Bruins Shoot for Four in a Row Heading Into Olympic Break

by

February 13, 2010

Bruins Shoot for Four in a Row Heading Into Olympic Break On Saturday night, the Bruins have a chance to complete a sweep of their pre-Olympic break four-game road trip.

After a 10-game winless streak, Boston has strung together three straight wins and is back in a playoff spot. A win on Saturday could propel them even higher in the Eastern Conference stsandings and give them momentum heading into two-week Olympic break.

Alternately, the Panthers have lost five straight and are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. The ownership and management have admitted changes are coming, and in the meantime, the Panthers are ripe for the picking, as confidence is very low.

When And Where

Saturday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. (NESN)
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Fla.

Records

Bruins (26-22-11, 63 points, fourth place in Northeast Division, eighth place in Eastern Conference)
Panthers (24-27-9, 57 points, fourth in Southeast Division, 12th in Eastern Conference)

Head to Head

This is the third of four meetings between the Bruins and Panthers this season. The two teams have split the first two games, with the Panthers winning the first 1-0 in a shootout at Boston and the Bruins winning 2-1 at Florida on Dec. 27. They will meet once more on April 1 at the TD Garden.

The Bruins lead the lifetime series 26-25-6-4.

Skinny

The Bruins are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, but in two of the three wins, they have struggled to maintain a lead of two goals or more. They blew a two-goal lead in Buffalo before winning in the shootout and allowed four straight Tampa goals after taking a 5-0 lead on Thursday. In their last five games, the Bruins have lost three two-goal leads, and this is understandably concerning to head coach Claude Julien.

?I?m happy with the win,?? said Julien on Thursday. ?Those two points are so valuable right now. We?ve lost some games that we should have won, and this one here, I think we deserved to win. But we certainly did everything we could to shoot ourselves in the foot and make it exciting. We did a lot of good things [on Thursday] and [also made] some real bad mistakes. We have to learn, as a team, to control our games a lot better. If we can?t do it for 60 minutes, we?re going to get more of that.??

Panthers GM Randy Sexton has had enough of his team?s lack of effort and is ready to blow things up.

?We have too many guys who don?t compete,? Sexton said recently. "You can?t win in this game unless you?re ready to show up and go to war every night. We don?t have enough of them. This is not type of team we want. We?re going to keep making changes until we get that. It takes time. It?s like turning around the Titanic and not a rowboat.??

Projected Lineups

Bruins
Forwards

Daniel Paille–Marc Savard–*Miroslav Satan
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

*Miroslav Satan will not play tonight and it is not know whether Vladimir Sobotka or Byron Bitz will replace him.

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara–Dennis Wideman
Matt Hunwick– Derek Morris
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid

Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Panthers
Forwards

David Booth–Stephen Weiss–Cory Stillman
Gregory Campbell–Steven Reinprecht–Radek Dvorak
Victor Oreskovich–Shawn Matthias–Michael Frolik
Rostislav Olesz–Kamil Kreps–Nick Tarnasky

Defenseman

Bryan McCabe–Keith Ballard
Jordan Leopold–Dennis Seidenberg
Bryan Allen–Dmitry Kulikov

Goaltenders

Tomas Vokoun
Scott Clemmensen

Goaltender Matchup

Bruins
Tim Thomas is 13-15-7 with a 2.52 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Thomas has four shutouts and is winless (0-4-2) in his last six starts.

Tuukka Rask is 13-7-4 with a 2.09 GAA and a.928 save percentage. Rask made 31 saves on 35 shots in a 5-4 win over the Lightning on Thursday. He has now won three straight games and has started five straight.

Panthers
Tomas Vokoun is 19-21-9 with a 2.37 GAA and a .930 save percentage. Vokoun has lost five straight starts.

Scott Clemmensen is 5-5-0 with a 3.53 GAA and a .888 save percentage. Clemmensen?s last start was in the 2-1 loss to Boston on Dec. 27.

Stat Sheet

Bruins
Patrice Bergeron
notched his 25th assist on Thursday and leads the team with 37 points.

