|Bruins look to make it two wins in two days vs. Hurricanes||01.18.11 at 12:05 pm ET|
The Bruins and Hurricanes have taken turns shutting one another out this season, and on Tuesday, the Canes will look to avenge a 7-0 beatdown the B’s delivered on Monday. Tim Thomas had his seventh shutout, while Zdeno Chara notched his first career hat trick.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Hurricanes are 11-7-2 at the RBC Center this season. They’ve won their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 6-4 win over the Lightning on Saturday.
– The Bruins are 13-5-4 in road games this season. They have picked up points in each of their last seven away games (4-0-3). It’s been over a week since they’ve played outside of the Garden, with the B’s scoring four goals in the final 3:23 against the Penguins in a 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh last Monday.
– Only two of Thomas’ seven shutouts have come against teams that would have a playoff spot if the season were to end today, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s leading the league in the category and both the other major goaltending categories (GAA and save percentage). Claude Julien has given Thomas the next start following each of his shutouts this season.
– Despite not picking up any points on Monday, Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner still has eight (5 G, 3 A) over his last six games. The seventh overall pick has 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points. His point total leads all rookies, with Brad Marchand‘s 19 points putting him 10th and Tyler Seguin‘s 16 putting him 14th.
– After going 0-for-13 on the power play from Dec. 30 to Jan. 8, the Bruins have picked it up on the man advantage, going 5-for-22 in five games since. They are still just 19th in the league with a 17.5 power play percentage, though their fourth-ranked penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal in four games.
– Milan Lucic has gone 12 goals without a game, though he did shoot a puck past a goaltender who tried saving it, if that counts for anything, on Monday. Lucic still leads the B’s with 16 goals on the season.
– Adam McQuaid, Marc Savard, and Mark Stuart tied for a game-high plus-3 rating on Monday. McQuaid was one of four Bruins to have a multi-point game in the matinee. Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci also had multiple points on the day.
STORYLINES GOING IN
Julien had said Monday that he was a possibility for Tuesday’s game, and that it would be a tough decision regarding which guy to sit. While that likely won’t pertain to Tuesday, it’s still a question worth exploring. Both Steven Kampfer and McQuaid have played very well, and both have four points over their last four games. Kampfer brings the Bruins more of what they need with his abilities as a puck-moving defenseman, but the B’s might also want McQuaid in there in case it’s a more physical game following the B’s beatdown of the Canes Monday.
– The Bruins chased Cam Ward from Monday’s game in less than 12 minutes, though Paul Maurice said following the contest that he expects Ward to start Tuesday. Justin Peters wasn’t much of an improvement over Ward, as he allowed five goals over the rest of the game and racked up four penalty minutes.
Looks like the fun hasn’t run out on Zdeno Chara‘s hat trick celebration.
After admitting following Monday’s game that he lifted his back-handed toss of an invisible hat from former Capitals great Peter Bondra, Chara and the celebrations were the subject of a conversation between Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Whyshynski and Bondra.
“I think I did it twice,” Bondra told Wyshynski on Monday night. “If [Chara] used that move, I think it’s going to cost him dinner next time he comes to Washington.”
Bondra even received a text message from the B’s captain on Monday, with Chara perhaps eager to see if he pulled it off correctly.
“He asked me if I saw his celebration,” Bondra said.
Chara’s teammates were amused with the celebration, with Milan Lucic carefully limiting his answer to “yes” as to whether it was the most interesting he’d seen, and Adam McQuaid figuring the Hurricanes may not have been too happy with it. The creator of it sees it as more a case of living in the moment than trying to upstage the opposition.
“The celebration … you cannot practice it or anything,” Bondra told Wyshynski. “It’s a moment when the excitement of your goal make you react to the moment. Sometimes I wasn’t happy with what I did. It’s a moment where you’re excited to show how excited you are, but there’s a line and you want to respect the other team.”
|Zdeno Chara credits Peter Bondra with hat trick celebration||01.17.11 at 4:36 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara hadn’t been holding his breath for his first career hat trick, but he was able to breathe a sigh of relief after becoming the fourth defenseman in Bruins history to accomplish the feat.
