Game Day: Ducks vs. Bruins
Thursday, 02.26.2009 / 10:06 PM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop & Angela Stefano - BostonBruins.com
Boston 1 4 1-6
First Period-1, Boston, Hunwick 4 (Wheeler, Ryder), 17:54.
Second Period-2, Boston, Ryder 21 (Krejci, Wheeler), 1:59. 3, Boston, Kobasew 13 (Chara), 3:43. 4, Boston, Kessel 26 (Ryder, Thomas), 18:01 (pp). 5, Boston, Kobasew 14 (Wideman, Ference), 19:44 (pp).
Third Period-6, Boston, Bitz 4 (Ference, Hunwick), 13:41.
Shots on Goal-Anaheim 10-12-13-35. Boston 5-13-9-27.
Goalies-Anaheim, Giguere, Hiller. Boston, Thomas. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:23.
Third period recap: In the words of the all-wise Bugs Bunny: ‘It’s duck season.’ And a full house of Bostonians came prepared to roast themselves some water fowl tonight.
Following one of the most rambunctious and well-played periods in recent days, the Bruins lineup neatly removed any hope the team from Anaheim had of cutting into the Boston lead as relative newcomer Byron Bitz put his club up by 6.
The goal marks Bitz’s third goal in two days (he scored twice in the 6-1 victory over Florida), and his fourth of the season.
Thomas made 35-saves on the night, had an assist and cruised to his 100th career win, his fourth shutout of the season and was also named the night’s First Star of the Game.
0:00 - Tim Thomas has his 100th career win and he has his 4th shutout of the season. A terrific 6-0 win for Boston.
6:19 - Bitzy! A very, very nice effort skating down the right side. He beat his guy and scored. I'm going to head down to the locker room.
7:25 - Thomas with another save...
10:12 - Kessel's turn. He handcuffed Hiller, but the Anaheim goalie tracked the puck down and held on.
10:37 - Good kill...
12:30 - Krejci with a one man breakout, shorthanded. He made Hiller work for a save.
13:15 - Mark Stuart to the box for cross checking.
13:51 - Another save by Thomas...
15:39 - Thomas with a brilliant pad save on Ryan. He has 25 saves on the evening.
17:29 - Timmy made a two-pad stack stop on Parros (?).
18:20 - The B's are still angry, and buzzing.
20:00 - Start of the Third. We're sold out, 17,565.
Second Period Recap: Head coach Claude Julien has recently said that his squad is missing that gritty, get-in-the-corners style of play. Well, no more. Putting four more goals in the bank and throwing down three Anaheim men in fights is more than enough to prove your worth on this ice.
Halfway through the period, Ducks forward George Parros and Bruins defenseman Shawn Thornton locked themselves in a battle of will in the neutral zone, ending when Thornton decisively threw Parros to the ice.
But the bad blood didn’t end there, as Ducks winger Mike Brown found himself on the ice with Bruins forward Milan Lucic delivering blow after blow until the referees intervened. Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Brookbank was thrown in the box as third man in on that altercation.
A few minutes later, Marc Savard and Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer joined their teammates after a tussle leaving both of them severely off-balanced and rolling on the ice.
In terms of sheer strength, the bears seem to have the gun power over the ducks. And in terms of sheer flow, the Boston lineup looks more like black gold tonight, maneuvering in and out of plays and deftly skirting the puck through Ducks defenders.
Spread evenly throughout the period, the Black & Gold found the back of the net four times, scoring twice on Giguere and twice on his replacement, Jonas Hiller.
Two minutes in, Ryder slung a wrister clean past Giguere to put a little insurance behind the first period lead. Then, one shot later, Chuck Kobasew used a similar set-up to put the home team up 3-0.
After all the fighting, but a few minutes before the teams hit the locker rooms for an intermission, Phil Kessel managed a screened shot past Hiller, with a little help from Ryder and Thomas. And then, with only 15 seconds left to play, Kobasew knotched his second of the night to help Boston post a ferocious 5-0 lead over their Western rival.
0:00 - That is a fired up Bruins team going to the locker room. Anaheim poked the bear and the bear woke up.
