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What the return of Marc Savard really means to the Bruins 12.03.10 at 11:08 am ET
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Less than an hour after the Bruins croaked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if the team was given an emotional boost by the return of Marc Savard after a bout of post-concussion syndrome.

“Boy, you’re giving him a lot of credit, aren’t you?” Julien quipped in his classically wry sense of humor. “It’s nice to have him back, obviously everybody’s happy to have him back, but you know, I think our players, as a whole, even yesterday when he wasn’t in the lineup, decided that they were going to play hard and play well and they did. So he just added to that, I guess, fuel for tonight.”

Savard skated 21 shifts in 15 minutes and 45 seconds, taking one shot while winning 5-of-10 face-offs on the night. But his impact was felt early when he got into the fray early with a fore-check. He played on several combo lines and everyone thought he didn’t miss a beat.

“I mean, he brought a lot of offense today,” two-goal scorer David Krejci said. “He wasn’t on the score sheet but he had a lot of last minute chances. We have big depth now with him and all four lines can score goals and it’s hard for their top defensemen to defend our top guys. So, it’s good to have him back and it’s good to see him and hopefully we will keep doing the same thing we did tonight.”

And that can only help this Bruins offense. It certainly appeared that way Thursday night.

“I think that’s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’t had anything on it, but I kept telling Claude I was a presence tonight,” Savard said BEFORE Julien’s post-game observation. “I felt good, obviously had some shifts where I felt a little tired and as the battles wore on, I just stood in front of Timmy [Thomas], so hopefully he can stop it. It was great to be back. The fans were fantastic. I got a little emotional there. It was a little tough to go out on that shift there, but it was special.”

Tim Thomas set the tone for the night, stepping aside before leading the team on the ice for pre-game warm-ups. Instead, Savard had that honor against Tampa Bay.

“I didn’t know what he was doing there. I didn’t even realize. I just thought he was stepping aside, that’s maybe what he does now. I just kept skating, then I looked over and no one was there, so it was kind of nice of the guys, I think they did that on purpose, but it was funny.”

Still, for skating in a game for the first time since May, it was quite the adjustment for Savard.

“I mean, it’s been six months, so it’s been a long time,” Savard said. “Shaking off a bit of rust, but you know, I felt I made some good plays. I felt there’s some stuff I can build off of, some things I can work on still, obviously. Battles I had a little trouble as the shift wore on in our zone a couple times, but I felt good, I felt strong. I got in there a couple times, tried to bang around, didn’t really move anybody, but it was a lot of fun.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tyler Seguin hopes to continue to following Steven Stamkos’ path 12.02.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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If there’s anybody a young scorer would want to be compared to this season, it’s Steven Stamkos. The Lightning center already has 21 goals this season and is on pace for 69. It’s remarkable production considering Stamkos is just 20 years of age.

AP

In the case of Tyler Seguin, the comparisons he has received to Stamkos are undoubtedly cases of high praise, but the measurables seem to warrant them.

Both players were both highly coveted right-handed centers in their respective drafts, as Stamkos went first overall in 2008 and Seguin was taken second overall in 2010. They both had dominant OHL careers as well, with Stamkos potting 58 goals in 2007-08 with the Sarnia Sting, and Seguin winning the Red Tilson award for the OHL’s most outstanding player with 48 goals last year for the Plymouth Whalers. They’ve also got similar body types (Seguin is 6-foot-1, 186 pounds while Stamkos is 6-foot-0, 176 pounds). Finally, Stamkos’ hometown of Markham, Ontario is a 45-minute drive from Seguin’s native Brampton.

Stamkos has established himself as one of the league’s most explosive players at a very young age, and Seguin — the same guy who doesn’t like to “over-respect” his opponents before a game — would love if his billing as the next Stamkos proves to be true.

“I try to [play like Stamkos],” Seguin said Thursday. “He’s definitely doing really good right now.”

Seguin has five goals this season through 23 games. He is on pace for 18 goals, which would be less than Stamkos’ 23 as a rookie, but Seguin seems to be right where the Tampa Bay star was two years ago. Through 23 games, Stamkos actually had just three goals on the season. He didn’t really kick things into high gear until February, and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.

