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Game Day: Kings vs. Bruins

Thursday, 03.19.2009 / 9:42 AM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Game Day: Kings vs. Bruins
Los Angeles 0 0 2 1-3
Boston 1 1 0 0-2


First Period-1, Boston, Hunwick 6 (Ryder, Krejci), 14:41.

Second Period-2, Boston, Recchi 17 (Bergeron, Kobasew), 3:48.

Third Period-3, Los Angeles, Handzus 16 (Simmonds, Purcell), 9:50 (pp). 4, Los Angeles, Doughty 5 (Simmonds, Armstrong), 18:24.

Overtime-5, Los Angeles, Brown 24 (O'Donnell, Doughty), 4:25.

Shots on Goal-Los Angeles 9-13-13-3-38. Boston 10-9-7-0-26.

Goalies-Los Angeles, Quick. Boston, Thomas. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:23.
---
Overtime Recap: The Kings continued their late-game scoring streak, as a shot by Dustin Brown found its way past Tim Thomas and into the Boston net, giving the Kings a 3-2 victory with just 34 seconds left in overtime.
--

34.2 - A shocking turn of events. Brown followed O'Donnell's shot and put it away. B's lose, in OT, 3-2.

1:39 - Timmy catches the Kings latest and holds on.

2:35 - The Kings have really held sway over this extra session...

5:00 - Overtime.
---
Third Period Recap: A pair of unanswered third period goals put the Kings right back into this hockey game as they first halved the Boston lead at 10:10 with a Michal Handzus power play goal over a fallen Tim Thomas and then put the tying shot to rest at 1:36.

The Kings have outshot Boston 13-7 in the third in front of a sold-out Garden Crowd. Total shots for regulation are 35-26, LA.

---
0:00 - End of the Third. We are going to OT.

1:36 - But the Kings grabbed the puck back and brought it back the other way and Doughty put it by Thomas. It is 2-2.

1:49 - Nice steal by Lucic.

2:43 - Quick with another save...

4:13 - Quick keeps the game within one goal with a HUGE save on Michael Ryder.

5:04 - Wheeler and co. draw a penalty. O'Donnell is in the box for hooking.

5:47 - Thornton with a big hit on Green.

6:51 - Krejci shoots just wide...

8:18 - Quincey is going to the box. He tripped Yelle. The B's are 0/2 on the PP.

8:37 - Offsides on L.A. helps the B's...

9:37 - Timmy is getting busy, again.

10:10 - With the penalty running out, Handzus put it up and over Thomas.

11:48 - Thomas picked that shot like a second baseman...

12:00 - Ward is goint to the box for hooking.

12:05 - Thomas gathers a loose puck and waits for the draw.

13:32 - Wheeler puts it on Quick, who stood up to make the save.

15:39 - Tough save for Thomas. He holds on for the faceoff.

16:27 - The Kings are trying to get out of their own end.

17:56 - But they are unable to connect and are called for icing.

18:09 - B's are taking their time and regrouping in their own end...

20:00 - Start of the Third.
---
Second Period: The late, first-period surge by the Boston Bruins bled into the early minutes of the second stanza tonight as the B’s put another slot shot past Quick while he tried to untangle himself from one of his teammates in the crease.

Mark Recchi tallied that point at 16:12 off a pass from Chuck Kobasew and Patrice Bergeron.

Boston’s control of the game was only intensified with two consecutive Los Angeles penalties and, if the Kings’ morale wasn’t hurt enough, a number of scoring opportunities for the Bruins while they themselves were on the kill.

Two good periods for the Boston squad, though the third should be the determining 20 minutes as recent history has shown the B’s hit a slump in the third more often than not. Shots on goal for this period were 12-10 in favor of LA.

---
0:00 - End of Two. Apparently Zee tried to take on ALL of the L.A. Kings as they streamed off their bench. The B's captain seemed to have had issue, in particular, with Derek Armstrong.

53.2 - Gotcha! Thomas wtih his 22nd save of the nice. A half-split glove stop. A beauty!

1:35 - Like last period, the B's have really taken control late in this session...

