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Game Day: Stars vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
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.
Final Score: 5 - 1, Boston

1:30 - I'm going to head to the locker rooms. If anything more happens, I'll have it for you...

2:40 - Save by Turco, who stops a tipped Chara drive from the point. Shots remain in Dallas' favor, 36-25.

5:43 - Sturm scores. 5-1, Boston. A feed from Axelsson, who was in the slot, to Marco who was to Turco's left. Sturm had a yawning net to work with.

7:10 - Morrow to the box, hooking. Another power play for Boston.

8:16 - Marc Savard just jumped on top of Avery after the latter threw a very questionable hit on Lucic. Marc just pounded on Avery with the latter turtled. Hnidy took some guy named Niskanen and tuned him up. Lucic needed to be restrained. Kessel and Brunnstrom were paired off.

It's calm on the ice, now, after Lucic had left the ice emploring the fans to cheer, which they did, lustily.

But the rink is still hopping.

Here is the rundown:
Dallas, Niskanen -5 min, 10 mis.  Avery – 2 min, 10 mis.
Boston, Savard – 2 min, 10 mis.  Hnidy - 5 min, 10 mis. Lucic – 10 mis.

8:23 - Ott just left the ice. Not sure why. Oh, Stuart is gone, too. Misconduct.

8:55 - Stuart scores. Thank goodness. Stuart's first goal of the season gives the B's a nice lead  and may set off some more fireworks. Hold on to your hats, folks.

9:23 - Turco mishandles the puck and nearly gave Krejci a goal. Krech shot through traffic with the goalie down and just missed.

10:29 - A big heavy weight battle between Barch and Thornton. Barch got the takedown, but it was a BRUTAL fight best scored a draw. Both men landed some very heavy shots, and Thornton was able to get Barch's helmet off of him and land at least two.

12:21 - Chara unleashes a heavy shot from the right point. Gloved down by Turco.

12:58 - Well, now we have all five skaters on both sides paired up after Turco got a penalty for what looked to be an elbow. Ott threw what seemed to be a dirty shot low on Lucic and everyone had a quick shoving match. No fights, but anger was shared and thrown about. After all of it, Lucic and Ference are in the box (so are Avery, Neal and Ott) but Turco's penalty gives the B's a PP.

A good time to score one, boys. Let's put this one to bed.

15:06 - Andrew Ference just became a folk hero. He threw a huge hit at Ott and floored him and then pretty much pounded Avery. Avery got a quick take down, but Andrew got up and was ready to let fly with another punch before it was all broken up. Ott gets an extra for holding. So the B's get the PP.

15:33 - Thomas stops a bid by Avery. Ference actually had an assist on the Kessel goal, too. It was his fifth of the season.

15:53 - A big goal by Phil Kessel, who received a cross ice pass from Savard, skated down the right side, deked a Dallas skater and shot and beat Turco. 3-1, Boston.

16:58 - With Thomas out of the net, having slid to far to his left, about four Bruins cooperated on a save.

17:21 - Dallas is called for icing.

17:51 - Lucic (et al) had a nice chance at the right side of Turco's net. No dice, and the puck is cleared.

19:51 - Another draw at center ice. Bergeron wins again.

19:59 - Bergeron wins the draw.

20:00 - Third Period. Hold the fort. Stay out of the box. And leave Ott alone (or get it over with).
0:00 - Dallas had 21 shots, and leads in the shooting category, 31-15. Boston leads on the scoreboard, 2-1.

9.2 - More pushing and shoving. Centered around, you guessed it, Ott.

51.9 - Thomas smartly stops play again. Another big save on a shot from his right. Shots are 29-14 Big D.

55.5 - Tim makes what looked to be his fourth save on the PP and sends it into the net with one second to go on the man advantage.

2:54 - Slashing on Wideman. Dallas has a five-on-three for 45-seconds. Yuck.

4:10 - It looked like Ference volleyballed a puck out of the rink. He gets a delay of game call.

5:14 - One heck of a shift by the Yelle line who caused an awful lot of havoc in the Dallas end. Thornton threw a shot on net that almost snuck through (tipped or blocked?). Score is still 1-1.

6:45 - Chara croaks Crombeen on the same part of the boards as Lucic broke the glass.

7:39 - Some back and forth shifts. Tim makes his 19th save on Dallas' latest shot.

9:21 - We're back to five-on-five.

10:34 - Thomas calms the Dallas PP down with a glove save.

11:30 - Roughing on Ryder. Not a great call. Dallas gets a four-on-three.

13:09 - James Neal just went into Timmy and sent the goalie bum-over-teakettle. He gets a penalty for the run at the B's goalie. Looks like the B's will get a two minute PP. Nope, a late call to Blake Wheeler for hooking and it's four-on-four, again.

14:38 - Things are becoming unglued. Hnidy was ready to clean the ice with Ott, but the Dallas player would not have anything to do with him. Then, on their way to the bench everyone got heated with Avery and Lucic jawing, etc. SO, Avery and Ott and Lucic and Hnidy all got 2-minutes unsportsmanlike conduct. Ugh. If you can watch the replay, you'll see -- very ugly.

16:00 - Tim stops a power play drive by the Stars and Chara cleans house by shoving Ott to the ice.

18:08 - Bergeron scores. Ryder drove the zone and shot, the puck went to the left and Turco expected the play to move behind him to his left, but Bergy grabbed the puck and stuffed it to his right. A great, heads up play by Bergeron.

18:31 - Ott in the box for a hook. It'll be 2-minutes of four-on-four.

19:03 - Ott hipchecks Yelle. Ward took exception to the hit, and then the B's policeman, Shawn Thornton, came in and started pounding on the Stars center. Thornton gets 4:00. Dallas on their second power play.

19:25 - Already a little more fire to Boston, as the Bergeron line gets the puck deep.

20:00 - Beginning of the Second Period.
0:00 - Jawing at the end. Ward and Avery. Stuart and Ott. Would love to know what Aaron was saying to Mr. Avery. The end of the period had a little anger to it. The Bruins were clearly annoyed at their play and the Stars were just annoyed at the B's.

21.6 - A big save by Turco, two in fact, one a diving stop, and the other a desperation throw everything at it kind of thing.

3:34 - Another chance for Boston on the PP. Avery is in the box for hooking.

5:37 - A late chance is blown dead. Looked like the ref lost sight of a puck that Turco had not actually covered. It's too bad because Sturm was right on the doorstep. Shots are 9-9.

5:50 - Not a heck of a lot to talk about during this PP.

9:08 - After Brendan Morrow got cleaned out by Zdeno Chara, he hooked the big man and earns a trip to the box and an extra two for slamming the door. Boston PP for 4-minutes.

10:24 - Avery chases into Thomas' goal crease as Tim catches the puck for a whistle. Chara roughed him up pretty good. No penalty.

11:09 - Holding Ward. Dallas on the PP.

12:05 - Goal Dallas. Avery got the puck , skated down the right side and threw one on net. It went by Timmy (who looked really angry) to make the score, 1-1.

13:06 - Icing Dallas.

14:17 - Timmy covers up. Despite the stoppages by Boston, the Bruins have carried the play.

15:25 - An icing by Boston.

17:19 - Wheeler worked very hard behind the Dallas boards, centered the puck to Sturm who beats Turco cleanly. 1-0, Boston. Assists to Wheeler and Krejci.

18:19 - Thomas makes his first stop. A nice one with a puck coming from just outside the slot.

19:59 - Boston wins the opening draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Discipline is the name of tonight's game. The Bruins must stay out of the box and work for 60-minutes.

Boston starters: Axelsson, Chara, Bergeron, Ward, Ryder and Thomas.
Dallas starters: Grossman, Robidas, Morrow, Eriksson, Ribeiro, Turco

Switching over to time on the clock...

6:39 p.m.
Tonight's lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Ryder
Sturm  - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Scratches: Hunwick, Kobasew, Sobotka

6:30 p.m.
Thomas and Turco led their teams out of the room.

5:27 p.m.
Some pregame notes, courtesy the Bruins communications dept...
  • Tonight marks the beginning of a three-game homestand for the Bruins, as they host the Stars tonight, the Maple Leafs on Thursday, November 6, and the Sabres on Saturday, November 8.  The B’s played 11 games in October, eight of which were on the road.  In November, the club has 13 games scheduled with eight being played at the TD Banknorth Garden.
  • Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is expected to make his fourth straight start tonight.  Thomas currently ranks second in the league in goals against average (1.95), second in save percentage (.939) and is tied for first in shutouts with two.
  • All but two of the Bruins 11 games this season have been decided by one goal.  The two that weren’t one-goal games were both 4-2 decisions, one a victory over Ottawa and one a loss to Toronto.
  • For Dallas, forward Loui Ericksson has scored four goals in his last four games, posting 4-2-6 totals over that span, while center Mike Ribiero has a four game assist streak in progress (1-7-8 totals in his last four).  Ribiero is currently tied for third in NHL in assists with 11 on the season.
  • Rookie forward Fabian Brunnstrom currently leads the NHL in shooting percentage (38.5%) and leads all rookies with five goals.  He has netted five goals this year on 13 shots. 
  • Tonight’s contest is game number two of a five-game road trip for the Stars.  They lost to the Blackhawks 5-2 last night, play the Bruins in Boston tonight and then head to California to take on the Ducks in Anaheim on November 7, the Sharks in San Jose on November 8 and the Kings in Los Angeles on November 11.

4:39 p.m.
Some more from Coach Julien's pregame press scrum. JB

On Dallas...
They’re a really well structured team. They’re well coached...We need to prepare to see their best tonight. That’s what we should be focusing on, because we’ve got our own issues and right now our issue is about working for 60 minutes...something we haven’t seen much of in probably the last six or 7 games.

On similarities between Dallas and the Bruins...
They’re key a lot on their defensive part of the game, which helped them to get to where they got last year. There are similarities...hard working forwards that grind it out to score goals. You know they’ve got Steve Ott, who’s been hot for them, and he’s a grinder.

On if Chuck Kobasew is expected to play in Thursday’s game...
There’s a possibility. He’s skating and he’s getting better every day so our goal is probably Thursday. With those injuries you almost have to go day by day.

On Vladimir Sobotka needing to be patient...
Yeah, actually he does...he’s a young player and he just needs to be ready.

On the fourth line...
You saw (Shawn) Thornton have a great chance in that first period (in Calgary). They’re capable of scoring. (Petteri Nokelainen) is a guy that can score goals. They just have to keep working. Their goals are going to be grinding goals and with their checking and with their intensity they create turnovers. That’s how they create their chances. They’re having, right now, as many chances as our other lines (so) I’m certainly not going to complain about their effort.

3:42 p.m.

Boston Bruins Andrew Ference, left, battles with Patrice Bergeron for a loose puck during practice. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
This morning, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was asked about his assessment of the Bruins road trip. As positive as he was about garnering four of six points on the road, he was also emphatic about his team's let down during the game in Calgary.

“Competing for 60 minutes is something we did very well last year...(and) we’re trying to push ourselves in a way that we’re going to get a good 60-minute effort,” said the coach.

Julien was asked, if that trend of “letting up” was unique to the road trip, or if that flaw had been a characteristic of the team during the first month. Julien answered that he thought that it had been a problem during October and that  “the only issues that have been of (consistent) concern have been our inability to come back…and not compete as hard (in a period).

"That’s about putting 60 minutes together.

“That’s allowed either teams to beat us or get back in the game and you know if we want to be a hard team to play against, those issues have to be a lot better,” he said.

You will not find any argument from Bruins blueliner Andrew Ference, who, like many of his teammates, pointed to Thursday’s second period as a symptom of that problem that Coach Julien spoke about this morning.

