Saturday, March 31, 2012

Game Seventy Eight: Bruins Down Isles

With only five games remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture is beginning to take shape. The Bruins were yet another team to have clinched a playoff spot on Friday night. They did it not by playing in a game, but by watching one.

Since the Buffalo Sabres dropped their game to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the B's clinched a spot in the top eight. However, they had to put that behind them and focus on the task at hand. They were in action on Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders, a game in which they won by a score of 6-3.

Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg were out of the lineup with their respective injuries. As expected, McQuaid did not even make the trip to New York. Mike Mottau and Joe Corvo were back on the ice in this one.

Marty Turco got the start in this game due to the fact that the B's play a back-to-back this weekend. He finished with 19 saves on 22 shots.

David Krejci had two goals in this game including the final goal of the game to seal things up. Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly, Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron also recorded tallies for the B's.

The Bruins will be right back in action Sunday night against the New York Rangers. Look for Tim Thomas to get the start in goal.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand (1 goal, 2 assists, plus-3 rating)...He put up the points and threw out some hits. You can be physical as long as you are productive.

Black Star: Jordan Caron...He did not have a chance to get much going, even against a struggling Islanders team.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Game Seventy Seven: Potential "Game of the Season" Falls Just Short

On Thursday night, the Bruins were competing in something much more than just a regular season game. They were in action searching for a playoff birth. A win Thursday against the Washington Capitals would accomplish that task.

For the Capitals, this game was in fact the opposite. After a tough loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Caps are now out of the playoff structure. They were coming into this one with everything to lose, so fighting for their postseason lives was to be expected.

Dennis Seidenberg was out for this game due to an infected laceration on his leg and was replaced by Joe Corvo. Tim Thomas got the start in net. He has now appeared in 17 out of the last 18 games for Boston.

The Bruins had a slow start to the game. The fact that they were facing a goaltender who had not played in 13 straight games should have been an eye opener. Maybe shoot the puck? Only seven total shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. Tomas Vokoun, the Caps' netminder who missed those 13 games with a groin injury, left the game towards the end of the first period as he appeared to aggravate his injury.

With six minutes remaining in the opening period, Adam McQuaid was blindsided from behind by Jason Chimera. McQuaid went head first into the boards and had to be helped off the ice. Chimera received a five minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct. The B's failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play.

The speed of the game certainly picked up in the second period. Both teams rung the post on a couple of occasions. The teams were also exchanging hits with one another. A pretty decent hockey game through two, but it remained scoreless.

The third period was a whole new game compared to how the rest of the contest was played. The Capitals grabbed two goals early on. Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson had the tallies for Washington. Alexander Ovechkin had an assist on both goals.

The Garden erupted when the B's tied the game with two goals of their own. David Krejci and Andrew Ference recorded the goals for the Black and Gold. Thomas finished regulation with 21 saves on 23 shots. The game eventually went through a scoreless overtime and into a shootout.

The Caps scored three goals in the shootout as it went four rounds. Washington won this game by a score of 3-2. The Bruins still acquire a point from this one.

The Bruins' next game will be Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Gold Star: David Krejci (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1 rating)...His tip in front and his steal gave the Bruins the chance to win the game in overtime. They fell just short.

Black Star: Andrew Ference...Even though he had a goal, he had a turnover that led to a goal. People should not forget too easily.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Game Seventy Six: Avenged

The Bruins suffered arguably their worst loss of the season two weeks ago against the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Tuesday night, they looked to get some retribution against that very same team.

Michigan State defenseman Torey Krug joined the Bruins on Monday and participated in his first team skate Tuesday morning. The 5-foot-9 blue liner signed a three-year entry level contract on Sunday. He went undrafted, allowing him to choose the team he can play with for the rest of this season. He will not be eligible for the playoffs, but look for him to see some ice time towards the end of the season.

As for Tuesday's game, the Bruins had the opportunity to increase their lead in the Northeast Division. Prior to puck drop, Zdeno Chara was honored at the TD Garden for recently playing in his 1,000th NHL game. Great guy. Even better player.

