End of game, Bruins win 3-0: For the whole season, the Bruins and head coach Claude Julien have been waiting for either Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask to steal a game and today Rask did just that, stopping all 36 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout at the Bell Centre. it was Rask's third shutout this season but more importantly he helped his team snap a ten-game winless streak and avoid tying the 1924-25 Bruins for the longest losing streak in team history, eleven straight games.
Marco Sturm (two goals) and Patrice Bergeron (two assists) did their part as well and Zdeno Chara (assist) continued to play a good all-around game on defense and be more of a physical presence. But the story without question was Rask who silenced the sellout crowd here at the Bell Centre right away and each time the Habs gained momentum and the building got louder, he silenced them again. It was a surprise that on back-to-back day games, Rask got the nod again but his performance today made a statement to Julien and management that he appears ready to take the reigns over from the struggling Thomas.
As for the rest of the team, it will be a great Super Bowl party on the flight to Buffalo as this team exhales and rejoices in their first victory since January 14. The losing streak is over!
Third period, 4:50, Bruins 3-0: Apparently the key to beating Jaroslav Halak is to not shoot on him. Halak was 7-0-0 when facing 40 shots or more coming into today's game. The Bruins low-scoring offense is apparently kryptonite for Halak.
Third period, 8:48, Bruins 3-0: "Here we go Bruins" chants breaking out sporadically behind the cat-walk press box here at the Bell Centre. That's probably more than the Bruins have heard on their home ice lately. The real chant should be "TUUKKA TUUKKA".
Third period, 10:11, Bruins 3-0: "Thank-you Josh Gorges" Marco Sturm and the Bruins should be saying right now as the Habs defenseman tipped in a Sturm shot that appeared to be destined to go wide and the Bruins have a three-goal lead. This is a good sign for Bruins fans as the Bruins had failed to take that 3-0 lead the last two times they went up 2-0, yesterday and on Thursday. They lost both games.
Patrice Bergeron got his second assist of the game on the goal.
Third period, 16:00, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are pressuring a lot more early on in the third period and are out-shotting the Habs 4-0 thus far.
Third period, 18:19, Bruins 2-0: Underway here in the final frame as the Bruins try to hold on and snap their ten-game losing streak.
End of second period, Bruins 2-0: One more period left for the Bruins, who are 20 minutes away from avoiding a record they most definitely don't want any part of. If Boston can hold on here for the victory, they will avoid tying the franchise record of 11 straight losses. If Tuukka Rask continues his splendid play between the pipes, they may just avoid Bruins infamy.
Rask has been amazing today! He has turned away every shot he's faced and was the team's backbone in that second period as the Bruins were outshot 15-3. The Habs have to be frustrated as they have had plenty of chances to get back in this game and tie it. But Rask has been the answer. The Bruins have been looking for Rask or Tim Thomas to steal a game and build some confidence and are yet to find that game. Today may just be the day.
Second period, 3:22, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins finally have a shot on net this period but that's been about it. They need to regroup soon or this could get scary again.
Second period, 4:36, Bruins 2-0: Tuukka Rask held the fort for the Bruins and helped them kill off that power play, but the Bruins are completely being outplayed right now. They have been outshot 11-0 so far in this period and are hanging on for dear life.
Second period, 7:21, Bruins 2-0: Derek Morris is headed to the penalty box for tripping and the Habs are on their first power play. The Bruins appear to be in their free-fall mode right now but Tuukka Rask is saving them thus far.
Second period, 8:41, Bruins 2-0: Tuukka Rask looks to be in the zone right now and has come up big as the Habs put on the pressure here midway through the game. Rask had two huge saves early in the period and just made a pad save on a breakaway by Tomas Plekanec, the Habs' leading scorer.
Second period, 14:00, Bruins 2-0: David Krejci, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the first period and came back to play a strong period, will not return today, it was just announced by Bruins PR man, Matt Chmura.
Second period, 16:00, Bruins 2-0: We're underway in the second period as I slowly digest the NHL's best hot dogs here at the Bell Centre. Nothing like toasted buns. Let's just hope the Bruins aren't toast after this game. They look good so far, but they've proven they can unravel quickly and they must avoid that here in front of a raucous Bell Centre crowd.
