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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Game 38: Bruins get humiliated by Thrashers 5-0, are 18-16-4

This is getting hard to stomach. I know the team is hurt, but Boston College would probably be able to take more then 1 point out of 6 games. The Bruins came out looking like they wanted to win, but ended up scoring 5 goals on themselves. Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen was the only Thrasher that played exceptional hockey.

Early in the first period, Jeremy reich got into a fight with Thorburn. Reich won the fight early, but then Thorburn got an arm loose, punched Reich a couple times, and then got the takedown. 7 seconds later Shawn Thornton and Boulton squared off. Thornton got in one punch but then Boulton tackled him. The Bruins looked like they wanted to end the losing streak, but then decided against it.

With 12:10 remaining in the first, A terrible pass from Ference turned into a bad turnover that went straight to Perrin. Kozlov then received a pass and tiped in the puck. A minute and a half later, Alex Auld went very far from the net to gather a puck. He fell and then couldn't get back before Holik scored. Alex Auld blew it again later in the period when pascal Dupuis was able to stuff in a puck past Auld's leg pad. Alex Auld and the entire team was bad int he first period, and the Bruins found themselves down 3-0.

Tim Thomas came in to play the second period, and did a little better. The key word there being little. On the power play, kovalchuck's drive should have been saved by Thomas, and then later in the game a shot by Alexei Zhitnik went over the shoulder of Thomas.

The Bruins lost the game 5-0. Boston's first shutout against of the season. During this losing streak the bruins had always been in the game. They've all been somewhat close. Not this one. It's clear that they would love to have Muzz, Albie, or Ward back with them.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bochenski's story

Update 6:58PM: Axelsson and Auld are playing. Here are the lines that Fluto Shinzawa saw on the ice:




Bochenski's story: I had heard this from a fan at a Bruins game earlier this season, but I couldn't confirm it and didn't think it was true. NESN confirmed it last night. The reason Brandon Bochenski hasn't been playing much started last season. Last season, Bochenski quickly made a name for himself as a sniper, but he felt that he was too small and wasn't enough of a presence. Over the off-season, he decided to gain a lot of muscle weight so that he could be more of a presence around the net. He accomplished that goal, but in the process lost some of his speed. Claude Julien's current system requires speed and excellent play in all three zones.

Brandon Bochenski has been struggling this year, but last night played next to Axelsson and Savard and played well. he took plenty of shots. Tonight, with Murray still out, Bochenski will probably play alongside Savard. If he keeps shooting he'll score eventually. The fate of his new line-mate is undetermined though. Axelsson's throat is swollen and is a game-time decision. The lines will probably be near the same, and I have no idea whether Auld or Thomas will start tonight.

The Bruins need two wins over Atlanta. GO BRUINS!

Game 37: Bruins lose a tough one to the Hurricanes 4-3, are 18-15-4

It's these types of losses that sting. When everyone watching knows that the Bruins are the better team, but still lose. There is no doubt in my mind that if Bergeron and Murray, or ward and Alberts were in the game, that this would be a Bruins win. They were unavailable though. Blown opportunities (I'm talking about you Marco Sturm) and a very tired team in the third period led to the Bruins 5th straight loss.

One good sight in this game was the play of Brandon Bochenski, who did not shy away from shooting after being given a chance to play next to Savard. He hit the post early in the first period, but that was as close as he came. Under six minutes into the game, Tim Thomas saved a blast but then the rebound was put in by Rod Brind-Amor. A little later, Marc Savard got the puck while shorthanded and skated up the ice toward the net. The puck got caught in a defenseman's stick and squirted loose. Chuck Kobasew was right there, though, and shot in the puck, tying the game. Kobasew's second SH goal of the season. Carolina did answer. Right off a faceoff win, Mike Commodores drive scored. Tim Thomas didn't even see it.

In the second period, Carolina did something that I've never seen. They scored on a shorthanded penalty shot. That means that while on a Bruins power play, Carolina had a breakaway that was illegally stopped by Wideman. larose was awarded a penalty shot. He skated down the ice, deked and then shot a backhanded shot over Thomas and into the net. Right as this happened, Boston College beat Michigan State 24-21 in the Champs Sports Bowl

51 seconds into the third period, Marc Savard stole the puck and then passed to Axelsson, whose slap shot got the puck into the net. 3 minutes later, A carolina shot got by the defense and was put in by Eric Staal. A few seconds later, the Bruins answered when Phil Kessel, without the puck, instinctively went to the net. Meanwhile Milan Lucic got the puck and passed it to Kessel, who easily tipped it in. That wa the end of the scoring that this game saw. A few minutes after Kessel's goal, Commodore injured Axelsson with a check against the boards. Stuart came over and picked a fight with Commodore. Stuart was given a game misconduct (bullshit rule, everyone in the NHL hates it) and thus the defense was down to 5 guys (2 of them being AHL players that saw very little ice time). Both Chara (32 minutes) and wideman (33 minutes) were forced to play way too many minutes and were very tired at the end of the game. On top of that, Axelsson is now another injured Bruin (no timeline is currently available). Hopefully it is not a serious injury.

With Last night's loss, and both Montreal and Buffalo winning, the Bruins are now 4th in the division (7th in the conference). Coming up tonight and Monday is a home and home with the Atlanta Thrashers. The Bruins need two wins to finish out 2007. Tim Thomas did play well, but he's given up 11 goals in 3 games. It wouldn't surprise me if Auld was given the nod tonight.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A fun couple of days ahead

Tomorrow night (friday) the Bruins will play in North Carolina against the Hurricanes and then immediately travel to Atlanta to play the Thrashers on Saturday night. Also on Friday Boston College is playing their bowl game against Michigan State. That game is at 5 and will overlap with the Bruins. Luckily I have planned a way to watch both games at the same time (which I have done before, it's quite fun). On Saturday night the Patriots will play their 16th game of the season and continue their quest for the perfect season at the same time as the Bruins game. The Pats game will be nationally televised on NBC AND CBS (meanwhile ABC in Boston will also have the game). Once again I found out a way to watch both games at the same time. I will not, however, be able to watch the Celtics take on Utah on Saturday night at 9. I can live with that. So to recap what I get to watch these next two nights:

Friday: Boston College vs. Michigan State (5PM on ESPN) & Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes (7PM on NESN)
Saturday: Boston Bruins at Atlanta Thrashers (7PM on NESN) & New England Patriots at New York Giants (8PM on channel 4,5, or 7)

Now the news and pregame part. On paper the Bruins are in trouble. Glen Murray (hip flexor strain) and of course Patrice Bergeron (concussion) are out on offense, and Aaron Ward (broken foot), Andrew Alberts (post-concussion syndrome (unconfirmed)), and Bobby Allen (back Spasms) are out on defense. It's one thing to have injured players, it's another to have very key players get injured. Our defense will have 3 rookies (technically one rookie and 2 AHL players).

