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Zdeno Chara’s two goals, Tuukka Rask’s shutout lead Bruins past Flames 12.17.13 at 9:37 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara scored twice and Tuukka Rask shut out the Flames as the B’s returned to TD Garden with a 2-0 victory Tuesday.

Calgary forward Lance Bouma high-sticked Kevan Miller in both the second and third period, and both resulted in power-play goals from Chara. David Krejci and Jarome Iginla had assists on both Chara goals, meaning Iginla has now registered a point agaist every NHL team in his career.

Rask made 20 saves in the shutout, his third of the season. Retto Berra stopped 29 of the 31 shots he saw in his second loss against the Bruins in eight days.

The Bruins will travel to face the Sabres in Buffalo Thursday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- With his two goals, Chara leads NHL defensemen with nine strikes on the season, surpassing Torey Krug and Erik Karlsson (eight apiece). Six of Chara’s nine goals this season have come on the power play.

- Though the shots were 10-9 in favor of the Bruins in the first period, they were lucky that Calgary stayed off the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes. Among their chances on which they failed to convert was a Brian McGrattan miss of an open net and two quick saves from Rask in succession on former B’s first round pick Joe Colborne.

Colborne also couldn’t finish on a third period play in which he was fed down low off the rush, so the Flames had their chances; they just didn’t capitalize.

- Craig Cunningham made his NHL debut as Matt Fraser was kept out of the Bruins’ lineup for an undisclosed ailment. The team did clarify that Fraser was not a healthy scratch. Cunningham played on Gregory Campbell‘s line with Jordan Caron.

- In not scoring Tuesday night, the Flames have still not scored at TD Garden since Oct. 19, 2006.

- Ryan Spooner only took faceoffs, but he won them all. Given how he started at the dot during this callup (and he was 1-for-6 last week against the Flames), that’s progress.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins could stand to do without any bad hits or unwise decision as their reputation heals in wake of Shawn Thornton’s suspensions and Brad Marchand’s antics in Vancouver, but Marchand turned in a bad hit from behind on Sean Monhahan in the second period. Monahan had already turned and his numbers were facing Marchand the whole way as the Bruins forward threw him into the boards. Marchand was assessed a two-minute boarding minor for the infraction, and it wouldn’t be a surprised if he gets a call from Brendan Shanahan as well.

Marchand also missed the empty net twice when the Flames pulled Berra, including once from the hashmarks.

- The refs missed one of the toughest calls to miss when Matt Stajan high-sticked Zdeno Char in the Bruins’ zone in the second period. Chara fell to the ice holding his right eye and remained down for a moment before skating off under his own power. The B’s were on the power play shortly after following a Lance Bouma high sticking double minor for catching Kevan Miller in the face, and fortunately for the B’s Chara was able to stay in the game and score on that power play.

Chara left the bench briefly later in the period but stayed in the game.

- Krug has had a quiet go of it goals-wise, as he has just one goal in his last 10 games.

Read More: Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins battling flu, team still expects Johnny Boychuk back for Tuesday 12.09.13 at 6:09 pm ET
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Four players were missing from Monday’s practice in Calgary due to the flu, according to the team. Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, Chad Johnson and Gregory Campbell were all absent.

Campbell played Sunday’s game with the flu, while Miller left the game in the final minutes after a hit from behind from Dion Phaneuf.

Johnny Boychuk did take part in the skate but said he “didn’t feel awesome,” according to the Boston Globe. Boychuk has been out with a sprained back since last Thursday, but Claude Julien is still optimistic he’ll be in Tuesday’s lineup.

As of Monday afternoon, the Bruins had not made any more callups. If they have to recall a defenseman from Providence, Zach Trotman would be a logical option.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins defense bounces back from Detroit disaster with pair of excellent games 11.30.13 at 11:55 pm ET
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The NHL was a different place in 2002. Goals and shots were as low as they’d been since the 1950s, and it wasn’t rare at all to see teams held under 20 shots on goal in a game. In fact, the 2001-02 Bruins — one of the better defensive teams in the league — held opponents under that mark 13 times.

But things have changed since then. The rule changes following the lockout in 2004-05 helped open the game back up, and although we’ll probably never get back to the eight-goals-per-game days of the 1980s, we’re at least seeing more shots and chances than the pre-lockout days. And we’re certainly not seeing teams hold opponents under 20 shots on goal as frequently as we used to — the 2011-12 Bruins, a top defensive team just like the B’€™s squad 10 years before, did it just four times.