“He adapted to the league [and] I think it took him probably half a season in his rookie year,” Seguin said of Stamkos. “I’ll probably be around there hopefully and just keep on going.”

The two players met over the summer at the increasingly legendary Atlantic City Bauer campaign. It was there that Seguin also met and got to know Phil Kessel.

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Bruins, Seguin unsure of WJC status 12.01.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin was cut by Team Canada for the World Juniors Championships last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s champing at the bit to temporarily leave the Bruins to play in the tournament this year.

ESPN’s James Murphy reported on Tuesday that the Bruins could consider giving the 18-year-old forward permission to play in the WJC. If Seguin were to play in the tournament, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, it would allow the team temporary cap relief.

“I haven’t even heard about that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Wednesday morning. “Honestly, I don’t want to comment on it because I heard it through the media as well. I haven’t heard it from the horse’s mouth, so it’s not worth commenting on.”

While nobody is coming out and saying just how realistic a shot Seguin actually has at leaving the team for the tournament, Seguin expressed his desire to stay with the Bruins and help them during the regular season.

“Last year when I didn’t make the team at Christmas, it was the most adversity I think I had ever faced in my hockey career, and I had to overcome it,” Seguin told ESPN’s Joe McDonald. “I said if I ever got a second chance, and the opportunity, I would take advantage of it. But, I guess, I didn’t factor in being in the NHL too much, so I’ll take that over anything else.”

Seguin scored his fifth goal of the season on Wednesday. The second overall pick has nine points in his first season in the NHL

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Tim Thomas gets fifth shutout as Bruins beat Flyers at 9:30 pm ET
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It didn’t advance them to the Eastern Conference finals, but the Bruins beat the Flyers, 3-0, in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin had goals in the first period, while Milan Lucic added an empty-netter to put the nail in the coffin. Tim Thomas turned in 41 saves for his league-leading fifth shutout of the season.

The Bruins won in a rather flashy manner, receiving sprawling saves from Thomas and Tyler Seguin’s latest eye-candy goal, a top-shelf tally on Flyers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Thomas also stopped Flyers winger Scott Hartnell on a penalty shot in the second period.

With five shutouts, Thomas tied his career high, which he had reached in each of the last two seasons.

The Bruins will return to TD Garden on Thursday night, where they will face Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Bergeron’s goal marked the first time in five games that the Bruins have scored the first goal of the game. The team remains undefeated when scoring the first goal, and in the last four games, the team had been 1-3-1.

- Claude Julien said following the home opener on Oct. 21 that Tim Thomas had played so well that the only way he could have allowed a goal was if he caused it himself.

It was rather apparent early on in the second period Wednesday that Thomas was having that type of night once again. The 36-year-old stood on his head, making seemingly-impossible saves and recovering well when caught out of position. Unlike that home opener, where Thomas did pass a puck to Jason Chimera for the Capitals’ lone goal, there wasn’t a single error on Thomas’ part in his fifth shutout of the season.

- The special teams had a better statistical night after their recent slumps. The Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play and stopped the Flyers on all four of their power plays.

The B’s penalty kill had allowed goals on four of their opponents’ last sic power plays entering the game.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins took a positive step with a win over one of the best teams in the league, but the slump continued for Nathan Horton. The winger has now gone eight games without a goal and has no points in his last six games.

The posts also continued to haunt Horton, as a third-period opportunity rang off the post of Bobrovsky.

- Here’s a case of sneaking a “what went right” into the “what went wrong” area: David Krejci was all over the place but had nothing to show for it until his assist on Lucic’s empty-netter. The center tied Blake Wheeler for the most shots among Bruins forwards, including an impressive between-the-legs bid in the second period.

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Bruins lead Flyers, 2-0, after one at 7:46 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron did something the Bruins haven’t exactly done a lot lately: scored the first goal of the game. After 20 minutes, the Bruins hold a 2-0 lead over the Flyers.

Milan Lucic did some fancy weaving through a couple of defenders in front, only to get stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky. Old friend Seaon O’Donnell’s attempt at clearing the puck out left more to be desired, as he simply fired it to Patrice Bergeron, who quickly shot it high and into the net. It was the first time since Nov. 18 against the Panthers that the Bruins notched the game’s first tally.

