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Game Day: Bruins @ Lightning

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.
AP Summary

Boston 0 1 2-3
Tampa Bay 1 0 0-1

First Period-1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 6 (Lecavalier, Malone), 1:21.

Second Period-2, Boston, Kessel 14 (Savard, Lucic), 12:21.

Third Period-3, Boston, Krejci 8 (Wheeler), 8:17 (sh). 4, Boston, Kessel 15 (Savard, Hunwick), 19:59 (en).

Shots on Goal-Boston 9-8-9-26. Tampa Bay 9-13-9-31.

Goalies-Boston, Thomas. Tampa Bay, Smith. A-15,598 (19,758). T-2:20.
0:00 - Final score, 3-1. Boston remains hot and are heading to the plane with a win.

0.5 - Kessel scores on the open net. Boston will win, 3-1.

52.2 - Faceoff in the B's end. Empty net for TB. The Lightning take their time out.

2:11 - Lots of Tampa pressure...the puck goes out of the rink.

6:40 - Malone tried to beat Thomas on the near post. No dice. BTW: Kessel now has a 10-game point streak. Krejci's is at seven.

7:48 - In the Bruins zone, Thomas lost his stick. Boychuk gave Thomas his stick and then Yelle gave Boychuck his stick and Boychuk caught the puck and sent it down the ice for a Bruins icing.

11:43 - Krejci with one of the prettiest goals you will ever see. He took a feed from Wheeler, who had stolen the puck in the neutral zone. Krejci recieves the puck in, curls and drags (as Andy Brickley would say), and puts it through Smith. Shorthanded goal. 2-1, Boston.

12:22 - Another save by Thomas.

13:10 - Chara is just pounding on Malone in front of Thomas.

13:39 - Holding on Hnidy.

13:47 - Save Smith on a drive by Krejci.

14:53 - Thomas with the save on a breakaway by Downey, and he's bowled over.

16:49 - Nice clear Thornton...

17:51 - Save Thomas.

18:13 - Ryder walks in and pushes the puck just wide.

19:45 - Icing on Tampa Bay.

20:00 - Start of the Third. Here we go boys. Need a strong period.
0:00 - Timmy makes a save at the horn. It's 1-1 after two. Each team has won a period. Shots are 22-17, Tampa.

1:31 - A puck goes into the Bruins bench.

3:56 - Sorry for the delay. Internet issues. In the meantime, Boston has really controlled the play. The Savard line has been especially effective.

7:39 - From behind the net, Savard finds Kessel who beats Smith five-hole, it's 1-1.

8:39 - Thomas stops Smolenak on a breakaway.

9:32 - Boston has really upped the intensity -- I'll be interested to see the hits tally after the period.

10:56 - Lashoff with a terrific chance to the right of Smith. Smith stopped it, but barely.

12:01 - Kessel hits the post.

14:53 - Stamkos tests Thomas. Timmy makes a save that nearly squeaked through.

15:49 - Thomas is keeping the B's in the game. Another save. Shots are 16-11, TB.

19:30 - Thomas with two big saves. Chara takes down Ryan Craig.

19:59 - Tampa wins the faceoff and sends it deep into Boston's end.

20:00 - Start of Second.
0:00 - Well, the B's held on and survived one of the worst starts of the season. The intensity was there at the end of the session, but perhaps the late loss of Wideman was a bit too much to take right before the game. Neither Boychuk or Lashoff looked out of place. Shots are 9-9, TB leads, 1-0.

22.0 - Stamkos was in deep on Timmy, who holds on for a whistle.

46.2 - Smith stops Wheeler with a toe pick.

1:23 - Smith stops the best B's bid of the night as a Thornton shot handcuffed the keeper and sent him to the ice to cover up.

3:22 - Nice kill. Good work by Krejci, Bergeron, Axelsson...

5:23 - Kobasew with a minor...Some pushing and shoving as the Bruins controlled.

6:31 - Tampa shot and Tim hangs on.

7:05 - Hunwick's dump in is tipped into the crowd.

8:01 - Boston seems to have evened out the game. They are shooting from everywhere and have evened things up, shot-wise, at 6-6.

9:26 - Lucic takes his man out in the corner of the Lightning zone, Wheels follows through on Krajicek behind the Tampa goal.

10:03 - Ryder's bid goes high, but Smith grabs it and holds on for a faceoff.

10:57 - Smith stops the B's latest from Chuck Kobasew, but Chuck is flattened in the process.

11:10 - Thomas with a big shorthanded save.

11:48 - Chara with a big drive through traffic. Smith makes the glove stop.

12:09 - Marek Malik in the box for holding. Boston's first PP.

12:22 - Nokelainen takes the B's first shot.

13:11 - Tampa hits the post...

14:36 - Offsides Boston. Shots are 5-0, Tampa.

15:00 - Save Thomas. A failed breakout sent a Tampa forward in alone.

16:54 - Thomas bobbles a save but he and the B's defense recover in time to get the puck out of harm's way. The Bruins are a "little bit" out of synch.

