|Late hit: Canadiens make Zdeno Chara and Bruins pay||03.03.13 at 10:14 pm ET|
Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais scored third period goals under four minutes apart to erase a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes and beat the Bruins, 4-3, Sunday night at TD Garden. The Canadiens overcame a career-high three assists from Brad Marchand to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 6 in Montreal. The win also gives the Canadiens 32 points, two more than the second-place Bruins in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time this season in regulation, falling to 14-3-2 on the season.
The game was highlighted by several fights, including one involving Zdeno Chara. The Bruins captain was lost for 17 minutes late in the second period and over half of the third period when he fought Alexei Emelin, who moments earlier hit Tyler Seguin.
The Canadiens jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Tomas Plekanec took a centering pass from former Bruin Michael Ryder and partially fanned on the shot. But Plekanec got just enough of the puck to throw off Rask, who had the puck trickle past him just 21 seconds after Andrew Ference went off for an interference penalty.
The Bruins then turned up the intensity, thanks in large part to a big forecheck from Milan Lucic. Tyler Seguin tied the game when he took a pass from Patrice Bergeron and beat Peter Budaj. But the tie game lasted only 16 seconds as on the next rush up the ice, Dasharnais centered a puck for Pacioretty. The puck never reached Pacioretty and instead went off the stick of Johnny Boychuk and past Rask for a 2-1 Canadiens lead after 20 minutes. The Bruins set the tone, however, out-hitting Montreal, 15-8, in the opening period.
The Bruins dominated the second period from nearly every aspect, including the penalty kill. The Canadiens had a 5-on-3 power play for 70 seconds but thanks to zone clears by Lucic and Hamilton, the Bruins were able to kill off the entire two-man advantage, allowing just one shot on goal in the process.
Just prior to the two-man advantage, the Bruins reclaimed the lead on goals by Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton. Seguin fed Bergeron at the right post. Bergeron tried to stuff the shot past Budaj and finally got some help when Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, crashing the net to help, kicked the puck past his own goalie with his left skate to tie the game, 2-2.
The Bruins took their only lead of the night just over five minutes later when Hamilton put himself on the low right of Budaj and turned his upper body just in time to take a pass from Marchand. Hamilton one-timed the shot from the bad angle past Budaj for a 3-2 lead.
The turning point of the game would come with 4:25 left in the second. Seguin was skating through the neutral zone with the puck when Emelin checked him to the ice. Seguin went down immediately, holding his left side and skating off slowing to the dressing room. Seconds later, Chara took revenge with a devastating check on Emelin, sparking a one-sided fight between the two. Chara was assessed a two-minute instigating penalty, five-minute fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct, adding up to 17 minutes of lost ice time for the Bruins top defenseman. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tyler Seguin takes a hit from Alexei Emelin, Zdeno Chara takes revenge that costs 17 minutes||at 9:30 pm ET|
Montreal’s Alexei Emelin hit Tyler Seguin with a check in the neutral zone late in the second period.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was on the ice and saw Seguin go down in a heap, holding his left side. Later in the same shift, Chara blew up Emelin with a check, that resulted in a fight between the two.
Chara was tagged with two minutes for instigating, five for fighting and 10 minutes for misconduct. In other words, the cost of sticking up for Seguin, who returned to the bench just moments later, was 17 minutes of ice time.
|Darren Pang on D&C: Bruins ‘set for another challenge at the championship’||02.26.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Darren Pang checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the Bruins’ fast start and the Blackhawks’ even-better performance.
The Blackhawks have earned at least a point in each of their first 19 games with their NHL-record 16-0-3 start.
“That is incredible. I’m just amazed at the run that they’re on right now,” said Pang, a former goalie who played three seasons for the Blackhawks in the 1980s. “I’m in St. Louis right now and going to Toronto tomorrow for a Leafs game, but I should be back on Thursday and the streak will be on the line when the Blackhawks and the Blues play at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Thursday. That will be a heck of a game. It always is. They don’t like each other. It is actually one of the true rivalries in the game. Once they get one playoff game behind them, if they end up facing each other in the playoffs this year I think people will really see how much St. Louis and Chicago don’t like each other. But I know that the Blues will want to end that great run that the Blackhawks are on on Thursday.”
While the Blackhawks clearly are the favorites in the Western Conference, there are a few teams that could make the claim in the East. Pang said the Bruins have the best chance.
