Final, Bruins 7-1: The Bruins closed out the preseason in style with a dominant win over Liberec in their final exhibition tune-up.
Plenty of offensive stars in this one, led by Patrice Bergeron, who finished with five points on two goals and three assists. There were six different goal-scorers, while 12 Bruins had at least one point.
But the biggest story may have been the strong play in goal by Tim Thomas.
The Bruins have to be very happy to see him flash some of his old form as he continues to make his way back from offseason hip surgery. And Claude Julien and Co. won’t be complaining about the seven goals either after last year’s consistent struggles to score.
Special thanks to NESN’s Naoko Funayama for sending along some insightful observations from rinkside in Liberec throughout the game.
Third Period, 16:00, Bruins 7-1: Mark Stuart makes a nice play coming back to break up a potential breakaway.
Good to see the B’s still hustling late in a blowout. Looks like they might be ready for the regular season, though Phoenix will be a much bigger challenge tha Belfast or Liberec.
Third Period, 10:40, Bruins 7-1: Tim Thomas gets some help from the post, as he comes out of the net to play puck, but gets caught in no man’s land, only to be saved when the puck goes off the post.
Sometimes a little luck if warranted, as Thomas has been outstanding in this one and deserved a break.
Third Period, 9:20, Bruins 7-1: Is there anybody left in Black and Gold that hasn’t scored? Blake Wheeler, put down that hand, as the Bruins winger makes it 7-1.
Bergeron picks up yet another point as he starts the play with a self-pass through a defender’s skates. His shot is stopped, but Wheeler puts home the rebound. Chara also collects an assist on the play.
Maybe the B’s should save some of this offense for the regular season now.
Third Period, 7:32, Bruins 6-1: And the goals keep coming, with Greg Campbell adding one to make it 6-1.
Thornton stole the puck from the goalie behind the net and feed it out front to Paille, with Campbell ultimately banging it home. Thornton and Paille get the assists as the rout is officially on.
Third Period, 6:01, Bruins 5-1: Just as they did in Belfast, the Bruins are pouring it on late in this one.
Tyler Seguin joins the scoring parade with a goal from Johnny Boychuk and Bergeron after Bergeron drew a penalty with another drive to the net.
Third Period, 2:00, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins’ line juggling continues, but now it’s come full circle with a fourth line of Campbell, Marchand and Thornton.
The Krejci-Horton-Lucic line has remained constant throughout the game and looked good.
Third Period, 1:21, Bruins 4-1: And that’s the way to start the final period of the preseason, as Patrice Bergeron scores on a breakaway for his second tally of the game.
Matt Hunwick gets the helper on this one with a long breakout pass to Bergeron at the Liberec blue line, as the Bruins extend the lead to three goals.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-1: The final period is just about to get under way in Liberec.
The Bruins will look to finish strong and close out the preseason in style. A win here will even their exhibition record at 3-3-1, albeit with just one of those wins against an NHL team.
End Second Period, Bruins 3-1: The middle frame is now over, with another solid 20 minutes from the Bruins, who extend their lead to 3-1.
The Bruins have one more period to keep up this effort to end the preseason on a high note and take some momentum into the regular season.
Second Period, 17:37, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins now join the parade to the penalty box, with Dennis Seidenberg sent off for cross-checking.
After a brief 4-on-4, the Bruins sent out Caron, Marchand, Chara and McQuaid on the PK.
Second Period, 15:57, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins get another power-play opportunity with Podkonicky off to the box for holding.
The Bruins continue to mix up the line combos. Before his short-handed goal, Caron saw an even-strength shift with Campbell and Marchand. Just before this penalty, Ryder was on the fourth line with Campbell and Thornton.
Second Period, 14:56, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins can’t convert on the power play, but they remain in control with a two-goal lead.
Plenty of credit for that goes to Tim Thomas, who has turned in a strong effort in goal so far.
Second Period, 12:56, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins will get a chance to extend the lead further on the power play.
Liberec’s Daniel Spacek gets sent off for holding.
Second Period, 10:45, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins do better than just killing off the penalty, they strike short-handed to extend their lead back to two goals.
