|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.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Tuesday morning that defenseman Steven Kampfer will make his return to the lineup against the Blue Jackets after being out with a concussion. The team brought Kampfer, as well as fellow injured defensemen Andrew Ference and Shane Hnidy, with them for their current road trip.
“Kampfer is playing tonight,” Julien said. “Andrew is touch-and-go. He’s very very close, and we’ll be make decisions on him for the next few days, but tonight he’ll sit this one out. He’s very close to being able go as well.”
While Kampfer will be in the lineup, Julien can’t necessarily say the same for slumping scorer Michael Ryder. The 30-year-old has just one goal over his last 14 games, and three points over his last 11. As a result, it will come down to Ryder and Tyler Seguin for who will play on the third line, and who will be scratched.
“Michael is a streaky player as well,” Julien said when asked to compare the winger’s struggles to those of Nathan Horton earlier in the season. “In his case, he’s here to score goals. He’s been known to score goals, but at the same time, when those things don’t come, players always have to give an effort in other areas as well.
“In his case, the last three games, that’s why we’re going to be making a decision tonight on who [will play] moving forward. At this stage, we want some accountability. I think the message has to be clear that everybody has to step their game up, and that’s what we expect. When things aren’t going well, you’v got to be able to bring something else to the table. Effort is always a big part of it.”
|Optional skate for Bruins||03.05.11 at 11:12 am ET|
The Bruins’ morning skate for Saturday was of the optional variety, so there’s no telling who will be between the pipes vs. the Penguins later on.
The Bruins tweeted that it was Matt Bartkowski, Shane Hnidy, Zdeno Chara, Tomas Kaberle, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg, Gregory Campbell, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly, and Tuukka Rask taking part in the skate. Bartkowski is playing after being called up due to Steven Kampfer’s concussion, while Seguin will be in the lineup because personal matters have caused Patrice Bergeron to travel elsewhere.
The Bruins have won seven games in a row and can make it eight with a victory over the fourth-place Penguins. Pittsburgh has struggled of late, but that can be expected from a team playing without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins have won just one of their last seven games, going 1-2-4. Five of their last seven have gone into overtime.
|Bruins return to practice without Steven Kampfer, Patrice Bergeron||03.04.11 at 12:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — There were no new faces in the house at Ristuccia Arena for Friday’s practice, though a couple of familiar ones were missing in Steven Kampfer and Patrice Bergeron.
Kampfer left Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Lightning in the second period due to a hard hit from Mattias Ritola. Claude Julien said after the game that he “got his bell rung” and would be re-evaluated Friday. It may just be a rest/maintenance day for Bergeron.
Brad Marchand – Rich Peverley – Mark Recchi
Tyler Seguin – Chris Kelly – Michael Ryder
More to come following practice.
|Tyler Seguin scratched vs. Lightning||03.03.11 at 7:01 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin is the healthy scratch for the Bruins as they take on the Lightning Thursday night. Seguin has zero points in his last four games, and with the 19-year-old out, Daniel Paille is in, skating with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
This will be Seguin’s fifth scratch (fourth of the healthy variety) this season.
No time for celebration, as the Bruins, fresh off a 6-0-0 road trip, are back at the Garden for a huge game with the Lightning on Thursday. The teams are tied with 81 points apiece through 63 games, with the B’s holding the tie-breaker for second place given that they’ve won less games via shootout.
It will be Tim Thomas between the pipes, as he’ll put his 28-8-6 record on the line after last playing Saturday night in Vancouver. Tuukka Rask started the Bruins’ last two, earning victories over the Oilers and Senators.
Thomas is 2-0-0 in two starts against Tampa Bay, allowing four goals with a .944 save percentage.
While the Bruins have won their last six, the Lightning have gone 3-2-1 in the same span. They lost a 2-1 contest to the red-hot Devils on Wednesday.
Here are some pre-game notes:
– Comparisons are nice, but even Roger Clemens would say people are beating references to 1972’s perfect six-game road trip with a dead horse.
“I don’t look at it at all,” Shawn Thornton said after the morning skate. “I honestly don’t. It’s purely a coincidence as far as I’m concerned.
“We’ve got a six game thing going here, and it doesn’t matter about anything else. We’re just trying to get seven in a row and then eight in a row. We’ll take it one at time here.”
“He got examined yesterday by our doctors and things are going extremely well for him,” Julien said. “We hope to see him back on the ice the beginning of next week. That could be as early as Sunday if things keep going well.”
– No Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning. He’s out with a mid-body injury on which the Lightning haven’t elaborated much.
