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Game Day: Bruins @ Senators

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston 1 1 1 0-4

Ottawa 0 1 2 0-3

First Period-1, Boston, Wheeler 15 (Ference, Kessel), 11:46 (pp).

Second Period-2, Boston, Chara 12 (Ryder, Krejci), 10:27. 3, Ottawa, Foligno 7 (Bell), 15:54.

Third Period-4, Ottawa, Alfredsson 15 (Heatley), :58. 5, Ottawa, Spezza 19 (Foligno, Alfredsson), 8:33 (pp). 6, Boston, Kobasew 10 (Wheeler, Chara), 15:58 (pp).


Shootout-Boston 1 (Wheeler NG, Kessel NG, Bergeron NG, Savard NG, Axelsson G), Ottawa 0 (Spezza NG, Alfredsson NG, Bell NG, Vermette NG, Heatley NG).

Shots on Goal-Boston 8-10-8-4-30. Ottawa 7-7-6-2-22.

Goalies-Boston, Thomas. Ottawa, Elliott. A-17,297 (19,153). T-2:36.
Boston wins shootout and take the game, 4-3.

Thomas stops Spezza.
Elliott stops Wheeler.
Thomas stops Alfredsson.
Elliott stops Kessel.
Thomas stops Bell.
Bergeron missed.
Thomas stops Vermette.
Elliott stops Savard.
Thomas stops Heatley.
Axelsson scores.
0:00 - Timmy made another save at the end and we are going to a shootout.

1:15 - Thomas robs Fisher. What a stop. A sort've two-pad stack. Wow.

3:06 - Another big save by Elliott! Again on Wideman.

3:50 - A gorgeous glove save by Elliott on Wideman with Savard right in front of the net.

5:00 - Start of Overtime. Mike Fisher is going to the box for interference. Boston will have a four-on-three advantage.
0:00 - A final shot. It looks like an Ottawa interference penalty is coming. We're going to OT.

4.1 - Late faceoff in the B's zone. Boston timeout.

15.2 - Heatley shot, Wideman stop.

1:45 - Neil hits Ference in the Boston end. Big hit.

2:01 - That time Ottawa kills the PP.

4:02 - Kobasew scores. Chara shot. Block. Chara shot, Wheeler touch. Kobasew picks up puck and puts it by Elliott. Boston has another two minutes to work with, as well.

5:06 - Vermette is going to the box for four minutes. That was tough to watch. Michael Ryder took a stick high and Don Delnegro had to work quickly to get pressure on the wound and stop the flow of blood. Boston is 1/2 on the PP.

6:07 - Krejci carries into the zone, curls toward the blueline, turns and fires on goal. Elliott with the save and holds on.

7:20 - Spoke too soon. Savard makes Elliott work hard for a save.

7:35 - Now it's Boston having trouble creating chances.

9:17 - The B's look tired...

11:27 - Whoa. Ottawa scores. Alfredsson to Foligno to Spezza. Goal. It's 3-2, Ottawa. Yeesh.

12:19 - Kessel is in the box for delay of game. He cleared a near Ottawa goal over the glass.

12:36 - Wheeler puts the pucks right through Elliott's crease.

14:18 - Some shoving and I think Savard got a punch to the chops. No penalties.

14:52 - Kuba to the box for cross checking.  A big break for the B's.

16:32 - Thomas couldn't come up with the puck and Ottawa almost went ahead...

19:02 - Ottawa scores. A defensive breakdown - in the slot - leads to a nearly uncontested Senators goal. It's 2-2. Alfredsson beat Thomas.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
0:00 - Ryder had a very nice chance to end the period, but the score remains, 2-1, Boston. NESN reminds us that Boston is 25-0-2 when leading after two.

1:05 - Ottawa has really found some energy since their goal...

3:10 - As usual, Thomas bounces back with a big save.

4:06 - A very nice goal by Nick Foligno. The Ottawa forward cut across the middle and caught Thomas looking shot. It's 2-1, Boston.

5:17 - Savard knocks at the door, but Elliott made the save.

6:58 - Thomas comes through again...

8:34 - Bitz is in the box for roughing.

9:33 - A big shot by Chara, from the blueline, straight through Elliott. It's 2-0, Boston.

11:09 - Kessel on a breakaway, save Elliott.

12:01 - With Neil on the doorstep, Thomas grabs the puck and holds on. There's a pile up, but nothing more.

13:46 - Wheeler, Ryder and Krejci are making things hard for Ottawa.

14:48 - Thomas with a diving pokecheck on Winchester to stop a breakaway.

15:51 - Ottawa's best try of the night. Thomas gloves an Alfredsson shot away and Foligno was just late getting to the loose puck.

16:57 - Thornton is stopped by Elliott. Thornton is wearing a shield as he was hit with a puck on the bench last night.

18:30 - More of the same from Boston...

20:00 - Start of the Second.
0:00 - Perfect timing for the break. Ottawa seemed to be gaining confidence, and the B's look to need a break. It's 1-0, Boston.

51.6 - Ward with a nice shot block.

2:04 - Kessel and Savard combine down low for some pressure...

3:57 - Elliott makes a save on Stuart.

4:24 - At this point Ottawa is having trouble crossing the redline.

6:06 - Boston is really limiting Ottawa's chances. It's been very difficult for the Sens to get anything to the middle.

8:14 - Wheeler tips a Ference shot from the point. Gorgeous goal, which looked like something out of SEGA. It's 1-0, Boston.

9:34 - Bergeron, Ryder and Axelsson combined on a scoring chance...

9:50 - Winchester to the box for high sticking. Boston in on the PP for the first time.

10:24 - Some more good pressure by Krejci and Co.

11:56 - Thomas is handcuffed by a Alfredsson shot that goes through Chara's legs. Tim hangs on for the draw.

13:02 - Sustained Bruins pressure!

14:21 - Thomas hangs on to the latest Senators shot.

14:28 - Another save by Thomas.

15:19 - Timmy had to make a terrific save on Alfredsson to keep the score 0-0.

16:20 - Boston is offside. Both sides are a little sloppy at this point.

17:51 - Savard is offside off a pass by Axelsson. Boston looks to have legs...

19:01 - Chara popped Neil. Nice hit to start the rough stuff.

19:54 - Ottawa won the opening draw.

20:00 - First Period. Why not drop the hammer? Brian Elliott is in goal for Ottawa.

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

6:42  p.m. also had the lines...
Axelsson - Savard - Kessel
Wheeler - Bergeron - Kobasew
Nokelainen - Krejci - Ryder
Thornton - Yelle - Bitz
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hndiy

Hunwick, Lucic

6:12 p.m.
That didn't take long...
The Bruins are reporting that Milan Lucic will not play tonight and Tim Thomas will be in goal.

On, The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa reports...
Milan Lucic, who took a puck off the foot last night, will not play tonight. Claude Julien said the swelling in Lucic's foot was too great for him to dress. Lucic underwent X-rays last night. Julien said Lucic will be re-evaluated when the Bruins return to Boston...Petteri Nokelainen will be back in the lineup.

5:56 p.m.
Maybe Manny?

Like me, you might be sitting around wondering if Coach Julien might give Manny Fernandez a shot in goal tonight, particularly with the B's having to play Philadelphia again on Saturday.

Again, I go back to some things Julien said before he left Wilmington when he was asked when the Hub of Hockey might see Fernandez back between the pipes.

"I can’t answer that, because this is his first practice, I don’t know exactly where he is," said Julien on Tuesday. "I haven’t had a chance to sit with him to talk to him.

"Goaltenders...have to feel very comfortable moving around and stopping pucks," said the coach. "I just saw him for the first full practice.

"I’m going to take some time and chat with him and see how he does in the next few days and we’ll go from there."

5:39 p.m.
I'm awaiting word from the Ottawa contingent as to tonight's starter in goal and to hear if there are any changes in the B's lineup.

