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Day Trip: Bruins @ Capitals

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.
Kess and Patrice score. Ovechkin scores the lone Washington tally in the SO.

Manny closes the door. Boston wins 5-4!
0:00 - Wow. We are going to a shootout.

18.0 - Best save of the preseason. Theodore robs Kessel, lying down, in the crease.

3:59 - OT is four-on-four and Boston has kept the puck in the Wash end for most of the extra session. But Theodore has already made three saves.

5:00 - Beginning of OT.
0:00 - This defensive struggle is going to OT. The B's lead in shots, 37-24.

10.4 - A great play by Lucic sends the Bruins up the ice, he dishes to Wideman who puts it on Theo. Nothing. Looks like OT, to me.

5:38 - Savard and Fleischmann in the box. Four-on-four hockey. Just what we need! Yuck.

6:14 - Caps score. Ugh. We think it is Bourque from Alzner. It looks like Alzner shot the puck from beyond the circles and Bourque tipped it home. 4-4.

6:56 - Boston scores! I totally missed this one, as I was typing the previous. It's 4-3. Waiting for the replay. Kobasew gets the goal, Wheeler has an assist.

7:22 - Caps score. Green with a shot through traffic, beats Fernandez, and ties the game. 3-3.

9:19 - We're back in business. Bruins score. 3-2, Boston. David Krejci gets the goal!

10:45 - Fehr in the box for Was. Another Bruins power play.

14:54 - Fedorov off for Tripping. Boston on the power play.

17:59 - Theodore stopped Bergy and Savvy in succession to keep the game knotted at 2 all.

19:25 - Semin in the box for hooking. Boston PP.

19:59 - Boston wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Beginning of the Third Period.
0:00 - The B's had 14 shots on goal in the period, and carried much of the play. Unfortunately, one lapse put the Caps right back in the game.

1:04 - Ovechkin. He was left alone to Fernandez's right and buried a feed from Semin, who had intercepted the puck from a Bruins defenseman who had lost an edge. 2-2.

2:02 - Another pair of saves by Manny, who stopped the initial shot on a breakaway, then recovered to kick away the shot on the rebound.

5:25 - Two outstanding stops for Fernandez on Alexander Semin. Semin was parked just outside of the crease and Manny picked off the first one and was in good position to be hit by the second.

6:03 - Theo is having a good game. The Bruins are now leading in shots, 17-12, and Jose has had to be very strong this period.

6:28 - Good PK by Boston.

10:06 - Uh oh. Wheeler in the box. Holding. B's don't want to let these guys back in the game.

12:18 - A much better period for Boston, thus far. Thornton, in particular, has been really strong.

16:53 - Goal Boston. A turn around shot by Shawn Thornton beats Theo. 2-1, Boston. Lucic (who is having a decent game, too) and Chara have the assists.

17:27 - Wheeler is having another good game. Strong on the puck. Alert. Nice passes. Very good.

19:07 - Boston looks as if they are playing with a little more fire and have created at least two scoring opportunities. But both goalies have had to be sharp. Boston is up to 11 shots and Wash has put Manny to the test, already.

20:00 - Beginning of Second Period. The B's need to create some momentum.
0:00 - The B's should be very happy with the tied score as they seemed, at least early, to have left their legs on the bus. The end of the period was much better and, thanks to Wheels and Krejci, Boston is in good position for the second.

36.0 - Luch just ran over Mike Green. Thornton follows up with a shot on Theo, who snares it with his glove.

1:47 - The two teams are trading scoring opportunities now, but both goalies have settled in. It's now 7-6 Caps for shots.

5:30 - Boston Scores! Krejci from Wheeler. Wheeler dug the puck out off the sideboards to a waiting Krech, who put it by Theodore. 1-1.

5:57 - Not too much to report. The shots remain at 5-3 and play has bogged down.

10:51 - Ovechkin makes himself known skating into the zone, and firing a wrist shot on Fernandez. Washington leads in shots, 5-3.

