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Game Day: Bruins @ Islanders

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins

Boston 0 1 1-2

N.Y. Islanders 0 0 1-1

First Period-None.

Second Period-1, Boston, Savard 15 (Kobasew, Stuart), 3:30.

Third Period-2, Boston, St. Pierre 2 (Sobotka, Thornton), 6:51. 3, N.Y. Islanders, Guerin 14 (Campoli, Comeau), 19:06.

Shots on Goal-Boston 7-8-12-27. N.Y. Islanders 17-12-12-41.

Goalies-Boston, Thomas. N.Y. Islanders, Danis. A-15,548 (16,234). T-2:21.

0:00 - End of the game. Boston wins, 2-1.

22.8 - Danis is out of the net.

46.9 - Icing Isles...

53.2 - ...until Guerin backhands a puck toward the goal and pinballs the puck past Timmy. No chance for Thomas. Timeout NYI.

1:28 - Boston just clogging things up for New York...

2:33 - Savard to Kobasew, two-on-one, hits the post. Very close. Very pretty.

4:15 - Another save, Thomas.

4:37 - Streit shoots from the point. Save Thomas.

7:17 - A flurry by the Islanders. Thomas stands tall...

8:25 - Icing New York.

9:16 - Icing Boston.

9:31-  A good kill for the Isles. Puck out of play...

12:11 - Campolli to the penalty box for cross checking Thornton.

13:09 - St. Pierre scores! Sobotka with a seemingly purposeful shot to the boards and the puck came out to Danis' left and Marty was right there. Nice goal.

15:11 - Danis with a sliding left pad save on Wideman (?).

15:55 - Streit gets the penalty. And then Streit shot the puck at Savard. A little pile up. Boston third PP.  The B's are 0/1 on the power play.

17:06 - Guerin and Thomas collide in front of the Bruins net. The puck, thank God, doesn't make it into the net. In fact, Guerin also hit Wideman and the puck did not go near the net.

17:55 - Danis makes and holds on for the faceoff.

18:52 - A little back and forth to start...

20:00 - Start of the Second.
0:00 - End of the second. Boston is ahead by a score of 1-0. Shots are 29-15, NYI.

1:32 - A beauty of a shorthanded chance started by Krejci and nearly finished by Wheeler. Danis made the save, but could not find the puck. He looked back and it was stuck in his jersey.

2:41 - Petteri Nokelainen is in the box for hooking. I believe New York is 0/2 on the PP.

2:53 - It sounded like the Islanders hit the side of the goal.

4:24 - Thomas makes his 27th save with several Islanders bearing down on him.

6:05 - Danis goes to the bench to get his mask fixed. Shots are a remarkable 26-11, New York.

7:53 - A Bruins shot gets into the throat shield of Danis. It's hanging down by one thread. Good thing he had it, though.

9:00 - A tricky shot from the point somehow gets through a crowd to Thomas, who had to move quickly to keep the Bruins in the lead.

11:34 - Some good hard work by the Krejci line keeps things lively in the Isles' end.

13:28 - Jackman kind of ambushed Thornton, who broke free and got the takedown on a very shortlived fight.

16:30 - Savard worked pretty hard for that goal. He was the guy who got the puck low. Then he waited behind the Isles net, came off the dashers and turned and fired. The puck seemed to hit something and bounce past Danis. Assists to Stuart and Kobasew.

It was Savvy's 15th goal.

17:58 - Thomas with a blocker save that sends the puck out of the crease and towards the corner.

18:13 - Icing Boston.

18:24 - Okposo returns to the ice with a full shield.

19:43 - The Islanders came out of the room with their hair on fire. They've already put a shot on goal and crashed Thomas' net.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period.
0:00 - End of the first. It's 0-0. New York leads in shots, 17-7, and had most of the momentum. No doubt the Bruins will need to reset and bring some more energy to the ice in the second.

Hits are 12-7, New York, as well.

7.4 - Danis kicks the puck out of play. A late faceoff in the Islander end.

45.0 - Comeau makes Thomas deliver a right pad save.

