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Tuukka Rask takes the blame in the loss 03.04.13 at 9:55 am ET
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The shot that tied Sunday’s game at 3-3 appeared to be one of those helpless feelings for a goaltender. A long shot from the top of the slot, through a screen and the goalie couldn’t do much about until it was past him.

But when Tuukka Rask allowed Max Pacioretty‘s cannon of a shot to get past him five minutes into the third, he felt like that was on him.

“Obviously, you don’t want that to happen,” Rask said. “I take that third goal—that was a bad goal by me—but then a tough bounce on the fourth, and we couldn’t get back.

“I saw him kind of release it, and that’s all I need to know. I think I was just a little too sloppy. I wasn’t really ready for that shot, I guess, and it just went through me. Those are always the tough ones you want to get back.”

The fourth goal was a mad scramble that started out to the right of Rask and behind the net. The puck was poked out in front where David Desharnais easily pushed it into the open net.

“It didn’t hit me,” Rask said. “I think it hit Pacioretty when he screened me, and then I thought it would bounce in the corner, but then it just trickled on the side of the net. I dove in there, [Andrew Ference] dove in there, everybody dove in there, and then they found a guy on net and he just buried it.”

Both goals occurred with Chara looking on from the penalty box after taking his 17-minute penalty for sticking up for Tyler Seguin.

“You know what, I didn’t even realize he was in the box until I saw him coming out,” Rask said. “I was just focused on the game, I guess, but he makes a big difference, everybody knows it. He’s got that long reach and takes care of the bodies in front of the net. So, obviously, a big difference, yeah.

“We’re known as a team that, we stick for each other, and that was a pretty bad crosscheck there on Segs. Obviously, Z saw that and jumped in. We killed a penalty when it happened, but it sucks to lose him for 20 minutes or so.”

The lesson?

“I don’t think we played that bad in the third,” Rask said. “We got stuck out there for that third goal a bit, but that just happens sometimes. But then they get that tying goal, and the fourth one was just a tough bounce. I think after that fourth goal we were kind of wondering what the heck happened there. On a couple of shifts they got a two-on-one there and stuff like that. I think there’s been a couple of games in the past, too, where we’ve gotten the lead in the third and we don’t play the way we want to, but we just haven’t got caught with goals against us. But, today was different.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Tuukka Rask
Lines unchanged as Bruins prepare for Senators 02.28.13 at 11:47 am ET
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After completing a five-game road trip Tuesday night, the Bruins are set to kick off a three-game home stand when they host the Senators in what will be the first of three games in four days.

All members of the Bruins were on the ice at morning skate, with Tuukka Rask the first goaltender off the ice, suggesting he will start his fifth consecutive game. Here’s the projected lineup for Thursday.

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque – Chris Kelly – Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

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Andy Brickley on M&M: Contraction good for NHL, but ‘I can’t see it happening’ 02.27.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the proposed NHL realignment, how it could be complicated by team relocations, and Tuukka Rask‘s contract status as he continues to put together a strong year.

“I like that you play every team in the league home and home,” Brickley said of the realignment plan. “I like that you play down out of your division once you get into the postseason. I think that’s truly what builds rivalries, which is what they’re looking for. That was certainly the case back in the day, when you had to get out of your division before you could advance deeper into the postseason. I like that. And I think the divisions the way they’re created are going to cut down on travel, wear and tear, the time zone travel, and that’s all good.

“What I don’t like is the unevenness of the number of teams in the division, and the uneven number of games played against opponents in your own division. And does the number of teams in your division negatively affect your team’s chances of making the postseason? Those are my concerns. And then looking forward, are we looking at this formula because we’re preparing for two more teams, to prepare for two more cities? And what happens to realignment if a Western Conference team has to relocate to Quebec City and we’re just going to do the whole exercise all over again?”

Brickley said attendance at the Bruins’ recent games on Long Island and in Florida was sparse, but that the league is far more likely to relocate those teams, or the league-owned Coyotes, than to contract the number of teams in the league.

“Those things will never happen,” he said. “They will never take backward steps in that direction. I certainly can’t see it. There’s too much money at stake. … There’s too much strength in the union to allow that number of loss of jobs. I don’t see it, although it might be good for the game in the long run, but I can’t see it happening.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin,
Barry Pederson on D&C: ‘As Bruins fans, you’ve got to be ecstatic’ about proposed realignment at 9:39 am ET
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Barry Pederson of NESN joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Bruins’ strengths so far, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin‘s styles of play, and the newly proposed NHL realignment plan.

