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Game Day: Senators vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins

Ottawa 1 2 1-4

Boston 2 1 3-6

First Period-1, Boston, Ward 1 (Krejci, Ryder), 2:20. 2, Boston, Kobasew 7 (Wideman, Kessel), 4:15. 3, Ottawa, Phillips 3 (Spezza, Heatley), 12:14.

Second Period-4, Boston, Ryder 15 (Wheeler, Savard), 8:44. 5, Ottawa, Kelly 5 (Vermette, Winchester), 10:08. 6, Ottawa, Bell 3 (McAmmond, Neil), 14:32.

Third Period-7, Boston, Krejci 15, 10:13. 8, Boston, Savard 14 (Kobasew), 14:29. 9, Boston, Axelsson 3 (Savard), 19:19 (en). 10, Ottawa, Vermette 4 (Kelly, Winchester), 19:32.

Shots on Goal-Ottawa 13-9-8-30. Boston 6-6-10-22.

Goalies-Ottawa, Gerber. Boston, Fernandez. A-16,464 (17,565). T-2:22.
Marc Savard on the win..
"Yeah, it was an important win for us. We lost two in a row, and we didn’t want to lose three. But if someone gave us only our 30th win after our 41st or 42nd game, I think anybody would take it...I’m proud of the guys. We battled through it. It wasn’t our prettiest win, but we needed a win and we got it."

Zdeno Chara on the win...
"This was an important game, more important than everybody thinks. It's a kind of situation where you lose a couple of games and the team starts questioning their talent or their play and I think at some point it's okay to face adversity but...we have to believe that we are a good team...the second half is going to be even tough and challenging, more challenging, because a few teams are going to be playing us really hard and we have to be ready for that. It's a good way to bounce back and getting ready for the next game."
0:00 - Final score 6-4. Boston wins!

27.2 - Vermette got loose to Manny's left. He scores. It's 6-4.

40.4 - Axelsson scores on an open net.  Manny Fernandez had started the play by making a pretty backhand stop on a Senator. That's P.J.'s 100th goal of his career and his third of the season. Give Savard a helper.

56.2 - Gerber is out of the goal.

1:49 - Ottawa is having a really tough time getting anything together...

3:18 - Kobasew and Kessel almost connected on another one -- but traffic in front of the Ottawa net prevented the puck from getting through to Gerber or the net.

5:31 - Savard scores. He came very deep on the forecheck, The puck got free and Marc got the puck in the right spot and beat Gerber stick side. Gorgeous goal and the type of finish that the club has been looking for all night.

6:12 - Icing Ottawa. The Yelle line really pinned the Sens deep for quite a while. Strong work by all three skaters.

7:18 - Stuart with a drive from the point. Gerber lost it...but found it under his left pad.

7:46 - Boston has really upped the tempo...

9:47 - Krejci scores. He snuck it by Gerber....It's 4-3, Boston. The B's took the puck away from Alfredsson and Krejci ended up to the Ottawa goalie's left and he found a space.

12:46 - Savard almost put the B's up after a good kill. He surprised the Sens with a quick move to the front and a shot on goal.

15:26 - Wheeler earns a minor. He took down one of the Sens with a slash and he knew it. He skated right to the box. This is the first PP for OTT.

15:46 - Offsides, Boston. I disagree...

17:09 - Icing Boston.

17:24 - Icing Ottawa.

17:51 - Krejci and Co. almost put the B's back on top. Again, the puck was right there at the top of the crease, but nobody could get a stick on it.

18:36 - Chara cleans out Alfredsson along the boards...

20:00 - Start of the Third.
0:00 - Kobasew and Phillips had words going to the benches. Even though the team is playing through a ton of injuries, Chuck, and the rest of the Bruins, must be very frustrated at what is now a somewhat lackluster effort for the squad.

Shots were 22-12 in favor of Ottawa at the end of 40-minutes. Ottawa also leads in hits, 12-11.

9.2 -  You guessed it: Icing Boston...

20.0 - Um, Icing Boston? Really?

1:04 - Icing Boston.

3:45 - Gerber has two saves on this Bruins power play. Boston is moving the puck at will with the man advantage, but can't find an opening.

5:13 - Heatley is in the box for Ottawa. Tripping. BTW: Shots are 22-10, Ottawa. And that early control I wrote about for Boston is pretty much all gone.