Here is my complete guess at what the lines will be:


Sobotka, in this scenario, would be the healthy scratch.
I would assume that the minutes for Ference, Wideman, and Chara would be very high. I doubt that Lashoff and Hunwick will have a lot of shifts together. They will play a lot, but I think that Ference, Chara, and Wideman will be rotating in with one or the other. At practice, Shinzawa reported in his blog that Bochenski was on the top line, Kobasew was on the 2nd line, and Schaefer on the third. Considering how Bochenski has been playing, and how well Schaefer and Kobasew have been down the stretch, I think Julien will tweak the lines to something closer to what I've got. Tim Thomas will probably start in North Carolina, and then his performance will determine who starts in Atlanta.

Update: Fluto Shinzawa has confirmed that Bochenski is starting next to Savvy and Axelsson, and that Tim Thomas is starting. So the lines should be:



Montreal beat Tampa tonight so the pressure is on this injured Bruins team to win and stay in second place. Go Bruins!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How are the 2007-2008 Boston Bruins doing?

Merry Christmas everyone! So you've hopefully gotten something you wanted and have given something that someone else wanted. So sit back, relax, and read away. Here's a description by the President of Bruins Nation of how every Bruin is doing so far (listed in numerical order by jersey number).

6. Dennis Wideman - Last season the Bruins traded Brad Boyes for Wideman at the trade deadline in hopes of getting some much needed defense. It didn't work. Wideman didn't fit the Dave Lewis system. This season, however, has been a completely different story. Wideman has been a great reliable defenseman. His puck handling has been very good and a great addition to the power play unit alongside Chara. Wideman currently has a 4-11-15 line in 35 games, has a +5, and has been getting near 30 minutes of ice time as of late.

10. Brandon Bochenski - Sort of the opposite of Dennis Wideman. Last season Bochenski was acquired for Kris Verteeg and all of sudden started scoring. But this year he's not been playing well under Julien. Despite all the injuries the Bruins have faced Bochenski has only dressed for half the games this season and has a very weak 0-6-6 line. His ice time during the games that he has played has been very low. Hopefully Bochenski will break through like he did last season, but if he doesn't I'd much rather a Nokelainen or Reich in his spot.

11. PJ Axelsson - This swede is and always has been a great forward that any team would be lucky to have. He hasn't been getting the credit he deserves from Bruins fans though. Axelsson, who is a great defensive forward, allows Savard and Murray to take risks with the puck because they know PJ always has their back. Axelsson has played in every game thus far and has a 6-7-13 line with a +9.

12. Chuck Kobasew - When I saw Kobasew at camp I knew this season would be different. Last year he was hurt and unable to perform well, but this season his skating and puck handling are very crisp. He spent some time next to Axelsson on the penalty kill and has really done well next to Metropolit (and hopefully will continue to do well next to Bergeron when he comes back). Kobasew is +6 on the season, leads the team with 13 goals, and has a 13-6-19 line while playing in every game thus far.

13. Glen Metropolit - This center came into training camp without a contract. He somehow made the team, disapointing the many other centers in the Bruins system. Metro has been nothing but a success here. When Bergeron went down I thought Phil Kessel would step up, he didn't. It was Glen Metropolit who filled in on the second line and has been the center for Bruins goal scorers Chuck Kobasew and Marco Sturm. Metropolit has played in every game this season, is a +5, and has a 7-8-15 line.

16. Marco Sturm - Sturm is on pace for another 20+ goal season and will only improve when Bergeron comes back. Sturm is a power play guy and has done very well with Metro and Kobasew during even stregnth play. Sturm is second on the team in points with 23. Sturm has played in 35 games, is a +6, and has an 11-12-23 line.

17. Milan Lucic - Claude Julien saw something in this 19 year old during training camp, and I'm glad he did. The player who was supposed to be captain of the Vancouver Giants is now a valuable member of the Boston Bruins. Lucic is a fan favorite for one reason. In 31 games this season Lucic has 8 fights. Not only has Lucic gotten into 8 fights, but he's won them too. This 19 year old has gone up against league heavyweights and has shown them who's boss. Lucic's ice time has only been getting larger this season, and the comparisons to Cam Neely have already started. Lucic is currently a +1 and has a 3-4-7 line.

21. Andrew Ference - A speedy defensemen who can handle the puck and make plays, something every team wants. Ference has been a little injury prone this season but hopefully he can stay healthy and be a large part of this Bruins team. He's best next to Alberts but can play with anybody, including Chara (he balances out Chara's lack of puck-handling skills). Ference in 20 games is a +1 and has a 0-7-7 line.

22. Shawn Thornton - This winger got to hold the Stanley Cup last June, and hopefully this June he'll do it again. Thornton had to miss 21 games due to a broken foot but finally was able to return on Saturday. He made his appearence known by dropping the gloves against DJ King. So far Thronton has played his role very well in the games that he has been in. Thornton is an energy line tough guy. He's gotten into five fights in 15 games played. I think he, Reich, and Lucic are competing. Lucic is currently winning. Thornton has zero points so far, however, and has contributed next to nothing on offense. Hopefully, now back from injury, Thornton can pick up his scoring abilities while keeping his fighting spirit.

27. Glen Murray - The Bruins first round pick in 1991 is showing once again why he has always been on Boston's top line. Murray has a scoring touch that Savard knows very well. The two of them have made a great pair and hopefully can both stay healthy. Glen Murray has a 10-9-19 line in 34 games. That's over a point every other game. I would have thought the 35 year old would have slowed down by now but he hasn't, and Bruins Nation is loving it.

