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Game Day: Red Wings vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien on the win:

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.
"We did some good things, but at the same time we have to realize that it wasn’t necessarily a complete game. Our first 10-minutes, I thought we did a lot of watching and it took a while for us to get going. But I kind of liked the way we handled the third period. I thought that was one of our better periods. We skated and kept putting pucks in and we wanted to play more of the type of game that we wished we could have played for the whole 60-minutes."
0:00 - Another big win for Boston, 4-1, over the Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins were 11-1-1 during the 11th month of the year..

1:26 - Another save by Manny Fernandez who stops a Lilja bid from the point.

1:29 - Icing Boston.

2:03 - The B's are in full kill the clock mode...

3:09 - Gorgeous save by Manny. Who stops Hudler who nearly cut the lead to two goals.

3:19 - Yelle and Thornton do a nice job of bottling up the puck in the Detroit zone.

4:38 - Lucic blast from the blueline - Nice save Osgood.

5:24 - Ryder hits the post!

5:40 - Another save by Manny.

6:53 - Hnidy regroups behind the B's net and breaks out...

9:00 - Shots are 26-18, Detroit.

Boston Bruins' David Krejci, second from right, of the Czech Republic celebrates his third-period goal with teammates Dennis Wideman (6), Matt Hunwick (48), and Blake Wheeler as Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, left, looks on during the Bruins 4-1 win in a hockey game in Boston Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
13:09 - It was just hard work. The Krejci line kept it deep and kept plugging. Krejci was waiting in the slot when the puck got to him and he beat Osgood. 4-1, Boston.

14:21 -  Stephane Yelle just got into a collision with the goal post and the post won. However, Stephane seems unfazed.

16:18 - No flow, yet.

18:50 - Another sold out game -- 17,565. Wooooo!

19:52 - Detroit controls the puck to start...

20:00 - Start of the Third. Nail bitin' time.
0.00 - Manny makes one final save at the end of the session.

Shots are 25-12 for the Red Wings after 40-minutes. The Bruins survived that period, folks. Detroit dictated much of the play and Boston needs to regroup and assert themselves in the third.

Remember, there's that old hockey adage that two goal leads are "the worst leads in hockey."

21.2 - Detroit hits the post, Manny covers up and there is a pile up.

36.0 - A flurry of Bruins goal.

Boston Bruins' Phil Kessel shoots during the second period of a hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
3:35 - That was coming. Detroit scores. It looked like the forward (Hudler) banked it off Fernandez, who was covering his left post. 3-1, Boston. Shots are 21-11, Detroit.

5:01 - Wheeler for hooking.

5:45 - Another save for Fernandez. He hangs on for a faceoff, but gets a break thanks to the TV time out.

6:29 - Osgood with a save on Kessel, who continues to get free and get opportunities.

7:33 - Another gorgeous save by Manny. "Manny, Manny, Manny."

8:33 - Another nice save for Fernandez, who has bailed his teammates out a couple of times this period.

9:28 - Kick save and a beeeaut for Fernandez, through traffice with the Red Wings on the PP.

9:38 - A rare mistake ofr Matt Hunwick who grabbed a Red Wing with a free hand and was called for holding. He was pinching on the play and it happened in the Wings' zone.

10:14 - The Krejci line just made Osgood work for his first save. "Osgoooood. Osgooood.

11:03 - Icing Boston.

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)
11:59 - That was Patrice stealing the puck, controlling it and feeding a waiting Chuck Kobasew. The Bruins have chased Conklin and Osgood is in. 3-0, Boston.

12:40 - Stephane Yelle tips a puck down low, but Conklin gloved it. Neither team has established any dominance over this period. Boston, in particular, has been less than crisp. Shots are 12-8, DRW.

14:14 - Manny gathers the puck to get a break after a couple of bad shifts.

16:01 - Man, Conklin is not helping himself. He nearly put the puck into his own net while stick handling near his net.

17:11 - Detroit hit the post.

19:44 - Detroit dumps it into the Bruins zone. But Cleary is called for slashing.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. The stat notes say that Detroit has allowed the first goal only eight times this season. They are 3-2-2 in those games. Boston is 10-3-2 when scoring first. Kessel has extended his point streak to nine games (a career best).

