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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

High Flying Bruins Stun Canes

Once again I endeavor into the pain and agony that is blogging the Boston Bruins live. Coming into the third game of a five gave road trip and on the back of four straight losses, the Bruins are hoping to take their frustrations out on the Currolina Hurricanes (28-24-5) tonight. The Bruins (39-10-8) may still have a comfortable lead atop the Eastern Conference, but a losing streak paired with a road trip could spell disaster. Two games in, a potential disaster may very well be taking shape. Confidence is low, though hopefully starting to grow after the Nashville loss. The Bruins, especially Patrice Bergeron, played extremely well, looking more and more like their old selves, but couldn't seperate themselves from the Preds.

Looking at the game simply on paper, I do like the Bruins' chances. Then again, I could say that for most games. However, a couple of stats tug at my mind and toward the B's. Canes goalie Cam Ward has been exceptional lately, stopping 38 shots against the Sabres on Sunday in a 3-0 win. It's one thing to question Cam's hot streak against the Bruins losing streak. You could give the edge to goalie over the Team Who Can't Score a Powerplay Goal. BUT... the Bruins have Mr. Ward by the balls (so to speak), Ward is 0-3-0 against the Bruins this year, sporting a modest 5.13 GAA and a sparkling .868% save percentage.

In Cam's favor are the Bruins profligate forwards. Bergeron hasn't scored in what seems like years, Phil Kessel hasn't scored in 9 games since returning from mono, David Krejci has gone M.I.A. since the All-Star Game. The Bruins need these guys to find the net tonight if they have any chance of continuing on as strongly as they had been this season.

Also, in a previous blog, I mentioned the Bruins needing a sniper. A true, honest-to-god sniper. Mark it here, if the Bruins can't find a sniper, they're out in the first round of the playoffs. Won't matter who they play, it's over.

And onto the Blog...
A short video montage of the team's recent struggles with Jack Edwards narrating. I wasn't so much as paying attention to the words as I was to the incredible number of cliches Jack managed to throw out in about 45 seconds.

The Hurricanes are retiring Glen Wesley's number this evening. Played seven years in Boston to begin his career. Good player, good stick and passing skills, a nice solid defenseman. Hall of Fame no? Hurricanes Hall of Fame? Sure. They're retiring his number aren't they?

Glen and his family have been given an all-inclusive trip to somewhere in British Columbia. Because he couldn't afford it?

Glen is also introduced as the second player in the Hurricanes' "Ring of Honor." Two players does not a ring make.

Standing ovation, Glen is moved and touched by the adoration of his fans.

The ceremony is overshot by 15 minutes, the players are given a hefty 60 seconds after a 35 minute standstill. How're those hammies feeling boys?

First Period
18:34 -
The B's are guilty of icing and we'll take a faceoff down to the right of Tim Thomas. Not much going on so far, gotta get those legs back together, I suppose.

17:17 - Tuomo Ruutu goes flying behind the B's net for a check on Mark Stuart, who deftly swidesteps.

16:45 - Mark Stuart is guilty for slashing and it's a Carolina Hurricanes Pepsi Powerplay. Canes went 4/5 on the powerplay against Phoenix back on the 7th, thank you for the stat Jack Edwards.

16:20 - Sergei Samsonov tings the right post of Tim Thomas.

15:27 - Blake Wheeler catches an errant puck and carries it out, passes it to Krejci down the left boards, Krejci swings it back to Wheeler who gets Ward going wide, but it hits the outside of the post.

14:42 - Dangerous times. Bruins kill the penalty, Matt Cullen with a little drag through, Zdeno Chara catches it and basically throws it at Tim Thomas. Good thing he didn't miss.

13:10 - Samsonov is destined to score early here, the Bruins defending in layers, making things difficult. Samsonov gets to the loose puck, can't capitalise and the Bruins get it out.

12:45 - End to end action early on, Krejci, Sobotka, Kessel looking to be the most fiesty of Boston's lines tonight. Chipping in, crashing the boards after the puck, always looking to make things happen.

Commercial break... anyone else living in the New England/Northeast area want to take one swing at Bob of Bob's Discount Furniture? The queue starts behind me.

10:50 - The ageless Rod Brind'Amour working hard to make something happen. Chuck Kobasew breaks down, gets a shot with a huge rebound, but there's no one to receive it.

