|Bruins looking for fourth straight win as they take on Thrashers||12.30.10 at 7:00 am ET|
Last Thursday, the Bruins grabbed their most monumental victory of the season when they beat (and beat up) the Thrashers, 4-1, at TD Garden. While the B’s (20-11-4) have won their two games since then, the Thrashers (19-14-6) stumbled, dropping both of their post-Christmas contests.
The tables have turned a bit, and now it’s the Thrashers looking to re-establish momentum as they host the B’s Thursday night at Philips Arena.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Thrashers are 10-7-3 in Atlanta this season, but are 1-2-2 in their last five home games. In their most recent home contest, they fell to the Lightning, 3-2, in a shootout.
– The Bruins have been a very good road team all season, as their 11-5-1 record away from the Garden (excluding the first Prague “home” game) would suggest. Thursday night marks the third game of their current five-game road trip. They are looking to make it three in a row on the road (four in a row overall).
– The Bruins have to Dustin Byfuglien‘s opponent of choice. In two games vs. the B’s this season, the former Blackhawk has two goals and three assists, both of which are the most he has against any club. He’s also had five points in his last five games. To say the Bruins need to keep an eye on him is an understatement.
– Michael Ryder is riding a three-game point streak that has featured a pair of goals and a pair of assists. His line with David Krejci and Blake Wheeler has unquestionably been the Bruins’ best PRLS (post-Rancournament line shuffle — think it won’t catch on?) and he’s picked up an assist in both games vs. the Thrashers this season.
– One. That’s how many goals the Bruins have won each of their two games this week. They’ve been cutting it close, but you get two points no matter how you win. Perhaps they’ll be a bit more offensively potent when the top two lines hit their stride.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– The Bruins’ loss to the Thrashers last month was an ugly one, but it was also a rare occurrence. The B’s have won 11 of their last 12 against Atlanta.
– Last week it was about the Bruins making a statement as a team. This time the city is awaiting a statement from an individual in the form of one Nathan Horton. The 25-year-old is freezing cold, as he hasn’t scored in seven games and was one of three Bruins forwards benched for a large chunk of the third period Tuesday night in Tampa. Horton didn’t register a shot on goal, marking the 12th game he’s had either one or zero shots on net this season.
The problem with Horton is that he let the cat out of the bag from the get-go in the preseason: He can be physical, and he can be the best player on the ice. That’s why nobody’s ridiculing Peter Chiarelli for trading for him. Everybody knows how good he is, but he needs to give reminders far more frequently.
– It will be Tim Thomas between the pipes for a seventh straight game. He allowed one goal on 27 shots last Thursday vs. Atlanta, while the Thrashers put four past Tuukka Rask last month on 26 shots. Thomas has won his last five vs. Atlanta.
|Bruins look to pick up third straight win as they face Steven Stamkos’ Lightning||12.28.10 at 5:14 am ET|
The Bruins, fresh off of jumping into first place in the Northeast division with their 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers on Monday, will take on the Lightning, who lead the Southeast division, on Tuesday night. It’s the second of five straight road games for the Bruins, and the second of three games in four days.
The last time the Bruins faced the Lightning, they won in blowout fashion, crushing Tampa Bay, 8-1, at TD Garden on Dec. 2. The two teams have split the season series thus far, as the Lightning grabbed a 3-1 win at St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 22.
The Lightning have won six of their last seven games, while the Bruins are winners of their last two.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Lightning are 10-2-2 in Tampa and are a perfect 4-0-0 in home games this month.
– The Bruins are 10-5-1 on the road this season. Their shootout win on Monday was just their second road victory of the month, the first of which came on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia.
– Steven Stamkos is back on track following his statistical hiccup that lasted from late November into the beginning of the month. He has scored seven goals in his last eight games and has 28 on the season.
– Milan Lucic‘s scoreless streak has now reached four games and he has one point in the last six contests. Lucic had two points when the B’s faced the Lightning on Dec. 2.
– David Krejci and Michael Ryder starred in that 8-1 Bruins victory over the Lightning earlier this month with three points apiece. Both Krejci and Ryder had a pair of points in Monday’s win over the Panthers, and with their line with Blake Wheeler clicking, they’re certainly a couple of players worth keeping an eye on.
– After having three goals entering last Thursday’s game vs. the Rangers, Vincent Lecavalier has doubled that in his last two games. He has a pair of goals in Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Thrashers.
– After Monday, it’s now been five straight games without a start for Rask. If Thomas starts against the the Thrashers on Thursday, Rask will have gone more than two weeks without seeing any playing time. Thomas has been stellar in his last two starts, so the Bruins face some serious difficulty in trying to get Rask game experience to keep him sharp.
STORLYLINES GOING IN
– The Lucic – Savard – Horton line has not produced a goal in either of the two game s since it came into being in last week’s line shuffle. In fact, of the four non-special-teams goals the team has scored in the last two contests, half have come from Krejci, with Shawn Thornton scoring the other two.
– Will this one go to overtime, too? Judging by the opponent, it wouldn’t be surprising. The Lightning’s last three games have been decided either in overtime or a shootout. They’re 2-0-1 in that stretch.
|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.