|Gameday notes: It’s a tradeoff!||02.03.11 at 1:51 pm ET|
Former Calder Trophy-winning Bruins netminder Andrew Raycroft will get the start in net for the Stars on Thursday, making it the first time he faces the man he was traded for in Tuukka Rask. After shining in his rookie year in 2003-04 and struggling in the season following the lockout, Raycroft was traded to the Leafs for Rask in June of 2006.
Raycroft has continued to struggle since leaving Boston, as he became a bit of a journeyman, making stops in Colorado and Vancouver following two years in Toronto. He has picked it up a bit with the Stars in his first season in Dallas, posting a .920 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average that is mostly inflated by an ugly start Jan. 21 in which he allowed seven goals in a loss to the Flames.
With the Bruins clearly having won the trade involving the two goaltenders they now look to win Thursday night’s game. The B’s haven’t turned in steady play in front of Rask, and it shows with the 23-year-old’s 4-10-1 record despite his .923 save percentage.
“I think we have a good goaltender in Tuukka and we know his statistics are good. The only negative thing is the win-loss column right now, and I have a feeling that’s going to turn around,” coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate. “Tuukka’s a good goaltender and we have to use him and he has to give us some games and he got to give us some wins and he’s got to give us the performance we know he’s capable of.”
Here are some other notes from the Garden:
– If it weren’t for the world needing a bunch of useless information about music, today is a today that I could consider hanging up my twitter skates. The internet has gone crazy saying tonight’s matchup is overhyped, but there are simply too many reasons as to why this game is very important for the Bruins to win.
First of all, there’s the aspect of Rask being in net. The Finnish netminder was essentially victimized by his team’s play in front of him prior to the All-Star break, and the team can really make a statement by playing well enough for him to earn a win against a very good Stars team.
Then there’s the “very good Stars team” part. Dallas, despite losing three of it’s last four games, is currently third in the Western Conference and went 8-2-1 in January. The Bruins have struggled against Western Conference teams this season (2-4-2) and have been especially bad when they have hosted the (0-2-2). When you consider that the Sharks are in town on Saturday and that the B’s have a pair of games against the Red Wings coming up, there are just too many reasons as to why this a very important game for the Bruins.
– As previously noted, Mark Stuart will be a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game. Given the play of Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer, it isn’t too shocking, but the fact that Julien admitted it isn’t even at the point where it’s a game-time decision anymore is a bit telling.
“I’m not going to mix anything up right now,” Julien said. “It is what it is and we keep talking about that almost everyday as well, is that we’ve got a guy in Stuey that so far has had a great attitude towards not disrupting the team and understanding how tough it is to play.
“At the same time, our six D’s are doing a great job so you don’t punish other guys for that kind of stuff. Things always work out and Stuey knows that and has been a real, I guess helpful player in regards to that, at not disrupting the team. He’s still working hard, and when he gets his chance he’ll be ready.”
– Julien was asked Thursday morning if he feels Tim Thomas, who leads the NHL with a .945 save percentage (on pace to be the best ever), 1.82 goals against average, seven shutouts (tied with Henrik Lundqvist) and 25 wins (tied with three others), is the best goaltender in the league. The answer wasn’t very surprising.
“I’m going to back that up 100 percent,” Julien said. ” The way he’s played for us definitely a great goaltender and the thing with Timmy that helps this hockey club is we play well in front of him, but when we do break down he’s there to keep us in the game at those key times. And that’s what’s important for our team. And again we may give up a certain amount of shots, at the end of the night we say ‘how many scoring chances did we give up?’ and some of those scoring chances we may not give up a ton but they’re real good scoring chances and Timmy comes up big. That’s what makes a difference and that’s why Timmy’s a good goaltender.”
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate, an indication that he will get the start in goal when the Bruins take on the Stars at TD Garden.
