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Game Day: Senators vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Third Period: With the Ottawa defense MIA, Bruins forward Marc Savard looped around the offensive zone once or twice only to find himself sitting atop the Senators crease. P.J. Axelsson dished one to Savard from deep in the corner and, just like that, it was a 2-1 game.

The tally came at 16:58 of the final period of play, and, despite trailing for the first part of tonight’s game, the Bruins squad once again squeezed out a win to put them within striking distance of a Presidential piece of hardware.

Total shots were 33-32 in favor of the Bruins.
0:00 - End of Game. B's win 2-1.

2.7 - Spezza called for a penalty. Interference.

10.6 - Huge stop by Thomas.

56.7 - Stoppage. Ottawa timeout.

1:50 - Auld out.

1:55 - Recchi in the box.

2:17 - Comrie shot, save Thomas.

4:50 - Yelle steals the puck, passes to Bitz, just missed.

7:25 - Wideman puts a hard drive off Auld's blocker.

11:02 - Bergeron for hooking.

12:12 - We're sold out -- 17, 565.

12:30 - Hand pass Ottawa. If Boston could get one more, they could end this early. The Sens look like a team ready to fold up the tent.

16:58 - Outstanding play. Axelsson to Savard to the net. It's 2-1, Boston. Nothing Auld could do about that one. Savvy finished the play by bouncing off the boards to celebrate with the B's fans.

18:58 - Thomas with a save to start his work in the third.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
Second Period: Michael Ryder’s poke-check over the blue line was all forward Milan Lucic needed to carry one home for the Black & Gold.

Lucic carried the puck up along the boards, firing a slapshot from the top of the faceoff circle and beating Auld glove-side at 17:33. David Krejci, who received NESN’s annual 7th Player Award tonight, also tallied an assist on the play.

With only a few minutes remaining in play, P.J. Axelsson tacked Jarko Ruutu after the latter plowed over Thomas and the resulting calls left the B’s on a power play.

Shots for the period are 27-18 in favor of Boston.

0:00 - End of the second. We're tied, 1-1. Boston leads in shots, 27-18.

5.2 - Icing Ottawa.

2:37 - Axelsson just tackled Ruutu, who had deposited Tim on his rear.

No, no. Never. Never.

Axie clearly had an issue with the move.  As did Shane Hnidy. Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart.

Somehow (and fittingly) Winchester got the extra call and gave the B's a PP.

5:37 - Timmy's turn. Play stops for a faceoff in the Boston zone. Nice play by Stuart, who broke up Ottawa's last real threat.

6:07 - Auld makes his latest. Shots are 24-14, B's.

10:12 - Nice shift for Byron Bitz! He almost assisted on a go-ahead goal.

12:13 - Save Auld. He had to track down a puck that was pinballing in front of his crease. He also held on for the draw.

13:16 - Thomas stops Fisher on a shorthanded breakaway and holds on to the puck.

14:02 - A very strong shift by the B's draws an Ottawa penalty: Winchester is in the box for OTT.

17:33 - Lucic, on the breakaway, winds up and scores on a very nice slapshot over the catching glove of Auld. Nice goal and just what the Dr. ordered. It's 1-1. That's 17 for #17.

Crowd: "Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooch."

18:19 - Timmy got tangled with a teammate behind the bench. No issues result...

19:25 - Boston came out with an obvious wish to up the physical play.

20:00 - Second Period.
First Period: In what is usually their most explosive 20-minutes of play, the Boston Bruins capped off the first period of tonight’s game against the visiting Ottawa Senators trailing by one.

At 14:37, Ottawa forward Daniel Alfredsson took advantage of a screen in front of Tim Thomas to fire one past the B’s goaltender, proving, once again, that even the ugliest shots can light up the scoreboard.

The guys from Boston had a number of scoring attempts themselves, but none quite as close as Marc Savard’s out-of-the-sin-bin, cheery-picking attempt with seconds left in play. The shot was denied by Senators goaltender Alex Auld, who made 14 saves on the period.

