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Bruins vs. Blues, 8:00 NESN

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
What do you do when you’re not sure what to write?

Well, if you are I, and you live, die and work by the B’s, and you are looking for the positives in a loss, you analyze the stats:

The Bruins are tied for fourth in the Northeast Division standings with 2 points, the same as the Ottawa Senators. Boston has yet to play against any division opponents. Defenseman Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins in assists (3) and points (5). Wayne Primeau leads the team in goals with 2. Andrew Alberts is tops in plus/minus (+2) and penalty minutes (8). The Bruins are running at 10.5% on the power play and 68% on the PK. The Bruins have played 3 games total, all on the road.

Wait a minute, there we go, we’ve found our old friend -- HOPE!

a.) The Bruins have only played 3 games.

b.) And all of the games they have played have been on the road.

Ok, I can breathe a little easier.

Can’t you?

Okay for the pessimists among you, maybe not, but it is too early in the season to panic and I certainly look forward to seeing how the Bruins rebound this evening. And hopefully, Boston will learn from these early setbacks and put that knowledge to good use at crunch time.

Scary moment in practice
Most seriously though, I think the hockey situation I was most concerned with yesterday was Hannu Toivonen being hit in the throat area, just under his goalie mask.

Word filtered back to us pretty late here at the Garden, and then, when I saw the video from NESN, I was very upset.

In the television clip, Toivo’s lips looked blue immediately following the accident and I was thankful when he eventually looked better, regained his composure and looked to continue practice. I was also truly thankful that Hannu decided to wear the Patrick Roy-esque clear style hang down neck guard to start the game.

Far from being the cause of the loss, early on, Hannu actually went save-for-save with Kari Lehtonen, who leads the world in all goaltending categories. In fact, Toivonen seemed fine throughout the game and was certainly the least of the Bruins on ice issues.

Hannu looked healthy after the game.

"Of course you want to beat the other guy," said Toivonen who had 24 saves versus Atlanta. "That’s for sure…Unfortunately I wasn’t able to beat [Lehtonen, who had 22 saves] today, but I’m just going to move on."

Practice makes perfect
Admittedly, and as far as last night’s second and third period go, they have some things to work on.

The B’s did exactly what many of the guys said they did in the opening night loss to the Florida Panthers -- they tried to do too much, scrambled around and forgot about their team-oriented defense based system.

"I think that’s right," said P.J. Axelsson. "I think we got on our heels and they took over the game. I think we tried to do too much. We lost a lot of pucks in the neutral zone."

"We’re trying to make the homerun play. And that is not always the right play."

"You can always play things better," said Toivonen. "You gotta go on. You’ve got to improve."

Obviously, beyond steady goaltending and righting their defensive ship, the Bruins need one of their top forwards to break out and relieve Big "Z" of his lead in the team’s point standings.

But even more importantly, according to their leaders, they need to learn to play each shift as a team.

"We have to play better as a team to win hockey games," said Patrice Bergeron, succinctly.

We are not a team yet," Bruins coach Dave Lewis said on "We have to grow together. We have to identify what’s important to be successful."

In the Barrel
Who’s in goal for the Bruins this evening? Your guess is as good as mine. No word as of yet.

Looking toward tonight
The St. Louis Blues have not won a game thus far and will look to change their own luck versus Our Boys.

Thursday’s game versus Boston is their first home game.

Forward Dan Hinote leads the Blues with a 1-1-2 line, while Curtis Sanford (1g, 0-1-0, 2.31 GAA, .941 sv%) and Manny Legace (2g, 0-1-1, 4.46, .862) have shared the burden in goal.

St. Louis is in 4th place in the Central Division standings.

Old friend Bill Guerin and fellow Massachusetts native Keith Tkachuk will look to add to their three and two points, respectively, tonight against the team they grew up admiring.

Defenseman Barret Jackman is day-to-day with a sore left knee, whiled defensemen Jay McKee (knee) and Christian Backman (Shoulder) are on injured reserve.

Quotes from the Coach…
"Oh we had some good chances. We had chances where we could have taken control of the game a lot better than we did. We didn’t get the puck behind the goaltender [Lehtonen] and subsequently they got some chances, and they took the lead to control the game…I thought they had more patience than we did, particularly in the second period. In the first period I think we had a lot of patience. We came out strong. We had some chances and were able to create some shorthanded; a couple of powerplay chances [too]. We fell behind…tied it up, but lost some of our patience. Took an offensive zone penalty that resulted in…the game-winning goal. You can’t do that."
Head Coach, Dave Lewis, post game

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