|Bruins at Panthers preview||12.27.10 at 4:46 am ET|
The Bruins are coming off perhaps their most monumental win of the season, a 4-1 victory over the Thrashers that featured the grit and emotion the team had lacked over its previous 1-3-1 stretch.
The B’s play the next five on the road, starting with Monday’s matchup with the Panthers. The Bruins have won both games against Florida this season, most recently grabbing a 3-1 victory at BankAtlantic Center behind two goals from Mark Recchi on Nov. 24.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Panthers are 7-6-0 at BankAtlantic Center this season, though they probably feel as though they don’t know the place anymore with the way their schedule has been. Nine of their last 12 games have been played on the road. They’re 2-4-0 in their last six home contests dating back to Nov. 22.
– The Bruins are 9-5-1 on the road and have dropped their last three away from the Garden.
– The Panthers are the only team in the NHL to not have an overtime loss this season. The Bruins have come away with the single point in four contests.
– Milan Lucic has gone without a point in three straight games for the first time this season. His last point came on Dec. 16 in Montreal, a third-period power play goal. Despite his mini-slump, he continues to lead the Bruins with 16 goals.
– Each of the Bruins goaltenders have put together impressive performances vs. the Panthers this season. Tuukka Rask grabbed a shutout on Nov. 18 at the Garden, while Tim Thomas allowed on goal on Nov. 24th. Florida is the only team that both Bruins goaltenders have beaten.
– The Bruins have allowed 35 shots or more in seven games in December. If David Booth comes close to the 14 shots he had against the Bruins on Nov. 18, they might be in for a high shots allowed total again.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– The biggest question for this Bruins team is how they can sustain what they did Thursday for an entire road trip, and then beyond that. They have Tampa Bay Tuesday, followed by a rematch against the Thrashers on Thursday. If the Bruins want to carry momentum from their victory last Thursday they will need to kick off the road trip with a win over the Panthers.
– The Bruins have not sat Tuukka Rask for five straight games yet this season. Tim Thomas has started the last four, and has had such a stretch only twice this season. It might make sense for Rask to get the nod against the lowly Panthers, which would avoid overwhelming Thomas with three starts in four days, but reports out of Florida suggest Thomas will be between the pipes.
– The Bruins benefit greatly from the fact that Lucic was not suspended for Monday’s game. This way, they can take their time with bringing Brad Marchand (soreness) back and not have to summon an extra forward while they’re away. Claude Julien told reporters Monday that Marchand will not play.
|That’s what Christmas means to Zee: A look at European Bruins’ traditions||12.24.10 at 6:10 pm ET|
The Bruins gave fans an early Christmas with a statement-making win on Thursday, but when it comes to the Black and Gold, there’s plenty about Christmas that the average Bostonian doesn’t know. David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, and Dennis Seidenberg spoke to WEEI.com about what Christmas is like in their native countries.
Here’s a look at each player’s customs and holiday memories:
DAVID KREJCI: STERNBERK, CZECH REPUBLIC
Santa who? Jezisek (pronounced “eshishik”) is the man, er, boy for the job back home for Krejci. Czech for “Child Jesus,” Jezisek is a child who delivers gifts to families, much like St. Nick would in these parts.
As is the case in Europe, Krejci’s family is all done with sharing gifts by the time the 25th rolls around.
“We have dinner on the 24th, and right after, we open gifts, so Christmas is the 24th,” Krejci said.
Given his years in juniors and now in the NHL, Krejci, like his European teammates doesn’t get to celebrate Christmas back home.
“It’s been a long time since the last time I was back home for Christmas,” Krejci said. “I guess I’m used to it. It still sucks that you’re not with your family, but I’m getting older and it’s been a long time, so I guess I’m getting used to it now.”
Teammate Tyler Seguin, like many North American kids in the ’90’s, remembers asking for Power Rangers toys and all things Barney. Over in Sternberk, then a part of Czechoslovakia, Krejci couldn’t think of anything but his future career.
“When I was growing up I always wanted skates, hockey sticks, and all the cool stuff that was really expensive that I couldn’t afford,” Krejci said. “So I asked my parents. I never got it, but I was excited for it anyways.”
TUUKKA RASK: SAVONLINNA, FINLAND
What do Rask and Santa Claus share in common? Nothing, besides the fact that they hail from the same land.
