Bruins focused on overtaking the Flyers

While the buzz around the Canadiens considered Tuesday’s game against the Bruins is the game of the season, the anticipation in Boston was — at least on Monday — a bit more muted. The Boston Globe didn’t play up the game at all, hardly even mentioning it. Neither did the website of the B’s cable TV network, NESN. You’d have to expect that will change on game day.

[Update: Yes, it changed. Here’s NESN’s video preview of the game.]

The Globe’s competitor, The Boston Herald, did consider the game noteworthy, but added, “That’s not the only meaningful game the Bruins have on the slate” this week and went on to discuss at equal length the B’s games on Thursday against the Sabres and Friday against the Islanders. NESN’s competitor, CSN New England, did trumpet Tuesday’s game in this video report and borrowed The Herald’s view that “the fight- and goal-filled Bruins win Feb. 9…may have been the
game of the season in the NHL.”

A big reason for the different perspective are the Canadiens are seeking revenge for the Feb. 9 game and also chasing Boston for top spot in the Northeast Division while the Bruins have their eye on catching Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference lead, as the Flyers are currently playing their worst hockey of the season.

With a win, the Habs can close the gap with Boston to three points. The B’s are two points behind Philly, who have lost four straight and will host the Oilers Tuesday.

In the CSN New England report linked above previewing the game, Milan Lucic extols the B’s offense and team toughness o Feb. 9 and says they’ll have to do both again on Tuesday, and especially score first. Shawn Thornton says the B’s have to be tough but smart and disciplined. Those two and Patrice Bergeron, all acknowledge it is a big game for
both teams, with Thornton adding, “We’re trying to catch the teams above us and they’re trying to catch us. We’ll play a tough brand of hockey; we always do. But it’s not an easy building to play in.”

TSN’s video report from Monday night includes an interview with Carey Price who told reporters no one should expect he and Tim Thomas to engage in Round 2 of their less-than-memorable tussle. Since that outing, Price has gone 5-3-1 with a 1.81 and a .946 save percentage. Price says in the TSN video that this season “might be the most fun I’ve every had playing hockey.” There’s also clips of Hal Gill and Scott Gomez discussing Gill’s sudden offensive explosion.

One story of interest on the NESN website concerns the Bruins power play, which hasn’t done much better since they traded for Tomas Kaberle last month. While Karberle has moved the puck well and even surprised observers with some good play on defence, they are just 1 of 17 since Kaberle joined the team, with no goals on 12
chances in the last six games. Claude Julien is happy, however that his team is moving the puck petter on the PP since Kaberle arrived and believes what’s missing has been the finish around the net.

The Bruins top line of David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have been exceptional during this recent hot streak. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa had a good piece on them Monday. Krecji is now tied with Bergeron for the team lead in scoring (10 goals, 40 assists). He has two goals and nine assists in Boston’s last eight games, which include a seven game winning streak that ended with a 3-2 OT loss to the Penguins on Saturday. Krejci scored in the last minute of that game.  “The goal gave the Bruins 1 point on a night when they deserved none,” Shinzawa writes.

Bergeron will be back in the lineup on Tuesday. He missed the game on Saturday against Pittsburgh due to the death of his grandmother. Mark Recchi didn’t practice on Monday; Julien gave him a personal day off, but he’ll be at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Here’s how the B’s projected lineup should look:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille or Tyler Seguin-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

Either Paille or Seguin will likely be a healthy scratch along with
defenceman Shane Hnidy. Andrew Ference (day-to-day with a lower body
injury) and Steven Kampfer (concussion) did not make the trip.

As actress Bette Davis once said, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”


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