In the first period, the Lightning got on the board first. Steven Stamkos recorded his 54th goal of the season after chasing down a loose puck and blasting it past Tim Thomas. Later on in the period, Shawn Thornton tied the game up with his 5th of the season. He almost had a second goal on a breakaway, but scoring two in a game seemed like a daunting task for him.

The 1-3-1 defense used by the Bolts in this one proved to be effective early on. However, both teams seemed to be stumbling around on the ice. Passes were not tight and the ice began to bulk up. A very sloppy opening 20 minutes.

The action seemed to quiet down a little bit in the second period. The scoring chances were at a minimum, but the physicality was present. The Bruins used their toughness to pursue the net and move the puck. At the other end of the ice, the B's held the Lightning to only three shots in the period. Dennis Seidenberg recorded a four-on-four goal on assists from Chara and David Krejci in what was the lone goal in the second period.

Tyler Seguin got whistled for a tripping penalty towards the end of the second, setting up a power play opportunity for Tampa Bay to start the third. Boston did a solid job to kill it off by not allowing good scoring chances and winning face-offs. They were not so successful later in the third period when Stamkos blasted a power play goal (2nd goal of the game) past Thomas to tie the game at two.

From then on, it was all Boston. Once the Bruins started to dish out some hits they started to control possession. Benoit Pouliot, Brad Marchand, and Rich Peverley each had a goal in the final 20 minutes. The Lightning had two good chances but Thomas kept the puck out of the net. The Bruins won this game by a score of 5-2.

The B's next game will be Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara (3 assists, plus-2 rating, 6 shots on goal)...A three-point game on the night he was honored for playing 1,000 games. How fitting?

Black Star: Tyler Seguin...He had a couple of costly penalties in this one. Also, did it not seem that he was all over the ice? Just keep it simple.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Game Seventy Five: Bruins Take Two of Three in Road Trip

Sunday night was the final game of the West Coast three-game road trip for the Bruins. Their final opponent was the Anaheim Ducks.

Rich Peverley, who missed 19 games with a sprained MCL, was back in the lineup for this game. He got some time on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Daniel Paille was the healthy scratch while Jordan Caron took his place on the fourth line.

The Ducks have had a disappointing season. They are one of the most top-heavy teams in the league, which could also have been their downfall. Without any depth, you will not go very far in the playoffs. They have gone 22-10-5 since January 5th coming into the game. They sit in last place in the Pacific Division despite their recent surge.

Playing in back-to-back games does not always benefit a goaltender, which is why Tim Thomas took a seat for this one and Marty Turco got the start. He opposed Jonas Hiller who won his last three starts against the Bruins.

The first period for the Bruins was a solid one. They put so much heavy pressure on the Ducks that it quickly became difficult for Anaheim to move the puck out of their own zone. Milan Lucic and Jordan Caron each had a great period by playing physical and being persistent in their pursuit of the puck. Turco came up with some big saves as well.

Through much of the first two periods, the Bruins were tight on the defensive end of the ice. The tighter the defense, the more blocked shots they had. The B's finished the game with 15 blocked shots.

Boston got on the board first in the second period on a Zdeno Chara slap shot from the blue line. The Bruins took a two-goal lead when Benoit Pouliot recorded his 13th goal of the season after a crisp pass from Chris Kelly. Anaheim pulled within one when Teemu Selanne notched his 24th goal of the season on the power play.

The Ducks started to turn things around on the B's in the third period. However, a disallowed goal killed any momentum they started to build. Brian Rolston
beat Hiller for his seventh goal of the season moments later. Rolston has now recorded 11 points in six games. Lubomir Visnovsky put another tally on the board for Anaheim to cut the lead in half once again.

Turco came up with some big saves in the final minutes to preserve the victory. Boston won this game by a score of 3-2 and end the losing streak against the Ducks. Turco finished with 25 saves on 27 shots.

The Bruins will be back in action Tuesday night at the TD Garden when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara...His goal at one end of the ice was big. He defense at the other end of the ice was even bigger.

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...Only 11 shifts and six minutes of ice time will never allow a player to develop confidence, even if it is a fourth-line player.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Game Seventy Four: Happy Birthday, Jack Edwards

Saturday night was game two of the Bruins' three-game West Coast road trip. They were in action against the Los Angeles Kings, another desperate squad who is scraping up every last point in the month of March.

