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Game Day: Canadiens vs. Bruins

Thursday, 11.05.2009 / 9:44 AM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Game Day: Canadiens vs. Bruins
6:43 p.m.
Okay, I am heading over to the live blog. Please join us!

6:39 p.m.
The Bruins Lines...
Sturm-Bergeron-Recchi
Wheeler-Sobotka-Ryder
Paille-Begin-Marchand
Lehtonen-Whitfield-Thornton
Chara-Morris
Hunwick-Wideman
Stuart-Ference
Thomas
Rask

6:34 p.m.
Tim Thomas led the Bruins out of their locker room.

Press Box Notes
STORYLINES: It has been a “newsworthy” Thursday for the Boston Bruins, some good, some bad. The ‘good’ being that Tuukka Rask has been extended through the 2011-12 season; the ‘bad’ being David Krejci has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.

“I don’t think anybody cares,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien earlier today when asked about the unfortunate nature of Krejci’s absence. “Besides for our dressing room, we just have to deal with our own issues and hope that he gets better quickly. That is the reality of what is going on in North America these days and we’ll be aware of it and do the best we can. Our team has done that, our doctors and everyone involved are taking all the precautions we can to avoid it, unfortunately it’s still around us.”

Krejci initially began feeling symptoms after Tuesday night’s game in Detroit and he must remain symptom and fever free for 24 hours before he rejoins the team. Krejci joins the growing list of wounded Bruins, which includes Marc Savard, Milan Lucic and Byron Bitz.

In response to Krejci’s absence, the Bruins recalled Mikko Lehtonen from Providence Wednesday evening. Lehtonen, who led the P-Bruins in goals a year ago with 28, made his NHL debut with the Bruins last year against Buffalo.

“He was the best player available let’s put it that way,” said Julien. “We have called so many guys up. Marchand, Sobotka, Whitfield, and now he is the next one on the list… He has a big body, skates well, has skill, and maybe he can help us produce a little up front.”

The Bruins have been blanked in their last two games and have not scored since a Vladimir Sobotka strike at 7:02 of the third period in their game against the Oilers on October 31. They will hope to break their scoreless streak tonight against the Habs, who have surrendered 50 goals on the year, the third most GA in the league. Like Boston, they have been bitten by the injury bug as well, especially on the backline. Blueliners Andrei Markov, Ryan O’Byrne and former Bruin Hal Gill have missed a combined 28 games this season and are not expected to play tonight.

This is the 700th meeting between the Bruins and Canadiens in their lifetime series, the second most meetings of any two NHL rivals (Chicago vs. Detroit, 704 games).

BRUINS EXTEND RASK: Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced earlier today that the club has signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to a two-year contract extension through the 2011-12 season. The 22-year-old Rask has appeared in nine NHL games in his career  – all with the Bruins – and has registered a 5-2-2 record, 2.43 Goals Against Average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts. He has played in four games this year for the Bruins and has posted a 2-1-1 record, 2.41 GAA and .920 save percentage. Rask was acquired by the Bruins from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006. He was originally drafted by Toronto in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

STU SUPPORTS TROOPS, FANS CAN TOO THROUGH BRUINS “SEATS FOR SOLDIERS” PROGRAM: Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart has purchased $5,000 worth of tickets to the Bruins/Panthers game on November 12 and will donate them to local servicemen and women and their families. Fans can follow Stuart’s lead and support the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” program online at www.bostonbruins.com. November 12 is “Military Appreciation Night” at the TD Garden.

SPECIAL TEAMS WATCH: The Bruins rank 30th in the NHL on the power play overall (11.5%) and tied for 25th at home (11.4%). They rank tied for 22nd on the PK overall (78.0%) and tied for 23rd at home (75.0%).

The Canadiens rank 24th on the PP overall (14.3%) and 16th on the road (18.2%). They rank 24th on the PK overall (75.8%) and 29th on the road (66.7%).