“I think it makes total sense,” Pederson said of the realignment plan, which would reconfigure the league into four divisions. “As Bruins fans, you’ve got to be ecstatic. You’ve got Detroit coming into this, what’s going to be called the Central Division, you’ve got four Original Six teams, some rivals, Buffalo still in there, and [Andy Brickley] will be happy because you still have Tampa Bay and Florida and he can go down and play some golf now and then. As Bruins fans, it’s a pretty good setup.”

Pederson said he thinks Marchand’s attitude, even more so than his speed or his hands, is his greatest strength, although his speed combined with Seguin’s creates space for their line to work.

“I don’t think he gets enough respect around the league for his offense because of the way he plays,” Pederson said of Marchand. “Marchand is sneaky offensively. Last night, he gets that puck on his backhand, he knows that [Evgeni] Nabokov‘s going to come diving out at him — he just waits and waits and then is able to get the goal. He’s got a great release. His speed really backs the defense off, and he and Seguin, when they’re going, they’re hard to play against.”

Despite speculation that Tim Thomas will never end up playing for the Islanders after being traded there, Pederson said he thinks Thomas is too competitive to walk away from hockey completely if he’s still capable of playing.

“I have no insight, for sure, to what’s going through his mind, but … to me there was a guy that never quit on anything,” Pederson said. “He went after shots that most guys would just say, ‘Oh, it’s an empty net, I’m not going to dive over there.’ So I just have a really hard time thinking he’s going to walk away from the game the way it’s going. I just have to think he’s coming back at some point.”

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Read More: Barry Pederson, Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask
Darren Pang on D&C: Bruins ‘set for another challenge at the championship’ 02.26.13 at 12:14 pm ET
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NBC hockey analyst Darren Pang checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the Bruins’ fast start and the Blackhawks’ even-better performance.

The Blackhawks have earned at least a point in each of their first 19 games with their NHL-record 16-0-3 start.

“That is incredible. I’m just amazed at the run that they’re on right now,” said Pang, a former goalie who played three seasons for the Blackhawks in the 1980s. “I’m in St. Louis right now and going to Toronto tomorrow for a Leafs game, but I should be back on Thursday and the streak will be on the line when the Blackhawks and the Blues play at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Thursday. That will be a heck of a game. It always is. They don’t like each other. It is actually one of the true rivalries in the game. Once they get one playoff game behind them, if they end up facing each other in the playoffs this year I think people will really see how much St. Louis and Chicago don’t like each other. But I know that the Blues will want to end that great run that the Blackhawks are on on Thursday.”

While the Blackhawks clearly are the favorites in the Western Conference, there are a few teams that could make the claim in the East. Pang said the Bruins have the best chance.

“I think we have to be fair to how both Pittsburgh and Montreal have played, but I think there’s more strength in Boston than either of those teams,” Pang said. “It’s almost like last year in the West. There were teams that had more points than the LA Kings, but trust me, no one in the West wanted to play the LA Kings even though they were the eighth team. And it’s because of the way they’re built. They’re built with big, strong redwood trees on the wing, they’ve got good centermen up the middle of the ice, good depth, good defensemen that move the puck, and a horse on the blue line, and great goaltending. So, the same thing could be said about the Boston Bruins. If I were a team in the East, the one team I wouldn’t want to play to begin it all would be the Boston Bruins because I think they’re set for another challenge at the championship.”

One big reason for Boston’s early season success has been the play of goalie Tuukka Rask.

“I’m a big Tuukka Rask believer,” Pang said. “I think he’s waited his time. He’s ready to be a main guy. I like the way he handles things, he’s competitive, technically really sound. I’m impressed but I’m not surprised. A couple of years ago, before the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, when Tuukka had the ball and ran with it, he was pretty darn good and that was three years ago. So I knew he’d be ready for this challenge that’s ahead of him right now.”

Zdeno Chara showed surprising dexterity for a 6-foot-9 defenseman Sunday, pulling off a spin move and scoring against the Panthers in the B’s 4-1 victory.

“That was elegant,” Pang said. “Like Jean Beliveau was such a gentleman on the ice — competitive, it doesn’t mean you’re not competitive, but just the grace and the elegance that the big fella did that at was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t just the spin-o-rama, it was the saucy backhander. Not many guys can pull that heel-to-toe backhander off and go top cheese under the bar and in. That was what was spectacular, and at his size, no less.”

Read More: Darren Pang, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara,
Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I expect [Tyler Seguin] to take a little clearer look in the mirror’ 02.13.13 at 2:00 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley of NESN joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about what the Bruins might do with the money they freed up by trading Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin‘s lack of production, and his broadcasting partner Jack Edwards, whose reaction to the Bruins’ comeback Tuesday has by now been seen all over the hockey world.

