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Game Day: Bruins @ Blackhawks

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
11:46 p.m.

Up next for the Bruins -- Montreal on Thursday night.
Chris Higgins scored three goals and Carey Price got his first shutout of the season to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night...Carey Price stopped 28 shots, including a right pad save on Dany Heatley's breakaway shot 7:36 into the third, for his fourth career shutout.

While the Canadiens are in Boston, the Bruins will not land in Massachusetts until after 3:00 a.m. That said, there's no doubt that the Black & Gold know how important Thursday night's matchup with the Habs is in terms of contending for the Northeast Division title. Click here to buy tickets.

B's win shootout, 2-1.

Toews stopped by Thomas.
Wheeler scores on Khabibulin.
Kane scores on Thomas.
Kessel stopped by Khabibulin.
Bolland stopped by Thomas.
Axelsson scores on Khabibulin.

What a terrific attempt by P.J. Axelsson. He went very wide and brought it back toward Khabibulin to the goalies right, added a deke to the keeper's right, and flicked it over the goalies glove. A very big win for Boston.
0:00 - It loved to happen. Saves are 38-32, Khabibulin. Amazing goaltending. And it figures that with the Habs waiting in downtown Boston, this game just keeps going and going.

10.0 - So many chances, so many saves. Ward almost puts this away. Another big save Khabibulin.

2:16 - Thomas vs Sharp on a penalty shot. Save Thomas. Thank goodness.

2:28 - Best (or luckiest) save of the year by Khabibulin on Savard on a one timer.

3:18 - Huge save by Khabibulin on Krejci.

4:28 - Hooking on Chicago. Four-on-three.

4:47 - Boston won the opening draw, but ended up icing the puck.

5:00 - Start of OT. Four-on-four hockey.
0:00 - An ugly final minue and a half, but Boston hangs on for the point. Shots are 31-31.

1:31 - Boston killed the Chicago PP. Then Lucic comes down the left side, shoots hard, but the drive goes into the stands.

4:00 - Interference Ryder. Hmmmmm.

4:59 - Icing Boston.

6:10 - Brouwer leaves the box and almost has a clean breakaway. But Dennis Wideman calmly comes in and takes the puck away.

8:16 - Hooking on Brouwer. Boston gets another shot at this.

9:12 - It looked like Boston scored. But the goal was waved off. Crease violation.

10:50 - Kane steps to the net from the point, puts it on net and Toews beats Tim five-hole. 1-1.

11:11 - Hooking on Kobasew.

11:42 - Boston is really clogging up the neutral zone.

13:17 - Campbell blocks Bergeron to preserve the one goal game.

14:23 - Another save by Thomas, who kicks it to his left.

15:56 - Kessel in deep on the forecheck. Phil has quietly had a great game.

18:00 - Just saw a replay of Tim's last goal. As close to a football punt as you will see in hockey. Very funny, very creative.

18:57 - Pressure by Boston. A point blank shot for Boston is turned away by Khabibulin.

19:56 - Chicago controls and sends it into the B's zone.

20:00 - Start of the Third. Anything it takes, Boston.
0:00 - That was a big goal. Judging by the flow on this one, that could be the only goal of the night.

53.8 - Sturm Scores! A nifty power play feed from Chara, who was on his right. And Marco tips it by Khabibulin. 1-0, Boston.

2:31 - Aaron Johnson to the box for Chicago. Boston on the power play.

2:45 - The Blackhawks shoot one high on Thomas, who holds for the faceoff.

5:10 - Sturm with a shorthanded bid, but Khabibulin turns the shot away.

6:08 - Fraser took a sock to the nose by Chara. He dropped very quickly. Unfortunately, Chara got an extra penalty.

6:17 - Ryder hits the post.

7:05 - Khabibulin with two saves. Plenty of pressure by Boston.

8:30 - Another chance for Boston. Byfuglien is in the box for hooking. B's on the man advantage.

10:01 - Shots are 26-12, Chicago!

12:12 - Khabibulin stops the B's best chance on the power play.

12:57 - Brouwer is in the box for interference.

13:45 - Byfuglien puts a stick on Thomas after the goalie froze the puck. He and Hunwick exchange thoughts.

15:20 - Two more saves for Timmy. This time two in a row from shots just off the crease.

16:29 - Thomas makes a glove stop.

17:56 - Chara's power play drive is blocked and goes out of play.

19:03 - After a near miss by Kessel, Boston gets a power play.