Ward is not on the bench. He will not return.
Detroit Red Wings' Marian Hossa, right, of Slovakia, races past Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara, center, and Phil Kessel, back left, for a loose puck during the first period of the Bruins' 4-1 win in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
0:00 - A standing ovation for the team by the Boston fans for the finest period (on second thought, ten minutes, too many little mistakes in the first half of the period) of hockey of the season.

Shots are 10-7, Detroit. But the B's used their own puck possession to stymie the Red Wings. Fernandez handled the rest. All four lines contributed, with Krejci and Savard's providing the offense. Phil Kessel has been using his speed very well.

Julien spoke about his centers this morning and might have predicted the strong play of the club's middle men in the first period:
"I think we’ve got some real good depth in the middle, and we’re pretty happy about that. It’s been a real key for our club this year, being able to play four lines and feeling comfortable because those guys do a good job down low on our own end. As you’ve seen, I’ve put our fourth line against other team’s top lines at times and they responded well. That’s been a huge help for our hockey club this year having that depth down the middle."

41.5 - Lucic picked the puck up in the corner and fed it to a waiting Savard who was stopped (barely) by Conklin.

2:25 - Two big stops for Fernandez. Our first "Manny, Manny, Manny" chant of the season.

3:49 - I'll have the reply up later. Just a lot of beautiful puck movement by the B's and a Kessel shot that Conklin didn't see. 2-0, Boston . Shots are 8-3, Detroit.

5:17 - Pig pile on Stuey. It looked like all nice guys were part of a scrum that developed off of Manny's right post. Franzen was down there and looked like he might have dropped his gloves. Stuart and Franzen are in the box with offsetting minor penalties for roughing.

It's four-on-four for two minutes.

Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg, left, of Sweden, tries to control the puck around Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman during the first period of a hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
8:00 - What a fun play to watch. Ryder grabbed the puck at the red line walked it in and waited for Blake Wheeler to have an open shot. Blake hit the back of the net on Boston's first shot.

It's 1-0, Boston.

9:13 - Another nice stop for Fernandez.

10:49 - Watching Detroit is what I imagine it was like to watch the Red Army team play back in the day.

Coach Julien spoke about their puck possesion game this morning:
"I don’t think there are many teams in the league that have that type of style and a lot of teams like to go forward, chip and chase. They’re a type of team if they don’t a play in the neutral zone they have no issues of turning back and giving it back to their D[efense]. They have so much depth back there, good skilled D’s that can handle the puck well and that can make good passes. They’ll regroup if they have to and there are not too many teams in the league that do that."

All true and all in evidence, thus far.

Detroit Red Wings' Daniel Cleary (11) looks for a rebound on Boston Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
10:59 - Save Fernandez.

11:31 - Ward left the ice with a limp.

14:23 - Boston killed it. Detroit with a hand pass.

16:17 - Chara just woke up the crowd with a big hit on a Red Wing (Datsyuk) in the near corner of the B's zone.

16:44 - Nokelainen for roughing. Detroit is first in the NHL on the PP.

17:16 - Scary. Manny lost his stick in a pile up and had to make a butterfly save using a defenseman's stick. Shots are 6-0, Detroit.

18:11 - Bruins icing.

19:15 - Manny is tested early. Detroit beat the B's 'D' and waltzed into the  zone. They got three or so chops on Manny before play was halted.

19:54 - Detroit controls the draw.

20:00 - Start of First Period. Not much to say here. Go Bruins!

Detroit Starters: Cleary, Datsyuk, Hossa, Lidstrom, Rafalski, Conklin
Boston Starters: Lucic, Savard, Kessel, Chara, Ward, Fernandez

Switching to time on the clock...

6:37  p.m.
The lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Kobasew
Wheeler - Krejci - Ryder
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Hunwick - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy


6:28 p.m.
Goaltenders Ty Conklin and Manny Fernandez led their teams out of the rooms...

6:05 p.m.
This morning, after skate, Claude Julien spoke about the B’s success at home.

“Our guys have responded well in this building and the few times where we’ve fallen behind early in the game, we’ve battled back,” he said. “Overall, I think our performance here has been pretty good (and) it has been pretty good the whole month.

