|Sabres claw back to tie it in second||02.09.10 at 8:49 pm ET|
It was a wild first five minutes of the second period in Buffalo. The Sabres came out with more aggression than they showed in the first which was immediately evident when their captain, Craig Rivet, decided it was time to throw down with Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton at 2:54. The fight started at the same time that a penalty whistle was blown to send Bruins forward Milan Lucic to the box for a hooking call. The Sabres were then given a golden chance to get back into the game when Steve Begin took a holding penalty 54-seconds later to give Buffalo 1:08 of 5-on-3 hockey at 3:46.
The Sabres would not need all of it to get on the board. At 4:35 Buffalo center Derek Roy found himself in the middle slot facing down Tuukka Rask with time and space. Roy let go a wily wrist shot that beat Rask glove side to cut the Bruins lead to 2-1.
Boston got its first chance on the power play when Paul Gaustad tried to throw down with Zdeno Chara at 9:52. The towering Bruins captain cannot fight though because he tore most of the ligaments in his pinky the first time the Bruins played in Buffalo on Nov. 20. The finger looks pretty ugly as it is bent at a 90-degree angle and Chara has to wear a split on it during practice and games. Per NHL rules, a player cannot fight with any outside material on his hands, hence Chara cannot fight for fear of a suspension or injuring the finger more seriously than it already is. Gaustad went to the box for a two-minute unsportsmanlike yet the Bruins could not break down Ryan Miller’s door.
With the Sabres putting steady pressure on the Bruins through the period, Boston’s best chance came near the 18:30 mark when the puck got loose in the crease in front of Ryan Miller. Boston forward Mark Recchi dove for it but it was cleared and skipped through the neutral zone off the center wall to defenseman Tyler Myers. Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid missed on the loose puck and Myers picked it up and let go of a sneaky wrist shot that surprised Rask on his glove side the Buffalo tied the game at two at 18:35.
Shots through second period (total):
Bruins — 11 (22).
Sabres — 14 (31).
|Bruins cannot catch a break||02.06.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
When things are going bad there is a no such thing as catching a break. Sometimes the break catches you.
The Bruins were skating to what was looking like a 2-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday afternoon when Canucks defenseman Sami Salo broke his stick trying to send a blast on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The puck idled off the shot and was over-skated in a clearing attempt by Milan Lucic before Tanner Glass came in and found it in the high slot to send it back on Rask. Vancouver forward Pavol Demitra was in the perfect place to redirect it with the shaft of his stick to tie the game at two. Vancouver went on to win in a shootout.
“Bad luck, story of my season, [expletive deleted], nothing can go right. What can you do?” Lucic said.
Rask saw the play develop in front of him but the odd deflection was enough to get it passed him in his second straight start and second straight shootout loss.
“I saw it, I saw it,” Rask said. “But the guy tipped it in front of me and you can’t just stand there and wait for the tip. I try to be square for the puck and he just happened to make kind of a weird tip and he tipped it over my shoulder. That’s the kind of luck we haven’t gotten in the past couple of games. Just got to stick with it, and it’s coming.”
It is those type of plays that are really starting to wear on the Bruins patience. For three straight games Boston has played well only to see a seemingly innocuous play turn into the deciding factor in the game. On Thursday it was the Matt Hunwick’s penalty that led to the first on Montreal’s two goals in the final minutes of the second period that turned the game around. On Tuesday against the Capitals it was Blake Wheeler and David Krejci not being able to get the puck past Jose Theodore on a wide-open net and then watch as Washington comes storming back minutes later. Good games by the Bruins are turning into losses on a dime.
“It is disheartening. You guys watched that last goal. A guy breaks his stick, [Lucic] should be off on a break away, 2-on-1, and it just kind of flubs through his legs and skate and the guy turns and fires it away,” Savard said. “It is not even a clean tip, it hits his shaft and skips up in the top corner. It is just disheartening, like I said. We go through overtime trying to get the win but no break.”
The Bruins were good in the third period against Vancouver. They did not sit back and wait to lose the game, they were active in trying to put a third goal passed Luongo. The Canuck stoned them which allowed his team enough of an opportunity to catch the break that the Bruins have not been able to in their 10 game skid.