1:27 - A tough bounce nearly sends the puck into harm's way...

3:08 - Sobotka in the box for tripping. New York is 0/1 on the power play.

3:15 - Okposo leaves the ice. Replays show what looked to be a very large bump on his jaw.

3:40 - Krejci and Jackman collide, with David getting the better of the confrontation along the boards in the Islander's zone.

4:38 - Okposo got a puck up high and had to be led off under his own power. He looks okay.

5:15 - Tim made his 13th save and then there was a pile up, which saw Jon Sim go to the box. That's Boston's first PP. 

6:36 - It's officially a slow start. Shots are now 11-1, New York.

8:28 - Jon Sim puts a long shot on Thomas from just inside the blueline. Tim holds on for the draw. Shots are 9-1, NYI.

8:37 - A good kill for the B's. Only one shot on the power play for New York.

10:38 - Wideman in the box. Hooking. Islanders first PP.

10:57 - The Islanders are starting to take it to Boston a bit. Shots are 7-1, NYI.

13:09 - Bailey sends the Islanders third shot into the chest protector of Thomas.

13:18 - A TV timeout. This might be tough spot for the Bruins to draw energy from the crowd. It's pretty quiet and not so full here tonight.

14:42 - Spoke too soon. Thomas has to make a tough sliding save on Comeau.

15:14 - Still just the one shot by Boston. Both teams are having some issues getting a sustained attack going.

16:34 - Icing New York.

17:17 - St. Pierre is hit pretty hard. Get's up quickly...

17:32 - Islanders make a threat.

18:57 - Boston tests Danis...

20:00 - Start of the First Period.

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

Boston Starters:
Hunwick, Wideman, Axelsson, Savard, Kobasew, Thomas
New York Starters:
Sim, Thompson, Witt, Jackman, Martinek, Danis

6:42 p.m.
A good guess at the lines...
Axelsson - Savard - Kobasew
Wheeler - Krejci - Ryder
Sobotka - Yelle - Nokelainen
Thornton - St. Pierre - Bitz
Stuart - Chara
Hunwick - Wideman
Lashoff - Hnidy

6:31 p.m.
Goalies Tim Thomas and Yann Danis led their respective teams out of the locker rooms.

5:36 p.m.
The B's are in the Nassau Coliseum.

Like Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome and Edmonton's Rexall Place, the home of the New York Islanders invokes memories of "the old" NHL, complete with orange and black shield.

Four Stanley Cup Banners and the retired numbers of great Islanders teams of the past are helping to bolster the spirits of a club that has run into a bunch of bad luck.

Rick Dipietro's absence in goal has been compounded by the loss of another former Bruins netminder, Joey MacDonald and former Brown University standout Yann Danis is now the man in the barrel.

"Yah, it's been tough, I mean we've had to deal with a lot of injuries this year, but that's part of the game and we have to deal with it," said Nate Thompson, a former Bruins player picked up by the Islanders via waivers earlier this season.

"We have some capable guys who can come in and play," continued Thompson. "Yann is going to come in and play and he is going to do just fine."

NESN's Naoko Funayama asked Thompson if there were any difficulty finding motivation to play when things were so tough.

"I don't think it's about finding the motivation," said Nate. "It's what we do.

"We're playing hockey for a living and you can't beat that -- it's still a game.

"You've got to come to the rink with a good attitude and having fun, because there's always tomorrow," he said.

And with former Providence Bruins Coach Scott "Flash" Gordon at the helm, the Islanders look like they're on their way to calmer seas (or seasons).

This morning, Tim Thomas spoke about Gordon's influence on his game.

"He drilled the butterfly style into me -- relentlessly," said Tim. "Not that I didn't know them already, but he made me practice them so often they became a part of my game.

"Basically, he was trying to settle me down and slow some of my movement down.

"Whatever he did, obviously, worked," said Thomas.

Surely, Gordon will do the same with many players on Long Island -- hopefully, however, it doesn't kick in tonight.

3:27 p.m.
Earlier this afternoon, after pregame practice at the Nassau Coliseum, Coach Julien spoke about the Bruins ability to find ways to win despite injury.

