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Game Day: Bruins @ Devils

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.
Boston          0 0 0-0

New Jersey 0 1 0-1

First Period-None.

Second Period-1, New Jersey, Salvador 3 (Madden), 10:54.

Third Period-None.

Shots on Goal-Boston 10-13-8-31. New Jersey 5-8-5-18.

Goalies-Boston, Thomas. New Jersey, Clemmensen. A-15,257 (17,625). T-2:10.
0:00 - A terrific hockey game. Another tough loss for Boston. The Devils win 1-0.

23.4 - Icing New Jersey. Timeout Boston.

45.0 - Thomas off. Krejci shoots wide.

3:40 - Boston is up in shots, 31-18. Wow.

4:43 - Thomas with a save on Holik.

6:22 - Clemmensen is the difference in this game. Another big save by the former Eagle...

6:39 - New Jersey is scaring the heck out of the B's with some sustained pressure in the Boston end...

8:55 - New Jersey pounds away at the puck in Thomas' crease, but the whistle sounds.

10:38 - Savard shot, Clemmensen save.

11:28 - I think that was Patrice's seventh shot!

12:27 - Bitz with another hit, this time on Mottau.

13:12 - Another save by Thomas...

15:28 - That could be a huge break. Shanahan knocked the puck out of the rink and was given two minutes.

17:28 - Another steal by Boston, this time by Krejci, nearly results in a two-on-oh, but the New Jersey defense gets there late and sends Sobotka into the goal. He knocked it off its pegs and stops play.

18:42 - Milan Lucic stole a puck and the Bruins got a very nice scoring chance. But Clemmensen stops the puck and holds on for the draw.

19:41 - Boston controls and keeps it deep in the D's zone.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
New Jersey Devils' Bryce Salvadore, right, controls the puck as Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron attempts to squeeze between Devils' Brendan Shanahan, left, and goaltender Scott Clemmensen (35) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 13, 2009 in Newark, N.J. The Devils beat the Bruins 1-0. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
0:00 - End of Two. Another great period. It's 1-0, New Jersey. But Bergeron and Co. are really working well together.

26.6 - Bergeron, in the slot, turns, shoots and the puck is tipped into the stands.

1:19 - Mottau handcuffs Thomas with a high shot, but the B's defense clears.

2:04 - Savard with a steal, but the play doesn't develop...

2:54 - Sobotka finished a great shift with a terrific scoring chance. Clemmensen froze his bid against the side of the goal.

4:40 - Green tried to hit Karsums and go the worst of it.

5:07 - Thornton knocks Rupp off his skates...

5:37 - Bitz with a shot that goes just wide.

6:21 - Wheels tests Clemmensen.

6:57 - Ward saves the day on a two-on-one. Nice stick stop.

7:45 - Lucic rocks Martin behind the NJ net.

9:06 - Madden won the faceoff, Salvador with a quick shot that beats Timmy. It's1-0, NJD.

11:33 - A big save by Thomas.

13:41 - After a save by Thomas, Clarkson crashed the Boston goal and Hnidy and Thornton both had something to say to the New Jersey skater.

15:02 - Another save by Clemmensen.

17:07 - Elias in the box for hooking. Boston's first PP.

17:42 - The Bergeron line continues to create chances...

18:04 - Karsums drops to Bergeron, Patrice shoots, Clemmensen stops.

20:00 - Start of the Second.
New Jersey Devils' David Clarkson, right, is tripped by Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara, of Slovakia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 13, 2009 in Newark, N.J. Chara received a penalty for tripping. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
0:00 - End of the first. Bruins lead in shots, 0-0. A pretty good session for both squads.

45.8 -  Icing on Boston.

1:04 - Bergeron puts a tricky shot on Clemmensen. It took a second for the former BC standout to settle it down.

4:04 - Byron Bitz began a breakout as the B's penatly ended. A solid scoring chance.

6:16 - Marc Savard goes to the box. He got a tripping call for taking down Martin.

9:07 - Bergeron is on fire. He had several good chances on Clemmensen before New Jersey cleared.

9:51 - Icing Boston.

10:02 - Icing Boston.

11:46 - Icing NJD.

12:30 - Marty Karsums with a big hit behind the New Jersey goal...

13:23 - Savard and Gionta get tangled up between the benches. No biggie.

13:40 - Nice work by Wheeler and Savard on the PK.

