|Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Continue Stretch of Dominance, Defeat Lions 34-9||Minutemen Bounce Back with Win over Florida State||Connelly’s Top Ten: Kraftapoolooza – Pats and Revs Win!||Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez Moving Toward $90 Million Deal|
The Broons bring their desperate search for a goal to Pittsburgh, where they will take on Andy Samberg and the rest of the Penguins live on a Saturday night.
Fans throughout New England have been wondering: can the Bruins put a puck into a goal, even an empty one with no defenders around? Cheer up, because it turns out that they can.
Kevin Paul Dupont from the Globe has the lines and defensive pairings (in his longest stretch of writing in ten years that doesn’t feature a single cheap shot at Joe Thornton– almost a page. He’ll have to take two pointless shots at Thornton in tomorrow’s paper to make up for it.)
(More of Dan’s live blog below…)
Marco Sturm — Patrice Bergeron — Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler — David Krecji — Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille — Vladimir Sobotka — Brad Marchand
Shawn Thornton — Steve Begin — Byron Bitz
Zdeno Chara — Derek Morris
Mark Stuart — Dennis Wideman
Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference
The amazing hockeyfights.com says to watch out for a possible brawl between Shawn Thornton (6 fights this season) and Eric Godard ( a team-leading 3 fights.)
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated’s NHL players who look like celebrities, tonight’s matchup also features Drew Carey, Adam Sandler and a Jonas Brother. Sounds like the cast of a terrible direct-to-video comedy.
Ev-Jenny Malkin of the Jonas Brothers will be back for the Pens tonight, which likely means bad news for the Bruins. The Bruins do avoid Marc-Andre Fleury, though– backup and former Worcester Ice Cat Brent Johnson will be in goal for the ‘guins. He’ll face Tim Thomas in a battle of Michigan-born goalies. Thomas has a one-hour, 72-minute scoreless streak going over his last three games, but only a 1-0-2 record over that span.
On NESN, Jack Edwards points out that over his last 6 games, Thomas is 1-3-2, with an 0.98 goals against average, and a .962 save percentage. Grounds for a non-support lawsuit.
The Bruins open with the 4th line, Begin, Thornton and Bitz. Byron Bitz of all people breaks in with a strong move, but his backhand flip is easily handled by Johnson.
The Penguins work the puck over the blue line to Malkin, his pass sends in ancient Jay McKee, who backhands one over Thomas’s shoulder for a goal! The scoreless streak is over and the Bruins immediately trail Pittsburgh 1-0. McKee’s first goal of the season. His career high is 5.
Awful start for the punchless Bruins.
17:00: Pittsbugh gets a 3-on-2, but Thomas is there. At the other end, Sobotka fires wide. (the website is working painfully slowly tonight folks, which is not good for live-bloggery. I’ll do my best.)
16:00: Sturm with a break-in, saved by Johnson. Morris’ blast from the point is blocked in front, and Pittsburgh clears.
15:00: Daniel Pie-eh shoots wide, and Sobotka can’t get a shot off from in close. The Bruins showing more life now. Marchand fires, but Johnson makes a kick-save. He makes another on a Ryder wrister.
14:00: Wideman shoots wide, and the ‘guins clear, momentarily halting Boston’s pressure. The 4th line regroups and takes it in over the line, but Shawn Thornton’s shot is deflected into the crowd.
13:00: It’s, it’s Byron Bitz! He’s squared off in a fight with Derek Engelland, right off the faceoff! Engelland lands more blows and ends up on top of Bitz, but Jack impartially declares it a draw. maybe this will inspire the B’s.
12:00: Boston still generating pressure. Bergeron’s shot is saved. At the other end, McKee, feeling fiesty, rips a long shot wide. You’ve had your goal for this year dude, settle down. Martin Skoula sends a shot wide of Thomas.