0:00 - Despite a late flurry, the B's go to the room down one. Shots are 14-11, Boston.

49.0 - Two more saves by Tim, who is WAY too busy tonight.

1:42 - Another big save by Thomas.

2:03 - Gotta marvel at Bergy's defensive abilities.

2:21 - Savard in the box for a hook.

5:30 - Alex Auld just saved himself from being in a highlight video. Wow. Turnaround pass from Chara to Wideman, split save by Alex. Nice job, old friend.

7:07 - Icing Ottawa. Whoa. Slooooooooooooooooooow game.

8:25 - Save Thomas. Shots are 7-6, Boston.

10:27 - What looked like a bit of an Olympic event ended an awesome shift by the Yelle line. Yelle himself earned a holding penalty.

13:29 - Auld says no to Wheeler.

14:05 - Hnidy pops Ruutu...

14:37 - Whoops. Alfredsson used a screen to beat Thomas and put the Sens up 1-0.

14:56 - Another save for Timmy.

15:01 - Icing Boston...

17:03 - Ruutu and Hnidy exchange hard looks...

17:56 - Tim Thomas makes his first save of the night.

18:18 - A little back-and-forth to start.

20:00 - Start of the First. Congrats to David Krejci!

Ottawa Starters:
Phillips, Fisher, Volchenkov, Shannon, Foligno, Auld
Boston Starters:
Ference, Wideman, Axelsson, Savard, Wheeler, Thomas

Let's swtich to time on the clock.

7:00 p.m.
Before the Bruins/Senators game on Thursday night, Bruins center David Krejci was named the winner of NESN’s Seventh Player Award presented by the New England Dodge Dealers.

Voted on by Bruins fans online at, NESN’s Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceed the expectations of Bruins fans during the 2008-2009 season. In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Krejci will take home a 2009 Dodge Ram, courtesy of New England Dodge Dealers.

6:45 p.m.
Press Box Notes...
NESN and the Bruins will announce the Seventh Player Award before tonight’s puck drop. Voted on by Bruins fans online at, NESN’s Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceed the expectations of Bruins fans during the regular season. Current Bruins who have won the Seventh Player Award include Milan Lucic (2007-2008) and Tim Thomas (2005-06, 2006-07).

Other stories...
  • With six games left including tonight, the Bruins “magic number” to clinch the Eastern Conference is four (4) for Washington and one (1) for New Jersey. The magic number is any combination of points gained by Boston and/or lost by Washington and New Jersey. Washington and New Jersey are both idle tonight, with their next games coming on Friday when they host Buffalo and Tampa Bay respectfully.
  • The Bruins enter tonight’s matchup having won their last four games, and are 6-1-1 in their last eight.
  • Bruins forward Chuck Kobasew has a six-game point streak in progress with 3-3-6 totals during that span.
  • During Tuesday’s game against Tampa Bay Chuck Kobasew and Blake Wheeler each potted their 20th goals of the season, becoming the sixth and seventh different Bruins to net 20 on the year. No team besides the Bruins has seven players with 20 or more goals (Philadelphia and San Jose have six each) and the most by a Bruins team since they had seven in 1995-96.
  • Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is playing in his 300th career NHL/Bruins game.
  • Senators forward Ryan Shannon has a six-game point streak in progress with 4-4-8 totals during that span.
  • Tonight’s game concludes a fragmented six-game road trip for Ottawa. Through the first five games, they have posted a 2-3-0 record.
  • Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward and WBCN 104.1 FM have teamed up to host the second annual "Cuts for a Cause" to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Oncology Unit on Wednesday, April 8 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at The Harp (85 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114). Thirteen members of the current Boston Bruins roster including Aaron Ward, Patrice Bergeron, Byron Bitz, Matt Hunwick, Phil Kessel, Chuck Kobasew, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder, Mark Stuart, Tim Thomas, Blake Wheeler and Dennis Wideman will have their heads shaved by auction winners on stage, in front of fans to show their support and raise money for children battling cancer.