This game was significant because it was Zdeno Chara's 1,000th career NHL game. The captain is considered one of the game's best defenders and it is no surprise that he has reached this mark. What makes this honor even more special is that he accomplished this feat by last wearing the Black and Gold.

There was not too many pregame stories coming into this one, so let's get right to the game. The first period was much more productive and physical than Thursday's game against the San Jose Sharks.

Chris Kelly (of all people) dropped the gloves with Trevor Lewis to get the team going. Even though the fight resulted from a scrum, it still sparked some energy. From a fan's perspective, it was an entertaining 20 minutes.

The fast-paced play carried over into the second period. Both teams got point-blank scoring chances during five-on-five play and on the power play. Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick were outstanding in their respective goals throughout the game as the score could have been more inflated than what it was. Goaltenders take all the fun away.

In the second period, Patrice Bergeron recorded his 20th goal of the season while the Bruins were short handed. The B's dominated the middle period, going on a stretch where they recorded 10 consecutive shots on goal. The Kings managed to tie the game when Colin Fraser knotted his second of the season. Was there goaltender interference on the play? Debatable.

Boston grabbed two goals in the third, scored by Milan Lucic and Kelly. The Kings made it interesting when Slava Voynov cut the lead in half with about five minutes remaining. After the Bruins killed off a Kings' power play, Thomas robbed L.A. on four scoring chances. Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal to preserve the 4-2 victory.

The Bruins will be back on the ice Sunday night when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.

Gold Star: Tim Thomas (40 saves on 42 shots, 2 goals allowed, .953 save percentage)...It is safe to say that Timmy has found his confidence again.

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...These are not the type of games that will play in his favor.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Game Seventy Three: Bruins Have No Bite Against Sharks

The Bruins began a three-game West Coast road trip late Thursday night. During this trip, they will see the three California franchises represented in the NHL. Up first for the Bruins were the San Jose Sharks.

Rich Peverley traveled with the team for this road trip. He is listed as day-to-day after missing over a month with a sprained MCL. He was ruled out for this game, but there is a chance that he might get some ice time before the conclusion of the trip.

For the Sharks, they are a desperate team at this point in the year. They are on the outside looking in as far as the Western Conference playoff standings are concerned. San Jose will have to rely on their goaltender Antti Niemi the rest of the way, which was their mindset for this one.

Niemi was 4-0 with a 1.96 goals against average and has one shutout against the Bruins prior to the game. Not too bad right? He opposed Tim Thomas, although it needs to be pointed out that Marty Turco was sporting some new gold pads in the pregame warm-ups. Irrelevant, but comical.

There were no new lineup changes to mention other than the fact that Trent Whitfield was recalled from Providence and joined the Bruins on the trip.

The game got off to a physical start. This was because the Bruins were incredibly sloppy in their defensive end and that forced them to unload some hits. Milan Lucic had a costly turnover which led to a goal scored by Joe Pavelski of the Sharks. Boston managed to only get five shots on goal in the opening period.

The second period featured a lot of puck moving and possession. Both teams took turns trading scoring chances as they alternated taking trips up ice and getting shots on goal. Thomas and Niemi each came up big for their respective teams. The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Sharks after two. San Jose outshot Boston 20-9 through the first 40 minutes.

San Jose added to their lead when Daniel Winnick recorded his sixth goal of the season. He beat Thomas on a high shot stick side. Zdeno Chara did put the Bruins on the board late in the game after he deflected the puck off Niemi causing it to bounce in the goal.

There were just too many turnovers for Boston in this game. This was an easy one for the Sharks as they knocked off the Bruins by a score of 2-1. Niemi remains unbeaten against the B's.

The Bruins will be back in action Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Gold Star: Tim Thomas (25 saves on 27 shots, 2 goals allowed, .926 save percentage)...He did all he could to keep his team in the game.

Black Star: Milan Lucic...This was a real tough game for him. He was too careless with the puck.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Game Seventy Two: Bruins Sweep Leafs In Season Series

The Bruins were back in action on Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was the final meeting between the two teams and Boston was coming into the game looking to complete the season sweep.