4:33 - A pretty amazing shift by Blake Wheeler, who nearly put it by Quick, shorthanded.

5:44 - Ward is in the box for holding.

7:28 - Despite being in control of the game, things are just not clicking for Boston. Passes are not crisp, etc.

10:55 - Ivanans must like that view, 'cause he is right back in the box. Boarding. This is the B's second PP opportunity.

14:00 - Ivanans is in the box for slashing. Thats the B's first PP opportunity.

16:12 - But if Thomas has "run support" it won't matter. Recchi buries a feed started by Kobasew, continued by Bergeron. That's his 17th of the season.

16:44 - Again, Thomas is too busy.

19:01 - Nice stop by Tim off a deflection by Brown. Shots are 12-10, L.A.

19:42 - Glove save Thomas.

20:00 - Start of the Second.
---
First Period: If the Boston Bruins win tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings they will officially clinch a playoff berth and increase their lead over the New Jersey Devils as first in the East.

After about 15 minutes of relatively even, back-and-forth play, a slot pass from Michael Ryder to Matt Hunwick rattled loudly off the pipes and in to give the B’s a 1-goal lead going into the second.

For the first 10 minutes of play, Boston only had one shot on goaltender Jonathan Quick, and the resulting action in the B’s defensive end forced goaltender Tim Thomas to make a number of his patented saves to keep the game tied at 0-0.

At the end of 20 minutes, shots on goal were 10-9, in favor of the Black & Gold, and Boston looks to be gaining some momentum off of their late surge.

---
0:00 - End of the first. Boston really hit their stride in the second half of the period. If they can transfer that energy over to the second, life would be good.

1:32 - Shots are now 10-9, Boston.

3:31 - Timmy stretched his left pad to cover his post and stop Dustin Brown, who was then shoved away by Chara & co.

5:19 - This time Quick -- wasn't -- and Matt Hunwick beat him with a one-timer from the slot. Nice pass from Ryder.

5:32 - Quick flashed the right pad. Nice stop...

6:35 - Jon Quick with a, er, quick arm save, stopped a pretty nice breakaway by Wheeler.

7:14 - The Bergeron line created some issues for L.A. The shots are now 8-5, Kings.

8:44 - Thornton is the first man deep and he hit the side of the goal.

11:50 - Timmy has been run into one to many times. He just chopped one of the Kings down like a tree.

13:05 - Axelsson hit the side of the goal. Boston has ONE shot.

14:42 - Timmy has already been too busy. He has seven saves. Several of the tough variety. 

16:52 - Thomas stops another long shot by Quincey.

17:42 - Thomas makes his second save through traffic and under duress...

18:16 - Hunwick is in the box. Hooking. Matt does not look thrilled.

19:18 - Quick makes an early save and holds on for a faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Dr. Julien prescribed a quick start.

Los Angeles Starters: Johnson, Harrold, Frolov, Quincey, Stoll, Quick
Boston Starters: Ference, Wideman, Wheeler, Savard, Kessel, Thomas

Let's switch to time on clock...

6:39 p.m.
My GUESS on the lines...
Wheeler-Savard-Kessel
Recchi-Bergeron-Kobasew
Lucic-Krejci-Ryder
Axelsson-Yelle-Thornton
Chara-Ward
Ference-Wideman
Stuart-Hunwick
Thomas
Fernandez

Scratches:
Montador, Hnidy, Bitz


6:29 p.m.
Jon Quick (late of UMass-Amherst) vs. Tim Thomas (UVM) between the pipes tonight.

In 47 games, Thomas has a 30-11-6 record, a 2.12 Goals Against Average and .930 Save Percentage. He leads all NHL goaltenders in both GAA and Save Percentage.

BTW:
Two points will clinch a playoff spot for Boston.


6:01 p.m.
L.A.'s lines last time out...
Brown-Kopitar-Purcell
Frolov-Stoll-Harrold
Calder-Handzus-Simmonds
Ivanans-Armstrong-Westgarth
O'Donnell-Doughty
Guatier-Johnson
Quincey-Green
Ersberg
Quick


5:28 p.m.
Press Box Notes
The Bruins can become the third NHL club and first in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight against Los Angeles. Detroit and San Jose have already clinched a postseason berth in the West.

