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Game Day: Blackhawks vs. Bruins

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.
Chicago 0 1 2-3

Boston 1 2 2-5

First Period-1, Boston, Recchi 14 (Kobasew, Bergeron), 10:19.

Second Period-2, Chicago, Toews 27 (Kane, Barker), 15:11 (pp). 3, Boston, Krejci 21 (Ference, Wideman), 15:41. 4, Boston, Recchi 15 (Wideman, Bergeron), 16:16.

Third Period-5, Boston, Kessel 27 (Savard, Lucic), 1:35. 6, Chicago, Versteeg 17 (Walker, Ladd), 10:26. 7, Chicago, Kane 21 (Campbell, Toews), 14:34 (pp). 8, Boston, Axelsson 5, 19:27 (en).

Shots on Goal-Chicago 7-13-15-35. Boston 15-11-13-39.

Goalies-Chicago, Huet. Boston, Thomas. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:16.
Third Period Recap: It wasn't exactly the way the Bruins had planned it, but in the end a "W" is a "W." Right? Phil Kessel started the scoring in the third stanza when he beat Huet at just 1:35. But then Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane scored to make the game very, very tight at 4-3, B's. But P.J. Axelsson iced the the game for Boston -- literally. With Huet pulled, the veteran Boston winger gathered a puck at the redline and scored an unassisted empty netter to make the final score read 5-3 Bruins.
0:00 - Boston wins, 5-3.

32.2 - Axieeeeeeeeeee! He grabbed the puck just outside the center ice B and send it into the Chicago net. It's 5-3.

1:53 - Thomas found the puck under him and held on. Whoooooooooooa Nellie.

3:06 - Save Thomas. Oh man.

5:26 - Really? Kane shoots and scores. It's 4-3, Boston. Hang on tight!

5:33 - Ference is going to the box for interference.

6:44 - Another save for Thomas, who picks off a deflection that went off Axelsson's leg.

8:37 - Glove save Thomas, who held on for the faceoff.

9:34 - Versteeg scores. It's 4-2. Hang on to your hats.

9:49 - Two pad stack for Timmy.

11:50 - Save Huet...

13:36 - Bolland pulled Bergeron down.

15:46 - Kobasew hit the side of the net. Oh, very close...

17:30 - Burish with a minor for holding.

18:25 - That makes it 4-1, Boston. An unforced turnover picked up by Lucic, passed to Savard, who passed to Kessel who found the net. Gorgeous.

19:46 - Save Thomas...

20:00 - Third Period.
Second Period Recap: Jonathan Toews scored to tie the game with a power play goal at 15:11. But the Bruins scored two more goals to put themselves in the driver's seat with 20 minutes remaining in the game. David Krejci beat Huet shortside just 30 seconds after Toews quieted the Garden. And with the building abuzz, Dennis Wideman collected a puck at the top of the circles and fired. Recchi, was again in the right place at the right time and beat the Chicago netminder for his second goal of the afternoon and his second goal with Boston.
0:00 - After being outchanced for most of the session, Boston bounced back big time, scored twice and lead the game 3-1. Shots are 26-20, B's.

59.7 - A home run pass connects with Kobasew who was stopped by Huet.

1:57 - Another break for Boston. Holding on Eager.

3:44 - HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE goal. Wideman put it on net and Recchi tipped the puck by the now rattled Huet. That's Recchi's second of the day and second as a Bruin. A big time goal by a big time player. Give the helpers to Wideman and Bergeron.

4:19 - When in doubt, put it on net. Krejci took a pass from Ference and beat Huet shortside. A gift for Boston! Wow.

4:49 - Toews banked the next shot off TImmy, though. And tied the score. Shots are now 20-18, Chicago.

5:49 - Another amazing Tim Thomas improvisation. That will put Tim in the saves of the week again.

6:18 - Ference is in the box for holding Havlat on a breakaway.

7:52 - Thomas pounces on a rebound and holds on for the draw.

8:59 - The Blackhawks are swarming, and Thomas had a nice glove save on Toews before the play went dead.

10:22 - Nice kill.

12:50 - Aaron Ward just got the first penalty of the game. Two minutes for hooking.

13:07 - Save Thomas on a play that looked like it had gone offsides.

15:17 - Lucic goes to a knee to make a nice block of a shot.

16:16 - Havlat hit the crossbar behind Thomas, who should personally paint the nets after the game. Woooo. Shots are 18-8, Boston.

17:25 - Nice save by Thomas on a partial breakaway, after Boston had controlled the puck for most of the period.

20:00 - Start of the Second.
First Period Recap: The Boston Bruins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period off the strength of Mark Recchi's first goal in Black & Gold. Planted firmly in front of B's arch-nemesis Cristobal Huet, Recchi took a Chuck Kobasew feed and powered it through the Chicago netminder. The Bruins, who showed a distinct lack of punch during the last game with Phoenix, seemed to have risen from their offensive ashes and led in shots 15-7 going into the first intermission.
0:00 - Two (or three?) scoring chances in the last five seconds of the session punctuated a very nice period for Boston. The B's lead 1-0 after twenty. They lead on the shot board, 15-7.