“It was a horrible period and it just kind of a general inconsistency that we still have to remedy,” said Andrew. “I mean, we’re definitely not satisfied with where we are at.

Boston Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas, left, fights for the puck as Calgary Flames' David Moss pressures him during second-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
“We are still striving for a lot more improvement and a lot more consistency in our play.”

Ference did point out, however, that the issue is a hot one in the Bruins locker room, where veterans and youngsters alike are aware of the problem.

“It’s bad that it’s happening,” said the defenseman. “But it’s good that guys are still demanding more of themselves.

“You obviously have to talk about it. And you need to let, especially the younger guys, know that there is a problem…you first have to identify that there are issues.

“But at the end of the day leaders can go out and play like an example and young guys can go out and play with energy and set an example, but (overall)…it’s up to every individual to take care of themselves.”

Consistency, particularly as it relates to preparation, should a goal for each player -- individually.

“Really, the best teams are filled with guys who know how to take care of themselves and know how to be really self-critical and be honest with what they are bringing (to the ice) on a game-to-game basis,” said Ference. “To be a successful team it really depends on individuals to really take care of themselves and be honest with themselves.”

The Bruins have been doing just that and look forward to remedying their issues this evening. And, for sure, a little home cooking might just do the trick.

“We were starting to get more used to the plane than we were in the locker room,” said Andrew. “There have not been too many nights in our own beds or eating our own food, so that’s the best part (of being home).

“We really haven’t had any breaks (and) we’ve hardly practiced at all. It’s felt like March, where, it’s just game, game, rest, game. So this is kind of the end of that first block where we have these four days of (practice).

“But our goal when we started the season was to start well and be in a good position at Thanksgiving and we’re marching towards that,” said.

Andrew also said it would be nice “to come back to our home crowd. And (thankfully) we’ll finally have someone to cheer for us.”

12:36 p.m.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas reaches to make a save during first-period NHL hockey action against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
All of the Bruins attended this morning’s skate, but the most important moment occurred when Tim Thomas left the ice first, which should indicate that he will be the tonight’s starter in goal against the Dallas Stars.

Thomas, who had his shutout streak snapped at 154:43 in a 3-2 loss in Calgary on Oct. 30. He posted consecutive 1-0 shutouts (at Edmonton on Oct. 27 and at Vancouver on Oct. 28), became the first Boston goaltender with consecutive shutouts since Byron Dafoe on April 3-5, 1999.

The Bruins communications staff reports that it was just the second time in NHL history that a goaltender posted 1-0 shutouts in consecutive road games (Florida’s Craig Anderson, March 2-4, 2008).

Tonight the B’s host the Stars in the only game between these teams this season and Dallas’ only visit of the season to TD Banknorth Garden. The Bruins are 5-3-3 overall this season and are 1-1-1 thus far on home ice.

The Stars are 4-5-2 overall this season with a 2-4-0 record on the road. The Bruins are facing their first Pacific Division team tonight and they are playing their first Northeast Division opponent of the season tonight. They are 2-1-1 overall vs. Eastern Conference teams.

Boston Bruins' goalie Tim Thomas, left, celebrates his 1-0 shutout win with teammate Patrice Bergeron (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, right, of Sweden, skates away during third period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
“When you come back with four out of six points it’s a positive thing,” said Coach Julien after practice. “But there are some issues that need to get better and, again, competing for sixty minutes (is something) we did very well last year, but we haven’t found that yet, this year.

“We’re trying to push ourselves…to get a good sixty minute effort and when we play they way we can, we can be a pretty dominant team. But we kind of have a habit of letting teams back in with some soft periods.

“Every time we’ve worked, and played the way we can, we’ve been a good team,” he said.

Thomas is one Bruin who has not been soft.

In seven games, Tim has a 1.95 goals against average (2nd in the NHL), a .939 save percentage (also 2nd in the NHL) and his two shutouts ties him with three others (Luongo, Brodeur, Boucher) for tops in the league.

“Tim was outstanding on that road trip,” said Julien.
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