Rookie Jordan Caron gets the goal off a feed from Patrice Bergeron.
Second Period, 8:54, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins now have to kill off a penalty as recchi is sent to the box for high-sticking.
The first PK unit is Campbell and Paille up front with McQuaid and Stuart of D.
Second Period, 8:11, Bruins 2-1: This one isn’t going to be so easy, as Liberec answers with a goal to cut Boston’s lead to one.
Greg Campbell tried to pass back to Johnny Boychuk at the point, but Boychuk can’t handle it and it leads to a 2-on-1 break the other way.
Liberec’s two ex-NHLers combine for the score, with Andrej Podkonicky scoring from Nedved.
Second Period, 5:30, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins nearly make it 3-0, but Mark Recchi is denied on the doorstop after a nice feed from Blake Wheeler.
The Bruins had some good possession time in the zone on that shift from the Wheeler line.
Second Period, 4:30, Bruins 2-0: Tim Thomas comes up big again with another key save.
This time he stones long-time NHLer Petr Nedved in all alone on a breakaway. Thomas flashing his old form in this one.
Second Period, 2:14, Bruins 2-0: And the Bruins double the lead, with Patrice Bergeron making it 2-0.
Bergeron breaks in alone and dekes out the goalie for the unassisted tally.
Second Period, 1:27, Bruins 1-0: The action is back under way in the second, and the Bruins have killed off the Lucic penalty.
End of First Period, Bruins 1-0: A solid opening 20 minutes for the Bruins in this one, as Thomas and Horton help the B’s go into the break with a one-goal lead.
Horton continues his impressive preseason with another goal, while Thomas looks very sharp in the early going with some big saves to keep Liberec off the board.
The Bruins will still have 1:27 left on Lucic’s interfernce penalty to kill off at the start of the second.
First Period, 19:27, Bruins 1-0: Milan Lucic gets called for interference, so the Bruins will have to kill off a penalty to maintain their lead here.
First Period, 18:37, Bruins 1-0: And the Bruins strike first, with Nathan Horton opening the scoring.
Horton and Krejci broke into the zone together and Horton is able to settle a bouncing puck and fire it home. Krejci and Chara pick up the assists.
First Period, 17:00, 0-0: The Bruins come up empty again on the power play, and Thomas actually had to make a good save to prevent a short-handed goal by Liberec.
The Bruins rolled the samepower-play units on that man-advantage chance.
First Period, 15:00, 0-0: Another hooking call on Liberec gives the Bruins a second chance on the power play.
Just as on defense, the extra forward has allowed Claude Julien to mix and match the combos up front. Caron was reunited with bergeron and Recchi for a shift, while Seguin was flanked by Paille and Ryder.
First Period, 12:00, 0-0: Tim Thomas has been getting tested early in this one, but he’s come up with a few big saves already.
Very encouraging signs from Thomas after a bit of a rough debut last Wednesday against Washington.
If Thomas can get healthy and return to his 2008-09 form, the Bruins will have a dominant duo in goal this season.
First Period, 10:44, 0-0: The Bruins couldn’t cash in on their first power-play chance, as the game remains scoreless midway through the first.
The power-play units on that chance were Krejci-Recchi-Wheeler up front with Chara and Hunwick on the points, then Bergeron-Seguin-Horton at forward and Seidenberg and Boychuk on defense.
First Period, 8:44, 0-0: The Bruins get their first chance on the power play after a hooking call to Liberec.
All the special-teams units will get some work in early in this one.
First Period, 8:30, 0-0: With the extra defenseman dressed, the Bruins are mixing and matching their blue line pairs.
The extra D is good to get some extra playing time for everyone, but it could hinder developing chemistry on the units if players aren’t skating regularly with their normal partners.
First Period, 4:26, 0-0: The Bruins’ penalty killers get the job done, successfully shutting down Liberec’s first chance with the man-advantage.
After the penalty, the Bruins send out a line of rookies Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron along with Michael Ryder. It will be interesting to see if the club’s last two first-round picks can develop some chemistry together, and if the youngsters can help Ryder get going this preseason.
