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Game Day: Penguins vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Pittsburgh 1 0 1-2

Boston 2 1 1-4

First Period-1, Pittsburgh, Jeffrey 1 (Goligoski, Wallace), 2:59. 2, Boston, Krejci 14 (Wheeler, Ryder), 4:05. 3, Boston, Axelsson 2 (Wideman, Savard), 9:24 (pp).

Second Period-4, Boston, Lucic 11 (Kobasew, Yelle), 12:25.

Third Period-5, Pittsburgh, Fedotenko 10 (Satan, Malkin), 6:20. 6, Boston, Savard 13 (Axelsson, Yelle), 19:57 (en).

Shots on Goal-Pittsburgh 13-4-15-32. Boston 6-10-10-26.

Goalies-Pittsburgh, Sabourin. Boston, Fernandez. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:21.

0:00 - That's ten in a row! Off to the locker room. Boston will be at the top of the NHL standings.

2.6 - Marc Savard gets the open net goal to ice the contest.

18.8 - With the extra attacker on, Fernandez had to make his best save of the evening by laying down across the goal line and pulling the puck into himself to keep it away from Crosby.

46.0 - Krejci steals the puck and dumps in to keep Sabourin in.

1:01 - Outstanding clear by Ward.

2:30 - Boston with a good kill and that has fulled a little post-PK surge.

4:11 - Fernandez survives a tough bouncing puck and holds on.

4:19 - It's a timeout for Pittsburgh. The Pens still have 57-seconds to work with.

5:23 - Holding call on Savard.

7:08 - Malkin is thumped by Thornton...

9:30 - Bruins back on the power play.

12:27 - Sobotka just crunched Staal.

13:40 - A juicy rebound off his own shot sees Fedotenko beat Fernandez. It's now 3-2.

14:15 - The B's just announced that the game is a sellout - 17,565. That's the eighth sold out game of the year and the fourth in a row.

15:38 - A Bruins shot from just after the PP. Sabourin makes the save and waits for the faceoff.

17:42 - Matt Cooke stops the Pens momentum dead with a high sticking penalty. B's are 1/4 on the man advantage.

18:06 - Manny made a paddle save on Malkin while in the process of sitting down on the goal line. He has been very sharp.

18:49 - Pittsburgh spent most of the third minute in the B's zone. Icing Boston.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
0:00 - A late shot by Kessel has the crowd oooohing and ahhhhhhing. Boston remains in control by a score of 3-1. Pittsburgh is up on shots, 17-16.

Boston got a little undisciplined at times during that session, but it didn't hurt them.

37.5 - Split save Fernandez, through some traffic. Nice.

2:23 - Some jostling between Whitney and Lucic turns into a Lucic penalty for slashing. Whitney apparently started it with a cross check and Lucic got caught with the retaliation. Milan looked plenty mad going to the box. One wonders if this will be continued later...

3:58 - Pitt has another guy in the box. Dupuis for a hook. That gives the B's a five-on-three for 1:14.

4:44 - Talbot is in the box for Pitt. Interference. Boston is 1/2 on the power play.

7:04 - Hunwick in the bin for a high stick. Pitt is oh-for-two on the PP.

7:35 - The puck possession was great. But the B's needed to finish a chance. Lucic did. Kobasew drove into the zone, dished to Yelle and Luch was in front with an open shot. He beat Sabourin to make the score 3-1. Shots are 17-12, Pitt.

9:03 - Pittsburgh's turn. They kept the puck in the Bruins zone for nearly two minutes. Blake Wheeler looked like he was pretty gassed as he was one forward with the most work.

11:24 - St. Pierre to Thornton, and Shawn made Sabourin work for the right leg save.

12:12 - Right now the Penguins are having trouble getting out of their half of the ice.

14:59 - It's a puck possession clinic being put on by Boston. But Manny sees a shot and holds on to it. Shots are 14-7, Pittsburgh.

16:17 - Sabourin holds on to a St. Pierre shot for the faceoff. Boston remains in control of the game, despite the close score.

19:22 - Kobasew had two terrific chances, the first went just wide, the second found the safety net above the glass. Chuck was looking to the heavens for some help, afterward.

19:58 - Yelle wins the draw for Boston.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period.
0:00 - End of the First. Not much to complain about there. It's 2-1, Boston.

