Live Blog: Bruins vs. Panthers


Nov 12, 2009

Live Blog: Bruins vs. PanthersPostgame analysis, Bruins lose in shootout 1-0: The Bruins couldn’t get the win tonight, but they did get a hard-earned point. And while two would have been nice, they realized not many teams were going to beat Tomas Vokoun (40 saves) on this night.

“I think you got to take the positives out of it,” forward Shawn Thornton said following the game. “It’s the way we’ve been all year. We’ve been very sound defensively. We are getting chances. But again you have to tip your hat to [Vokoun], too — he played a hell of a game. I think we did a good job with everything except putting the puck into the net again, so we’ll take the positives.”

Tim Thomas finished with 23 saves and shut the Panthers out through three periods and overtime. But unfortunately for him, he was unable to get his third straight shutout. If he had, it would have been the 15th of his career, which as he jokingly pointed out, would’ve left him just 10 shy of a Rolex watch.

“I don’t get many shutouts, but supposedly for your 25th, you get a Rolex,” Thomas said with a laugh.

Thomas made one of his trademark chaotic saves on Steve Reinprecht in the shootout. Reinprecht rung one off the post, but the puck then bounced off Thomas’ leg and then off his stick as he poked it away. Apparently Vokoun figured at that point that his amazing performance might just get his team a point, and not the win.

“We went to the shootout and on the first one we almost score a goal, but then I was like ‘Oh, my God’ it is never going to go in,” Vokoun said. “When it did, obviously I was relieved and [we got] a big two points.”

The Bruins will travel to Pittsburgh next for a rematch with the Penguins, a team they shut out on Tuesday night. The Pens lost again Thursday, 4-1 to the Devils.

End of shootout, Panthers win 1-0: It took three periods, overtime and four rounds of a shootout to complete this game, but despite outshooting the Panthers 40-23, the Bruins lose on a Corey Stillman shootout goal.

Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Michael Ryder all failed to beat the star of the game, Tomas Vokoun, in the shootout.

Tim Thomas stopped the Panthers’ first three shooters, Steve Reinprecht, Rotislav Olesz and Stephen Weiss, but he couldn’t make the save on a Stillman wrist shot from the slot.

Earlier, Thomas made a crazy save on Reinprecht. The puck hit the post, then Thomas’ pad behind him and finally Thomas poked it away with his stick.

I’m still trying to figure out why Chara was even in there among the shooters since he didn’t even use the hardest shot in the world, his slap shot, to try and beat Vokoun. Instead the Big Z just tried to go all the way in and deke out Vokoun.

It’s definitely a frustrating loss here for the Bruins, but I don’t think even the Oilers dynasties or maybe Bobby Orr would’ve beaten Vokoun tonight!

I’m headed down to the dressing room to get some postgame reaction and will have some analysis for you soon. Until then, thanks for joining us and, once again, thanks to all our veterans!

End of overtime: The Bruins have outshot the Panthers 40-23, but this game is still scoreless and headed to a shootout.

Overtime 0:28.3: Shades of Ron Tugnutt (73 saves) circa 1991 by Tomas Vokoun tonight.

Overtime 3:20: Still waiting for the Bruins to try and go high with their shots. Let’s see if maybe they can get a good tip in front.

Overtime 4:46: Now we’re underway in overtime as the Bruins try to find a way to score here. They have outshot the Panthers 36-21.

End of regulation: We’re headed to overtime here in front of a crowd of 17,074 that had some scattered boos showering down on this scoreless game.

David Krejci has played better tonight and answered Claude Julien’s call for a better work ethic.

Third period, 3:36: At the Olympics, Team USA better hope they don’t have to play the Czech Republic with one Tomas Vokoun between the pipes.

Third period, 8:25: Another quick note of interest, the Bruins are 3-1-1 when tied after the second period and the Panthers are 4-0-0.

You can’t really fault the Bruins for being tied, though. They deserve credit for sticking to their system and avoiding frustration.

