BOSTON - Tonight, the Boston Bruins look to clinch the Northeast Division with a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With Montreal’s 6-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night, Boston needs just a win (two points) tonight to clinch the division crown and home-ice for the first round of the postseason.
Despite what Montreal has done, or will do, Boston is focused on themselves and what they need to do to make a deep playoff run.
Entering tonight’s game, the Bruins stand with a 43-23-10 record, for 96 points with six regular season games to go. Philadelphia currently leads the Eastern Conference with 102 points and six games left to play, while Washington sits with five regular season games remaining and 99 points.
Neither team has clinched their division.
Boston and Toronto have squared off five times already this season, with the Maple Leafs leading the season series three games to none.
However, three of the games between the two squads this season have been single goal victories, including Toronto’s 3-2 shootout victory on Dec. 4 in which the team’s skated to a tie after 65 minutes of action.
The biggest margin of victory between the two teams was Toronto’s 5-2 victory on March 19, while the Bruins were on the tail end of a 1-3-3 stretch.
Boston looks to even the series tonight, and prevent the Maple Leafs from making a late surge into the post season. Toronto currently sits tenth in the Eastern Conference with a 35-32-10 record, seven points out of playoff contention.
Recchi Reaches Milestone
With his assist on Johnny Boychuk
’s second period goal in Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, Bruins forward Mark Recchi reached another milestone in his already impressive career.
|Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) hugs left wing Mark Recchi (28) after Recchi's assist on a Boston goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The Bruins won 3-0. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
The assist gave him his 1,532nd career NHL point, placing him 12th
all time in league scoring, passing former teammate Paul Coffey.
“It’s great. I mean it comes in another big win for us and makes it that much more sweeter. The guys played a good game tonight and we got things going and we want to continue it. They’re fun,” Recchi said after the game.
“Obviously right now it’s, these guys probably get more excited than I do right now, but at the end of my career I’ll look back and be proud of what I did and how long I played. And hopefully my kids can really enjoy it.”
The milestone was just one of many in Recchi’s historic career. The 43-year-old has played in 1,647 NHL games, collecting 576-956-1,532 scoring totals in his 22-year career.
The always poised and humble Recchi admitted he never imagined his career would turn out the way it has, but credits his hard work and a few helping hands in getting him to where he stands today—among the NHL elite.
“I mean I wasn’t even supposed to make it never mind do this stuff. I was a nineteen-year-old draft pick, and small back then. They drafted monsters back then no matter what,” he said.
“I had to work hard to get there, I had some people who believed in me when I first started in the league and it really helped and some people who really helped me as well.”
While Recchi admitted that he doesn’t think too much about his accomplishments, at least not now, while his career is going strong, his teammates, especially linemate Patrice Bergeron
, were thrilled to recognize his latest feat.
“I mean it’s unbelievable if you think about it. It’s big names that he’s passing there and it’s crazy how many points it is. I’m just happy to be on the ice with him and to have a chance to enjoy something like that because I don’t think I’ll be there for that on my side,” Bergeron said.
“So I’m just happy for him and it’s something that’s amazing. I mean he’s obviously going to be a hall-of-famer and like I said, I feel blessed that I had a chance, or have a chance to be with him and learn from him.”
B’s captain Zdeno Chara
added, “It’s great. He’s unbelievable. He still competes; he still has the desire and love for the game and a lot of passion. To have such a player, leader and person on your team is such a big help.”
Whether or not Recchi will be breaking any more records remains to be seen. Recchi said yesterday he hopes the Bruins make a long playoff run to give him a few more games to play.
While returning next season is still an option, Recchi said Tuesday night, “We win and I say I’m gone.
“If we win a championship, I’m gone.”Thomas Records Ninth ShutoutTim Thomas
’ ninth shutout, received Tuesday night after stopping 28 Chicago shots en route to the 3-0 win, puts him in second place this season in shutouts.
|Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) waves to fans after the Bruins' 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey game in Boston on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
“They’re a good team that is battling for a playoff spot, so I don’t know if their game had energy as much as they tried to build it from within. That’s what good teams do, and so they built energy towards us, but we were able to fend them off and keep our composure and get the job done,” Thomas said.
