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Posted On Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 12:27 PM

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

Bruins go back to Thomas in net

BOSTON – After giving backup goaltender Tuukka Rask consecutive starts this week for the first time this season, the Boston Bruins are going to turn back to Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas for a Northeast Division showdown Saturday with Buffalo at TD Garden.
   
Picking between the man who’s been the world’s best goaltender for more than a season and the club’s promising No. 2 has forced coach Claude Julien and his staff to strike a delicate balance.
   
“We do [have the world’s best goaltender] and he’s also 37 years old, he also played 111 games last year and all that stuff is taken into context,” Julien said. “We feel comfortable with Tuukka as well in net, that he’s a good goaltender and at the same time you want to make sure that your best goaltender remains your best goaltender by not over-utilizing him and we know as the season goes on we’re going to have to be relying on both of those guys. And we want him to be as fresh or as good as possible near the end of the year. It’s an 82-game schedule and we’re kind of gauging it that way, taking the fact that you’ve got 82 games, you’ve got two goaltenders, you have to do that once in a while. It’s just part of a plan.”
   
The Bruins held a full morning skate today with everyone except the injured Andrew Ference (lower body) on the ice. Ference is out for tonight and day-to-day with that injury.
   
Here is the projected lineup for Boston:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley/Zach Hamill
Benoit Pouliot - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Adam McQuaid - Steven Kampfer

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask   

Peverley has missed the last two games and will be a game-time decision with an undisclosed injury.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 1:22 PM

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

Nights off for Thomas, Khabibulin

BOSTON -- Those hoping for a goaltending matchup of last season's Vezina Trophy winner and this season's early front-runner for the award will be disappointed when the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers hit the ice tonight at TD Garden.

Neither Boston's Tim Thomas, who won his second Vezina in three seasons back in June, nor Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin, who leads the NHL with an 0.98 goals-against average and sits second with a .964 save percentage, is scheduled to get the nod for his respective team.

Instead, there will be a showdown of two of the better young goaltenders in the League.

Tuukka Rask was first off the ice for the Bruins after their morning skate, as was Devan Dubnyk for the Oilers. Edmonton coach Tom Renney later confirmed Dubnyk's starting role.

"Well, it's not difficult to be honest with you," Renney said about the decision. "We have to play back-to-back here, and it's one of those situations where 'Dube' has to play too. This is a big, strong team. I think this is tailor-made, quite honestly, for Devan to see this team and see their attack. His size and strength, it sort of lines up well for those circumstances. But this is the part of the schedule that we looked at in September and suggested to ourselves that at least we would have to make sure that they at least split."

Rask has not started consecutive games this season. He comes into the Oilers game fresh off his first win and carries a 2.00 GAA and .931 save percentage. Despite a 2-3-0 record, Dubnyk has been solid with a .930 save percentage and 2.19 GAA.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 1:18 PM

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

Projected lineups for Bruins, Oilers

Here are how the lineups could look tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden:

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

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Steven Kampfer is scheduled to be a healthy scratch. Daniel Paille is recovering from surgery to repair his broken nose. Zach Hamill has been called up from Providence on an emergency basis because of an injury to Peverley, who took the morning skate but will be a game-time decision.

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Eric Belanger - Sam Gagner
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Cam Barker - Theo Peckham
Corey Potter - Jeff Petry

Devan Dubnyk
Nikolai Khabibulin
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Posted On Monday, 11.07.2011 / 1:00 PM

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

Pouliot draws back into Boston's lineup

BOSTON -- Rich Peverley's injury should open up a lineup spot tonight for winger Benoit Pouliot, who has been out the last three games the Bruins played.

Peverley has been declared out with an undisclosed injury by coach Claude Julien for the Bruins' game against the New York Islanders at the TD Garden.

Pouliot, who projects to skate on a line with Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly, missed the Oct. 29 game in Montreal with an illness and has been a healthy scratch the last two games. He's still looking for his first point of the season and is minus-3 in eight games. Famously he's stated numerous times the adjustment to Boston's system has been a slow process.

"I think we've talked about it a lot," said Pouliot after the Bruins' morning skate. "It's just the little things. It's not much, but it's something that can affect your game or the whole team's game. So I can't really mess that up and just try to focus on one thing. We'll be all right."