5:28 - It's a whole new ballgame, folks. McAmmond's blind cross-ice pass gets to Bell, through three or so Bruins, and Bell beats Fernandez.  It's 3-3 and it should not be.

6:52 - A tough slide into the boards for Foligno. He, and Mark Stuart who had fallen on top of him, went into the end boards. Foligno hit head first. He got up and left the ice under his own power, however.


7:26 - With Heatley waiting for a rebound, Fernandez tracks down Ottawa's latest and hangs on for a faceoff.

9:52 - Manny made a nice save on Vermette. But in the process of trying to help clear the rebound, Chara falls on Fernandez, who was unable to get a glove on Kelly's shot. It's 3-2.

A very strange game. Shots are 19-10, Ottawa. And Boston has controlled the puck for most of the contest.

11:16 - Wheeler shoots, hits the cross bar, Ryder gathers the rebound and taps it by Gerber. It's now 3-1, Boston. The helpers go to Wheeler and Savard.

That's goal number 15 on the year for Michael.

11:33 - This time it is Kobasew who had the puck on a tee, right in front and couldn't pull the trigger.

12:20 - Kessel has to be asking himself what he has to do...he got the puck, off an errant pass, right in the slot and almost snuck it by Gerber, who stopped the puck with his pads.

14:24 - Another nice glove save for Fernandez on Spezza, who shot from his left and tried to go high glove side on Manny.

14:50 - A decent power play -- in terms of movement -- but was there a shot?

16:55 - Sobotka works hard along the boards, and draws a penalty against Bell, who was having a tough time getting a handle on the speedy winger. It's a minor for a trip and that gives the B's their first PP.

18:50 - Kessel had a heck of a first shift, dishing and dashing. Boston seems to have come out of the room with renewed  fire.

20:00 - Start of the Second.
0:00 - End of the First. Shots were 13-6, Ottawa.

You'd loved to be thrilled with the session, but the B's had a real chance to take complete control of the scoreboard. The Senators looked really out of sync during the opening seconds.

However, the Senators are 1-11-0 when trailing after one.

36.7 - Phillips shoots from the top of the circle and Manny gloved it down.

1:29 - A two-on-one for Savard and Kessel. Gerber stops the shot from Phil and the rebound is too far towards the end boards for Kess to get another shot off.

2:11 - The ref lost sight of the puck in front of Manny and blew the whistle. And then there was a little pile up. Nothing more, though.  Shots are 12-5, Ottawa. Crazy.

4:00 - Boston has maintained control, despite the Ottawa goal. Both the St. Pierre line and the Savard line have challenged the Senators D.

7:46 - A strange goal. Dany Heatley fell in front of Manny as Chris Phillips let fly from the point. The puck got through Fernandez and made the score 2-1, Boston.

Shots are, strangely, 8-5, Ottawa. The B's have held control of the puck for much of the game.

10:59 - Fernandez made another nice save. Ottawa hasn't done much, but all five of their shots  have been tough.

11:13 - Chris Neil and Shawn Thornton just went at it. A really great heavyweight hockey bout with both guys landing a bunch of shots. We'll give Shawn the bout on points. Both men seemed to give each other the "nice job" after the fight. No momentum gained by Ottawa, and momentum sustained for Boston.

Stuart is back on the bench.

12:58 - I don't see Stuart...

14:02 - Gerber with a stop. He holds on for a faceoff.

14:46 - Manny made his third save of the night...

15:45 - It looks like Chuck Kobasew is on the board. He crashed the net and shoved the puck THROUGH Gerber. They are talking about it, and I guess there's always the review.

It's a goal! Boston is up 2-0. That was Chuck's 7th and give helpers to Wideman and Kessel.

17:40 - Ward scores. With two Bruins in front of Gerber and a whole lot of pressure going towards the Senators goal, a slap shot from the point to the goalie's left did the trick. Give assists to Wheeler Ryder and Krejci.

Boston is 11-4-2 when they score first.

18:02 - A near miss by Krejci's line...

18:58 - A pretty outstanding first shift for Boston and the Savard line.

19:14 - Kessel looked like he hit the crossbar...

19:42 - Boston controlled the draw and got the puck deep.

20:00 - Start of the First. How about a goal, early!

Boston Starters:
Hunwick, Wideman, Kobasew, Savard, Kessel, Fernandez
Ottawa Starters: 
Vermette, Kelly, Winchester, Phillips, Lee, Gerber

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

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

Ference, Lucic, Karsums, Hnidy

6:29 p.m.
It's Manny vs. Martin. Manny Fernandez will be in goal for Boston and Martin Gerber will take the pipes for Ottawa. I think I will officially stop paying attention to who comes off first at the morning skate.

