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Game Day: Panthers vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Postgame: "I thought we played them well.  They’re a team that’s had success here in the past, and you could tell, just the way they came out, that they were determined to play well again in this building. I thought we did a pretty good job. Obviously, in the third period, you’re protecting a 4-1 lead, and as much as you hate it, it’s almost like a natural thing (to back off).  We tried to roll four lines, and we tried to keep putting pucks in deep, but we got sloppy at times, but we were composed enough to limit the damage." Claude Julien.

The Boston Bruins are now tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand against the New York Rangers.
0:00 - B's win. 11-1-1 in their last 13.

1:03 - Tim with a save.

1:55 - Florida pulls the goalie...

3:06 -  Peltonen scores in garbage time. A long shift for the B's...hopefully, a nothing goal.

4:23 - Kessel almost had another one...A nice play by Kobasew, who passed to Lucic who took it to the net and passed to Kess. No luck.

7:45 – Ward just pushed Boynton into the boards.  He then moved to the front of the net, where Chara continued what Ward had started.  But just shoving...

8:40 - It’s been pretty back and forth for the last few minutes

11:02 - Phil just had two good shifts in a row -- he got deep, but the breakaways got broke up late. No matter. Hard work is paying off.

13:50 - Timmy smothers a low shot. His toughest stop this period.

14:53 - The wave, ladies and gentlemen.

16:49 - Everyone's back. Panthers are really trying to antagonize Boston. The B's have been very patient, however. Not sure it can last.

18:25 - Now Wideman went to the bench. Tough game for Boston. Sheesh.

20:00 - Start of the Third.  I just saw the replay of the Lucic fight. WOW. Milan really was the victor in that one.
0:00 - A terrific period for Boston, however, the Panthers continue to get more and more chippy.

1.1 - Tim makes a goal line stop on Zednik at the tail end of a breakaway.

1:31 - Savvy is back.

1:41 - Krejci is back. But Savard went to the room.

1:59 - More pushing and shoving. The B's have clearly had enough of the Panthers.

2:42 - Ballard went low on Savard and Ward basically overpowered Ballard. They called it a double minor for Ward (rough). Ballard got two (rough), but nothing for the questionable hit on Savvy.

3:36 - Krejci, who has had a terrific game, just went to the room. Not good.

4:38 - Tim had a visitor, again. He made his 16th save. Vokoun has 28.

5:56 - A kick save, through traffic, for the very lonely (lately) Tim Thomas.

7:34 - Didn't see who shot it (Chuck?), but the puck hit the boards and came back towards Vokoun who had to dive backwards to stop the puck from dribbling into the goal.

8:18 - A very tough, hard fought pugilistic win for Lucic, who landed more than Nick Boynton and then got the takedown. Give the former Bruin credit, however, as it might be the the hardest and longest fight Lucic has had in awhile. Lucic is literally washing the blood off his hands.

9:06 - Boston just keeps on pressing. They are making Vokoun work and work and work.

10:34 - Savvy scores. This time, Savard made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone, caught the puck and put it down, passed and went to the net, where he found a rebound and executed. 4-1, Boston.

11:24 - Hnidy caught it high on the head. Frolik in the box for four minutes on a high stick.

12:17 - Krejci scores. A Panther tripped at the blueline. Krejci picked up the puck, and here's what made the play -- he took his time -- and waited for Chuck Kobasew to come down the left side. He passed to Chuck, who shot and hit a Panther, but David picked up the puck and backhanded it by Vokoun. 3-1, Boston.

14:59 - Tim has seen a lot of shots this period -- five in the early-goings.

15:59 - Hunwick for holding.

16:09 - A decent kill, followed by a tough shot by Kessel.

18:24 - Chara in the box for a hold.

19:59 - David Krejci won the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the Second.
0:00 - A much better first period for the Bruins, tonight. Were it not for Vokoun, the score could be much different.

1:27 - Vokoun has been excellent. The shots are 14-9 B's, and many of the Boston bids have been very tough.

2:06 - A high bouncing puck has Vokoun looking like a shortstop, but he flags the chance down and gets the faceoff.

2:48 - A near miss by Wideman was the highlight, but the Panthers kill it off.

4:45 - Zednik to the box for slashing. A PP was just the thing to wake up the crowd.

5:20 - The Bruins are having a minor issue getting their stuff together here at the end of the first.

6:41 - The B's killed that penalty. But the crowd is getting restless...

9:00 - Props to the dude in the teddy bear suit. Savard in the box for tripping.

9:58 - We talked about this with coach the other day. When you don't  have a play, put it on goal. Hunwick did just that. It's either Hunwick or Bergy's goal, but it was a good play by the D-man either way. 2-1, Boston.