“I just admire his passion for the game,” Brickley said of Edwards, who was on video jumping up and down after the Bruins rallied to tie Tuesday’s game. “That was such an unlikely scenario, and how much he cares about quality play and the entertainment value of the visual medium we’re involved in, I think is spectacular. It’s different from my style and therefore I think we’re a good balance, but I think the fact that he’s enjoying it, doing a good job, calling the game the way it should be called, I think he’s doing the fans a service.”

Brickley said that, in addition to solidifying their long-term situation in net, the Bruins could be looking to add a veteran forward before the trade deadline.

“You’ll rarely get another Mark Recchi-type player, but I think that’s where they’re targeting somebody that can play in the top nine as far as their forwards,” he said. “They have a real strong room, but without Recchi and his resume or his pedigree, I think they’re looking for that type of player.

“I know they signed Jay Pandolfo and he brings a couple of Cups, experience, a guy that’s been around a long time. I’m not sure if he’s the guy, but I think they’re looking for that type of player that’s another voice in the room that can help motivate or keep guys in line or further get them to do what they need to do to be accountable to the rest of the team.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Brad Marchand, Jack Edwards, Jay Pandolfo
Bruins beat Maple Leafs behind Tuukka Rask’s first shutout of season 02.02.13 at 9:54 pm ET
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Chris Bourque

Chris Bourque‘s first goal as a Bruin was both the game-winner and the only goal allowed in a questionably officiated contest Saturday, but the Bruins suffered yet another injury in their 1-0 victory over the Maple Leafs Saturday at Air Canada Centre.

Bourque sped to the net to finish off a strong play from Chris Kelly‘s line (see below), giving the Bruins the only offense they would need in Tuukka Rask‘s first shutout of the season.

It wasn’t all good news for the B’s, as Brad Marchand didn’t play the rest of the way after crashing into the boards following contact with Leafs goalie James Reimer midway through the second period (he appeared to injure his shoulder on the play). The Bruins were already dinged up entering the game, as both Shawn Thornton (concussion) and Daniel Paille (upper-body injury) missed Saturday’s contest.

The Bruins next play Wednesday in Montreal against the Canadiens.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

• It seems the B’s defensemen realized they owed Rask one after Thursday’s debacle, and they came through in allowing just 21 shots on goal. That made Rask’s night easier as he improved to 7-1-0 against the Maple Leafs, who traded him to B’s for Andrew Raycroft in 2007.

• Not only did Bourque’s goal finally get him on the scoresheet for the season, it marked the second straight game in which Kelly’s line scored a goal after going scoreless in the fist six games of the season.

Bourque’s goal was the product of terrific net-drive from the trio of Kelly, Rich Peverley and Bourque, as Kelly sent a pass from center ice to Peverley at the blue line before racing past a Toronto defender. Peverley sent a pass down low to Kelly to the right of the goal, with Kelly backhanding it in front to Bourque, who was going full speed to push the puck into the net before eventually crashing into the post.

• Playing in his second straight game and first since the B’s lost Thornton to a concussion, Lane MacDermid showed that he’s plenty willing to take on Thornton’s workload. The 23-year-old fought Mark Fraser twice in the game, dropping the gloves in each of the first two periods.

• The Bruins caught a break in the first period when a shot from the point went past both Adam McQuaid and Rask was ruled no goal because Nazem Kadri made contact with the B’s goaltender. Replays showed that Kadri was outside of the crease and was shoved into Rask by Kelly, so the Leafs should have gotten on the board on the play.

WHAT WENT WRONG

• Losing Marchand would be big for the B’s, as he leads the team with five goals this season. With Marchand out, Gregory Campbell and Bourque filled in on the second line.

• The no-goal call that cost the Leafs in the first period wasn’t the only botched call in the game. A Patrice Bergeron shot that went off Tyler Seguin‘s skate and past Reimer was disallowed because Marchand had made contact with the goal earlier in the play. The contact seemed to come far enough before the goal to make the call suspect, but in the end each side lost a goal to shaky calls.

• With that goal disallowed, Seguin still has yet to score on a goaltender outside of shootouts this season. Seguin’s empty-netter last Monday against the Hurricanes remains his only goal this season.

Saturday’s game must have added to the frustration, as goals against the Maple Leafs were a sure thing for him a season ago, when he tallied eight against Toronto in six meetings last season.

• Those who (incorrectly) were upset with the Bruins for not “responding” to Thursday’s fight between Thornton and Buffalo’s John Scott were reminded of when it’s appropriate to respond. Zdeno Chara came to the defense of Johnny Boychuk after he was crushed into the boards by Leo Komarov. Unfortunately for the B’s, Chara got a roughing penalty out of it, as both players went off.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask,
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