Rask last started on Jan. 20 against the Sabres, making 29 saves on 33 shots in a 4-2 loss. He is 4-10-1 with a 2.67 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
Coach Claude Julien said after the skate that Mark Stuart will be a healthy scratch once again for the Bruins, and that it’s “not really” a matter of him being a game-time decision at this point. He noted that with six defensemen playing well, he doesn’t want to “punish” any of them by disrupting the success they’ve had. Stuart has been a healthy scratch for the last four games.
|Nathan Gerbe is a ‘pest’ to the Bruins in his homecoming to Boston||01.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET|
The TD Garden ice has always been kind to Nathan Gerbe.
It was again on Thursday night as the list of former Boston College players coming back to Boston and providing nightmare after nightmare to the Bruins continues to grow.
There’s Brian Leetch with the Rangers. There’s David Emma, Brian Gionta and Bill Guerin with the Devils. There’s Patrick Eaves of the Hurricanes. Now, add Nathan Gerbe to that list.
With Bruins holding a precarious 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Gerbe fired a shot from the left circle past Tuukka Rask for the game-tying goal on the power play. It changed the momentum and set the stage for Thomas Vanek to take over the game in the third in Buffalo’s 4-2 win Thursday night at the Garden.
Gerbe – not lacking confidence despite his 5-foot-5 frame – was the latest from The Heights to make life miserable for the Bruins as he mixed it up with B’s captain Zdeno Chara and then lit the lamp.
“I’m a little frustrating player to play against,” Gerbe said. “I am a little pest there, so I just tried to get under their skin a little bit. It is all in fun. He is a big guy, and I don’t think I would win in a battle but it was definitely one to enjoy. I tired to hold my ground as much as possible. Just stand there and don’t fall. He is so strong and such a good D man. It is fun to compete against him.”
He certainly was a pest to the Black and Gold Thursday night.
“Those Boston College guys did a good job for us tonight,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. “I thought [Tyler] Myers made a great play, great look to feed it to him. Nathan, on the heels of playing a real strong game for us the other night, playing a excellent game for us tonight.”
Gerbe, of course, was excellent during his three seasons at Boston College, capped off in 2008 when he scored five goals in the final two games of the Frozen Four, leading the Eagles to the national championship. He earned a place at the table as a Hobey Baker finalist as one of the very top players in all of college hockey with 68 points in 43 games. He led the Eagles to the Beapot and Hockey East titles that year, too – on the same Garden ice.
“Yeah you always get a lot of good memories here and a lot of good feelings,” Gerbe said. “You get chills up your body, but it is a different league and you try to do as well as you can every night.”
He scored last year in the playoffs against the Bruins in Game 6 but the Sabres lost, 4-3, as the Bruins moved onto the second round.
Now, he is helping to turn around a Sabres ship that was sinking just two weeks ago. The Sabres have beaten the two teams – Montreal and Boston – ahead of them in back-to-back games and are showing signs of moving up from 10th in the East.
‘Very, very satisfying to score here,” Gerbe said. “Even more satisfying to get the win and get the two points. It was huge for us. Hopefully we can keep rolling.”
|Tuukka Rask off first for Bruins, Andrew Ference to play vs. Sabres||01.20.11 at 12:03 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien described defenseman Andrew Ference as “good and cleared to go,” meaning the blueliner will make his return to the lineup when the B’s host the Sabres on Thursday night. Ference has missed the team’s last three games with an upper-body injury. Adam McQuaid, who missed last Monday’s game against the Penguins, is out, with Julien adding that he still is less than 100 percent.
“It’s not a tough decision [to sit McQuaid] because in his case, he’s been playing banged up for the last couple of weeks,” Julien said. “I think the medical staff said it would probably be beneficial for him to take a bit of a break. I think he could certainly play through it if he had to.”
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice in the morning skate, an indication that he will start in goal. In Rask’s last start against the Sabres, he allowed three goals in the first period an was replaced by Tim Thomas at the start of the second. The Bruins went on to lose the game, 7-6, in a shootout.
|Penguins do the third-period scoring, sink Bruins||01.15.11 at 3:27 pm ET|
The Bruins were used to third-period success against the Penguins this season, but the tables were somewhat turned Saturday in a 3-2 Penguins victory.