All of that information sets up this: over the last two days, the Bruins have held their opponents under 20 shots on goal in back-to-back games for the first time since that 2001-02 season (April 11 and 13 of that season, to be exact).

It’s a feat that in today’s NHL would be impressive at any time. But for the Bruins, it’s even more significant considering it followed Wednesday’s debacle in Detroit, when they surrendered six goals on one defensive breakdown after another.

“We want to put that game behind us,” Zdeno Chara said. “You’re going to have a game like that where everything is off. Hopefully there’s not too many of them. But after that game, we really wanted to focus on how we were going to play defensively, and more focused on us than the teams we play. Don’t get me wrong — we want to respect their strength and whatever they do well, but mainly we want to focus on how we’re going to implement our game plan.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara,
Zdeno Chara leads Bruins past Rangers 11.29.13 at 3:44 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara capped a Gordie Howe hat-trick with a slap shot from the point to break a 2-2 tie Friday as the Bruins outlasted the Rangers with a 3-2 win at TD Garden.

Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board first when Chara sent a cross-ice pass to him in the first period that he one-timed past Henrik Lundqvist for his fourth goal of the season. The Rangers answered back with goals from Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, but the Bruins were able to tie it on a Patrice Bergeron shot that went off Lundvist, then Dan Girardi in front and into the net.

Chara fought BC product Brian Boyle in the second period, winning decidedly after landing a number of rights.

Tuukka Rask made 17 saves for the Bruins as he kept the Rangers off the board over the final two periods.

Dennis Seidenberg returned to the Bruins’ lineup after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Seidenberg skated on a pairing with Dougie Hamilton, while Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch after playing the previous nine games for the B’s.

The Bruins will play the second game of a back-to-back Saturday when they host the Blue Jackets at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- It’s nice to see Patrice Bergeron’s line get a couple of goals. Eriksson continues to put up points, as he now has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his last 12 games despite having no points in four of those contests.

Meanwhile, Marchand had his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist.

- The Bruins picked up their play in the second period, particularly in the case of David Krejci‘s line. The trio was silent in the first but had multiple scoring opportunities in the second, with Lundqvist leaving a rebound off a Milan Lucic shot in front for the taking, but Jarome Iginla couldn’t get to it. Iginla also missed the net on a slapshot glove-side from the high slot.

- Further proof that when Zdeno Chara asks you to fight, you politely decline. Chara stomped Rangers giant Brian Boyle after a scrum in front of Henrik Lundqvist’s net in the second period. The two were in one another’s faces with Chara repeatedly saying “Wanna go?” Even though he’s 6-foot-7, Boyle probably should have said no.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Rangers’ two-goal first period meant the Bruins allowed nine five-on-five goals against over a six-period span dating back to James Neal’s goals in Monday’s win over the Penguins. That’s a bit of a departure from how things normally operate with Claude Julien‘s club. For the sake of comparison, the Bruins allowed just two five-on-five goals in the six periods prior.

- Speaking of five-on-five goals, Nash’s goal marked at least the fourth five-on-five goal scored against Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara this season. They were on the ice together for just one five-on-five goal over last season’s 48-game schedule, but this season they have been on the ice for a pair of Henrik Zetterberg goals, a Tuomo Ruutu goal earlier this month and Nash’s first-period goal Friday.

- Lundqvist got some help from the iron surrounding him, as a couple of Bruins chances hit the post. First, a Chara bid in front off a pass from Bergeron beat Lundqvist high glove side but clanked off the post. In the second period, a Torey Krug shot from the point with Kelly in front appeared to grab some iron as well.

- Not a banner day for Reilly Smith, as he whiffed on a puck in the crease in the first period and was a bit out of position on McDonagh’s goal. Smith left the slot to chase the puck down low, but once he took a step the puck was fed high to McDonagh, who had space and a lane to fire a shot past Rask.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
Claude Julien’s take on why Steven Stamkos is more universally beloved than other superstars 11.25.13 at 1:19 pm ET
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Claude Julien singing Steven Stamkos‘ praises a couple weeks after visiting him in the hospital certainly isn’t the first case of the Lightning superstar being a welcomed guest in Boston.

Stamkos, who has twice been injured on Garden ice, has long been well-received around these parts, and he’s one of the few star players in the game who seems to be universally beloved.

