Notes: Horton makes surprise visit after game

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Notes: Horton makes surprise visit after game

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"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Following Wednesday nights Game 4 win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Bruins were dealt quite the surprise in the dressing room.

Injured forward Nathan Horton who is out for the rest of the series after suffering a concussion in Game 3 gave his team a surprise visit, and presented Rich Peverley with the teams player of the game jacket.

The jacket had been hanging in Hortons locker since he won it in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The team kept it hanging in his stall after Game 3, and they were prepared to keep it hanging there for the rest of the series.

But Horton insisted that Peverleys two-goal performance on Wednesday night was worthy.

No one was expecting to see him tonight, said Peverley. I think everyone was super excited, hes an integral part of this team and, you know, obviously one of the best players the whole playoffs. So you know everyone was really excited to see him.

I was very, very happy to see Nathan up and around in the locker room, said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. I wasnt exactly sure of his status. You know, Id heard that he was okay, but then I heard it was a severe concussion. I didnt know if okay meant hes going to live or . . .

When I personally got to see him in the locker room, you know, I was incredibly happy and it gave me a big boost, said Thomas. He was there to pass the jacket on. We didn't pass the jacket on the last game with him gone. I think the team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of this series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going that we'd started.

The chippy, post-whistle play continued in Game 4, and it reached its boiling point in the final minutes of the third when Thomas slashed Vancouver pest Alex Burrows, who then turned around and exchanged several punches with the Bruins goaltender.

But afterwards, it turned out that Thomas was fed up with the Canucks trying to knock his stick out of his hands, which Burrows tried to do moments before Thomas hacked him in the back of the legs.

They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period also, said Thomas. I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever.

So that's all that was. It was a typical battle.

Thomas finished the game with 38 saves and recorded his fourth career playoff shutout, and third of this postseason.

It's indicative of the way he's had to battle to get here, number one, said coach Claude Julien after the win. Anybody that knows the story of Tim Thomas, he's taken a real bumpy road to get to the NHL. He's had so many obstacles in front of him that he's overcome, it makes him a battler, it makes him the perfect goaltender for our organization because that's what we are, we're a blue-collar team that goes out and works hard and earns every inch of the ice that you can get.

Tim fits well in regards to that. Again, the way he battles, he never quits on any pucks, even to the point where he can let a bad goal in every once in a while or a couple in a game, and you know that when the game is on the line he's going to be standing on his head again because he battles through it.

Brad Machand scored the Bruins third goal of the night, putting a loose puck upstairs to give the Bs a 3-0 lead in the second period. It moved him into the NHLs postseason rookie scoring lead with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. The eight goals tie a Bruins club rookie record for goals in a playoffyear (set by Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and tied by Bobby Joycein 1988).

After sitting Game 3, Tyler Seguin was back in the Bruins lineup in Game 4, recording an assist on Michael Ryders goal that put the Bs up 2-0. He finished the game as a plus-one, but his call to duty came with mixed emotions, as the rookie realized he may have only been back in the lineup because one of their best forwards was injured.

Its a tough situation losing one of your best players and you get a tap on the shoulder, said Seguin. But I was prepared and ready. Anywhere I was playing I wanted to take advantage of it.

I just wanted to seize the opportunity. I wanted to show that I can face adversity and try to overcome it. I thought I was more involved tonight than I had been the first two Vancouver games. One of the most overlooked aspects of the Bruins throughout the Stanley Cup Final has been their fabulously effective work by the penalty kill on a Vancouver Canucks power play that had done major damage during the regular season and the playoffs. The Bs have done a commendable job frustrating the Sedin Twins and Ryan Kesler in all situations, and have held Vancouver to a 1-for-22 on the man advantage in the Cup Finals.That number is actually downright Bruins-ian and illustrated how large a focus has been placed on shutting down Vancouvers special-teams units with speedy, efficient penalty killing combined with warriors like Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara engaging in hand-to-hand combat in front of the net.We obviously tried to play our game and win a lot of the races and battles on the penalty kill, said Zdeno Chara. We did a pretty good job of that in Game Four.
Bruins scored eight goals with No. 8 Cam Neely as their honorary captain for Game Three, and four goals Wednesday night with No. 4 Bobby Orr night serving as the teams honorary captain. No telling who the Bruins might choose to be their honorary captain in a Game Six at TD Garden, but Bruins Nation is petitioning for a higher number.Bruins fans are once again invited to show their support for the team as it departs TD Garden on Thursday morning for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver. The going away party is set to happen at 11 a.m. in the parking lot adjacent to the Garden.Marchand said it wasnt just the Canucks who were paying a physical toll for the way both squads were throwing bodies into each other and playing with the reckless abandon that the Cup Finals is all about. The Bruins are also paying a price, and it will be a battle to see which team eventually wins out.It takes a toll on both teams, said Marchand. It just seems both teams are playing very physical right now, and there are a lot of guys with bumps and bruises that are being worn down. We just want to continue to use our bodies and keep pushing forward, and be willing to sacrifice our bodies. Hopefully it will wear their guys down a little more than us, but well see.Peter Chiarelli confirmed that there was no chance Horton would be traveling with the team to Vancouver on Thursday. The big right winger will continue recuperating at home.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was pulled from Game 4, just 3:39 into the third period, after Peverley scored his second goal of the night to put the Bruins up 4-0.