15.6 - Chuckie! Kobasew simply beat Hiller. It's a 5-0 Bruins lead...
52.7 - Parros is enjoying the role of the bad guy tonight and instead of goading Chara into a fight, he gets a holding penalty. He yelled at the ref and pounded the glass with his stick on the way into the box.
1:59 - Right now Boston is hitting on all cylinders. Wow. Kessel will get the credit for the goal, but it was Michael Ryder was the guy who pinballed it off Kess' foot. It's 4-0.
3:35 - Montador went for Krejci's knee and he landed in the box, too. Hey, Stat guru Heidi Holland points out that today is the anniversary of the day in 1981 that the North Stars and the B's set an NHL record for penalty minutes in a game with 406. Boston 195, Minnesota 211.
4:27 - Savard just tried to fight Scott Niedermayer. There was a major loss of balance and both wend down in a heap.
5:11 - Lucic just pounded Mike Brown. Brown got an early shot in, but fell off balance and Luch went Cobra Kai on the Duck wing. That won't be over. Major pile up and nearly another fight or two. Luch looks SO angry. Brown got the instigator, though. Brookbank got a third man in. A mess.
5:28 - The patented Thomas snow angel smothered another Anaheim chance. Tim looks very sharp tonight.
6:05 - Nice check by Ryder on Todd Marchant in front of the B's bench.
8:13 - Glove save Thomas on Mike Brown. Shots are 16-11, Anaheim.
11:40 - Marc Savard went to the runway (apparently injured) and Thornton put on one of the more courageous displays I've seen in a long time, but standing up to 6'5 George Parros and getting the take down (and maybe even the points). A very, very tough fight for Shawn. Nice job, Thorts!
It looks like Savard returned, quickly.
14:20 - Wheeler is in the box for tripping.
16:17 - Looooooooook out. Kobasew scores
Jonas Hiller is in goal for the Ducks.
17:04 - Icing Anaheim.
18:01 - ...but Michael Ryder was more accurate and buried a goal passed by David Krejci. Two goals in two games back for the B's forward. Give another assist to Wheeler, too. That was Ryder's 21st!
18:32 - The Ducks came out firing...
20:00 - Start of the Second. More goals please.
First Period Recap: Twenty minutes into the first period of Thursday night’s game against the Anahem Ducks, and any fan sitting in the Boston Garden might say that the Boston Bruins had more than their share of scoring opportunities – that is, until they checked the shots-on-goal tallies.
With only four shots in the entire first period, one of which resulted in a goal, the Boston club found a lot of metal piping before capitalizing off of a late play in the zone.
An early breakout play by Marc Savard and Phil Kessel drew some ahhs and oohs from the crowd, but like a handful of beautiful plays this period, not much made it to Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
And then, with only two minutes of play left, B’s defenseman Matt Hunwick followed forwards Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder into the slot and chipped the third shot of the night past Giguere to put the good guys up 1-0.
The Ducks, on the other side of the ice, peppered Tim Thomas with 10 shots in total, a couple leaving the goaltender sprawling.
The stanza only saw two instances of special teams, once when Ducks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank was put in the sin bin for slashing and then, five minutes later, on Bruin’s forward David Krejci for high sticking. Neither power play resulted in many remarkable attempts by either squad, but both did see a number of honest efforts by the short-handed sides.
0:00 - A pretty good period for the Bruins, who trail in shots 10-4, but lead on the scoreboard 1-0,
40.5 - Two nice saves by Thomas, with the second being a good positional save against Morrison.
2:06 - Hunwick trailed the play and chipped it past a screened Giguere. Welcome back Huds! Give the helpers to Wheeler and Ryder. Lots of hard work went into that!
2:21 - That was a good kill...
5:00 - Krejci hit Perry high and ends up in the box for high sticking.
5:27 - An excellent bid by Axelsson, but his shot was blocked and went hight into the stands.
7:08 - Icing Anaheim.
9:36 - Tim had to make an outstanding save on a shorthanded breakaway. Phew! Scott Niedermayer came darn close.
10:12 - Sheldon Brookbank is in the box for the Ducks for a slash. That followed a terrific shift by Yelle and Co.