With the Penguins entering Saturday having allowed nine third-period goals and scoring none against the Bruins this season, Jordan Staal changed Pittsburgh’s fortune by scoring at 3:25 of the third to break a 2-2 tie.
After falling behind, 2-0, on goals from Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, the Bruins got two goals 13 seconds apart from Dennis Seidenberg and Michael Ryder, though they failed to add more despite the 46 shots they got on Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
Tuukka Rask made 34 saves on 36 shots and fell to 4-9-1 on the season.
The Bruins will conclude their current fur-game homestead when they host the Hurricanes for a matinee on Monday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Steven Kampfer left the game less than a minute into the second period and did not return. He took a high stick from Pascal Dupuis in the corner and left a small puddle of blood on the ice before exiting.
Kampfer was unable to disrupt Kunitz in front of the net on the Penguins’ first goal and was also on the ice for Dupuis’ tally, giving him a minus-2 rating in his 5:54 of ice time.
– With Sidney Crosby out still out for the Penguins with a concussion, Staal did the damage offensively for the Penguins. The 2006 second overall pick made the pass that bounced off Kunitz’ skate and into the net in the first period, while he scored his second goal of the season by backhanding one past Rask in the third period. Saturday marked Staal’s seventh game back since returning from a broken hand.
Matt Cooke also had a multi-point game, assisting both Kunitz’ and Staal’s tallies.
– Apparently the teams got the second and third periods mixed up. The Bruins, in something more typical of their third-period play vs. the Penguins this season, ended the second period on a high note with two quick strikes. The Penguins had not scored a third period goal against the Bruins this season prior to Staal’s goal.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Ryder has now scored in consecutive games, and both of them were big goals. After netting the tally that gave the B’s a 4-3 lead in the third period Thursday against the Flyers, Ryder came up big again, tying the game at two late in the second period Saturday.
The 30-year-old tied a season high for shots on goal in a game with seven. He also had seven on Dec. 20 in the team’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks.
– The brief injury scare for Marc Savard proved to be nothing. The center, who is just 21 games into his return from post-concussion syndrome, was down on the ice for about a minute in the third period and was visited by trainer Don DelNegro before leaving the ice on his own power. Savard returned to play on his next shift.
– Seidenberg had his second multi-point night in the last four games. He put the B’s on the board with a blast from the point in the second period that was aided by some fine screen-work by Daniel Paille. He assisted Ryder’s strike 13 seconds later.
On the season, Seidenberg now has 18 points.
|Chris Kunitz goal has Penguins leading Bruins after one||at 1:47 pm ET|
Jordan Staal took a pass from Matt Cooke, and with Tuukka Rask’s attention on Staal, the former second overall pick sent a pass to Chris Kunitz in front of the net. The puck went off Kunitz’ skate and into the net, with a review of the play showing there wasn’t a kicking motion and that Kunitz had fanned on a shot.
The Penguins’ goal came shortly after Cooke got out of the box for an interference call. Cooke was sent off after barreling into a puck-less Adam McQuaid in front of the B’s net.
Gregory Campbell and Craig Adams provided the fisticuffs for the period, dropping the gloves at 15:10. Once Campbell got his right hand free, the B’s center landed several rights in succession.
The teams each have 12 shots on goal.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters prior to Saturday’s game against the Penguins that Tuukka Rask will start for the B’s. Rask’s last start came against the Penguins, as he earned a win in the Bruins’ 4-2 come-from-behind victory in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Milan Lucic will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury, while Andrew Ference will miss his first game of the season due to an upper-body injury. Ference, who played in the team’s first 43 games, left Thursday’s 7-5 victory over Philadelphia after the second period. Rookie Matt Bartkowski, who was called up from Providence on an emergency basis Friday, is expected to play in his place.
Bartkowski made his NHL debut on Monday in Pittsburgh, posting a minus-1 in 9:53 of ice time. He was filling in for Adam McQuaid and was returned to Providence the following day.