|Trade loss: With Jarome Iginla rumors swirling, B’s blow lead, lose shootout to Habs||03.27.13 at 10:37 pm ET|
Brendan Gallagher scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of the shootout as the Canadiens beat the Bruins, 6-5, in overtime Wednesday night at TD Garden. Gallagher also scored once in the third period before the Canadiens tied it with 8.2 seconds left in regulation. The Bruins had a pair of two-goal leads but couldn’t hold on, as they fell a point behind the Canadiens in the Northeast Division. The Bruins went 0-for-6 in the shootout while Gallagher was the only Canadien to score in six tries.
With his team battling for the top spot in the Northeast Division six floors below, Bruins president Cam Neely went back and forth on the ninth floor, shadowed by security. This led to speculation about whether the Bruins might be ready to pull the trigger on a major trade for Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla, who was scratched from his game Wednesday night, the first game the 35-year-old has missed since Feb. 2007.
For a second straight game, Claude Julien juggled his lines at the start before reverting midway through the game. And, for the second straight game against a division rival, the Bruins came out flat in the first period. They were held without a shot for the first eight minutes of the game.
With the exception of Seguin, the Canadiens generated most of the energy on the ice in the opening 20 minutes. It paid off for the visitors when former Bruin Michael Ryder got enough on a snap shot from the low slot and beat Tuukka Rask just 4:15 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Canadiens appeared to be in the driver’s seat when arch-nemesis P.K. Subban blasted a slap shot from the right point through a screen and past Rask 2:53 into the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Despite falling behind for the fourth straight game, the Bruins did not panic. And as they did on Monday, when they also fell behind by two goals at the start to the Maple Leafs, the Bruins woke up just in time.
It was a rush from Seguin that got things going 30 seconds after the Subban goal. Seguin came flying down the right wing and fired a shot off the crossbar. The puck came down in front of Bergeron. He couldn’t put it in the open net but Dougie Hamilton was in the right place at the right time and drilled a one-timer from between the circles past Price and the comeback was on.
Less than four minutes later, with Julien again rejoining his regular lines, Marchand netted the game-tying goal by battling for position in front of Price and knocking the puck past the Montreal goalie. Marchand, who started the game on the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron, was reunited with Bergeron and Seguin. It was Seguin who won the battle in the corner and fired the puck in front of the net for Marchand.
After Lars Eller hauled down Shawn Thornton on a rush down the left wing, the Bruins went on the power play. With 14 seconds left on the man advantage, Bergeron potted his 10th of the season to put the Bruins up, 3-2. The play was set up when Zdeno Chara fed Torey Krug, called up earlier in the day. Krug fired a shot from the right point. The shot deflected off Rich Peverley in front and onto the stick of Bergeron who finished it off.
With the Garden crowd still buzzing, David Krejci fed Nathan Horton on a mini-break and Horton beat Price 35 seconds later for a 4-2 lead. After spotting the Canadiens the game’s first three shots in the opening seven minutes, the Bruins outshot Montreal 26-8 and finished with a 26-11 advantage after 40 minutes.
Price was pulled in favor of Peter Budaj to start the third. Andrew Ference drew a hooking penalty and the Bruins had a power play but could generate little momentum. Then moments later, Ryder added his second of the night, drawing the Canadiens within one, 4-3, with just over 16 minutes still left in regulation.
With Hamilton in the penalty box for holding, Budaj kept the Canadiens in the game with a huge save on Gregory Campbell on a shorthanded breakaway with 10 minutes left. Seguin then gave the Bruins huge insurance with a backhander to beat Budaj with just over eight minutes left, putting Boston up, 5-3. The Canadiens made it a one goal game again as the Seguin goal was being announced as Brendan Gallagher got a lucky bounce off the mouth Dennis Sidenberg and beat Rask with 7:42 left. The Bruins killed off their first five shorthanded situations, including an elbowing call on Chara with 4:40 left in regulation.
But a delay of game on Aaron Johnson with 1:27 left, led to a 6-on-4 with Montreal’s empty net. A shot from Subban deflected off the stick of Chara past Rask with 8.2 seconds left to tie the game. Andrei Markov was credited with the goal The Bruins got a power play with 1:20 left in overtime when Alexei Emelin was called for a hooking penalty. Krejci had one final chance to win it but Budaj smothered the shot from the right circle two seconds before the end of overtime.
