|Bruins score for Tuukka Rask, get out of last place||11.07.11 at 9:29 pm ET|
The Bruins are out of last place in the Eastern Conference as they beat the Islanders, 6-2, at TD Garden Monday night. It was the B’s third straight victory.
The Bruins scored two goals in under an minute on two separate occasions Monday, with Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin scoring 29 seconds apart in the first period, and Milan Lucic and Horton burying two in quick fashion in the third period. Benoit Pouliot opened the scoring for the Bruins in the first period, sending in the rebound from a Jordan Caron shot and picking up his first goal as a member of the Bruins.
Horton had a three point night for the B’s, scoring two of his own and assisting Milan Lucic’s tally. David Krejci, who added an empty-netter late, also had a three-point game.
The win was Tuukka Rask’s first of the season, with the 24-year-old having better luck than Islanders starter Evgeni Nabokov. The veteran goalie was yanked after Seguin’s goal in favor of Al Montoya.
The B’s will next play Thursday when they host the Islanders.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Pouliot and Caron both got their first points of the season, as Caron’s assist from the game against the Senators was taken away. In Pouliot’s case, the goal gives him more of a case to potentially stay in the lineup. Pouliot was playing Monday in place of the injured Rich Peverley, and it seems that Caron had his spot in the lineup sewn up due to his improved play of late. If Pouliot can show up on the score sheet more often, perhaps there will be more of a competition between he and Caron, and that would be a good problem for the Bruins to have.
– Horton knew he had to better than he’d been playing, and a three-point night was a good place for him to start Monday. Horton notched his first tally of the night on a wrister from just inside the circle by the hashmarks — an area where he’s been so dangerous in the past — and added his second by banging home a rebound in front of Al Montoya. The Islanders net-minder came too far out to cut down the angle with Horton and Lucic on a give-and-go right after, so Horton made the easy play to set up Lucic’s tally.
– By scoring six goals Monday, the B’s tripled their previous total of three goals scored in front of Tuukka Rask all season. Rask’s been a hard-luck loser in too many contests over th last couple of seasons, so perhaps getting some support and a victory (his record now stands at 1-3-0 on the season) can help the confidence of the young netminder.
– A few streaks were extended for the Bruins. Milan Lucic has a four-game goal streak, while Patrice Bergeron’s point streak is at seven games and Seguin’s is at four games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins lost Daniel Paille for the game when the fourth-line winger took a snapshot from Steve Staois to the face. He remained down on the ice by the Bruins bench for a minute or two before getting up and revealing a small pool of blood beneath him.
– Seguin gets to show up in both sections tonight based on the fact that he had a ton of opportunities that didn’t end up in the back of the net. Among them were a give-and-go with Marchand in which he wound up with a bad angle by the time he got the puck on his forehand, and another play in which he was past the net by the time he’d received a pass from Marchand. Neither of those plays were his fault, but he was just a split second here and there from potentially having his second consecutive hat trick.
|Should Tuukka Rask be playing more?||10.25.11 at 8:44 pm ET|
An interesting point was raised regarding Bruins goaltending during Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media Tuesday. Remember when the Bruins said their intention was to play Tuukka Rask more than last season, especially early on?
Rask has started just two games this season, allowing one goal to Avalanche in the B’s 1-0 loss in the third game of the season, and allowing four goals last Tuesday against the Hurricanes. As was the case last season, Tim Thomas has been the No. 1 guy by a large margin as far as starts goes.
“In fairness to Tuukka, he probably should have gotten another start here or there, but you see Tim, how he’s playing, and you want him to recapture some of the stuff that he had last year,” Chiarelli said. “‘¦ What I see and observe is we’ve had had discussions on the goaltender situation. I think in the end you’ll see it go into line with what he originally put out there.”
The upcoming home-and-home with the Canadiens should be interesting when it comes to splitting up goaltending duties, should they go in that direction. If Rask starts Thursday and Thomas starts Saturday, Thomas will have gone a week without playing. Rask has gone a week since his last start as it is, and his last game in Montreal wasn’t pretty for anyone, perhaps with the exception of Lars Eller.
Rask started 27 games last season, posting an 11-14-2 record, 2.67 goals against average, and .918 save percentage. Thomas started the rest of the games, going 35-11-9 in his second Vezina-winning season. He had a 2.00 GAA set the NHL single-season record with a .938 save percentage.
|Bruins-Hurricanes Live Blog: Rich Peverley gets Bruins on the board||10.18.11 at 6:30 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice at Tuesday’s morning skate, an indication that he will be in net when the B’s face the Hurricanes at the Garden. Rask lost his lone start of the season, allowing one goal in the B’s 1-0 loss to the Avalanche last Monday.