4:06 - Icing Chicago.

4:27 - Another nice save for Huet on Ryder, who said something to his former teammate as the play was called dead.

5:12 - Huet just got a glove on a Ryder breakaway shot...

9:41 - Outstanding work by the Bergeron line and Mark Recchi especially. He worked his way to the front of the net and looked to have forced the puck five hole. It's 1-0, Boston and that was Recchi's first goal with Boston. Very, very nice. Give the assists to Kobasew and Bergeron.

12:02 - CHI (Brouwer) hit the post. Yowsah.

12:24 - Icing Chicago.

13:35 - Andy Ference made the best save of the day, thus far, as a breakaway bid got around Thomas and Andrew sent it away.

13:57 - Wideman staggers off. He blocked a shot and it stung.

14:08 - Big save THomas.

15:35 - The B's have turned up the heat...

16:49 - Even with all the possession in the B's end, CHI doesn't have any shots. In fact, there have been no shots.

18:38 - A slow start for Boston.

19:33 - Chicago controls and gets it deep...

20:00 - Start of the First Period. How about calling it the start of the Third Period? Hmmmm?

BTW: Scratch Blake Wheeler and add Matt Hunwick.

Chicago Starters: Walker, Ladd, Havlat, Bolland, Campbell, Huet
Boston Starters: Ference, Wideman, Lucic, Savard, Kessel, Thomas

Switching to time on the clock...

12:47 p.m.
Click the picture to watch Claude Julien's pregame press gathering.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien spoke about the biggest issues facing the Bruins.

"When you go through those situations it's not easy," said Julien. "It's not that you second guess yourself, but your confidence level is not where it should be.

"At the same time, if you look at the third period of the last game, if we play three periods like that tonight we have a real good chance at winning the hockey game.

"We've [got to take] that third period and make it happen for three periods. If we are willing to do that, we should be okay and we should find our game again," he said.

What's the bottom line according to Julien?

"A lot of it is based on work ethic," said Julien. "Obviously, when you are working hard your feet are moving and things fall into place."

12:12 p.m.
Press Box Notes
Goaltender Tim Thomas is expected to start in net today for the Bruins. In 42 games, Thomas has a 27-9-6 record, a 2.06 Goals Against Average and .932 Save Percentage. He leads all NHL goaltenders in both GAA and Save Percentage.

Other stories...
  • Bruins defenseman Steve Montador, who was acquired by Boston on Trade Deadline Day, is expected to miss today’s game because of the flu.
  • The Bruins will play six games in the next nine days starting this afternoon.
  • Today’s game features two of the leagues top power play units, with Boston ranking fourth (22.9%) and Chicago eighth (21.0%). Boston owns the league’s best power play percentage on home ice at 29.1 %.
  • Bruins forwards David Krejci and Blake Wheeler are tied with Chicago’s Duncan Keith for the best plus/minus rating in the NHL, with a +32.
  • Today marks the 15th anniversary of an impressive feat accomplished by Bruins legend and current Vice President Cam Neely. On March 7, 1994 Neely scored two goals in a 6-3 Bruins win over Washington. They were his 49th and 50th of the season and came in just his 44th game played. Only Wayne Gretzky had scored 50 goals in fewer games in NHL history, when he tallied 50 in 39 games during the 1981-82 season and in 42 games in 1983-84.
  • For Chicago, forward Martin Havlat has a nine game point streak in progress with 4-11-15 totals during that span.
  • The Bruins beat the Blackhawks in a 2-1 shootout during their only other meeting this season on November 12 in Chicago. P.J. Axelsson potted the shootout winner, and Tim Thomas made 31 saves to out-duel Nikolai Khabibulin, who made 38 stops in defeat.

12:39 p.m.
The lines...
Wheeler Hunwick-Krejci-Ryder

Montador, Hunwick, Bitz, Wheeler

12:30 p.m.

Tim Thomas vs. Cristobal Huet (shivver, shivver, yeesh).

In 14 career games, Huet is 10- 3 -0  with a 1.91 GAA  .941 sv% against Boston.

Byron Bitz is not on the ice. Right now there is an extra skater on the ice.

12:27 p.m.
Steve Montador is out (flu-like symptoms) and Shane Hnidy is in.

11:25 a.m.
All I Want (is a 60-minute effort)
I had a chance to listen in on Dave Gaucher's pregame interviews for WBZ. He tracked down Dennis Wideman and Chuck Kobasew.

"I can't remember the last time we put a fully 60-minute effort in," said Wideman when asked about the B's troubles. "We always seem to have little let downs -- obviously, that's a mental thing on our part.

"[We've got] to stay intense and mentally focused for 60 minutes."

What is the cause of the mental lapses?