14:36 - Milan Lucic slams Milan Jurcina behind the Washington net.

17:59 - Capitals score. A shot from Jurcina from the point hits Fernandez, but bounces to his right. Chris Clark grabs it and dunks it behind the Bruins goalie. 1-0, Wash.

18:42 - Ryder in the box for a hook. I did not see that.

19:14 - First shot for Boston, by Chara, hits Theodore square and he pounces on it.

19:29 - Early penalty. Fedorov off for holding.

19:59 - Boston wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Beginning of the First Period. Ovechkin is playing.

Boston starters 6, 33, 16, 81, 37, 35.

Let's switch to time on the clock...

4:43 p.m.

The Bruins line...
Sturm - Bergeron - Kessel
Schaefer - Savard - Ryder
Wheeler - Krejci - Kobasew
Lucic - Yelle - Thornton
Chara - Wideman
Stuart - Ference
Alberts - Hnidy

It looks like Theodore is in goal for Wash.

4:03 p.m.
Before the trip, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien addressed the media at Wilmington.

“We’ve still go the same number of guys,” said Julien of the Bruins roster situtation. “As I mentioned yesterday…I didn’t think we would get anything done (overnight).

“We don’t start until Thursday, so there is a lot of juggling and decisions to be made here so we are going to use this game, again, as another evaluation tool…and hopefully clarify some things.”

That thought process predicts that the B’s may not know their opening night roster until much closer to opening night.

“I (don’t) think we can help that with the situation that we are in,” said Julien. “And if you were asking my opinion I think that is probably what is going to happen.”

The Bruins bench boss is not overly worried about the club’s record during the exhibition schedule.

“I think there is definitely a fatigue factor here,” admitted Julien. “Our team didn’t get lazy overnight, so that’s why I said, ‘Let’s not read too much into it.’

“You know, we were a (hard) working team last year, we’re working hard (this year) at practice.

“I think it’s just that we’re kind of getting tired here and we can used these next few days to catch our second wind,” he said.

In between some R&R – the Bruins are off tomorrow – stand the Washington Capitals. So the Bruins will have to bring whatever energy reserves they have into play this afternoon.

“The bottom line is that you want the guys to give the most that they’ve got. But again, I know what’s going on and you have to take a little bit of that into consideration before you start hammering away at your decisions,” said the Coach.

Despite their best efforts the decision making process for the Boston Brass remains, at best, a difficult exercise.

“It’s about trying to make the best fit,” said Julien. “And part of it is what makes (the team) good now, and part of it is projection.

“There are a lot of young guys and last year we had a lot of young guys in the lineup and (if) you looked at Lucic at the beginning of the year -- Lucic at the end of the year was a totally different player.

“So you also have to take that into consideration sometimes. He went from a five to six minute a game player to a 17 to 18 minute a game player at the end of the year...sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t and there’s calculated gambles in hockey that you have to make and you hope it works out,”

Julien remains unworried about the outcome.

“The main thing here with our organization is that our first criteria is continuing to put the best possible (players) on the ice,” he said. “We have to make it work.

“So it’s not about (us) not having as good a team because we have to stay under the cap. I think it’s ‘make it work.’

“We need to make it work, that’s the number one thing,” said Julien.

As far as the competition for spots, Julien remains excited about what he’s seen.

“I think it really is good to see guys pushing other guys,” said Coach. “I’ve never seen that be a negative situation. It’s always been a positive thing, because it pushes guys to be better and (intersquad) competition is a great thing to have.

“So I don’t mind that at all. The only thing that becomes tough is the final decision, but that’s the only tough thing and we’ll deal with that.”

3:38 p.m.
The Bruins are in DC getting ready for their tilt with the Caps at 5:00 p.m. WBZ News Radio is broadcasting the game.

The lineup for today is:
Wideman, Kobasew, Sturm, Lucic, Yelle, Ference, Thornton, Schaefer, Thomas, Chara, Hnidy, Fernandez, Begeron, Alberts, Wheeler, Stuart, Krejci, Ryder, Kessel and Savard.