“You’re always kind of thinking about how it would be nice to have that kind of a game in your career, to say, ‘Hey I’ve done it, I had a hat trick,’ but for myself, it took 14-15 years,” Chara said. “I’m not expecting to have another one anytime soon.”
Regardless of how frequently he tallies three goals in a game, his teammates were glad to see him do it for the first time, including another long-tenured Bruin who just recently had their first hat trick.
“That’s our leader,” Patrice Bergeron said of Chara. “That’s our captain. That’s why he’s probably the best defenseman in the league.”
Chara celebrated the hat trick by gesturing to the crowd with his glove, waving on the fans to toss their hats. He admitted after the game that he saw Peter Bondra of the Capitals do it after notching three goals against him when we was with the Islanders, and that he kept the move stored in case he ever had the opportunity.
“I kind of remembered [thinking], ‘If I ever get a hat trick, I want to do the same.’ I thought it was pretty cool,” Chara said of seeing Bondra celebrate.
Just as Chara took notice of Bondra, his Bruins teammates got a kick out of their captain’s celebration.
“Yes,” Milan Lucic said with a laugh when asked if it was the most interesting goal celebration he’d seen. “That’s all I’m going to say. Yes.”
|Steve Kampfer suffers broken nose, Marc Savard ‘fine’ after fall into boards||01.15.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
Rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer was sent to the hospital with a broken nose after being bloodied by teammate Zdeno Chara 57 seconds into the second period. Chara became entangled with Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis in the offensive corner when Kampfer came skating by, catching Chara’s stick in the face.
“He went to the hospital and has a broken nose,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “They are just checking him out. We’re going to find out more and the severity of it [Sunday].”
Dupuis was called for the major high-sticking penalty but TV replays clearly showed it was Chara’s stick that did the damage.
“I think it was my stick but not 100 percent sure,” Chara explained after the 3-2 loss to the Penguins. “I was batting and somehow my stick got high, hit Stevie. Just an unfortunate play. But I don’t know exactly how it happened.”
Meanwhile, Marc Savard took a header into the far boards in the third period, after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland but after spending about a minute on the ice, he got to his knees and skated off on his own power.
“From what I’m told, there was nothing wrong. It was a clean hit,” Julien said. “He was off-balance, got his bell rung a little bit but he’s alright.”
Savard, of course, was hit by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke last March 8 on a blindside hit and missed several weeks with a Grade 2 concussion. The two had a couple of run-ins on Saturday but no major brush-ups.
Still, Savard will pay close attention to how he feels over the next 24 hours before getting ready for the Hurricanes on Monday afternoon at TD Garden.
“I’ll monitor it and watch the rest of the day, see how I feel a little bit,” Savard said. “I was a little bit shaken up.”
|Bruins and Flyers tied after one||01.13.11 at 7:48 pm ET|
An oddball goal from Scott Hartnell and a Zdeno Chara snipe on a two-man advantage have the Flyers and Bruins tied at one after a period of play.
After Hartnell made it 1-0 by batting a puck in mid-air past Tim Thomas from behind the net, a pair of hooking penalties gave the B’s a two-man advantage. Marc Savard stood out on the 5-on-3, nearly scoring in front of the net and making the pass to set up a blast from Chara from the point.
David Krejci is getting big opportunities but is an early candidate for post-game questions about being snakebitten. The skilled center intercepted a pass in the first minute in the Flyers’ end but couldn’t control it well enough to fire a shot from the dot. With 6:36 in the period, Krejci decked out front and brought Boucher with him.
The good news on Krejci’s missed opportunity late in the period was that he drew a Mike Richards hooking call on the play. Hartnell and Braydon Coburn added hooking penalties later in the period, and Chara tied it up on the 5-on-3.