11:00: Wheeler sets up Ryder, but his hack at a bouncing puck is saved, and Brent Johnson covers. B’s win the draw, and David Kreijci has it behind the net. He dishes to a wide open Wheeler, who taps it in, goal! 1-1 game. Jack Edwards: “David Kreijci brings back the magic!” (Everything Jack says ends with an exclamation point.) A desperately needed goal for the Bruins there.
10:00 Penguin Eric Godard fires a shot on net, stick save Thomas. A team with Crosby and Malkin, and the guys ripping shots are Godard and Jay McKee? For the B’s, Recchi gets free in the slot, but makes a wild, stumbling fake and flings the puck to Bergeron to the side. Bergy’s shot is wide. Odd to see a (former?) sniper like Recchi look like someone so afraid to shoot that he’s trembling on his skates.
Bruins keep the pressure on. Morris’s shot from the point is blocked in front.
The Pens break out now on a 2 on 1, Crosby and Malkin! Crosby rips one, but Thomas makes the save!
9:00: Brad Marchand scraps along the boards, but grabs the stick. Penalty on Boston. Luckily, the ‘guins are 3 for their last 41 power plays.
Malkin controls in the Boston zone, but loses it, and Paille clears.
8:00: Malkin’s blind backhand pass goes to no one. Ruslan Fedotenko with a shot, but it’s blocked by Wideman.
Malkin scoots in, on a pass from Crosby, all alone, but Thomas makes the stop! Huge save there.
7:00: Bruins kill the rest of the penalty. The puck bounces in the slot in front of the Boston net, but Craig Adams can’t get a shot.
6:00: Bergeron shoots, save Johnson. But the puck trickles free! Sturm hacks at it, and so does Recchi, but they can’t connect with the puck sitting in the crease. Ben “Reverend” Lovejoy kicks it clear for Pittsburgh, and Johnson covers it up.
5:00: Bruins keep the heat on. Bergeron break free behind the net and tries a wrap-around, but Johnson saves. At the other end, Crosby and Malkin get up to their tricks and shenanigans. Chara checks Malkin, and Jack colorfully yet inexplicably explains that “Chara shoves him like he’s moving a refrigerator.”
4:00 Ryder snaps a shot on goal, saved again. Michael Rupp blocks a shot for the ‘guins. Pittsburgh comes out of their end. Staal drives to the Boston net and tries to stuff one, but Thomas saves and covers for the faceoff.
3:00: Pittsburgh with a shot, saved by Thomas. Stuart tries to clear, but he’s knocked into Thomas by Matt Cooke! Sturat hacks it weakly right to Pascal Dupuis in front, who fires into the open goal! 2-1 Pittsburgh. Clumsy play by the B’s leads to a deficit.
Now the Penguins are controlling play in the Boston zone. But Wideman’s clearance goes to Brad Marchand, who breaks in 1 on 1– but his shot is easily saved.
2:00: Bruins defenseman Derek Morris with an open look from the blue line, but his blast is gloved by Johnson for a faceoff.
1:00: Sorry for being so far behind on this, the website was working achingly slowly for most of the period. Both teams knock the puck around for a while, to no advantage. Malkin tries a shot, but his stick is chopped in half by Begin as he shoots, and his fluttering shot is saved. But Begin is going to the box for slashing with 23 seconds left. Boston penalty. Pittsburgh can’t do anything in the rest of the time, and the period ends with Pittsburgh leading 2-1.
Bruins kill off the penalty with no real danger.
18:00: Paille controls in the corner, but can’t generate a chance. Then at the other end, he blocks Pascal Dupuis’ long shot.
17:00: Pittsburgh has possession in Boston’s end, but can’t do anything with it.
16:00: A long stretch with no whistles and lots of back and forth in the middle of the rink. Pittsburgh starts out of their zone, but Michael Ryder steals the puck and tries a seemingly routine wrister from the side– it zips past Johnson into the roof of the net! Goal, Bruins! Game tied at 2.
15:00: Mark Eaton snaps a wrist shot from the circle that beats Thomas, but pings off the post! Eaton fires again from the circle. Thomas saves, but Rupp gets to the rebound; he gets knocked down before he can do anything with it.