29. Alex Auld - First Manny Fernandez went down, and then Tim Thomas went down for two weeks. The Bruins needed a goalie and Tuuka Rask still is not good enough. Peter Chiarelli made the trade and got Auld from the Phoenix Coyotes. Still with his Coyotes mask and pads on, Alex Auld is 4-3-0 with a 1.87 Goals-against-average and has a 94% save percentage! Now that Tim Thomas is back, hopefully Thomas will play most of the games with Alex Auld giving him some worry-free rest time when he needs it.

30. Tim Thomas - Everyone thought Manny Fernandez would be the number one goalie. Everyone was wrong. Tim Thomas has come in once again and has proved how good he really is. Tim Thomas has made key save after key save after key save all season long. The 33 year old is here to stay, and I hope he stays for a long time. This season TT is 10-8-3 with a 2.26 GAA and a 93.2 save percentage. that save percantage is the best in the league among goalies with enough games played. Tim Thomas is not on the ballot this year, but everyone should write him in. TT deserves to go to the all-star game.

33. Zdeno Chara - It's always tough to write about Chara. Sometimes he's the 7 million dollar man that Bruins Nation wants, and sometimes he's worthless. I think Chra is having a good year. He's played so many minutes and has an impressive 5-16-21 line in all 36 games. He is a +1, which is weak for a number one defenseman, and is a very poor puck handler. It's just his weakness. Chara is a strong tough competitive guy, who is a great team captain, but he has trouble handling the puck. Heck his eyes are so far away from the puck I don't blame him. Anyway, I'll take his huge hits and league-fastest shot if it means a few mistakes with the puck anyday.

35. Manny Fernandez - Not at all worth Petr Kalus and 2009's 4th round pick. He needed surgery and his out for the season. Not only that but it turns out he is significantly worse then Tim Thomas. Claude Julien gave Fernandez 4 games (3 of them were gifts because Julien kept wanting Fernandez to get out of his slump, it's too bad he didn't) to show what he's got and Manny went 2-2-0 with a 3.93 Gaa and an 83% save percentage. He did have one game against New York. It was a shutout. but he gave up 16 goals in the three other games. With Thomas, Auld, and Rask, it's okay that Fernandez is out for the season and I hope he gets better so that we can trade him for someone valuable.

37. Patrice Bergeron - Fuck you Randy Jones!!! A blatant cheap shot with the intent to injure Bergeron, and it worked. Jones severely hurt Bergeron and all of Bruins Nation is suffering. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bruins would have an even better record now if Bergeron was with the Bruins. Bergeron is such a key member of the team. His power play skill and his set up ability with kobasew and Sturm next to him on the second line would have gotten the Bruins plenty of goals. In 10 games Bergeron had a 3-4-7 line. Currently nobody knows whether Bergeron will be able to come back this season or not. He is slowly working out again now and all of Bruins Nation wants a healthy Bergeron.

38. Bobby Allen - Allen's role is to be the 7th defenseman. It sounds mean, but he just isn't as good as the other defenseman on the team. Allen's gotten some ice time this year because Ward, Alberts, and Ference have all been out at some point or another, but hasn't done much with it. He's dependable if needed, but hopefully we won't need him that much (sorry Allen). Allen has played in 15 games this season.

40. Tuuka Rask - Tuuka Rask, in his four games playing as a Bruin, has proved to me that he is a very valuable prospect, and will one day make a great NHL goalie. That day is not tomorrow though. Tuuka Rask has a great eye for the puck, and has very good reflexes (like all NHL goalies) but he is too conservative. He doesn't take risks to save the puck. All the great NHL goalies leave the net when they need to. Rask never does. That allows shooters to see more of the net and aim their shots better. Confidence will come with experience, and there is no doubt in my mind that when Tim Thomas's age catches up to him, Tuuka Rask will be able to keep the Bruins winning.

41. Andrew Alberts - Alberts just like last season has been a dependable 4th defenseman for the Bruins. He plays best when next to Ference, and numbers wise hasn't had a bad year. Mike Hartnell almost took his head off when he hit Alberts while Alberts was on his knees. Alberts seemed fine but is now suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Hopefully he'll be back soon. In 32 games Alberts has 2 assists and is a +4.

44. Aaron Ward - Aaron Ward when healthy has been playing very well for the Bruins. He just broke his foot though a couple days ago. I don't know how long he'll be out. Ward has been in for 29 games this season and has a 2-5-7 line with an impressive +5. He started off the season playing next to Chara but I thnk he'll be playing with Stuart when he comes back. Wideman has been playing so well that he'll probably take over the role as Chara's sidekick.

45. Mark Stuart - Boston's first round pick in 2003 is finally something of value to the Bruins. We all waited very long for this guy to make it, and he finally has. Mark Stuart has played in every Bruins game thus far and is a +5. He's only got one goal, but he's not a goal scorer. He's a young defenseman who is still learning and who is getting increasing amount of ice time as the season progresses.

46. David Krejci - After David Krejci's phenominal performance in the AHL playoffs last season, and after proving himself at camp, Krejci was given a roster spot. He played 12 games with the Bruins before Julien had enough, and sent him to Providence in favor of Nokelainen. In those 12 games, Krejci had only 3 assists and had a -3. Krejci was a disapointment, but he'll get better in Providence and will be valuable someday soon.

48. Matt Hunwick - With all the defensive injuries the Bruins have suffered, it's good to know we have some guys we can call upon when we need them. Matt Hunwick was one of the last players cut from training camp and there's a reason for it. Hunwick is a skilled 22 year old dfenseman who has a bright future. He's played in 10 games for Boston and is a reliable backup when the Bruins need more then just Bobby Allen to fill in for injured guys.

49. Matt Lashoff - The Bruins 2005 first round pick has just been recalled because Ward and Alberts are injured. Lashoff has played alongside Allen the past two games. I don't know why Lashoff is up over Hunwick but Chiarelli and Julien thought it best. Lashoff has apparently been very good in providence. In 3 games with the Bruins, Lashoff has one assist and is a +1.

