Five from the first


Five from the first

RALEIGH, N.C. Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Hurricanes locked in a scoreless tie at the end of the first 20 minutes at the RBC Center.

1) Tim Thomas didnt have a ton of action in the first period, but he made a big time stop on Alexei Ponikarovsky at the end of the first period when it seemed he was down and out of the play. The veteran Bs goalie only had six saves, but that was by far the biggest one to keep it scoreless.

2) Speaking of Ponikarovsky, he had three of Carolinas six shots in the first period. It looked like two of them came in that final scrum at the end of the period. I guess its appropriate since tonights tilt against the Bruins is his 600th career NHL game.

3) Two shots total on two power plays in the first 10 minutes of the game simply isnt good enough for the Bruins. It was one shot and then out for a Bruins team that wasnt winning enough battles right in front of Cam Ward. Ward meanwhile has looked very good with 11 stops in the first 20 minutes.

4) Canes outhitting the Bruins by an 11-4 margin. That usually spells trouble in any game the physical Bs are involved in. They did a good job drawing a couple of penalties, but not enough assertiveness or clean execution for the Bs at this point.

5) Benoit Pouliot managed to get Eric Staal whistled off for an elbowing penalty in the opening minutes of the game, and the gangly Bs forward has to lead the team in penalties drawn this season. Some of it certainly the unorthodox way he attacks with all arms and legs on the fore-check, and some of it simply good timing on Pouliots part when it comes to getting under the skin of his opponents.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally


Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.