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Bruins shoot down Sharks 01.15.10 at 1:25 am ET
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Summary ‘€“ Zdeno Chara blasted a slap shot past Evgeni Nabokov in the fourth round of a shootout, lifting the Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (recap). Tim Thomas made 41 saves and stopped all four San Jose shooters in the shootout to help the B’€™s secure the victory and end a three-game losing streak. Daniel Paille scored in the second period to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead before Joe Thornton answered with a goal later in the second to draw San Jose even.

Three Stars

Tim Thomas ‘€“ A rock-steady, 41-save performance by Thomas helped the Bruins pick up a big win.

Zdeno Chara ‘€“ The captain went with his best mode of attack, an overpowering slap shot to score the only goal of the shootout.

Daniel Paille ‘€“ With the Bruins lineup becoming more depleted by the day, the steady forward raised his game, scoring one goal and creating several other chances.

Turning Point

After a scoreless opening period, Shawn Thornton intercepted a Doug Murray clearing pass near the San Jose blue line and quickly moved the puck to Paille, whose shot ultimately deflected off the skate of Dan Boyle and into the net to give the Bruins the lead in a game in which they needed a competitive showing.

Key Play

With Dany Heatley in a position to secure the win for San Jose with the third shot in the shootout, Thomas stayed with Heatley’€™s back hand shot, snaring it with his glove. Chara then sent his blast past Nabokov.

Read More: Daniel Paille, dany heatley, San Jose Sharks, Shawn Thornton
Big Z: The fans ‘deserved to have the ‘W’ ‘ 01.01.10 at 6:52 pm ET
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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spoke for the entire organization when he expressed his gratitude toward the Boston fans who exploded in the final five minutes of their 2-1 overtime win at Fenway Park.

“I pointed right to them,” Chara said. “They were great. They deserve it. They probably bought their tickets a long time ago. It costs a lot of money for a lot of families. I know it’s not easy to spend the money but they did and they deserved to have the ‘W’. For sure, we owe them a lot tonight.”

Chara was asked about the thrill of playing at Fenway Park, where it’s the Red Sox who usually get fired up after the playing of Sweet Caroline.

Read More: Bruins, Zdeno Chara,
Turn up the volume: A special win for the B’s 11.08.09 at 12:35 am ET
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The Bruins finally broke through on the power play on Saturday and not coincidentally, so did Zdeno Chara.

Mark Recchi redirected a Derek Morris shot from the right point on Boston’s first power play of the night at 3:18 of the first period. That snapped an 0-for-20 on the power play.

Then, later in the same period, Zdeno Chara got off the snide. After scoring 17 goals in his first season in Boston and another 19 last year with the Bruins, Chara entered Saturday night still having yet to find the back of the net.

But that ended 13 minutes later when Chara’s blast from the high slot got past 21-year-old rookie Jhonas Enroth.

Between killing all seven Buffalo power plays and scoring on 2-of-3 man-advantage chances, the Bruins special teams shone on this night.

Afterward, the Bruins talked about getting the monkey off their backs.

Shawn Thornton, with an assist and a motivational first-period fight with Steve Montador on the night, said it was a relief the Bruins finally scored on the power play.

Chara admitted it was a relief to finally get his first goal of the season.

Chara said it was great that the special teams came through.

Coach Claude Julien said it was evident the Bruins had the power play clicking early.

Julien said it was a good night overall for the special teams.

Read More: Bruins, Zdeno Chara,
Julien: ‘[Chara] can be better’ 10.30.09 at 12:20 pm ET
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WILMINGTON, Mass. — Full practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday morning with everybody seemingly healthy and accounted for, and all lines as they were in Thursday night’s loss to the New Jersey Devils.

The Bruins are working on tip drills and battles in front of the net, which factored heavily into just about all of the scoring between the offensively-challenged Devils and Bruins clubs in a 2-1 decision. A lot of focus on jamming the puck beyond the goaltender, and conversely getting the defensemen in the painted area to swat loose pucks away. More after practice as the Bruins prepare for a grueling fives games in eight days schedule that begins with Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Edmonton Oilers.

–During the battle drills in front of the net Tuukka Rask let a shot slide by him into the goal, and immediately exploded with a fit of goaltender pique. Rask screamed at himself in Finnish and then slammed his paddle hard against the crossbar, and created a violent enough collision that he knocked his Gatorade water bottle off the top of the net. Temper, temper Tuukka.

Zdeno Chara has been inconsistent through 11 games this season and certainly isn’t living completely up to his Norris Trophy standards while putting up six assists for the Black and Gold. The 32-year-old has had his “up” moments such as his 29:38 masterpiece against the New York Islanders when he notched an assist and a pair of shots on goal, but he hasn’t been able to sustain his play over a long stretch.

The blueliner was out working on his game before and after practice last week, and taking extra shots from the point positions while attempting  to get a higher volume of shots toward the cage during the power play. When asked about his captain’s play after practice, B’s coach Claude Julien didn’t pull any punches and said that Chara needs to find his “happy zone” just like the rest of the team.

“[Chara] has been good, but can be better. He knows that,” said Julien. “He’s been good and there are some games where we’ve seen him be dominant like in the past. But we haven’t seen him be dominant night in, night out like he has been. He’s frustrated a little bit too. You saw him working on his shots, and he’d like to get his shots through a little better. But the thing that we like about players is when we see them trying to do something about it.

