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Posted On Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 12:24 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Peverley quickly returns to form for Bruins

BOSTON -- Playing his first game for the Boston Bruins after missing 19 with a severely sprained knee, Rich Peverley barely missed a beat Sunday night in their win at Anaheim.

His 16:44 of ice time was just about his season's average, and he skated both on the penalty kill and power play in addition to his even strength time. Tonight he should be once again in the lineup when the Bruins host Tampa Bay at the TD Garden.

"I want to be able to play as much as I can, so that's good," he said after Boston's morning skate. "But [coach Claude Julien] still held me back a few shifts. So it's probably better in the end for that. But I felt good today, I felt good on that Sunday there, it was good to get in the game there."

Peverley said he felt better as the game went on and that he's pretty close to feeling like himself. The Bruins will need him and the rest of their players at their best, as they'll try to earn a three-game winning streak for the first time since December.

The Bruins are also looking to avenge a 6-1 loss they suffered in Tampa on March 13.

"We've made steps in the right direction [since then]," center Chris Kelly said. "That Tampa game was obviously an embarrassing game for us. I think if you ask anyone in this locker room, that wasn't our style of hockey. Give them credit, they came out hard and played well and played right to the final buzzer like they should have. We didn't show up at all that game."

Tampa Bay did not hold a morning skate because they played last night in Philadelphia. Vincent Lecavalier (hand) and Nate Thompson (upper body) have been skating with the Lightning and could rejoin the lineup as early as tonight.

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

LIGHTNING
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Tim Wallace - Trevor Smith - JT Wyman
Ryan Malone - Tom Pyatt - Brett Connolly
Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Brandon Segal

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brian Lee - Brett Clark
Mike Commodore - Brendan Mikkelson
Keith Aulie

Dwayne Roloson
Sebastien Caron
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Posted On Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 2:12 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins' confidence rising with strong play

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Their 8-0 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday might have been the perfect way for the Boston Bruins to leave a mark on their home rink before departing for their last lengthy road trip of the season.

That victory, paired with a dramatic shootout win against Philadelphia two days earlier, gave the Bruins just their second two-game winning streak since early January. Now the Bruins are back on top of the Northeast Division, after they'd been kicked out for one day early last week by Ottawa.

"I feel like something's turned and it's a good feeling," said goaltender Tim Thomas, who was in net for both victories and recorded his fifth shutout of the season Monday. "Even before the game (Monday), I felt that way, I could just feel it in the locker room."

Despite the positive vibes, the Bruins weren't celebrating Tuesday. Although they held an optional practice here at Ristuccia Arena with just handful of player participating, the rest of the players got in their off-ice workouts in preparation for a journey to San Jose on Wednesday.

The Bruins will start their trip against the Sharks on Thursday and follow with games at Los Angeles and Anaheim over the weekend. The tightness of the Western Conference playoff race should make for some intense games, and Boston won't be able to revert to the form they showed when they lost four straight before this current winning stretch if they intend on returning to Boston on a positive note.

"I think it's just maintaining what we've done here the last couple games," said coach Claude Julien. "Our last road trip wasn't a very good one. We certainly have to make sure we get a better one out of this one. When you look at the teams that you're playing, right now to me, the best one probably is Anaheim, who's out of the playoffs. And the other two are right there knocking on the door. So I think we're going into a territory where there's a lot of desperation. So we're going to have, certainly, some good challenges. But to me, if we play the way we have the last couple games, it's a good challenge for us."

When they got back from their losing road trip last week, the Bruins held a rare late-afternoon practice to get their legs moving and break a sweat before the matinee with Philadelphia. The emphasis not only was on pushing the pace, but also being better in the defensive zone and supporting the puck in all situations. That extra work seems to have paid off.

"I think more consistency in our game," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk about the biggest difference between the Bruins' play in the losses and the victories. "We seem to be doing the little things right and giving us more chances to win."

The Bruins also are healthier now and their lineup has become more stability. Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid and Daniel Paille all have played a few games after missing time. The Bruins have reunited last season's playoff defense pairs with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg leading the way and Ference and Boychuk forming the second duo. Newcomer Greg Zanon has started to adjust to the Bruins' system to form a third pair with Adam McQuaid.