Peverley's absence could open up even more time for Pouliot's projected linemate Caron. In addition to some more 5-on-5 time, Caron might have to add penalty-killing to his list of responsibilities.

The rookie forward has kept Pouliot out of the Boston lineup with his assertive play, including serving as a net-front presence during Boston's pivotal victory over Ottawa last week. While he has yet to show up on the score sheet this season, Caron has establishing his presence with physicality.

Playing with Kelly and Peverley has helped Caron gain confidence.

"I think they're both very good players and very patient with the puck. So I'm just trying to make room for them and skate and go to the net hard and doing the dirty stuff in the corners and stuff like that," he said. "They're smart players. And I'm just trying to do my job. That's what I did in junior, that's why they brought me here. And I'm not going to change my style, I'm just going to play the same way I always did."

Without Peverley, the test for Caron will be to take a larger role while continuing to do what’s made him successful. And for Pouliot tonight will be all about making it difficult for the Bruins to take him out of the lineup again once the forward corps is completely healthy.



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Posted On Monday, 11.07.2011 / 12:40 PM

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

Islanders turn back to Nabokov in net

BOSTON -- New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano plans tonight to stick with what earned his team a long-awaited two points Saturday night, except when it comes to his goaltending.

Capuano revealed that Evgeni Nabokov will start tonight and be backed up by Al Montoya. Rick DiPietro started the Isles' three previous games, including the slump-busting 5-3 win over Washington Saturday. The Isles had been 0-4-2 in their prior six games.

While Nabokov missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, Montoya has been healthy but inactive since Oct. 20. Of the six games over that span, Montoya didn't even dress for two.

Capuano said he's not worried about rust on Montoya.

"No, like I said earlier, I just concentrate day to day and Nabby will go tonight," the coach said. "Just like our team, whether it's the D or the forwards, it's a day-to-day process with our lineup."

The Islanders juggled their lines to start the Caps game, and it paid off with a rally from 2-0 down. While the lineup in front of the goaltender will stay the same, the Isles are hoping that translates into a similar performance and in turn a victory.

"It was big. It was against a pretty good hockey team that's playing really well," star forward John Tavares said about the Washington victory. "So it was definitely big for us. But we've got to learn how to bring that every night and have that consistency in being able to win victories likes that. And we haven't played too well on the road (0-2-1), so this is a good test for us tonight. It's time to move on and focus on what we have to do to be successful tonight and throughout the rest of the year. But it was definitely a good feeling though to get the confidence up and see the results."

Here is the Islanders' projected lineup:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Michael Grabner
Blake Comeau - Marty Reasoner - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Matt Martin - Josh Bailey - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Healthy scratch: Mike Mottau

Evgeni Nabokov in goal, Al Montoya to back up.


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Posted On Monday, 11.07.2011 / 12:08 PM

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

Peverley will miss Bruins' game with Islanders

BOSTON -- The Bruins are riding their first winning streak of the season into tonight's home date with the New York Islanders at the TD Garden.

But their lineup will look a little different against the Isles than it did in victories over Ottawa and Toronto.

Forward Rich Peverley, who played Saturday night in the rout of the Leafs despite missing practice the two days prior, will miss the Isles game, according to coach Claude Julien. Peverley also missed practice Sunday.

"It's a minor, undisclosed injury and he needs a few more days. … But it's not getting better. So we're allowing him to take a few more days," Julien said.

Tuukka Rask is scheduled to make the start in goal. He's winless through his first three starts with a respectable goals-against average of 2.71 and a save percentage of .906. His last start was Oct. 29 in Montreal, a stretch of two games.

"It's unfortunate that his record doesn't indicate the way he's played," Julien said about Rask. "But for the most part, we've failed in front of him. Everybody knows that that's seen the games, that we haven't given him much help and we haven't played that well in front of him either. So he's got an opportunity tonight to win his first game, and it's up to all of us, him included, to be solid and the rest of the team to continue to play the way we have lately."

Here is the Bruins' projected lineup:

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

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Healthy scratch: Steven Kampfer

Tuukka Rask in goal, Tim Thomas the backup.

 


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 6:42 PM

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

Thomas to start for Bruins

BOSTON -- Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is back in net on Tuesday after not starting in Montreal on Saturday night. He will be opposed by Ottawa veteran Craig Anderson, who like Thomas, was rested by his team in its last game -- a 3-2  home win against Toronto on Sunday.

