Bruins

Thornton looking like a go vs Isles

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Thornton looking like a go vs Isles

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It appears that Shawn Thornton will be back in the lineup Wednesday night after getting the 40 stitches removed from the forehead area above the right eye and just in time for a game against infamous New York Islanders goon Trevor Gillies.Thornton has missed three games with the slice above his right eye caused by Fernando Pisanis skate blade, but had the stitches removed Tuesday and now has a long snake-like healing scar above his eye.While the Bs enforcer said he wasnt sure whether he would be playing or not, Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated Thornton was likely to be in the lineup after gaining medical clearance.Obviously if I get hit there its going to hurt, but as far as I know Im ready to go, said Thornton. Im preparing to play. I feel great. Its not that big a story anymore. Its been over a week, guys.Thornton wont play with a half-shield after ditching it on Monday morning while skating at Madison Square Garden, and it will be interesting to see who Julien opts to scratch. Rookie center Tyler Seguin seems like the most likely option after getting his ice time scaled back to eight minutes and being removed from the second power play unit against the Rangers.Thornton should be in the lineup, and well have a couple of other decisions to make before game time, said Julien.Seguin, Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron, Thornton and Chris Kelly were the five forwards that took part in an optional morning skate for the Bruins at TD Garden, and it doesnt seem like Ryder or Daniel Paille would be the scratches for a Bruins team looking to fine tune things before the playoffs.Julien is a conservative hockey coach in many regards, and it certainly manifests itself when it comes to young players and playoff lineups a situation that cropped up four years ago with a very different young player in Phil Kessel.Kessel was memorably benched to start the series against the Montreal Canadiens, and responded with a big rest of the series against the Habs in the seven-game series loss to top-seeded Montreal. He finished with three goals and an assist in four playoff games against the Habs once the Bs decided to scratch Jeremy Reich in favor of Kessel, and responded in a big way on the ice.But it also permanently wrecked the relationship between coach and player, and was one of the big reasons Kessel was looking for a way out as soon as restricted free agency time hit with the Bruins.Everybody knows that the 19-year-old Seguin isnt Kessel, and is outgoing, diligent and conscientious with his teammates in a way that the introverted Maple Leafs sniper never was.But Seguin still appeared unhappy about potentially being a scratch against the Islanders, and was well aware of comments made by Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli on 98.5 the Sports Hub Wednesday morning that a Seguin playoff scratch is the way it looks to be trending, but the competition isnt over yet.Seguin wasnt very happy chatting briefly after Wednesdays skate on the Garden ice, and said he wanted to play.Im sure Ill talk to coaches about and theyll tell me why if Im scratched, said Seguin. Of course I want to be in there playing.Seguin does have only one goal in his last 16 games, and hasnt enjoyed an offensive windfall despite a raised battle level over the last month of the season. But its undeniable that Seguin has played better, faster and stronger down the stretch, and tasting the playoffs is something beneficial to his development.The problems: Michael Ryder has nine goals and 18 points in 24 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, and Daniel Paille is playing his best hockey of the season over the last two weeks. Both of those players could potentially serve in a fourth line capacity while Seguin is probably best-suited to be skating with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly as he was over the last few weeks leading into tonights game against the Isles.Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and it appears hell get the start for the Bruins against the Islanders as hes looking to rebound from a couple of uncharacteristic goals surrendered to the New York Rangers. Thomas is still holding onto the highest save percentage total in NHL single-season history with a .9376 amount just above the .9366 totaled by Dominik Hasek in the 1998-99 season. One or two more good performances should leave him with the record and two of the top three best single-season save percentage totals in NHL history.Julien said he wasnt panicking after one ugly loss to the Rangers that featured a third period collapse and one of those bothersome 3-0 leads that crumbled into nothingness.I think it depends on how you look at it, said Julien. "Everybody is looking for perfection and every little thing that doesnt go well is going to be scrutinized and criticized. But you have to look around the league. I mean Vancouver has lost two games now to Edmonton. Is there panic there? Philadelphia is having a tough time. I think once the playoffs start, the good teams are going to be ready to go. We plan on being one of those. Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Talking Points: Khudobin's effort helps B's snap losing streak

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Talking Points: Khudobin's effort helps B's snap losing streak

GOLD STAR: Anton Khudobin continues his stretch of picking up points in all of his games for the Bruins as he made 27 no-nonsense saves in a straight-up, blue collar kind of hockey game between the B’s and the Kings. Perhaps even more encouraging the Bruins dominated much of the final 20 minutes while protecting a third period lead, so Khudobin was forced into making just five saves against Los Angeles in something a little less than a frenzied, frenetic between the pipes performance that we’re sometimes used to seeing out of the backup. The big period for the Russian backup was the middle 20 minutes when he was making 17 big saves and eventually improving to 4-0-2 on the season while just simply winning all the time these days.  