Boston's goaltending depth, which was damaged by an injury to Tuukka Rask earlier this month, might be coming around. Marty Turco's Bruins debut last week in Tampa Bay was a disaster, as he allowed four goals on 12 shots over two stints in the game. He's been putting in some extra work in practices since then and should be better adjusted to NHL shooters by now. There might be a chance for him to spell Thomas in one of the upcoming games.

"There’s no doubt, when he's been facing the kind of shots he's been facing now and extra week, he gets better," said Julien.

Rich Peverley, who has been out since mid-February with a knee injury, also might get back into Boston's lineup in California. That would provide the Bruins with almost their entire projected lineup, minus Nathan Horton, who still is not skating as he battles post-concussion syndrome.

The Bruins learned the hard way how difficult it is to dig out of a hole when a team is losing and falling behind every night. Based on better play, and especially better starts, they've found an approach that should work for them in the Golden State and not be too hard to duplicate going forward.

"No it's not hard, it's much better than it would be going the other way, so now we just got to keep playing the same way if you start changing your game and looking for some key plays, that's when you go out and make mistakes and that's what you don't want to do," said captain Zdeno Chara. "I don't think it's hard because it's much better to be on this side of the game than the other and we need that right now so we just got to keep doing the right thing."
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Posted On Monday, 03.19.2012 / 6:54 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins, Thornton agree on two-year extension

BOSTON – Now that he's in his fifth season with the Boston Bruins, gritty forward Shawn Thornton probably has some casual fans that just jumped on the team's bandwagon while the team was on the cusp of its 2011 Stanley Cup championship or just after.

Considering Thornton has personified what it means to play "Bruins hockey" – with a combination of grit and determination that goes with skill – and his year-round presence in the Hub, Thornton has transformed himself into Boston's adopted son.

Now he'll be sticking around at least two more years beyond this season. The Bruins officially announced Monday that Thornton signed a two-year contract extension. The deal is reportedly worth $1.1 million per season. Thornton was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"My family's happy not having to move and all that stuff (and) not having to wait around for July 1 to see what was going to happen," Thornton said. "I wasn't too concerned, but I'm very happy to get it done."

Although he was imported from Anaheim as a free agent prior to the 2007-08 season to provide the Bruins with some missing truculence, Thornton has been so much more than just a tough guy or energy player. Last season, he posted career highs with 10 goals and 20 points. So far this season, he has four goals and 12 points in 70 games. In addition, he leads the League with 19 fighting majors.

Thornton is also one of the team's more vocal leaders and last season was responsible for getting the Bruins' training staff to hang motivational pictures of Bruins championship teams of the past during the postseason run.

"Since we got Shawn, I don't know how many years ago, every year, to me, he's improved as a player, and I think that’s what's allowed him -- that and his conditioning has allowed him to be a good fourth-line player in this League and then a good catalyst in his own way," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "You see some of the skill that he has when he scores, when he makes some plays, but most importantly, you see the enthusiasm and the vigor that he brings to the rink every day, and that's important for this team and his character's important for this team.

"I'm happy to get him signed and I believe he just takes so much pride in his conditioning, and that's gotten better over the time when I've seen him. I think, without question, he'll be able to play well for two more years."

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Posted On Monday, 03.19.2012 / 1:00 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Peverley continuing to work his way back

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley continued on the trail to returning to the lineup Monday when he joined his teammates for their morning skate at TD Garden.

Peverley suffered a third-degree sprain of the MCL in his right knee Feb. 15 against Montreal. At the time, his prognosis was for a return in 4-6 weeks.

Coach Claude Julien classified Peverley as day-to-day.

"Again, there's no exact time for when he's going to start playing again," said Julien, "but he's looking better every day. There's the rehab part of it that he's doing right now, so he started skating last Wednesday on his own and he's progressed since then. So when you've been off for that long, you just don't come back every night. So we're going to give him a chance and wait for our doctors to clear him."

Peverley said he hopes to join the team for a practice this week and then go on the upcoming California road trip, which Boston will start Wednesday with a cross-country flight and then a practice in San Jose.

Peverley is seventh on the Bruins with 38 points in 49 games played this season.
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Posted On Monday, 03.19.2012 / 12:46 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Carlyle not using Bruins rematch as measuring stick

BOSTON -- The last time the Boston Bruins saw the Toronto Maple Leafs, Randy Carlyle was behind Toronto's bench for just his second game as coach and his first in front of the home crowd.