Other Stories...
  • Bruins forward Stephane Yelle is expected to return to the Bruins lineup tonight after missing the last five games due to an injury sustained on March 7 against Chicago.
  • Boston owns the NHL’s best power play on home ice with 38 goals on 135 attempts (28.2%).
  • Bruins forward Phil Kessel has a three game goal/point streak in progress with 4-1-5 totals during this span.
  • For the Kings, Alexander Frolov has a seven game point streak in progress with 2-7-9 totals during this span.
  • Tonight’s game starts a six-game road trip for the Kings, as they will travel to Pittsburgh (3/20), Chicago (3/22), St. Louis (3/24), Dallas (3/26), and Nashville (3/28).
  • The Bruins and the Muscular Dystrophy Association are co-hosting “Fill The Skate” Night at tonight’s game. Twenty Boston firefighters will help “Fill the Skate” by collecting money for the MDA beginning at 6:00 p.m. and continuing throughout the game. Fans who donate will receive raffle tickets to win autographed Bruins memorabilia.
  • Bruins great Derek Sanderson will join fans online at BostonBruins.com for an hour long “Rinkside Chat” on Friday, March 20, from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET. “Rinkside Chats” is an interactive online feature on BostonBruins.com that gives Bruins fans the opportunity to chat live with Bruins players, coaches, front office staff and alumni. Prior Rinkside Chatters this season included General Manager Peter Chiarelli and players Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, and Byron Bitz.


3:59 p.m.
Julien
When it comes to getting the Bruins all on the same page, it's good to know that both the players and the coaches are saying the same things.

"It’s [about] going back to our team game that we played so well at the beginning of the year," said Claude Julien this morning. "We haven’t played that team game.

"We’re on the same page one minute and we’re not the next shift.

"It’s about consistency, staying out of the penalty box when we roll four lines and we go hard, we’re a hard team to play against. If you look at last game, we spent way too much time in the penalty box," he said.

Marc Savard was in a similar mood.

“We have to bear down," said Savard while talking about the strategy against L.A. and their centers. "It’s tough when you’re chasing the puck all night, so it’s going to be a good test.

"We’ve done OK the last couple [of games], so hopefully can continue."

The Kings have some very, very talented players and if the B's aren't careful, those scoring plays in the slot -- so important to Pittsburgh on Sunday -- will return with L.A. on Thursday.

“It’s just maybe not being mentally ready in those areas, because we usually don’t give up [pucks in] those areas," said Savard. "We protect our house pretty well.

"Teams get a lot of shots some nights, but if you’re watching the game, they’re from the outside or from a long ways out, so it’s something we’ve got to tighten up on.  We worked on that, so hopefully we’re sharper tonight."

Julien said it really is about concentration.

"We got spread out [against Pittsburgh] and that’s what we talked about getting our focus and concentration going in the right direction to be ready for those kinds of situations," said Julien, who explained that when the B's are on their game, "We don’t give up many goals, we end up getting breaks and we end up scoring more at the other end."

"Our offensive game really is a reflection of how we play defensively. [If you] turn pucks over, you’re back on your back [defending] and spend too much time in your own end your offensive game takes a beating."

Savard also pointed out that the B's have actually won two of their last three, and three in a row at home.

“We’ve got to build off our positives," said Savard. "And that’s another one.  We’ve got to continue to play well at home.

"Our fans have been great all year to us, and they deserve it, so we’ve got to go out and keep doing it."


3:25 p.m.
Energy Line
Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
Coach Julien spoke about being able to use his energy line a little bit differently with veteran center Stephane Yelle in the mix.

"There’s experience in that position with Yelle coming back," said Julien. "[He's] an experienced guy with a Stanley Cup, a couple of Stanley Cups, so there’s no doubt that any time you get a guy like that back in the lineup it’s certainly a positive."

Julien was asked if that translated into being able to use his energy line more often against the Kings than he had against the Penguins.

"I don’t know if it allows me to roll it more," he said. "Hopefully it will.