Third period, 11:39: Just spoke to a scout here and the plethora of scouts in attendance are indeed here watching Nathan Horton of the Panthers as Florida has reportedly let it be known that he is available.

Third period, 14:50: A few early chances in the third for the Bruins, but no luck just yet.

Quick note: Tim Thomas has not allowed a goal since 17:32 of the first period in last Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal.

Third period, 19:06: We’re underway here in the third period as the Bruins try to solve Tomas Vokoun.

End of second period: The Bruins just outshot the Panthers 19-1 in the second period and are outshooting them 28-7 total through two periods. But Tomas Vokoun, as we pointed out, seems to have an answer for everything and we’re scoreless here after two.

The Bruins seem to want to go low on Vokoun, looking for rebounds off his pads, but he is doing a great job of limiting the second chances. Time to switch it up and go top shelf or test his glove.

Second period, 1:17: Once again, Tomas Vokoun is the story here as the Florida netminder held off another Bruins onslaught and the Bruins fall to 0-for-3 on the power play.

Boston is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Vokoun, but as one scout just said, “He’s a wall out there.”

Second period, 3:52: The Bruins are about to go on another power play as Keith Ballard is back in the penalty box for tripping. Boston is 0-for-2 tonight on the man advantage.

The Bruins need to get their power play going again here. It’s almost starting to look like a week ago. And they don’t want a replay of that scoring drought.

Second period, 6:00: The Panthers are getting completely outplayed here, but Tomas Vokoun has been brilliant in net.

The Bruins need to be careful not to get frustrated and take any bad penalties.

The TD Garden big screen just wished the USMC a happy 234th birthday. Lots of great gestures by the Garden and the Bruins tonight toward veterans.

Second period, 8:48: The Bruins are now 0-for-2 on the power play after failing to score on the Keith Ballard penalty.

Shawn Thornton and Bryan Allen just did the tango. Decision: Thornton.

Second period, 11:18: Florida defenseman Keith Ballard is off to the sin bin for tripping after some great offensive-zone pressure by the Bruins.

The Bruins almost lit the lamp, but Tomas Vokoun robbed Vladimir Sobotka on a one-time feed Sobotka took from Brad Marchand.

Second period, 16:08: Make that 19 straight power plays that the Bruins have killed off. Florida is now 0-for-3.

Second period, 19:02: We are underway in the second period and the Bruins take a quick penalty for too many men on the ice. Florida is 0-for-2 on the power play.

End of first period: Tim Thomas continues to be sensational in net with another period of shutout hockey and we are tied 0-0 after one period of play.

Tomas Vokoun was also good for the Panthers and, as expected, we have a low-scoring affair here. It will be interesting to see if the Bruins try to open it up more. The Panthers are clogging up the neutral zone with ease right now.

First period, 3:27: To further elaborate on the Bruins’ penalty kill, they have now killed off 30 of the last 31 power plays they have faced. Simply amazing!

It’s no doubt that newcomer Daniel Paille has been a major factor on the PK but the whole team deserves a lot of credit for this success. The team gets momentum after every kill.

First period, 4:17: The Bruins killed off both penalties and have now killed off 18 power plays in a row.

First period, 6:55: Tim Thomas just made an amazing save on Nathan Horton. Also, Zdeno Chara is in the box for hooking and the Panthers have a two-man advantage for 1:10.

First period, 7:52: Brad Marchand is in the sin bin after a retaliatory penalty. Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen laid an open-ice hit on Dennis Wideman. You need to control your emotion there, Brad, and take down the number.

First period, 9:10: No score here yet, but the Bruins are outshooting the Panthers 6-1.

Keep an eye on Panthers rookie defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. I saw him play in the QMJHL last season and he is the real deal. He made it out of camp with the parent club and will be a stud on defense for the Panthers in the very near future.

First period, 13:12: The Bruins are 0-for-1 on the power play after failing to convert on that last man advantage.