"It's probably the result of still everybody playing the same way," he said. "We're on the same page, and the fact that those young guys that have come in from Providence are playing the same way, it's an easy adjustment.

"I don't think our team's changed, and our game plan hasn't changed because of the fact that we play the same way night in, night out.  I don't think our system relies on just having our talent take over; it's a little more than that, and I think that's kind of helped us stabilize our play and our lineup and continue to find ways to win hockey games."

And that is true no matter who is in the lineup.

"There's teams that would say they lose their skilled players that they rely on a lot, and it becomes hard to win hockey games," continued Julien. "I think what we rely on is a lot more than just a skill level – obviously it is important and we need it, but where we don't have the same amount, we rely on our team play to make things happen."

Coach Julien was also asked about his goaltending tandem and if he would eventually have to choose one or the other to carry the load.

"So far, they haven't given me any reason to, so I don't see the reason for doing it at this stage," he said. "If it ever came to that, we'd make the adjustments as we see fit."

And now, with Manny Fernandez healthy again, the duo should be at full strength.

"Yeah, Manny's going to be in tonight as a backup and he's good enough to be a backup and even to play," said Julien. I think it's just a matter of giving him a chance here to get his rhythm back." 

Another Bruin who is due back from injury is Milan Lucic.

"Luch continues to progress, and again, I say day-to-day; we check him every day and see how much better he's getting, and we'll make that decision when it comes," said the Bruins coach. "I think right now it's a situation...where we're leaning a little more towards bringing guys back at 100% than we are bringing them back a little sooner and have them have a setback."

Since Zdeno Chara started his NHL career with the Islanders, the local press was curious as to how Big Zee's leadership manifests itself in Boston.

"It's like anything else; as you get older, you mature in your role and you mature as a person," said Julien. "For him, it's more than just his game now; it's really about his whole team, and he wants to succeed, and eventually, win the Stanley Cup.

"There's no doubt in my mind that's his goal. He's taken a lot more than just his play in hand, I guess, and he wants to be a good leader.

"He leads by example – he's certainly not afraid to stand up in the room and speak when need be – but he's also been very wise in making sure that he's got people around him as well to make that core group even stronger, and I think the one thing he's learned is that he can't do it on his own.  He's really grown in that role that way, and it's like anything else in life, you're as good as the people that surround you, and he's taken advantage of that," he said.

Julien commented that the injuries on defense have not changed the way that the D-corps play their game.

"No, not really," he said. "That's what we talked about – no matter what's happened, we haven't changed our game.

"We rely on our system, and...supporting the attack is something we want to continue to do.  Every night we're still starting with six D's on the back end, so there's no reason for us to hold guys back.

"We didn't do it as much last year because, it's like anything else, when you try to develop your team and your system and your players, you've got to go one step at a time, and to throw three, four different things at them would have been too much last year, so I'd rather add without subtracting, is what I kept saying at the beginning of the year.  We added that part of the equation to our game, and we decided that we were comfortable enough with the other parts that we were able to do that."

The media also commented about the Krejci line's longevity.

"It's been good, obviously," said Julien. "As long as lines are going well, I'm going to keep them together, but if they start slipping, like anybody else, I'm going to do what I have to do, but they've been consistent, and they've been as consistent as we've seen this year."

Why have they been so consistent?

"Probably, knock on wood, [because] they've been healthy," said Julien. "The other situations we've had to move around because of either lines slipping a little bit or injuries, but they've been good.

"They're a good match, and they seem to really enjoy playing together, seem to be building more and more chemistry, as far as knowing where each other is, and I guess, right now, we're just kind of riding that."

And finally, Julien was queried as to any advice he might have for the Isle's Scott "Flash" Gordon, whose club is going through some growing pains and injury woes.

"My first year out of junior hockey...I went to Hamilton with the American Hockey League," explained Julien. "I always had winning teams [in Junior], and that first year [in the AHL], we didn't make the playoffs, and that was probably the toughest year I ever went through, but it was also the year where I learned the most.

"I grew from that, I became a better coach from that."