17:37 - Nokelainen to the box for holding. Yeesh.

18:39 - Wow. This is not starting well. Shades of practices gone by at UVM. St. Louis beats the Bruins "D" and sends a puck into Tim Thomas' net. With his assist on the Lightning goal Vincent Lecavalier takes sole posession of first place on the Lightning's franchise assist list with 340.

19:16 - Wideman's absence is "injury related."

19:57 - Boston wins the faceoff and Matt Hunwick sends it deep into Tampa territory.

20:00 - Start of First Period. Dennis Wideman is not going to play...awaiting word on a reason.

Boston starters: Lucic, Kessel, Savard, Chara, Hunwick, Thomas
Tampa starters: Recchi, Prospal, Eminger, Ranger, Stamkos, Smith

Switching to time on the clock...

7:32 p.m.
Dude. They just hurt Pooh Bear.

The cartoon graphics before the game had Pooh taking a fall as the announcer said, "Silly bear, there's no honey here."


7:09 p.m.
Defenseman Matt Hunwick was filling in for fellow Michigan alum Aaron Ward's duties during warmup -- puck cleanup & distribution, passes to Zee before the line rushes, etc.

The lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Kobasew
Wheeler - Krejci - Ryder
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Lashoff - Chara
Hunwick - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Sturm, Boychuk

6:59 p.m.
Tim Thomas and Mike Smith led their teams out of the locker rooms. Lashoff and Boychuk are both on the ice, no scratches have been announced as of yet.

6:52 p.m.
There’s not as much buzz around the building for this game, but don’t tell Milan Lucic that he doesn’t have to get motivated to play the Lightning.

“They definitely have talent,” said Lucic from his stall in the St. Pete Times Forum. “If you look at their past five games, they haven’t won, but they’ve been in every game and they’ve lost (a bunch) by only one goal.

“So, when you are in a losing (skid) you’re always hungry and eager to get back on the winning side.

“They’re going to come out hard, so we can’t take anything for granted – we want to really get things going as we start a new month and the best way to do that is to have a good first period and go from there,” he said.

3:52 p.m.
Jason Blake #55 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets checked onto the Boston Bruins bench at the TD Banknorth Garden on November 6, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The words on the tips of all the Bruins tongues this morning: Don’t take the Bolts, lightly!

With the Lightning at 1-5-4 in their last 10, who could blame Boston for coming into Hockey Bay feeling a bit confident with their own 8-1-1 docket in the last 10.

“Everything, really, is up to us right now,” said Coach Julien. “I talked about the Buffalo game where we didn’t come out very strong and got ourselves into a game where the other team wanted it more than we did.

“We decided to play in the third and it wasn’t good enough.”

Coach Julien emphasized that the Bruins own approach to games was paramount.

“We have to be hungry and we have to want to win,” he said. “We have to guard against complacency.

“I don’t see it in our guys, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that every game should be a new challenge.”

Coach said the B's can't overlook any team -- including the Lightning.

Boston Bruins' Chuck Kobasew, right, celebrates his second-period goal as Detroit Red Wings' Brad Stuart (23) skates away in a hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
“There’s no reason to take…a game lightly,” said Julien. “Every team is ready for us and every team is going to be gunning to beat you.”

Chuck Kobasew looked at the Lightning lineup and saw lots of good hockey players.

“These guys are extremely skilled,” he said. “They’ve got guys on the team that have been winners and it’s their building.

“We have to be ready to go. We weren’t happy with our last road game and we have to be better…we know it and we talked about it as a team.

“And now is our chance to go out there and put together a better game,” he said.

Across the visitors’ locker room in the St. Pete Times Forum, Mark Stuart was saying the same things as Kobasew and Coach.

“They have the players over there and the talent to have a really good team” he said. “We have to be ready to play – but in any game it’s more about concentrating on your team and how you are going to play.

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)
“Obviously, you have to be ready for the opponent and know what to expect.

“We can’t expect to win games if we go out there and just play okay,” said Stuart.

Despite their lofty record, Stuart insists that nothing besides a full effort will result in a win for the B’s.

“That first period (in Buffalo) was a good example,” he said .”We did not play well.

“We didn’t play terrible, but we didn’t play like we have been and kind of picked it up in the third. We saw what we can do when we work that hard and put that extra effort in.

“But we’re the kind of team that has to do it for 60-minutes.”

12:24 p.m.

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
The Bruins are off the ice and the press availability is over. Some findings:
  • Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien said that Marco Sturm remains out with “concussion-like symptoms” related to a blow he took in the Chicago game. After several days of not feeling any issues, Sturm's neck was stiff today and he took the morning off and will not play this evening.
  • Tim Thomas will be in goal. Manny Fernandez came off the ice first, however, Thomas followed shortly thereafter. Coach Julien deviated from his normal program by cleaning up the discrepancy.
  • Forward P.J. Axelsson and defensemen Shane Hnidy and Zdeno Chara were missing from the skate, but it seems certain that they will play this evening as Coach Julien did not address their absence. Coach will generally give certain vets a chance for a morning off on game days -- Chara especially.
  • There is no word as of yet on whether Johnny Boychuk or Matt Lashoff will be in the lineup. However, Coach Julien indicated that he knew who was playing, but that he had not told either man their status, so we will have to wait until nearly gametime to learn the lineup.

