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Bear Essentials: Game Day @ NY Islanders

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Let's start with some stuff from last night...

Friday, November 23, 2007Bruins Post Game Quotes:  Bruins vs. Islanders

Goaltender Tim Thomas
On close games this season…
Every game has been tight.  That is just the way this league is.  A lot of closely matched teams. It’s a reality that you have to come out on top in these games.

On experience in close games…
A lot of one goal games this year.  When they made it two to one we didn’t panic.  We didn’t say oh no here we go again.  We approached it as no big deal, and we won.

On penalty kill…
Tonight we did a great job penalty killing.  I don’t think they got a shot off on the five on three for a 1:40 seconds.  And then with 2:00 minutes left we took a penalty.  We did a good job penalty killing, we really stepped up. That’s what goes into winning.

On stopping Islanders scoring chance…
I found the puck just before Comrie took the first shot.  Then he tried to push everything in.  Fortunately I was able to find it.  One of my D’s yelled up.  It reminded me too much of that one a couple games ago that came off the top of the net, so I was really searching for it.  Good communication by my D.

Forward Glen Murray
On gelling with teammates…
I think we compliment each other pretty good.  Savvy [Mark Savard] likes to make those passes.  He is good at holding onto the puck.  I just have to try to give him the puck and get open. Now the puck just seems to keep finding the holes.

On getting offense going…
I’d be lying to you if I said you didn’t want to be helping out the team. Pressing a little bit.  It’s a lot about having confidence too.  You feel lighter out there.  Just try to go out there and play hockey.  You can’t play hockey when you are tight. If you’re loose your playing as good as you’re supposed to be.

On helping the team…
I want to help this team.  That is part of my job to go out there and score some goals and win some games.  Obviously I want to do that.  Hopefully we can keep pouring it on going into Christmas break. Get up there in the standings. 

Forward Glen Metropolit
On his goal…
I was just trying to get the puck to the net and hopefully beat him. It was a good feeling. It was a great play. I was supporting Schaefer at center, kind of a two on one.  He was driving to the net and I figured I would just shoot it at the net.

On getting a win on Long Island…
We just have to keep on playing the game we played tonight.  We may have been a bit sluggish in the first period, but the second and third I thought we played our game.  We got in deep and created some things off cycles. That is our game.  That’s what we have established.

On Glen Murray…
Muzz [Glen Murray] is great. He has been working hard in practice.  He is shooting every puck. It’s finally paying off for him.  He is starting to score for us. We know what we have in him; he’s great and will be there everything night for us.

Defenseman Aaron Ward
On playing Islanders again in 36 hours…
I love it; we can spend that much time doing video.  They are fresh in our mind. They are a team that is similar to many teams that’s we play.  I’m sure in the other locker room they have got to be thinking there’s not a whole lot to get ready for.  It’s just playing the game out.

On playing Islanders on Long Island…
I think the face of the game change because we are changing venues.  We are going to be on Long Island.  Not as familiar with their boards and their glass. The ice is different, and the fans are not on our side.  These guys are pretty potent.  They can run the score up pretty quick.  You have to be awake of where you are and where your man is.  There is always a comfortable feeling when you are playing at home. You know as a player it is going to happen there for them.

On Glen Murray…
As a veteran, you want to see your young guys step up and be an added bonus to your club.  A little cherry on the top of a Sunday. When you have a veteran struggling you are cheering for him. Especially being a Veteran, I know what it is like to struggle. He has experienced success.  It’s like the Kanye West song; “whatever kills you only makes you stronger.” He is on a roll right now.  Savy is finding him.  He is in the right spot at the right time.

Head Coach Claude Julien
On the team building confidence after surviving five-on-three…
It was huge. We’re in a tight game as it is and I think that our team played a pretty good game. With a 1-0 lead we came out a bit strong and unfortunately got ourselves in a bit of a mess with those penalties, but our guys did a great job. They were determined. They were intense. It was a good penalty kill and our whole team certainly could use that boost.

On the importance of getting Glen Murray into the scoring flow…

He showed his importance tonight, and not just scoring goals. All along the one thing we liked about him was that he was working his way through it and bringing other things to the table. He was strong in the defensive zone. He was back checking hard. I see him playing some of this best two-way hockey. It’s nice to see him rewarded with some goals. He certainly deserves it.

On getting Murray scoring chances…
At one point they were getting him the puck, but confidence plays a part. When you start second guessing yourself, and when you start pressing, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the league for a year or 15 years, we all go through it. What I liked about him is that he battled through it. I think he is finding his game. We saw it coming a few weeks ago.

