Bruins shut out for fifth time in February

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Bruins shut out for fifth time in February

BOSTON -- The Bruins had a power play for two of the last 2:09 in regulation, but failed to produce anything in the last-ditch effort, and were shut out by the Ottawa Senators 1-0 on Tuesday night at the TD Garden.

Tim Thomas made 37 saves in the game, but the Bruins' offense just couldn't get one past Robin Lehner, who made 32 saves in the shutout.

The Senators led 1-0 after the first period, thanks to a power-play goal from Erik Karlsson. The Ottawa defenseman took a wrist shot from the middle of the point, with 5:16 left in the first, that beat Thomas top-left, with help from Daniel Alfredsson's screen out front.

Thomas made 30 saves through the first two periods, while the Bruins only had 15 shots on net through two, and nothing to show for it.

And as it turned out, the final period didn't see any more production.

GOLD STAR: Tim Thomas stood on his head making 37 saves in a game that should have been a blowout victory for the Senators, but the one-man show wasnt enough for two points. He made a ridiculous recovery save when he went screeching back to the net to stop an Erik Condra stop at the doorstep, and foiled a couple of Erik Karlsson bids through heavy traffic in front of the net. Thomas couldnt be faulted on the power play goal allowed with Daniel Alfredsson blocking his view directly in front of him, and he was the only Bs player worthy of victory for 60 minutes of hockey. The good news: Thomas is back on his game. The bad news: the Bs offense isnt.

BLACK EYE: Joe Corvo might have a legit alibi for failing to go after Kyle Turris when he said that Colin Greening told him on the first shift of the night that the young Sens forward wasnt going to fight. But Corvo also had several chances to finish off hits against Turris the old-fashioned way and pulled up in almost every instance, and thats going to turn away a lot of people in Boston toward Corvo. The Bs defenseman didnt have a registered hit, didnt have a shot that got through traffic and really didnt seem to be playing with the kind of emotion one would expect from a wronged player. When it comes down to it Corvo just isnt a Bruins-type of player.

HONORABLE MENTION: Four shots on net in 23:27 of ice time and a power play goal for Erik Karlsson, who is beginning to really take off in his NHL career after blossoming into an All-Star in his second season. The Swedish defenseman looks like hes going to be a handful in the playoffs, and the Bruins could do nothing to make him pay at the other end of the ice throughout the game.

TURNING POINT: The first 40 points saw 15 shots on net for the Bruins and few hotly contested offensive chances. Sure the Bruins rallied for 17 shots in the final 20 minutes when they finally found their legs, but it seemed as if the game was already lost for the Bruins despite the one-goal deficit. It was surprising that Boston couldnt summon a better opening effort against an Ottawa team thats right behind them in the Northeast Division standings, and more importantly now the Sens have some confidence that they can beat Thomas in this building should they meet in the playoffs.
BY THE NUMBERS 5: the number of times in 13 games that the Bruins were shut out during the month of February. That is what you would call an abysmal statistic for the Black and Gold.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Those first two periods were really painful to watch and to see. Our guys just didnt have any legs and our game was very, very slow . . . even on face-offs. We just struggled in all areas. Claude Julien, who saw the Bruins fall short during a furious comeback attempt in the third period after a bogus first 40 minutes.
-Danny Picard contributed the game story.

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”
 

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

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Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.