“I think we have to be fair to how both Pittsburgh and Montreal have played, but I think there’s more strength in Boston than either of those teams,” Pang said. “It’s almost like last year in the West. There were teams that had more points than the LA Kings, but trust me, no one in the West wanted to play the LA Kings even though they were the eighth team. And it’s because of the way they’re built. They’re built with big, strong redwood trees on the wing, they’ve got good centermen up the middle of the ice, good depth, good defensemen that move the puck, and a horse on the blue line, and great goaltending. So, the same thing could be said about the Boston Bruins. If I were a team in the East, the one team I wouldn’t want to play to begin it all would be the Boston Bruins because I think they’re set for another challenge at the championship.”
One big reason for Boston’s early season success has been the play of goalie Tuukka Rask.
“I’m a big Tuukka Rask believer,” Pang said. “I think he’s waited his time. He’s ready to be a main guy. I like the way he handles things, he’s competitive, technically really sound. I’m impressed but I’m not surprised. A couple of years ago, before the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, when Tuukka had the ball and ran with it, he was pretty darn good and that was three years ago. So I knew he’d be ready for this challenge that’s ahead of him right now.”
Zdeno Chara showed surprising dexterity for a 6-foot-9 defenseman Sunday, pulling off a spin move and scoring against the Panthers in the B’s 4-1 victory.
“That was elegant,” Pang said. “Like Jean Beliveau was such a gentleman on the ice — competitive, it doesn’t mean you’re not competitive, but just the grace and the elegance that the big fella did that at was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t just the spin-o-rama, it was the saucy backhander. Not many guys can pull that heel-to-toe backhander off and go top cheese under the bar and in. That was what was spectacular, and at his size, no less.”
|Physically, Bruins have little to prove vs. Sabres||02.10.13 at 10:38 am ET|
Sunday night marks the Bruins’ rematch with the wicked John Scott. The B’s can finally right the wrong that was done to them and serve justice to the terrible-spirited man who had the gall to fight someone willing to fight him.
In case you can’t sense the sarcasm, Scott has nothing to answer for. He doesn’t have to answer to Shawn Thornton, and he certainly doesn’t have to answer to Zdeno Chara. Maybe he will, but the line of thinking that the Bruins were wronged and failed to stand up for Thornton after Scott pulverized him on Jan. 31 makes absolutely zero sense. Both fighters consented and it didn’t work for Thornton against the 6-foot-8, 270-pounder.
This wasn’t Matt Cooke elbowing Marc Savard, nor was it Milan Lucic trucking Ryan Miller. Thornton suffered a concussion in the fight, but there was no foul play. Nobody needs to stand up for anyone because no wrong was done.
“I don’t even know where that [expletive] comes from,” Thornton said this week. “Listen, Zee’s our best player and arguably the best defenseman in the league. There’s no reason for him to have to fight my battles. I’ve done this for a long time and it’s on me.
“Listen, if I knocked him out I wasn’t expecting somebody to come grab me the next shift. It’s part of it. We’re both men and it happens.”
None of the Sabres have anything to answer for anything with the exception of Drew Stafford, who elbowed Dougie Hamilton in the face in the third period with the game tied at four goals apiece. That infraction went unpunished, so perhaps Stafford, who has never had more than one fight in a season, will be challenged at some point Sunday night.
As for Scott, it’s understandable how Bruins fans can watch one of their beloved bruisers (and one who always has the back of his teammates) get clobbered and want some sort of vengeance, but that just isn’t the way things work when the fights are clean. If winning a fight meant having to fight another guy or two from the other team, the role of an enforcer would be absolutely unbearable.
Just look at Thornton’s linemate, Gregory Campbell. He isn’t the biggest guy in the world (6-foot-flat, 199 pounds), and he’s lost to guys bigger than him (Cody McCormick beat him pretty good in 2011). Yet Campbell has never thought after losing a fight that somebody else should stand up for him. These guys have pride, and you’d have to think the last thing they’d want is for someone to go out and fight someone because they couldn’t get the job done themselves.
“I’ll be the first one to stick up for any of my players, but when you’re fighting, it’s your own battle, so to speak,” Campbell said. “If I lose a fight, I don’t expect anybody else to handle my battles. On the other side of that, it’s not that we’re not supportive of Thorty — everybody is — but he would say the same thing. A fight is a fight and that’s pretty much it.”
The B’s should be focused on team defense Sunday, as that Jan. 31 contest resulted in a 7-4 loss in which Chara played his worst game of the season and Tuukka Rask was left dealing with odd man rush after odd man rush.
You can expect a physical game Sunday night between the Bruins and Sabres. Buffalo went out and got Scott and Steve Ott so they could hang with the Bruins in that regard, but the B’s don’t have anything to prove as far as that goes. They’re still one of the toughest teams in the league, and Buffalo has a ways to go before they can say the same.
|Shawn Thornton doesn’t want Zdeno Chara to fight his battles vs. John Scott||02.07.13 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Shawn Thornton skated with a group of teammates Thursday at Ristuccia Arena as he continued working his way back from a concussion suffered a week earlier in a fight with Sabres enforcer John Scott. Daniel Paille (upper-body) also took the ice, while Brad Marchand (shoulder) did not practice as he was examined by team doctors. Claude Julien would not rule out any of the three players for Saturday’s game against the Lightning.
