Bruins

Hurricanes shut out Bruins, 3-0

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Hurricanes shut out Bruins, 3-0

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Bruins allowed three power-play goals for the first time this season, and couldn't do anything while on the man advantage themselves as they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-0, Friday at the TD Garden. The B's came out strong in the first period, but let up a power play goal at the end of the first period to Jeff Skinner with 16 seconds left in the period. That little slip killed Boston's momentum, and they were a lesser team in the final 40 minutes of the shutout loss."Our execution got very poor after the first period and our special teams play was unacceptable," said coach Claude Julien. "That was the story of the game."

Tim Thomas suffered his third loss of the season and is now 11-2-1 on the year, while Cam Ward brought his best stuff to the post-Thanksgiving Day table, making 37 saves in recording his 10th win and first shutout -- of the year.
The Hurricanes scored on their first three power plays of the afternoon, and took a 1-0 lead with 15.8 seconds left in the first period after Skinner took advantage of a Daniel Paille turnover in Carolinas zone.
Paille was streaking down the right wing on a 2-on-1 short-handed bid with Patrice Bergeron, but lost the puck at the Hurricanes blue line. Joe Corvo turned it up ice the other way, and Tuomo Ruutu came in on a 2-on-1, finding Skinner out front. Skinner put a one-timer past Thomas for the 1-0 lead.

Carolina made it 2-0 with 8:51 left in the second period, as Ruutu tipped home an Ian White shot from the point.

Jussi Jokinen added the Hurricanes third power-play goal of the game with 12:08 left in the third period. GOLD STAR: Give it to Cam Ward, who celebrated the birth of his child with a stellar 37-save effort and looked like the goaltender he can be during the good runs he's enjoyed through his career. The Bruins were all over Ward in the first period, but he made some highlight-reel saves among his 12 stops the best was altering a Nathan Horton shot near the right post in the first 20 minutes that kept Carolina in the game early. No gold stars for the Black and Gold in a pathetic effort.BLACK EYE: Where to begin: A power play that managed exactly zero shots in its first two cracks on Friday, and finished with only six shots on net while struggling to 0-for-4 on the day? A top-ranked penalty kill that allowed the 29th-ranked power play in the NHL to score three PP goals against them? Nathan Horton with a six-game goal-scoring drought? A team that's allowed the opposition to score the first goal in 10 of their last 12 games, and constantly seems to be playing catch-up hockey? So many to choose from.TURNING POINT: The Bruins dominated the first period and looked like they might be ready to score when Daniel Paille led a short-handed rush into the Carolina zone. But a Paille turnover quickly descended into a back-breaking Jeff Skinner goal with 16 seconds left. The Bruins were a lesser team after that killer of a Carolina score.BY THE NUMBERS: 104 the number of games the Bruins played between games where they allowed three power-play goals. The Bs penalty kill allowed the Hurricanes to go a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play in Friday afternoons loss, and last allowed three on April 9, 2009, against the Canadiens.QUOTE TO NOTE: "Playing from behind is getting old. That's why I've said weve got to find a way here. Figure out how to score that first goal. It's great that we've been able to overcome some deficits and get ourselves back in the game, but eventually it's going to catch up to us." Milan Lucic on the team's inability to get early leads. Most would agree it caught up with them on Friday afternoon.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicardJoe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

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Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork
DeBrusk-Backes-Pastrnak
Agostino-Nash-White
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Miller-Postma

Khudobin

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.