Rask, Lucic lead Bruins over Florida, 4-0

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Rask, Lucic lead Bruins over Florida, 4-0

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Dennis Wideman made his return to Boston Thursday night, but Tuukka Rask and Milan Lucic kept him and his Florida Panthers from getting the last laugh.

Wideman was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, and Horton picked up three assists on the night, including what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the first period.

But it was both Rask and Lucic who won the game for the B's. Rask made 41 saves in picking up his first win of the season, while Lucic scored the first three Bruins goals in the 4-0 win.
"It feels good. It feels good to not let your team down 'cause we are on a winning streak now, and keep that thing going," said Rask. "But it'sjust a win, though. Not the first gameI've won with the Bruins, but it feels good."

Lucic gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first period, after he took a Horton drop pass in the right circle, cut out front and wristed a laser past Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun that hit the top-right corner of the post and went in.

He made it 2-0 by sniping the top-left corner from the right circle on a 2-on-1 with 5:18 left in the third period. He picked up the hat trick by putting in the rebound off of a Patrice Bergeron miss, just 15 seconds later.

Shawn Thornton made it 4-0 with 3:54 left in regulation to finish things off.GOLD STAR: Got to give it to Tuukka Time taking its first starring role of the season. Nobody would have predicted that it could have taken five-plus weeks for Tuukka Rask to record his first win of the season, but there it is. Rask finished with 41 saves and managed to avoid any of the funky bounces or strange goals that seemed to bite at him in his five other previous efforts. He again looked like the calm, confident phenom that dominated through long stretches of last season.BLACK EYE: Claude Julien joked after the game that David Booth's arms were going to be sore on Friday after hoisting 14 shots on net from all over the ice, and seemed intent on trying to beat the Bruins all by himself. He finished a minus-2 on the night, and Booth, Stephen Weiss and Cory Stillman all were badly outplayed by the B's "heavy" line.TURNING POINT: Protecting a 1-0 lead, the Bruins took a couple of penalties in the second period and allowed Florida several opportunities to get back into the game. But the B's penalty killers killed off both Panthers' power plays and Boston ended up snuffing out all five Panthers power plays over the course of the win. The kills, and Tuukka Rask, ended up setting the tracks for the third=period explosion that turned into Milan Lucics crazy fedora party.BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of goals for Milan Lucic this season, which is one more than he had all of last season and now leads the Bruins. To put it in perspective, Lucic is tied with Alex Ovechkin in goals scored this season and appears to be well on his way toward ascending to another level of hockey stardom this season.QUOTE TO NOTE: "Rask keeps an upbeat attitude the whole time. Hes happy for what's going on here. He doesn't put himself ahead of anyone. So we talked before the game that we wanted to get one for him." Shawn Thornton, talking about the team pulling together to get Tuukka Rask his first win of the season.INJURY UPDATE: Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot with his left leg in the first period and left the ice shortly, but returned and played the rest of the game. Shawn Thornton had his nose bloodied after fighting Darcy Hordichuk, but finished out the game and appeared to be fine postgame aside from spitting a little blood. But thats nothing to a hockey player.

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
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Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.