Boston didn't treat Carlyle's Leafs any different than they had Ron Wilson's Leafs previously -- the Bruins improved to 5-0-0 against Toronto with a 5-4 win.

Over the last several weeks, Carlyle has had a chance to mold the Leafs more into the image of one of his teams, according to Boston coach Claude Julien.  

"His system, it's his system," said Julien after his team's morning skate in preparation for Monday's game against Toronto at the TD Garden. "You just have to look at Anaheim play when he was there and that's a lot of what they're trying to do. I'm not going to get into details and specifics, but that's what we see from Randy's approach versus Ron's.

"Let me put it this way: Ron was a very aggressive coach and Randy -- not that he's not aggressive -- but also spends a lot of time making sure the defensive approach is there, as well."

It's a long shot that Toronto will qualify for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so an opportunity to avoid a season-series sweep at the hands of one of the Eastern Conference's powers might be the Leafs' last chance to win a playoff-like game. It also could provide a way for Toronto to gauge how far it has come under Carlyle, but the coach isn't looking at this game that way.

"I think it's the chance to play against the Stanley Cup champions. I don't look at it any other way," said Carlyle. "What we've tried to do is focus on each game and one game at a time -- and I know it's an old sports cliché and you guys are probably tired of hearing it, I'm probably tired of saying it -- but the reality is that you're not going to be judged by one game. I don't think we're in a position to say we're using this game as a measuring stick. I think what we're trying to say is we have a template that we're trying to create that we have to play to. And I'll let other people do the judging of that after."

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jordan Caron
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas will start in net, with Marty Turco the backup.
 
MAPLE LEAFS
Clarke MacArthur - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Carter Ashton - Mikhail Grabovski - Matt Frattin
Joey Crabb - Dave Steckel - Tim Connolly
Jay Rosehill - Matthew Lombardi - Colby Armstrong

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn

James Reimer will be in net, with Jonas Gustavsson the backup.
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Posted On Monday, 03.19.2012 / 11:58 AM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Corvo says hand 'doesn't feel 100 percent'

BOSTON -- When Joe Corvo missed Saturday's game with Philadelphia, he left Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg as the only Boston Bruins players to skate in every game this season.

While Bruins coach Claude Julien classified Corvo that day as "banged up but healthy," Corvo on Monday told NHL.com that he definitely wasn't healthy.

Corvo revealed that Friday night he had a cortisone shot in his right hand for an injury he had been playing through since a collision with teammate Andrew Ference in a game against the New York Rangers earlier this month. Corvo strained some ligaments in the hand/wrist area.

"My hand doesn't feel 100 percent, so I'm not going to out there and not be able to battle and stuff and do my job if I'm not 100 percent," said Corvo, who stayed on the ice for extra skating Monday.

Corvo said he's feeling better, and Julien on Monday re-classified Corvo as "a little banged up." He added that if the Bruins needed Corvo, he could play. But since the Bruins currently are carrying eight healthy -- if you include Corvo -- defensemen, it's likely Corvo will sit out tonight's game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 70 games this season, Corvo has 4 goals, 21 assists and a plus-7 rating.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 1:02 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Flyers, Bruins

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins wore green warm-up jerseys Saturday at TD Garden prior to their game with the Philadelphia Flyers.
               
They might need a little luck of the Irish to snap their four-game losing streak. However, they have won two of their previous three meetings with the Flyers.
               
Tim Thomas will make the start in net for Boston – his 12th straight appearance in goal, including two relief appearances. The Flyers counter with Ilya Bryzgalov trying to extend his personal seven-game winning streak.
               
Here are the projected starting lineups for both clubs:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jordan Caron
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Eric Wellwood - Daniel Briere - Jakub Voracek
Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Max Talbot
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Kimmo Timonen
Andreas Lilja - Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky
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Posted On Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 11:36 AM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins hope standings slide is wakeup call

BOSTON – For the first time since Nov. 30, the Boston Bruins woke up this morning out of first place in the Northeast Division.
               
In fact, the nature of the Eastern Conference standings is such that after Ottawa’s win against Montreal last night, the Bruins not only fell into second place behind the Senators in the division, but they also dropped all the way to seventh in the East.
               