11:42 - Welcome to the Ducks Mr. Whitney. Lucic pounded the BU product in front of the Anaheim bench. Luch looks to have at least two hits already.
13:11 - Giguere pounces on a puck and he holds on.
13:36 - Timmy smothers a wrister by Montador in his abdomen and holds on for a faceoff.
15:53 - Two outstanding saves by Tim Thomas on Corey Perry.
17:00 - Parros plastered Yelle in front of the Bruins bench. Yeller had something to say on the way over the boards.
18:51 - One too many passes on an early breakaway for Lucic and Kessel, who were in on Giguere with a two-on-oh.
19:54 - The Ducks won the draw.
20:00 - Start of the First Period. No need for a special prescription for bird flu or anything. A full 60-minutes should do the trick for the Bruins.
Anaheim Starters: Whitney, Perry, Getzlaf, Pronger, Niedermayer, Giguere
Boston Starters: Chara, Wideman, Axelsson, Bergeron, Kobasew, Thomas
Let's switch to time on the clock...
A couple of things...
The Boston Bruins sold 2100+ NEW season tickets for next season in one day. That's above and beyond renewals and obviously shows the dedication of the Bruins loyal fans.
In an unrelated note, veteran defenseman Aaron Ward is out sick.
The lines are...
Scratch: Karsums, Nokelainen, Ward
It's Thomas vs. Giguere. Matt Hunwick is on the ice for Boston. Aaron Ward is not.
Ryan Whitney is on the ice for Anaheim.
Press Box Notes
Tonight is game two of a six game homestand for the Bruins. They will play these six games over a 12-day span beginning with the Panthers this past Tuesday, Ducks on 2/26, Capitals on 2/28, Flyers on 3/3, Coyotes on 3/5 and Blackhawks on 3/7. Including their road matchup with the Rangers on 3/8, the Black and Gold will play seven games in the next 13 days.
- Two Bruins are celebrating birthdays today: P.J. Axelsson who turned 34 and Martins Karsums who turned 23.
- Earlier today the Ducks announced a trade in which they acquired defenseman Ryan Whitney from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi. Whitney- a Boston, MA native who played three seasons at Boston University from 2001-2004- was the fifth overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. The 26-year-old has played in 253 NHL games in his career (all with Pittsburgh) and registered 34-116-150 totals and 223 penalty minutes. In 28 games this year for Pittsburgh, Whitney had two goals and 11 assists.
- Tonight marks game four of a six-game road trip for the Ducks. Through the first three contests, the Ducks are 2-1, with a 2-5 loss to Detroit on 2/20 and victories over Columbus on 2/21 (5-2) and Buffalo 2/24 (3-2). They wrap up the road trip with visits to Dallas on 2/28 and Chicago on 3/3.
- Tonight is “Heroes Night” at the Garden. The Bruins will host members of more than 25 local police departments, fire departments, and rescue units, who will be honored throughout the game and participate in a number of in-game activities.
BTW: Steve Babineau, the Boston Bruins Team photographer, will be at the Framingham BJ's Wholesale Club with Bruins alum Rick Middleton at noon on Friday. The pair will be signing copies of Steve's book, "Black and Gold" which is available for purchase at BJ's.
Axelsson's PJ Drive Wraps Up on Saturday
As you know, P.J. Axelsson, Cradles to Crayons, and BJ’s Wholesale Club have teamed up for the Second Annual P.J.'s Pajama Drive to benefit Massachusetts' children in need.
The Drive officially kicked off Monday, February 2 and throughout the month of February, fans, families, schools and corporations are encouraged to make donations to help underprivileged children statewide.
To wrap up the Drive, the Boston Bruins will have an in-game pajama collection on February 28th at the Bruins' home game against the Washington Capitals. Fans participating in the Pajama Drive on the 28th will also receive a raffle ticket for each pair of pajamas donated for the chance to win Boston Bruins team autographed memorabilia.
In addition, BJ's members can purchase and donate new pajamas at any of the 20 BJ’s Massachusetts locations.
Bergie is Back
|Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) closes in on Florida Panthers goalie Craig Anderson (31) before scoring a first-period goal in an NHL hockey game in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)|
“It was nice being able to break away and make a move and actually score,” he said. “It’s been a while since I had a chance like that, that I couldput it in.”