Zdeno Chara had an assist on Thursday and is second on the team in points with 33 and leads the team with 28 assists. Chara has a four-game point streak going with a goal and three assists during that stretch.

Marc Savard had two helpers on Thursday and now has an assist in each his last four games, with six during that span. He has 30 points this season.

Daniel Paille followed up a two-goal night on Tuesday with an assist on Thursday. Paille now has three points in his last two games and 18 points this season.

Miroslav Satan had a goal on Thursday and now has two points in his last two games.

Derek Morris had two helpers on Thursday and now has 25 assists this season.

Shawn Thornton got into his third fight in four games when he dropped the gloves with Matt Walker on Thursday.

Milan Lucic scored two goals on Thursday and now has five lamplighters in 27 games played.

Michael Ryder had a huge night on Thursday, scoring two goals and notching an assist as well. Ryder now has 15 lamp-lighters this season.

The Bruins killed off four of five Tampa Bay power plays on Thursday. They have killed off 25 of the last 32 power plays they have faced and have allowed only 29 power-play goals on 211 opportunities, boasting an 86.3 percent success rate, good for first in the NHL.

The Bruins were 1-for-3 on the power play on Thursday and are 36-for-198 this season with an 18.2 percent success rate.

Panthers
Stephen Weiss
, who leads the team with 47 points, has a goal and five assists in his last 12 games.

Steven Reinprecht is third on the team in points with 33 but has zero points in his last 12 games.

Bryan McCabe leads the Panthers' blue line with 25 points but has just two assists in his last 17 games.

The Panthers have the worst power play in the NHL with a 15.2 percent success rate. They are 35-for-230 this season.

The Panthers' penalty kill has allowed 44 power-play goals on 217 power plays faced with a 79.7 percent success rate.

Black and Blue

Bruins
Mark Stuart
is on injured reserve and will be out until after the Olympics with a broken finger.

Johnny Boychuk has been out since Saturday with a broken orbital bone and will be out until after the Olympic break.

Naoko Funayama reported that Miroslav Satan will miss Saturday?s game with a hand laceration.

Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton both came down with food poisoning and missed practice on Friday but are expected to dress on Saturday.

Panthers
Rostislav Olesz
suffered a broken finger on Tuesday in Carolina but dressed on Thursday. He, however, will not play on Saturday.

Nathan Horton has a fractured left tibia and is out until after the Olympic break.

This Date in Bruins History

On Feb. 13, 1975, Bobby Orr recorded an assist to reach the 100-point mark in a 3-1 Bruins loss at Buffalo. Orr became the second NHL player to have six 100-point seasons and the first to score 100 points in six consecutive years.

Overheard

"There are a lot of deals to be made out there and 99 percent of them aren't very good deals. So the fact that we haven't done anything doesn't mean that we're inactive, both from the management perspective and from the coaching perspective. I know for a fact, from the coaching perspective, the number of things that [the Bruins] did was huge to try and stimulate scoring."
–Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to 98.5 The Sports Hub on he and his coaching staff trying to help the team end its struggles, with or without a trade

Press Box

Bruins
The Bruins are set to honor the 40th anniversary of the 1970 Stanley Cup winners.

The Bruins are interested in acquiring Blue Jackets winger Raffi Torres.

The Bruins will head home for the Olympic break, but GM Peter Chiarelli will be busy preparing for the NHL trade deadline on March 3.

Panthers
The Panthers owners issued a letter on the team Web site to prepare Panthers fans for a roster purge.

The Panthers traded former Harvard forward Domenic Moore to Montreal on Thursday.

The Panthers were trying hard to complete more deals before the Olympic roster freeze took effect.

NHL
Bob McKenzie
of TSN reports on the transactions rules for the Olympic roster freeze.

There were some trades before the roster freeze set in at 3 p.m. yesterday.

The Senators extended the contract of GM Bryan Murray.

Outlook

The Bruins need to stay within their game, as they have been doing recently — and they need to do it for 60 minutes. While their game has become much more disciplined over the last three games, they are still having mental lapses, mainly in the second period. They need to find a way to stay focused, and if they do, they should have no problem heading into the Olympic break on a four-game win streak.

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