So if the motivation to snap the team’s first four-game losing streak in more than two years wasn’t enough for the Bruins today when they play host to Philadelphia at TD Garden, the unfavorable spot in the standings should provide added incentive.
               
“I think it’s definitely a wake-up call for us,” said forward Brad Marchand a few hours before the matinee’s puck drop. “We put ourselves in a position where it’s obviously not where we want to be. It just shows we really have to turn things around if we want to be in the playoffs this year.”
               
A better start would go a long way toward turning things around for the Bruins. They have allowed the first goal in seven straight games. But even if they don’t get on the scoreboard first, the Bruins need to respond accordingly.
               
“I think that right now it’s really important that we don’t put our head down as soon as we get scored on, even if it’s in the first or we trail by one going into the third,” forward Jordan Caron said. “I think we’ve got to keep pushing and keep our heads up. We’ve got a good team; everybody knows it. We just need to stay positive and keep pushing in the same direction.”
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:11 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Capitals, Bruins

BOSTON – Tim Thomas makes his fourth straight start in net for the Boston Bruins today against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden.

This is the first time last year’s Vezina Trophy winner has started more than three games in a row.

Tuukka Rask suffered a serious groin/abdominal injury one week ago today. Rask spoke for the first time since the injury today and reported little pain and a positive attitude about being able to return six weeks from the injury.

The Bruins’ lineup will be different from their last outing, as Benoit Pouliot will be scratched. The Bruins will dress seven defensemen.

Coach Claude Julien said before that game that injured defenseman Andrew Ference and forward Daniel Paille skated this morning and are “inching closer” to returning to the lineup.

With Mike Green suspended for three games, the Capitals will reinsert Roman Hamrlik into their lineup. The veteran blueliner has been a healthy scratch the past eight games. Forward Mike Knuble also gets back in after sitting out Washington’s last two games. Knuble will replace Jeff Halpern.
               
Here’s a look at both teams’ lineups after warm-ups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brian Rolston
Gregory-Campbell - Chris Kelly - Jordan Caron
Lane MacDermid - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid
Mike Mottau

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

CAPITALS

Alexander Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Mike Knuble - Keith Aucoin - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Dmitry Orlov
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth



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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:05 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Julien likes MacDermid's toughness, hockey sense

BOSTON -- When a rookie scores his first NHL goal, a teammate usually retrieves the puck and at some point it's presented by that scorer's organization as a memento.

So what does one get for his first NHL fight?

"Nothing. Keep the gloves, maybe, I don't know," Lane MacDermid said today after the Bruins' optional morning skate in preparation for an evening matchup with divisional rival Buffalo at the TD Garden.

MacDermid should make his NHL home debut against the Sabres after skating on Boston's fourth line in both games on the Bruins' recent road trip to New York and Toronto. At Madison Square Garden, MacDermid -- a 150-plus-PIM guy in his first two pro seasons with Providence of the AHL -- needed little time to show what he could bring to the Bruins. On his first shift, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound MacDermid met the challenge of 6-5, 243-pound Mike Rupp in a spirited bout.

"He's a pretty big guy, so I just tried to hold my own and do my best," MacDermid said.

An injury to usual Boston fourth-line left winger Daniel Paille opened up the opportunity for MacDermid to be recalled during the regular season for the first time. He's averaged just 7:03 of ice time during his two games and hasn't recorded a point, but he hasn't been on the ice for a goal against either.

"Well, I think what I like about those kinds of guys is that they're pretty tough individuals, but they can play. I think that's always important," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think obviously he has some good genes [MacDermid's father, Paul, played in the NHL], and he obviously has some hockey sense. You watch him play -- he finishes his checks well, he plays a big, tough, grinding-type game. But he also plays a smart game. When it's time to back check or be the third man, he reads the play well. Certainly not a liability out there, and right now what I've appreciated of him as that he's come in and not played on his heels, he's just gone out there and plays hard and seems to have a lot of confidence."

MacDermid says that linemates Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton are so solid positionally that it makes it easy to play with them. He's also sticking to the basics in an effort to show the Bruins he belongs with the parent club.

"Down there [at Providence], I tried to maybe expand my game a little bit more and try to work on some things. But up here you don't want to make any mistakes, so you try to keep it simple and play your game," he said.




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I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday