|Claude Julien keeping his options open with top-six forwards||02.12.13 at 12:06 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin was back on the ice in Tuesday’s morning skate, and with his return from a maintenance day came the return of the Bruins’ regular top-six forwards as the B’s prepare for the Rangers.
After flip-flopping Seguin and Nathan Horton on the top two lines over the last four periods, Claude Julien put Seguin back with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Nathan Horton is back with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, so he should be in net for the Bruins’ last home game until Feb. 28.
The lines were the following in the morning skate:
Following the morning skate, Seguin said that nothing in particular in the Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Sabres prompted his maintenance day and that he is “all good” physically.
As for the lines being reverted to what they were for the season’s first nine games, Julien said that the experiment of switching the right wings on the top two lines — something he did for the third period last week against the Canadiens to kick-start Seguin and the offense in general — is something he plans to keep in his repertoire going forward.
The Krejci line scored goals in its first two shifts in the third period against the Habs, and though Julien took a risk by breaking up a line that was flourishing with Horton, the power forward continued his strong season with a sensational performance against the Sabres while skating with Bergeron and Marchand.
“Interchangeable,” Julien said of Horton and Seguin. “I said it before — even after they came out and did a great job in Montreal, I said, ‘Listen, this could be temporary, and it could be for a while. It depends.’ There are some players there that are very interchangeable and it gives us some different options.”
Obviously, Horton and Seguin differ greatly as players. They’re both immensely skilled player (both top-three picks in their respective draft years), but Horton is a far more physical player, while Seguin’s offensive skillset is superior.
It’s those differences that allow Julien to get much different looks with a flick of the switch. Putting Seguin on Krejci’s line makes them faster, and as long as Lucic is his normal self, the line still isn’t soft. It may be more of a liability defensively, but thus far the line was a plus-3 over the last two games. Horton, meanwhile, adds more grit to an already hard-working line with Bergeron and Marchand.
At the end of the day, the B’s are still wiser to keep Seguin with Bergeron and Horton with Krejci. Any defensive shortcomings on Seguin’s end go unnoticed thanks to Bergeron, while the combination of Horton and Lucic gives Krejci’s line a bruising edge that makes them extremely difficult for opposing teams.
Either way, Julien has said that he’ll be quicker to tinker with his lineup this year than in seasons past due to the shortened schedule. It’s still early in the season, but the B’s are fortunate to know they have options that have proven to work.
|Bruins come back in third period to beat Canadiens||02.06.13 at 10:10 pm ET|
The Bruins got back on top of the Eastern Conference and gained some much-needed breathing room in the Northeast Division with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Canadiens Wednesday night.
With the B’s trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes of play, Claude Julien switched Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin on the top two lines and saw immediate results. David Krejci‘s line produced goals from Seguin and Krejci in their first two shifts of the third period, giving the B’s a lead from which they wouldn’t look back.
The Habs took a 1-0 lead in the second period thanks to a power-play goal from P.K. Subban. The 23-year-old fired a snap shot from the point that went off Rich Peverley‘s stick and sailed past Tuukka Rask.
The win improved the B’s to 7-1-1 with a conference-best 15 points. The Canadiens fell to 6-3-0 with 12 points.
The Bruins will take Thursday and Friday to prepare for an upcoming back-to-back as they’ll host the Lightning Saturday afternoon at TD Garden before traveling to Buffalo to face the Sabres.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢ Rask was sensational, as the Habs could have easily had three or four goals over the first two periods. Rask stoned Lars Eller on a breakaway in the first period and came up with a number of other key stops early on.
The Habs also failed to capitalize on plenty of chances. Colby Armstrong missed an easy-tip-in just over a minute into the game, while Tomas Plekanec lost the puck while trying to deke on a breakaway. The veteran center tried to go forehand-to-backhand, but instead lost the puck on what essentially looked a pass into the corner.
‘¢ Good on Julien for shaking up his top six forwards in the third period. Julien switched Horton and Seguin on the top two lines, and it paid off 14 seconds into the period when Krejci hit Seguin in front to produce the game-tying goal. Krejci gave the B’s the lead on the line’s next shift.
‘¢ Seguin found a good time to score his first real goal of the season. Entering the game, Seguin, who led the Bruins with 29 goals a season ago, had only scored one empty-net goal through eight games. He was also quiet in the first two periods periods, failing to register a shot on goal.
‘¢ Speaking of lines, Julien wasn’t afraid to use the “Providence” line of Ryan Spooner between Lane MacDermid and Jamie Tardif. Spooner, who was making his NHL debut, was given significant time on the power play, and Julien trusted the line out there in the third period of a one-goal game.
‘¢ Playing on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in place of the injured Brad Marchand, Gregory Campbell had a strong showing. In addition to his two shots on goal and special teams contributions (he even played on the power play), Campbell came up with a critical pass breakup when he got a stick on a pass intended for Brandon Prust down low with all sorts of open net in the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢ Milan Lucic took a pair of penalties in the second period, one of which yielded Subban’s power-play goal. Both penalties were drawn by Andrei Markov, with Lucic high-sticking the Montreal blueliner at 8:56 and going off for an unnecessary slash in the offensive zone at 14:09.
Lucic wasn’t the only culprit of a bad offensive zone stick penalty. Chris Kelly went off in the third period for hooking Francis Bouillon in the Habs’ zone with the B’s clinging to a 2-1 lead. The Canadiens would have been able to tie the game on the power play had Max Pacioretty not fanned on a feed from Erik Cole right in front.
‘¢ The ice seemed pretty tilted in the Habs’ favor in the first period. Though the teams went into the first intermission, Montreal outshot Boston 11-4, with the Bruins not getting a shot on goal until Campbell fired a slap shot on Price with 8:35 remaining in the opening period.
|Phil Kessel trade comes full circle as Dougie Hamilton faces hometown Maple Leafs||02.01.13 at 3:31 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins rookie Dougie Hamilton will experience a couple of firsts Saturday night against the Maple Leafs. Not only will it be his first time facing the team he grew up for rooting in their building, but it will be the first time he faces Phil Kessel.
Were it not for Kessel, Hamilton probably wouldn’t be a Bruin — instead, he’d likely be a Maple Leaf. The ninth overall pick in 2011, Hamilton was the second of two first-round picks traded from the Leafs to the B’s in 2009 in exchange for Kessel. The other one was 2010 second overall pick Tyler Seguin, and Saturday will mark the first time that all three players take the same ice at the same time.
Though their careers have yet to fully play out, the trade has been viewed as lopsided in the Bruins’ favor, based on the elite talent they were able to net in Seguin and Hamilton. Both players are Ontario natives who grew up Leafs fans (Seguin hails from Brampton, while Hamilton is a Toronto native), so watching a pair of local stars play big roles for the rival Bruins is a tough thing for fans of the Maple Leafs to do.
“It’s cool,” Hamilton said his connection to the Leafs. “It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I wasn’t really part of the trade. I was just the pick I guess. I don’t really think about it, I don’t really care about it, so it doesn’t really matter.”
So far this season, Kessel, Seguin and Hamilton each have four points, with Seguin’s empty-netter against the Hurricanes Monday the only goal scored between them. Last season, Seguin was a Leafs-killer with seven goals with four assists in six games against Toronto, so perhaps Seguin can pick up his first real goal of the season and then some on Saturday. If Bruins fans want to get greedy, perhaps Hamilton could score the first goal of his NHL career against Kessel and the Leafs.
While Hamilton understands that he will always be connected to the Kessel trade, he is more excited to take the ice at Air Canada Centre, especially as a visitor.
“I guess I always dreamt of playing for the Leafs, but I think as I’ve gotten older, I think it will be cooler to be on the other side,” he said.
While one would think the 19-year-old would have plenty of friends and family hounding him for tickets to his homecoming, Hamilton insisted that while he’ll have a few family members in the stands, his friends will have to find their own way in.
“They’re getting their own tickets,” he said. “It makes it easier on me.”
As for things in Boston, they’ve been pretty good for Hamilton. The 19-year-old has fit in quite nicely for the B’s, as his four assists are tied for second on the team, as are his 21 shots on goal.
It’s only been seven games, but Hamilton has been through the hype machine that comes with being a top-10 pick coming into a big market, and when asked about the “Dougie mania” that’s been going on — the chants, the playing of Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie,” etc. — he said he’s quite all right with it.
“I think for me,” he said, “I’m just going day by day and just trying to enjoy myself and have fun.
“I don’t mind the Dougie mania,” he added with a grin. “It’s OK with me.”
|Shawn Thornton undergoing evaluation, update expected Friday||at 12:35 am ET|
Thornton was handed a rare beating in a bout with Buffalo’s John Scott three minutes into a 7-4 loss to the Sabres Thursday night at TD Garden.
After serving his five-minute fighting major in the penalty box, Thornton skated across the ice and immediately to the Bruins dressing room. He did not return.
“We’ll know more [Friday],” Julien said immediately after the game. “He’s being evaluated, until we get a definite answer, nothing more.”
Julien said Thornton’s loss in the fight had little to do with his team’s defenseless loss to the Sabres, a game in which they allowed seven goals in the final two periods.
“I mean you know that’s just part of the game, and you know Scott did his job that his job for them and Shawn did his job for us,” Julien said. “And those things happen you win some you lose some. But at the same time I don’t think it deflated our team. We were in the lead 3-1 there half way through the second so it didn’t do anything in that way. I think again you know, we keep looking for other reasons than the one I gave you guys ‘ we were just terrible defensively. And you know the other part is – give them credit they played a really good game tonight. And I’m not saying that just to say, they really did play a good solid game tonight and they were the better team at the end of the night.”
“I think it’s what happens, it’s a square-off between the two tough guys in the building,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “Somebody said they were talking in warm-ups, I didn’t really anticipate what was going to happen. I think John has provided us some team toughness, and it’s spilled off onto other guys. He did a nice job for us and I thought the rest of the game was just a hard fought game.”
As for the Bruins’ players, they reacted in different ways to the Thornton loss.