Boston has had great success against the Northeast Division. A game such as this one could not have came at a more opportunistic time for the Bruins since they will set out for a West Coast road trip later this week. They looked to take care of business at home against a struggling Leafs squad.

Joe Corvo missed his second straight game on Monday as he was scratched from the lineup. Greg Zanon took his place and skated with Adam McQuaid. Tim Thomas was in goal on Monday, making his 13th consecutive appearance.

The Bruins came out and scored four goals in the opening period. Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot, and Brad Marchand were the ones who found the back of the cage.

Milan Lucic reconnected with his old buddy Mike Komisarek as they dropped the gloves for a bout. It was good to see the Bruins use their physicality in this one, an area where they seemed to be lacking over the last few games.

Above all else, Boston held strong on the defensive end of the ice as they only allowed two shots on goal. The Leafs pulled starting goaltender James Reimer in favor of Jonas Gustavsson after allowing the fourth goal.

The B’s picked up right where they left off heading into the second period. Boston managed to add to their goal total by lighting the lamp three more times. Pouliot, Zdeno Chara, and Brian Rolston were the ones who had the tallies.

Things began to settle down as the game progressed into the second and third periods. Both teams still managed to get decent scoring chances. However, it was very difficult for Toronto to get anything going, especially with a seven-goal deficit. Tyler Seguin added one more goal late in the third period to cap off the 8-0 victory.

The Bruins posses a 6-1-0 record in games played on Monday this season. Just a random, yet interesting, tidbit of information.

The Bruins' next game will be Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Gold Star: Brian Rolston (1 goal, 3 assists, plus-4 rating, 2 shots on goal)...The veteran clearly still has something left in the tank. He now has a three-game point streak.

Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...He lost more than half of his face-offs and did not contribute anything offensively. Looks like he wanted to let the third line have fun in this one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Game Seventy One: Turning Things Around

It was about time that the Bruins got a matinee victory under their belt. They knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout.

Boston sprouted their St. Patrick's Day green sweaters during warmups. To be honest, that is the only place where they should be displayed. To the fans who wanted to see them worn during the game, shame on you. It is all about the black and gold. Enough of that.

Gregory Campbell got things started when he dropped the gloves with Zac Rinaldo in the first two minutes of the game. That sparked the B's to produce early in what was their best played period in quite some time. Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin each had a goal in the opening period.

Tim Thomas stood on his head for most of the game, making 27 saves on 29 shots. He did allow two goals in regulation which was a dramatic improvement compared to his most recent starts. Matt Read and Jakub Voracek were the goal scorers for the Flyers. The game remained tied at two through regulation and overtime.

In the shootout, David Krejci, Seguin, and Patrice Bergeron, each beat Flyers' goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov for a tally. Thomas stopped Danny Briere to preserve the victory.

The defense played solid in this game, specifically Greg Zanon who finished with a plus-2 rating. He replaced Joe Corvo in the lineup. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg reunited in this game as the team's top defensive pair. Look for that pairing to make an impact down the stretch.

The Bruins will be back in action on Monday night when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Chris Kelly...His goal got things going and his effort in this game was immense.

Black Star: Milan Lucic...Usually he makes a statement in every game that he plays against the Flyers. Saturday was not one of those days.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Game Seventy: 0-for-Roadtrip

The Bruins tried to bounce back on Thursday night after an absolutely horrid loss on Tuesday. Their opponent on Thursday was the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers. This was the final meeting between these two teams this season.

Coming into this game, the Bruins were in first place in the Northeast Division by only one point. With the Ottawa Senators breathing down their necks, the B's need to take things one game at a time the rest of the way and not worry about looking over their shoulder.

Adam McQuaid and Benoit Pouliot each made their returns in this game as they both missed Tuesday's action. Jordan Caron skated with Milan Lucic and David Krejci since Tyler Seguin was reunited with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Tim Thomas was back in net for this one. He has played in 18 of the last 20 games.

The first period was physical and chippy. Some questionable penalties were called against the Bruins. With that being said, this was not a bad period for Boston. The players kept things simple and more reserved.