19:25 - Thomas makes another stop and waits for the faceoff.

19:39 - Boston controlled the puck early and got an early shot on net. Khabibulin holds on.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. Boston needs to stay out of the box.The first goal could win this thing, so a quick goal would be key.
0:00 - The B's PK and the goaltender kept Boston in the game as the penalties piled up.

1:55 - Stuart in the box for a minor. Blackhawks on the PP, again.

2:47 - Icing Chicago.

3:33 - Tim is tested again and makes another save.

4:21 - Still on the power play, Kessel danced through the Chicago D and put a sneaky shot on Khabibulin. The big goalie stopped it, but it wasn't easy.

6:10 - Too many men for Chicago. Finally, a break for Boston. B's on the PP.

7:02 - Another nice save by Thomas.

8:51 - Just seconds later, Thornton and a guy named Byfuglien get caught up in a scrum started with Khabibulin and Yelle collide. Shawn got a two, a five and a ten. And boy was he barking at the Chicago tough guy. Not sure that one is done.

9:06 - Kobasew had a breakaway. Stopped by the Chicago goalie.

9:34 - Thomas, with a stop on Versteeg, through traffic.

10:44 - A big kick save by Tim Thomas. Right pad. It looked like Kane.

11:05 - Milan Lucic for something. Not sure what. Chi on the PP, again.

12:15 - A good kill for Boston.

13:11 - Was that Tim's first save? I can't remember another one...

14:39 - Marco pulled Walker down, and earned a call. Chi on the PP.

15:02 - Sturm just crunched Walker.

16:05 - Ryder with a cross ice pass to that was almost tipped home by Bergeron. The play was started by Axelsson, who dished to Ryder. Boston has really controlled the play thus far.

17:21 - Wheeler and Hunwick are turned away by Khabibulin.  A very nice chance that was started by the young D-man.

18:47 - Chara and Ladd exchange words.

19:55 - B's control and bring it back into the Chicago zone.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Everyone has been talking about a fast start. And after a two person retirement ceremony, that will be very, very important.

My guess on the lines:
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Ryder
Sturm  - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Kobasew
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hunwick

Scratches: Hnidy, Nokelainen

Switching to time on the clock...

8:02 p.m.
NESN is confirming Tim Thomas is in goal. Khabibulin is in goal for the Blackhawks.

7:20 p.m.
Time to settle in for the game. NESN begins its pregame coverage at 8:00 p.m.

The balloted Bruins Bergeron, Chara and Savard are in seventh, third and sixth in their All-Star voting categories, respectively.

Unfortunately, at this moment, the Canadiens would have all six starters. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is still running second to Habs goalie Carey Price for the goaltending start in Montreal, and another write-in candidate, Aaron Ward is in seventh place for defensemen. has gotten in on the action on their site, as the Toucher and Rich show is promoting Wardo, no doubt because of his regularly scheduled visits to their afternoon show.

They have a video up on the front page of telling their listeners to log in and vote for their favorite defenseman.

3:00 p.m.

Tonight's storyline, according to Chris Kuc of the This is the third of five straight home games for the Blackhawks, who are riding a four-game winning streak. The Hawks' offense is clicking, having scored six goals in each of the last two games...Boston is off to a strong start and is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games. Marc Savard is the Bruins' top scorer with six goals and 10 assists in 14 games. Patrick Kane leads the Hawks with seven goals and 11 assists. Before the game, the Hawks will retire No. 3, worn by legendary defensemen Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson.

2:46 p.m.
Aaron Ward
Earlier this afternoon, Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward was in good voice on WEEI's Dale and Holley Show.

Dale Arnold and Michael Holley lauded Ward for his involvement with Seats for Soldiers (as Ward gave $15,000 towards the effort) and then spoke with Aaron about the B's early success.

"We're a good team," said Ward. "(But) we know that things aren't going to be perfect every night.

"(We're able) to overcome some of the hiccups and maintain some consistency.

"(So) things have worked out in our favor," he said.

The lack of turnover has certainly helped as well. This year the B's have not had to learn a new system.

"It comes second nature," he said. "We're all on the same page and it's very obvious."

But Ward also pointed out that the Blackhawks are in a similar position.

"They look like they are on the same page, whether it is on the first line or the last line.

"They are all contributing."

Ward, whose interview lasted into the changeover to "The Big Show," also gave the Boston hockey faithful major thanks for their support.