On Murray being expected to score goals…
We certainly want him to continue to keep scoring. That’s what he is here for. It’s the thing that we expect out of him. But at the same time when it doesn’t happen and he gives us a solid effort, you can live with those things, too. No doubt we both want the same thing, him and us, and that’s for him to produce for us.

On the team’s 5-on-5 play…
I thought the 5-on-5 play was good. We had some good scoring chances. Even in the third period I see our team getting stronger against the boards and in the cycling game, creating some scoring chances, getting the puck to the point. That part of the game is getting better. Five on five I thought we at least slowed this team down, because they like to attack and I didn’t see them get a lot of room to create plays in the neutral zone.

On taking Milan Lucic out of the game…
First of all, he got a hit to the head. We evaluated him on the bench. He was fine. Everything was good. He went out there and actually had a real good shift. When we got back to the dressing room we felt it was safer to give him a chance to get evaluated. This is a young player who has a bright future ahead of him. By no means will we take a chance. We may have been wrong for pulling him out, but it’s a decision we made for the right reasons.

On Lucic traveling with the team to New York…
He won’t be on the flight tonight because he’s going to be reevaluated. If everything is fine then he will join us tomorrow. We’ll know more in the next little while here.

On Tim Thomas’ performance…
I don’t want to use the term better because I think he has been extremely good from the start. Tim’s performance has been consistent this year. Part of it is him being in control of the shots, and part of it is that the guys are doing better in front of him which allows him to sort things out a lot better. You saw what happened when he didn’t get a chance to sort things out very well in Montreal and what ends up happening. All of a sudden you’re caught guessing and jumping around which I think is certainly not the way that Tim wants to play this year. He’s been good from day one and he keeps showing us that he’s consistent.

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Post Game Notes
Friday, November 23 vs. NY Islanders

Milestones Reached
· Marco Sturm played his 700th NHL game today.
· Glen Metropolit played his 200th NHL game today.

Who’s Hot
· Marco Sturm assisted on the game’s first goal today, extending his point streak to six games (4-3-7 totals).
· Marc Savard also assisted on the game’s first goal today, extending his assist/point streak to five games (1-7-8 totals).
· Glen Murray extended his point streak to four games (3-3-6 totals) with a power play goal in the second period.
· Glen Metropolit scored today to give him points in two straight games (1-1-2 totals).
· Peter Schaefer had an assist today for the second straight game (0-2-2 totals) and he now has 2-3-5 totals in three of his last four games.

Tim Thomas
· Tim Thomas allowed just one goal tonight for the sixth time in his 15 games this season and the 12th time overall he has allowed two goals or fewer. He has a 6-0-1 record in games in which he allows just one goal and is 7-3-2 in games when allowing two goals or less.

2-1 Finishes
· The Bruins won today’s game in a 2-1 decision, their eighth game this season decided by that score (3-3-2 record).

Home and Road Stretch
· The Bruins today played the only home game of a stretch that sees them play eight of nine games on the road (2-1-0 thus far). They will face 11 of 13 overall on the road from Nov. 17-Dec. 12 with their other home game in that span Dec. 6 vs. Montreal.

First Goal of Game
· The Bruins scored the first goal of the game with a Glen Murray power play goal at 17:23 of the second period. It was the 13th time in 19 games this season (no first goal in the 1-0 shootout win over NY Rangers on Oct. 20) that the Bruins have scored first.
· They now have a 9-2-2 record in games in which they scored first.

Early Afternoon Update...
Nothing to note sent from practice as of yet...wondering if Vladimir Sobotka will find his way into the lineup tonight.

Keep it here -- I will certainly pass everything along when it and if it happens...

2:10 p.m.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe reports that there was no morning skate:

"No morning skate today on the chilly Island, so no immediate word on who will start in goal or whether Milan Lucic will be available tonight.

If Lucic, dinged by Bryan Berard last night, does not dress, Vladimir Sobotka will make his NHL debut, most likely centering Jeremy Reich and Petteri Nokelainen on the fourth line.

Sobotka has seven goals and seven assists in 15 games for Providence, skating on the top line with Pascal Pelletier and Martins Karsums."

Thanks Fluto...
I have an e-mail into the team in New York and await word on starters, etc. JB

6:09 p.m.
It looks like Timmy and Vladie are going tonight...

7:06 p.m.
According to NESN & The Boston Globe tonight's lines should look like:

Chara-Ward (sg) Thomas
Alberts-Wideman (bg) Rask
Stuart-Hunwick-Go Bruins!

Heading over to the Running Recap...

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