6:25 p.m.
Martins Karsums, who has been called up on an emergency recall, will be in warmups.

He will be inserted into the lineup on an emergency basis pending an unnamed player's unnamed injury.

Got it?

6:22 p.m.
Noting that Shawn Thornton had seen time previously with his probable line mates this evening, Stephane Yelle and Chuck Kobasew, one reporter was about to ask the big winger about his once and future linemates when Thorts put on a big smile and asked, "Remember you guys called us the fourth line every chance you got? Remember that?"

Then he said, "Just kidding..."

Thornton, got serious, and said that he, Yelle and Kobasew "had some success together earlier in the if I get to stick with those guys, it's always fun to play with them."

Again joking, Thornton also said that during practice on Wednesday he "could feel it. The old magic.

"Just like it was two months ago."

At least the guys are loose. JB

6:07 p.m.
Press Box Notes

The NHL announced today that Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas have been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster for the 2009 NHL All-Star game, which will be held on Sunday, January 25 at 6:00 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre in Montreal (National TV: VERSUS). 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.

Other stories...
  • The Bruins have changed the location of Friday’s practice. It will now be at the TD Banknorth Garden at 11:30. The Bruins will have their official team photo at 11:00. Please note this practice is not open to the public.
  • Tonight is game four of a six-game homestand for the Bruins. They have posted a 1-2-0 record through the first three games.
  • For Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza both have four game point streaks in progress with 2-4-6 totals and 3-3-6 totals respectively.
  • The Sens are wrapping up an eight-game road trip tonight and have compiled a 1-5-1 record thus far. Their last home game came on December 20, a 5-4 win over Dallas.
  • Tomorrow (January 9) is the 30th anniversary of the Bobby Orr retirement ceremony when the Bruins raised the #4 to the rafters of the Boston Garden in a ceremony prior to an exhibition game against a team from the Soviet Union. The ceremony originally aired on TV-38 on January 9, 1979 and NESN will, for the first time, re-air the half-hour ceremony in its entirety on Saturday, January 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET. One of the many highlights from the ceremony is a standing ovation that lasted over eight minutes.

5:21 p.m.
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas talks with reporters at the team's practice facility in Wilmington, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas had a wide smile on his face as he faced the media pregame and talked about his All-Star selection.

"It's quite an honor," said Thomas, for the second year in a row. "Apparently, just like my style, I like to get picked in unconventional ways.

"Last year, I was a replacement and this year, not being on the ballot, but making it -- it's awesome. Especially if you look back and consider that I wasn't even in the NHL at age 30 or at least until the last couple of months of age 30.

"I really am, truly, honored. I am really happy that I got picked," he said.

Tim gratefully acknowledged his teammates for their outstanding year thus far, the Bruins fans, and hockey fans in general, and everyone's efforts on his behalf.

"Over the past three months, I've heard tons and tons of people around Boston [who said] 'I voted for you online!' So, I knew I was getting some support," said Thomas.

The man called "The Tank" wondered outloud if there might be a chance for his goaltending partner, Manny Fernandez, to join him as a replacement.

"It'd be cool if he could be there, too," said Thomas, who has frequently acknowleged his good relationship with Fernandez and how important Manny has been to the Bruins this year. "I don't know if [if having two goalies from one team] has ever happened before."

And with head coach Claude Julien being the odds-on favorite to coach the Eastern squad, the bleu, blanc et rougue Bell Centre will have a certain Black & Gold flair.

Thomas talked about his coach and gently poked fun at the tight mouthed way Julien has about his goaltending situations.

"I heard Claude was [possibly] going to be our coach," said Thomas who added, "but he probably won't tell me 'til the morning of what period I am going to play."

Laughs ensued.

4:42 p.m.
Boston Bruins' Marc Savard celebrates teammate Phil Kessel's second-period goal during NHL hockey action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, on Saturday Oct. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,/Sean Kilpatrick)
"It's a special time," said Marc Savard of the prospect of appearing in the All-Star Game, in Montreal, on the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens. "I am from up the road in Ottawa, so I will have a lot of family and friends on hand."

Asked if he had kept the weekend open prior to the announcement, Savard flashed a sheepish smile and said, "Uhhhhh. Yah. A little bit."