“He’s been a great team guy here for the last six years, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does, sticking up for himself and his teammates,” Milan Lucic said. “He’s a great team guy, and he’s an important person to this hockey club. It was unfortunate that he missed the rest of the game after that, but knowing him, he’s a tough guy and he’ll try to get back as soon as he can.”
“I wasn’t too sure if Thorty was gonna fight him, but that’s the type of guy he is, make sure no one else had to do the job and you know, did it,” added Tyler Seguin. “I came in and saw him, he looked like he was doing fine.
“Obviously Thorty can fight and he’s a tough guy, but you’ve still got to look at that Scott guy, he’s not a small guy and Thorty has a ton of passion, and will do anything it takes for this team. Whether it’s fighting a giant just to get the boys going, win or lose, that’s what he’s gonna do.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins good, but ‘not anywhere near hitting on all cylinders’ yet||01.30.13 at 10:40 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson spoke with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning about the Bruins’ hot start, Dougie Hamilton‘s role, and which players aren’t quite in top form yet.
“I think the exciting thing is, they’ve got  points and they’re not anywhere near hitting on all cylinders,” Pederson said. “What I saw in November and December of  was, to me, the best I’ve sen a Bruins team play since the [Bobby] Orr and [Phil] Esposito days. When they were just totally dominating after those two months, and then just ran out of gas.
“That’s when the Bruins are hitting on all cylinders to me — when their team defense is good, they’re getting contributions from their special teams. This is a team that’s right up there as the best 5-on-5 team in the National Hockey League. It doesn’t take much to contribute on special teams to put them over the hump. But I think, more importantly, when you see this team playing physically and dominating teams on the forechecking game, that’s when they’re hitting on all cylinders.”
After seeing Tyler Seguin‘s shootout bid interrupted by an “unidentified food object” in Tuesday night’s shootout win over the Devils, Pederson offered some of the stranger things he saw thrown on the ice during his NHL career.
“Thumbtacks, some beer bottles. Of course it was crazy when beer bottles were glass,” he said. “There’s animals and rats and everything else. It was kind of funny there, but as we all know, one of the things you hate when you’re out there playing is something you can’t see on the ice and you step on it, and bang, somebody blows out a knee.”
|Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand are just two reasons Bruins are better late than never||at 10:26 am ET|
When the Bruins went on their Stanley Cup run in 2011, they made a habit of scoring big goals late in games.
The last two nights, the Bruins have gone back to their Cup-winning formula, hanging in games close and winning them late.
In Raleigh Monday night, they needed someone to step up and it was Dougie Hamilton feeding David Krejci for the go-ahead marker with under two minutes left in regulation.
On Tuesday night, with the team battling to find its legs for 40 minutes, it was Tuukka Rask who held the fort until the burst of energy came in the form of a third-period awakening. The period started strong and finished strong as Nathan Horton beat Johan Hedberg with 4:05 remaining to send the game into a shootout.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Horton said. “That’s what we talked about, you’re not always going to be at your best, but we pull through. You’re down a goal, you’re down two goals, it doesn’t matter you just work hard and fight back. That’s the kind of team we are and the kind of guys we are on our team. We all know we can come back when we’re down and I think that’s what makes us so good.
“I think we knew all along we can come back, we’ve done it a lot before in the past. Just to reassure that, to know that we can come back at any time, I think again when we roll four lines here, we stay fresh, and you keep battling away, eventually you’re gonna win.”
Not even a sausage-throwing moron from the stands could stand in the way of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and the Bruins walking away with the hard-earned and well-deserved two points. Talk about tasty. Seguin had to score twice in the shootout to put the Bruins on the board and Marchand netted the game-winner in the sixth “inning” as the shootout went three extra rounds.
“It was tough, but we found a way,” Seguin said. “I think the main thing is, we have to keep our shifts short, and we were pretty good at that. We were pretty stingy. We didn’t give a ton. We played a good game. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tyler Seguin pulls double duty in shootout win||01.29.13 at 11:57 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin wasn’t a happy camper when he had to follow up his shootout goal with another attempt Tuesday night against the Devils.
As Seguin was skating in on Johan Hedberg in the first round of the shootout, a fan threw what has officially been termed an unidentified food object (or UFO) onto the ice. That meant by rule that the play was going to be attempted again regardless of whether a goal was scored or not, but Seguin was miffed with the whole thing.
“I think it probably affected me more than the goalie,” he said. “I don’t really understand how it affected him more, but someone looked up the rules, and I guess that it’s a do-over.”
Had Hedberg stopped the shot, Seguin would have been given another go at it, so Claude Julien said after the game that the team respected the rule and the call. After beating Hedberg forehand on the first attempt, Seguin said he considered doing the same move again, but eventually decided to deke and go backhand. It worked out for the B’s, as he scored on the second attempt and Brad Marchand eventually delivered the game-winner in the fifth round.
“That’s a first,” Seguin said. “I’m still not sure what it was, maybe a hot dog. I’m hoping that there was a New Jersey Devil logo on the guy’s jersey who threw it, unless you’re one of the Bruins fans doing that, but I guess I’m glad it worked out in the end.”
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