The Bruins have not lost this season after scoring the first goal. It was Bergeron’s fourth goal of the season. Three of his goals have now come on the power play.

Tyler Seguin added his fifth goal of the season thanks to a tough pass from Michael Ryder on a 2-on-1. With Bobrovsky’s positioning forcing Seguin to beat him high, the rookie did just that, going top shelf to make it a 2-0 game.

Shawn Thornton and Jody Shelley danced in the period’s only fight. The Bruins were 1-for-1 on the power play, while the Flyers will still have 10 seconds remaining on their third power play when the second period opens.

Tim Thomas has stopped all 14 shots he’s seen, while Bobrovsky has allowed a pair of goals on 10 shots.

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Claude Julien goes with Tim Thomas, revamped lines vs. Hurricanes 11.26.10 at 11:21 am ET
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In speaking with the media prior to Friday’s noon start, Bruins coach Claude Julien said that Tim Thomas will be between the pipes when the B’s take on the Hurricanes at TD Garden.

Thomas, 36, is 11-1-1 with a 1.46 goals against average in 14 starts. He leads the league with a .955 save percentage and is tied for the league lead with four shutouts. He most recently made 31 saves in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday.

Julien also said the the lines “will be kind of the same” as they were in the third period of Wednesday’s game. With the team trailing, 1-0, in the third period, Julien reunited the Blake Wheeler - David Krejci - Michael Ryder line of years past, sticking Patrice Bergeron between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Gregory Campbell centered Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi, while Tyler Seguin returned to center on a line with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton.

In warmups, however, it was Daniel Paille skating with Seguin and Thornton, with Marchand jumping up to Campbell’s line. Caron was not on the ice, an indication he could be a healthy scratch for the first time since the season-opener on Oct. 9 in Prague.

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Steven Stamkos, Lightning beat Bruins in Tampa 11.22.10 at 9:58 pm ET
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The Bruins became the most recent team to fall victim to Steven Stamkos and the Lightning as they fell to Tampa Bay, 3-1, on Monday night.

Michael Ryder scored the lone Bruins’ goal at 10:38 of the third, with Tampa Bay getting goals from Dana Tyrell, Stamkos, and Teddy Purcell in the second period.

Though the notable lineup news for the B’s entering the game was Tyler Seguin‘s promotion to the second line, it was the first line that got attention for all the wrong reasons. Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton failed to registered just one shot on Lightning goaltender Mike Smith, who made26 saves to improve to 7-3-0 on the season.

Tuukka Rask relived the season opener once again, as the Bruins stalled in front of him for two periods before attempting a comeback that didn’t prove to be good enough. Rask make 33 saves on 36 shots. With the loss, Rask is now 1-5-1 on the season despite entering the game second third in the league in save percentage.

From Tampa the Bruins will travel to Florida, where they will face the Panthers on Wednesday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The top line went wrong for the Bruins. Claude Julien doesn’t like to identify his lines in the first, second, third, fourth manner, and on Monday, he wouldn’t be able to if he wanted to.

The lack of shooting this season on Nathan Horton’s part has been well-documented, but on Monday it was his entirely line that failed to get the puck on net. The line got just one shot on goal, which Krejci contributed late in the third period.

- Nothing derails a comeback attempt like a penalty in the third period. After failing to capitalize on a hooking penalty assessed to Steve Downie at 1:28, the B’s were caught with too many men on the ice at 4:20, rendering them down a man and postponing a shot at a comeback for a couple of minutes. Luckily for the Bruins, the Lightning returned the favor shortly after with a too-many-men call of their own.

- Momentum, or lack thereof, was once again the story of the first two periods. No gloves were dropped after either of Tampa Bay’s three goals in the second period, and it’s something that could have aided the Bruins.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Seguin responded well to being moved to the second line, shooting more (four shots on goal) and drawing a key hooking penalty on Downie early on in the third.

- Patrice Bergeron had a team-high five shots on goal, which tied his high on the season. Bergeron also had five shots against the Capitals on Oct. 21.

- Ryder and Jordan Caron really battled to set up the Blake Wheeler shot that led to Ryder’s goal. The two had to outmuscle Lighting skaters to bring the puck up and get it to Wheeler in the offensive zone, with Ryder tipping it past Smith.

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