"I don't know," said Wideman. "I guess [the time of year] could have a little something to do with it.

"Right now we've been playing teams that have been fighting for playoff spots. So they are in playoff mode already and I think that's something that we need to [do].

"The playoffs are coming up fast," he said.

Kobasew was frank, as well.

"You know, I think the last couple of games we've played portions of the game well," he said. "But we have to find a way to play a full game tonight.

The way to do that, according to Kobasew is "to simply things [and put in] some hard work.

"Maybe we're not getting the bounces, but we've got to work hard thought it and hopefully things will go our way."

And maybe the arrival of a Mark Recchi and his being added to the Bergeron line might lend a hand, as well.

"[Recchi's] very skilled," said Kobasew. "He has tons of experience and if I get a chance to play with him that would be great."

Make sure to tune in to WBZ's Bruins coverage on 1030 AM to hear the rest of Dave's chat with Dennis and Chuck.

10:06 a.m.
Eyes Open Wide
"I haven't had one in four days, so it was good to get out there," said rock solid future Hall of Fame winger Mark Recchi after his first Bruins practice on Friday.

"I hadn't had a practice [in a while] it was good."

Recchi reported that he found the rink just fine -- thanks to a ride with Dennis Wideman and Chuck Kobasew. When he got to Ristuccia he found himself on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Kobasew.

The trio looked like a salvo of missiles as they swarmed both Tim Thomas' and Manny Fernandez's net.

"They are both great players," said Recchi. "I am going to try and do what I can.

"I'm just going to muck it up and grind it out for them.

" very talented and Chuck's a great two-way player, so I am looking forward to it," said the future Hall of Famer.

Recchi, coming from a somewhat outside perspective, assured the press that the Bruins are not in serious trouble.

"The things that we are not doing right, that [the coaching staff and players] are talking about, I saw a little bit of it on [Thursday] -- they are very correctable things," he said. "[We'll] get back on page real quick.

"The guys just have to make a conscious effort to do the right things," added Recchi, who said it was better to have these doldrums now, as opposed to having them in the last few days of the season.

"Hopefully [we'll] start getting out of it right now, in this next little stretch, hopefully start going the right way."

9:44 a.m.
I just want to mention that Colleen Howe, wife of Gordie Howe, and considered an integral part of Mr. Howe's illustrious life in hockey, has passed. reports:

"The National Hockey League grieves the passing of Colleen Howe -- a formidable woman, the wife and partner of our iconic player, the matriarch of a remarkable hockey family," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "On behalf of generations of fans, we send our deepest condolences to Gordie and his loved ones."

"Obviously a great wife, a wonderful mother, a great hockey mother," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "Between her and Gordie, Mark and Marty, they were hockey's first family for a long, long time. A big loss."

Born on a farm in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1933, Colleen Joffa met Gordie Howe at a Detroit bowling alley in 1950. They were married April 15, 1953, and had four children -- sons Mark, Marty and Murray, and daughter Cathy.

"She was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen," Howe told the Vancouver Sun in a 2003 story. "Everyone kept telling me that when the right one came along it would hit you right between the eyes. Well, I got hit."

I've gotten to meet Mr. Howe twice during my life -- once at the Hartford Civic Center during a Whalers game and most recently in Montreal during the All-Star Game (where he elbowed me) -- he is the picture of class and I am very sorry for his loss. JB

9:41 a.m.
Crazy Life: Pelletier to face former mates
Pascal Pelletier will be in the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks this afternoon. Recalled from Rockford of the AHL, the former Bruins prospect will probably join another former Bruins prospect, Chris Versteeg's line.

"It's a chance for me to show what I can do, and hopefully I can finish the season here," Pelletier said to the Chicago Tribune.

Pelletier, who will wear #27 for Chicago, has played in seven NHL games, six with Boston, is scoreless and a -2. He spent the majority of last year in the AHL where he led the Providence Bruins with a career-high 37 goals and a career-best 75 points in 73 regular-season contests. He also dished out a career-most 38 assists before leading Providence with 12 points in 10 playoff tilts. A fifth-year pro, Pelletier has appeared in 264 career AHL regular-season matchups with Providence and Rockford, registering 98 goals, 123 assists and 221 points.

9:18 a.m.

Something's always wrong
There's no morning skate today, but we can already take one name off the roster (probably). Steve Montador is not feeling well and Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien addressed the issue on Friday.

"Steve Montador is sick -- he's under the weather -- so those are things that come into play everyday," said Juilen. "To be honest, I think because he has [those flu-like symptoms] and with a 1:00 game tomorrow, I'd be very surprised if he'd be ready to go.

"But we've got some healthy guys, so I don't think there's any reason to put a guy who's not going to be 100% in the lineup. I'd put him as doubtful."

Judging by the lines, and the fact that there were two forward units with an extra skater, other changes could be in the wind as well.
Birthday wishes to my beloved wife, "The General." JB
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