The Bruins are off Thursday and Friday before visiting Philadelphia for a matinee with the Flyers on Saturday. For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien: Make no mistake, Tuukka Rask still is team’s No. 1 goalie||03.26.13 at 11:21 am ET|
There’s no goalie controversy with the Bruins – at least certainly not in the eyes of coach Claude Julien.
Tuukka Rask wore the honorary “Red Rooster” T-shirt after turning away 23-of-25 shots in a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Monday night at TD Garden. After allowing two goals on the first nine shots he faced, both of which he had little chance of stopping, Rask was spectacular down the stretch, making several key saves in the final two minutes of regulation and two late in overtime to allow the Bruins to escape with two points.
Eyebrows were raised last week when Rask’s backup Anton Khudobin started back-to-back games against Ottawa and Toronto after the Rask lost games to Pittsburgh and Winnipeg to start the road trip.
Despite Rask’s 15-4-3 record, a sparkling .928 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against (second-best in the NHL), there were some murmurs that the Bruins might be closer to a platoon situation in net than anyone expected. Julien put that to rest Monday night.
“Well I don’t think Tuukka’s been bad at all,” Julien said. “I think you know, I hope people didn’t read into Khudobin playing two games, because I think Khudobin deserved to play two games. He’s played well all season long, he played well in Ottawa, and this was an opportunity to get him two games in a row and that’s all it was.
“You know, we’ve got a busy week this week and I needed Tuukka fresh and that’s all it was. So certainly had nothing to do with that. And Tuukka to me has been good and he’s never been bad, he’s been great and he’s been good. But you know, we’ve gotten some pretty good games out of him and I don’t think we can necessarily point the finger at him for losing any games for us this year.”
As a matter of fact, Rask didn’t even get that second game off as Khudobin was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots Saturday night in Toronto and Rask was sent in to try and salvage matters.
Rask and Khudobin have teamed to make a very effective combination this season, as the pair has combined for a 2.10 goals against, the second-best in the NHL this season. Khudobin gave Rask some advice on the final shootout save on Nikolai Kumelin, who beat him on a breakaway in the second period, the save that won the game.
“He made the same kind of move in that breakaway, and then Anton told me that’s the only move he’s got, so I kind of threw my blocker there and then just tried to stay with him and made my block,” Rask said.
Then came the kicker from the coach.
Asked whether Rask seemed to take the message of rest and being at full strength the right way, Julien said that’s up to each individual, pointing out that sometimes players – like Tim Thomas – can be quirky and hard to read.
“I don’t know, I think it’s one of those things that everybody reads it whichever way they can. And you know that from the goaltender last year,” Julien said.
|Tuukka Rask defensive, but says confidence isn’t shaken||03.24.13 at 2:17 pm ET|
After jumping out ahead of the pack in the Eastern Conference early on in the season, the Bruins find themselves in their most trying times with 18 games left on their schedule. They’ve lost three of their last four in regulation, and Claude Julien has tried different tactics in recent days to wake a team that’s been bad for the first time.
Part of that included giving back-to-back starts to Anton Khudobin for the first time this season when he put the backup between the pipes Thursday in Ottawa and Saturday in Toronto. That followed a 3-1 loss to the Jets Tuesday in which Winnipeg marched back from a 1-0 deficit in the third period with three unanswered goals (one of which was an empty-netter), resulting in Julien saying following the game that the B’s needed “timely saves” and didn’t get them from Tuukka Rask.
Rask made his return to the net in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs, but it’s been a strange week for him. He got called out by his coach for the first time this season and was then given his longest stretch of time on the bench all year.
The 26-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract and will be a restricted free agent following its expiration, bit his tongue when asked about Julien’s comments.
“We do need timely saves,” Rask agreed. “It’s no secret I don’t think, right?”
As for Khudobin getting back-to-back starts, Rask doesn’t feel threatened or shaken by Julien’s decision.
“I’d like to play every game, obviously, but I didn’t take it too personally,” he said. “I’ve got to play good games, I realize that. Some tough losses there, I let in two goals in Pittsburgh and Winnipeg and we lose the games, but I wasn’t awful. It shouldn’t break my confidence.”
Julien insists that he wasn’t trying to send any sort of message to Rask by sitting him for consecutive games. He was correct in pointing out that Khudobin’s been more than serviceable thus far and added that he simply wanted to reward Khudobin for breaking Boston’s two-game losing streak Thursday.
