|Second period summary: Bruins-Penguins||03.18.10 at 7:47 pm ET|
The second period started with the Bruins holding on by a thread.
Vladimir Sobotka went to the penalty box at 2:22 for a hooking penalty. Out came one of the best penalty killing tandems in the league in the form of Daniel Paille and Steve Begin along with defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Normally a team will role out two penalty killing units on a power play with the first unit the best killers and the second unit efficient killers who can create an odd-man break when given the opportunity.
Boston never got the second unit on the ice.
It was more like Pittsburgh never let them off the ice. The full two minutes was spent in Boston’s defensive zone as the Penguins rained shots on Tuukka Rask. The young goaltender was up to it and proved to be the best penalty killer the Bruins had on the shift even as Pittsburgh dumped 10 shots on net (to the Bruins zero) in the first five minutes of the period.
Boston got its third chance on the power play at 7:37 when Sergei Gonchar took at tripping call. Once again the Bruins mustered next to nothing.
The second fight of the night broke out at 11:53 when captain Zdeno Chara went toe-to-toe with center Michael Rupp right after a face off. Chara got the best of Rupp in the captain’s first official fight of the season.
Seven-seconds after Chara went to the box, fellow defenseman Mark Stuart joined him with a hooking penalty at 12:00. That left the Bruins without two of their top three defensemen for an extended period of time. Once again, Rask stepped up and killed the penalty for the Boston.
The third time was the charm though. Pittsburgh got another shot on the power play at 17:44 when Steve Begin went for “kneeing” (a trip, more or less). Pittsburgh went through the normal routine — set up camp in the Boston zone, cycle, shoot, rebound, cycle, shoot. Right after the penalty ended the puck ended up on the stick of Kris Letang at the top of the left circle. He shot and it was deflected five-hole through Rask by Alexei Ponikarovsky for the two-goal lead.
Shots through second (total):
Bruins — 5 (10)
Penguins 15 (20)
|First period summary: Bruins-Leafs||03.09.10 at 7:40 pm ET|
Without two of their best players the Bruins look . . .
The forecheck looks good, the penalty kill is clicking right along and even the offense chipped in.
Boston is without Marc Savard (concussion) and Zdeno Chara (lower body injury) but so far it has controlled the pace and tempo against the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Granted, the Leafs have the second-to-last record in the league, but positive signs are encouraging nonetheless.
Mark Recchi Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins offense going right off the bat. Dennis Seidenberg hit a heavy slap shot from the point that banged off of Leafs’ goaltender Jonas Gustavsson chest protector directly back in front of the net while Gustavvsson was pulled to the left of the crease leaving the net wide open for Recchi to come in and sweep the puck in for the early lead at 2:47.
Boston then gave the Leafs a great chance to get that goal back when first Blake Wheeler (hooking) then Mark Stuart (tripping) went to the penalty box to give Toronto a 50-second two-man advantage. The Bruins have the best penalty kill in the league but without Zdeno Chara for the game (lower body injury), penalties could be problematic.
The Maple Leafs only managed one official shot with the two consecutive penalties and the Bruins recovered to dominate the on both ends of the ice throughout the period.
Boston gave the Leafs another opportunity on the power play when Milan Lucic went for hooking at 16:14 but the Bruins were able to kill it. Toronto is now 0-17 on the man-advantage against Boston this season.
Shots through the first period:
Boston — 10
Toronto — 5
UPDATE — There has been a scoring change and Patrice Bergeron will get credit for the goal as opposed to Recchi. Both players were right in front to bang on it and got to the puck at the same time. Recchi picks up an assist.
|Chara: ‘We know we have to be better’||03.02.10 at 10:45 pm ET|
For 40 minutes, it looked like Zdeno Chara and the Bruins had the Canadiens right where they wanted them.
They were playing solid defense, Tuukka Rask had turned away all 18 shots and run his shutout streak to 127 minutes, 15 seconds and they even converted a chance in front of the opposing goalie on the power play for a 1-0 lead.