Luongo made only 20 saves on the night.

It was a tough one, said Luongo. I mean were obviously looking, if you look at the goals it went off something and in.Right now we are obviously not getting the breaks, its just a matter of staying focused.Obviously, we got home-ice advantage for a reason so we got to regroup here, make sure come Game 5 at home that we come out and play the type of game we want to be playing.

I would say they were probably the hungrier team the last two games . . . Usually in this game you make your own breaks.Obviously, we havent had many the last two games. Im sure after the first two games they were complaining they didnt get any breaks, so its playoff hockey, things are going to happen. I think the main thing is that its the way you respond. Obviously right now we are in a situation, were tied at two and heading home so its not time for us to put our head down, its time for us to make sure that we get doing the things they weve been doing that makes us successful.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

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

Haggerty: Rask puts up, makes critics shut up

Haggerty: Rask puts up, makes critics shut up

BOSTON -- The decision to sit out Saturday night's game against the Islanders, for whatever issue needed healing, worked wonders for Tuukka Rask.

Rask looked fresh, strong and determined while stopping 24 of 25 shots in a 4-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday night, and, at the very least, temporarily quieting talk of his missing Saturday's win over the Islanders because of a lower-body injury that wasn't disclosed until the day of the game. It also snapped his personal four-game losing streak, in which Rask had allowed 15 goals on 95 shots (an .842 save percentage) and hit rock bottom while surrendering a couple of damaging soft goals in last week's loss to the Lightning.

After watching Anton Khudobin battle, brawl and double-pad-stack his way to a huge win in Brooklyn on Saturday, Rask played with his own battling style Tuesday, fighting through Nashville attackers as he limited the the Preds to one goal.

"I loved [his battle]," said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "He really worked hard to find pucks in traffic. They created some good opportunities, and even the goal against, he found it. They just tipped it at eye level so it was going to be a tough one, and we need to be better in the shooting lane on that one.

"But I thought he was terrific, very pleased with his performance. If you've got to track pucks, you've got to find pucks and you've got to fight through bodies, and he did a real good job with it.

"I thought we played well in front of him, but when we broke down it seemed to be in those areas where we couldn't break the puck up below our goal line. [There were] lot of bodies, a lot of point shots. This is the type of team, [Ryan] Ellis, [P.K.] Subban, [Roman] Josi, they rely on that part of the game and traffic. It was going to be a test for [the defense] there. I thought [Rask] answered the bell and in a terrific manner."

There were no two ways about it, Rask was truly excellent in a game where he had to be.

He made a save in the second period on Viktor Arvidsson when a David Backes turnover at the half-wall gave Arvidsson a wide open look at the net, and made 9 of his 24 saves in the third period as the Predators ramped up the desperation once Craig Smith had broken through on a tipped Josi shot. He also was the beneficiary of 24 blocked shots from the defenders in front of him. Adam McQuaid had five of the blocks all by himself,  absorbing all kinds of bumps and bruises in the process.

It was clear that the Bruins, as a team, were in late-season urgency mode.

"Well, we needed [a win]," said Rask. "Personally, I mean, I've lost four games but played a couple good games there, and we just didn't get the bounces. But we kind of got in winning habits there in [Broooklyn] and me stepping in here, I just wanted to make sure that I gave us a chance to win. The guys did the rest. So, it was a great team effort today, I think. As I said before, we blocked a lot of shots, which is huge."

So does one solid performance mean everything is settled for the B's No. 1 netminder after sitting out last weekend?

It certainly goes a long way toward putting some distance between Rask and whatever lower-body injury popped up and then disappeared just as quickly, and it puts a bit more of an optimistic spin for the remainder of the season. Rask didn't actively listen to any of the criticism of the last couple of days, but he fully understands that it comes along with the territory of being the No. 1 goalie in a city that takes hockey seriously.

"I can't do anything about what people say," said Rask, who took a pretty good hit on a Predators drive to the net in the third period but kept right on trucking. "I'm not staying home because I want to say home. I'm not playing because I don't want to play. I don't think any athlete does that. Obviously what's happened where I missed a game [vs. Ottawa] last year, people are going to talk about it. That's just the nature of media people, and what they talk about. It's fine.

"[All you can do is] you try not to read any of it, you stay even-keeled and you play the game the right way."

But the bottom line is the Bruins need much more of what they saw from Rask on Tuesday -- determined, tough-minded, a strong No. 1 goalie -- in the final six games if they want to be a playoff team this year.

He played well enough in the first few months, carrying the Bruins through the early portion of the season, to make people forget about calling in sick against Ottawa in the final game of last season. That's to Rask's credit. But last weekend's action, or lack of it, brought some of those same nagging questions back. He needs to build on Tuesday's encouraging performance to continue instilling confidence that he's a big-time No. 1 goalie.

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way.