It was Bergeron's goal, from Hunwick and Michael Ryder.

11:10 - Thornton with a hard shot that's fielded by Vokoun.

11:59 - Twenty seconds back on the clock.

11:39 - Folks, this is going to be a goal. Tim was beat clean by a shot by David Booth and play continued...They are reviewing, but they will see the same replay we do up here. They'll roll some some time off the clock.

12:15 - Noah Welch started the hitting with a hit on Thornton. Hnidy just escalated it with a hit on Peltonen.

13:04 - Tim stopped Richard Zednik on a breakaway of his own.

13:48 - The Panthers had a pretty good scoring chance that was foiled by Tim and co. But the Co. hit the puck out of the air with a high stick.

14:27 - Boston remains in control. Florida is having trouble crossing the red line.

17:14 - That was gorgeous. Phil, in on the breakaway, again, beats Vokoun five hole. 1-0, B's. Savard and Wideman started the play and got the helpers. Phil has points in each of his last five games. Savvy has a five game points and assist streak.

17:52 - Vokoun stops Phil Kessel on the breakaway, but holds on for the draw.

18:04 - Spoke too soon. A shot off a faceoff in the B's zone has ten skaters in front of the net and Timmy fighting for his first save.

18:24 - The B's have kept the puck in the Panthers zone for almost all of the young period.

19:59 - Boston wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more of a defensive game tonight. Seven goals are fun, but four goals against is just too many.

Boston starters: Thornton, Yelle, Nokelainen, Stuart, Wideman, Thomas
Florida starter: Skrastins, Bouwmeester, Campbell, Dvorak, Peltonen, Vokoun

Switching to time on the clock.

6:48 p.m.
Press Box Notes...
Throughout the game tonight, the Bruins will honor what is said to be one of the greatest hockey movies of all time, Slap Shot. The first 10,000 fans in attendance on Friday will receive Hanson Brothers style glasses, courtesy of the TD Banknorth Garden. A lucky fan will also receive the ultimate Slap Shot prize pack featuring movie staples: orange and grape sodas and a toy car set. The winner will also have their seat upgraded...
  • The Bruins enter tonight’s game winners of their last six at home (6-1-1 at home this season). The Bruins are 10-1-1 in their last 12 overall. 
  • The B’s are in the midst of a stretch where they play 10 games in 18 days.  This run began on November 12 in Chicago and concludes November 29 against Detroit.  Through five games so far, the Bruins have a 4-0-1 record.
  • Tim Thomas is expected to start in goal tonight for the Bruins.  He is 4-0-1 in his last five starts and is 6-1-1 in his last eight (7-2-3 overall on the season).  Thomas leads the league in Goals Against Average (1.78) and Save Percentage (.944).  Florida goaltender Craig Anderson ranks second in the league in Save Percentage with a .940 mark.
  • Bruins center Marc Savard has a four game assist and point streak in progress with 1-8-9 totals over that span.  Savard’s 18 assists on the season rank tied for second in the NHL, his 25 points rank tied for third in the NHL and his +12 plus/minus rating ranks tied for fourth.
  • Bruins winger Phil Kessel has a four game point streak in progress with 2-3-5 totals.
  • For Florida, defenseman Bryan McCabe has a five game point streak in progress with 3-3-6 totals over that span.The Panthers are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Devils last night.  Michael Frolik had the lone tally for Florida while Tomas Vokoun took the loss in net.
  • Tonight concludes a stretch of eight road games in Florida’s last 10 outings.  They have compiled a 3-5-1 record thus far.

6:35 p.m.
Thomas and Vokoun led the teams out of the rooms.

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

Sturm, Lashoff

6:12 p.m.
Patrice Bergeron weighed in on the Slap Shot phenomenon.

"The best scene's when, on the ice, there's the French speaking guy on the ice, and he starts swearing in French at the guy.  And the other one, when the guy wants to get traded, and he's like, 'How do you say I want to get traded in English?'"

Bergy also talked about Les Boys, a French-Canadian movie along the same lines as Slap Shot.

"I remember, I was 12 years old, and the first one came out, and my whole family, my brother and me, went to the theatre to watch it, and that was unbelievable, it was so funny," he said with a laugh. "Such a good movie, and there's parts of it that are so hilarious.

"The hockey scenes aren't as good as Slap Shot, but overall, that movie's very good."

Manny Fernandez sympathized with the Chiefs goalie in Slap Shot and the movie makes him smile, too.

"It's just as funny in French as it is in English," said Fernandez. "But I think it's blown up a little bit.

