By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
BOSTON -- The Bruins answered Claude Julien's call for a better transition game and more offense Monday night at the TD Garden, shutting out the New Jersey Devils, 3-0.
Tim Thomas, who picked up his first loss of the season on Saturday night, earned his ninth win of the year while making 28 saves. It was his fourth shutout. "I personally approached it as a must-win and I think the team did, too. We need to get back on track; we need to show some urgency," said Thomas. "We faced a team that's been playing better but has struggled this year, and we needed to come out with the win so that we could start building and getting back to the game that we were playing when we were having success."Michael Ryder put the Bruins up 1-0 with 4:34 left in the first period, on a 5-on-3 power play, after he sniped on Martin Brodeur from the left goal line.Nathan Horton added another 43 seconds into the second period, to give the Bs a 2-0 lead. The goal came as a result of a nice cross-ice neutral zone pass from Milan Lucic the exact type of transition that Julien had called for after Saturday nights 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Horton took the pass at the Devils' blue line on the right wing, skated into the offensive zone, and beat Brodeur to the low left corner with a snap shot from the right circle.Blake Wheeler added another, eerily enough, 43 seconds into the third period (the same time as Horton's goal the period before), after he beat Brodeur with a snapper from the left circle. GOLD STAR: Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler each dished out 5,000 of their money to purchase tickets for military members and their families on Military Appreciation Night, and then each player gave the soldiers their moneys worth on the ice. Wheeler scored a goal in the third period, and has looked better and better as a center option for the Bruins during times of adversity. Stuart doled out five hits and really pushed the physical envelope in the second period with the kind of brute punishment people have come to expect from him in the defensive zone.BLACK EYE: Tyler Seguin was okay, but didnt really do much in his 12:53 aside from play a pretty passive role on the second power play unit. Seguin finally registered a shot on goal in the third period, but the 18-year-old passed up multiple wide-open opportunities from the left faceoff dot during Boston's first unsuccessful power play. On the night, the PP went 1-for-7 and is 2-for-16 since David Krejci went down.TURNING POINT: The Bruins managed to stave off a flurry of Devils shots early in the first period, and then Adam McQuaid really took the momentum away from the Devils with a prolonged bout against Rod Pelley. The McQuaid fight played a big role in the B's solid early start to the game, and certainly gave Boston the most bang for McQuaid's 9:05 of ice time.BY THE NUMBERS: 7-0-0 the B's perfect record when theyve scored the first goal this season. Apparently the Bruins are very good frontrunners, but then again there aren't many teams that aren't good frontrunners.QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was kind of looking around. I was kind of just expecting it, but no, it was nice not to have to do that. I think if you're hitting clean, you can kind of avoid that kind of stuff." Mark Stuart on the novelty of making some big, thumping hits in the second period and not being forced to fight after a clean hit something hes had to do on multiple occasions over the last two seasons.INJURY UPDATE: Claude Julien revealed after the game that both Johnny Boychuk (fractured forearmwrist) and David Krejci (concussion) will travel with the team to New York for Wednesday night's game against the Rangers, and theres a chance Boychuk could play. Hes now considered day-to-day with his injury.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard.Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.
Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.
“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”
The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.
The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.
With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.
Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.
This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.
Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.
The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.
*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.
*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.
*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.
*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.
*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.
*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.
*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.
*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.