Shawn Thornton did indeed go after Jody Shelley, and the two squared off in a bout that left Thornton bloodied. Shelley delivered a shove from behind to Adam McQuaid on Dec. 11
The Flyers are outshooting the B’s, 13-11.
|Zdeno Chara and the Bruins didn’t want to ‘ruin’ the good vibes from Pittsburgh||01.12.11 at 2:55 pm ET|
As much talk as there was following Tuesday’s 6-0 win over the Senators about Patrice Bergeron and his first career hat trick, there was just as much about the impressive way the Bruins followed up their dramatic win in Pittsburgh 24 hours earlier.
“It’s huge,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “You want to follow up with a good performance. You don’t want to have obviously a nice comeback game and then come back and just ruin it. I mean that’s totally something you don’t want to do.”
The Bruins showed what they call in hockey “good jump” in getting up 2-0 after one and 5-0 after two periods. But for Chara to consider the night a truly good one, the B’s would have to finish the job.
“Even after the first 20 or 40 minutes of tonight’s game, you don’t want to, at the end of the night, count regrets that you played well for 40 and bad for 20,” he added. “You just want to have a good feeling after the game that you really played a solid 60 minutes.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien agreed. It was a good night from what he could see from behind the bench.
“I like the way we skated. I thought we had some good jump right off the start and we had some good clean breakouts and it allowed us to have some good speed through the neutral zone,” Julien said. “We got pucks behind their D and took advantage of it. I thought our guys were well-focused tonight. It was important to build on last night and not sit on it.”
It’s rare for a team to show such good energy on the back-end of a back-to-back in mid-January like the Bruins did but Tim Thomas wasn’t complaining, as he posted his career-best sixth shutout of the season.
“We looked like we had really good legs tonight on a back-to-back with the heavy schedule that we’ve had and that’s a good sign too,” Thomas said. “A lot of things went our way tonight.”
And, of course, leading the way was Bergeron with his first career hat trick.
“We’ve talked about it, after the game in Pittsburgh, to just carry what happened in the last three minutes, you know, and carry that over to tonight, and I think we did that, you know, all game, the 60 minutes that’s what we needed.”
What the Bruins needed and got on Wednesday was the day off to stay inside and avoid the blizzard outside. They’ll need their rest with the Flyers and Penguins coming to town on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Just another two games to test how far these Bruins have come in turning around their season.
|Tim Thomas honored to be an All-Star, willing to shut down Zdeno Chara if opportunity arises||01.11.11 at 5:21 pm ET|
The Bruins received perhaps the least surprising news they could get on Tuesday when they were informed that Tim Thomas was named an All-Star. Thomas is putting together the best year of any goaltender over the last five years, and as such, it is no shock that he’s earned the honor of joining the league’s best for the third time in his career.
“It’s always an honor,” Thomas said of the distinction prior to the B’s game against the Senators on Tuesday. “It’s a feather in your cap, so I’m very happy.”
Thomas has played in 29 of the Bruins’ first 41 games, compiling an 18-4-6 record and leading the league with a 1.84 goals against average and a .944 save percentage. His five shutouts tie his career-high and put him in a tie for the league lead.
Yet given all the time he’s played, it is expected that the Bruins could use Tuukka Rask a bit more just to keep Thomas from being overworked. The same line of thinking might apply when wondering whether the 36-year-old could use the All-Star to get some rest rather than work more. Thomas’ reaction to that idea is simle.
“Everybody wants down time, but having said that, for most people — myself included — you don’t make the All-Star [game] that often,” Thomas said. “It’s an honor worth giving up a couple of days rest for.”
Thomas will join teammates Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin in Raleigh, N.C., for the All-Star festivities, as Chara also earned the distinction, while Seguin will participate in the rookie skills competition a day prior to the game.
Because of the new fantasy draft used to determine the All-Star teams, Thomas and Chara won’t necessarily be teammates in the game, as it is no longer a contest of the Eastern conference vs. the Western conference. As odd it would be to see Chara go up against his own goaltender, Thomas was quick in predicting what would happen in such a scenario.
“I win, he loses.”