“Santa Claus is Finnish,” the 23-year-old goaltender told a now-enlightened WEEI.com. It’s a fact that can be confirmed here.
Aside from that interesting tidbit and opening presents on the 24th (“That’s the only thing I’ve known, ever since growing up”), Rask doesn’t think his time on Christmas as a child is too dissimilar from that of an American.
“The food is different,” Rask, who remembers meals of ham, salmon, and bread, said. “I think every family has their different traditions, but to stay at home and be with the family, that’s the same everywhere.”
DENNIS SEIDENBERG: VILLINGEN-SCHWENNINGEN, WEST GERMANY
The biggest difference that Seidenberg notices between the States and West Germany around the holidays is level to which it’s taken.
“It feels like there’s a lot more toys under the Christmas tree here,” said a smiling Seidenberg. “It’s just a lot more done-up, it seems, than in Europe.”
A traditional Christmas meal is also different from in the USA, and from the countries of his European teammates.
“We eat a lot of duck with cabbage, mashed potatoes, and stuff like that,” Seidenberg said.
The Bruins will practice on Sunday, which probably wouldn’t take place over in West Germany. After eating and opening presents on the 24th, they get the 25th and 26th off as Christmas holidays.
ZDENO CHARA: TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA
While Krejci had Jezisek and Rask had Santa Claus, the Bruins’ captain grew up with both.
“One thing we have is Santa — that’s ‘Mikalas’ — and then whoever brings the presents is Jezisek,” Chara said.
Chara shares Rask’s logic that despite the differences between the countries, there’s no cultural differences (hey, remember those? Those were funny!) when it comes to the most important part of the holidays: family.
“It’s pretty much the same as over here,” Chara said. “We all get together, the families gather together and want to spend it together. We have a nice dinner, and in Europe we open the presents on the 24th at night.
“As far as everything else, it’s almost the same. We have different food traditions for dinners. You guys have different over here, but I think the atmosphere around Christmas is pretty much the same.”
Happy holidays from the Big Bad Blog and WEEI.com.
|Bruins, Sabres tied after one||12.15.10 at 7:45 pm ET|
David Krejci and Drew Stafford each scored and the Bruins and Sabres are tied after 20 minutes of play.
Krejci got his fifth goal of the season and fourth point against the Sabres when he redirected a Dennis Siedenberg shot past Ryan Miller at 17:59.
With Milan Lucic in the box for boarding, Drew Stafford buried a third-chance opportunity at 18:41 to tie it at a goal apiece.
Andrew Ference took a big hit from Patrick Kaleta, who bounced off the B’s defender in the Bruins’ end. Ference responded by shoving Kaleta following the play and was headed off for roughing.
Less than a minute into the Sabres’ power play, David Krejci was attempting to catch a pass as he entered Buffalo’s end but was, slashed by Drew Stafford at the blueline.
Steven Kampfer saw time at the point on the Bruins’ power play after having just six seconds on the man advantage through two games.
The Sabres are outshooting the Bruins, 18-14.
|Bruins lead Islanders, 1-0, after one||12.09.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
Milan Lucic scored his 14th goal of the season, a power play tally, and the Bruins lead the Islanders, 1-0, after a period.
It appeared that Lucic’s shot actually hit the right post, bounced of New York goalie Rick DiPietro and into the net. Marc Savard got the assist on the goal, registering his first point since his return from post-concussion symptoms.
The Bruins outshot the Islanders, 16-7, and Tuukka Rask didn’t really face much pressure. The Bruins are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Islanders are 0-for-1. The Bruins will begin the second period on the man advatnage, as P.A. Parenteau went off for boarding with 10.2 seconds left in the period.
Adam McQuaid and Zenon Konopka squared off in the only fight of the period.
|Scheduled day off for Marco Sturm; Tuukka Rask to start||at 12:19 pm ET|
Marco Sturm was missing from the Bruins’ morning skate on Thursday morning. Following the skate, the team’s media relations folks said it was a scheduled day off for the rehabbing winger. Of course, one would have to assume the team is still looking to trade him to avoid the salary cap mess that would coincide with his activation.
Sturm said Wednesday that he isn’t sure whether he’ll be traded, but that he is not pleased with his situation. He waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to the Kings last week, but the trade fell through.