5:46 p.m.
Begin talked about the Bruins recent difficuties on the -- obviously, tonight would be an excellent time to get off putting the proverbial biscuits in the basket.

"We have been having trouble the last few games getting a goal and that would be a great start tonight -- to score goals," said the former Hab turned Bruin. "We’ve been playing good, but not good enough...so we have to give more.

"Everybody has to step up their game and crank it up a notch or two.

"It’s no secret," he continued. "If we want to score, we have to shoot the puck and get to the net.

"We've got to make sure there’s traffic in front of that goalie and get those rebounds; be hungry tonight and step on loose pucks."

4:59 p.m.
Yet another good friend, Magalie Lafrenière, is in town for NHL.com. She juxtaposed Glen Metropolit and Steve Begin in her latest article.

Both men have been on both sides of the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry and apparently Metro plans on "taking on" Big Zee tonight, and Beige just  "can't wait for the game to start."

Neither can we!

4:54 p.m.
Metro Brings the Fun (To MTL)

The Boston media corps (and BostonBruins.com) had the occasion to talk to old friend Glen Metropolit this afternoon.

“It’s always fun," said "Metro" about the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry. "we’re both battling right now for points. We know that. "They’ve got the injury bug, we’ve been hit with it too.

"So it’s going to be two hardworking teams tonight having some fun out there," he said.

Metropolit was a media and fan favorite during his short time with the Bruins during the 2007-08 season. However, after a stop in Philadelphia, the feisty winger seems to have found a home in bleu, blanc et rougue.

"Well, I’m happy where I am right now," said Metropolit. "We’ve been doing great. We have a tight group. Everyone gets along with everyone. So that aspect of it’s been great.

"[The Canadiens have] new coaching staff pretty much so we’ve been implementing a new system, so we’ve...had a lot of tight games where we’ve lost by one goal.

"But we’re learning and like they say, it’s a marathon not a sprint, so we’re getting better every game and that’s the main thing."

Metropolit said the the new faces in the locker room have brought renewed vigor to the Habs, who, like the Bruins, have struggled early in the 2009-10, season.

"I mean it’s just crazy all the new faces that came in, but at the same time we’re all in the big picture here, we all want to win," said the forward. "The guys that they’ve brought in are proven winners -- [Scott] Gomez, [Brian] Gionta, [and] Hal Gill winning the Cup last year.

"With that being said, yah, it’s a good room right now."

No doubt, Metropolit is an important part of that "good room."

"I don’t know about that," he said of his role. "I mean I just try to keep everyone loose.

"That’s the main thing. Ultimately it’s a game. You want to have fun. You grew up having fun.

"This year guys are having fun again and I just try to have fun, keep the guys loose, [and] lead by example on the ice."

4:46 p.m.
Speaking of goalies, good friend Dave Stubbs from Habsinsideout.com rubs a little salt in B's fans memories with his piece on Gilles Gilbert and the 1979 playofs.

Stubbs writes:
It was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinal between the Canadiens and the Bruins. The visitors led 4-3 with 2:34 separating them from an upset elimination of the Canadiens and a date in the final, Montreal's goal of challenging for a fourth consecutive Cup on life-support.

And then the Bruins spilled plentifully over the boards...


You know the rest. Thanks (?) Dave.

3:53 p.m.
Rask Signed Through 2001-12

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to a two-year contract extension through the 2011-12 season.

The 22-year-old Rask has appeared in nine NHL games in his career  - all with the Bruins - and has registered a 5-2-2 record, 2.43 Goals Against Average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts. He has played in four games this year for the Bruins and has posted a 2-1-1 record, 2.41 GAA and .920 save percentage. He is coming off a 2-0 shutout win of the Edmonton Oilers in his last start on October 31.

Rask made his NHL debut for the Bruins on November 20, 2007 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and recorded his first NHL victory in that game. He spent the majority of the last two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins where he had a 60-33-6 record and five shutouts in 102 appearances. He opened the season on an NHL roster for the first time in his career this year.