"They make (the minors) look worse than it actually is, but it's funny because we've all been part of that kind of hockey.

"Obviously, the NHL doesn't have anything that resembles that. But in the minors it's a little bit like that.  (Slap Shot) is like the 'Days of Our Lives' of hockey – it's blown up a little bit, but it's funny."

Manny remembered Les Boys, too.

"I think for American viewers, I think it'd kind of be hard to connect with that movie, but there's a lot of French actors, or people from Quebec, so for us, it's like half our crew of actors from Quebec," said Manny.  "But (there's some) funny comedians.

"But I don't know what the translation was like for them -- I haven't seen it (in English).

"Some of those movies, they're great in English, and some of them are great in French, but you try to translate the humor and some of it gets lost along the way."

Liks Slap Shot, Les Boys captures what it feels like to be a hockey player.

"I mean, (the movies) are great for us," he said. "Les Boys is more like a garage league, a beer league. It's just a bunch of guys that get together and play hockey, and a little bit of their personal lives get into the action.  It's a funny movie."

3:57 p.m.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Mathieu Darche (21) battles Boston Bruins' Matt Lashoff for the puck during the third period of Tampa's 3-1 win in a hockey game in Boston Thursday, March 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
This morning, Coach Julien also addressed the issue of this evening's lineup – which will probably be pretty much what it was on Wednesday.

"We have what we have," he said, adding that Marco Sturm "wasn't out there this morning, so you won't see him out there tonight."

Sturm has been out of the lineup this week with an undisclosed ailment.

"We're calling it day-to-day because it is short term," said Julien.  "I would be honest with (the media) if it was a long term thing.  We would have addressed it as long term."

Another player who is day-to-day – but in a different way – is Matt Lashoff, who was recalled from Providence on Wednesday.

"He's obviously going to do warm-up tonight, and we'll make the decision as we go along," said Julien.  "He's the only extra guy we have right now, so he's got to be ready if called on."

And when, exactly, would that happen?

"He could be called upon because of injuries, or he could be called upon because someone's not doing a job that we think needs to be done, and he's going to replace him," said Julien.

Recalling Lashoff was partially a precautionary measure, so he could spend some time practicing with the regulars and get the adjustment out of the way.

"When a guy gets called up right from his team and doesn't really get a chance to practice with your hockey club, it can be a little tougher than if a guy's been around for at least a few days and has a better feel of the hockey club and what it's like to be on the ice with those guys," said Julien.  "We want to give him an opportunity to get used to being around these guys."

2:49 p.m.
Talking Panthers But No Panther's Talking

Coach Julien was asked if there were any danger of the B's taking the Panthers lightly.

"Well I don’t think (there) should be," said Julien. "According to the stats that I saw, they’ve won 7 out of the last 8 games in this building.

"So if we’re not ready for that, I don’t know what will get us ready.

"We have to definitely be ready for them," he said.

Admittedly, Boston came out of the chute a little flat on Wednesday. Did the coaching staff address any of that with the players?

"A lot of it they know. You don’t necessarily have to address it," he said. "I think what they did yesterday, we looked at some things that we didn’t do well which caused us to get in some trouble.

"We just have to make sure those few little things are addressed early and that should give us a more decent start."

The first 10,000 fans in the door tonight get Hanson Brothers glasses.
Julien talked about the players who were not present at morning skate -- particularly Zdeno Chara.

"That was his option," said the coach. "Our guys took a while last year to convince them that sometimes the best thing to do is to stay off the ice, especially with the amount of ice time (they) get as an individual.

"Once you get past that mental block where you really feel the need to go on, and you understand what it does, you stop having to convince players to stay off and he did that on his own."

Still speaking of Chara, and his taking the morning off, Coach implied that Chara does not have to prove anything to anyone at morning skate.

"His leadership has to come in the dress(ing) room, it has to come out on the ice, and games. He doesn’t have to prove his leadership qualities, he just has to show it when it’s time to show it."

FYI: Florida did not skate this morning.

Toucher & Rich
In case you haven't heard, WBCN's Toucher & Rich will be broadcasting their show this afternoon from right here at the Garden from the concourse of North Station in front of Makers Mark Crossing.

Members of the team and management will be stopping by, too, so make sure to get here a little early or, if you can't make it, listen in!

12:17 p.m.
We ran into Milan Lucic, post practice. The big winger seemed pretty excited about tonight's tilt.

"Obviously our first two games in here, we didn't do so well," he said. "But this is our home, this is a place where we want to make it uncomfortable for other teams when they come in.

"I think we just have to be a hard team to play against and make sure we're working hard."

