|Shawn Thornton shows again why he’s not just the toughest Bruin, he’s their funniest, too||04.06.11 at 11:24 pm ET|
Forget the fact that he is regarded by many as their toughest player, if everyone on the Bruins had Shawn Thornton‘s energy, the team would never be accused of taking nights off. Thornton is trying to make sure that the Bruins are fired up for the playoffs that start next week.
His goal at the latest possible moment (19:59.9) of the first period got the Bruins going in his first game back and helped the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Islanders at TD Garden. The Bruins have 101 points now but to Thornton, the more important mission in the final two games is to keep focus.
“Just keeping that rhythm I think,” Thornton said. “Keeping our confidence. Keeping the fun going into the playoffs. This is the best time of the year. The weather is getting nice. You have to want to come to the rink this time of year. For me that’s the biggest thing: to stay upbeat, confident and play our game.
As their coach Claude Julien pointed out afterward, the Bruins did not look sharp in the win as there were defensive breakdowns that allowed the Islanders back in the game, two days after blowing a 3-0 lead to the Rangers in New York.
“I mean there were some lapses,” Thornton said. “We just have to play our game and not worry who we’re playing against. When we’re playing our style of game we’re a really, really good team. When we get away from that, we’ve seen it through the years what happens there. As long as we continue to play our game plan we’ll be a pretty good team.”
As for who they’ll be playing in the first round, Thornton said it doesn’t matter to him since he’s not even paying attention to the standing right now.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy,” Thornton said. “I don’t ever pay attention to the standings. No I don’t know what is going on. Maybe the other guys are different, but I just kind of focus on what’s going on today and don’t worry about the rest.”
After scoring his 10th goal of the season in his first game back since a nasty injury to his forehead, Thornton was also quick to give credit to his assistant coaches and back-up goalie Tuukka Rask after Wednesday’s win. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins and Thrashers tied at two after two||04.02.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
The Bruins and Thrashers each added another goal in the second period and are tied, 2-2, at the second intermission.
The Thrashers grabbed their first lead of the game when Evander Kane fired a loose puck past Tuukka Rask as the B’s netminder was trying to get back in position at 1:37. Daniel Paille tied the game about five minutes later, causing a turnover in the Thrashers’ zone while on the penalty kill and firing a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for the Bruins’ 11th shorthanded goal of the season.
After two periods, the B’s hold a 17-15 advantage in shots on goal.
|Bruins tied with Thrashers after one||at 1:43 pm ET|
The name of the game was easy goals in the first period Saturday, and thanks to a softy allowed by each team, the Bruins and Thrashers are tied at one.
Mark Recchi scored his 14th of the season when a shot from Patrice Bergeron trickled through the legs of Ondrej Pavelec and needed just a tap-in to make it 1-0. The Thrashers tied it up when Tuukka Rask took a delay of game penalty and let a Dustin Byfuglen shot bounce off him and in. The Thrashers are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the B’s are 0-for-1.
The Bruins are outshooting the Thrashers, 6-4.
|Bruins hold optional morning skate in anticipation of Blackhawks||03.29.11 at 11:23 am ET|
The sounds of pucks hitting boards and skates cutting ice were drowned out by a game of hallway soccer, as the Bruins held an optional skate Thursday in anticipation of their game against the Blackhawks. Tuukka Rask, Chris Kelly, Michael Ryder, Tyler Seguin, Gregory Campbell, Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer and Adam McQuaid skated for the B’s. Expect Tim Thomas to start with Rask the only goaltender to skate in the optional.
Given that Ryder also skated in the optional and that Claude Julien expressed a desire to stick with the same lineup that won them Sunday’s game in Philadelphia, it is probable that Ryder will be a healthy scratch once again.
Here are some notes from the morning:
– Julien said that he doesn’t feel a need to talk about last year’s playoffs with his team as they prepare for the postseason this time around. The B’s blew a 3-0 series and Game 7 lead in the second round last year against the Flyers.