Michael Ryder, who was used to playing against Bergeron during his time with the Montreal Canadiens, said that goal was just par for the course for the young forward.
“He is very patient with the puck and doesn’t really throw it away, and he can see the ice very well,” said Ryder. “He seems to 'read' the ice.
“He doesn’t look like he’s going to make a play, then all of a sudden, he makes a little spin, or he does a little turn. He’s very good at protecting the puck, and when he does that, he’s at his best.”
The patience Ryder spoke of has been key not only to Bergie’s game, but also to his year-long recovery after last season’s concussion and this season’s injury.
“I feel like I’m kind of going uphill,” he said. “I fee a lot better, and I started feeling myself again on the ice. I think it’s about having confidence in yourself….Sometimes being hard on yourself isn’t good.”
Coach Julien has seen that confidence as well.
“In the last couple of weeks, we just seem to see a player obviously having more confidence with the puck, doing a lot more and creating a lot more,” he said. “We knew that was going to take time.”
It’s not all about the goals, though. In the B’s system, being both a defensive and an offensive player is important.
“If you help block a shot or avoid a goal in net, it’s as big of a reward as scoring,” said Bergeron.
Lucic Brings the Muscle
|Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic, right, checks Philadelphia Flyers' Ossi Vaananen, of Finland, into the glass during the second period of the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)|
"I think that’s one of the things that kept him here last year," said Julien. "Everything else followed as the year went on and this year there’s been ups and downs in that area for him.
"It’s not an easy job to do, but it’s a job that he does extremely well and he’s one of the best at it. If he wants to be a presence in every game, that’s what he has to do for us. I still remember the first big hit he threw last game, it created a two on one.
"So that’s the kind of stuff we need from him and hopefully he can build on that and understand the importance of his role," said Julien.
Julien also said he hopes that the young wing is not trying to change his game to match his flash and dash linemates, Marc Savard and Phil Kessel.
"We hope not because [that's] the reason we put him there," he said. "If he wanted him to change his game we probably would have found somebody else to put in that spot.
"That’s the thing he brings to that line is he makes room for those guys, certainly gives them a physical presence and everything else.
"When he plays his game he’s certainly a great fit on that line and I think [his] realizing that will certainly make things go a lot smoother."
Former BU Star joins Ducks
From AnaheimDucks.com: The Ducks have acquired defenseman Ryan Whitney from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi.
Whitney, 26 (2/19/83), appeared in 28 games for Pittsburgh this season, scoring 2-11-13 points with 16 penalty minutes (PIM). Whitney led the Penguins with an average ice time of 24:34 minutes per game and power-play time, averaging 5:39 minutes per contest. The 6-4, 215-pound blue-liner missed the first 33 games of the season with a foot injury before making his 2008-09 debut on Dec. 23 vs. Tampa Bay ...more.
Up and Down and Up
|Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick (48) battles Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby for a loose puck during the first period of a hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)|
The young defenseman, who had an assist in the P-Bruins game versus the Manchester Monarchs earlier this week, said it was good to get into a game.
“It’s obviously a lot more emotional playing...[rather than] just skating in the morning or doing the bike rides, so it’s definitely a lot of fun to get out there and get a workout in that regard."
Hunwick said he did not have to fight through too much rustiness, nor did he have any trouble adapting the AHL B's style.
“It wasn’t too bad, I think, because I played there so much last year, I know what to expect," said the defenseman. "Because I hadn’t played in a couple weeks, I probably wasn’t as sharp as I was early on in the season, but that being said, it’s still a good pace."
Hunwick said that there are minor differences between playing in the American League as opposed to the NHL.
"There’s no TV timeouts, there’s hardly any penalties, so we rolled right through the lines," he said. "[I got] a lot of ice time (around 20-24 minutes), so that always keeps the pace quick and keeps your head in the game.
“It was a lot of fun, to be honest with you," he said.
Hunwick expanded on the differences between playing for the P-Bruins and Boston Bruins.
“It’s definitely a different environment," he said. "The game’s different, positionally, everyone up here is a lot better in regards to where they are and how they play, and there are a lot less turnovers."