“We wanted to establish a better presence at home than we did last year and so far it’s working out well for us.”

In the way of continuing that success are the Detroit Red Wings. How do the Bruins intend on countering the Winged Wheels?

“That’s part of our secret game plan,” said Julien to the media, with a laugh. “You guys want all the information!

“I guess you’ll have to wait (for) tonight. We think we have a solution, and part of it is playing our game.

“If we have the puck more than they do, then that certainly takes away from their strength,” he said.

5:34 p.m.
Press Box Notes
The Bruins enter tonight’s game winners of their last eight at home (8-1-1 at home this season).  During these eight games, the B’s have averaged 5.25 goals per contest and have outscored their opponents 42-17.  Their last loss at home came on October 23 against Toronto.
  • Detroit currently has the NHL’s best road record at 10-1-2 entering tonight’s game.
  • Phil Kessel has a career best eight game point streak in progress with 5-5-10 totals over that span.  Kessel’s streak is the second longest active streak in the NHL, topped only by Alex Ovechkin’s current 10 game point streak.
  • Other notable active streaks on the Bruins include: Matt Hunwick who has a six game point streak in progress with 3-5-8 totals, while Chuck Kobasew and David Krejci have five game point streaks with 3-3-6 totals and 3-5-8 totals respectively.
  • The Red Wings boast the league’s top power play, converting 32.3% of their chances- almost 10% more than second ranked St. Louis (23.6%).  The Bruins are ranked third on the power play overall (23.3%), but are first in the league at home (33.3%).  Detroit’s penalty kill is ranked 18th overall while Boston’s is ranked 11th.
  • Detroit played in Columbus last night and defeated the Blue Jackets 5-3.  Marian Hossa scored his team-leading 12th and 13th goals of the season and Chris Osgood earned the victory in goal for the Wings.

3:57 p.m.
Manny Fernandez
Manny Fernandez has a good sense of humor.

Today, when the Bruins anticipated starter was asked if his son Mathys, last seen rummaging around the equipment in the goalies’ corner in the Bruins locker room, would be a goalie when he grows up “NO!” was the clear (and highly) anticipated, answer.

After all, Fernandez himself has seen the highs and lows of the position. From sharing the Jennings Award (for fewest goals against) in 2006-07 to missing most of 2007-08 with injury, it’s no wonder that last week, before Slap Shot Night, Manny even compared himself to the Charlestown Chiefs beleaguered French-Canadian netminder – Denis Lemieux.

But from the look on his face, Fernandez wasn’t joking about his son not becoming a goalie, and perhaps his feelings were enhanced by the possibility of having to face the Stanley Cup Champions tonight.

“I think I’ve paid the price long enough for him not to have to do that,” he added with a rye laugh. “I don’t want him to (do it).

“Be a goal scorer. Be happy.”

Mathys looked pretty darn happy looking at Manny and Tim Thomas’ equipment, though.

“Yeeesh,” said Fernandez with an extra long exhale, “It’s not going to happen.”

Again, Mathys’ dad has every reason to be a bit dubious about the overall quality of life enjoyed by most goalies – from mites all the way up to the NHL – the bumps and bruises left from puck after puck after puck. And, of course, there’s the physical and mental scars that not even the best equipment can stop.  But beyond the somewhat sardonic, self-deprecating wit, Manny's demeanor did betray some real pleasure with his game and his team. Like his son, Fernandez, seemed pretty happy to be in the Bruins locker room.

And if his number gets called tonight, he'll be pretty happy about that, too.

“(Things) are better than last year – I’ll tell you that,” said Fernandez. “I wasn’t having any game at all, so I’ll just take it as it comes and I’ll try my best.”

As much as the B’s goalie tried to keep the clichés coming, he had trouble preventing his personality from slipping through the company lines.

“I know there’s pieces (of my game), here and there, missing,” he said. “But you know, that’s tough luck.

“That’s what this business is all about.

“Any time you miss a year a lot of stuff can happen and when you get back in there, you just take it step-by-step,” he said, before he added, “You try your best, practice (hard) and try and take it as lightly as possible, even though that is pretty tough, sometimes.”

Should he get the nod tonight, Fernandez will hope to keep an even keel, but no matter who’s in net, it certainly won’t be easy.