– The three new guys in Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly will play in the Garden as Bruins for the first time Thursday. Kaberle and Kelly have played five games for the B’s since being acquired via trade, while Peverley has four under his belt.
While Bruins fans will welcome all three to the Garden, the focus will likely be on Kaberle, who was the big fish of trade season. Neither of the newcomers have lost a game as a member of the Bruins, and after years of limited team success in Toronto, that’s something Kaberle welcomes.
“My first six years I played in the playoffs every year. The last five, it wasn’t there. It’s tough to always answer the questions to the media of ‘why not,'” Kaberle said after the morning skate. “Hopefully we’ll have a good rest of the season and prepare for the playoffs.”
Kaberle said he is feeling more and more comfortable as he familiarizes himself with the Bruins way.
“I feel good. Obviously it’s a great team. Every line’s got something on the ice, and everybody can score. It’s nice to see that, and with two goalies behind us, we feel pretty comfortable.”
– Kaberle is undoubtedly the biggest name the team added when the moves were made, but Kelly and Peverley are fitting in very nicely on the third line. Both were among the leagues better faceoff men at the time they were acquired, and having both taking draws and killing penalties is something Julien likes to see.
“Right now, you’ve got to be extremely pleased with first of all [Peverley’s] faceoffs, how dominant he’s been on draws,” Julien said. “With that line you’ve got a guy taking him on the strong side, and Kelly, a lefty and a righty, so you’ve got to be comfortable with that situation.”
“At the same time I think both Kelly and Peverley have seemed to have built some pretty quick chemistry there on the penalty kill as well. They seem to read off each other extremely well.”
– Thornton doesn’t want the new guys’ ability to come in and contribute immediately to go unnoticed. All three players have wound up on the scoring sheet since joining the B’s.
“They’re a big part of it too. These guys came in and stepped in seamlessly,” Thornton said. “It’s been a really easy transition for us and them.”
– How about this one from the stat truck? Over the last 10 games, Tyler Seguin has more goals than Steven Stamkos. Take that, development.
Well, not exactly. By Stamkos’ standards, the Tampa Bay star is in a slump as far as goals go. He has just two over the last 10 games (Seguin has three), but continues to lead the league with 41. Seguin has no points over his last four games.
|Seguin elaborates a bit more on expectations, playing time to Montreal Gazette||03.01.11 at 4:30 pm ET|
Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has had an up-and-down rookie season, and as a result his minutes have predictably gone up and down. It can’t be an easy thing for an 18-turned-19-year old to deal with, especially one who has dominated every level at which he has played previously.
Yet to Seguin’s credit, as unhappy with his ice time as he may be at times, he hasn’t let it seep its way onto the public record. He told me recently that he had previously been “blaming the wrong people” for a cut in ice time that included healthy scratches, but that he was done doing so. If he was more unhappy about it, he kept it to himself.
Yet in talking to the Montreal Gazette recently, he touched on a couple of the same subjects he’s been approached about over and over, and this time he elaborated a bit more.
“It’s hard to meet those expectations, whether it’s points or your individual bonuses in your contract when you get less opportunity and less ice,” Seguin told the Gazette. “But the coaches know what they’re doing to help me as a person and as a player.”
Seguin and Taylor Hall were as 1-and-1a as it gets in a given draft year, and the Oilers opted for Hall, the No. 2 prospect in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting. After a rough start, Hall has come into his own for an Oilers team that is on pace to finish last in the league for a second year. Seguin, despite some encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks, still has yet to hit his stride. He has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points this season, which puts him 17th amongst rookies. Hall’s 40 points (21 G, 19 A) puts him third, behind only Jeff Skinner (chosen after both players at seventh overall by the Hurricanes) and San Jose’s Logan Couture.
Seguin knew before last year’s draft that this could be the case if he came to Boston. Because they had Toronto’s first-round pick, the team that made it to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals would be able to add a type of player that generally would be given room to develop as a rookie.
‘In the end it’s still the NHL so I’m happy to go to either team,’ Seguin said in a conversation with WEEI.com prior to the draft. ‘I don’t have a preference. Edmonton is a Canadian city so they have a great fan base and they are a bit of a weaker team so there might be more opportunity there. With that being said, Boston’s already a contender. You can hop in the NHL and get a run for the Stanley Cup.’
Now, he’s experiencing just that.
“That’s one of the things with coming to a top team,” Seguin told the Gazette. “The young guys aren’t going to get as many opportunities on this type of team as maybe a guy like Taylor Hall in Edmonton. Not taking anything away from him, he’s had a great year so far and I know he’s going to finish off strong, he always does. And I’m going to be going into the playoffs, and that’s where my head is at.”