This left the press corps in stitches, of course. But as usual, Savard switched the focus to the rest of the Bruins.

"I credit my teammates for all of their help this year," he said. "We've had a great season, so far, and obviously without them this wouldn't be possible."

Tim Thomas will speak in just a few minutes.

3:33 p.m.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
Prior to the announcement, Claude Julien spoke about two of his would be All-Stars earlier this morning.

Julien said that despite what everyone says, Savard has not changed his mode of play that much since taking on more defensive responsibilities.

“All that he’s done is that he’s raised his compete level at both ends of the ice,” said Julien. “Where he always competed hard offensively and made plays and everything else, he’s using that same kind of energy at the other end of the ice and that’s helped him become a complete player.

“I think that’s a part of the reason he’s become more reliable, a better player. He understands that and by doing that last year it gave him his first opportunity of playing in the playoffs, which I think he enjoyed.

“He came back this year with the same intentions…[and] with that becoming second nature in his game, he is right back on track to where he normally is.

“He’s a 90 to over a 100 point guy right now at this pace so he’s just one of those guys that competes hard at both ends of the ice now and that’s what’s helped his game come along,” he said.

Chara, going to his fourth NHL All-Star Game, is a known quantity who has bounced back from injury in order to remain a dominant force in the game.

“That’s what he brings to the table every night,” said Julien. “I mean he’s plus-17 right now playing against the top players of every team every night.

“He shuts down those guys extremely well and that’s to us what makes him one of the best D’s in the league.

“Whether it’s through strength, whether it’s through his play [or] if he’s got a good stick. He plays in all situations; he’s always 25 to 30 minutes a game. So he’s worthy of that recognition and rightfully so,” he said.

Per the Bruins official All-Star release, Savard will be available to the media at 4:30 p.m. and Thomas will be at 4:50 p.m. Both will speak outside the Bruins locker room, and Chara will be available inside the Bruins locker room after the Bruins/Senators game tonight.

We’ll have coverage of all three men’s pressers right here on JB

2:24 p.m.
Word is that NESN has a pretty good sitdown between play-by-play man Jack Edwards and Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas set to air on their pre and postgame shows.

So make sure you get through with dinner before 6:30 p.m. and be sure to tune in to NESN Face -Off Live.

1:10 p.m.

Boston Bruins' Aaron Ward spreads pucks on the ice at the team's practice rink. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Prior to the All-Star announcements (look for commentary from the particulars later), Claude Julien spoke to the media about the Bruins game plan going into this evening.

“It’s about our hockey club right now,” he said. “I don’t think it’s about your opposition more than how we are going to respond to our last couple of games.

“When you look back at those situations, even [against] Minnesota, we’ve had our chances at winning, but we just got to grind it out through these tougher times.”

Julien said that injuries are a factor, but that they are a factor for any team.

“That changes your chemistry a little bit,” said the B’s coach. “That changes the look of your team a little bit, but it’s about grinding it out.

"We’ve done a decent job the last couple of games dealing with it.

“So I don’t think it is much of anything except put our nose to the grind [stone] and making sure you go out there and outwork the [other] team. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Injury wise, the newest developments didn’t get much comment.

“[Aaron Ward] skating out there this morning," said Julien. "I am pretty sure that he’ll be a go and [Milan] Lucic is not going to play tonight, neither is [Shane] Hnidy.

"Those are two guys who won’t be in our lineup tonight.”

Julien did elaborate on Hnidy, slightly.

“This is a doctor’s decision,” he said of Hnidy’s absence. “Once those doctors make those decisions there’s no ifs-or-buts, and as a coach, I will never challenge that.

“We all know he got the puck just above the eye and...there’s a danger [if he plays].”

But in the good news category, look for #44 on the backline.

“I think Ward is a go,” said Julien as Ward walked by in the hallway to the locker room. “And if he’s not we will call somebody up, but he’s been asking me [to play, and] he’s walking right by here.

“He’ll let you know don’t worry.”

And Aaron did let the media know how he was feeling. But Ward, who said he was ready to play, also joked that he “wouldn’t tell [the media] otherwise.

“Obviously, you’ve got some guys out of the lineup,” added Ward. “But it’s a gut check, right now.

"And I think it’s time to reach deep.

“Everybody, all the way around, is going to have to pick their game up a little bit," he said.