"I would have loved to roll it more last game, but with the amount of time we spent in the penalty box we had to see guys on the ice way to much for my liking."


2:58 p.m.
The View From the Other Locker Room
"The Bruins are one of the top teams in the league," said Kings defenseman Jack Johnson. "If we want to make the playoffs we've got to beat teams like them to get in and stay afloat. This is a big game for us."

For more, check out the LAKings.com's Royal Road Report here and here.


1:29 p.m.
Savard
Marc Savard said that the Bruins need to focus on their own game rather than focusing on the scoreboard.

"We just want to focus on ourselves, right now," said the center. "We've talked about that the last couple of days and I think if we worry about ourselves, we'll be in a situation that we want to be in.

"Right now, we're trying to block everything else out and get some wins."

Is that easy when you face a team like the Kings -- a team that the B's have not played since last season?

"Right now, we are trying to worry about our game, so maybe it's a good thing.

"We really don't worry about what they're going to do.

"We've just got to go play our game," said Savard.

However, there's no discounting Los Angeles' talent.

"From what I've seen, they have a lot of good young players and they are going to be hungry, because they are right there fighting for their playoff lives," said Savard. "In the same sense we want to be fighting for first overall in our conference, so it's going to be a good game.

"Obviously, we'd like to get some more wins -- that's when you feel like you are doing your job, but in the last three we won two and we have to take the positives and be ready tonight."

The bottom line?

"We want first overall in the east, so we have to take advantage of these situations...so this is a huge game for us and we have to get two points," said Savard.


12:27 p.m.

Video
Just a few minutes ago, B's head coach Claude Julien spoke about taking on the Kings.

"We don’t see them often obviously, but they’re a young hard-working team," he said. "They’re an upcoming team as well. They have a lot of skill, a lot of talent and I think they’re in the process of going in the right direction and they’ve already improved quite a bit I think this year.

"We’ve had some pretty hard practices [and we've] tried to get our team back on track here.

"Our guys have worked hard so hopefully we get the results we want tonight," said Julien.

Boston will have two days off until their next game (on Sunday, against the Devils), then will not play until next Saturday, March 28th.

"Well I don’t think the concern was necessarily about today [after three days off], it’s more about playing two games in basically two weeks, or a little less than two weeks, so that’s [we’ve] talked about," said Julien. "I don’t think that’s going to be an issue tonight.

"For us it’s having a good strong start.

"We played Sunday, today’s only Thursday so there’s no reason at all for us being rusty."


12:03 p.m.
Hunwick, Hnidy, Montador, Bitz, Thornton, Yelle, Thomas and Fernandez were the men on the ice for Boston this morning.

Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off, which may indicated that he will be in goal tomorrow.

Coach Julien said that Stephane Yelle would return to the lineup versus the Kings.


10:32 a.m.
It's an option, with only five or six Bruins on the ice. More in a bit...


9:52 a.m.
Before we head upstairs to practice, I found this little nugget in the sports pages of The Republican out of Springfield. Garry Brown tells the tale of a goal scored from the bench! JB
---
"In Game 4 of the 1957-58 Calder Cup finals, Hershey defenseman Jack Price was ready to come off the ice at the end of his shift.

He cleared the puck from center ice into the Springfield zone, then stepped through the gate and headed for the bench. Meanwhile, his clearing attempt sailed right past Springfield goaltender Claude Evans. Price was sitting on the bench when the red light went on.

By the way, that proved to be the winning goal in a 7-6 game, giving Hershey a 3-1 lead in the series. The Indians won Game 5 at Hershey, then lost 2-1 in Game 6 at the Coliseum. Evans played brilliantly in that one."


8:59 a.m.
Fill the Skate!
Tonight, the Boston Bruins are teaming up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for "Fill The Skate Night." Twenty Boston fire fighters will be "Filling the Skate" by collecting money for the MDA beginning at 6:00 p.m. and continuing throughout the Bruins/Kings game.