9:27 a.m.
Welcome to Hockey Bay – it’s overcast and about 65-degrees. That’s perfect for a little walk over to the St. Pete Times Forum. The entire arena is empty except for two members of the Lightning, their trainer and myself.

Looking around, you can add Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsey (or “Rammer” as everyone around here calls him) to the equation. He is running stairs.

By the way, did you know that the Tampa Bay Storm were the Arena Bowl champions in 1991, 93, 95, 96 and 2003? Obviously, the Bolts were the Stanley Cup champs in 2004, Eastern Conference and Southeast Division champions in 2003-04 and they owned the Southeast in 2002 – 03, as well.

Wednesday, December 3rd

The Bruins showed their support for Children's Hospital by attending the Champions for Children's fundraiser at the Seaport World Trade Center Tuesday night.

6:06 p.m.
It's beautiful here in Florida, and the Bruins are into the hotel and resting up for tomorrow's tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
There are plenty of interesting decisions about tomorrow's lineup, but Coach Julien was not really letting on about anything earlier this afternoon. First off, there's no telling who is in goal because Coach Julien does not discuss his goaltending decisions before the game.

How about Marco Sturm? Will he play tomorrow?

"He’s still good today," said Julien. "I really mean that.

"We are going to have to make a decision tomorrow.

"I’m not going to say he’s 100-percent right now, but maybe tomorrow morning after he skates, maybe we’ll sit down, chat with him and make that decision," he said.

Okay, what about the blueline? Who will play: Matt Lashoff or Johnny Boychuk?

"I’d rather keep that decision for (Thursday). I’ve got a long flight ahead of me and I’ll start thinking about different things," said the Bruins head coach.

What might tip the scales, Coach?

"Lash has been here, this is Boychuk’s first trip – (but) he’s played for Colorado," he said. "So, you can read between the lines a little bit (as) to where I am leaning towards, but to make that final decision I think I’d rather allow myself a little more time."

For once, Bergy is Improper
Bergeron is on the cover of the latest Improper Bostonian.
The Bruins Patrice Bergeron is now a cover model?

No, Bergy has not left hockey for the runway, but he is on the cover of the latest Improper Bostonian. Find it everywhere (in Boston) right now.

BTW: Don't forget to check out Shawn Thornton's Vlog for his reaction to Patrice's cover story.

12:49 p.m.
Boston's practice concluded just before noon and afterward the club's personnel sped around Ristuccia Arena trying to get ready for the early afternoon flight.

But the media did get to speak to Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien before he left for the airport.

He talked about December and the challenge of being on the road for most of the month.

“The first half of the schedule (has been) that way,” said Julien of the B’s somewhat hit-or-miss agenda. “Every month we’ve been given different challenges and this one here, until Christmas, (we've got) a lot of games with teams that are hovering right around the .500 mark.

“They can be just as big a challenge as anybody else cause they are trying to get back into the race.

“And we’ve become an easier target to get motivated, so we just have to continue to be ready for those games,” he said.

The Bruins are on the plane and Bear Force One is schedule to leave at 1:00 p.m.

11:01 a.m.
This morning, all hands are on deck, again, as the Bruins prepare to hop their plane down to Florida.

Marco Sturm looks strong and continues to make it look like Coach Julien will have a difficult decision to make on Thursday morning.

9:52 a.m.

It's almost time for practice, and as I was thinking about Coach Julien's comments to the media yesterday, I have to say I am glad that Shane Hnidy got some "props" for his work on the Bruins blueline this season.

He's been a real defensive-defenseman -- just what the doctor ordered for the gunslinging Black & Gold.

"I think Shane’s biggest strength is that he knows his limitations," said  Julien of the man nicknamed "The Sheriff."

"He just plays a simple game and an effective game (and) he’s got a really good shot (as well).

"I keep saying that I’d like to see him use it even more when he has the opportunity because he shoots the puck very well. He keeps the play simple and he’s obviously a physical player.

"And you saw the other day with (the fight against Tim) Jackman and he was holding his own. He’s pretty tough in that area as well so he brings a little bit of everything," said Julien.

Coach Julien also thinks that Hnidy's veteran influence has been good for Mark Stuart, as well.

"They’re very similar in style, and at the same time he’s actually allowed Stuart to jump up in the play with Stuart feeling comfortable that Hnidy is going to be back there," said Julien. "But this is an experienced guy that’s been in the league for quite a while with a young player, and we’re talking about Stuart first full season (last year).

"Those two played a lot together, and they played well together."

The Bruins are on the ice at 10:30 a.m. JB
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