“Tuukka is Tuukka. He’s hard on himself,” Julien said. “My thinking behind that was that Khudobin’s played well for us this year, and after playing that game in Ottawa where he was really good, he deserved a second start. I anticipated that this week coming up, Tuukka would have lots of opportunities to play. It was more based on what I saw coming up and on [Khudobin’s] play. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out [well] but Tuukka went in there and I thought he was solid in the jobs that he got in the third period.”
In fact, Rask wasn’t very hard on himself, but more defensive on Sunday. After saying that he agreed with Julien’s “timely saves” comment, Rask was asked how he’d assess his level of play of late. He responded by saying that he was between the pipes as the Jets came back, but that he didn’t single-handedly blow the game.
Said Rask: “I’m not blaming myself for those goals, but we were still up 1-0 and it would be nice to at least get a point out of that, but I don’t think I’ve been awful, if that’s what you’re saying.”
Rask wouldn’t be getting all of this attention were it not for Julien’s comments Tuesday. He’s been one of the league’s top goaltenders this season (Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports even wrote on Tuesday that Rask should be the favorite to win the Vezina) and his team hasn’t scored in front of him. Still, the last week has served as a bit of a speed bump in Rask’s first full season as a starter and it will be interesting to see how he comes out of it.
|Bruins’ comeback falls short vs. Maple Leafs||03.23.13 at 9:47 pm ET|
The Maple Leafs got goals in the first and second periods from Nazem Kadri and Mikhail Grabovski, respectively. Frazer McLaren made it 3-0 early in the third when he took a loose puck in front of the net and backhanded it off his skate and through the five-hole of Khudobin. The goal chased Khudobin in favor of Tuukka Rask, as Claude Julien replaced his starting goaltender for the first time this season. Khudobin, who was starting his second consecutive game for the first time this season, allowed the three goals on 11 shots.
Dennis Seidenberg got the Bruins on the board with a wrist shot from the point following the goalie change, with Andrew Ference scoring to make it 3-2 with the goalie pulled and just over a minute to play.
The Bruins outshot the Leafs, 33-13. The loss was the Bruins’ first against the Maple Leafs since March 19, 2011, breaking up a string of eight consecutive wins against Toronto for the B’s.
With their four-game road trip concluded (1-3-0), the Bruins will return to Boston and host the Leafs Monday at TD Garde
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– With the Bruins down two of their six defensemen in Adam McQuaid (shoulder) and Johnny Boychuk (leg), Claude Julien had to rely more on his other blueliners. Andrew Ference led the B’s in time on ice through two periods (16:59) as Julien played Dougie Hamilton (8:09 through two periods) more sparingly. Hamilton did come up big by swatting a puck out that was headed into the net after a Khudobin save on a Toronto 2-on-1, but Julien clearly had his younger defensemen on a shorter leash Saturday.
– Speaking of defensemen, Bartkowski had a forgettable night in his season debut. The 24-year-old was on the ice for Toronto’s first two goals, the second of which was the result of a play that started with the youngster pinching in the offensive zone. With Bartkowski pinching, Toronto was able to get the puck out of the zone, and though Milan Lucic was back, Grabovski was able to blow past him with ease.
– Bartkowksi and Lucic weren’t the only two who deserved blame on the Grabovski goal. The Toronto forward was struggling with the puck from the right circle, and David Krejci had both time and the opportunity to take the body or steal the puck, but he allowed Grabovski to regain control of the puck and fire a shot past Khudobin to make it 2-0.
– The Bruins turned it on following an Aaron Johnson high-sticking penalty in the first period, and the closest they got to scoring was on a shift by the David Krejci line. Nathan Horton had two golden opportunities to tie the game, but couldn’t bury it. Horton had James Reimer off-guard when the right-winger controlled a loose puck in front but fired a low shot right into the Toronto goaltender’s pads.
– The Bruins were putting the pressure on heavy after Seidenberg got them on the board, but a power play in which they got zero shots on goal halted any momentum the B’s may have gained to that point.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Though they got nothing to show for it, the Gregory Campbell line was once again Boston’s third line and came out of the first period with two of Boston’s better shifts in the first 20 minutes. Daniel Paille failed to bury chances on both shifts, but give the Merlot Line — including Shawn Thornton, who dropped the gloves with Colton Orr after Toronto took a 1-0 lead — credit for showing up in an increased role.
– Seidenberg’s goal was his second in as many games, which is pretty impressive when you consider that he had no goals on the season entering Thursday.
|Tuukka Rask: ‘Our heads were not in it at all’||03.14.13 at 10:50 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask stopped 29-of-30 shots and was voted the No. 1 star of Thursday’s 4-1 over the Panthers at TD Garden.