“They are a strong team,” said Fernandez of Detroit. “They compete every game. It’s not a maybe they won’t come out hard, tonight. They do every night.

“You have to make the right plays. If you cough it up, they’ll probably make you pay for it. That’s why it’s so hard to play against this team. You have to play for sixty minutes. If you (don’t) you could be out of the game…so you better bring your ‘A’ game.

“It’s not going to be an easy game. That’s the way it is and that’s they way they play…so you have to stand your ground and you have to do everything right,” he said.

At 6-1-1, with a 2.48 GAA and a .911 sv% there’s every chance in the world that Fernandez will do just that.

12:17 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock
The words "measuring stick" were thrown around quite a bit this morning and neither coach seemed to embrace the phrase.

"There's no doubt that these guys have earned that reputation," said B's head coach Claude Julien about the Red Wings. "When you win the Stanley Cup and have the type of record that they have, there's not doubt that this is a good test for us."


"I don't think we want to put all of our eggs in (one) basket," continued Julien. "(Like) if we can beat these guys tonight we're in.

"It's just one of those games. They have their ups-and-downs just like every other team in the league and I think right now is a great way to maybe show that we are a good team (too)."

Detroit's Coach, Mike Babcock, when asked how he views a team as hot as the Boston Bruins, asked back, "Are they as hot as us?"

Well, actually, Boston at 15-4-4 has just one more loss than 15-3-4 Detroit, so....

"Every night we play in the league, when you read the clips before, it's a...measuring stick game," said Babcock. "So this is our 23rd measuring stick game for the other team?

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien
"Now, it's going to be fun for us tonight, (although) I wish they would have played last night, but I am happy they played yesterday (because) they are playing really well."

Julien and Babcock admire their opponents greatly.

"They're a highly skilled hockey club," said Julien. "They play a puck possession game. They don't get rid of the puck just for the sake of getting rid of it, and that's their style and it's served them well.

"You have to respect that part of it, and what you have to do as a team is go out and play your game and make sure that you use your strengths to your advantage and see how it matches up to their strengths."

"I think, when I watch all the teams in the league, right now, the two teams that seem to be the most excited and all playing together, are Boston and San Jose," said Babcock. "So, it will be a good challenge for us, too.

"They are going to play well with good structure. They're well organized. They've got good players...their goaltending has been absolutely fantastic.

"It should be fun."

11:37 a.m.
Detroit Red Wings' Chris Chelios stretches. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Stanley Cup Champions also held an optional, headlined by Chris Chelios and filled out by Derek Meetch, Brett Lebda, Jiri Hudler and Ty Conklin. Assistant coach Paul MacLean was presiding.

Last night, Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the game with 2 minutes left to help the Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Friday night.

Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist, Jiri Hudler and Kris Draper also scored, Pavel Datsyuk added two assists, and Chris Osgood made 13 saves.

Chris Osgood was not present at the skate, and that plus his light workload last night, leads me to believe that he will be in net tonight for Detroit.

In 14 games against Boston, Osgood is 9-4-1 with a 3.19 GAA and .894 sv%.

11:19 a.m.
Manny Fernandez
It was an optional folks, so take this info as it comes: Manny Fernandez was the first goalie off the ice for Boston.

Generally this means that he will be the starter for Boston, but a quick canvassing of the New England media in attendance says that this methodology has been wrong at least once this year.

Fernandez has won his last five games and is 6-0-1 in his last seven games with a 2.26 GAA and .920 save percentage in that span. He earned his first win of the season with a 4-2 victory in Ottawa on Oct. 18; a 3-2 shootout loss in Buffalo on Oct. 21; a 5-4 victory over Atlanta on Oct. 25; a 3-1 win in Buffalo on Nov. 8; a 6-1 victory over Montreal on Nov. 13; a 7-4 win vs. Buffalo on Nov. 19; and a 7-2 victory over NY Islanders on Nov. 28.

Fernandez has played 16 career games against Detroit and is 3-9-1 with a 3.47 GAA and a .895 sv%.

Doug Houda and Geoff Ward presided over the session, which, in addition to Fernandez, featured Tim Thomas, Matt Hunwick, David Krejci, Stephane Yelle, Aaron Ward and Blake Wheeler.
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