David Krejci (core) took part in the morning skate, marking the first time he’s been on the ice with teammates since leaving last Tuesday’s practice.
|Milan Lucic agrees with Claude Julien: B’s took the game ‘way too lightly’||10.10.11 at 4:57 pm ET|
It was pretty apparent, even before Claude Julien called out his team before reporters in a post-game press conference, that the Bruins were fairly disgusted with their performance in a 1-0 loss to the Avalanche that wasted a brilliant performance by Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins managed 30 shots on Semyon Varlamov, but not enough sustained pressure. When they got great chances, including Lucic with just under six minutes to go in the game, they couldn’t finish.
“Well, they played well, you have to give them credit,” Lucic said. “But on our part, we took today’s game way too lightly. We lost most of the battles, they were first on pucks. Regardless of if we were the champs last year or not, the major areas on the ice, they wanted the puck more than us. And that’s why we weren’t able to generate enough to get that goal.
“We created some pretty good chances, just have to find a way to bear down on them.”
In their losses to the Flyers and Avalanche, the Bruins could not do two basic things essential to winning hockey and their Cup run of last spring: Control the puck and win physical battles.
“Yeah, it seemed like we were chasing a lot and they were just chipping past us and going,” Lucic said. “And we were a step late, a second late here a step late, a second late over there. And that’s basically what happens. I talked about being first to the puck and winning battles and we didn’t have enough of that. Good for four periods and need to work on the rest.”
|Bruins expect Tuukka Rask to play full game Wednesday||09.21.11 at 1:09 pm ET|
“He should play the whole 60 minutes barring how he feels and everything else,” Julien said. “We kind of told him we’d gauge it as he goes along, but if he feels good, I’ll probably leave him in there for the whole 60.”
Rask made 15 saves on 16 shots in a little more than a period and a half of Tuesday’s black and white scrimmage.
|This year, Tim Thomas coming off history rather than surgery||09.13.11 at 2:44 am ET|
Around this time last year, it didn’t seem there many people banking on big things from Tim Thomas. The veteran goaltender was coming off both a down year and offseason hip surgery. In fact, much of the discussion regarding the Bruins’ goaltending situation was generally around how Tuukka Rask would follow up a season in which he led the NHL in both goals against average and save percentage.
What a difference a year and a shelf-worth of hardware makes.
Now, Thomas is coming off a both healthy and historic season, and rather than wondering whether he’s physically capable of being a dominant goalie — something he admitted he pondered before the hip healed — the 37 year-old can think about the coming season rather than how his body will hold up.
“Actually, I feel good,” Thomas said Monday. “I didn’t have any injuries that I had to deal with, which is pretty amazing considering the amount of games we had. Physically, it’s not even an issue, so I haven’t had to think about it. It’s nice.”
Thomas delighted season-ticket holders at Monday’s State of the Bruins when he said that he had no choice but to repeat the type of season — which was of record-breaking variety thanks to an all-time best .938 save percentage — he had a year ago.
While fans got a kick out of Thomas’ statement, the Michigan native said afterwards that holding themselves to their own standard is something the Bruins must do as they defend their championship.
“I think that goes for not just me but for the whole team,” Thomas said. “When you’ve won the Cup and you’re at the pinnacle, there’s nothing higher, so you need to shoot for it again.”
But could Thomas really repeat the type of season he put together last season? He started 55 regular-season games, beginning the process of claiming the No. 1 job with a shutout (one of nine on the season) in the second game against the Coyotes in Prague.
This time around, it’s Rask that’s all healed (he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee) and trying to get a few more starts. Thomas laughed at the idea that the No. 1 goalie discussion could come up this early, as he was asked whether his historic season left him assuming he’ll be the Bruins’ top netminder.
“It’s pretty much only a label that you guys put on it, anyways,” Thomas said. “We just consider ourselves goaltenders on the team. One of the goalies is going to get more playing time, but we’re both just teammates.”
Along with his .938 save percentage, Thomas had an NHL-best 2.00 goals against average and a 35-11-9 record in the regular season. He started each game of the postseason, narrowly surprising his regular season numbers with a .940 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average. For someone who’s welcomed the challenge of repeating such a campaign, Thomas did note that his lackluster 2009-10 season, which followed his first Vezina season, may have prepared him for learning how to follow a great year.
“I’ve had experience,” Thomas said. “I had the year after the Vezina. Coming off that was hard enough. Now, winning these, I’m starting to get some experience with dealing with success, and hopefully that helps going forward.”