14:00: Crosby and Malkin try to break in, but a pass goes awry. McKee recovers, but his long pass is intercepted at mid-ice by Begin, who breaks in, with acres of space. His snapper is blocked by Johnson, and the Bruins can’t do anything with the juicy rebound that trickles away.
Bruins keep control in Pittsburgh’s end. Stuart sends a cross-ice pass to Andrew Ference, but his blast is wide. Big boys Bitz and Staal belt each other around entertainingly, but to no advantage or strategic purpose.
13:00: Bruins bottled up in their end. Stuart slams into Fedotenko, and the Bruins clear. Here comes Pittsburgh again though, as His son Chris Bourque sets up Geurin, but he misses the net, with Staal racing just a bit late to deflect.
Bergeron comes back the other way. His wrist shot from the blue line is easily blocked by Johnson. Boston keeps it in, but can’t do much with it, and Reverend Lovejoy dumps it out.
12:00: The Bruins control for a while, but can’t do much. Cooke finally carries it out for Pittsburgh, and gets it to Dupuis, who fires long range. Thomas stops it, but a scrum breaks out as he holds on. Lots of shoving and threats and tough-acting poses, but no punches thrown.
11:00: Lots of neutral zone dinking around leads to Fedotenko carrying it into the zone, then feeding Crosby, who sweeps around the net dangerously, but can’t get a shot off. He dishes to Malkin, who sends a bouncing puck to Alex Goligoski. His shot is tipped by Crosby and finds the far corner– goal, Pittsburgh! 3-1 Penguins. A great deflection there by Bing Crosby, nothing Thomas could’ve done.
10:00: The air seems to have been drained out of the Bruins, as they dither around with the puck to no effect. Craig Adams drills Hunwick into the boards, adding to Boston’s ennui.
9:00: Hunwick gets crunched again, this time by Dupuis. Pittsburgh has the energy now. Kreijci is able to win the puck and tries a shot, but Johnson smothers it and holds.
8:00: Goligoski, Crosby and Malkin roam all over the place, looking dangerous and slick but not generating a chance.
7:00: Adams shoots wide, but the rebound off the wall bounces crazily to a wide open Michael Rupp on the side. He shoots, with Thomas out of position, and the net gaping, but somehow it doesn’t go in! Did Thomas bat that puck with his stick while whirling around and seemingly not looking? Apparently, based on the replay, he did! Fantastic save by Thomas.
Now Michael Rupp with another shot, save Thomas, Bruins clear. Marchand goes in solo on a 1-on-2, and nearly beats both defenders with a drag and drop, but he can’t quite get the shot off.
6:00: Crosby controls behind Boston’s net. He passes it back and forth with Malkin, and it ends up with Goligoski, who fires high.
5:00: The Bruins control now. Morris fires from the blue line with Sturm in front– goal! Not deflected, just a good screen and a good shot by Morris. 3-3, tie game!
‘Guins come back now, Malkin breaks in alone! He snaps a shot– Thomas saves! The rebound sits there agonizingly,with everyone wrestling and grabbing each other to try to get it, but they can’t. In the scramble, Wheeler is called for a penalty. Power play Pens.
4:00: Suddenly Sturm breaks out on a one on one shorthanded bid with Goligoski in the Pittsburgh end. He rips a shot that Johnson just barely gets a skate to for the save.
3:00: Bruins doing well on the penalty kill. ‘Guins offside, faceoff coming.
Pittsburgh controls. Malkin wheels around in the corner, again looking dangerous but not actually accomplishing much. Goligoski whiffs on a pass, and the Bruins break in! Bergeron shovels to Marchand, open in front, but he can’t redirect on net.
2:00: penalty killed. Role players out there for both teams, and they can’t generate any real chances. For the game, Pens have 13 scoring chances to Boston’s 9.
1:00: Now Crosby wheels into the zone, and carries all the way to the net. Thomas blocks his stuff attempt. Bruins control the rebound and clear.