But Rask was hardly impressed with Boston’s 18th win of the season, especially when the Bruins allowed a short-handed goal in the second period and were fighting for their lives with the lowly, injury-riddled Panthers, who came in allowing an NHL-worst 101 goals.
“We were pretty bad out there at times,” Rask said. “Our heads were not in it at all. That short-handed goal tells a lot about that. I mean, weren’t that bad, defensively.”
The Panthers had the first five shots of the game before Boston rebounded to take a 16-11 advantage in shots after one. The Panthers then outworked the Bruins in the second, outshooting them, 12-7, and trailed just 2-1 after a shorty by Shawn Matthias.
“The first period I had a lot of shots,” Rask said. “It wasn’t that bad, despite the breakaway and a couple of turnovers, it wasn’t that bad. It was pretty clear where guys were coming from. Then, in the second period, it was just a mess. Pucks everywhere, guys were everywhere, there was no structure in our game. There are two different kind of scenarios for a goalie to face but in the third, we played a pretty solid period.
“We haven’t played our best hockey except for the Philly game. We’ve blown a couple of leads in the third and stuff like that. We should be aware of what’s coming at us in games like this. Today was a little sluggish. Our heads were not in it. It shouldn’t be catching us off-guard.
“It’s kind of like Ottawa. They had a similar situation. They just grind out it and try to get points and gritty goals and stuff like that. We knew that was coming. They played a pretty good game. They know our system. They have Rammer [Craig Ramsay] there as a coach so give them credit, too. But we just weren’t at our best.”
|Tuukka Rask to face Flyers for first time since 2010 playoffs||03.09.13 at 12:16 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask will start for the Bruins Saturday against the Flyers, Claude Julien said prior to the game. Rask is looking to snap his first losing streak of the season, as he was between the pipes for Boston’s last two losses against the Canadiens and Capitals.
The start will mark the first time Rask has faced the Flyers since Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, when Philadelphia overcame a 3-0 Bruins lead by scoring four unanswered goals to eliminate the Bruins from a series that they had led, 3-0.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Blown away: Bruins blow three-goal lead, lose in OT to Capitals||03.05.13 at 9:51 pm ET|
Eric Fehr scored on a phenomenal rush up the slot just 37 seconds into overtime as the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the Capitals, 4-3, in overtime Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. Tuukka Rask, who couldn’t protect the 3-0 lead, made 22 saves in the loss.
The Bruins lost their second straight game for the second time this season and fell to 14-3-3 on the season.
With Tyler Seguin in the penalty box serving a two-minute hooking penalty, Brad Marchand was hooked on a short-handed breakaway from behind by Alex Ovechkin and was awarded a penalty shot. Marchand beat Braden Holtby for a 1-0 lead at 6:29 of the first. It was the first short-handed penalty shot goal since Jan. 10, 2012 when Shawn Thornton scored against Winnipeg.
With the Bruins in control, they added a pair of goals 1:23 apart late in the first to make it a 3-0 game after one period. Zdeno Chara pinched down low in the offensive zone and snapped a shot past Holtby at 17:07. Then the Bruins capitalized on what appeared to be a questionable interference call on Ovechkin.
Just 15 seconds into the penalty, Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the top of the slot through a partial screen. The puck found its way past Holtby and the Bruins had a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Capitals, who came in winners of six of their last nine games, showed some resolve in the second period. Ovechkin found Mike Ribeiro on the low left circle in front of Rask. Ribeiro redirected the puck into the part of the net vacated by Rask at 5:46 of the second. Six minutes later, the Capitals made it a one-goal game when Tomas Kundratek fired one past Rask.
Moments after Holtby turned aside Seguin, Fehr backhanded a pass from the mid-slot that deflected off the leg of Hamilton and found its way onto the stick of Wojtek Wolski, who beat Rask to tie the game, 3-3, with 6:05 left in regulation. The Bruins had one more great chance when Ovechkin was called for hooking with 2:27 left in regulation. But the Bruins managed just two shots on the power play and couldn’t get the go-ahead marker.
Then, in the opening moments of overtime, Niklas Backstrom took a puck in the neutral zone and backhanded a pass for Fehr, who streaked up the middle and beat Rask as he was falling to the ice for the game-winner. Fehr also finished with two assists on the night for the Capitals, who improved to 9-11-1.
The Bruins return to action Thursday night when they host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.