“Well when we scored that third goal that’s tough. Probably not on purpose, that’s human nature to tense up a little bit. Having said that, we battled through it and still were in the right places, and we didn’t get all scrambley and stuff.”
He trails only the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist’s 11 blankings, including a 1-0 shutout of Boston on Saturday.
“Shutouts are honestly, really overrated. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s more about the win,” Thomas said.
“Having said that, shutouts are nice, I’m obviously pulling for them towards the end of the game if I can. But I mean, I think guys should be focused on winning, making sure that we win rather than the shutout.”
While shutouts may not be on his mind, playing well is, and that’s exactly what Thomas has been doing throughout the entire season.
“It’s amazing, he’s been great for us all year and then the minute he only becomes good, everybody talks about him being in a slump,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said.
“I don’t think he’s ever been bad for us this year. He’s been good sometimes, but he’s been great most of the time.”
“I didn’t feel that bad during that stretch,” Thomas said. “I mean, there were shots that were hitting off of people that were going wide and going in. But having said that I do feel good right now, but I didn’t feel off that bad before. It’s a fine line for a goalie.”
Currently, Thomas leads the league in goals-against average (1.95) and save percentage (.940 %). He sits second in shutouts (nine) and tied for seventh in wins (33), just three wins behind league leader Roberto Luongo.
It seems to many the Vezina trophy is just waiting for Thomas to raise it up for the second time in three years.
Cam Neely Foundation Dedicates Wing at Tufts
Painted in serene gold tones, accented with blue and green tiles, the newest wing of Tufts Medical Center will provide high-tech, quality care and comfort to patients suffering from brain cancer.
Wednesday, Tufts Medical center joined forces with the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care to unveil The Michael Neely Center for Brain Tumor Care and Research and The Michael Neely Neuroscience Center.
The newly renovated wings are the first that the Cam Neely Foundation has donated to bear the name of his father, Michael Neely, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 1993.
“It’s all about patient care, treatment, research and those things (patients) can get here and they can get in a beautiful space—it makes you feel more comfortable,” Neely said.
“They have great doctors here who do wonderful things and to have a space like this at their disposal and the care that they would get here. I think it’s certainly going to be a space that, unfortunately, a lot of patients and families will come through here, but they’re going to get great treatment.”
Wednesday’s ceremonies, which were held in the newly renovated wing of Tufts, included a ribbon cutting and remarks from Neely, Ellen Zane, president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, Doctor Anish Bhardwaj, chief of neurology and Chief of Neuro-Surgery Doctor Carl Heilman.
“The unfortunate thing about this disease is everyone is touched by it one way, shape or form. But the biggest thing from our perspective, is how do we help people today,” Neely said to the crowd of supporters.
“And that was extremely important to the family.”
Zane recognized Cam, his brother Scott and sisters Christine and Shaun, for establishing the Cam Neely Foundation in 1995 in honor of their parents Michael and Marlene and for placing the “Neely fingerprint” upon Tufts surfaces.
Following the dedication and remarks from Neely, Zane closed the formal portion of the event with a toast, “to Cam and the impact he has made on others lives.”
B’s defensemen Dennis Seidenberg
not only has two assists in his last four games, he’s also been a solid force on Boston’s backend for the entire season.
|Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44), of Germany, tries to block a shot by Nashville Predators right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) |
Currently in his second season with Boston the 29-year-old blueliner has 6-23-29 totals in 76 games, and is having his best statistical season since the 2008-09 campaign when he had a 5-25-30 scoring line with Carolina.
Seidenberg was drafted in 2011 in the sixth round (172nd overall) by Philadelphia. He has played for four NHL franchises in addition to Boston (Philadelphia, Phoenix, Carolina and Florida).
The Schwenningen, Germany-native was traded to Boston by the Florida Panthers with Matt Bartkowski
for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a draft pick on March 3, 2010.
In 450 career NHL games, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman has 24-121-4-145 scoring totals and recorded his 100th NHL assists on Oct. 23 in a Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
As Boston prepares for the playoffs, the 11-year-veteran will bring his postseason experience to the Bruins locker room.
In 19 career playoff games (with Carolina and Philadelphia, he missed last season's playoffs with Boston), Seidenberg has 1-5-6 totals and 16 penalty minutes.