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice Thursday morning, an indication that he’ll be between the pipes against the lowly Islanders. Rask took a 4-1 loss last Sunday against the Thrashers and is 1-6-1 on the season with a 2.59 GAA and .926 save percentage.
|Tuukka Rask expected to start for Bruins in first matchup of Tyler Seguin and Steven Stamkos||11.22.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice on Monday, indicating he’ll be between the pipes when the Bruins take on Mike Smith and the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Guy Boucher‘s club is currently riding a three-game win streak.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The B’s are 7-1-0 on the road, with their lone loss coming on Nov. 5 in Washington. They have 10 goals in their last two road games, seven of which came in their come-from-behind victory over the Penguins on Nov. 10.
– The Lightning are 4-2-1 at home, and 2-2-1 in their last five home games.
– Michael Ryder saw a dip in his playing time on Saturday. Ryder entered the contest averaging 14:01 a night, but got just 9:50 of ice time. It was the first time all season that Ryder played less than 12 minutes, let alone 10.
– Between the two starting goalies tonight, just one goal has been allowed in their last starts. Rask blanked the Panthers in Boston while Smith allowed one goal on 30 shots against the Sabers in Buffalo.
– Steven Stamkos is out of his mind. He’s got 19 goals this season, with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin a distant five goals behind him for the lead league.
Stamkos had 23 goals as a rookie, and given all the parallels between he and Tyler Seguin, this scribe is holding firm on the projection that Seguin finishes the season in that ballpark. Seguin is on pace for 18.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– After one game of having Seguin as a third line winger, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports that Seguin will swap spots with Jordan Caron and jump up to the second line. The initial reaction is that this is a great move for multiple reasons. For starters, it returns Seguin to the generation-spanning line that looked so intriguing in the preseason and puts the young scorer on a line with two of the top-three guys on the team in assists. Mark Recchi leads the B’s will 11, while Patrice Bergeron is tied for second with Nathan Horton (10).
This move will also be good for the team in that it gets a slumping Caron off the second line. He hasn’t scored in 10 games, picking up just two assists over that period.
Expect the lines to look like this:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Seguin – Bergeron – Recchi
Caron – Wheeler – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
– It should be interesting to see how Rask, who is tied for third in the league with a .939 save percentage, fares against an offense as productive as Tampa Bay’s. Rask had a 41-save shutout the last time out against the Panthers, but the Tampa Bay is averaging 3.1 goals per game (5th in the NHL) and have totaled 14 goals in their three-game winning streak.
– Special teams could be key in this game, as it matches the third-best power play in the league (Tampa Bay scores on 24.4 of its power plays) against the Bruins’s 89.9 penalty kill percentage, which is second in the league.
|Kings at Bruins preview||11.20.10 at 10:33 am ET|
With the Bruins heating up at home, they will face a test against a very good Kings team that has been cooling off of late. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins, an indication that he will likely be between the pipes for the B’s against UMass product Jonathan Quick.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 4-4-1 in home games this season, but are 4-3-1 in games played at TD Garden given that the first game was actually in Prague. Things are looking up for them in Boston, though, as they have won their last two home games, shutting out both the Senators and Panthers.
– The Kings are a dominant home team, but the same can’t be said for they’re road play. They’re 4-5-0 outside of Los Angeles and have dropped their last two road games.
– Ten. That’s how many victories both Tim Thomas and Quick have been able to attain in just 12 starts this season. Thomas is 10-1-0, with Quick entering the game at 10-2-0. Thomas has four shutouts to Quick’s one.
Despite the impressive play and 1.73 goals against average for Quick, he’s coming off a rough game Wednesday in which he allowed four goals to the Blue Jackets on just 25 shots.
– Thomas leads the NHL in save percentage (.959), but one might be surprised that Tuukka Rask is third in the league in the category with a .939 clip, ahead of Quick and many others. Not bad for a guy with a 1-4-1 record, eh?
– This might be the only time one could point out that Milan Lucic is on pace for 48 goals, so why the hell not? His career high is 17, though he’s never had an 82-game season in his career.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– This is a battle of two teams that have been at opposite ends of the spectrum recently. The Bruins are winners of their last three, while the Kings have lost three in a row after a 12-3-0 start to the season.
– The last time these teams faced one another, it was an interesting one. It wasn’t until the sixth round of the shootout that Jarret Stoll sealed a 3-2 Kings victory in Boston. The game was the Bruins’ seventh of their 10-game losing streak that stretched from Jan. 16 (another loss to the Kings) to Feb. 16.
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