All the Bruins had to do was keep it up for 20 more minutes and not only would they finally win at home, they would run their winning streak to five games and put some distance between themselves and the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
But as was the case before the break, the Bruins – especially on defense – picked a bad time to start skating backwards. And as a result – four unanswered Canadiens goals in the third – the Bruins had endured their 10th straight home loss.
“We know we have to be better, especially at home, especially at this time of year going into the end of the season and pushing to play in the playoffs. We know we need to be better. We have to take advantage of being at home, for sure,” Chara said.
Counting Thursday’s home match against Toronto before a seven-game road trip, the Bruins have just nine home games remaining.
“Those games we have left, we have to find a way. We have to make sure we win most of them,” Chara added.
|First period summary: Bruins-Canadiens||at 7:43 pm ET|
The first period of the first game back from the Olympic break for the Bruins featured solid goaltending, high energy skating and low-and-behold hard work in front of the net that paid off in a goal and a 1-0 Bruins lead after one.
With Montreal center Dominic Moore in the box for interference, Zdeno Chara let fly a shot from the high slot that caught Habs goalie Carey Price in the midsection. Price couldn’t control the rebound and Sturm fell over Price and one-handed the puck into the net behind Price.
Sturm leads the Bruins with 19 goals.
Tuukka Rask started in net and stopped all 10 Montreal shots on net, including a nice glove save on Roman Hamrlik midway through.
The Bruins had only seven shots on goal and ended the period on the penalty kill. Montreal will begin the second period with a 69-second power play after a slash on Vladimir Sobotka.
|Bruins breakdown: The top pair||02.25.10 at 2:00 pm ET|
The breakdown at the break continues and this time we are moving onto the men commissioned with keeping pucks away from the crease. Since Claude Julien took over behind the bench for Boston defense has been the name of the game in The Hub. Considering the Bruins scoring woes this year the only thing that has kept them in contention has been their ability to limit opponents chances.
Boston is fourth in the league in goals against with 2.42 and one of the reasons behind this is that its captain, Zdeno Chara, happens to be the reigning Norris Trophy winner. If a high tide raises all ships then a towering defenseman buoys all blue liners. We will also take a look at his partner, Derek Morris.
Note – Slight change in schedule. Will be doing the top defensive pairing Thursday then the other two pairings on Friday.
Chara — The questions about Chara are two-fold. One, how is he so good? Two, how do you quantify how good he actually is?
The first question has an easy answer — at 6-foot 9-inches and 255 pounds he is physically dominant on the ice. He skates well, has a long stick that he employs judiciously and, for the most part, has good positioning. Watch Chara play and it is easy to see why he is one of the best. Quantifying his play with advanced statistics is a little harder.
|Update: Bruins in the Olympics||02.18.10 at 3:47 pm ET|
Six Bruins are playing in the Olympics in Vancouver. The first round of preliminary games has been played, let’s take a look how the boys from the black and gold have faired.
Patrice Bergeron — The Bruins center had 12:50 of ice time in Canada’s 8-0 win against Norway on Tuesday. Bergeron had an assist on Mike Richard’s goal that made it 3-0 in the second period. Bergeron had a plus/minus of 1 and two penalty minutes with an interference call in the second period.
Marco Sturm — The German captain had 15:14 of ice time and two shots on goal in Sweden’s 2-0 win on Wednesday.
Zdeno Chara — The Slovakian captain had four penalty minutes and a shot on goal in 26:28 of ice time in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic.
Miroslav Satan — The Bruins front line forward was a scratch against the Czech’s. Satan sustained a laceration to his hand against Tampa Bay last Thursday before the break.
David Krejci — The Bruins second line center had a shot of goal in 14:20 of ice time against the Czech’s.