The 6’2’’, 171-pound native of Savolinna, Finland played two seasons in the Finnish Elite League before coming to North America in 2007 and he has represented Team Finland in three World Junior Championships.

Rask was acquired by the Bruins from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006. He was originally drafted by Toronto in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

12:41 p.m.
I was able to track down Mikko Lehtonen for a few minutes and I asked the big forward if he were excited for his second shot at the bigs.

"Of course I am excited," said Lehtonen. "I am not as nervous as last year when it was my first game."

The nerves were understandable.

"You always dream of playing here," said Lehtonen of the B's and the NHL.

But he thinks those butterflies are behind him.

"I know what to expect," said Lehtonen. "There are a lot of Providence guys here, too and I know most of the guys from Boston, so it's easy to come here and work hard and just enjoy it.

"It's a big game today, so hopefully I can help the team do well."

12:31 p.m.
Carey Price was the first goalie off for Montreal.

12:27 p.m.
When it rains...
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien isn't expecting any sympathy as yet another forward (David Krejci) has gone down with a medical issue.

"I don’t think anybody cares," he said. "Besides for our dressing room, we just have to deal with our own issues and hope that he gets better quickly.

"That is the reality of what is going on in North America these days and we’ll be aware of it and do the best we can.

"Our team has done that, our doctors and everyone involved are taking all the precautions we can to avoid it," he said.

Julien explained that the Bruins will just have to cope.

"Again, we do the best we can," said Julien of the precautionary steps the B's have taken. "David Krejci is not around the team, and hopefully that’s where it will stop but there is no guarantee.

"We are all vulnerable to it, we just have to deal with it the best way we can."

11:45 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice and it looks like Timmy will make tonight's start against the Habs.

10:49 a.m.
Krejci Out
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club’s medical staff has confirmed a diagnosis of H1N1 for David Krejci.

Based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, Krejci will be isolated from the rest of the team until he is symptom and fever free for 24 hours.

“Like most people, we are taking many precautions to try to prevent our players and staff from contracting the H1N1 virus,” said Chiarelli.  “Our medical staff is working with David to get him healthy as soon as possible, and our players and staff will continue to take precautions with hopes of preventing the spread of the virus to others in the organization.”

10:25 a.m.
Mark Stuart is the first Boston Bruins player on the ice for Boston.

10:20 a.m.
"I saw a lot of good things [on Tuesday]," said B's goalie Tim Thomas from the visitors locker room in Joe Louis Arena. "We were right there sniffing around the edges."

"I don’t think we’re in here feeling sorry for ourselves," continued The Tank. "We’re trying to do whatever we can do to get the job done that we need to get done."

9:44 a.m.

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien said that the Bruins have to start making their own luck. Posts and goal lines and blocked shots be damned, the Black & Gold have to put numbers on the scoreboard.

”If we keep getting content with that, we’re not going to be very successful,” said Julien on Tuesday night, postgame. ”We hit some posts and we missed some great opportunities [against Detroit].

“But somehow we’re going to have to make it happen if you want to turn this thing around.

“It’s as simple as that, but it’s up to us to decide how tired we are of losing games that we hear that we are okay and do something about it,” he said. “We have to start winning some hockey games.”

Julien is confident that the answers are in the locker room.

“We’re going to get out of it,” he said. “Once we start scoring goals those things are going to turn around. So we know we will.

“We just have to decide how quickly we want that to turn around.”

Julien was asked about the Bruins power play.

“Well, when you’re not scoring goals, you’re not scoring goals,” said the head coach. “Right now our top end is having a tough time scoring goals and we’ve tried other players on the power play but you can’t rely on your bottom part of your forwards to go in and win you games every night and do this stuff.

“I mean there’s some guys [like Michael] Ryder hits the post, [Marco] Sturm had two great chances and I can’t say they’re not trying, we just got to make it happen, simple as that.

“When those things start going in, I can guarantee you, when we start scoring goals the power play will follow as well,” he said.

The Bruins are on the ice at 10:30 a.m.

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