They still came out of the first period trailing as Mikael Samuelsson put the Panthers up 1-0 on the power play. This was the 10th time in 12 games the Bruins have allowed the first goal.

Florida put more pressure on Boston in the second period. The Bruins did win the battles along the boards, but lacking a presence in the middle of the ice cost them. The Panthers grabbed three more goals in the period. Marcel Goc, Stephen Weiss, and John Madden recorded those previously mentioned tallies. Defenseman Brian Campbell had three assists in the game. Joe Corvo did put a goal on the board for the Bruins, but he still had a costly turnover.

Brian Rolston kicked off the third period with a power play goal, his first goal since he returned to the Black and Gold. The Panthers got their fifth goal when Chris Kelly's pass took a bad bounce and the puck found Tomas Kopecky wide open in front of the net. Wojtek Wolski added one more towards the end of the game.

The Bruins dropped their fourth straight game as they fell to the Panthers by a score of 6-2.

The B's next game will be at home on Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Gold Star: Brian Rolston (1 goal, 1 assist)...It was not a strong game on his part, but a multi-point game is a multi-point game.

Black Star: Tim Thomas (23 saves on 29 shots, 6 goals allowed, .793 save percentage)...What a disgrace.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Game Sixty Nine: A Lightning Storm For Boston

The Bruins were on the road again for the second game of their three-game road trip Tuesday night. They were in action against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Marty Turco got his first start in goal for the Bruins in this game. Although he did see some ice time in Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, this was his first official start.

The key for the injury-prone Bruins in this game was to match the top line of the Lightning. Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos, and Martin St. Louis all have seen ample ice time in the last few games for Tampa Bay and one had to wonder if they had any gas left. Turns out they had plenty left.

Adam McQuaid was ruled out for this game due to an upper-body injury and was replaced in the lineup by Greg Zanon. Daniel Paille made his return in this game as well.

Trent Whitfield was called up by the Bruins on Monday on an emergency basis and he was in the lineup against the Lightning. Finally, Patrice Bergeron was a game-time decision in this one. H
e left the game on Sunday after taking a slap shot to the leg. Everything checked out and he was cleared to play.

Now it is game time. Tampa Bay scored four goals in the first 20 minutes. The first goal, originally ruled on the ice as a no goal due to a distinct kicking motion, was overturned on replay. That goal caused the problems for the B's as the rest of the period did not go their way. Tim Thomas replaced Turco in goal after he allowed three goals in under five minutes.

Tampa netted another goal in the second period. Stamkos beat Thomas to record his 49th goal of the season. Since the game became out of hand at that point, Turco reentered the game. If you want to say that the B's played better in the second period because they only allowed one goal instead of four, then feel free. It was still a less than desirable 20 minutes of hockey. Boston managed to get 15 shots on Lightning goaltender Dustin Tokarski during that time.

Stamkos notched goal number 50 in the third period, becoming the sixth player in NHL history to score 50 goals twice before turning 23 years of age. Jordan Caron did grab a goal for the Bruins, but it was not nearly enough in this one. Tampa Bay defeated Boston by a score of 6-1. Tokarski picked up his first career NHL win.

The Bruins will be back in action on Thursday night when they take on the Florida Panthers.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic...He was arguably the most consistent player on the ice for Boston. He drove the puck to the net and won some battles along the boards.

Black Star: Marty Turco (8 saves and 12 shots, 4 goals allowed, .667 save percentage)...His passing of the puck was the only aspect of his game worth bragging about in this one.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Game Sixty Eight: As If It Couldn't Get Any Worse

As if the Bruins were not banged up enough, they are continuing to be ravaged by injuries. Boston lost three more players in their 5-2 loss on Sunday afternoon to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Patrice Bergeron, Adam McQuaid, and Max Sauve all left the game with different injuries. This was Sauve's first NHL game as well. Bergeron, who got a puck blasted into his foot on a shot, tried to return but left after only one shift back.

Penguins' center Sidney Crosby did not play in this game after multiple reports said that this game would be the one where he makes his return from his concussion. It would have been interesting because he blamed David Krejci for his symptoms reoccurring. Sorry Sidney, no revenge in this one for you.