Patrice Bergeron has been credited with the primary assist on Marco Sturm's goal at the end of the first period and Zdeno Chara will get the secondary.
End of first period, Bruins 2-0: Marco Sturm scored his team leading 17th goal for the Bruins, and for the third straight game the Bruins take the lead into the first intermission. In fact, it is the second straight game they will enter the second frame with a 2-0 lead. But now the question is, can they hold on and not crumble if the Habs start to come back?
Zdeno Chara had the lone assist on the Sturm goal and is playing a great game right now, getting shots through to the net and trying to spark the offense from the blue line, something the Bruins defense has failed to do all season.
Kudos to Adam McQuaid for his first NHL goal as well. McQuaid has played simple and solid defense every time he has been called on in Boston.
First period, Bruins 1-0, 2:28: Adam McQuaid has given the Bruins a 1-0 lead late in the first period on his first NHL goal. It appeared that Marc Savard may have tipped it past Jaroslav Halak, but for now, McQuaid has his first career goal in the show. Savard gets the helper.
First period, 5:32: With a break in the action, we'll point you to an interesting report in the Ottawa Sun today by friend and colleague Bruce Garrioch who claims the Bruins are shopping Tim Thomas.
First period, 7:43: Blake Wheeler just got into his first NHL fight but it wasn't much of a fight really. Ryan O'Byrne looked to get the upper hand right away and instead of socking Wheeler, wrestled him to the ice.
First period, 8:27: No score here at the Bell Centre, but the Bruins and Habs have had some chances. Zdeno Chara is getting the puck through to the net, once with a slap shot and once with a floater, but Jaroslav Halak made the saves. Meanwhile Tuukka Rask stopped Brian Gionta point blank.
First period,13:00: Milan Lucic seems to be a hot topic of conversation here today. Many believe he was "invisible" in his last two games, especially in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Canadiens at Boston on Thursday. But one scout said, "Give him time, he's like a plow horse and needs to get back his feel and routine."
First period, 15:37: Some good action here to start the game. Blackhawks pro scout and former Bruin Marty Lapointe sitting next to me in the press box, along with Montreal Juniors head coach and GM Pascal Vincent.
First period, 19:21: Underway here at a packed Bell Centre and Marco Sturm and Scott Gomez are in their respective sin bins for roughing. This place is rocking as always.
3:07 p.m.: Greetings from the Bell Centre in Montreal and happy Super Bowl Sunday! The big news from the Bruins side is that Andrew Ference will play his first game since suffering a groin injury at Ottawa on Jan. 5. Ference replaces Johnny Boychuk, who suffered a broken orbital bone yesterday and will be out 7-10 days. Also of note, Tuukka Rask gets his third straight start between the pipes for the Bruins. He will face Jaroslav Halak, who will be in net for Montreal.
The Bruins and Habs are almost set to play their second game against each other in four days. While the Bruins kept sliding Saturday with another 3-2 shootout loss, the Habs won their third straight game and the Bell Centre is ready to start its Super Bowl Sunday with a Montreal win. The Bruins, of course, will do their best to not let that happen and break this 10-game losing streak.
Here's the starting lineup for the Bruins:
Milan Lucic–Marc Savard–Miroslav Satan
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid
11:00 a.m.: The Bruins (23-21-11, 57 points) are in Montreal today for a Super Bowl matinee and hopefully the end of their 10-game winless skid.
They will also get a chance at revenge against the Canadiens (28-25-6, 62 points) who beat them 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday at TD Garden. It won't be easy though as they will face another hot team in the Habs, who have won three straight and are climbing up the Eastern Conference ladder.
The Bruins now sit in the eleventh slot in the East while the Habs have roared into the sixth slot. A win here would be huge in the standings but probably even bigger in team morale as this team just seems to find ways to lose. We'll have more here as we get closer to faceoff, so remember to check back and also watch the Bruins-Habs on NESN as you start to munch away at your Super Bowl spread!