6:39 p.m.
My guess on the lines...


Scratches: Kessel, Montador, Thornton

Click Here for an expanded line chart.

6:29 p.m.
Annnnnnnd we're back.

It's Alex Auld vs. Tim Thomas in between the pipes.

A fun matchup.

3:41 p.m.
Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic (17) fights with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Josef Melichar (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, March 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Resident tough-guy Milan Lucic is used to long fights, bloodied knuckles, and trying to be the last guy to the ice.

So when his Tuesday night throw-down with Tampa Bay’s Josef Melichar lasted just one punch, it was a little out of the ordinary.

“He kind of put his hand over his head, and I didn’t really feel like punching his helmet,” said Lucic yesterday after practice.  “I knew that I’d caught him, and his head went straight down, so I felt enough damage was done.”

There’s a “fighting code” to follow, after all.

“When a guy’s vulnerable like that, the best thing to do is to stop,” Lucic said.  “You could see he was in pain, and he’d had enough, so I thought the best thing to do was just lay off him.”

Not that Luch is complaining or anything.

“Those are probably the best [kinds of fights] to have,” he said.  “They’re not long, your neck doesn’t hurt after, or anything like that.

“[My hand] feels better off, rather than hitting the helmet a bunch of times.  Your hand gets a little sore after that.”

Somehow, Lucic said, his hand still wound up a little bloody – but it could have been from the sticks that were cracking left and right during the game.

“I kind of got cut open here twice yesterday, and that doesn’t really happen,” he said.

3:12 p.m.
Cuts for a Cause
On Wednesday, April 8, Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward is teaming up with WBCN 104.1 to host the second annual "Cuts for a Cause" to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Oncology Unit from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at The Harp (85 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114) ...more.

3:09 p.m.
Carlton Award Winners...
Delaware North Companies and Boston Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs announced today that Jillian Dempsey of the Rivers School and Wayne Simpson of the Lawrence Academy are the recipients of the 2009 John Carlton Award.  Named after the late Bruins scout and administrator who passed away in 1982, the John Carlton Award is given annually by the Boston Bruins to an outstanding male and female student-athlete in an Eastern Massachusetts High School or Junior hockey.  The award is given to the high school seniors who combine exceptional hockey skills with academic excellence ...more.

12:54 p.m.
Boston Bruins' Chuck Kobasew, right, celebrates his goal with teammates Aaron Ward (44), Zdeno Chara, second from left,of Slovakia, Patrice Bergeron (obscured) and Mark Recchi, center foreground, in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Sunday, March 22, 2009, in Boston. The Bruins won 4-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
According to two veteran NHLers, who just happen to have five Stanley Cup rings between them, the Bruins have their rough and tumble, hard-hitting style of play back just in time.

“The competitive level has really taken another step, and that’s what you have to do – you have to get ready for playoffs, and this is what it’s going to be like every night,” said Mark Recchi.  “Obviously, there was a little lull in the season, but the guys realized in the last 10 games, we really have to be on top of it.”

Once the post-season rolls around, physical play is all-important.

“If you’ve got a seven-game series, it’s a process,” explained Recchi.  “If it takes seven games, you want to make sure that you play physical every shift, every game, and [the other team] knows they’re in for a battle.”

D-man Aaron Ward said, in such a competitive atmosphere, it’s pretty easy to find the strength to play hard, even at the end of a long, 82-game season.

“Playoffs are about grit and defense,” he said.  “I think the grit is just something that naturally rises up to the top when you’re an athlete, and [when] you hit the playoffs, the elevation of your game and the mentality just changes, and I think the grit goes along with it.”

And with the Black & Gold back in the swing of things, they should have no trouble keeping up their trademark physical presence.