Any fan that donates will receive a raffle ticket to win autographed Bruins memorabilia. In addition, fans will have the opportunity purchase raffle tickets for an authentic fire boot autographed by the 2008-09 Boston Bruins at the Boston Bruins Foundation table located on Level 4, Loge Section 4 of the TD Banknorth Garden.

Earlier this season, Boston Bruins Mark Stuart and Shawn Thornton participated in the MDA's 2009 Muscle Team dinner, where professional athletes put their muscle behind the search to find treatments for neuromuscular disease. While at the dinner, Stuart and Thornton were each paired up with an MDA buddy. Their buddies, as well as six others, will be watching the Bruins/Kings contest. They will take part in a variety of in-game player experiences including bench assistants, high five and a meet and greet with Stuart and Thornton after the game.


8:40 a.m.
Yesterday, after practice, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was asked if there were any traits that the last few Stanley Cup championship teams shared.


Video
"There's a lot of different things," said Julien. "Some of it has to be experience and the Detroit Red Wings have lots of that.

"They've been through it a few times and certainly know how to handle those situations."

But Coach Julien also said that some of it has to do with peaking at the right time.

"[It's about] playing well and having the confidence to make those things happen," he added. "And it's about having some bounces go your way.

"When games are decided by a goal or overtime, sometimes it's about getting the break or the bounce.

"There's a lot of things that have to work in your favor.

"Most of it is of your own doing and a little bit is that you have to hope that the so-called 'hockey gods' are on your side, too," he said.


Wednesday, March 18th
3:36 p.m.
Yelle still day-to-day...
There wasn't much to report, news-wise, from Ristuccia this morning, besides to say that B's center Stephane Yelle remains questionable for Thursday.

Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
"It's still a day-to-day process and he's certainly looking better, but we'll probably find out more about him tomorrow," said B's head coach Claude Julien. "It's a game day and we can see if he's ready to go."

Julien spoke about the many ways that Yelle has contributed this season.

"His experience has been great," said Julien. "His leadership has been great.

"He's one of those silent leaders [who leads] by example with his commitment.

"[He kills] penalties, and he's gotten better as the year has gone on. With faceoffs, he's been an important player in that area, too.

"He brings a lot of experience -- the Stanley Cup, he's got a couple of those," he said.

Julien said that Yelle's experience will be integral from here on out.

"He's one of those players at this time of the year that you really rely on a lot to help your younger players go through these situations," said Julien.


10:33 a.m.
It looks like everyone is on the ice, including Phil Kessel, who had a "maintenance day" on Tuesday.

Everybody on the ice means that there is an extra forward and two extra defensemen.


8:43 a.m.

The Bruins will hit the ice in Ristuccia this morning, round about 10:30 a.m.

Yesterday, after their first practice since falling to the Penguins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon, Boston head coach Claude Julien spoke about the issues that continue to plague his club.

"A lot of it is about mistakes," he said before specifically citing turnovers and penalties.

Despite the game being called tightly by the officiating crew, Julien said that although the B's gave a good effort, it wasn't quite their best work.

"You know, the thing that I see from watching our team [is that] the effort that's being deployed is not a poor effort," said the B's bench boss. "But it does look like that at times, when it is not done properly.

"Our guys, I thought, competed hard [in Pittsburgh], but they did not compete well. And it resulted in penalties and it resulted in scoring chances against. I mean, the slot opportunities that team had against us last game was as [many] as I've seen our team give.

"So it's more about our commitment to playing our game and fine tuning that part of it."

Julien extracted that effort yesterday in Wilmington, by running the B's through a very hard-nosed practice. But the players I talked to were pleased with the session.

"That's what we need to get back on track," said assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. "I think we really put the emphasis on being sharp and alert."

After all, explained Bergeron, you play like you practice.

Fellow forward P.J. Axelsson agreed.

"I think when you compete in practice you are going to compete in games," said Axelsson. "So I think it is a good thing there were those little battles in the corners and a little something-something went on."

Axelsson was referring to the several instances where the Bruins tempers nearly boiled over on each other. But he did not seem concerned. Perhaps that's because, in the end, time is short and tough practices are part of turning things around.

"That's what we are trying to do," said Axelsson. "And we've got two or three weeks to do it."

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