“I think for us right now it’s just focusing on the moment. From here on in, we’ve still got to maintain our play, our level of play that we’ve had lately and continue to try and even improve that. There’s no room for complacency right now, and we have lots of players. If we’re going to move some players in and out from here on in it’s not because we’re taking it easy, but because we want everybody ready to go. That’s kind of the message that we gave the players. So for us, I think we need to make sure we maintain our level of play from here on in.”
– Much was made in training camp of the new situation that former Panthers Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton found themselves in. Having never been to the playoffs in their careers, it seemed the postseason would be extra special for them. Campbell spoke about what it means to him to finally know he’s headed for the playoffs.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long time. That was the first thing I thought of when I got traded to Boston, was that I was going to get a chance to play in the playoffs,” Campbell said. “For me, at this point in my career, the most meaningful thing is to get a chance to win. I know this organization’s excited about the opportunity to get back to the playoffs again.”
– While Julien said that the recent scratches “probably” won’t get in the lineup Tuesday, he will get them in the lineup over the next two weeks to both rest those playing and keep everybody fresh.
“We’ve got to remember the guys were going to put in are good players. It’s not like you’re putting in a bad player,” Julien said of the players serving as healthy scratches. “It’s that you’ve got a 20-man roster for the game, but you’ve got 22-23 guys here. We’re going to put some guys in, pull some guys out, but certainly not to say, well this is a game that we’re going to take it easy, we’re going to pull so-and-so out. We’ve got to stay on top of our game, and that’s what I’ve been talking about, sliding guys in that can go in there and stay sharp so that if, come playoff time, we need somebody, they haven’t been sitting around for a month.”
– Julien spoke highly of David Krejci, who has 28 points in the 27 games since Marc Savard went down with his latest concussion. The coach said it’s been more a result of improved play than increased opportunity.
“He’s elevated his play, there’s no doubt,” Julien said. “He’s become a better player in the second half of the season. I think we’re starting to see more of the David Krejci we know. I think he had a bit of a slow start this year and wasn’t skating as well as we had seen him in the past. And was trying to make those plays, but when you don’t use your speed it’s pretty hard to make those plays in this league. So I think his skating has gotten better, his intensity has gotten better, and because of that he’s making some plays.”
– The coach said that as far as fine-tuning things go prior to the playoffs, special teams will be the focus. After an ugly stretch, the power play has scored four goals in the last four games, while the penalty kill has allowed one goal over the last five.
“[Power play] is an area we’ve got to get better at,” Julien said. “Even our penalty kill had been pretty good all year, then we hit that funk there for about three weeks that really made us slide down in the [rankings] in regards to that. We’ve got to get that back to where we feel it should be. I think our special teams are going to be important from here on in, and those are part of the things we need to work on.
“What I liked about the last game is that we were playing a really good team, it was a tight checking game and we stuck with it and found a way to win. You’ve got to be able to be patient with those types of games that are tight checking games. In the playoffs, that’s what you’re going to get, and I think our guys did a great job in the third period of not creating some bad mistakes or turnovers, and eventually they broke, took a penalty, and we took advantage of it. It’s those little details when you get near the end of the year. You want your team to be composed and in control of their game plan.”
|Shawn Thornton: Let up on the letdown theory||03.26.11 at 4:57 pm ET|
One look at the line score from Saturday’s snoozefest at the Garden would suggest the Bruins went through a pretty typical letdown game in a 1-0 loss to the Rangers, less than 48 hours after lighting up the Canadiens, 7-zip.
Not so fast, says Shawn Thornton.
“No, I wouldn’t put too much into it,” Thornton said. “I wouldn’t look too much into Thursday’s game and then tonight’s. This one could have went either way, it wasn’t like we laid an egg tonight. I thought for the most part we worked hard. I don’t look at shots too much, but anytime you outshoot a team 12-1 in the third period, you’d think that maybe you’d get rewarded with one. But they did a good job blocking shots, they did a good job of cleaning stuff out in front of the net. [Henrik Lundqvist] did a good job stopping the puck.”
Thornton makes a good point. The Bruins, who were outshot 9-0 to open the second, were hellbent on putting on a late rush on Lundqvist but to no avail.
Claude Julien agreed with Thornton’s assessment. A letdown explanation would be pretty lame.
