Bruins-Canucks: Five thoughts from the second


Bruins-Canucks: Five thoughts from the second

By JoeHaggerty

VANCOUVER Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Vancouver Canucks by a 2-1 score after the first 40 minutes at Rogers Arena.

1) Guess us experts have no idea what were talking about, eh? Mark Recchi pops in a tip of a Zdeno Chara shot near the net for a power play goal, and helps the Bruins build up a one-goal lead after two periods of play. Its Recchis first power play goal in 20 playoff games, and it shows what hes capable of bringing to the table when things are going right for him. There have been far too many battles lost in front of the net for Recchi lately, and that goal was a nice change for the 43-year-old. I thought watching the first replay that it was a Tyler Seguin tip that actually scored the goal, but Im sure that will get straightened out one way or the other. Bruins end the Roberto Luongo scoreless streak at 139 minutes and change, and give themselves a shot of confidence in the process.

2) Both Recchi and Milan Lucics goals were scored on battles won in front of the net. Lucic beat Christian Ehrhoff to a loose puck off a Johnny Boychuk blast from the point and kicking things off and running, and energized his whole line. Bruins talked about winning more battles near the net tonight and thats exactly what they did in the second period. Its the recipe for Bs offense against a Vancouver defensemen corps thats not looking to duke it out in front of the net.

3) Tim Thomas did a good job of rebounding from a soft goal in the first period to lock things down in the middle 20 minutes. Ten saves for Thomas in the second period including a huge stop on Jannik Hansen on a cross-ice pass, and then a great defensive play by Zdeno Chara at the end of the period on a wide open net for Jeff Tambellini. Bruins have done a good job protecting things around Thomas.

4) Vancouver belting out 33 hits through the first two periods and leading the Bs by a healthy margin. You have to wonder if the Canucks are playing a macho style of hockey against the Bruins that doesnt really favor them. It definitely bears watching.

5) Ryan Kesler has no shots, one registered hit he's lost eight out of 14 face-offs tonight. Looks like that Johnny Boychuk hit in the corner has caused the Vancouver center to lose a little bit of his steam. Looks like the Canucks are feeling the abuse from the Bs a little bit tonight.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.

*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.

*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?

*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.

*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.

*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.

*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play

BRIGHTON, Mass. – One area where the Bruins are looking for more after a mostly positive first four regular-season games: the power play.

The B’s are a downright gross 1-for-14 on the man-advantage to start the season and were 0-for-4 on Thursday night while squeaking out a last-minute win over the New Jersey Devils. The early-season 7.1 percent success rate doesn’t have them last in the NHL, but only the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have performed at a lower PP clip.

It’s a subject that Claude Julien knew was coming from the B’s media, and so he was ready to answer for it ahead of Saturday night’s rivalry renewal with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before that question came. It is what it is. I think we had some opportunities, but we haven’t finished,” said Julien. “At the end of the day our power play is judged by whether you score or not, and I thought our second period [vs. the Devils] wasn’t great. But our third period had some really good power plays, but we didn’t manage to score.

“Where we need to get to right now [on the power play], is to find a way to finish. There’s no doubt the absence of Patrice Bergeron there brings somebody else in, and maybe there’s not as much chemistry as we’re used to. But I think with him back now we can even be better, and get a little more movement…not be so stagnant. When we struggle a bit it’s because we’re a little stagnant, and we need to get a little better there.”

Quite a bit of the struggles go back to Bergeron missing the first three games of the season and the top power-play unit missing No. 37 from his trademark bumper role at the center of the PP action. The power play remained scoreless as the unit adjusted to Bergeron's return on Thursday night, but it seemed that things started to click a little bit as that game went on.

“It’s not moving right now. We’ll just work through it. There were times last year where it let us down, and there were times last year where it helped us through some tough moments,” said Torey Krug of the PP. “Right now we’re able to play through it, but at some point this team is going to need this PP to step up and score some goals. We rely on that, and the guys on the power play take a lot of pride in it.

“[Bergeron] does a lot of things for us. Instead of me having to go all the way to the other end to break the puck out where I’m losing 20 seconds and frankly it’s tiring to break the puck out, now we have him winning face-offs and we’re starting with the puck in the zone. That’s a big thing, and he collects puck like nobody else in the league. With him back on the power play it brings another important player to the forefront, but it’s a five man unit and when everything’s working out there [on the PP] we have a good unit.”

Now with Ryan Spooner expected to rejoin the B’s lineup, after being healthy scratch vs. New Jersey, that adds another dangerous power-play weapon that practiced with that unit on Saturday morning ahead of the traditional morning skate. The hope is that installing Bergeron and Spooner will help kick-start a special teams unit that’s been less than explosive, and not quite cohesive, in the first four games of the season.