They got some revenge on the scoreboard and that is all that matters. Evgeni Malkin factored into three of the five goals as he notched up three assists. The Pens chased Tim Thomas after the first period after giving up three goals on 10 shots. Marty Turco replaced Thomas and played solid, making 20 saves.

The top line for the Bruins factored in both goals. Krejci netted the goals and Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin each had two assists. Andrew Ference made his return in this game. He has not played since March 1st due to a lower-body injury.

Well, there you have it. Another afternoon loss for the Bruins. Shocking. They will be back in action Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes, this will be a night game.

Gold Star: David Krejci (2 goals, 5 shots on goal)...His play has really started to become more consistent.

Black Star: Tim Thomas (7 saves on 10 shots, 3 goals allowed, .700 save percentage)...Chased from goal after only one period? This is not a good sign. Let's hope that it is just fatigue.

Game Sixty Seven: Bruins Drop Another Matinee Game

What is happening inside the minds of the Bruins the night before an afternoon game? Do they not get much sleep? Are they concentrating on other things besides the game itself? At this point, it is logical to say the B's would much rather play at night.

Boston fell to the Washington Capitals Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-3. The Bruins dressed seven defensemen for this one due to the late scratch of Benoit Pouliot. It was later confirmed that he has a lower-body injury. Mike Mottau got some ice up front in his absence.

The Caps grabbed two first period goals that were scored by Alexander Semin and Matt Hendricks. Milan Lucic cut the lead in half by poking the puck past Capitals' goaltender Tomas Vokoun just seconds before the first intermission. Credit goes to Patrice Bergeron on a key face-off win that led to the goal.

Washington grabbed two more goals in the game. Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk also had goals, but it was not enough as Tim Thomas had allowed four goals in yet another game. Jordan Caron now has points in four straight games by picking up an assist on Boychuk's goal.

The crowd erupted when Zdeno Chara sent Marcus Johansson through the glass near the penalty box. We have not seen one of those incidents in quite some time.

By the end of next week, the Bruins should get some pieces back as Daniel Paille and Andrew Ference are almost ready to be back in the lineup.

The B's will play another afternoon game on Sunday when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1 rating, 4 shots on goal)...He had a solid performance in this game.

Black Star: Tim Thomas (26 saves on 30 shots, 4 goals allowed, .867 save percentage)...He should not get anymore excuses for his sub-par play lately.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Game Sixty Six: Bruins Win Second Straight Game

The Bruins began a two-game homestand on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. They were in search of their second consecutive win in over 20 games.

Blame it on the injuries? I suppose that anyone could make that argument. As professionals, regardless of stature in the league, you should be ready to be called upon whenever you are needed. Personally, the injury excuse only goes so far with me.

With that being said, the Bruins seem to be getting healthier by the day. Daniel Paille and Andrew Ference each participated in the optional morning skate on Thursday but they were both scratched for this game. After leaving Tuesday's game with an undisclosed injury, Benoit Pouliot was cleared to play against Buffalo.

A surging Buffalo team was two points out of the final playoff spot coming into this game. With the Sabres winning the previous two meetings, they came into this game with some confidence.

Tim Thomas made his seventh consecutive appearance for the Bruins in goal in this one. Mike Mottau was in the lineup in this game in place of Greg Zanon.

The entire game was relatively quiet as far as the between-whistle antics, which is a surprise considering the history between the two teams. There was plenty of open space for both teams to make some crisp passes. Joe Corvo made a great up-ice pass to Tyler Seguin but he could not capitalize.

The Sabres grabbed the first goal of the game in the opening period. Jason Pominville beat Thomas for his 25th goal of the season on an assist by Thomas Vanek. Gregory Campbell tied the game up in the second period when he deflected a Shawn Thornton shot into the net.

The third period certainly saw an increase in physical play, specifically in favor of the Bruins. Johnny Boychuk unloaded a hit on Vanek in the neutral zone. He must have felt great being on the other side of one of those hits.

Boychuk also contributed on the offensive side of the ice when he blasted his fourth goal of the season past Sabres' goaltender Jhonas Enroth. David Krejci put the B's up by two after some great passing from Milan Lucic and Seguin.