53. Jeremy Reich - Last year's fan favorite started this season on the bench. The Bruins already had two fighters on the ice (lucic and Thornton) so a third wasn't needed. When Thronton broke his foot, Reich started playing and immediately assumed his role as the team tough guy. In 24 games Reich has 6 fights, a goal (his first NHL goal, it was on December 15th), and an assist. Reich proved himself to Claude Julien and now, even though Thornton is back, Reich is still in the lineup.

56. Petteri Nokelainen - Over the offseason the Bruins traded Ben Walter for Petteri Nokelainen. Nokelainen started the season in Providence, but 12 games in, when Krejci wasn't working out with the team, Nokelainen was called up and has been with the Bruins since. In those 24 games, Nokelainen has scored 4 goals and has an assist. Any given night, wither he or Kessel plays center while the other plays right wing. Currently it's Kessel as the right wing (next to Savard because Murray is injured) and Nokelainen as a center. That should change soon when Murray comes back.

60. Vladimir Sobotka - This 20 year old Czech hasn't done anything too flashy but has done one important thing for the Bruins. Now that Bergeron is out, Sobotka has been brought up to play center, allowing either Nokelainen or Kessel to play right wing. Sobotka, who has played 13 games so far, has been improving with each game. His ice time has also drastically increased (4 minutes on December 18th, 10 minutes on Sunday). When Bergeron comes back, Sobotka will probably be demoted, but until then this kid is for real and is here to stay.

72. Peter Schaefer - Whether one thinks Schaefer has been a good acquisition or not depends solely on what one thought Schaefer was going to do here. We traded Shean Donovan for him and basically Peter Schaefer has turned into a slightly better Shean Donovan. At the begining of the season, I thought Schaefer would play alongside Savard and Murray. He didn't fit into that role, but has been a very successful third-liner. Schaefer has played in all 36 games this season and has an impressive 6-11-17 line (tied for 6th on the team in points).

81. Phil Kessel - The Bruins 2006 first round pick is having sort of a good year. Stats wise he's looking very good and is off to a very impressive season for a second year player, but it seems like coach Julien is coming down hard on the 20 year old. Every now and then (including last Sunday) Julien just benches or significantly reduces the kid's ice time. If you look at the number, though, Kessel is having a great season. Kessel has played in all 36 games and has a 9-8-17 line. He is a very poor -7 on the season however. Once Kessel becomes more comfortable with Julien's system he should be more successful in the +/- category.

91. Marc Savard - Last year's one star is off to another great year. With Murray and Axelsson by his sides Savvy is a more-than-one point per game center. Hopefully this season the NHL will send him to the all-star game, which he deserves to go to. Savard did start off the season a little slow, but got out of his funk and is doing well. Marc Savard in 35 games has an 8-31-39 line and leads the team in points by 16.

Well folks, that's everyone. Thanks for reading and I hope all members of Bruins Nation have an excellent holiday season!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Game 36: Bruins lose the rematch in Pittsburgh 4-2, are 18-14-3

With the same weird lines as Saturday (except Hunwick in for Allen) the Bruins went into Pittsburgh looking for a win before their Christmas vacation. Alex Auld played yesterday afternoon instead of Thomas, and was exceptional, but great goaltending won't do anything unless there are goal-scorers in front of you. Luckily the Patriots, who were playing at the same time, got a win. They beat the Dolphins 28-7. I managed to watch both games at the same time (I had two TV's in front of my couch for the afternoon).

The Bruins, despite what the score and Saturday's game would have you think, did want it. Early in the first period, Axelsson put in the rebound from Chara's drive and the Bruins had the lead going into the second. The Penguins then scored three times in a row. First was Gary Roberts putting in a great pass from Georges Laraque. Then on the power play, Evgeni Malkin managed to score high blocker side. And 30 seconds later, Gary Roberts passed across the ice to Laraque who tipped it past Auld and the Penguins were out of nowhere up by 2. The Bruins payed really aggressively for the rest of the second period, but were pretty flat in the thrid until it was too late. With under a minute left and auld on the bench, Nokelainen redirected Peter Shaefer's shot between the legs of Conklin. But it was too little too late and the Penguins won 4-2 when Roberts got an empty net goal.

2 things: 1. I'm very disapointed that Chara and Laraque didn't fight again and 2. I just want to point out that everyone believes this team is better then last year's, but after 36 games last season the Bruins had 41 points. this season we only have 40.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of Bruins Nation from your president. Come back tomorrow if you want to do some Christmas reading. I plan on writing a little bit on how every player is doing this season.

Game 35: Bruins lose to Blues 4-1, are 18-13-4

Not a good way to end the home-stand. Five games at home and they go 1-3-1. Bad defense in front of Tim Thomas was the reason this one went south. The offense produced chances, but they just couldn't find the back of the net. Worst of all was the game that Zdeno Chara had. he scored the lone goal but still managed to have -4 on the night (meaning he was on the ice for all four St Louis goals. bad refs contributed to this one too. It was just an all around bad game at the Garden.

The game began with some odd lines for the Bruins. Glen Murray and Aaron Ward were put on IR. Murray suffered a hip flexor injury and will be out for at least a week. Meanwhile Aaron Ward broke his foot at practice (no idea how long he'll be out, but this means that the Bruins are definitely shopping for a defenseman after christmas.) so the lines were:



In the middle of the first period, Stempniak scored when Chara completely screened Tim Thomas. It was an easy shot to save but nobody can make the save when a 6'9" giant is in front of you. In the second period, Milan Lucic beat up Jackman. Jackman had been acting like a Jack-ass and Lucic crushed him. Punch after punch landed until jackman fell to the ice. the refs were awful in the second period, meanwhile, Andy Brickley and jack Edwards were hilarious about it. They were talking on the air about how they thought the refs were on drugs and hallucinating. With 5 minutes left in the second period, Shawn Thornton (back after missing 22 games) got into a long fight with DJ King. They both traded punches until they ran out of gas. This fight sparked St Louis, however, as Boyes a few minutes later scored his 21st of the season. I still support the Wideman for Brad Boyes trade because Wideman has been playing great and because Boyes was really struggling, but he's doing so well this season that it's tough not to shake your head. We still like you Wideman, don't worry.