Thomas brings a 3-4-0 record with 2.14 goals-against average and .929 save percentage into the Bruins-Senators game at TD Garden. Anderson has a 6-2-0 record wit a 3.66 GAA and .881 save percentage for the surprising Sens.
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 1:32 PM

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

Senators say they won't overlook Stanley Cup champs

BOSTON -- Although they're riding a six-game winning streak into tonight's game against the Bruins at TD Garden, the Ottawa Senators know this might be their stiffest test yet.

Of their six victories, only one came against a team that qualified for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. And the 7-5-0 Senators this season are just 1-3-0 against last spring's playoff participants.

So Ottawa isn't looking at tonight's game as if it's against a 3-7-0 also-ran.

"It's a benchmark game for sure," said center Jason Spezza after his team's morning skate. "They're, we think, one of the best teams in the East. I don't care what the standings say, they're Stanley Cup champions and have some great players and three deep lines and six real good defensemen and one of the best goalies in the League. So this isn't a team you take lightly. This is an arena that's hard to come in to play in. They clog things up and make it hard on you. And for us we just have to make sure we're on the top of our game tonight or else, they'll make it a long night for you."

Coach Paul MacLean is confident his team is aware of the challenge ahead.

"We shouldn't have to remind them of that because we are playing the Stanley Cup champs and as soon as you walk into the building or you look at anything, the press notes and the banners, it all says Stanley Cup champions, and that's very well deserved," MacLean said. "No matter what their record is, they're still the Stanley Cup champions and we know we're going to get a good game. We know that we have to be at our best to have an opportunity to win this game."

With Kaspars Daugavins re-assigned to the Binghamton (AHL) farm club after Sunday's win at Toronto, Erik Condra skated in his place on the third line during the morning skate. Zenon Konopka should dress and skate on the fourth line after he was a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs.

Here's the Senators' projected lineup:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Stephane Da Costa - Bobby Butler
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Nikita Filatov

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad

Craig Anderson was given the night off in Toronto, so he figures to be back between the pipes. He had played in the prior six Senators games.


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 1:28 PM

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

Bruins searching for the right combos on defense

BOSTON -- At the start of Saturday night's loss at Montreal, the Bruins made their first major shake-up of their defensive pairs since the start of the season.

By the end of the game, coach Claude Julien and his staff had jumbled the Bruins' blueliners again.

Zdeno Chara started out the night playing with Dennis Seidenberg, but finished next to Joe Corvo. Corvo had begun the night with Adam McQuaid, who was paired with Andrew Ference for most of the second half. Johnny Boychuk went from playing with Ference to skating next to Seidenberg from the second period on.

Such is life on a 3-7-0 team that's searching for any type of spark to turn its season around.

"It kind of gives you a sense that maybe they're still trying to search for the right combination," Corvo said after Boston's optional morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for tonight's game against Ottawa. "And also, it kind of gives you a sense that maybe they're not that happy with the pairings or they don't feel like they're the right situations for guys. I would say until things start to go well, we put some wins together and some guys have played with the same guys, then you'll see more solidified pairings."

The Bruins went awhile last season without set pairs. And when they needed to turn things around in the playoffs, they made one switch (led by the pairing of Chara and Seidenberg), which they stuck with until they hoisted the Stanley Cup.

Boychuk says it's a conquerable challenge dealing with changed-up pairs.

"Everybody's just playing with everybody. It hasn't been too bad, chemistry-wise," he said. "We know that we can play with each other. You just make sure, who you're playing with … if you're playing with different guys, different guys have different tendencies and you've just to make sure you remember who you're playing with."

Only a few Bruins skated this morning, but here's what their lineup should look like:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Joe Corvo
Dennis Seidenberg - Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas should get the start after Tuukka Rask played Saturday night in Montreal.

 
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 7:08 PM

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

Thomas to start in goal for Bruins

BOSTON -- Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas led his team onto the ice for pregame warmups at TD Garden, indicating he will be the starting goaltender against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

This will be Thomas' third straight start. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 3-3-0 with a 2.16 goals-against average this season.

Carey Price, a winner last night at home against Philadelphia, gets the start as expected for the Canadiens.
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