It took them a while to get it going, but they did what they usually do best in the third period and that is produce goals to win the game. Boston knocked off Buffalo by a score of 3-1. Thomas finished with 19 saves.

The Bruins will be back on the ice Saturday afternoon when they take on the Washington Capitals.

Gold Star: Johnny Boychuk (1 goal, plus-1 rating, 4 shots on goal, 4 hits)...He is turning into a true number two defenseman.

Black Star: Benoit Pouliot...He said that he was good to go but he did not look the same in this one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Game Sixty Five: Caron The Incredible

In an attempt to break their current two-game losing streak, the Bruins tried to take what little momentum they had left into Toronto on Tuesday night in a match-up against the Maple Leafs.

The Bruins announced on Monday night that they signed former NHL goaltender Marty Turco to a one-year contract. He must clear through waivers before he can join the team. If he does make the team then he will not be eligible to play in the playoffs.

While the B's are battling injuries, the Maple Leafs are on a downward spiral out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. They came into the game in 12th place with 67 points, five points out of the eighth and final spot. With Randy Carlyle in as the new head coach, look for the Leafs to make a late push as the season comes to a close.

Daniel Paille and Andrew Ference did not make the trip with the Bruins for this game. Tim Thomas got the start in goal once again.

The game started with both teams coming out checking early and often. The heavy pressure resulted in 34 total hits in the opening period.

Carl Gunnarsson put the Leafs on the board first when Milan Lucic turned the puck over in the defensive zone. The open space available to Gunnarsson was enough to bury the puck past Thomas. Jordan Caron tied the game up by scoring his fifth goal of the season on assists from Benoit Pouliot and Joe Corvo.

The second period was not too eventful. Six total goals were scored including a pair from Tyler Seguin. Caron picked up his second and third point of the game when he scored his sixth goal of the season and assisted Chris Kelly's career-high 16th goal. The Leafs grabbed a pair of goals of their own, one of which was a five-on-three power play goal. John-Michael Liles and Phil Kessel had the tallies for Toronto. Shawn Thornton and Dennis Seidenberg (yes, Dennis Seidenberg) each dropped the gloves for a fight. See, not too eventful at all (sarcastic).

The third period was still physical but as the time started to drain away, both teams focused more on getting the win. Mikhail Grabovski netted his 21st goal of the season to make it a one-goal game. The Leafs had a six-on-four advantage with 16 seconds remaining. However, it was Patrice Bergeron who made two great clearances to preserve the 5-4 victory for Boston.

The Bruins are now 5-0-0 against the Maple Leafs this season. Ten Bruins finished with a point, four with multiple points.

Pouliot left the game for undisclosed reasons at some point towards the end of the second period and did not return.

The Bruins will be back in action Thursday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

Gold Star: Jordan Caron (2 goals, 1 assist, plus-3 rating, 4 shots on goal)...How does he follow up his first career multi-point game? He records his first career three-point game. He has new found energy to his game.

Black Star: Brian Rolston...He looked a little slow on the penalty kill and could not really get anything going offensively.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Game Sixty Four: Bruins Fall to New York (The Other New York)

The New York Rangers defeated the Bruins on Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-3. The Bruins are winless against the Rangers so far this season.

This game had everything that you would expect from two teams who are on top of the Eastern Conference. We saw three fights in the opening period, including one that featured Lane MacDermid who made his NHL debut in this one. He replaced Daniel Paille on the fourth line, who was injured in Saturday's game against the Islanders.

Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron each had a goal and really clicked in this game skating with Chris Kelly. This third line finally had some life and produced two goals that took some pressure off of the other forwards. It's funny how they only do that when injuries happen instead of on a nightly basis.

The game went back and forth in the third period. With the score tied at two, Marian Gaborik put the Rangers back on top. David Krejci netted his 17th goal of the season to tie things up once again.

The tie was short lived because less than one minute later, Derek Stepan beat Tim Thomas for his 14th goal of the season. The Bruins never had the lead at any point during this game. Thomas finished with 13 saves on 17 shots while Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist finished with 30 saves on 33 shots.