Anyway, now down two in the third, Wideman's drive on the power play was blocked, but Chara, who was standing right next to the net, tipped it in. A little later while playing 4 on 4, however, Chara completely blew his coverage and Mayers scored on a 2 on 1 odd man rush. Keith Tkachuk scored an empty net goal and the Bruins lost to the Blues 4-1. The Bruins only had 24 hours to rest until going to Pittsburgh for their rematch against the Penguins.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Game 34: Bruins lose a great game against the Penguins in the shootout 5-4, are 18-12-4

This game looked like it was going to be a disaster. I can't pin point what it was besides just poor defense that led to the Penguins having a 4-0 second period lead. And Tim Thomas, who is back after missing a bunch of games with a groin injury, looked a little cold in the shootout. But the great comeback and the shootout was not what everyone was talking about after this game. Everyone was talking about Sidney Crosby, who recorded a Gordie Howe Hat-trick (goal, assist, and a fight). Crosby and Ference dropped the gloves, which I'll describe later in the post.

One minute into the game, the Bruins gave up the puck with some very sloppy defense, and Evgeni Malkin came up with it. Malkin put the moves on Thomas and scored. A little later, Sidney Crosby managed ot neak one by Tim Thomas's pad to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Some more sloppy defense led to Pittsburgh intercepting a pass in the Bruins zone. Once again Evgeni Malkin came up with the puck and rocketed a shot by TT. Then all the fun happened.

Right after the Penguins went up by three, Zdeno Chara and Georges Laraque got into a fight. They both got in a punch before Chara tackled Laraque. Both were penalized with a delay of game penalty. As soon as the two stepped out of the box, they placed (not dropped) their gloves onto the ice and started another fight. Laraque came in with the first punch and missed, Chara returned a punch right to the face. Then Laraque (who's very strong if you didn't know) tackled Chara to the ice. I'd call it an overall draw. They gave fighting majors after the second one even though it was weaker then the first. So the first period ended with the Penguins up 3-0. But early in the first, things really heated up when Ference and Crosby went at it. It wasn't a great fight but it was just two guys you never expected to see a fight with. (a true lightweight match-up) So both of them got in some good punches, Ference had a little more then Crosby land so I'm giving him the win, however, Crosby did leave Ference a bit bloodied.

The scoring continued for the Pens in the middle of the second. During 4 on 4 hockey, Christensen redirected in a drive to give the Penguins what seemed to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead. Not for the Bruins though. With 4 minutes left in the period on the power play, Sturm redirectd a drive from Ference to put the Bruins on the board. Then with 2 minutes left in the period, while shorthanded, Jeremy Reich won a faceoff and sent the puck to Axelsson who fired a shot into the net.

In the third period, the Bruins came within one when Andrew Ference's drive got a little help trickling into the net by Petteri Nokelainen. So it's 4-3 Penguins. With 3 minutes left in the game, Marco Sturm on the power play near the corner passed it to center ice where Wideman wwas just waiting to wind up a shot. Well his shot went in and the game was tied at 4!!!

The highlights ended there as Christensen and Letang both managed to score in the shootout while Sturm and Kessel got nothing. A real good point though! Which puts the Bruins at 40 points. 40 points in 34 games is a strong start!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Game 33: Bruins drop another one to the division leader 3-2, are 18-12-3

Ottawa and Montreal just have our number this season. Division games are way to important to let ones like this slip away. Fisher was injured and Ottawa has been cold recently. We needed to come out firing. Not only did the Bruins offense not create plays to score, but the defense did a great job to help them. The Bruins had numerous breakaways and odd man rushes. Auld had a pretty good game as well. Tim Thomas was okay to play but coach Julien decided to give him one more game to rest and put in Alex Auld, who had just come off a shutout win.

With seven minutes left in the first period, Jason Spezza's hard shot in front of Auld went in. One minute later the Bruins answer. Glen Metropolit stole the puck and fed it to Kobasew who scored on a breakaway. I was at the game and the friend I went with is a huge Chuck Kobasew fan. He loved it.

Very quickly in the middle of the second the Senators went up by two. The first goal occured when Richardson was able to bang in a loose puck, and the second was just a great play by Jason Spezza on the power play. He managed to get a shot off right next to Auld, and then get his own rebound and score. I know everyone already knows how good Spezza is, but I'll say it anyway, he's a great hockey player. Ottawa has such a good team. They're loyal players too. A bunch of them took below market contracts in order to keep everyone in Ottawa. Their Roster is stacked. Anyway the bruins did give us fans some hope. Very late in the third, Schaefer passed the puck up to Wideman on an odd man rush, Wideman then passed it back to Lucic who scored. This happened with a minute left int he game. The Bruins went on full attack mode, and Chara didn't blow it like he did 5 days earlier, but the Bruins were unable to tie it. Thus the Senators continue their domination over the Bruins this season with a 3-2 win.

Game 32: Bruins beat Blue Jackets 2-0, are 18-11-3

Right out of the gate everyone in bruins Nation knew this would be a good game. Immediately Boll, a true heavyweight fighter known around the NHL, and Boston's new hero Milan Lucic dropped the gloves. Lucic pummeled Boll. He punched him hard and often until he was able to take him down to the ice. A very convincing win for the 19 year old. The Saturday night garden crowd must have loved it.

The Bruins quickly responded. And it was the other fighter to do so. Jeremy Reich got his first NHL goal 3 minutes into the first period when he put in the puck from Nokelainen. Alex Auld and the Bruins defense went on to play great hockey for the Bruins and secured the Bruins first shutout of the season. Marco Sturm recorded an empty net power play goal to give the Bruins a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets!

Game 31: Bruins lose to Devils 3-1 in snowy Boston, are 17-11-3

The snow came tumbling down, as did the Bruins winning streak. I was one of 9 (no really, the Garden was empty) fans who trekked to TD Banknorth Garden despite the blizzard coming down. Yes it took 2 and a half hours, but I never let Bruins tickets go to waste. When the Garden is sold out, the games are amazing to watch. The atmosphere is great. When the games are empty, it's also a lot of fun. I had a Bruins game all to myself. Anyway, the Bruins were kind of flat. Sloppy defense and lazy playmaking led to Brodeur and the guys in front of him beating the Bruins. I guess if there is anyone to hand Auld his first loss as a Bruin, it's Martin Brodeur.

In the first period, Milan Lucic beat up David Clarkson. It was sort of an even fight to the right of the Bruins net when Milan Lucic landed a huge punch. Out of sympathy the refs ended the fight there.