“I still thought we played well in the third with that 2-1 lead and then that mistake and that turned into a goal and that is the end of it,” coach Claude Julien said. “I really thought that we were playing well enough in the third that we could have won that game 2-1. When [Lucic] over-skated that puck and they just threw it at the net, those are the type of things where you say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, give me a break here’ . . . right now it is just the way it is.”
So it is. The Bruins 10th straight loss turned on a broken stick, a breakaway that wasn’t and a tip off the shaft of Demitra’s stick. With all the breaks, it is a wonder that the Bruins cannot catch one. That is just how things work when a team is in the skids.
|Rask: ‘Don’t know to cry or laugh’||02.04.10 at 11:47 pm ET|
Perhaps it was complete frustration of it all that inspired Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to sum up the current state of affairs for the Bruins after firing 47 shots on net and scoring twice in a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, extending their futility streak to nine games.
“I don’t know to cry or laugh here because I think we pretty much dominated the whole game,” Rask said of his teammates who outshot Montreal, 47-25.
“Good chances and their goalie plays an unbelievable game. Going into shootout, I wanted to win so bad, make that save.”
Neither team seemed destined to score after two scoreless rounds to open the shootout. But then Brian Gionta beat Rask up top with a backhander. And when Marc Savard failed on his attempt, the ninth straight ‘L’ was in the books.
“Their guy happened to beat me there and we took the loss,” Rask said. “At least we get a point so it’s something.”
|Recchi strikes for first period lead||at 7:45 pm ET|
Neither the Bruins nor the Canadiens looked sharp in the early minutes of the first period at TD Garden. Boston had a couple power play opportunities in period when Brian Gionta went to the box at the :46 mark for hooking and then again when Jaroslav Spacek took an interference call at 9:13. The Bruins tied-17th ranked power play unit could not muster much against Habs goaltender Jaroslav Halak or the Montreal defense.
Boston looked a little tight in the early going and had trouble in making crisp passes out of its defensive zone. The Canadiens were up to the challenge though as they looked equally inept at sustaining offensive pressure and only managed to put five shots on Tuukka Rask.
As the period wore on, Boston was able to start asserting itself more and the defense clamped down and the offense started to put pucks on Halak.
Montreal continued to rack up penalty minutes and it eventually cost it a goal at 15:48 when Andre Markov went to the box for a delay of game. The Bruins set up their power play offense and Derek Morris was able to move the defense by sliding down the right wing before cycling back up to Dennis Wideman at the point. Wideman had plenty of time and space and released a slap shot towards the goal that deflected of Mark Recchi past Halak for the 1-0 lead.
First period shots:
Boston - 15
Montreal – 5
|Canadiens set to invade TD Garden||at 1:27 pm ET|
If there was ever a game for the Bruins to get back to their winning ways, Thursday night against archrival Montreal Canadiens would be it. Boston has fallen from fifth to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings during its eight game losing streak and has watched division opponents like the Habs leapfrog them in the standings.
Over the past three games the Bruins have played with good energy and decent emotion but have not seen the results on the scoreboard. The team has not had a positive seminal moment during the season, a game that defines the squad and sets the pace for winning hockey. With the Canadiens in town and all the fanfare that comes along with them, Thursday could be a good time to turn things around.
“There is a lot of history in it, the crowd always gets into it. It is kind of cool when they have all those Montreal Canadiens fans in the crowd. It always gets us excited every time we play these guys,” Milan Lucic said.
Yes, there is history between these two Original Six hockey clubs, but recent history between the players on each roster is not worth much going into Thurday’s contest. Last year Boston and Montreal hooked up for a memorable, fight filled battle in the Bruins last home game of the regular season and tensions and between the two were high during the Boston’s three game, first round sweep in the playoffs. Yet, significant agitators on last year’s Habs roster such as Mike Komisarek (Toronto), Saku Koivu (Anaheim), Georges Laraque (released late January) and Andrei Kostitsyn (knee injury, out till after Olympics) are not around as are several players from last year’s Bruins roster. Hence, there are not many hard feelings carried over between the players going into Thursday’s contest.
“I wish [there was carry over] but they have kind of revamped their lineup so a lot of those guys who we had the big rivalries with in the last three years are gone. I would not mind creating new ones, I suppose,” Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton said. “We don’t like each other, we haven’t for years. I think it will be a fun game to play in, I think everybody will be up for it. So, I hope we will turn it around, yeah.”
The Bruins roster turmoil has had some effect on their goal output recently as they strive for chemistry on newly formed lines with the roster turnover or players returning from injury. As players such as Marco Sturm and Marc Savard get their health and timing back, the hope is that Boston can start generating more goals and find a way to win some games.
“We have not helped ourselves either with all the different line combinations but we are not the only team going through that and we are not going to make excuses but we have not had the same lines,” coach Claude Julien said. “The chemistry with injuries and the lines, it is a challenge and kind of have to fight through that and hopefully as we are getting a little healthier hopefully that comes back.”
At the same time, the Bruins goaltenders would do the rest of the team a big favor if they could completely shutdown an opposing team. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice after Thursday’s morning skate and will likely get the start against the Canadiens. He said that both him and Tim Thomas are always approach games with the notion that the goaltender might be able to steal a win for the team.
“We got to have that state of mind before every game. The past few games have been like that, we can’t let in any weak goals. We approach games that way that we are going to steal them and hopefully it is going to happen soon,” Rask said. “We really feel that we have been playing better and better here just without the results but I am trying to get the win here today.”
10 Bruins forwards participated in the morning skate with Mark Recchi, Savard, Sturm and Michael Ryder the missing men. On the blue line Boston had six skaters with Andrew Ference taking the ice and Dennis Wideman absent. Ference has missed the last 12 games with a groin injury. Mark Stuart will still be sidelined with a broken finger he sustained against the Kings last Saturday and is expected to be out until after the Olympics at the very least. It remains doubtful that Ference will play against the Canadiens which probably means that Adam McQuaid and Wideman will be on the rink when the puck drops barring a last minute change of plans.
|Savard shooting for next week, Sturm out again||01.21.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Here are the notes from the morning skate at TD Garden.
– The Bruins recalled 24-year-old Drew Larman from Providence, which means that Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz all will once again be unavailable for Boston Thursday evening when the B’s take on Columbus at TD Garden. None of the three forwards participated in the morning skate. Coach Claude Julien would not describe Bitz or Begin’s injuries because they could “be back at any time” and doing so would be a “liability.” Sturm left practice yesterday to prevent a setback with the leg injury he has been dealing with in the past week.
“He didn’t set himself back he just felt that he wasn’t ready so he pulled himself off before he set himself back,” Julien said.
There are no smoke and mirrors with the Bruins injury situation right now as the players who took part in the morning skate will be the ones to take the ice tonight.
“What you saw out there is what we got,” Julien said. “I don’t think there are any secrets there. We have got our 20 guys and that is what we will run with.”
– Marc Savard spoke the the media after the skate and said that he expects to be back in the lineup next Friday on the road against Buffalo. He sustained a Grade 2 partial MCL tear against Chicago 28-seconds into the first period on January 7th. Today was the second day that he has skated and he has been wearing a big brace on during his workouts.
“When I am actually out there and doing stuff and skating I am not thinking about it but when I stop I think about it for a bit. But, besides for that it feels pretty normal,” Savard said.
“Hopefully I am better for all of this and I finish strong,” Savard said. “I was out there today and I felt pretty good. I said ‘maybe I can come back Sunday?’ But that is not the case. I have got to watch it and make sure, you don’t want to come back on Sunday and hurt it again and be losing my mind. I am just going to work through it and have a good skate tomorrow and go from there.”
– Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice which probably means that he will get the start tonight against the Blue Jackets.
|Turn up the volume: Chiarelli on Rask||11.05.09 at 7:16 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the media prior to Thursday’s game with Montreal and explained why the club decided to sign goaltender Tuukka Rask to a two-year contract extension through the 2011-12 season.
More from the team release below:
Rask has appeared in nine NHL games in his career - all with the Bruins – and has registered a 5-2-2 record, 2.43 Goals Against Average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts. He has played in four games this year for the Bruins and has posted a 2-1-1 record, 2.41 GAA and .920 save percentage. He is coming off a 2-0 shutout win of the Edmonton Oilers in his last start on October 31.
Rask made his NHL debut for the Bruins on November 20, 2007 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and recorded his first NHL victory in that game. He spent the majority of the last two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins where he had a 60-33-6 record and five shutouts in 102 appearances. He opened the season on an NHL roster for the first time in his career this year.
The 6’2’’, 171-pound native of Savolinna, Finland played two seasons in the Finnish Elite League before coming to North America in 2007 and he has represented Team Finland in three World Junior Championships.
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