|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.
|Tim Thomas pulled as Maple Leafs add to lead||03.19.11 at 8:50 pm ET|
Twenty-nine seconds after Joey Crabb buried a rebound past Thomas to make it 3-1, Mike Brown beat the B’s netminder five-hole from the left face-off circle, giving the Leafs a three-goal lead. Claude Julien then elected to yank his starter, putting Tuukka Rask in. Rask looked good for the most part but was beaten by Keith Aulie on a shot he never saw. He seemed upset following the play, as he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg.
Of the six players to score goals between the two teams tonight, none of them had more than three goals on the season entering the game.
The period featured some more encouraging signs from Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old is playing a more confident game and was robbed by James Reimer earlier in the period on a breakaway. For the second straight game, he has gotten time on the power play, and his style of play really fits with the speed of Rich Peverley, with whom he’s skated of late.
|Tuukka Rask, Bruins beat Blue Jackets in shootout to snap skid||03.15.11 at 9:47 pm ET|
The Bruins fell behind in the final minute of the first period when Grant Clitsome sent a blast from the blue line past Rask, but a Zdeno Chara shot that went off David Krejci would tie it in the second. With the Bruins trailing in the third period and Nathan Horton in the box for holding the stick, Rich Peverley scored the B’s eighth shorthanded goal of the season, beating Steve Mason for his 16th goal of the season.
Rask, who had 32 saves in regulation, made timely saves in the third period in stopping Jakub Voracek, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett on key Blue Jackets opportunities. He followed that by stopping Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin in the shootout.
The Bruins will head to Nashville to face the Predators on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– While benching Michael Ryder may have opened some eyes, there’s no debating that the Bruins are in better shape for a shootout with Seguin in the lineup. The rookie has struggled to pin down the NHL game physically, but when it comes to skating down the ice untouched, talent trumps all.
– The Bruins may have not seen much time on the power play, but they scored more than Columbus on Blue Jackets power plays. The B’s killed off all six penalties they took, with Peverley scoring the timely short-handed goal.
– Either Milan Lucic or Krejci were bound to see their point streaks continue due to the B’s first goal, and after a scoring change it proved to be Krejci. Lucic hit Johnny Boychuk with a pass in the offensive zone, with Boychuk setting up a Chara blast that went off Krejci before sailing past Steve Mason. Though Lucic didn’t get an assist on the play, he still has six points (2 G, 4 A) in his last six games. Krejci now has at least one point in each of his last six games, and eight points (2 G, 6 A) over the span.
– Good to see Rask play the role of stopper, as he picked up the Bruins’ first win in five games. The Bruins’ four-game skid was the ninth time this season the team had lost at least two games in a row. Of the previous eight occurrences, Tim Thomas had gotten the win that followed the first five losing streaks, with Rask now serving as the stopper in the last four. That’s a combination of both coincidence and the fact that Claude Julien is giving his young goaltender more time down the stretch.
– Mark Recchi continues the climb up the list for most games played. Tuesday, he surpassed former Bruin Dave Andreychuk, and at 1,640 games, Recchi is now fifth all-time.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins had just one power play in the game, and it lasted all of five seconds. Patrice Bergeron took an interference penalty following the face-off that began an Antione Vermette hooking minor. The team’s power play struggles have been well-documented (just one power play goal since Feb. 28), and having just five seconds on the man advantage isn’t exactly the right way to remedy them.
– Scottie Upshall continues to haunt Rask. Nice puck-movement by his line drew Rask way out of his net with less than eight minutes to go, and Upshall easily put his 20th of the season into an unoccupied net. The goal was his third goal against Rask in three games facing him.
– That’s now two games in a row in which Nathan Horton has taken a penalty in the final seven minutes of the game with the Bruins trailing. Horton was called for interference at 13:12 of the third period against the Islanders on Saturday, and he went off at 13:06 for holding the stick. Of course, the Bruins ended up tying the game with Horton in the box, but it certainly isn’t the type of habit the B’s want to develop. Krejci would later be called for a cross-check with 4:34 remaining.
|Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask get early work in prior to Bruins’ practice||03.09.11 at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins returned to practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday after an ugly 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Tuesday.
Prior to the rest of the team taking the ice, a group of players consisting of Shane Hnidy, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartwkoswki, Daniel Paille and Brad Marchand took shots on goaltenders for Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. There were reports that Thomas may have suffered a hand injury Tuesday morning, but Thomas seems fine.
Zdeno Chara was on the ice when the rest of the team came out, which was a little after 12:40 p.m. We’re awaiting word on the result Chara’s call with the league this morning after he was tossed for a his hit on Max Pacioretty on Tuesday night. Word on Pacioretty via the Canadiens that the Habs forward suffered a fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion on the play.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Rich Peverley
Mark Recchi – Chris Kelly – Michael Ryder
Still no sign of Andrew Ference, though Matt Kalman at The Bruins Blog reported Wednesday that he skated earlier in the day.
|Canadiens gain ground as Bruins lose in Montreal||03.08.11 at 10:11 pm ET|
The Bruins were beaten handily Tuesday night, dropping a 4-1 contest to the Canadiens and losing their captain for the third period at the Bell Centre.
Canadiens forward Lars Eller scored two goals in the first period, with Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski adding power play goals in the second period. Eller entered the game with five goals through 61 games this season.
A very scary moment came with 15.8 seconds remaining in the second period, when Zdeno Chara finished a check along the boards on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty. The 22-year-old hit the glassed area between benches before falling to the ice, remaining motionless as he was placed on a stretcher. Chara was given a five-minute major for interference, as well as a game misconduct. Pacioretty was reportedly able to move his extremities after leaving for the hospital.
Tuukka Rask took the loss for the Bruins, losing his first game since Feb. 11. He allowed four goals on 24 shots.
The Bruins are now 1-3-1 against the rival Canadiens this season and 0-2-1 in games played at the Bell Centre. With the win, the Canadiens are now just three points behind the Bruins for the Northeast Division lead.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Pacioretty has used multiple occasions this season to establish himself as a villain in the eyes of Bruins fans, but the scene at the end of the period is as scary as it gets, regardless of who you root for. It’s hard to tell whether Chara, whose past dealings with the Habs’ agitator led to natural speculation following the hit, meant to go after Pacioretty, but the B’s captain has never been a dirty player. The guess here is that he wasn’t trying to start Tuesday.
– Brad Marchand had a chance to get the Bruins on the board earlier in the third period on a penalty shot after a trip from Roman Hamrlik, but was stopped after going low on Price. The B’s young winger also had an opportunity when Price dropped a puck right in front of him with the B’s killing a Tyler Seguin penalty in the first period.
– Adam McQuaid and Nathan Horton, both of whom entreated the game top five in plus/minus, both posted a minus-1 after being on the ice for Eller’s first goal. Of course, it was hard for Bruins players to not end up with a negative rating on a night like Tuesday. McQuaid and Horton entered the night first and fourth in the league with a plus-27 and plus-25, respectively.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Lucic is now one goal away from 30 goals in a season in which he hoped for 20. He took a nice pass from Krejci to get the Bruins on the board in the third period, and both players now have 12 points in their last nine games.
– The B’s once again went scoreless on the power play, making it 1-for-21 since Tomas Kaberle joined the team. The positive in that is that the four power plays were the most they’ve had since Kaberle’s first game with the team, when the B’s had five against the Senators on Feb. 18. Again, they still haven’t scored since that day.
– Kaberle isn’t known for shooting, and he proved it by totaling just five shots on goal over his first eight games with the B’s. His three shots on goal Tuesday were the most he’s posted as a member of the Bruins.