“I think that would be a weak excuse,” Julien said. “We’re certainly not going to use that as an excuse. This is the time our year where you got to make sure that you’re able to push those games aside. There’s a lot of emotional games coming up in the future here, in the near future, and we’ve got to be able to respond night after night.
“It was more our team maybe not as good as the other team tonight as far as the will to win those battles early on and being heavy on the stick,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate that the only goal that was scored may be a little bit of a controversial goal, but we had lots of opportunities to make up for it.”
It was also unfortunate Tuukka Rask allowed just one controversial goal and it ended up costing the Bruins.
“It’s disappointing to lose, obviously,” Rask said. “But I thought we put up a pretty good effort. Maybe it wasn’t a solid sixty-minute game, but we definitely came out hard in the third and got our chances, battled hard. A 1-0 loss is always tough to take when you don’t score a goal after you score seven. But it’s just a game and we just have to battle back [Sunday vs. Philadelphia].”
“Obviously, it sucks,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “We didn’t score a goal and we didn’t play our best.
Speaking of the Flyers, the fourth and final rematch of last year’s epic Eastern Conference semis is on the docket Sunday in Philly.
“That’s often a good thing,” Julien said. “We don’t have time to dwell on this one here. You got to turn the page. You win the big game tomorrow in Philadelphia, and you’ve had a pretty tough week against some pretty good hockey clubs. If you can come out of the there 3-1, with the week, it’s been a pretty good week. So that’s what we’ve got to focus on. Let’s turn the page on this one here and hopefully be a better team [Sunday].”
|Henrik Lundqvist blanks Bruins||at 3:23 pm ET|
The Bruins failed to keep up the momentum from Thursday night’s win over the Canadiens, as they dropped a 1-0 game to the Rangers Saturday at TD Garden.
Derek Stepan redirected a Michael Sauer shot past Tuukka Rask at 6:39 of the first period to give the Rangers the only goal they would need. In taking the loss, Rask fell to 10-13-2 on the season.
Henrik Lundqvist picked up the victory for the Rangers, improving his league-leading shutout total to 11.
From Boston, the Bruins will travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Sunday. Philadelphia is currently the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The refs missed a pretty obvious offsides call prior to Stepan’s goal, and it proved to be the difference when all was said and done. Claude Julien was furious on the bench, and rightfully so.
– The Bruins had only two power plays in the game, but the second came with less than 21 seconds remaining.The B’s have had six games this season with one power play or less, and have surprisingly gone 6-0-1 in such contests.
– These matinees at TD Garden simply have not been good to the Bruins this season. With Saturday’s loss, the B’s are now 1-3-0 in such games this season, taking losses to the Hurricanes, Penguins, Sharks and now Rangers.
– Brad Marchand had a golden opportunity to both tie the game and get to 20 goals with a point-blank opportunity with plenty of open net in the final eight minutes of the game. He missed the net, however, in a play that generally summarized the Bruins’ day.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Despite that the Bruins could never really get any momentum going, the penalty kill came up all four times they were asked to in the game. Chris Kelly might not bring anything special to the table, but he has been solid on the PK since arriving.
– Rask was sound for the B’s in a game in which few of his teammates were. There’s been a season-long trend of the B’s not playing well, and it could be coming back up. Rask has won only one of his last four starts, though he allowed four goals in two of the contests.
– The improved play without production continues for Tyler Seguin. The rookie led all Bruins forwards with four shots on goal. The face that he and Dennis Seidenberg (5 SOG) were the only Bruins with more than three on the day shows that this might belong in the “What went wrong” section.
|Bruins still trail Rangers entering third period||at 2:32 pm ET|
The Bruins still have yet to get on the board as the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead entering the third period at TD Garden.
It was almost halfway through the period before the Bruins got their first shot on goal, and the B’s finished the period with six shots.
Penalties seemed to get in the way of any shot at momentum for the B’s, as Mark Recchi went off for hooking at 1:07 and Milan Lucic took a late slashing penalty. With Lucic in the box, the B’s had a shorthanded bid that resulted in Patrice Bergeron crashing into Henrik Lundqvist. The Bruins failed to register a shot on their lone power play, a Marian Gaborik boarding call at 11:31.