“That’s what he’s been doing. He’s been working on his shot and trying to find those seams. Eventually it’ll come, but he’s in that stage where he wants to be better – and he can better. I think his whole game has been, at times, up and down a little bit. Let’s put it this way: he’s never been terrible but there are some nights when he’s just been okay. When you talk about Z and having success, we’d like to see him where he was last year when he was a stellar defenseman and stingy. A defenseman that every team hated to play against. This is a game of momentum. Sometimes things fall right into place and sometimes it takes some time. Our whole team is working through that and trying to find that momentum, and I think he’s in that equation as well.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins drop one to Devils in final minutes 10.29.09 at 9:30 pm ET
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It wasn’t pretty, but when is it ever against the New Jersey Devils?

The Bruins played an incredibly well-matched game against New Jersey in their second of back-to-back road games, but dropped a 2-1 decision in the final two minutes of Thursday night’s showdown with the Devils. Dainus Zubrus slammed home a loose puck behind Tim Thomas with 1:26 remaining to hand Boston their first regulation loss in four tries.

The B’s fell behind early when an errant puck bounced off the boards and got behind Shawn Thornton. The quick bounce of the puck allowed the Devils to break things out, and get in behind the B’s defense and a scrambling Thornton. Nicklas Bergfors carried the puck up the left side of the ice with speed, and unleashed a low liner at Thomas’ pads.

The puck sneaked between the B’s goaltender’s leg pads and trickled out into the painted area in front of the Boston goal. In a case of perfect timing, David Clarkson was crashing toward the cage from the right side and swept home the loose biscuit. It was a brief defensive lapse for the Black and Gold, however, as both Derek Morris and Zdeno Chara were able to prevent nearly certain goals later in the game with some very strong stick work in front of Thomas.

The Bruins finally tied things up in the second period immediately after time expired on their second power play of the game. Zdeno Chara leveled a bomb from the right point that whistled through traffic in front, and Devils’ goaltender Yann Danis kicked it off to the right. Marco Sturm corralled the rebound and shoveled a backhand shot toward the Devils net, but it ricocheted off sticks and skates before landing on Patrice Bergeron’s stick blade.

Bergeron flicked the puck into the vacated net, and the game was tied at 1-1. It was Bergeron’s fourth goal of the season, and his team-leading eighth point after enduring Tuesday’s two-year anniversary of his career-threatening concussion at the hands of Randy Jones. The scoring stayed that way until Zubrus’ gut-punch score with less than two minutes to go in the contest. To add insult to injury, Zdeno Chara had a deflection hit off the crossbar in the final seconds that could have tied the game and pushed things to overtime. In the end, the Devils were simply one bounce of the puck better than the hard-working Bruins.

YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND AND NOTHING’LL EVER KEEP YOU DOWN:  Patrice Bergeron worked and persevered through last season when he clearly didn’t feel 100 percent, but it’s all paying off now. Bergeron tied the game in the second period, and is again developing that all-important nose for the goal. Bergeron trailed only Shawn Thornton with his four shots on net for a Bruins team that needs all the offense they can get right now. 

GOAT HORNS: The first instinct was to go with Tim Thomas who was otherwise solid but allowed two pucks to squeeze through the goaltender’s pads — including the game-winner to Dainus Zubrus with less than 90 seconds to go in the game. The two goals were virtual carbon copies of each other, as Thomas slowed down each shot with his pads. But the reigning Vezina Trophy winner couldn’t quite close the sliver of an opening in time. In both instances, the puck slowed behind the B’s netminder and an attacking Jersey skater was able to bang home the loose puck. But the game-winner, it should be noted, was a tipped puck that changed direction before it hit the net.

The better choice for the horns is Boston’s still toothless power play that finished 0-for-2 tonight — although the B’s did score immediately following their second power play chance — and is sitting at a 14.3 percent efficiency for the season. That’s six goals in 42 chances. The B’s had plenty of good looks and chances against the Devils, but simply couldn’t finish. That’s beginning to become a pattern of concern.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara,
How The Bruins Broke The Slump 10.11.09 at 12:42 am ET
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There is a formula for success that works for just about every facet of life you can imagine: K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, stupid.

This principle is especially pertinent in hockey. If players start pushing too hard, gripping their sticks and getting cute with the offense then there is a good probability that their team will not score. That was essentially the problem with the Bruins for the first 52 minutes in tonight’s 4-3 come-from-behind shoot-out victory over the New York Islanders.

The Bruins ended up with a respectable 30 shots but it took a flurry at the end to get to that point. As of 9:50 in the third period the Bruins had 17 shots with only three in the period. Not a good combination for a team looking to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Until that point the Bruins were flat, had problems controlling the puck and thus sustaining momentum against one of the lesser-skilled teams in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Byron Bitz, Marc Savard, Matt Hunwick
ESPN The Magazine reveals the ‘Full Chara’ 10.07.09 at 5:42 pm ET
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Great get by the always enjoyable and thoroughly educational Puck Daddy hockey blog over at Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon, as they were able to unearth the “Full Chara” photos that will be a big part of ESPN The Magazine’s body issue this month.

Rumblings of the Zdeno Chara photo shoot in his birthday suit filtered through the B’s dressing room days ago, but this is the first photographic evidence of the minimalist photo spread with the Bruins Captain.

Can’t imagine what kind of grief the Norris Trophy winner is in store for when the magazine hits mailboxes and bookshelves all across the country. A fan base like Montreal, that boos Chara each time he touches the puck, could get awfully creative.

 But at least it’s a tasteful nude rather than something with a series of Austin Powers-esque strategically-placed pieces of hockey equipment.

It’ll be interesting to see what noted art critic Shawn Thornton has to say about “The Full Chara” when he gets a look-see at the sneak preview. To check out the full gallery of athletes chosen for the body issue — including Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson,  Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz and tennis player Serena Williams – check it out at ESPN.com.

Read More: ESPN The Magazine, Puck Daddy, Zdeno Chara,
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