That said, I was going through my recorder and I happened on a quick interview I did with P.J. Axelsson before the club left for Philadelphia.

I asked P.J. about having to play one of the Eastern Conference's contenders the night before having to play one of the clubs bringing up the rear.

“Hopefully, we’ve learned that over the year,” said P.J. Axelsson about the Bruins maintaining focus against the Ottawa Senators. “And I think we’ve been pretty good back-to-back, so that’s a good sign.

“I think I’ve said it before, but I think it’s more mental than physical.

“You have to prepare for the games,” he said.

What about maintaining motivation when playing against a team that is near the bottom of the standings?

“I think that’s your job – as a professional,” said Axelsson. “Ottawa just changed their coach so they’re going to come out flying.”

1:04 p.m.
Forward Dean McAmmond will be a healthy scratch against the Bruins while Alexandre Picard (wrist) and Shean Donovan (knee) are out indefinitely. After being recalled from Binghamton on Wednesday, Ryan Shannon will skate on the second line.

Projected Lines vs. Bruins
Heatley - Spezza - Alfredsson
Foligno - Fisher - Shannon
Vermette - Kelly - Neil
Schubert - Winchester - Ruutu
Phillips - Lee
Kuba - Volchenkov
Bell - Smith

11:54 a.m.
The word from Ottawa is that only three Bruins are on the ice and that there is no formal morning skate: Petteri Nokelainen, Byron Bitz and Manny Fernandez.

9:01 a.m.
Reading through last night's clips, I find that Kevin Paul Dupont may have garnered the quote of the year (highlighted below) when he spoke to Thomas about his big first period save.

Dupont writes in today's Boston Globe...
Randy Jones first hit Thomas with a long-range slapper, one the goalie lost in the crowd of bodies that jammed the slot. The rebound went into the left circle, where Jeff Carter snapped off a shot that looked destined to land somewhere in the wide-open left half of the net. However, Thomas scurried back and appeared first to cut it down with his paddle before smothering it in his midsection and dropping into the crease to stop the clock.

"Thorny said it was a good paddle save," said Thomas, referring to teammate Shawn Thornton. "But to be honest, I didn't have the luxury of seeing the replay - and I still haven't. The skill on that goal was falling down, and you have to make yourself soft when you fall like that . . . and that's not easy for a guy with the nickname 'Tank'. If you don't make that soft drop, there's a chance you just go right into the net with it."

You've gotta love it.

8:48 a.m.

Click the pic to see the save...
Tim Thomas backstopped the Bruins (38-8-6, 1st overall in the NHL) to another win last night as the veteran netminder made 25 saves in his 23rd victory of the season.

And, with 15:39 on the clock in the first, Thomas made what would just be one of his spectacular saves on the evening, fielding a puck like a shortstop and then wrestling the projectile down to the ice before he (and/or it) crossed the goal line.

“Well that power play, it was right at the beginning of the first period and I think it was important for us to kill that off and get through it,” said the goalie to NESN’s Naoko Funayama postgame. “Otherwise, they would have the momentum, early.

“There was a shot from the point through traffic. I saw the shot real easy, but then I lost it through the bodies. I did put my stick in the right place [to make the first save], because I was trying to put it to the corner. But it happened to bounce right to [Jeff] Carter.

“If you are going to give up a juicy rebound like that you better find a way to save [it],” he said.

“Find a Way” is probably on Thomas’ family crest, because from the University of Vermont to Europe to the NHL that’s pretty much describes the B’s goalie’s m.o.

Thankfully, “Find a Way” could also be the motto of the Boston Bruins as the NHL's top club finds different ways to win almost every single night.

“Around the NHL, every team in the NHL talks about playing a good road game,” said Thomas. “I think we play good road games and I think we play our best at home when we…play it like a road game.

“And I am not talking about fan support, I am talking about keeping it simple, getting it deep, not making turnovers and working hard to get our chances.

“I think we do a pretty good job of that,” he said.

Getting big saves at key points of the game helps, too.

Boston is scheduled to skate at 11:30 a.m.

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