Nothing happened until the middle of the second period when Brian Gionta beat Andrew Ference on the outside. Gionta skated all the way to the net to score on Auld. Then just a few minutes later on a New Jersey power play, Langenbrunner scored on a hard shot. He just found an open lane and took it. There was a glimpse of hope when the Bruins started playing aggressive in the third. On the power play Marc Savard scored, but then the Bruins mustered all of four shots. Losing in the third period the Bruins shot only 5 shots. A real poor effort. New Jersey put the game away when Zdeno Chara, who has been handling the puck very poorly as of late, gave away the puck in the Bruins zone with an empty net. The Devils put the puck in net easily and the Devils won 3-1.

Game 30: Bruins win a good one in Atlanta 5-3, are 17-10-3

The unsung heroes were the story of this Bruins comeback win. Marc Recchi picked the B's apart, but the Bruins buckled down and came away with the win. The 3rd and 4th lines were fantastic, and responsible for 4 of the 5 goals. Meanwhile Alex Auld never stopped making save after save.

Late in the first period, the Bruins scored first when Petteri Nokelainen tipped in a pass from Brandon Bochenski. The Bruins went up by two when, early in the 2nd, Peter Schaefer deflected Andrew Ference's drive into the net. Mark Recchi took over from there, scoring twice in the period to tie the game. The Thrashers then took the lead late in the 2nd period with a hard shot by Kovalchuck.

The Bruins turned it around there and managed to get the momentum back heading into the locker room. With about a minute left in the period, Milan Lucic (who finished the game with a +3) intercepted a pass in the Thrashers zone and passed it across to Glen Murray. Murray snapped in the puck and the game was tied. Late in the third period, Milan Lucic again came up big when he stuffed in a rebound to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead. Savvy scored an empty-netter to secure a 5-3 Bruins win over the Thrashers.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My apologies Bruins Nation

I'm sorry I'm so behind. I have so much work that my fanship is suffering. I'll catch up soon, I promise.

Anyway, the Bruins look to bounce back from their tough loss to Ottawa tonight at the Garden. This will be one of the very few Thursday home games that I'm not attending. Tim Thomas is back in net tonight. Alex Auld did a fantastic job backing him up! Pittsburgh has the exact opposite problem. Marc-Andre Fleury is out with an injury and now their putting in a back-up. Hopefully their guy is no Alex Auld.

Andrew Albertsis out again. He's most likey suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Besides for that everyone's ready to go. Bochenski and Hunwick will probably be the scratches.

Also, New York Islander Chris Simon has been suspended 30 games for stepping on Jarko Ruutu. Chris Simon is a dirty player who missed the end of last season with a suspension and now won't be eligible to play until late February. The Boston Globe had a good article in which they wrote that the only player to have a longer punishment was a Bruins who in the 1920's punched a referee and was banned from hockey. The NHL is having a lot of trouble with players injuring others on purpose this season. NYI hasn't been the top offender, that infamous award goes to Philly.

Anyway, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are in Boston. GO BRUINS!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

VERY VERY VERY heavy snow

The Bruins won last night 5-3. It was a great comeback win in Atlanta. I'll have the game summary up sometime tomorrow.

Tonight the Bruins take on the New Jersey Devils at the garden. Driving conditions are miserable so I'm ditching work and leaving for the game now (3 hours early). GO BRUINS!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another two games in two nights for the Bruins

Tonight the Bruins take on the Atlanta Thrashers in Atlanta. Tomorrow they take on the New Jersey Devils at TD Banknorth Garden. I'll be at the Garden tomorrow, hopefully watching the Bruins beat the very hot Devils.

Anyway, the Bruins are winning them one game at a time, and so now they are only concerned with Atlanta. According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe, Sobotka, Ference, and Ward are back in the lineup. Hunwick, Allen, and Marco Sturm (his eye hurt from Monday night's game when he took a puck to the face, he should be back tomorrow) will not play tonight. Alex Auld will also be starting in net again. Whether Auld or Rask starts tomorrow is unknown.

Here's my guess at the lineups:


*I know that Bochenski and Schaefer are more likely candidates but Lucic had a fantastic game against Buffalo. The two goals that he had assists on were great plays. He was in a sence responsible for both goals. Julien might reward him tonight.

Also, Doug Most of the Boston Globe sent me this article. It's about Willie O'ree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Game 29: Bruins beat Sabres 4-1, are 16-10-3

Tonight's game was won by the unsung heros on this team. The stars (Chara and Savard) had great games, but the key was the little guys, who have been playing really well this season. Those little guys include PJ Axelsson, Milan Lucic, Dennis Wideman, and Glen Metropolit. All four had great games, and when the end of this season rolls around, could be 7th player award candidates (along with Chuck Kobasew and Tim Thomas). Alex Auld also had a great game. He had 44 saves. THis may seem like a lot of work by the new goalie, but the Bruins defense did play well. They gave up a lot of shots, but very few quality ones. It's a classic example of a bend but don't break defense. The Patriots do the same thing. The other team starts to drive, but adjustments are made and the Patriots can usually stop them before they score a touchdown. We're talking hockey though. One not so good thing about this game was the lack of shots. Only 21 times did the Bruins test Ryan Miller. Miller has been struggling this season (as proven Monday night) and the more shots the better.

The Bruins started everything early in the first period. In the Sabres zone, Glen Murray's pressure on the defensemen who had the puck led to a sloppy pass that was intercepted by Marc Savard. Savard shot and scored (starting a new point streak) and the Bruins were up 1-0. A minute later, Marc Savard in the Sabres corner centered it to PJ Axelsson who scored, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Spacek's rebound late in the period brought Buffalo within one, but the Bruins answered. A minute later, Milan Lucic made a great play, stealing the puck in the Sabres zone and then dishing it to Schaefer. Schaefer then scored on a nice shot. Didn't hear to many "lets go Buffalo" chants after that. The Bruins insurance goal came in the third period, when Milan Lucic managed somehow to get Zdeno Chara's rebound. Lucic's shot hit off of Miller's pad and bounced to Metropolit, who easily backhanded it into the net.

