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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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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 1:01 PM

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

Pouliot looks forward to facing Canadiens

BOSTON – Forward Benoit Pouliot’s only three-point game of the 2010-11 season while he was with Montreal was against his former team, the Minnesota Wild.

So maybe Thursday night against the Canadiens will be the game Pouliot breaks out as a member of the Boston Bruins.

“I think everyone would agree with that,” said Pouliot when asked about the having extra motivation against a former team after the Bruins’ morning skate at TD Garden. “You face your old team, you obviously want to prove ‘Hey, you didn’t want to keep me, I’ll show you.’ But … it pumps you up even more, I think. Obviously it’s going to be my first game against Montreal, we have plenty of them all year long, so I see this as just a little boost at the same time. Just play the same way I’ve been playing and rack up the points.”

Unfortunately for Pouliot and the Bruins, the way he’s been playing hasn’t led to racking up points. He has yet to hit the score sheet in any form through eight games in black and gold. Assuming he’s in the lineup Thursday night, he’ll skate next to center David Krejci and right winger Nathan Horton.

Despite the lack of production, Pouliot, the No. 4 pick by Minnesota in 2005, says that Boston has been a better fit for him than Montreal.

“It’s just a matter of knowing what you do right or wrong, not hiding it – let the guy know and he’ll work on it,” said Pouliot while obviously comparing Bruins head coach Claude Julien to Montreal coach Jacques Martin. “And it’s something that Claude’s been good to me so far. He’s been talking to me. The assistant coaches talk to me all the time, video and stuff. For me personally, I just have to show up and work hard, be consistent every night. And I think in practice and in games, so far things have been going well. Maybe not the points, but everything else for me was to work hard, so it’s good so far. We’ve just got to start winning games and things will be OK.”



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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 12:34 PM

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

Pacioretty faces Bruins for first time since injury

BOSTON -- After beating Philadelphia, 5-1, last night in Montreal, the Canadiens did not hold a morning skate in preparation for their evening matchup with the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden.

Health permitting, this will be the first time Montreal forward Max Pacioretty and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara have been on the ice together since the incident last March, when Chara hit Pacioretty into the stanchion between the benches at the Bell Centre. Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebrae and concussion, but has recovered and now leads the Canadiens with 9 points (4 goals). He scored twice against the Flyers.

After practice Wednesday, Chara responded to a question about being on the ice with Pacioretty by just saying "I'm looking forward to playing the game."

Pacioretty's early-season success means the Bruins will have to keep an eye on him for the right reasons.

"I can tell you honestly, the one thing we're happy about -- and that would be for anybody else -- is that he's healthy," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "As a player in the League, you don't want to see somebody end his career on an unfortunate accident. But what you want to see is a player come back and be healthy. As far as that's concerned, he's healthy, we've turned the page and now it's time to move on."

Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot was on the other side last season when the Chara hit on Pacioretty occurred. He doesn't expect anything extracurricular to unfold tonight.

"I'm sure Z, it's not something he wanted to do, obviously. It was a vulnerable position for 'Patch' and he got hurt. It's unfortunate that that happened, but I think it's in the past and we didn't really talk about it," Pouliot said. "I don't think it's something that … maybe the fans and them are anticipating something, but we're just playing our game. Big Z is Big Z; he's been awesome. So I don't think it's going to be a big deal."

Here are the lines and D pairs that finished the victory over the Flyers last night and are expected to face the Bruins:

Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Michael Cammalleri - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Travis Moen - Lars Eller - Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Mike Blunden

Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Yannick Weber - Jaroslav Spacek

Carey Price is expected to start in goal.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 12:22 PM

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

Peverley, Horton could swap spots on Bruins' lines

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins, who went through a major shake-up of their top three forward lines last week, should have a slight tweak to that alignment tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

During their morning skate, the Bruins went with the same alignment coach Claude Julien used in practice Wednesday, with Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton swapping their right-wing spots. So here's what the lineup would look like:

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

In five games this season, Krejci has just one point (a goal). Horton has posted 2-2-4 totals in eight games, so there's hope that reuniting the center and the winger who clicked so well last season will get both going. The onus might be on Krejci, the playmaker, to get Horton going. But Krejci looks at it as more a mutually beneficial situation.

"Right now, I'm not going the way I want myself," said Krejci, who's only three games into his return from a core injury. "So it's good to have him on my line because we've done it before. Once one guy was down, the other guy helped him out. So hopefully we can build each other up and get back to our form."

On defense, Adam McQuaid has been cleared to play for the first time since suffering a neck injury in Carolina on Oct. 12. Julien said he would most likely play, which would make Steven Kampfer a healthy scratch. While Kampfer was hurt, fellow second-year pro Matt Bartkowski was holding down that sixth defense spot.

"Obviously his experience, when you compare him to the other two guys," said Julien about what McQuaid brings to the table. "He's a very physical player, great at winning battles in the corners. And when he's on top of his game, he makes a good first pass, keeps his game simple but very effective. And that's what Adam's brought to this team and that's why Adam was a big part of us winning last year because he brought that night in and night out."

Here's what the D pairs would look like :

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

While Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, the Bruins as a team exited after the morning skate in a single file all at once. So we won't know if the Bruins are going with Rask or Tim Thomas until the pregame warm-up. Based on the current pattern, it would be Rask's turn because he has played every third game so far.



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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:26 PM

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

Boston’s McQuaid skates, return uncertain

BOSTON – When he crashed into the end boards in Chicago a week ago, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid could not imagine what was in store for him.
   
Although he appeared to avoid a concussion, doctors haven't been able to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with him, so McQuaid's injury has been treated like a concussion. For the most part, it's been classified as a neck injury.

He started practicing with the team early in the week, but was then pulled out for a couple days.
   
The optional skate at TD Garden this morning in preparation for the Bruins' game with the San Jose Sharks was his second straight day back on the ice.
   
"I'm actually feeling really good. So it's been a bit of a process to get back to where I'm at right now. I'm feeling good and we'll see from here, I'm not really sure for tonight or anything like that," said McQuaid after he stayed on the ice a little longer than the rest of his teammates.
   
Coach Claude Julien said that McQuaid's status was still up in the air as of this morning. Once McQuaid gets medical clearance, the coach can then reconsider inserting him back in the lineup.

For now, second-year defenseman Steven Kampfer is filling that spot as the team's No. 6 defenseman. And McQuaid's frustrating start to the season, which started with an illness that scratched him from the Bruins' first game, continues.

"That's the thing that there's been a few different things – being sick before this – so we're not really sure what's causing what, so we had to rule out different things," said McQuaid about the frustration. "So that's probably slowed things down a little bit as far as not knowing it's this so we can treat exactly this. But I'm feeling good now and moving forward."
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Quote of the Day

The last time I did it was 1994 and surprise, 20 years later it’s still working. I don’t do it very much, though. I don’t think I had it. I’m kind of surprised. It was probably because I went to church before the game.

Panthers veteran forward Jaromir Jagr on the move that produced his second goal in a 4-2 victory against the Senators on Sunday
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