This is not a good sign if the B's cannot knock off the Rangers in a game during the regular season. Sure Boston has been plagued with injuries lately, but this one was a game they could have won. They will have one more crack at the Rangers this season.

Boston will be on the road Tuesday night for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Jordan Caron (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-2 rating)...He does have a good game in him every once in a while.

Black Star: Dennis Seidenberg...Three giveaways in a game will always come back to haunt you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Game Sixty Three: Bruins' Drop Game...and Players

The Bruins lost Saturday afternoon to the New York Islanders by a score of 3-2. This was a devastating loss for the B's at home. Johnny Boychuk made his return in this game, but his return came at the expense of three other injuries.

Andrew Ference was injured in Thursday's game against the New Jersey Devils and missed Saturday's game. During the contest on Saturday, Tuukka Rask appeared to injure his lower body and was helped off the ice. Tim Thomas came in to relieve Rask. He finished with 11 saves and 1 goal allowed before his injury.

Also, Daniel Paille collided with Steve Staios in the third period and missed the remainder of the game. Michael Hutchinson and Lane MacDermid will replace Rask and Paille respectively on the upcoming two-game road trip.

As far as the game, Boston looked god for the first 40 minutes. Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin had the goals for Boston. Brian Rolston picked up his first point back with his old team when he assisted Lucic's goal.

The game was tied at two with five minutes left when John Tavares knotted his 26th goal of the season to put the Isles up for good. Everyone in the building thought the puck was iced, but the refs allowed play to continue and that led to the goal.

The Bruins will be back on the ice Sunday afternoon when they take on the New York Rangers.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 5 shots on goal, 3 hits)...The point streak continues for the winger.

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...No one can really explain what is going on with Big Z lately. He will turn it around when the playoffs arrive.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Game Sixty Two: Krejci's Hat-Trick Helps B's Complete Season Sweep Of Devils.

The Bruins can finally turn the calendar to the month of March. After a 5-7-1 record in the month of February with being shutout five times, it was time to get back on the right track heading down the stretch.

Boston was in action at the TD Garden Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. Greg Zanon made his debut with the B's in this game after coming over in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Monday afternoon.

This was the final meeting between the two teams with Boston winning the previous three meetings. This could also be a potential playoff match-up in the second round. The Devils were 5-5-0 in their last 10 games coming into Thursday, which is obviously mediocre hockey. Does that not scream opportunity for the Bruins?

Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien shook up the lines for this one. Patrice Bergeron centered Brian Rolston and Brad Marchand while David Krejci centered Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. Chris Kelly was back down with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron. The fourth line remained in tact.

Whatever took place behind closed doors between Tuesday's loss and prior to puck drop in this one is unknown. Who cares? It worked because we finally saw Bruins' hockey the way it is supposed to be played.

Krejci and Seguin each had a goal in the first 20 minutes. The new-look top line recorded a combined seven points alone. Even Tim Thomas picked up an assist on Seguin's goal. If it was not for Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur the score would have been inflated to five or six.

Shawn Thornton left the game in the first period to repair an injury he sustained in a fight with Eric Boulton. He returned to action minutes later. That bout was Thornton's 17th fighting major of the season.

Absolute deja vu in the second period for the Bruins. After a couple of costly mistakes by Joe Corvo, which by now is not really a shocking thing to hear, the Devils came back and scored three unanswered goals. Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson recorded the tallies for New Jersey. The first two may have come from turnovers, but Thomas allowed a softie on the third one. He should have stopped a squeaker like that.

The defense of the Bruins settled down in the third period and held New Jersey to eight shots. Krejci knotted his second goal of the game on assists from Lucic and Zdeno Chara. The game ended up going into overtime and it was there when Krejci capped off the hat-trick by netting the winning goal. Bruins win by a score of 4-3.

The Bruins will wrap up this three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon when they take on the New York Islanders.

Gold Star: David Krejci (3 goals, plus-2 rating, 5 shots on goal)...Hopefully this offensive outburst will stick around for a while.

Black Star: Joe Corvo...We do not want to see him getting booed every time he touches the puck. The sooner Johnny Boychuk returns, the better it will be for the Bruins.