WINNIPEG Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes at the always loud MTS Centre.
1) Im not sure who this James Wright character is, but he dumped Zdeno Chara into the side boards with a hit from behind and then knocked Adam McQuaid off-balance with a hit in the defensive zone. You dont see that very often, but Ill go out on a limb and say hes pretty strong. He also zinged a shot wide of the net when he had a wide open look after a Mark Stuart point shot bounced off the end boards to him.
2) Only four Winnipeg players have shots on net in the first period including a pair of shot attempts from Nik Antropov. Bruins defense doing a good job of containing the Jets in the defensive zone thus far this afternoon.
3) Three of Bostons nine shots in the first period were from Nathan Horton, who looked like he was attempting to pick up the slack on that line with his power forward partner Milan Lucic out of the lineup. Every forward on the Bruins will need to step up, but a guy with size, strength and the ability to finish like Horton elevating his game becomes even more important.
4) Five blocked shots for Ron Hainsey in the first period. Hes certainly got a leg up on the Ice Bucket Award for this game when its all over. It must always be a thrill for a local guy like Hainsey to play against the Bruins after starring in Massachusetts and for UMass Lowell.
5) Three shifts and 2:04 of ice time for Jay Pandolfo in the first period. Nothing spectacular but certainly enough to get his feet wet as Claude Julien has been very selective with usage of his fourth line against a Winnipeg team that doesnt use their fourth line much at all.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully getting in the holiday spirit by getting the family Christmas tree this week.
*Very good and very sobering story about Craig Cunningham’s slow recovery, and his large support system with the AHL Roadrunners team he is captaining this season. It sounds like it might be a bit of a long road for him, so he and his family will need that support from those around him.
*Tyler Seguin has his shot back, and that’s great news for the Dallas Stars power play. So is that like Stella getting her groove back?
*A KHL player went into a sliding dab formation in order to celebrate a goal on the ice, and we salute him for that.
*The Maple Leafs are trying to fortify their backup goaltending situation after waiving Jhonas Enroth this week.
*Interesting Bob McKenzie piece about a young man that’s hoping to challenge conventional thinking in the hockey coaching ranks.
*TSN’s Scott Cullen takes a look at Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine’s shooting skills as part of his “Statistically Speaking” column.
*For something completely different: the hits just keep on coming for Netflix as they’re going to double their TV series output over the next year.
BRIGHTON, Mass. -- There were both expected and unexpected absences from Bruins morning skate on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of tonight’s game at TD Garden against the Florida Panthers. Matt Beleskey was the expected absence after getting knocked out of Saturday’s game with a lower body injury caused by a Tyler Fedun check to his right leg, and Torey Krug was also missing from the ice after pulling workhorse duty over the last handful of games in the absence of Zdeno Chara.
Following practice Claude Julien confirmed that Chara was “probable” to return for tonight’s game vs. the Florida Panthers after missing the last six games, and that Krug is expected to play after succumbing to the same illness that felled Patrice Bergeron over the weekend. Beleskey was being checked by doctors on Monday, and it sounds like his absence might be a bit longer term than simply a “day-to-day” lower body injury.
Noel Acciari took part in practice, and it appears they both could be closing in on a return to the lineup. Frank Vatrano also shot the puck around a bit at the very beginning of Monday’s skate, but came off the ice as the team began their preparations for tonight’s game.
Here are the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings vs. Florida based on the morning skate with Beleskey and Krug both absent:
K. Miller-C. Miller