That 4-1 win put the Bruins in 4th place in the NHL standings. They're still not getting respect by this town's media though. I was listening to WEEI and one caller took on Dale & Holly. He called and said they should spend some more time on the surging Bruins. Dale & Holly asked what he would like to talk about and the caller replied by saying that he was very impressed with Dennis Wideman. It was a great call. Bruins fans need to keep calling into WEEI. I hate hearing every detail about the Celtics latest win, but nothing on the Bruins win. The Bruins are a very good team and should be treated as such. 35 points in 29 games is very impressive for an injured team. This team (currently without Bergeron, Ward, Ference, Thornton, Fernandez, and Thomas) is on pace for 99 points.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Game 28: Bruins with the help of a Coyote beat the Maple Leafs 2-1, are 15-10-3

I take that back. He's a Bruin!!! Alex Auld, still wairing his Coyotes mask and pads, took on a streaking Maple Leafs team in Toronto and beat them. No longer is he a Coyote. Alex Auld recorded 25 saves, and with an injured Bruins defense in front of him (they nevertheless played extremely well) is currently 1-0-0.

In the first period, Toronto struck first when a drive by Jason Blake wnet through Auld. The Bruins immediately answered two minutes later on the power play. Chuck Kobasew (who leads the team in goals) scored it when his snap shot went through Toskala. The Bruins won the game in the second period when Denis Wideman's very very very long drive went into the net.

The rest of the game was all very exciting play from the Bruins. Surprisingly good was the Bruins penalty kill. Statistically one of the worst in the league, the Bruins penalty kill came up big with two late stops of the Leafs power play unit. The only bad thing to come out of this game was that Marc Savard's 12 game point streak ended.

The Bruins are in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres. Those still on the injury list inlcude: Thornton, Allen, Ference, Thomas, Fernandez, Sobotka, and Bergeron. Ference might play as soon as Wednesday, and Thornton & Sobotka are skating and are likely to come back soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Game 27: Bruins drop 4th game of the season to the Canadiens 4-2, are 14-10-3

Real awful stuff throughout most of the game is what I saw. I don't know how anyne can take any positives out of Thursday night's game. THe fans knew it too. The people walking out of the Garden looked pretty disgusted at the play of the Bruins. It's a rivalry game. A big one! The players showed up to play briefly in the second period, but besides for that the ice was covered with Habs domination. One could make the argument that the globe writer covering the game made that Montreal had been in Boston for 3 days while the Bruins had been in Boston for 9 hours, but I don't buy it. It was really just a poor game.

The defense crumbled in the first period. They left Tuuka out to dry. I hate throwing the rookie under the bus, but Tuuka Rask also had a very poor game in net. This game would have ended 2-0 or 2-1 with the Bruins winning had Thomas been in net. Rask just is not aggressive enough to play in the NHL. He needs more Providence experience. He needs to leave the net more, and attack the shots. He's leaving to much of the net open by playing so close in. You can't win when your defense and goalie don't show up.

The first period was all Montreal. Very sloppy defense led to three Canadiens goals. Two of them were very save-able. Jeremy Reich tried to fire up the team by looking for a guy to fight. A couple Habs pussies (I mean players) just skated away from Reich but Francis Bouillon decided to take on Reich. What happened next shocked me! Reich got in some good punches toward the beginning, but Bouillon managed to get Reich into a very bad position and pummeled him. When Reich recovered Bouillon tackled him to the ice. It was the first time I've ever seen Jeremy Reich lose a fight.

In the second period the Bruins came out of the locker room on fire. They switched up their game to put more pressure on the oposing puck carrier and it worked. Montreal managed only 3 shots in the entire period. The Bruins got two pucks past Price in this period. The first one was a power play drive by Denis Wideman that was redirected into the net by Phil Kessel. The other one was a great play by Marc Savard to find PJ Axelsson on the other side of the net, who easily tipped in the puck. Marc Savard recorded an assist and now has a 12 game point streak. The Bruins had the momentum going into the third period, but they didn't use it. They held back. There was no urgency to score. That lack of intensity led to Mathieu Dandenault having an easy shot to put the Habs ahead by two. Once again, Tuuka should have had it.

The Bruins need to put this one behind them as they head north of the border to play Toronto. Alex Auld will be in net. The Bruins got the 6 foot 5 inch goalie from Phoenix just a few days ago. Aaron Ward will also be back from injury tonight to help out the struggling defense. GO BRUINS!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Game 689 tonight

The Montreal Canadiens are coming to town to face the Boston Bruins for the 689th time. Montreal has 30 points, the Bruins have 31 points. Boston has also played one fewer game.

Tim Thomas (lower body), Manny Fernandez (back), and Jordan Sigalet (MS symptoms) are injured and the Bruins needed someone to back up Tuuka Rask. So the Bruins went out and aquired Alex Auld from Pheonix for Nate DiCasmirro and a fifth round pick in the 2009 draft. I'm not sure who Julien will play, but I'd be surprised if it was Auld. If Tuuka rask gets the nod, it will be his first career start in Boston, and his first action in the biggest rivalry in hockey.

I'll be at the game tonight, the lines should look like this:




I think technically Stuart has been paired with Chara, but Wideman and Chara have seen a ton of minutes together. Bochenski has been the healthy scratch recently. He could be in the lineup tonight. Whoever Julien play in net, he will probably face Carey Price.

The Habs took games one, two, and three, so if the Bruins want to win the season series they have to win the rest of them. The rest of them start tonight!!!

(P.S. some big news in the NHL coming yesterday: Scott Neidermayer has decided to come back and play for the Ducks for the rest of the season)

Game 26: Bruins suffer at the hands of a very hot Devils team by means of a 4-3 overtime loss, are 14-9-3

I thought we were going to end the Devils win streak. Especially after that first period I thought that the rest of the league would see how good the Bruins are. But no. The Bruins blew it. A huge lead and they lost it. There were small positives, and the Bruins didn't lose because of the lack of effort, but rather they lost because New Jersey stepped up. Their top line of Gionta, Parise, and Elias along with Martin Brodeur stuck together and beat a good Bruins team.