10:00 - Looking more and more likely the Krejci line is going to score. Excellent, crisp passing between the three of them, they've had Cam Ward out of position a couple of times, just a matter of time.

8:57 1-0 Canes - Savard is wide on the short side with his slapper, Ray Whitney is streaking down the left, finds Dennis Seidenberg who feeds Matt Cullen with a backhand pass and Cullen will not be denied. End to end to end hockey here, great action.

7:31 - PJ Axellson collides knee to knee with Chad LaRose, struggles to get off the ice and through the door. Yeah he's a hard worker, maybe good for the kids, but PJ is no offensive player. Maybe a bonus in disguise? I know it's awful to question an injury being a benefit to the team, but I'm pretty sure Casey would be pleased if Hal Gill got injured for the Penguins.

Andy Brickley tells us there was no malice intent on the part of LaRose. Ah, but was there malicious intent, Andy?

5:20 - Shane Hnidy tries to clear the zone and passes it directly onto the stick of a Cane, who puts a poor shot on Tim Thomas.

4:46 - Things are getting chippy in front of the Canes bench. Shawn Thornton is jawing with someone. It all started with Andrew Ference accosted a Canes player in the circle. A few friendly punches and we're back underway.

3:10 - A questionable slashing call on Eric Staal. Giving the Bruins a powerplay. I'm sure the Canes aren't particularly worried about the threat.

2:35 1-1 - Lucic moves in one-on-one against Joni Pitkanen, who slyly takes Lucic down. Wheeler comes in from the sidewall and is able to slide a backhander past Cam Ward. Wheeler now has 3 goals in his last 6 outings.

Well to be honest I had to leave for a few minutes directly after the goal and have just returned, three minutes into the second period. It's still 1-1, so I'm guessing I didn't miss too much.

Second Period

14:26 2-1 Bruins - David Krejci wins the faceoff to Cam Ward's left, back to Shane Hnidy who steps into a wrist shot that flies past Ward for the goal. Hnidy has matched his career high with 12 points.

13:57 - Stephane Yelle is sent to the sin bin for hooking. Opportune time for the Canes to potentially even this game up on the man advantage. Some good passing around the edge of the zone, but the B's are able to clear after 35 seconds.

12:13 - Bruins break shorthanded 3 on 2, Marc Savard blasts it up and it takes a deflection into the stands. How about making a pass to somebody?

12:06 - Patrice Bergeron takes the puck off the face, gets up under his visor. Looks like there might be a bit of blood up around the forehead area. Jack Edwards also informs us Michael Ryder will be wearing a shield for the remainder of the season.

11:37 - Rod Brind'Amour with a terribly obvious trip on Chuck Kobasew about five feet in front of the net. The Bruins kill one off and have one of their own now...

11:21 - Quick action as Chad LaRose squirts away and breaks down the right side. His wrister is saved by Thomas, but it's a faceoff to his left.

10:08 - Bergeron with a wicked shot and an equally wicked lunging save from Cam Ward.

9:43 - Ward with a slick glove save on a Zdeno Chara ripper. Bruins are certainly looking to extend this lead and they may just do that.

9:20 - Phil Kessel breaks away, picks his head up, makes his shot and Cam Ward has him bested. Aside from the Hnidy goal, Ward is putting on a show in the second period.

6:34 - Kessel creates a turnover in the neutral zone, gets a quick feed to Krejci who goes wide with it, shoots at zero angle and manages to hit the post. Great energy from the Bruins tonight, where was this against Philly and Jersey? Seriously?

The Bruins are attempting to go 3-0 this season when playing against a team who's retiring a jersey and hosting Boston. They beat the Blackhawks and Canadiens previously.

4:20 - Bruins lead 20-17 in shots on goal. Very even match in shots and on ice. A couple of acrobatic saves from Tim Thomas, backhanding the puck into the corner to get it away from the net. Maybe a little to showy and uncoordinated, but he keeps it together. There's still plenty of time for a Timmy Thomas meltdown.

2:30 - Seems as if the Canes are gaining a small advantage toward the end of the second period. Crisper passing, in comparison to the B's who appear as if they're trying to pass it through players rather than around them.