 

BLACK EYE: Just one shot on net and three giveaways for Anze Kopitar in 22:08 of ice time for the Kings, who did have an assist on Drew Doughty’s power play goal in the second period during the loss. Kopitar had three giveaways in a bit of a sloppy effort taking care of the puck, and he lost 12-of-22 face-offs as well while facing off directly against his Selke Trophy winning competitor in Patrice Bergeron. Kopitar has never been really all that impressive going up against No. 37 over the years, and he hasn’t really been a killer when it comes to facing the Bruins. That sort of thing played out again for the Kings against the Bruins this season with guys like Kopitar and Doughty not quite enough against Boston. 

 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins scored the game’s first goal in the first period, and that proved to be one of the big difference-makers in the eventual victory for the Black and Gold. Charlie McAvoy’s early goal put the Bruins on the board and forced the LA Kings to start chasing the game a little bit more in a strange sequence of events that hasn’t been the norm with the Bruins much as of late. Once McAvoy darted in after the offensive zone face-off and scored in the first, the rest was up to a Bruins team that’s managed to score the first goal of the game for just the seventh time in 18 games this season. Given the real lack of depth on the roster for the B’s due to injuries, it’s vital to take an early lead and force the Kings, or any other opponent, to respect their game plan a little bit more armed with an early lead.    

 

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy was a beast for the Bruins while topping 27 minutes of ice time, scoring the game’s first goal in the first period and not depriving himself of any of the physical play over the 60-minute course of the game. It was McAvoy that took the puck in a win on an offensive zone face-off, and darted straight to the front of the net where he was able to lift a backhanded a shot past Jonathan Quick for the early goal. It was his second goal of the season, and his first score since lighting the lamp on opening night vs. Nashville. Above and beyond that McAvoy had a goal and a plus-1 rating in 27:53 of ice time, and filled out the dirty work portion of his job description with four blocked shots and four registered hits to go along with his skill contributions. 

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the alarming number of giveaways for Zdeno Chara in the win while also registering the game-winning goal in the second period amongst his 26:53 of ice time on the second night of a back-to-back game.  Chara was obviously far from perfect, but he was digging deep for the win. 

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “No passengers. I think everybody pulled on the rope today. A lot of guys blocked shots and took hits to make plays, and that’s what it took.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN on what the difference was in Thursday night’s win over the LA Kings. 

Bruins snap four-game losing streak with 2-1 win over Kings

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Bruins snap four-game losing streak with 2-1 win over Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings were two teams going in the wrong direction, the losses suddenly piling up for both of them.

Something had to change when they met Thursday night and it did for the Bruins, who made Zdeno Chara's tiebreaking goal in the second period stand up for a 2-1 victory over the Kings.

"Our guys were sick of losing," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team snapped a four-game skid.

The Kings, however, continued their unexpected spiral. After starting the season 11-2-2 for the best record in the Western Conference, they have dropped four in a row.

"We're going to have to dig down," coach John Stevens said. "You can't have part of your lineup going. You need your whole lineup going if you're going to win. It doesn't matter who you're playing."

The Kings won in Boston on Oct. 28 in the last second of overtime off a faceoff. This time, the Bruins returned the favor.

Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff for Boston in the first period and the puck went to Charlie McAvoy, who skated across the crease and lifted a backhand over the shoulder of goalie Jonathan Quick.

"I thought we played a much more complete game," McAvoy said. "We really wanted to get a win. It's been a while. We put together a complete 60 minutes."

Los Angeles tied it 1-all at 4:33 of the second on a power play. Jussi Jokinen found Drew Doughty open in the middle and the defenseman flicked in his fourth of the season.

Boston regained the lead at 13:16 when Chara fired a slap shot from outside the lower part of the circle that deflected off the stick of Los Angeles' Trevor Lewis a few feet in front of the net. The puck nicked the back of Quick's jersey and went in for Chara's second goal this season.

"I'm real happy with the way we played," Chara said. "We battled and deserved to win."

But the Bruins still had to hang on to preserve the victory, with almost 27 minutes yet to play.

"It's been an issue for us, closing out games," Cassidy said. "We did it well, comfortable. We didn't look scrambly. We didn't look like we lost our composure or poise."

The Kings never got another puck past backup goalie Anton Khudobin, who stopped 27 shots and improved to 4-0-2.

Quick made 28 saves for Los Angeles.

"You had that sense we did not want to let it go," Chara said. "You had that feel on the bench."

The Kings aren't sure what to feel after getting off to such an impressive start and now suddenly reeling.

"I don't think we're playing a 60-minute game," Anze Kopitar said. "Parts of the games, we play like we need to be, where we're in their zone making plays, creating chances.

"And in parts of the games, we're just pretty much non-existent out there. That's got to change. We have to have a better effort from everybody for a full game."

NOTES: Boston center David Krejci returned after missing 11 games with an upper-body injury. He played 18 minutes. "I felt pretty good for my first game back," Krejci said. . Kopitar assisted on Doughty's goal, extending his point streak to a career-best nine games. . The Kings had one four-game losing streak all last season. . The Bruins earned their second road win of the season.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Head to San Jose to play the Sharks on Saturday.

Kings: Stay home Saturday to host the Florida Panthers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE