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Game Day: Hurricanes vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins

Carolina 0 0 1-1

Boston 2 3 0-5

First Period-1, Boston, Krejci 16 (Wheeler, Wideman), 7:55 (pp). 2, Boston, Yelle 6 (Karsums, Stuart), 17:21.

Second Period-3, Boston, Stuart 4 (Bitz, Chara), 3:27. 4, Boston, Ryder 16 (Krejci, Lashoff), 7:20. 5, Boston, Ryder 17 (Krejci, Wheeler), 16:05.

Third Period-6, Carolina, Williams 3 (Kaberle, Whitney), 6:07.

Shots on Goal-Carolina 10-6-14-30. Boston 9-15-8-32.

Goalies-Carolina, C.Ward, Leighton. Boston, Thomas. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:19.
0:00 - End of the game. It's a final. 5-1, Boston.

2:41 - We're in garbage time and the B's are in the lead by four goals. I am going to end this here. I'll update if there is a change in scoring.

6:11 - Tim rolls across the goal mouth to stop Whitney for what seems like the fifth time this afternoon.

7:06 - Wideman in the box. Eaves was in the box, previously. It's four-on-four.

12:18 - Another nice save by Thomas. Despite the score, Tim has had to be pretty good in certain spots.

13:07 - Brind'Amour and Walker collide...

13:23 - Thomas is right back in it with a glove save on Samsonov (?).

13:53 - That's too bad. Kaberle throws it toward the net, Williams tips it and puts it by Thomas.

15:00 - Boston remains in control, with only minor lapses...

17:05 - Thomas with a glove save. He holds on for a faceoff after the Hurricanes threaten.

18:59 - Thomas stops Whitney. It's a sold out game...17,565.

20:00 - Start of the Third. Everyone keep your head on a swivel! The 'Canes can't be happy.
0:00 - That might have been the B's best period in about two weeks. Shots are 24-16, Boston, and the B's go to the room in control.

2:03 - Kaberle in the box for hooking...

2:46 - Pretty much everyone squared off, but it was Hunwick and Williams who were the "big" matchup. Williams landed several on the top of Hud's head, but Matt got angry and landed two very large blows on the helmeted and shielded Williams.

Give the takedown and decision to Hunwick. I believe that was Matt's first NHL fight.

3:55 - I can't describe it. It was just pretty. Give Ryder the goal, and assists to Wheeler and Krejci and I will post the vid later. WOW.

5:18 - Icing Carolina.

6:49 - As nice a power play as you can have without scoring. Shots are now 19-12, Boston.

8:42 - Zee hits another crossbar.

10:06 - Kobasew is pulled down going to the net. Another power play for Boston.

12:40 - GORGEOUS! Welcome to Boston Mr. Leighton. Ryder held the puck to the goalies right and, on the backhand, beat him glove side low. It's 4-0, Boston. Krejci and Lashoff get the assist.

That's Lashoff's first NHL assist of the year.

14:43 - Nice save, through a bunch of legs, for Thomas. Leighton is in goal for Carolina, BTW.

15:23 - Thornton in the box for hooking.

16:33 - Weak goal let in by Carolina. Bitz drove the zone, threw it towards the net, it was knocked away by a Carolina player and went to Stuart who put it by a stunned Ward.

It's 3-0, Boston. Nice play by Byron to drive into the zone and show some patience while his teammates also went to the net.

Give the first assist to Bitz -- also his first NHL point. Tim Thomas Zdeno Chara had the other assist.

18:28 - BTW:  The B's second PP unit is 26-46-81-48-6.

19:53 - Boston controls the puck and goes into their power play formation.

2:00 - Start of the Second. More of the same, please!
0:00 - The B's had two quick shots (Savard hit the side of the net) and the horn sounded.

20.2 - Not a smart play. Walker trips a Bruin (Axelsson?) as he went to the bench. He gets a deuce for interference.

2:39 - Boston scores. It went off Yelle's boot and in. Give Mark Stuart Martins Karsums the big helper. That's his first NHL point.

3:01 - A big hit from Bitz. He took our Kaberle behind the Carolina goal

5:57 - Shots are 8-6, Carolina.

8:20 - Heard in the press box, "Thomas looks very sharp." And how. The shots are 7-3, Carolina, and Tim has made some dandy saves already.

9:24 - As the power play ended, Thomas robbed Whitney. Nice kill for the Bruins, who look on task this afternoon.

11:27 - Apparently Chara had enough of Staal, who he tackled and put in a headlock. He gets a roughing call, though. That gives Carolina their first power play.

12:05 - Krejci scores. Wheeler dish to David, who beats Ward. It's 1-0, Boston. Assists to Wheeler and Wideman.

12:59  - Same unit, Zee comes in back door and Ward shuts the door and holds on.

13:34 - Chara hit the post. The first PP is 33-44-11-91-73.

13:58 - Walker is in the box for interference. That will give the Bruins their first PP of the day. A very fast-paced game, thus far.

15:50 - A nice first shift from Bitz, who looked to have gotten his first NHL hit.

18:11 - Two early stops from Thomas. There were a couple of Hurricanes causing havoc and they seemed to land on him. He kept the puck out of the net.

19:58 - Carolina wins the draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Thank goodness the game is starting. I need some rest.

Coach Julien spoke about having to use so many players from Providence.

"I guess the word ‘minor leaguer’ is used because they are guys that are in our organization and they are guys that started there," said Julien. "[David] Krejci started there. So they are quality players that are coming up. Sometimes going through adversity is not such a bad thing for a team.

"What it does is build more character. It’s great for a hockey club...I think it’s an opportunity for other guys to come in and show that they can still do the job and replace others.

"We just have to plug away...hopefully, it works in our favor, and it works in a positive manner [and when] our healthy guys come back, it becomes a bonus," he said.

Carolina Starters:
Samsonov, Staal, Ruutu, Kaberle, Babchuk, Ward
Boston Starters: Kobasew, Savard, Kessel, Stuart, Chara, Thomas

Switching to time on the clock...

12:54 p.m.
Press Box Notes
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled forwards Byron Bitz and Martins Karsums from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League). Chiarelli also announced that goaltender Tuukka Rask has been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis. Bitz is expected to make his NHL debut today and wear sweater number 61.

Other stories...
  • Currently six Bruins will be involved in the NHL All-Star Weekend on Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25, including head coach Claude Julien, who was named the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars by the NHL today.
  • Julien has piloted the Bruins to the team’s best start since the 1929-30 season with a 30-7-4 record (points percentage of .780) and an Eastern Conference-leading 64 points. Julien will make his first career NHL All-Star coaching appearance in the city where he coached the Canadiens for 159 games over three seasons from 2002-03 to 2005-06.
  • The NHL announced Thursday that Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas were named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster for the 2009 NHL All-Star game. This marks the fourth all-star appearance for Chara, the second for Savard and the second for Thomas. All three players represented the Bruins at last year’s All-Star game.
  • The NHL announced Friday that Boston Bruins Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler were selected to play in the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game.
  • The Bruins are wearing their Reebok Third Jersey System for the 6th of 16 times this season. They own a 4-1-0 record when wearing their third jersey this year.
  • Tonight is game five of a six-game homestand for the Bruins. They have posted a 2-2-0 record through the first four games.
  • The Bruins have taken the first two games of the season series from the Hurricanes. Neither team has ever swept a season series from the other.
On the other bench...
Sergei Samsonov will be playing in his 700th career NHL game while Frantisek Kaberle is appearing in his 200th game as a Hurricane.

Also for the Hurricanes, Tuesday’s game against New Jersey and Thursday’s game against Florida marked the first games this season that no Carolina player missed a game due to injury. The New Jersey game was the first time the Hurricanes did not accrue a man-game lost since a 2-1 win at Montreal on February 6, 2007, a span of 140 regular season games.

12:50 p.m.

As we reported earlier, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was named head coach to the 2009 Eastern Conference All-Stars and, prior to this afternoon's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, expressed his gratitude to the people who continually help him along the way.

"[This All-Star selection is] because of people around you," Julien said. "It's the players.

"The head coach always gets the credit, yet his assistant coaches are out there doing an unbelievable job and they make him look good as well."

In reference to going back to coach in Montreal –– where he coached for three seasons with the Canadiens from 2002-03 to 2005-06 –– Julien had nothing but good feelings toward his former organization.

Moreover, it was the chance to represent Boston that held the allure for Julien.

"It's close to my hometown of Ottawa and it's more of an honor to be coaching and be representing the Bruins than anything else for me," he said. "Going in there and representing our team is actually the right term because it's because of everybody around me that I get the opportunity to go to that game."

Julien also commented on the last-minute recall of Providence Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, whom he said will replace Manny Fernandez for today's game. Fernandez is said to be day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

12:45 p.m.
Here are the lines...

Ference, Fernandez, Hnidy, Lucic

12:30 p.m.
Sorry for the lack of non-news updates. I've been running around trying to keep up with the various new conferences, etc.

Tim Thomas led the B's out. Ward did the same for the Hurricanes. Bitz (#61), Karsums (#43) and Rask (#40).

12:10 p.m.
Breaking News II

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Tuukka Rask from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis. Rask will join the team today and be available for this afternoon's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. This is his first recall to Boston this season.

