic from the point, and while the Bruins didn’t have a particularly inspiring start to the game, they finished strong, holding off a late Lightning onslaught for the win.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Bruins on Thursday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Rask was sharp from the start and ultimately made 30 saves. Perhaps his most memorable stop came in the second, when he robbed Steven Stamkos on an odd-man rush for the Lightning, sliding across the crease to snatch Stamkos’ wrister out of the air. Shortly afterward, he drew chants of his name from the Garden crowd when he made two impressive kick saves in rapid succession.

Late in the third, with the Bruins maintaining a 2-0 lead, Rask shut down another Lightning rush, stopping Tampa leading scorer Martin St. Louis.

Rask also kept the Bruins in the game when they were being outshot and outworked early in the first period, stopping a number of quality chances from close range. He effectively put his brief but unspectacular outing in Philadelphia, in which he allowed three goals on 13 shots in relief of Anton Khudobin, behind him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask,
Dougie Hamilton wins Bruins’ Seventh Player Award at 7:45 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton (27) celebrates a goal against the Capitals earlier this season.

In what could be the first of many individual honors, Dougie Hamilton received his first Thursday night.

The Bruins announced that the 19-year-old defenseman is the winner of the NESN Seventh Player Award. Voted on by Bruins fans, the Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.

Ironically, Hamilton was a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Lightning as the team gives him a rest before the start of the playoffs next week.

In his first season with the Bruins, Hamilton has notched five goals and 11 assists in 42 games with a plus-6 rating. The rookie ranks second among Bruins defensemen in points (16) and goals (5).

Hamilton is tied for third in the NHL among rookie blueliners in points (16), third in assists (11) and tied for third in goals (5).

Hamilton started the season with the Niagra IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League), skating in 32 games, notching eight goals and 33 assists for 41 points. Last year, he was named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year.

The 6-foot-5, 199-pound native of Toronto was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (9th overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.

In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Hamilton will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.

Recent recipients include Tyler Seguin (2012), Brad Marchand (2011), Tuukka Rask (2010), David Krejci (2009) and Milan Lucic (2008).

The Seventh Player Award sweepstakes winner was Scott Martioski of Orange, Mass. Martioski wins a three-year lease on a 2014 Kia Sorento courtesy of Central Auto Team of Norwood and Raynham.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Dougie Hamilton
Claude Julien mum on postseason goaltending plans 04.22.13 at 2:49 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask

WILMINGTON — Claude Julien operates a certain way and he rarely strays from it, but might this shortened season change the circumstances?

The Bruins have made the playoffs in each of the six seasons Julien has been in Boston, with this season being the sixth. Julien has used only one goalie in every postseason, with the backup never seeing the ice. In the first two seasons it was Tim Thomas, followed by Tuukka Rask in 2010 and then Thomas again in each of the last two postseasons.

Rask has started 31 games this season, with Anton Khudobin getting 13 starts, which has made for a 70-30 split in Rask’s favor. Yet with the postseason scheduling figuring to be just as condensed as the regular season schedule, the B’s could find themselves in a position where they don’t want to overwork Rask.

Asked about this season altering his strategy come playoff time, Julien was mum.

“We’re not there yet,” Julien said. “I think a lot of it has to do with if the goalie’s playing extremely well, you ride your goaltender,” he said. “If you need to make a change for whatever reason, you make a change, but it’s hard for me to answer that right now.”

Over the past two postseasons, the Bruins have had two sets of back-to-backs in a total of five series. Both came in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals (against the Canadiens in 2011 and against the Capitals last year), with Thomas starting both games each time.

This past weekend, Rask started games on back-to-back games for the first time this season. The last time he had started games on consecutive days was on Feb. 17 and 18 of the 2011 season. The B’s did not have back-to-back games in the 2010 postseason in which Rask went the whole way against the Sabres and Flyers.

Read More: Anton Khudobin, Claude Julien, Tuukka Rask,
Tuukka Rask blanks Panthers as Bruins end skid 04.21.13 at 3:01 pm ET
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The Bruins snapped their longest losing streak of the season and positioned them to control their destiny in the final four games of the season by beating the Panthers, 3-0, Sunday at TD Garden.

With the victory, Boston’s first in five games (0-3-1 in four games entering Sunday), the B’s pulled themselves even with the Canadiens atop the Northeast Divison with 59 points — though the B’s have played 44 games to Montreal’s 45.

Carl Soderberg got his first career NHL point, picking up a rather liberal assist on a play in which Jaromir Jagr recovered a puck along the boards and fired a wrist shot past Jacob Markstrom to open the scoring for the B’s. Dougie Hamilton, playing in place of the injured Adam McQuaid, scored in the second period to make it 2-0. The B’s made it 3-0 with 1:22 remaining in the game on an empty-netter from Brad Marchand.

Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Rask’s career-high for shutouts in a single season is five, which he accomplished in the 2009-10 season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Claude Julien essentially called Rask out following Saturday’s game, saying that the Bruins needed timely saves. The Bruins went back with Rask again on Sunday, and he came through with a very timely save in the first period to preserve the Bruins’ lead by robbing Drew Shore on a play in front. Shore, who was battling with Wade Redden in front, took a feed from a teammate and had the whole right side of the net to work with, but Rask was able to slide over to block him with the left pad.

- For the fourth consecutive game, the Bruins scored the game’s first goal. For the first consecutive game, they won.

- Hamilton had a nice return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Saturday (and in three of the Bruins’ previous four games entering Sunday). Paired with Zdeno Chara, Hamilton had five shots on goal and scored from the point on a slapshot in the second period for his fifth goal of the season, which will certainly help his case to stick in the lineup come playoff time.

- Patrice Bergeron had a season-high seven shots on goal Sunday, and he’s really hit the ground running since returning from his concussion. In his three games since coming back, Bergeron has 17 shots on goal.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins were playing without both McQuaid (lower-body) and Nathan Horton (upper-body). Both players were out with injuries sustained in Saturday’s loss to the Penguins, as Horton appeared to hurt his left wrist while fighting Jarome Iginla and McQuaid was slow to get back to the bench after a hit from Matt Cooke.

- Milan Lucic made his return to the lineup Sunday after being a healthy scratch on Saturday. He was more active than in previous games, as he finished with three shots on goal. His wrist shot on Markstrom in the second period marked his first shot on goal in over a week, as he had last put a puck on net last Saturday against the Hurricanes. Lucic was denied on a rebound bid following a David Krejci shot in the second period and still has just two goals over his last 28 games.

Read More: Tuukka Rask,
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