Even prior to the Max Pacioretty incident, Zdeno Chara was booed every time he touched the puck in another building. Opposing stars get booed in other towns regularly, so what is it about Stamkos [for what it's worth, he is one of the nicest people in professional sports] that makes him adored everywhere?

Julien had an interesting answer.

“What’€™s kind of unfortunate about the boos and that [is] a lot of it is based on what happens on the ice,” Julien said. “And we know Steve is not a dirty player. But yet, you get Zdeno, who is a physical player, and yet both of those people are just as equally good people; they’€™re quality people, but the perception of one versus the other is different. So you see the same thing with all those players.

“People are always going to cheer and respect the players that are not physical; they just go out and score goals and play the game. But if you’€™re physical at all, and you’€™re throwing your body around and you’€™re gritty and everything else, then you’€™re not going to get that same treatment. That’€™s my explanation for that. Steve is one of those hard-working guys that works hard and will get in the dirty areas but he’€™s not known as a dirty player — and he’€™s not.”

There’s obviously a lot of grey area not addressed there, as non-physical stars are booed plenty, but that’s a pretty interesting take from Julien regarding why Chara gets the treatment he does in other buildings.

Read More: Claude Julien, Steven Stamkos, Zdeno Chara,
Claude Julien visited Steven Stamkos in hospital at 1:10 pm ET
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Steven Stamkos had a rough time the last time he was in Boston, as he broke his tibia in the second period of a Lightning loss on Nov. 11 and had to stay in town to get surgery.

The NHL’s third-leading goal-scorer (still) was off crutches Monday as he met the Tampa media, and he revealed that B’s coach Claude Julien paid him a visit while he was in the hospital. He also received a text message from Zdeno Chara wishing him well on behalf of the Bruins.

“I had him at the Olympic Camp and I got to know Steve the person,” Julien said after Monday’s morning skate. “When you look at what he is in the league and what he’€™s accomplished, to have that happen to him I thought it was just important to go by and see how he was doing. It was as simple as that.

“Again, it’€™s a guy ‘€“ I said that after the game ‘€“ he’€™s one of those players that people from all the different cities come up to watch and play and he’€™s one of the reasons we fill buildings and you hate to see that, from anybody’€™s point of view, to see a guy like that get injured that way. So I stopped by and he certainly feels like he wants that opportunity to represent his country and he’€™s going to do everything he can and I just went there and kind of showed my support.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, Steven Stamkos, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins bounce back to beat Ducks in shootout on Jarome Iginla goal 10.31.13 at 9:46 pm ET
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The Bruins bounced back from a bad start and picked up a 3-2 shootout win over the Ducks on Thursday at TD Garden. Jarome Iginla had the only goal of the shootout, ending a two-game losing streak for the B’s and improving them to 8-4-0 on the season.

Zdeno Chara tied the game with a power-play goal off a pass from David Krejci in front with 2:50 to play. The goal was Chara’s second of the season, and in picking up the primary assist Krejci managed to register at least one point for the 10th time in 12 games this season.

The Ducks got on the board in the first period when a Carl Soderberg defensive zone turnover led to a Devante Smith-Pelly goal just 1:52 into the game. It was a rough first period for the B’s, who were credited with one shot on goal but appeared to have none through the first 20 minutes.

The Bruins found both their legs and more chances in the second period, tying the game on a breakaway goal from Soderberg, but they surrendered a goal to Mathieu Perreault off a Gregory Campbell faceoff loss with 20.9 seconds left in the second, putting them behind once again going into the third period.

Johnny Boychuk left the game in the second period and did not return to the game. He played only three shifts in the second and missed the last 14:39 of the period. The reason for Boychuk’s absence is unknown.

The Bruins will try to make it two wins in a row Saturday when they take on the Islanders in New York.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

Ryan Spooner, who was called up Thursday, was able to produce in his first NHL game of the season. The 21-year-old earned his first career NHL point, as he got the secondary assist on Soderberg’s goal thanks to his breakout pass to Chris Kelly. He went first in the shootout and was stopped.

Spooner, who was one of the final cuts in training camp but was sent back largely because there wasn’t room for another center on the NHL roster, centered Kelly and Soderberg, with Jordan Caron sitting out as a healthy scratch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carl Soderberg, David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, Zdeno Chara
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