Rask has started 30 games this season for Providence and has posted a 17-13-0 record with a 2.42 Goals Against Average and .919 save percentage, including a 4-1 win over Bridgeport last night. His 17 victories are the second most in the AHL. Rask played in four games last year for Boston and registered a 2-1-1 record, with his first NHL game and first NHL victory coming on November 20, 2007 in a 4-2 win at Toronto. He was recalled on four occasions last season and dressed as a backup for 16 games while playing in four.

In his first professional season last year with Providence, he compiled a 27-13-2 record and a 2.33 Goals Against Average and helped lead the P-Bruins to the best regular season record in the AHL.

Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the 21-year-old Rask was acquired by the Bruins on June 24, 2006 in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft

11:21 a.m.
Breaking News

Head coaches Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins and Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks will lead the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star Teams, respectively, at the 57th NHL All-Star Game, Sunday, Jan. 25 at Bell Centre in Montreal (6 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, VERSUS, NHL Radio).

Under the selection process for All-Star coaches, the head coach and assistant coach for the Eastern Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the top points percentages in the Eastern Conference through games of tonight, the halfway point of the 2008-09 regular season. The head coach and assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the best points percentages in the Western Conference.

Julien has guided Boston to its best start since 1929-30 with a points percentage of .780, posting 64 points in 41 games (30-7-4); the Bruins are assured of having the Conference's top points percentage through Saturday. Julien will make his first career NHL All-Star coaching appearance in the city where he coached the Canadiens for 159 games over three seasons from 2002-03 to 2005-06.

Head coaches Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals (27-12-3, .679) and Guy Carbonneau of the Canadiens (24-10-6, .675) still are in contention for the Eastern Conference assistant coaching berth, which will go to the winner of tonight's game between the clubs at Montreal

11:05 a.m.
Byron Bitz is a big dude and boy, is he happy to be here.

"I was pretty excited," said Bitz of the moment he found out about the call up. "My coach, Rob Murray, down in Providence called me in and I thought we were just going to watch some video and just talk to me, but at the end of the conversation he said, 'And you're called up.'

"I just had the biggest smile on my face."

Mom and Dad Bitz are coming in from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

"My dad was just very excited," said Byron. "They are going to be at the game today.

"They booked a last minute flight and they made it."

Thinking about the actual 'moment' when he hits the Garden ice, Bitz was honest about his nervousness.

"I can't wait to get out there and warm up," said the rookie. "I want to get my feet wet, a little bit and get my first shift out of the way.

"It is a lifelong dream."

10:40 a.m.
Bitz and Karsums are in the building. I just saw them walk down the hallway with their hockey bags and sticks and wearing two pretty big smiles.

9:53 a.m.

Alrighty. The Bruins and the Hurricanes did not skate this morning and the Black & Gold will hold sporadic media availability throughout the morning culminating with head coach Claude Julien at 11:50 a.m.

As you know, yesterday was a very busy day, what with the first chat with Patrice Bergeron and the pressers with GM Peter Chiarelli and Coach Julien.

Here’s what we know:
  • There is no set timetable for Patrice, but the prognosis remains positive.
  • Forward Marco Sturm will have surgery, and may very well be out for the season depending on what the surgeons find.
  • Defenseman Andrew Ference remains on track for a mid-month return.
  • Milan Lucic will not play on Saturday and is day-to-day.
  • Lucic and Blake Wheeler will join All-Stars Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas in Montreal and will participate in the Young Stars Competition.
  • Byron Bitz and Martins Karsums will both be in Boston today after being called up on Saturday morning from Providence.
Lastly, and on another happy note, Chiarelli hinted at Coach Julien’s being named the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars (as originally reported on January 3rd by Matt Kalman at -- didn't know you were a Matt major, Matt!) and the GM also seemed to hint at the possibility of having another player added to the East’s roster via injury replacement.

Right now, there are more than enough Bruins players who are deserving and a really good argument could be made at each position (Manny Fernandez in goal, Dennis Wideman on defense and David Krejci or Phil Kessel at forward).

Just in terms of age and accomplishment, it would be neat (and would pull at the heartstrings) to see Masterton trophy candidate Fernandez get some in-season recognition for his comeback and terrific first half while playing in an All-Star game in his home town.

In any case, with the possibility of having at least six members of the Black & Gold tooling around Montreal’s Bell Centre and most likely participating in all aspects of the festivities, it should be an amazing weekend.

By the way, I will have the distinct pleasure of following the club to Quebec and will do my utmost to keep all of you True Believers informed as to Our Boys’ exploits above the border!
Angela Latona contributed to today's Bear Essentials
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