Krejci to NESN's Naoko Funayama about Wheelers pass for the goal: "He made is so easy for me."

Krejci didn't brag, but he could. That's a 10-game points streak for David (6 g, 11a).

1:49 - Fernandez nabbed a hot shot from Malkin and then held on for the draw. The crowd is appreciative of the stop.

2:46 - Sobotka got caught with his hand off his stick and grabbing one of the Penguins. It's holding and that gives Pittsburgh their second PP.

4:59 - Ward just just flattened Satan and woke up the crowd...

5:38 - Manny hangs on for a faceoff. Boston is not giving the Pens much to work with as they try to tie the game.

8:28 - Talbot is in the box for hooking. B's on the PP for the second time. They are one-for-one.

10:36 - Give that one to P.J. With his stick at hip height, Axelsson tapped the puck (from Marc Savard) over the shoulder of the Pens goalie. It's 2-1, Boston. Pittsburgh leads in shots, 5-3.

11:14 - Goliogoski gets a delay of game call and puts the Bruins on the PP for the first time.

11:22 - Stuart croaks Cooke.

12:23 - Manny does the butterfly to keep the puck out with several Penguins milling about.

13:47 - Wideman is going to the box after making darn sure that Sidney Crosby wasn't going to get to the net on a partial breakaway. The Pens' first powerplay of the night.

14:51 - Ward just cleaned out Ruslan Fedotenko and kept the puck in the Pittsburgh zone, temporarily.

15:55 - That didn't take long. Tic-tac-toe and there you go. Ryder, Wheeler, Krejci, goal. See kids, this is easy! It's 1-1. That was Krech's 14th of the season. Shots are 2-2.

17:01 - Boston had controlled most of the play until Dustin Jefferey made a terrific play and just -- together now -- put it on net. Through a crowd, it found twine and the Pens find themselves on the board early.

19:46 - Whitney and Lucic just got into a little jousting match inside the B's blueline. There certainly could be some "issues" between the two clubs tonight.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Boston played and outstanding game during the third period in Pittsburgh. That kind of intensity will be key to a repeat victory.

Pittsburgh Starters: Dupuis, Crosby, Sykora, Crosby Orpik, Sabourin
Boston Starters: Hunwick, Wideman, Lucic, Yelle, Kobasew, Fernandez

Switching to time on the clock...

6:40 p.m.
Here are the lines...
Axelsson - Savard - Kessel
Lucic - Yelle - Kobasew
Wheeler - Krejci - Ryder
Sobotka - St. Pierre - Thornton
Chara - Ward
Hunwick - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Nokelainen, Lashoff

6:32 p.m.
Proviing, once again, that the first man off theory has its flaws, Manny Fernandez is in goal for Boston. Dany Sabourin is between the pipes for Pitt.

It looks like Lashoff and Nokelainen are the scratches.

6:25 p.m.
Press Box Notes...
The Bruins enter tonight’s matchup winners of their last 13 at home (13-1-1 at home this season).  During these 13 games, the B’s have averaged 5.15 goals per contest and have outscored their opponents 67-30. Their last loss at home came 69 days ago on October 23 against Toronto, the only team to have defeated the Bruins in regulation at the TD Banknorth Garden this season.

Other notes:
  • This win streak is their longest such stretch since a 16-game home win streak from January 10 – March 25, 1976. It is the longest home winning streak in the league this season and is the fifth longest in team history behind streaks of 20, 19, 16 and 15 games.
  • The Bruins have won nine straight overall and 14 of their last 15. Their current nine-game run is the longest active streak in the league, and tied for the longest of the season (San Jose, Chicago 9).
  • David Krejci has a nine-game point streak in progress, with 5-11-16 totals over that span.
  • Tonight’s matchup is game one of a six-game homestand for Boston. The Bruins have 13 games in January, 10 of which are at the TD Banknorth Garden. In December, the Bruins also had 13 games, however nine of them were played on the road.
  • Four different Bruins own the league’s top four plus/minus ratings. Dennis Wideman and Marc Savard are tied for the league lead with +25, Blake Wheeler is third with a +22 and David Krejci is fourth with a +21. Washington’s Alexander Semin and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin are the only two other NHL players with +20 ratings or better, as they are tied for fifth in the league with +20 marks each.
  • Pittsburgh and Boston met Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, with the Bruins claiming a 5-2 victory behind three-point nights from Dennis Wideman and Marc Savard. For Pittsburgh, Dustin Jeffrey tallied his first NHL point.
  • Evgeni Malkin leads the NHL in scoring with 59 points and 44 assists. He has points in 30 of 37 games this season, including 17 multiple-point games.
  • Earlier today, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Jiri Hudler had two goals and one assist and Henrik Zetterberg added three assists for the Red Wings. Detroit now has scored an NHL-best 138 goals on the year, one more than the Bruins’ total of 137.