:57.8 - Icing on the Bruins. Quick notes, Milan Lucic has looked really good tonight, all around the ice, making some plays. Marc Savard has made some terrific passes left and right, but can't seem to get a shot on net without it being deflected... or going wide and ending up at the other end of the ice for a Canes goal. Kessel, Krejci and Sobotka have slown down since the first, but Kessel and Krejci are still looking viable to get themselves into the boxscore tonight.

Third Period

16:23 -
Finally some action in the third. Kobasew going to the net makes some contact with Niclas Wallin, which results in Wallin hurrying down into the locker room. There's a spot of blood on the boards behind the Carolina goal.

A quick showing of the standings with the Bruins at 86 points, now just 9 points ahead of New Jersey with 77 and Carolina way, way down at 61.

15:31 - Joe Corvo down on the ice and it's looking like the Canes are down to just four defensemen for this game. Looks like a knee/thigh injury for Corvo, maybe a charlie horse, but he's gone straight into the locker room to join Wallin.

15:06 - Savard continues to make stellar pass after stellar pass. He fed Lucic long, but Lucic couldn't make anything happen.

12:31 - Jack Edwards has nicknamed Sobotka, "Little Big Man," no sir, I don't like it.

The very fine Kathryn Tappen lets us know that Florida is dismantling New Jersey 3-0. Fantastic.

11:24 - Tickets still available for next Tuesday's home encounter with the Panthers. First 5,000 fans in the door will get a movie poster of one of their favorite players! Manny Fernandez posters for EVERYBODY!

Bruins highlights provided courtesy of our good friends at

10:31 - Puck comes end over end to Ray Whitney, catches it on the bounce and it gets to Thomas easily. Could've been very dangerous had the puck not been bouncing.

8:52 - Eric Staal trying to make something happen in front of the B's net. Thomas smothers the puck, Staal keeps going Shane "Sherriff" Hnidy gives Staal a fist to the face, knocking him flat on his back.

7:40 - Jack Edwards has yet to make a "setting up in Gretzky's Office" comment. Shocking.

6:50 - Two minutes for crosschecking on Mark Stuart. Carolina looking strong before the powerplay, however they are 0/2 with 1 shot with a man up.

6:46- Tuomo Ruutu called for holding. Perhaps a bit of a make up call for the crosscheck? So the Bruins will have a four second powerplay coming up in 1:56. I expect a goal in those four seconds. Gotta cure those powerplay maladies, you know.

4:50 - I missed a Bruins penalty, wasn't quite paying attention. They have 1:00 for a powerplay as Ruutu steps back onto the ice.

3:48 3-1 Bruins- David Krejci breaks in one on one with Seidenberg. Krejci goes to the right of Ward and flips it to the backhand, beautiful shot, beautiful goal. Did I said Krejci was M.I.A.? We've found him!

3:20 - Bruins doing an incredible job of collapsing on defense. Blake Wheeler breaks in alone on Ward, goes to the forehand. However, Frantisek Kaberle is called for a hook. Not quite a penalty shot. A goal would put the nail in the coffin for the B's though.

2:48 4 -1 Bruins - It's another Bruins powerplay goal and it's Chuck Kobasew! Bergeron on the half-wall, pushes it out to Chara in the middle of the point. Cam Ward smartly decides not to block it and Kobasew makes a nifty deflection to get the goal.

1:42 - The Carolina Hurricanes have taken Cam Ward off the ice. I smell 5-1 pretty quickly here, maybe. And as I type that...

1:26 - Sobotka sent off the ice for hooking. 6 on 4 for the Canes for the remainder of this one.

:50.6 5 - 1 Bruins - It's an empty netter, BUT it's Patrice Bergeron's first goal since November 21st! He gets the monkey off his back, but really... does this count as a goal? Come on now. It is the Bruins' second shorty tonight though.

First time ever the Bruins have swept the season series from the Hurricanes. They won by a combined score of 18-6 in the four games between the clubs.

The Bruins showed some incredible energy and passion tonight, winning this one handily. Two shorties and two powerplay goals tell the story, the Bruins were a force all around and as evenly matched as it was a times, the Bruins showed their class in the third period tonight. The Hurricanes had absolutely no chance to win this once the final 20 began.

The B's are now off until Saturday and will head south as a team for the rest of the week. A little vacation, a little sun, can't hurt, that's for sure. I know I could use both.

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