First period, 15:22: The Bruins are on their first power play of the game. Jordan Leopold is off for interference.

First period, 18:29: We are underway here in the first period. Let’s see how the Bruins handle a team they should beat after answering the bell against contenders like Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

7:07 p.m.: There are Veterans Day ceremonies taking place here. Veteran Wayne Naus did an amazing job on the National Anthem with his trumpet. To all veterans, my father Patrick Murphy and my good friend Josh Staunton, thank-you for your service.

7:00 p.m.: Greetings from the TD Garden where we’re almost set for faceoff between the visiting Panthers and the Bruins, winners of two straight for the first time this season.

Lots of scouts up here in the press box on “Scouts Row.” Maybe scouting Panthers forward Nathan Horton?

On paper the Bruins should have no problem with the Panthers tonight but the game isn’t played on paper and this game has “trap game” written all over it. However, the Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season right now and even when parts of their game slide recently, the defense and goaltending have remained solid.

After a game in the press box as a healthy scratch, Brad Marchand is back in the lineup tonight. Look for more discipline from Marchand and for him to pick his spots being the pest he can be trying to draw the opponent into a penalty.

Trent Whitfield and Johnny Boychuk are the healthy scratches tonight.

It will be Tim Thomas vs. Tomas Vokoun between the pipes.

Here’s what the Bruins lineup should look like tonight with the starters in bold:

Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Vladimir Sobotka –Brad Marchand
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz

Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Andrew Ference

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

12:28 p.m.: Tim Thomas has been appointed to the committee that will review the NHL’s constitution, TSN reports.

12:13 p.m.: The Bruins have suddenly found their groove, with their special teams clicking and their team defense and goaltending being stingy. On Thursday night, they’ll host the Panthers at TD Garden.

The Panthers are struggling. They’re coming off two straight losses to division rival Washington in which they were outscored 11-5. Just as the Bruins are, the Panthers are missing some key players in David Booth (concussion) and Radek Dvorak (torn ligament). But unfortunately for the Panthers, they don’t have the depth that Boston has.

So on paper, the Bruins have the chance to extend this current win streak and keep pace with the first-place Sabres, whom they trail by three points. But as Zdeno Chara pointed out, the game isn’t played on paper.

“Things can change quickly if you don’t approach every game the same way and play with the same intensity,” Chara said.

Look for another complete effort from this resilient Bruins squad as they know from the past month of .500 hockey that they can’t take anyone lightly.

Some good news came from the morning skate, with injured forward Milan Lucic skating with some of his teammates. Lucic was placed on injured reserve with a broken right index finger on Oct. 18 and was expected to miss four to six weeks. He appears to be a little ahead of schedule and recently claimed he is targeting the Bruins’ Nov. 19 game at Atlanta for his first game back.

Also of note is that head coach Claude Julien has called for a better effort from center David Krejci and believes that the team’s second-leading scorer from last season needs to step it up on and off the ice in terms of work ethic. He took into account the fact that Krejci missed the preseason and had to alter his preparation because of offseason hip surgery, but apparently the grace period has ended for Krejci.

“I’m certainly not unsympathetic to what he’s gone through,” Julien told the media yesterday. “No doubt he didn’t get the same advantage as anybody else to get himself ready, because he was limited to not much [in workouts] in the middle of the summer. [But] we’re in the second month of the season now. We’ve been on the ice for two months. Somewhere along the way, whether it’s extra work on the ice, in the gym or everything else, you’ve just got to work your way through it. It’s up to him to work through it. He’s got to find his game and work through the glitches he seems to have right now.”

We shall see how Krejci responds and how the Bruins as a team do when they take on the Panthers in the fourth and final game of their current four-game homestand in which they’re 2-0-1. For a preview of the game and the expected lineups, check out Facing Off, and for more info on the Panthers you can check out Across Enemy Lines. But for updates leading into the game and then for the game itself, check back to the live blog.

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