6:18 p.m.
Coach Julien was asked another interesting question this morning:

At the beginning of the year, did he think that the Bruins would have the best record in the Eastern Conference on January 1?

"Well, I don’t think that was our goal to start with," said Julien, candidly. "I think our goal from the beginning of the year was we needed to be better than we were the year before.

"Although a lot of people in Boston thought it was a good year for us [last year] and we showed a lot of resilience and obviously through injuries , showed a lot of character, we still lost out in the first round. So we couldn’t be pleased with that.

"I know we wanted to get better and I think that is the approach we took. Now, [being at the top of the Eastern Conference], I don’t think anybody predicted that and I’m not saying it’s a surprise because we go out, we play with a lot of confidence and we know that if we work hard that we can compete to win every game," he said.

4:10 p.m.
Ference looked fine...
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30), center, and Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference (21), right, protect the goal against Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle (15) during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Andrew Ference made his first appearance with the team in a long time, today. But he has been skating for much of this week.

"Is this day four?" said Ference. "A couple guys came out yesterday, but this is the first time [with] the group, so it's nice.

"It's nice to get some passes from the guy -- it was good."

Coach Julien said Ference's improvement is impressive.

"Yah, he is doing well," said the Bruins coach. "He has worked really hard with his rehabilitation to be at the stage where he is right now.

"So it is encouraging news and he is keep moving forward and I think we are all looking forward to having him back in the lineup at some point."

Ference was asked about his injury and how he felt physically.

"It's not 100%, but it's more comfortable than I thought it was going to be," said Ference. "The only real part that is [obviously repaired] is the actual screw part.

"When the skate gets on a certain angle, it just pushes against the tops of the screws and it's not the most comfortable feeling in the world."

Otherwise things are good with the tibia.

"The strength and mobility of it is great," continued Ference. "We kind of knew that right from the start. Working with the therapist to keep the mobility, we knew that was going to be a big plus, and it has been."

Will the two screws ever come out?

"At the end of the year," he said. "They will stay in all year and at the end of the year I guess it's just a short procedure.

"The bone is healed pretty good right now."

"It's way better than I thought it was going to be," he said.

Ference was also asked about his hockey readiness. He said he had some things to work on, like timing and playing in the corners.

"It's one thing to stop and start, but it's another thing to push against another body," he said. "That's pretty much [the plan] over the next week; to obviously push against some bodies and get pushed against and [work] on the hands.

"Other than that, my conditioning is good...because you can do that the whole time you are out. The strength part is the part that has to catch up."

What's the timetable?

"I think we were always shooting for...mid-month," said Ference. "Obviously, with these last few days being good, you get ahead of that and it's a bonus.

"Hopefully, the next four or five days, you get those good practices and then you just kind of take it from there."

Ference said, however, that he won't enter the lineup until he is clearly ready to do so.

"The way the guys are playing, you just want to let it keep rolling and you really do have the luxury of making sure it's 100% and that you are not just coming back for the sake of coming back," he said. "Obviously, you want to come back and be a contributor because the guys are playing so well right now."

Bergy's status
Coach Julien also gave a short update on Patrice Bergeron and the news remains encouraging.

"[Patrice] keeps doing better everyday," he said. "Keeps getting better.

"And so we just have to hope that he recovers well."

2:24 p.m.
Are you watching?
Fans cheer during the first period of the NHL Winter Classic hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
The NHL Winter Classic is on as we speak and the score is 3-1, Chicago at the start of the second.

It's been a terrific game with plenty of hitting and rough stuff, but also with some very nice goals and goaltending.

If you are sitting around waiting for the B's to come on, go ahead and throw the Detroit vs. Chicago game on.