15:10 - Parise is stopped by Thomas' glove. Nice save.

15:44 - Chara pulls Clarkson down (?). Zee was unhappy about the call.

Stephane Yelle #18 of the Boston Bruins fires a shot against goaltender Scott Clemmensen #35 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 13, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
16:07 - Clemmensen holds on after the Bergeron line dumps the puck deep.

16:51 - Terrific effort by Shawn Thornton to chace down a Boston icing.

17:35 - Gionta is stopped by Thomas with the left pad.

18:29 - Timmy with his first save...

18:58 - Bergeron and company cause some havoc in front of the New Jersey net.

19:56 - New Jersey wins the draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period.

Switching to time on the clock...

6:39 p.m.
A decent guess at the lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Karsums
Sobotka - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Bitz
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Hunwick, Ryder, Nokelainen

Power play units (according to yesterday's practice)...
Yelle - Savard - Kessel
Chara - Ward

Krejci - Lucic - Bergeron
Wideman - Ference

6:30 p.m.
Tim Thomas will be in goal for Boston. Clemmensen for New Jersey.

Seen in the stands, a sign reading: "Big Daddy Wheels."

Wheeler was "given" that nickname during Wednesday's online chat.

2:49 p.m.
Click the picture to see Coach Julien's press availability from Thursday.
From the sounds of my reports from New Jersey and the looks of the blogs around the Hub of Hockey, it doesn't seem like too much changed from yesterday.

So, as we wait for gametime, why not take a listen to Coach Julien's presser from Thursday.

11:58 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice. That should probably indicate that "The Tank" will be in goal tonight.

11:48 a.m.
Full team skate...
The report from the front indicates that everyone (who traveled to NJ) is skating.

10:13 a.m.
Pre-skate thoughts

The Bruins flew to New Jersey yesterday and, as we speak, should be in the Prudential Center for morning skate (which starts at 11:30).

Coach Julien usually addresses the media after the session and I am sure the New Jersey contingent will update us on the first goalie off, etc.

In the meantime, and looking at the league stat pack, we have the time to admire some of the more interesting numbers that the Bruins have put up this season.

Although San Jose has three games in hand, the Bruins remain at the top of the standings with 85 points (SJ has 82) through 55 games.

The B's are fourth in the league over the last 10-games with a 6-1-3 record (unfortunately New Jersey is first with a 8-2-0 stretch) and are first in the league in terms of road points with 43 over a 20-5-3 docket away from the TD Banknorth Garden (NJ is 10th at home with a 17-10-1 record at "The Rock").

Special teams wise, the B's are fifth on the PP with a 22.8 percentage and 12th on the PK with a 82.0 %.

One more number to blind you. Some hockey pundits believe that a very good measure of how a team is doing, particularly on special teams, is to add the PK number (percentage of opponent power plays killed) to the PP number (the percentage of power plays converted).

I am not so sure about that, but those special teams numbers go like this...
San Jose 109.4
Minnesota 107.9
Philadelphia 106.9
Boston 104.8
Detroit 104.6
Calgary 104.6

Individually, the B's are amongst the best, too.

Marc Savard is sixth in overall points (21-42-63) and Dennis Wideman is fifth amongst defensemen with 38 points (via a 12-26-38). Phil Kessel is 10th in goals with 24 (tied with five others) and Savard is seventh in assists.

The injured Michael Ryder is second in game-winning goals with seven, and P.J. Axelsson is tied with 10 others for fifth in shootout game deciding goals with two.

Buuuuuut, it is in Plus/Minus is where the B's really standout. Rookie Blake Wheeler is first in +/- with a plus-32. Wideman is third (+29), Krejci is fourth (+29), Savard is seventh (+25), Chara eighth (+24) and Ryder is ninth (+24).

This might have been the first time I have looked at shooting percentage all year, but Milan Lucic is fifth (20.3) and Krejci is ninth (19.0). Wheeler is fifth in rookie shooting percentage (16.5).

And finally, it comes as no shock that Tim Thomas is second in goals against average (2.15), seventh in wins (24) and first in save percentage (.930). Manny Fernandez is a not so distant seventh (.925).

All of that means that if you include Tuukka Rask's terrific play, the B's sit atop the league in GAA (2.16) and sv% (.928).

Look for more on tonight's matchup in a bit. JB
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