Fernandez is expected to get the start in goal.

Morning update...

Game Notes Printable Version
 View or download a printable version of this release. (PDF)
Only a few Bruins are on the ice at the moment, but I am guessing that this might be it as the rest of the club has a plane to catch. I'll see if I can get some info on the lineup, etc., but until then here are some quotes from last night. JB

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien draws out a drill for his players during practice in Boston Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
On Tim Thomas
Tonight was his best game so far in the preseason, so it’s encouraging for us because this is what I’ve called a position of strength for us.  We’ve got both goaltenders the last couple of games.  Manny [Fernandez] in Montreal and Tim tonight have been extremely good, so hopefully that’s going to help us win some hockey games.

On whether or not he feels the team’s focus level is season-ready…
Again, you never want to get too far ahead of yourself and you don’t want to overreact, but tonight was probably a good example of that.  Honestly, when you spend the whole third period in the penalty box, it’s really hard to get that momentum going. The other team gets it and then it seems like you’re behind the eight ball the whole rest of the time.  Also, it looks like we’re getting outworked, which was happening.  We got outworked for the better part of the game tonight.  Again, exhibition game where I think there are a whole lot of things going on right now that doesn’t make it easy for the players either.  Let’s put ourselves in our players’ shoes right now and looking around and seeing what’s happening, there’s a situation there for a lot of uncertainty for certain players right now until they make those decisions, so I think a part of that comes into play as well.

On using Blake Wheeler at left wing…
This was the second game that we’ve put him on the left side.  I think what we’re trying to do here is to see if he can play both sides.  We’re experimenting with him.  You have a look at our right side and it’s fairly deep.  You look at [Phil] Kessel, [Michael] Ryder, [Chuck] Kobasew, [Shawn] Thornton, [Petteri] Nokelainen.  Not saying he won’t be on the right side, but I think what we’re trying to see is how well he fits on the left.  There are other guys that can play that position as well, so, those guys we know.  Him we don’t know as much so we try to experiment with that, and I think if you look at our game tonight, he was probably one of our best forwards again even if he played on the left.

On talking to Scott Gordon about his new position…
I didn’t talk to him tonight, but I did talk to him as soon as he got the job, and before he got the job obviously.  We don’t go back to just boss and Providence coach: we were ex-teammates.  I made sure that I contacted him.  I shared my experiences as a first-year coach in the league and what I went through.  I was hoping to share some of that which maybe can help him, but I’m happy for him, because he’s one of those guys that’s really worked hard.  As the old saying goes, he’s “paid his dues,” and he’s being rewarded for it.  He’s going to make that team a competitive team.

On how Saturday's game affected his decisions about final roster spots…
This is going to be a group decision because there’s more than just the hockey part of it involved and all the other issues: the cap, the waivers, the non-waivers.  Everything comes into play.  The decision is going to be made by our whole group.

On when he predicts roster decisions will be made…
The moves are not necessarily made by me, nor are the timing of making those decisions, but right now, I expect the same group of players to be in Wilmington tomorrow morning, so that answers your question.  It should be that nothing should be done from here until tomorrow.

Bruins Defenseman Zdeno Chara
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara address an audience during the NHL hockey team's "State of the Bruins Town Hall Meeting," at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. The meeting is an annual event open to Bruins season-ticket holders. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
On Saturday’s game…
Yeah, it was good, but we have to be better. We have one more game to go but we have to look at it as almost like ‘that’s the game.’ We have to approach the games with a little bit more focus and determination. We’re getting better, but sometimes in the span of 60 minutes we always lose some kind of focus in the middle of the game, or beginning of the game or at the end of the game. We need to get 60 minutes together.