However, the young defenseman didn't have to make those adjustments for very long.
"For me, I think that game was more about just getting some conditioning and getting the feel back," said Hunwick. "It’s hard to keep that sharpness just in morning skates and practices."
As per usual, however, Hunwick explained that he has no reason to complain.
“Yeah, I didn’t mind it," he said. "It’s all in the way you approach things, and I was happy to go down and play, get some ice time, quite a bit of ice time.
"I think it was fun playing a close game and playing in situations that I haven’t been playing in up here a lot.
"It was a lot of fun to get back, and I was back the next day here," he said.
That may have helped Hunwick's attitude status quo.
"It’s probably easier going down knowing that you’re going to be back the next day," he said with a grin.
This just in...
Bruins to Host DVD Launch Party on Tuesday, March 24
Fans can choose between two ticket options: VIP or General Admission. The $250 ($225 for Bruins season ticket holders) VIP ticket guarantees fans early entry in to the party before doors open to the General Admission ticket holders and the opportunity to interact with the players in an intimate setting at 5:30 p.m. The General Admission ticket, which costs $100 ($90 for Bruins season ticket holders), provides admittance into the party at 6:30 p.m.
The Bruins players, alumni, coaching staff and management will walk the red carpet to kick-off the festivities at 5:30 p.m. A cocktail reception will take place from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. where NESN commentators and former Bruins Gord Kluzak and Andrew Brickley will serve as the evening’s host and will conduct a Q & A session with a current Bruins player. In addition to the live auction, a variety of items such as gift certificates to some of Boston’s best restaurants, citywide destination packages, and autographed Bruins memorabilia, will be up for bid as part of the silent auction for the length of the evening.
The release of The Original Six: History of the Boston Bruins DVD offers Boston Bruins fans something they can cherish for a lifetime. The collector's DVD is loaded with unforgettable moments, legendary players reactions and interviews, championship triumphs, and spectacular goals and saves through the past 85 years. Started in 1924 as America's first NHL franchise, the Boston Bruins have been one of the most decorated teams in league history. From the ongoing, historic rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, the 1970 Stanley Cup victory made famous by Bobby Orr's unforgettable overtime winner, and Ray Bourque’s Hall of Fame run with the Bruins.
Early thoughts on Anaheim...
"There won't be any easy games from here on in," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien this morning when he was asked to break down Anaheim.
"We're prepared for a tough game. Again, [they've got] all the elements to be a good hockey club. And we've just got to make sure we bring our 'A' game again tonight."
Against Tampa and again versus Florida in Boston, the Bruins had shown signs to a rebound.
"Again, we had to stay patient and work hard," explained Julien. "Those first few goals were hard to get, but confidence certainly took over, so hopefully we play pretty well the same way as we did in the third period and go from there."
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off.
An odd moment -- Coach Houda breaking his stick on a shot in practice.
He had a big smile on his face as he went to the bench to get a new twig!
Here's who is on the ice: Krejci, Bergeron, Karsums, Bitz, Kobasew, Wheeler, Nokelainen, Hnidy, Wideman, Hunwick, Stuart, Ference, Fernandez and Thomas.
Assistant coaches Ward, Houda and Ramsay are running the show.
Oh, I almost forgot the other "major" news item from Wednesday -- the menu from Byron Bitz's dinner at the Thornton's after his two goal night.
“They made pasta, and, like, meat sauce, and some garlic bread," said Bitz with a smile. “Shawn asked me in the morning what I’m doing after the game, and he invited me
over for a bite to eat, so, right away, that was what I needed.
"He really got me going."
While intense, Wednesday's practice at Wilmington was nondescript, news wise, save the following two items.
Petteri Nokelainen skated with John Whitesides and shot at a net manned by Manny Fernandez.
Chuck Kobasew missed practice for what was called "a maintenance day."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien sounded like a man who was ready for the next game.
"We had a tough road stretch," said Julien. "And having [won] in front of our home fans was great.
"I think every team goes through that during the season, at some point, and I think the thing for us is to get out of it sooner rather than later."
Angela Latona contributed to today's Bear Essentials.