Tim Thomas — Dressed as Ryan Miller’s backup against Switzerland on Tuesday and Norway on Thursday.
|Olympic hockey: Group B breakdown||02.16.10 at 1:55 pm ET|
Continuing to break down the Olympic hockey rosters, Group B looks like the deepest of the three groups. Russia is the standout favorite while the Czech Republic and Slovakia field strong teams. The joke about the group is that if the Czechs and Slovaks were still one country (Czechoslovakia) then it would be a powerhouse. Of course, that is not the case. Latvia will will attempt to fight for respectability.
Note: After the preliminary round, each of the 12 teams will be ranked on the basis of points. The top four teams advance to the quarterfinals, with the remaining teams playing to advance.
Schedule (All times ET)
Feb. 16 ‘ Russia vs. Latvia, midnight
Feb. 17 ‘ Czech Republic vs. Slovakia, midnight
Feb. 18 ‘ Russia vs. Slovakia, midnight
Feb. 19 ‘ Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 ‘ Latvia vs. Slovakia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 ‘ Russia vs. Czech Republic, 3 p.m.
Captain ‘ Aleksey Marozov
Assistants ‘ Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk
Goaltenders ‘ Evgeni Nobokov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Semyom Varlamov
Players to Watch ‘ Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov
Breakdown ‘ Malkin, Ovechkin and Datsyuk all were finalists for the NHL’s Hart Trophy last year as the league MVP. That is about as impressive of a trio as it gets in Vancouver. The Russians have scoring power to spare but could use a top-flight goaltender to cover the back end. Nobokov is a good, serviceable NHL goaltender but he is never going to be confused with Patrick Roy. The matchup nightmare comes as the Russians roll out line after line of great goal-scorers (Kovalchuk, Ovechkin) mixed with good set-up men (Malkin). Expect the Russians to have a say in the medal rounds.
Captain ‘ Patrick Elias
Assistants ‘ Tomas Kaberle, Jaromir Jagr
Goaltenders ‘ Tomas Vokoun, Jakub Stepanek, Ondrej Pavelec
Players to Watch ‘ Jagr, Vokoun, Milan Michalek
Bruins on the roster ‘ David Krejci
Breakdown ‘ The Greatest Show on Ice returns to North America. That, of course, means Jagr. Now plying his wares in the KHL, Jagr is one of the top five greatest players of the last 20 years and can still skate well. It will be interesting to watch him take on NHL talent again, and Group B is full of it. Krejci is an interesting member of this team and likely will serve as a second- or third-line center to try to set up Michalek and company. For the Czechs to be there in the end, it will come down to Vokoun. The backstop has played well for a bad Florida Panthers team this year and probably will appreciate having some talent in front of him for once.
Captain ‘ Zdeno Chara
Assistants ‘ Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra
Goaltenders ‘ Jaroslav Halak, Peter Budaj, Rastislav Stana
Players to Watch ‘ Chara, Halak, Marian Hossa, Miroslav Satan
Bruins on roster ‘ Chara, Satan
Breakdown ‘ The strength will be in the defense, with Chara leading the way in front of Halak or Budaj. Milan Jurcina and Andrej Sekera give the Slovakians decent depth on the blue line. The Czechs probably are a little bit deeper overall, but this is a second-tier team that could turn some heads if Hossa gets hot and one of the goaltenders can sustain a roll. Satan will play a part, but do not expect him to carry the team.
Captain ‘ Karlis Skrastins
Assistants ‘ Herberts Vasiljevs, Aleksandrs Nizivijs
Goaltenders ‘ Ervins Mustukovs, Sergejs Naumovs, Edgars Masalskis
Players to Watch ‘ Skrastins, Oskars Bartulis, Martins Karsums
(Former) Bruins on the roster ‘ Karsums
Breakdown ‘ Latvia is better known as Dinamo Riga of the KHL. Fifteen players from Dinamo Riga are on the Latvian roster, including Karsums, who was assigned to HC MVD of the KHL from the Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals but did not join the team and instead went to Dinamo. Bartulis and Skrastins are both defensemen and the only Latvian players currently on NHL rosters (Flyers and Stars, respectively). Latvia has never finished higher than ninth in any international competition and should get handled easily by the other three teams in the group.