Staal comes back with the puck, and tries to set up Fedotenko, but the Bruins break it up, then ice it. With 6 seconds left, Crosby wins the draw, but Goligoski coughs up the pass, and the Bruins clear, ending the period.
3-3 after 2 periods. In the studio between periods, Milan Lucic is wearing some weird European black shirt open to the chest, showing off his weird European necklaces. Like all hockey players, he humbly spews generic sports cliches, and yet comes off as a good guy.
This entertaining game starts its final period. Kreijci gets belted to the ice by Engelland, but he still makes a sweet pass from his knees to Ryder. His shot is blocked by Eaton. Ryder dishes dangerously across the crease for an open Wheeler, but he can’t get a stick on it. Wideman blasts from the point, saved by Johnson with traffic in front.
18:00: Penguins clear, but the Bruins bring it back it. Thornton tries a shot off a bouncing puck, but Johnson gets his foot on it and covers. Boston cranking up the pressure now.
Bruins control the faceoff. Morris fires wide, and like every time, Jack Edwards claims that it was intentionally wide. Sure, whatever you say, Jack.
Pittsburgh controls the puck now, with the big boys out there, and Crosby shoots wide. Malkin gets his stick in Chara’s skates and dumps him to the ice– penalty on Malkin! Boston finally gets a power play.
17:00: Boston 2 for the last 26 on the power play. They pass around the zone but can’t penetrate. Ryder’s shot is deflected out. Pittsburgh controls the faceoff and clears.
16:00: Wideman fires wide (hence the name?) and the Pens clear again. Boston getting a lot of possession on the power play, but no real chances. Chara blasts a slapper from the point, but it’s saved and cleared. Penalty over.
15:00: The crowd now chanting “Let’s go Pens.” And they do go. Crosby’s sweet pass to Malkin while falling down almost produces a goal, but Ev-Jenny can’t control it. Martin Skoula shoots from the point, but two Bruins go down to block it. Reverend Lovejoy fires from the blue line, and it’s blocked. The puck trickles near Crosby, open on the doorstep, but Matt Hunwick reaches it, and fires it backward through his own legs, clearing it!
14:00: Wideman limps off, injured from blocking the shot by Reverend Lovejoy. Rupp fires, but Ference deflects it out.
13:00: Pittsburgh with all the pressure now. But they can’t get a shot on goal, and Ryder skates out with it. Ference tries a blast, but it’s blocked in front. Ryder grabs the loose puck and fires, saved by Johnson, who covers.
12:00: Paille goes into the “dirty areas of the ice,” says Jack. Sounds gross. Can’t they keep the ice clean for an NHL game?
Morris fires way high, but Paille keeps it in. Bergeron shoots, saved, and Paille tries for the rebound, but can’t get it.
11:00: Crosby and Malkin on now for the Pens, and they immediately bring it into Boston’s end. Crosby finds Mark Eaton all alone– he fires low from the circle and scores! Suddenly, Pittsburgh leads. Seriously, Mark Eaton?
10:00: Speaking of Eaton, now this slow-moving website has Eaton my last two minutes of posts. Summarizing, Boston’s losing 4-3. Wideman came back on the ice. Wheeler had a good shot, but Ryder got thrown into the goal just as he shot, knocking the posts off their pegs, or magnets, or magical invisible elves, or whatever holds them in place.
8:00: Crosby and Malkin with a give-and-go, but it doesn’t lead to anything. Bitz drops to the ice, holding his face, and it’s Penguin Matt Cooke getting called for the high stick. Will Bitz bleed, and thereby draw a 4-minute penalty, or will his flesh stay intact, leading to only a 2-minute power play? He’s bleeding, it’s a 4-minute penalty! Bless Byron Bitz’s blood.
7:00: Chara blasts a slapper, saved. The rebound sits there for a tantalizing instant, but it’s cleared by Crosby, whose stick gets in the skates of Blake Wheeler– another penalty on Pittsburgh! It’ll be a 2-man advantage for the Bruins. They take a timeout to discuss how to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. Andy Samberg-lookalike Sidney Crosby with a penalty– make up your own D**k in a box joke here.