Lucic spoke about focusing on the Panthers.

"But I think the good thing for us is that we've just been taking the season so far one game at a time," said Lucic. "We haven't looked to far ahead, and I think that's why we are where we're at."

Lucic was asked about the B's burgeoning offensive numbers and why they have been growing so quickly.

"It's nice that we're finding the back of the net," he said. "But I think it has a lot to do with us winning more puck battles and not worrying about scoring -- just worrying about creating scoring opportunities.

"And this year, the puck is finding the back of the net, and I think it's from the first guy to the last guy."

11:42 a.m.
While we are waiting on some words from Coach Julien, how about some facts about tonight and the movie Slap Shot.
  • Tonight is the Bruins first Friday night home game since 1977, the same year Slap Shot was released.
  • Steve Carlson (Steve Hanson) was head coach of the Bruins Johnstown affiliate from 1988 to 1992.
  • Slap Shot won the 1977 Hochi Award in Japan for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Al Pacino was interested in playing Paul Newman's character, Reggie Dunlop, but was not offered the part because he couldn't skate.
  • Yvon Barrette (Chiefs goalie Denis Lemieux) badly injured his knee during early filming.  Instead of replacing him, Director George Roy Hill postponed all of Barrette's scenes until he healed.
  • Nick Nolte lobbied for the part of Ned Braden, but his schedule did not allow enough time for him to learn to skate before filming.
  • The Federal League trophy hoisted by the Chiefs at the end of Slap Shot currently resides in the basement of one of the film's extras... as a flower pot.

11:13 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice. Marco Sturm, P.J. Axelsson, Mark Savard, Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara were the notables missing from what ammounted to a semi-optional practice.

10:06 a.m.

In anticipation of Steve Carlson's (of Hanson Brothers fame) visit to the TD Banknorth Garden, Angela Stefano bounded around the locker room on Wednesday asking the Bruins about their favorite scenes from the movie.

Milan Lucic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Lucic: When, I think, when they get taken in by the cops, and they go “You get one phone call,” and they go, “Call the pizza guy!” I think that’s one of my favorite spots. It’s obviously a classic movie, and it actually is a big part of hockey. I just think it’s pretty funny, so that’s the only reason. It’s something those guys would do; something crazy like that.”

Yelle: “Oh boy, I haven’t seen that movie in a while. But in the warm-up, when he clotheslines a guy at the red line – remembering back to when I was younger, I thought that was the funniest thing. I mean, the whole movie’s really funny. It’s just unexpected at the time when you first see it, and the three brothers are so funny to look at when they’re skating, so I thought it was pretty cool.”

Krejci: “Half the team was French (speaking), right? It’s funny when they just start swearing in French. It reminds me a little of Manny Fernandez. When we’re playing soccer (before the game), he starts swearing in French.”

Savard: “My favorite scene’s probably when he tells the guy if he gets hit, he’s going to (wet) himself. He goes back in the corner, and he gets run over and has a little accident. I just think it’s funny, so that’s one of my favorites.”

Thomas: “My favorite thing about the movie? I don’t know. It’s the goalie – the goalie’s talking about the air in the building, and he’s saying that it’s killing him, but he’s (got an accent), so he’s saying, “The hair. The hair is killing me.” It’s just something I (imitate). I don’t say it a lot, but whenever I happen to go through a smoky area, or something that smells really bad, I just, I repeat it, so I guess that makes it memorable to me.”

Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
Stuart: “I like when the Hansen brothers are trying to get sodas out of the vending machine, and they start kicking it and swearing. I think those guys just make the movie -- they’re hilarious. When I think back to that movie, it’s one of those scenes I remember.”

Wideman: “Oh, from the movie Slap Shot? I haven’t seen that in a long time. Well the one that I like, I can’t say on the Internet.”

Hunwick: “I like all the lies they tell – the key chain to the tire iron, the guy throws the keys at him.”

Wideman: “I like the interview with that French (speaking) goalie. I’ll go with the interview, but I haven’t seen it in 10 years.”

Wheeler: “The one at the end of the movie, where the guy’s skating around the ice, taking all his equipment off while everyone else is fighting, and they end up having to forfeit because the other (team) punches the ref out, and it just turns into mayhem because this guy’s just skating around with his (athletic supporter) on, carrying the cup around.”

Thornton: “I think it’s overplayed. I like Paul Newman, but, I don’t know, it’s just too much, too much cult hockey. I like Youngblood better than Slap Shot. It’s just too overplayed inside the hockey world. I don’t think Youngblood gets enough respect. I don’t know if it’s better, it just doesn’t get as much respect. It deserves more notoriety.”
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