“We’re big, we’re fast, and I think that can benefit us,” said Recchi.  “As long as we play a physical game and play smart and make teams pay the price, then it makes it along series for them.”

12:39 p.m.
Tweet, Tweet!
Welcome to my new friends from Twitter. Hopefully you got an update that told you to hop on the net and check out the news from practice.

BTW: I have been enjoying the ability to update Boston's True Believers with Bruins news -- remotely. The combo of that mobile Twitter technology and's ever growing reach should make this corner of the Internet a lean, mean, Black & Gold information machine. Except that I am by no means lean, nor am I mean.


How about a simple Bruins Information Machine. Tweet! And hey, we're going to have some more cool stuff in the near future, so sign up for Twitter and make your homepage!

Coach Julien's Morning Update
Shawn Thornton and Phil Kessel will both miss tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators.

Both men have "undisclosed" injuries and neither Thornton nor Kessel -- who actually skated during today's optional skate -- were available to speak to the media.

"[Kessel's status remains] the same as it’s been for the last two days," said B's head coach Claude Julien.  "He’s on the ice, and he’s practicing, and we’re planning his return for sometime next week."

As for Thornton, Julien said, "He’s still the same. Again, I can’t say more than it’s nothing serious.

"It’s just a lot of the same, and we’re going to keep going with healthy guys."

And that would seem to indicate that Byron Bitz and Steve Montador will remain in the lineup.

Julien said that the club's depth has allowed them to perservere through losses like that of Kessel.

"We were fortunate enough to talk...about having a bunch of guys step up and being able to score goals, and we felt that we had three, even four, lines that could score some goals," said Julien. "And I guess this is where those guys have picked it up.

"We keep forgetting about Marc Sturm. [First] it was Marco, and now Phil, and we still have enough depth on our hockey club to stay up there and continue to score goals."

Perhaps the most important factor is the return of the straight-ahead thinking that has been a trademark of Julien's team since early last season.

"This is a game that’s played with a lot of emotion and a lot of energy," said the coach. "And I think when you see that kind of play from your teammates, it energizes the bench and makes you want to follow suit, and I think that’s what the guys are doing right now.

"Guys are going out, playing hard, and the next line wants to follow suit and continue to the same thing.  Like anything else, it’s contagious, and right now, we’ve got a lot of guys who are enjoying what’s going on and seeing that the team is heading back in the right direction, and hopefully that just continues."

10:44 a.m.
Manny Fernandez, Milan Lucic, Steve Montador, Andrew Ference, Matt Hunwick, Aaron Ward, Mark Stuart, Shane Hnidy, Byron Bitz and (drum roll, please) Phil Kessel are on the ice for morning skate.

Coaches Ward, Ramsay and Houda are in charge of the optional.

9:54 a.m.
Boston Bruins Riendeau
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has signed forward Yannick Riendeau to an entry-level contract.  Per club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Skating for the Drummondville Voltiguers of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Riendeau finished the 2008-2009 regular season as the league leader in goals, assists, points, power play goals and game-winning goals, after tallying 58 goals (24 power play, 15 game-winners), 68 assists and 126 points in 64 games. The 5’10”, 178-pound forward has contributed an additional 19 points on nine goals and 10 assists during Drummondville’s first four playoff games this year.

In 298 career games in the QMJHL, the 20-year-old, Brossard, Quebec native has totaled 337 points on 150 goals and 187 assists.

9:24 a.m.
Sad news...

On behalf of the Boston Bruins, I wish to extend heartfelt condolences to the family of former B's captain and Hockey Hall of Famer, Ray Bourque.

Bourque's father, Ray Sr., died on Wednesday in Moncton, NB. He was 79.

In lieu of flowers, the Bourque family requests that donations be sent to the Friends of Moncton Hospital Foundation. 135 Mac Beth Ave. Moncton, NB E1C 6Z8. 506-857-5488.
Angela Stefano contributed to today's blog.
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