The possibility of an outdoor involving the Bruins is pretty exciting. And seeing this event going so well for a third contest (the Heritage Classic and the two Winter Classics) makes me think that a Boston based outdoor game is a distinct possibility.

Let's hope so, anyway...

12:51 p.m.
An Easter Island statue doing a great impression of Coach Julien when he is asked about his goaltending choice, pregame. (photo:
When asked who would be his starter in goal this evening, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was as stone faced and silent as a statue on Easter Island.

Coach likes his choice to be a mystery, just like the statues.

That said, Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice and that usually indicates that he will be the starter tonight.

"Having seen what this team can do, I don't think we've overachieved," said Thomas to the press this morning. "I think we've played pretty good hockey, pretty consistently for most of the year and that's got us where we are."

Thomas talked about that consistency.

"You're never going to maintain your total top level of play," he said. "It's impossible and that's the nature of all sports.

"But if you can keep it as close to the center as possible -- keep the valleys, and even the peaks 'not too high and not too low.'

"That's one of the oldest sayings in hockey and it's the truth," he said.

By the way, here is a discussion of the statues (called moai) from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (
The moai represent ancestral chiefs who were believed to be descended directly from the gods and whose supernatural powers could be harnessed for the benefit of humanity. The massive stone figures were generally erected on temple platforms (ahu) along the coast, where they faced inland to keep watch over the local community. Most were carved from soft volcanic tuff at Rano Raraku, an extinct volcanic crater that served as the primary statue quarry. The giant stone sculptures commonly weigh between 10 and 12 metric tons. Their average height is roughly 13 feet, but they range anywhere from 8 feet to an unfinished example over 70 feet high...Each moai was commissioned by a specific individual or group and created by a team of expert stoneworkers under the direction of a master carver. As many as fifteen people began by quarrying a large rectangular block using basalt picks (toki). Once the figure was roughed out, the master carver and his assistants added the fine details, usually beginning with the head and face. Afterward, a team of workers used ropes and levers to move the sculpture down the quarry slope. It was then set upright and the remainder of the carving was completed. The finished sculpture was then moved to its final destination using a wooden sled or rollers. Experimental re-creation of this feat by modern archaeologists suggests that it required approximately 40 individuals to move an average-sized moai.

10:40 a.m.
The 22-man roster, including Martin St. Pierre, are on the ice. As is Andrew Ference, who is skating around without any obvious issues.

10:07 a.m.

Let's get started...
First, an update on the roster:
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled center Martin St. Pierre from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League) on an emergency basis.

St. Pierre - who was assigned to Providence on December 31 after initially being recalled on December 20 - recorded one goal and one assist during the Bruins recent five game road trip. His first goal as a Bruin came on a shorthanded tally in a 5-2 victory over the Penguins on Tuesday night. The leading scorer for the P-Bruins this season, St. Pierre has registered a 10-25-35 line in 30 games. His 25 assists lead the team and his 10 goals rank tied for second.

The 25-year-old St. Pierre has appeared in 26 NHL games in his career - 21 with Chicago, five with Boston - and has tallied two goals and four assists. Signed as a free agent by the Blackhawks on November 12, 2005, St. Pierre was acquired by the Bruins on July 24, 2008 in exchange for Pascal Pelletier. The 5'9", 185-pound Ottawa, Ontario native spent the majority of the 2007-2008 campaign playing for Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford where he earned 21-67-88 totals in 69 games.

In the meantime...
Following the game on Tuesday night, an ecstatic Bruins club recalled the evenings events.

"We were ready tonight, that's for sure," said Marc Savard. "I thought we played a full 60-minutes and it feels nice because even thought we've been winning we knew we had gotten away from that.

"I think, as a whole tonight, we're really happy with our game...We didn't give them much, kept them to the outside and Timmy made stops when he had to.

"Special teams were huge. I thought the power play was great, we moved it well, got some big goals and shorthanded, obviously, we got one too," he said.

Captain Zdeno Chara was proud of the club, as well.

"We wanted to have a strong game and I think we came out with lots of energy, a lot of awareness and we really played hard for 60-minutes," said Chara. "But we took them 20 at a time.

"We were down by one goal after the first 20 and we knew we would have to come out even harder and stronger in the second period and then we got the lead."
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