On maintaining intensity on the ice…
You know sometimes you do the things like running into penalty trouble. That’s a great example. You take care of a number of penalties in a row and then you end up using penalty kills more than the other guys, the other guys sitting on the bench that may be losing a little bit of momentum. Obviously guys that are killing penalties are getting a little bit tired, so the best way is to stay out of the box and keep the flow going, short shifts, everybody doing their jobs. That’s just one example. It doesn’t matter if you play five minutes or 30 minutes, you have to stay focused the whole game. That’s your job. Once you put the uniform on, that’s your job. That’s the thing you have to realize. That’s your time to perform.

On Tim Thomas’ performance in goal…
He played well, really well. He kept us in the game, especially in the first period. We only had a few shots, and they had a lot of shots and he was playing well. In the second we picked it up and we had control of the game more and we had more shots. After the first period into the second, we ended up almost even after two periods. But he played strong.

Bruins Forward Milan Lucic
On his own play…
I’m feeling better. I feel like I’m getting a little bit better every game, and I think that’s the way it’s going to be for a bit more. I go out there and work hard. Tomorrow’s another big day, if I’m playing, if I’m not, I still have to work hard and get in a few more practices and try to get back up to speed come Thursday.

On being physical on the ice…
I think that comes to what Zee (Zdeno Chara) says, you have to turn that switch on. You have to get the physical-ness back into the game and finish every hit. At the start you’re kind of hesitant to hit everyone right away, but I think come the season, there should be no hesitance. You should be in there finishing every check.

On Tim Thomas’ performance today…
Yeah, he had a good game. It was good to see him out there making some key saves for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win for him. He’s also been getting better this camp.  

Bruins Goaltender Tim Thomas
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, makes a save as Washington Capitals center Keith Aucoin (20) looks for the rebound during the first period of a preseason hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
On his progression throughout the preseason…
I think every game I’ve felt a little more comfortable. This game is the closest I’ve come to getting back to NHL level, just in time for the season. I think I’ve taken a step forward in each game and I thought tonight’s was the closest that I’ve gotten to getting back to the level that I want to be at.

On whether he gets anxious for the regular season to begin…
I’m a patient man, but it comes quick enough, as I know from experience over the years, and it’s a long season. Just like everything, you don’t want to get too high, don’t want to get too low. You don’t want to anticipate too much…I think I am getting closer, I’m still trying to build everyday like I said, every game I’ve gotten closer to where I want to be. Tonight was the closest I’ve come to being where I want to be; it’s not too far off. I’ve got to keep building on it, though.

On having two good goalies in the NHL…
I don’t know, because Alex Auld made a huge contribution to the team last year for us to get into the playoffs. It’s necessary at this level to have two good goalies. Probably right after tonight, the New York Islanders are happy with Joey MacDonald, knowing that they have somebody there in case something happens to Rick DiPietro or maybe kind of share the game a little so he doesn’t get as tired as he’s been getting in the past. It’s the same sort of situation; you need two goalies to contribute. One might get the opportunity to contribute more than the other, based on what’s going on, but both of them to play well when they get the chance or else you’re not going to make the playoffs, bottom line.

Bruins Forward Michael Ryder
New York Islanders' Bill Guerin collides with Boston Bruins' Michael Ryder (73) during the second period of a pre-season hockey game in Boston Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
On the team’s readiness for opening night…
There are a couple little adjustments that we need to work on. There are always little things you need to work on, so I’m glad we have a game tomorrow and a few practices to get better before we play Colorado. They are just mostly minor things.

On adjusting to playing in Boston…
Yes, I’m getting a little more comfortable on the ice, and gaining a little more confidence. At first, I was focused on getting comfortable with the system here, but now that that’s out of the way, I’m just working to get back to my game.

On the team’s improving power play…
Yes, its definitely good when you are generating chances. Its still only preseason, but you want to build on those chances. It’s good when you have all those chances, but it kind of defeats the purpose when it doesn’t go in. I think we’ve done a good job tonight of moving the puck and I think once the season starts we’ll be ready to go.

It took me a few games to get adjusted to the power play. The power play is pretty much standard, its just instincts and how everybody feels playing together. I think right now we’re getting a little more comfortable with each other around the puck. It seemed like tonight we had a lot more chances than the last game.
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