The first period was all Bruins. 6 minutes in, Chara's drive started the scoring for the Bruins. Then in the middle of the period, Glen Murray had a great interception in the Devils zone and fired off a shot past Brodeur. Things got a little physical after that when Jeremy Reich and Arron Asham started throwing punches. Asham got a few in at the beginning and Reich ended with a couple good counter-attacks. I'll give the edge to Reich, but the argument could be made that it was a draw. Either way it seemed to spark the Bruins even more. A few minutes later, Marc Savard passed the puck across the ice to Denis Wideman in the Devils zone. Wideman took a big slap shot and scored, giving the Bruins a 3-0 lead.

The Devils, as previously mentioned, did come back. Early in the second, Elias tipped in a puck to put the Devils within two. Then later in the period Zach Parise shoved a puck in on the power play to make it a 3-2 game. the Bruins offense was there the entire time though. Marc Savard (who got his point streak up to 11 games with a first period assist) made a couple great plays, but no pucks got by Brodeur. Late in the third, Brookbank's shot from the blue line was deflected into the net by Zach Parise and the game was tied.

Then the Bruins worst nightmare occured. Tim Thomas went down with a lower body injury with under two minutes to play. Tuuka Rask, who was not at all properly warmed up, had to take over in OT.

We all know how that worked out. A shot by Patrick Elias went by Rask and the Devils won. It was a saveable shot, but I don't blame the not-warmed-up rookie for letting it in.

The Bruins are now sixth in the standings. Zdeno Chara played a season high 33:14 last night in New Jersey. We'll see how Claude Julien uses him tonight at the Garden against Montreal.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some words

I'm finally all caught up. Due to a never-ending workload I have been unable to post the game summaries in a timely fashion. I am now all caught up and am looking forward to tonight's game in New Jersey, and then Tomorrow night's game in Boston against the Habs (which I will be there to see).

I recently added a Boston Bruins widget to the right hand column. Any feedback for that would be much appreciated.

Jeremy Riech's wife gave birth to Addisen Grace yesterday morning. Reich was able to be in Boston for the birth of his new daughter before flying back to NYC for tonight's game in Jersey.

Zdeno Chara is currently 3rd in the All-star voting among eastern conference players. He is behind Sidney Crosby and Andrei Markov. Marc Savard is way down on the list (Chara has ten times more votes, 130,000 to 13,000). I don't know the numbers for Tim Thomas but all of Bruins Nation, and the rest of the world's hockey fans, should right him in. Thomas and Leclaire have been the best goaltenders in the league.

Tonight's line-ups look to be:



Bruins Nation member Sean Leahy sent me this post from his blog via email. It just shows how great of a guy Ray Bourque truly was.

Game 25: Bruins snap 10 game losing streak in Long Island with a 3-1 win, are 14-9-2

All the guys on NESN were caught up in the no-wins-in-uniondale-since-december-22-2000 story, and it is a great story, but it doesn't emphasize the Bruins domination. The Boston Bruins went into New York and beat up on a New York team. These days it's tough to beat anyone at their home, let alone crush them. For example, the Bruins have two regualtion losses at the garden this season. One was a one-goal loss to Philly (the Bergeron game) and one was a 2-1 loss to Montreal. Had the Islanders not been able to score a very lucky power play goal with under two minutes left, it would have been a 3-0 win and TT's first shutout of the season.

This season has been marked not with streakiness (like last season), but with consistent hockey the entire game. Monday night was a perfect example, one goal each period, all by different lines. 13:03 into the first period on the power play, Savard dished the puck to Murray, who skated a bit and then let off a nice shot to give the Bruins a lead. Savard now has a ten game point streak (longest active in NHL). If Murray can stay healthy this season, the Murray-Savard pair will be one of the most productive in the NHL. Those two, on the power play and next to Axelsson during normal 5v5, just create plays!

Late in the second period, the Islanders had the puck in their own zone when Petteri Nokelainen intercepted a pass, skated down the ice, deked out Rick Dipietro, and scored! It was a superb play. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead when late in the 3rd, Peter Schaefer's back hand pass from behind the net to Kobasew in front of the net landed, giving Kobasew the easy shot. With 1:51 remaining in the game, a lucky won timer on the PP gave the Islanders something to make their fans cheer.

Don't look now, but with this win the Bruins are currently 5th in the eastern conference, only 4 points behind the struggling Ottawa Senators in the Northeast division standings. Also, both Denis Wideman and Zdeno Chara played over 29 minutes!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Game 24: Bruins lose to Vincent Lecavalier (and the Tampa Bay Lightning) 4-1, are 13-9-2

Vincent Lecavalier is amazing. He just is. The Bruins weren't on top of their game, and a very talented but struggling Lightning team crushed the Bruins.

The NHL's current point leader scored two goals in the first period against the Bruins. That wouldn't be the end of his day. Late in the second period the Bruins finally got on the board. On the power play, Glen Murray snapped one from Denis Wideman into the goal, giving the Bruins some hope. That hope was very short lived. Darthe immediately answered with a goal. Then in the third period, the Lightning closed the game with an incredible goal. Vincent Lecavalier was just sitting behind the net with the puck. He then found Martin St. Louis right in front of Thomas. St. Louis tipped in the puck, making it look easy. Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and an assist as he and the Lightning beat the Bruins 4-1.

Game 23: Bruins beat Panthers 4-3, are 13-8-2

Usually if the Bruins don't play 60 minutes, they find a way to lose. This time was different. 57 minutes of great play by the Boston Bruins was good enough to win this game. The other 3 minutes sure were scary, but as we all know, a win is a win.

In the middle of the first period, Jeremy Reich got things heated up again. Jeremy Reich badly beat up Garth Murray. The rest of the Bruins immediately responded. On the Power Play thirty seconds later, Marco Sturm passed the puck across the ice right in front of the goal to Zdeno Chara, who managed to sneak in behind the net. Chara then easily tipped in the puck.

39 seconds into the second period, Glen Metropolit put a rebound from an Aaron Ward drive into the net, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Panther defensmen Steve Montador answered on the power play with a drive getting by Thomas. Late in the same period, Zdeno Chara had drive of his own go in on the power play and the Bruins were up 3-1.

Early in the third period, Phil Kessel shot one off the post and in, giving hte Bruins a 3 goal lead. Florida got two lucky goals in the last three minutes, but Tim Thomas's diving save allowed the Bruins to hold on to the win.

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