Thornton, who has missed the last two games, said that he is “cleared for practice, cleared for contact,” and hasn’t been told whether he’ll play this weekend against Tampa Bay or Buffalo (Sunday).
Much has been made of the aftermath of the short-lived bout between Thornton and Scott. Thornton failed to get a punch in as the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott beat him convincingly, leading to some speculation from talk radio callers and select media members that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara should fight Scott on Sunday.
Thornton emphasized that he didn’t think there is anything for the B’s to avenge, as it was simply a fight that didn’t go in his favor. He especially stressed that he is against the idea of Chara fighting Scott as a result of it.
“I don’t even know where that [expletive] comes from,” Thornton said. “Listen, Zee’s our best player and arguably the best defenseman in the league. There’s no reason for him to have to fight my battles. I’ve done this for a long time and it’s on me.
“Listen, if I knocked him out I wasn’t expecting somebody to come grab me the next shift. It’s part of it. We’re both men and it happens.”
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|Zdeno Chara: Dougie Hamilton ‘way better than I was at his age’||01.13.13 at 3:24 pm ET|
Following the Bruins’ first day of training camp in front of approximately 1,000 fans at TD Garden, B’s captain Zdeno Chara sang the praises of fellow defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The 19-year-old, who was named the most outstanding defenseman in the OHL, is expected to make the team this year after being drafted ninth overall in the 2011 draft.
“You don’t see very often guys being so humble and almost shy come around and be so good,” Chara said of Hamilton. “We all can see he’s very talented and willing to learn, so it’s exciting for all of us to have a guy like that around and try to help him out as much as you can and see him growing as a person.”
Hamilton has long looked up to Chara, as he is also a taller blueliner (Hamilton stands at 6-foot-5, while Chara is the tallest player in the history of the NHL at 6-foot-9). Asked if he saw some of his younger self in Hamilton, Chara said that he wasn’t as advanced at 19 as Hamilton is now.
“He’s way better. He’s way better than I was, I can tell you right now,” Chara said. “He’s way better than I was at his age.”
Hamilton, whose Twitter avatar is a picture of him standing on the ice with Chara, lit up when told of the captain’s praise.
“That’s awesome,” Hamilton said. “Just watching him out there, you can see how good he is. I don’t get to watch that much NHL hockey because we’re always playing. But you go out there and watch him and he’s pretty sick. If I can learn from him and try to get better and just watch him, he’s going to help me out a lot. I’m really looking forward to that.”
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|Some more prepared than others as Zdeno Chara, Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron return||01.09.13 at 2:00 pm ET|
Three of the Bruins’ leaders were back skating with their teammates Wednesday, as captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly joined eight other B’s on the ice at Agganis Arena after spending the lockout playing in Europe.
All three players spoke highly of their time in Europe, as Chara played for Prague Lev of the KHL and Bergeron and Kelly played in different leagues in Switzerland. Bergeron actually played right wing for HC Lugano of the Swiss-A league, but it wasn’t the strangest experience had by a Bruin in Switzerland. That distinction might go to Kelly, whose first game for HC Red Ice was a little more taxing than he expected.
“I think they thought I had just played in the playoffs and was swinging over there, but I hadn’t played a game in seven months,” Kelly said. “I think I played about 40 minutes that night, so the legs were a little tired. It went into overtime, so it wasn’t like you could kind of pick your shifts to catch your breath.”
Despite the first game catching him a bit off guard, Kelly called his month in Switzerland “a great experience.” Though he returned to North America (he spent the last month or so in Ottawa) in game shape, he was at least a little rusty when it came to packing his hockey bag for Wednesday. He took the ice in Tyler Seguin‘s HC Biel jersey, as he had forgotten socks and a jersey.
“It’s funny when you get used to having a jersey and socks in your stall and then you’ve got to scramble to find a jersey and socks, and asking guys if they brought an extra towel to shower with after,” Kelly said. “It will be nice having a towel at the rink.”
The Bruins had 11 players in Europe at one point or another during the lockout, something that Kelly feels should be an advantage from a preparational standpoint as teams get ready for the 48-game regular season.
“It was never about the money or anything like that or going over there of a vacation,” he said. “I know guys in this locker room extremely well, and if they went over to play, it was to play hard and help that team and play hockey.”
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