"Again, you go back to the word priceless," he said. "To walk out for the first period (before) the National Anthem and see the seats full -- it's an intimidating force.

"You want your team to matter, you want to matter in the city.

"And it's a big boost to know...that people are talking about you, they come to support you and people are behind you 100%."

1:55 p.m.
Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Michael Ryder, left, as Calgary Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, top, from Finland, skates away during first-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
After practice on Tuesday, Head Coach Claude Julien was asked about having Patrice Bergeron and Michael Ryder paired on a line.

"When we made those changes, we were just going okay, so I moved (Phil) Kessel ...with (Marc) Savard, they started lighting things up," he said. "So we kept it that way.

"I think with Michael Ryder, he’s a guy that when he’s got guys such as (Saku) Koivu...he’s had success there."

Obviously, there are a lot of similarities between Koivu’s and Bergeron's game.

"And I think with Ryder, the only thing that we see, right now, is that he’s not burying his opportunities," said Julien. "But everything else is there.

"(Michael's) made plays, he’s made great plays and he’s throwing his weight around. He’s had some good hits, and he’s one of our top plus players.

"So there are a lot of good things that are going in his direction except that everybody’s waiting to see him score more than he has because that’s what he’s been known for," said the coach.

Yesterday, Coach Julien indicated that a quick start would go a long way for the Bruins – Bergeron and Ryder, along with P.J. Axelsson, could be a big part of that.

"(Chicago) is a team that likes to go on the attack and they’re very aggressive in the neutral zone," he said. "If we can get the puck in deep and try to stay in their own end as much as we can, if we can work that part of the game, it will obviously take away some of their momentum and hopefully take the crowd out."

1:34 p.m.
The latest from Chicago...

Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice for Boston, which should indicate that he is the man in goal, tonight. Morning skate was optional for P.J. Axelsson and Marco Sturm and they were the only Bruins missing from the warmup.

11:29 a.m.
Did you vote?

Eastern Conference forward Eric Staal (12) of the Carolina Hurricanes, celebrates with defenseman Zdeno Chara, of Slovakia, and the Boston Bruins, during the third period of the NHL All-Star hockey game Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008 in Atlanta, Ga. Staal was the MVP in the Eastern Conference's 8-7 win. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
The buzz on Causeway Street is about the NHL All-Star Balloting.

Judging by the numbers, the fans in Montreal are trying really hard to make sure it’s an all-Habs starting lineup for the All-Star Game in Montreal.

And a quick look at, says that the Montreal organization understands the opportunity, as well.

My counterparts on Rue de la Gauchetiere write: Over the next seven weeks, hockey fans will be called to the polls to help make history when the All-Star Game rolls into Montreal this coming January.

With six Canadiens players on the official ballot this year, fans voting between November 12 and January 2 will have the unique opportunity to ensure that the Eastern Conference starting lineup is comprised entirely of Habs’ stars. 

Buuuuut, the Bruins are doing quite well, and with a little push, we might just spoil the big party. All of the starting positions have B’s who are just outside of the starting numbers.

As of this writing, Marc Savard is fourth in the Eastern Conference forwards voting with 6871 and Patrice Bergeron is fifth with 6792. Write-in selection Phil Kessel is ninth with 3599.

For the defensemen, Zdeno Chara is third with 7190 and write-in candidate Aaron Ward is fifth with 5265.

Tim Thomas might be the surprise of the board, as he is second in the goalie voting with 8106.

So, if you haven’t voted (or even if you have) you can support your B's by voting online or via text message (text the player's last name or BRUINS for all 3 to 81812). Write-ins are also allowed. Online, just type in the player’s name in the write-in spaces and text-based write-ins, text the player’s last name to 81812.

Bits about the B's
Montreal Canadiens' George Laraque, left, fights with Boston Bruins' Shawn Thornton during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
Word from Chicago is that Shawn Thornton has returned to the fold.

As far as tonight's lineup, the only thing we know about any moving parts is what Coach Julien said about Shane Hnidy yesterday.

"(Tuesday), was his first day skating, and he’s on the trip with us and he’s going to skate (Wednesday) with us as well," said Julien. "But I don’t think I’m going to dress him tomorrow because it’s been a while.

"But is he a possibility for Thursday? Yes."

Taking to the airwaves
Defenseman Aaron Ward is scheduled to call-in to WEEI's Dale and Holley Show today at 1:40 p.m.
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