"We still talk, Scott and I," added Julien. "I think it's [important] not to get discouraged when you're in those situations.

"A lot of this, he can't control, because guys are going through some injuries, and you're at the stage where the organization is trying to rebuild, and it takes patience.  I think they've got the right guy in Scott because he does have patience and he's a hard worker."

11:59 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first off the ice...

Everyone on the travel party skated, however, it looked as if Andrew Ference was going to wait until after the main group to take the ice with John Whitesides.

10:48 a.m.

Hello from snowy Uniondale, Long Island!

Head coach Claude Julien talked about his M*A*S*H unit yesterday, so let's start with an injury update.

First, Aaron Ward...

"He's not going to make the trip," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "Obviously, we're going to have to take our time with him, and he's going to stay behind, get some treatments.

"According to him and our trainers, [he'll be back] probably inside of a week.

"We predict, but we never know. He went in the corner, and just the way he got hit. It's just one of those injuries that's part of the game," he said.

Next, it was Manny Fernandez.

"He's available," said Coach. "We sent Tuukka [Rask] back, and as I mentioned, it was just a general soreness.

"To clarify, it was nothing to do with his knee; it was nothing to do with last year's injury."

Fernandez was in high spirits.

"You can't turn back the clock, but it feels good," said Manny with a laugh. "It was a good rest, and well-needed, I think.

"[It was smart] to give the body a couple of days just to get back. I think that was the main concern and everything is good today. You don't want to be out for too long -- there's so much to catch up to, so we gave it a little bit to make sure we got over the hump.

"Now that were there, it's time to get back on the ice, skating and being back with the guys...Surprisingly, I didn't lose too much. I thought it was going to be worse than that and I got what I needed [from Wednesday] and it's a work in progress,"

As for the rest of the players, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Milan Lucic, Julien said he was pleased to have them back skating with the team.

"Yah, it'll be nice, and I think other players will appreciate seeing them coming along, too," he said. "They're at a stage right now where they can kind of practice with the team, obviously staying away from the contact part of it, and they're a step closer to returning.

"In our situation, it's good to see those guys come and participate. I thought it was the best thing for them to come and be with the team and practice with the team and do the conditioning with John Whitesides, who's going to make the trip with us, as well."

Bergeron had a smile on his face for the first time in quite a while.

"I was about 45-minutes today, and having some teammates on the ice was fun for me," he said. "We kind of increased the pace a little bit and having some teammates on the ice makes it even better.

"But we're on the same plan, same program as a couple of days ago and the only change is now that I can skate with the team with no contact for a little bit.

"We'll see what happens, but it felt good today and it was fun to get some passes and get some shots on Manny and get closer to the routine that I have been used's just a matter of making sure that I am not setting myself back by trying too hard," said Bergeron.

Milan Lucic sounded like he was itching to play.

"I've been doing some skating drills to get the feel back, so, right now, we're all heading in the right direction," said Lucic. "I feel better everyday and I wouldn't say that I am 100%.

"I'm still day-to-day...and maybe come back to play, who knows, next game or the game after or the game after that. Who knows.

"[Montreal] was a tough one to watch, I was up there, watching the game...and I got a little nervous watching, but it was good to see the boys stick together and pull off the effort that they did.

"It was a real gutsy effort...It was real good after those two losses in a row, that the guys were able to get back on track and go from there."

Boston hits the ice at 11:30 a.m.

January 14th
11:36 a.m.

It's a sparsely populated practice at Ristuccia Wednesday morning.

Defenseman Andrew Ference skated earlier and Patrice Bergeron remains on after warming up early. He is joined by Manny Fernandez, Martin St. Pierre, Milan Lucic, Shane Hnidy, Shawn Thornton, Mark Stuart, Matt Lashoff, Petteri Nokelainen and Byron Bitz.

Coaches Houda, Ward and Ramsay are running the show.

Coach Julien will be on WEEI's (850 AM here in the Boston area) "Dale and Holley Show" during the one o'clock hour (around 1:10 p.m.).
Angela Stefano contributed to today's Bear Essentials.
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