First Period, 2:26, 0-0: Liberec will get the first chance on the power play, as Andrew Ference gets sent to the box early on in this one.
The Bruins will take advantage of the opportunities to work on special teams in these exhibitions but they don’t want to spend too much time in the box.
First Period, 1:00, 0-0: After a bit of a delay for some pre-game ceremonies, this one finally got started.
One thing to bear in mind for this game is that it is being played on the larger European ice surface, which will be a big adjustment for the Bruins.
Fortunately, the regular-season games in Prague will be played on NHL regulation-sized ice.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: Action is just about to get under way in Liberec, where the Bruins will have their final tune-up before the real games start on Saturday.
As expected, Tim Thomas gets the start in goal for the Bruins. He’ll be looking for some better results than his preseason debut against Washington last Wednesday.
The big positive that night was he reported no problems with his surgically-repaired hip. But now he has to work on his timing and reflexes to try to get ready for the regular season, when he still hopes to push Tuukka Rask for playing time.
12:45 p.m.: Got to love Google translations. Here’s how the intro to the preview for this game on the Liberec team web site reads according to the Google translation:
“On Tuesday evening, exiting the ice arena, a bunch of Lord of the Boston Bears, on her European tour includes three goalies, eight backs and fifteen forwards. Brief information about each player the Bruins, who can imagine a duel with the Tigers right on your desktop …”
Can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m excited about the potential for a duel between the Lord of Boston Bears and a bunch of Tigers.
12:30 p.m.: The Bruins are getting ready for their final preseason tune-up with an exhibition against Czech club Liberec.
While the European teams usually can’t match the NHL clubs’ talent, there have been a few surprises in these exhibitions since the NHL started coming across the pond to open the season.
On Monday, Carolina lost to the KHL’s St. Petersburg entry 5-3. The KHL is probably the top league in Europe and a step or two up from Liberec’s Czech league, but that result should stand as a warning to the Bruins, who got an early scare from the Belfast Giants on Saturday before pulling away for a 5-1 win.
San Jose also had its hands full in a tight 3-2 win over Mannheim in Germany, while Minnesota cruised to a 5-1 win over Finnish club Ilves.
Last year, NHL clubs won just four of their six exhibition games in Europe, with Chicago losing to Zurich 2-1 and Florida falling to Tappara 3-2 in a shootout. Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and the New York Rangers went a combined 6-0 in their exhibitions in 2008.
11:39 a.m.: By the way, Tuesday’s final preseason match is being played in the town of Liberec, not Prague.
So for the record, the B’s are facing the Liberec White Tigers at Tipsport Arena. Here’s a semi-English version of the team’s website.
11:03 a.m.: Interested to see where the B’s will open up the season this Saturday against the Coyotes?
Click here to check out video of the B’s practicing at O2 arena.
10:53 a.m.: Following a shuffling of the lines in practice on Monday, Patrice Bergeron will be centering Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler, with Jordan Caron splitting shifts with Michael Ryder on the third line with fellow rookie Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille.
Naoko Funayama sent over the probable lines, which can be seen below.
8 a.m.: The Bruins continue their European tour with a trip as they take on Liberec HC.
Head coach Claude Julien announced during his pregame media availability that he was planning on dressing 22 players (20 skaters — one extra forward, one extra defenseman) for the contest, which is standard for Europeans. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski, forward Brian McGrattan and goalie Nolan Schaefer are the healthy scratches.
John Bishop of BostonBruins.com noted that Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice and will start between the pipes for the Black and Gold.
For David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, the trip is a homecoming. Krecji is from the Czech Republic and Chara is from bordering Slovakia and played his junior hockey in Czech. In fact, Chara’s junior team played in the same arena that the Bruins practiced in on Monday.
“It’s been a long road, a hard and tough road,” Chara told NESN’s Naoko Funayama of his journey that has brought him from Slovakia and the Czech to America as the captain of the Boston Bruins. “I don’t regret any of that. It just makes me a better player and a better person. Everything that is happening I think is happening for a reason. I’m just really happy to be here with my team.”