|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.
|Officiating blunder costs Bruins in first period||at 1:41 pm ET|
The Bruins fell victim to an officiating error in the first period, and it shows on the scoreboard as the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
Marian Gaborik had to reach back for the puck after entering the offensive zone with about six and a half minutes into the game. When no off-sides call was made, Michael Sauer fired a shot from the point off the following face-off that forward Derek Stepan would redirect past Tuukka Rask at 6:39.
The Bruins weren’t able to respond in short order, as Tyler Seguin was called for interference just over two minutes later. The period featured one fight, with Gregory Campbell dropping the gloves with Sean Avery at 2:44.
After one, the Rangers hold a 9-8 advantage in shots on goal.
|Tuukka Rask: Don’t need to be a ‘rocket scientist’ to see Tim Thomas should start playoffs||03.23.11 at 1:26 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins president Cam Neely raised eyebrows recently on CBS radio when he said that the team’s goaltenders needed to “show us who’s ready to be the goalie for the playoffs.” Tim Thomas is the favorite to win the Vezina trophy after posting historic numbers in the first half of the season, while Tuukka Rask has seen improved play since getting more time in the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, Rask has started nine of the B’s 22 games after starting 15 of the first 50.
Speaking to WEEI.com Wednesday, Rask offered his thoughts on whether the Bruins have a No. 1 guy for the playoffs.
“Well, you don’t have to be a [expletive] rocket scientist,” Rask said with a smile. “[Thomas] is playing every game.”
While Rask, who started every game of the playoffs last season, might not necessarily think there is an open competition over the final 10 games of the season, he does embrace being part of such a strong goaltending tandem and hopes it pays dividends in the postseason.
“We’ll see what happens,” Rask said. “Obviously to succeed you’re going to need two goalies to get going because you never know what’s going to happen in the playoffs. I like the thought that we have two No. 1 guys, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll both play.”
|Bruins hold optional skate||03.22.11 at 11:20 am ET|
After two days of high-energy practices, Claude Julien elected to make Tuesday’s morning skate optional. Just about everyone on the team agreed with this logic, as only Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille took the ice.
Reading into things, this could mean that Paille might be the healthy scratch among the forwards. Brad Marchand is eligible to return vs. the Devils after a two-game suspension, while Tyler Seguin‘s recent play has made him hard to sit. The last two practices have featured both Marchand and Michael Ryder on the wing opposite Mark Recchi, so if Paille is the scratch, Marchand could be a candidate to reunite with the Merlot line.
|Claude Julien says he doesn’t support Tuukka Rask’s displays of frustration||03.21.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When Claude Julien put Tim Thomas back in to start the third period against the Maple Leafs Saturday night, the logical reason as to why was because of Tuukka Rask‘s latest display of frustration. After Rask, who came in with over 11 minutes remaining in the second period in relief of Thomas, allowed the game’s fifth goal, he was visibly infuriated with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who screened him on the play.
Julien has maintained that the move was not disciplinary, and that it was because Thomas wanted to go back out. Monday, he shed light on Rask’s behavior on the ice.
“I don’t support that,” Julien said. “I don’t think anybody supports that, including him. Sometimes frustration sets in, you see players breaking their sticks after a goal against or something. You see them putting their heads up in the air after they miss an open net. There’s a frustration point, so I’m certainly not going to stand here and start accusing him of that, but it’s something you don’t want to see from anybody because it has a big impact on your team.
“Having said that, I think Tuukka’s aware of that, and if anything, he’s been playing some of his best hooky lately, so I don’t think there’s any need for that. I think it’s just that sometimes you’ve got to control your emotions. He’s frustrated with the first half of the year, and he wants to help this hockey club. Sometimes his emotions are probably running a little too high and he reacts that way, but having said that, it had no influence on my decision on Saturday.”
For what it’s worth, Rask has been cool as a cucumber off the ice all season despite the uncertainty as to when he’ll play. On the ice, however, he’s never shied away from expressing his emotions, and Julien hopes he can keep them in check.