The Bruins pass the puck around the zone, as the ‘guins set up their 3-man triangle. Time ticks off the clock. Nothing happens, other than the Bruins looking menacing by holding the puck in the Pittsburgh zone, in shooting range, but always opting to pass. Finally, Wideman fires one, but Johnson saves it, and it bounces out of play.
6:00: Staal gets possession and rags the puck for a while. Boston recovers the puck and enters the zone. Morris fires, but it’s saved.
Kreijci passes to Chara, who blasts. It’s saved by Johnson, but Kreijci grabs the rebound and drills it off the crossbar and into the net for the goal! 4-4 tie!
5:00: Bruins still with a minute on the man advantage. Hunwick blasts wide.
Suddenly Crosby scoops up a loose puck and breaks in all alone! He sweeps wide, but Thomas holds his ground and blocks the shot with his glove! Spectacular save to preserve the tie!
4:00: Penalty killed, the Guins break in dangerously, but the shot is deflected out of play.
3:00: The big boys out for Pittsburgh. Chara knocks Malkin off the puck and the Bruins clear. Bergeron to Chara, he fires, but Johnson saves. The Bruins control, and shovel it back to Chara at the point. He tees up a slapper and drills it into the top corner for the goal! 5-4 Boston with 2:29 to play!
2:00: Sturm gets credit for the goal on the tip. Now Ryder dumps it in, but the guins recover and break in. Staal sends in a pass that’s tipped toward net– Thomas gets a piece of it, but it trickles toward the line! He falls on it, and just barely keeps it out of the net!
1:41: ‘Guins empty the net, sending off Brent Johnson in exchange for the extra attacker. Crosby sends in a bouncing puck, but Thomas covers.
Pittsburgh controls the faceoff. Morris blocks a shot, but it’s kept in. Bergeron wins the puck and sends it up to Begin, and then on to Paille, but his red-line shot is blocked. Begin tries a long shot that just misses the empty net, but it’s wide and touched up for icing.
44 seconds: Pittsburgh takes their timeout.
The Bruins win the faceoff, and clear the puck. Pittsburgh recovers, but can’t get through the neutral zone.
Boston gets it in the Pittsburgh zone, with time running out. Under ten seconds left in the game, Patrice Bergeron tries a shot at the empty net, but his stick shatters, and Malkin scoops up the puck! Barely any time left, as Malkin breaks into the Boston zone, then passes to Bill Guerin– he shoots as time runs out– off the post and in!
Oh my. Zero-point-four (0.4) seconds left as Guerin ties it! Wow. The Pittsburgh crowd goes crazy, as well they should.
End of regulation. What a stunning end to this wild game. 5 comebacks/blown leads. Overtime to come.
Pittsburgh controls. Ken “Reverend” Lovejoy. a New Hampshireite in his second NHL game, gives to Malkin, who dances into the zone and zips around dangerously. Crosby’s pass zips in front of the goal, but the Broons clear. Pittsburgh dumps it back in.
The puck bounces behind the Boston net. Thomas goes to handle it nonchalantly– not a bit of chalant to be seen– but somehow he Bucknerishly fouls it up, and the puck bounces right to Staal! He shovels to a wide-open Dupuis in front, who easily taps it into the gaping net, for the soul-crushing, game-winning overtime goal, oh my god this is suddenly the worst November loss in NHL history. 24 seconds into overtime, what the hell people?
Somehow, the Bruins lose this game.
This game was over, won, in the books as a Bruins win, but now it’s not. Just wow. You’ve got to be kidding. Bruins lose 6-5 in overtime.
Okay, let’s go over how this game was won by Boston, and then suddenly, crushingly lost.
On second thought, no, let’s NOT do that, screw that. Good god. That loss was uglier than Shelden Williams on his ugliest day in ugly town.