Bruins

Bruins gain a split with 3-0 win over Coyotes

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Bruins gain a split with 3-0 win over Coyotes

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

PRAGUE -- The games were only 19 hours apart. But somehow it looked like Boston flew a completely different team out to Prague for the rematch.

Summary and statistics

The Bruins followed up Saturday's season-opening loss, in which they were too often loose defensively and punchless offensively, with a solid effort in all phases that resulted in a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.

"I'm not sure I would have been happy with this trip had we not won a game," said coach Claude Julien. "It would have been a real disappointment."

But they were anything but disappointed after Sunday's game. In fact, they even had a highlight-reel moment, courtesy of rookie Tyler Seguin.

Midway through the third period, goalie Tim Thomas cleared the puck to Michael Ryder, who found Seguin streaking up through the neutral zone. The young center took the pass behind the Phoenix defense, broke in on goalie Ilya Brygalov with a defender closing in from behind, and put home a laser shot as he and the two Coyotes crashed into the net.

"It's always fun to see rookies score their first goal,'' Julien said. "And at least he can remember that one as being a real nice goal. I thought it was a great move."

That made it 3-0, but the outcome was pretty well decided by that point.

Boston dominated play throughout a scoreless first period and finally broke through against Brygalov midway through the second. Nathan Horton poked the puck away from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and spotted Milan Lucic streaking toward the goal. Lucic got the pass and fired home a 25-foot slapper.

Boston scored again with just 33 seconds left in the period. Mark Recchi stole the puck in the 'Yotes defensive zone and tipped it to Horton in front of the crease. Horton spun, fired a wrister left, and found the back of the net.

Thomas looked vintage Vezina in that controlled chaos of his.

"It feels great,'' he said. "It's been a long road and to be fortunate enough to get a shutout off the bat, to have the team play that well in front of you, to get all the bounces and feel pretty comfortable myself . . . it couldn't have gone much better.''

The Bruins goalie, helped by a stifling defense, made eight solid stops in the second period. Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart split half of the team's 12 blocked shots.

"I'm sure Tuukka's standing there wishing he had the same team in front of him as Timmy had tonight," Julien said, referring to the tepid defensive play of the B's on Saturday in front of Tuukka Rask.

Indeed, Boston's intensity was ramped up from the start.

Unlike the flat affect of the opener, the B's were hot off the opening faceoff in the rematch. The first Boston shot on net came after less than a minute and the Bruins had nine more, as well, before the midway point of the period.

But Brygalov, despite short rest, was up to the task. The goalie turned aside 15 excellent Boston chances in the first twenty minutes, and kept it up most of the day. The Bruins, however, kept battling and eventually broke through.

"I wouldn't look at our team as much as I would look at the goaltender on the other side who has been credited last year with their success,'' Julien said. "Obviously these two games here he certainly made it hard for us but we got some goals past him.''

Thomas made 26 saves for the shutout.

"We needed these two points to make it a successful trip and leave a good taste in our mouths. The whole trip has been so fantastic up until the loss yesterday," Boston's netminder said. "It sure feels good to get those two points in the bank and now we can go home with our chins up, feeling good about ourselves.''

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

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Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while anticpating the turkey leftovers, ready for the taking.
 
-- NHL referee Wes McCauley is at it again, this time going with a fun no-goal call after having some trouble with his microphone.
 
-- After getting humbled on Opening Night by the Bruins, the Nashville Predators are starting to get on a roll.

-- NBC Pro Hockey Talk has Kyle Turris excelling for the Predators, and Matt Duchene very much still stuck in neutral for the Ottawa Senators.

-- NHL stars go through their favorite traditions, and what they enjoy is a game that’s full of routine, superstition and tradition.
  
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro says “it looks rotten” with the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to struggle out of the starting gate.
 
-- Larry Brooks goes through an all-time ranking of the general managers for the New York Rangers, and it’s an illustrious list.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights could make the playoffs in their very first season, and are absolutely far ahead of expectations for a new expansion team.
 
-- For something completely different: Wild turkeys are making a major comeback in Massachusetts after being all but extinct here.
 

Even in their struggles, Bruins have reason(s) to be thankful

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Even in their struggles, Bruins have reason(s) to be thankful

Thanksgiving in the United States has become an important holiday in NHL circles because it provides a regular-season marker that allows teams to gauge their playoff viability. Roughly 75 percent of teams in a playoff spot at Turkey Day end up qualifying for the postseason, and teams within a handful of points of a playoff spot retain a pretty decent chance of pushing their way in. 

But Thanksgiving is also a great time for teams like the Bruins to also give thanks, just like everybody else, while they’re passing the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.

Given that it’s the time of being thankful ahead of the holiday season, here is this humble hockey writer’s annual list of things that each member of the Bruins has to be thankful for as they sit down to enjoy a tryptophan-induced nap:
 
David Pastrnak – The 21-year-old is still thankful for the big bucks he signed for this fall . . . $40 million, to be exact. That should keep him in $8 sushi meals at the mall food court for as long as he wants them.
 
Brad Marchand –Marchand is thankful he finally got bumped up to the top power-play unit over the last couple of seasons, after Claude Julien really dragged his feet putting him there. Eleven power-play goals and 29 power-play points in his last 94 games certainly tell the story.
 
Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron is happy and thankful that he’s regained his health after missing the start this season, and that he’s been able to adequately handle the 21:01 of ice time he’s averaging per game.
 
Torey Krug – Krug is thankful he can again eat a nice steak dinner after being forced to have his food come out of a blender for months after fracturing his jaw during the preseason. Of course, that goes for a nice turkey dinner on Thanksgiving as well.
 
Danton Heinen – The 22-year-old is thankful for second chances after he whiffed during an eight-game audition last season in his first year of pro hockey. He’s making up for it by cementing a role with the Bruins this season now that he’s stronger, faster and a little more confident with the puck.
 
Charlie McAvoy – The 19-year-old defenseman is thankful he decided to leave BU after his sophomore season, making the very correct deduction that he was way more than ready for the NHL. If he plays his cards right, he may be thankful at the end of the season for a Calder Trophy.
 
Anders Bjork – The rookie is thankful that the B’s will be playing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Winter Classic at his alma mater, Notre Dame, next season. He may get to live out a lifelong dream of playing a hockey game on that iconic football field.
 
Jake DeBrusk – The rookie left winger is thankful that he got to score his first NHL goal in front of his family and his teary-eyed dad, Louie, during a pretty cool opening-night win over the Nashville Predators.
 
Tim Schaller – The New Hampshire native is thankful to be playing for his hometown hockey team, of course, but he’s more than just a local boy made good. Tim Schaller has been a positive factor for the bottom-6 with his size, speed and intermittent offense.
 
Zdeno Chara – The captain is thankful that both he and his employer agree that the 40-year-old D-man should continue playing for the Bruins beyond this season. Now it’s just a matter of agreeing on a contract at some point.
 
David Krejci – The playmaking center is thankful his cranky back has loosened up enough for him to get back in the lineup. Now the Bruins and their fans would be thankful if the points would start to follow now that he’s healthy enough to play.
 
Riley Nash – The forward is thankful that the B's thought enough of him to protect him in the expansion draft last summer, a show of commitment to a versatile, smart player who does a lot of little things well.
 
Sean Kuraly – The young center is thankful that he hasn’t yet hurt himself taking the jumping, flying and leaping goal celebrations that he’s quickly becoming known for.
 
Kevan Miller – The defenseman is thankful he’s back playing his natural right side for the most part after being pushed into left-side duty for much of the first couple of months this season.
 
Brandon Carlo – The second-year defenseman is thankful to still be on the Bruins, and not used as possible trade collateral in a possible Matt Duchene deal that was discussed quite a bit last year and through the summer.
 
Jordan Szwarz – The 26-year-old forward is thankful for another NHL opportunity in Boston after he’d gone a couple of years without a sniff during his time in the Arizona Coyotes organization after some early games with them.
 
Frank Vatrano – The Bruins forward and East Longmeadow native should frankly be happy that he’s still in the NHL given the training camp and early season he had with the Bruins. He’s scored a couple of goals and played well lately, so he has to hope that he’s pushed through the bad times.
 
Noel Acciari – The Providence College alum is happy to be healthy again after missing a month with a broken finger, and he’s proven that by going right back to the heavy hitting, shot-blocking tough kid that he’s always been.
 
Ryan Spooner – The speedy playmaker is thankful to be over his torn groin. He needs a strong season in order to once, and for all, show exactly what he could be to the Bruins, or some other team, at the NHL level.
 
Adam McQuaid – The veteran defenseman is thankful that he wasn’t selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft last summer, and instead continues to be a strong, robust presence in the D-zone when healthy.
 
David Backes – The 33-year-old forward is thankful to be back skating again after a couple of painful  bouts with diverticulitis that left him in surgery with 10 inches of his colon being removed. I'm still amazed that he returned to practice as quickly as he did, but he is a hockey player after all.
 
Paul Postma – The  D-man is thankful to be getting a second chance with another organization after spending his entire career with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets.
 
Matt Beleskey – The winger is thankful that he’s getting a chance to bounce back from last year’s down season, but so far the zero points and minus-7 rating in 13 games leave lots of room for improvement.
 
Tuukka Rask – The No. 1 goaltender is thankful for all the rest he’s getting in the first half of the season, which should presumably make him healthy, fresh and strong down the stretch this season. That is, if he can actually get back in touch with a game that sees him with a turkey-like .897 save percentage right now.  
 
Anton Khudobin – The backup netminder is thankful he’s been given a chance to run with things this season as he’s already twice had a chance to start three games in a row after struggling to gain regular playing time last season.
 
Bruce Cassidy – The coach is thankful for another shot behind an NHL bench 13 years after the first one, and he’s making the most of it with a rag-tag group beset by injuries and youth right now.
 
Don Sweeney – The general manager is thankful the team is still within a handful of points of a playoff spot after everything that went wrong in the first couple of months.
 
Cam Neely – The tean president is thankful for the overwhelming talent within their youth movement and the strong, loyal fan base that backs this team no matter what. But it could be a bit of a rough ride ahead, as the B's rank fourth among the big four Boston sports teams, given how good, deep and close to championship-caliber the others are right now. 

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