Game Day: Bruins @ Blues
Boston traveled to St. Louis looking for a three-game win streak.
Monday, 11.23.2009 / 11:42 AM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com
The B's lines...
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The Scottrade Center is playing the highlight film from the 1970 Stanley Cup Final and I am enjoying the footage of John Bucyk scoring over and over against the Blues.
Marc Savard, who is expected to take to the ice for Boston this evening, has not played since October 17th, when he was on the ice for 17:01 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Marc's last goal came on Oct. 16 against Dallas and he notched an assist against the Ducks on Oct. 8.
Savvy has two multiple point efforts (Oct. 16 vs. Dallas, Oct. 3 vs. Carolina) and scored the shootout deciding goal in Oct. 10 versus the New York Islanders.
Over the last five seasons, Savard ranks third in the NHL for assists with 272 (just shy of Sidney Crosby who stands at 276). Joe Thornton is in the first slot with 336.
Prior to his injury this season, Marc had missed just eight of 256 games while with Boston.
Savard stands one goal shy of 200 for his NHL career.
The St. Louis Blues are at the end of a six-game homestand and head to Dallas following the game.
St. Louis boasts a little Boston pride as Melrose Massachusetts native Keith Tkachuk will be facing his the Bruins for the 26th time.
The former Boston University standout had 17goals and 23 assists for the Terriers during the 1990-91 season and has a 14-18-32 line over 25 contests against his hometown team.
Former Blues blueliner Dennis Wideman spent two seasons with St. Louis before joining the Bruins during the 2006-07 campaign.
While with the Blues Wideman notched a 13-33-46 line in 122 games.
Wideman was traded to Boston in exchange for Brad Boyes. While with Boston, Boyes scored 39 goals and 64 assists for 103 points in 144 games.
The Bruins are 4-3-3 over their last ten games, while the Blues are 3-4-3 over the same span. Boston is 4-3-2 on the road and St. Louis is 3-1-3 at home.
St. Louis trails in the all-time series with the B's having a 59-39-18-6 record since the Blues entered the NHL in 1967. Boston was 1-0-1 against St. Louis last season, owing to a 6-3 win in Missouri on Dec. 21, 2008 and a 5-4 shootout loss in Massachusetts on Jan. 19, 2009.
Marc Savard when asked how it felt to be returning to the lineup. "I just can't wait to get the game started.
"I've just got to remember not to do too much."
Without his doing anything (yet), just having their most potent offensive producer back in the lineup has made the Bruins look like a more confident team.
"He's definitely somebody that the opposing team has to keep an eye on," said Blake Wheeler. "He's as talented as they come in terms of moving the puck to his wingers and his linemates.
"And he's a guy that behind closed doors does a lot for our team as well, so we're definitely excited to have Savvy back and hopefully he hits the ground running."
However, the Bruins can't suddenly sit back and watch the all-star center dish the puck.
"He's going to help us with some offense, but we can't just wait [for Savard]," said David Krejci. "We have to do the same thing that we did last game -- just work hard and do our thing.
"Every person has to do their best and [shouldn't] wait for anybody [else] to do good things."
Coach Julien also stressed that the Bruins need to continue to work hard and not solely rely on the return of Savard and Milan Lucic for their spark.
"If it means we are going to be a better team, that's great," he said. "But We have to go out there and show that.
"We've seen that before, where teams want to rely on guys coming back and they still have to do their job.
"That's the important part. Our guys have to keep working hard here and keep doing what they've been doing lately. Putting another player in the lineup hopefully makes you better, but it doesn't give anybody a reason to slack off," said Julien.
3:30 p.m. (in St. Louis)
Tuukka Rask will be in goal tonight against the St. Louis Blues.
"[Tim Thomas] is not ready yet," said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "So, we're going to stick with Tuukka."
Rask has won his last two game and has a 5-2-1 record with a 2.31 GAA and a .917 sv%, so the Bruins should feel pretty good about seeing #40 in net tonight.
But there is certainly growing concern (and curiosity) throughout the Hub of Hockey concerning the club's Vezina trophy winning goalie.
Their question: When will Timmy return?
"It really is day-to-day," said Julien of Thomas and his undisclosed injury. "We keep checking with him and with Donny [DelNego, the Bruins head athletic trainer] and we have to make the right decision here.
"I know it's [something] you guys want to know. It's curious, but it is one of those injuries that we have to allow him to get better and yet it's something that could be cured on a day-to-day basis," he said.
Morning skate is in full swing. I'll tweet the goalie as soon as I see which one leaves the ice first.
The Bruins are on and around their bench, just waiting for the go ahead from the Scottrade "bullgang" so that they can begin skating. I see 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies -- a full complement of players for morning skate.
It looks like Chris Mason will be in goal for the Blues. He is 6-6-3 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .926 save percentage.
Former UNH standout Ty Conklin remains on the ice to give the Blues shooters some extra target practice.
10:44 a.m. (in St. Louis)
The Blues are on the ice at the moment, running through what, by my ears, might be one of the loudest morning skates of all time.
Every drill or pass or shot has been punctuated by a yell or a shout and it is really something to hear.
The Bruins have just arrived from the hotel and the various members of the travel party are spread throughout the Scottrade Center watching Boston's opponents stretch their legs (and vocal chords).
From what I could tell, it looks as if the Bruins will have a full morning skate themselves and we should be able to take a guess at which goalie will make the start.