12:11 p.m.
FYI: The NHL announced today that Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas have been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster for the 2009 NHL All-Star game, which will be held on Sunday, January 25 at 6:00 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre in Montreal (National TV: VERSUS). 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...More

11:53 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goalie off the ice. But, as we've seen, that is not always the best indication of the club's starter.

Milan Lucic and Shane Hnidy are out for tonight. Look for Aaron Ward to be in the lineup.

Details to follow...

10:35 a.m.
Attendance Report

The whole warmup roster: Stuart, Wideman, Lashoff, Hunwick, Ward, Wheeler, Sobotka, Kobasew, Thornton, St. Pierre, Nokelainen, Fernandez, Thomas.
Coaches: Ward, Houda, Ramsay.

10:27 a.m.
It's an optional
Right now there are only a handful of the Bruins on the ice and Boston Bruins media relations manager Eric Tosi just came into the stands to report that Claude Julien will speak to the media at 10:45 a.m.

For the record, Matt Lashoff was the first man on for Boston with Vladimir Sobotka, Petteri Nokelainen, Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick following shortly thereafter.

10:02 a.m.
All-Star Selections?
Around (or just before) lunch time, the rest of the NHL's Eastern Conference All-Star team will be named. Obviously, with the Bruins playing so well in the first half of the season, Black & Gold candidates abound.

There is a bit of buzz in the building, well, er...building about who might get the honor and represent the Bruins in Montreal at the end of the month.

As always, keep it here for the latest...

9:23 a.m.
NESN Programming Note

Tomorrow, January 9th,  is the 30th anniversary of the Bobby Orr Retirement Ceremony when the Bruins raised # 4 to the rafters of the Boston Garden in a pre-game ceremony before an exhibition game against a team from the Soviet Union.

The ceremony originally aired on WSBK TV 38 on 1/9/1979 and NESN will, for the first time, re-air this half-hour ceremony in its entirety on Saturday, January 10th at 9:00 PM.
One of the many highlights from the ceremony is a legendary standing ovation that lasted over 8 minutes. So, make sure to tune in to the Bruins game versus Carolina at 1:00 p.m., grab dinner and then hit the couch to relieve one of the most poignant moments in Bruins history.

9:16 a.m.
Cam Called In...
Speaking of Milan, during his regular call in to the "Hill Man Morning Show" on WAAF, Bruins VP Cam Neely spoke about Lucic.

"We'll find out more today," said Neely to Hill and former Bruins enforcer (and all-around good guy) Lyndon Byers of Milan's injury. "I think he went yesterday afternoon to see what was going on.

"But I don't think it's a long term thing. Obviously, the way that Milan plays you know you are going to get dinged up every now and again. I don't think any of us, at this stage, [think] that it is long term, but we'll find out more, today, I'm Sure."

Be sure to check out Mr. Neely's call each week on WAAF.

8:56 a.m.

Morning Musings
Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns, center, and goalie Niklas Backstrom, right, of Finland, protect the goal against Boston Bruins centers Martin St. Pierre (47) and Petteri Nokelainen (29) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. Minnesota won 1-0. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Perhaps the most significant issue to arrise from yesterday morning's Boston Bruins practice session at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena concerned the health of four different members of the Black & Gold.

First, head coach Claude Julien spoke about B's defenseman Andrew Ference.

"Yah, he had -- not a setback -- but a situation the other day where we decided that we would be a little cautious here," said the coach. "He should be on the ice, probably, tomorrow or the day after.

"Technically, and speaking of how our doctors had evaluated him, when he was diagnosed after the operation he [was supposed] to be back [next] week or the week after that.

"We just pulled him back a little bit, but he's still ahead of schedule," he said.

News about veteran blueliner Aaron Ward was next.

"Unfortunately, [Wednesday] wasn't a day where we had a ton of contact," said Julien of Ward's testing things out today during the on-ice session. "But I think he should be good to go tomorrow.

D-man Shane Hnidy blocked a puck with his face Tuesday night.

"He got the puck just above the eye," said Julien. "His eye, today, was almost totally shut.

"So we just held him back, for today, but he's another guy who should be good to go tomorrow."

Unfortunately, Milan Lucic was probably the most significant topic.

"Yah, Luch suffered an injury, yesterday," said the Bruins head coach. "And I think we are going to qualify it as a day-to-day and we'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll go from there.

Asked to be more specific about Lucic's issue, Julien declined.

"No, we'll leave that as 'an injury.'

"As I the beginning of the year, there's certain times where we will protect our players and this is one of the times we need to protect our player," he said.
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