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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bruins Fall to 1-3, Lose in Raleigh

The Bruins continued their disappointing start to the 2011-12 season, dropping their third of four games last night to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin scored for the Bruins, while Tim Thomas made 31 saves in the losing effort. The stars of the night for Carolina were Joni Pitkanen and Yuri Tulusty, whose strong effort all game long was rewarded with a goal in the third that turned out to be the game-winner.

The first period featured some great back and forth action including a great stop by Thomas on the Hurricanes first real scoring chance of the game. After a wide shot produced a weird carom behind the net, Tulusty found the puck at point blank range in the slot. Thomas came out of his net to challenge the shooter and absolutely stoned him one-on-one.

Carolina netminder Cam Ward also had a key stop early on in the first.Johnny Boychuck unleashed a blast from the right wing that was turned away by Ward, only to find the struggling Milan Lucic on the doorstep with a wide open net. Lucic couldn't bang home the rebound, thanks in large part to Eric Stall's defensive effort in the crease.

Carolina scored first on the power play, as Pitkanen set up with the puck on the half wall. Cradling the puck, he forced Zdeno Chara to make a decision. Rather than pursuing the puck, Chara retreated towards the crease in an attempt to cover Staal, who is always a threat to score down low. Taking advantage of the extra space, Pitkanen let off a shot that got by Thomas and gave the Canes a 1-0 lead.

Carolina doubled their lead in the early stages of the third, when Anthony Stewart beat Gregory Campbell and then went low stick side on Timmy, a save he should've made.

The Bruins then quickly responded as Seguin scored on a bad angle wrist shot that beat Ward high gloveside. His partner in crime Marchand scored halfway through the third, one timing a redirected pass from Patrice Bergeron to cut the lead to one. That was all that the Bruins would get, as their attempt with the man advantage failed.

The B's have to rebound and quickly. They will face an extremely skilled Blackhawks team on Saturday night. It's still earl, but they can't afford to let this season get away from them early on.

Game Notes:

* Although the power play hasn't produced at all this year, they have certainly made strides in their strategies. Seguin has looked very comfortable on the man advantage, especially with open ice. He is starting to become more aggressive, especially without the puck, which is one of the reasons why Julien put him on the top line to replace the injured David Krejci.

* The best example of this was leading up to his goal in the third. He started off close to the Bruins bench, but curled to the opposite side of the ice, before taking a pass from Horton and simply skating around McBain before putting a shot on net. His movement without the puck is going to set him up to make plays in open ice, especially on the first line.

*Much has been made of Lucic and Horton's slumps throughout last season as well as the first few games of this season and for good reason. They have started out slow and haven't really been aggressive thus far but last night was a step in the right direction for both of them, putting up their highest shot totals of the season and generating several scoring chances, none better than Lucic's open net chance.

*Although I need to see Lucic finish better. He walked in all alone in the third and unleashed his patented ice level wrister that Ward kicked away. Lift the damn puck!

*Scary moment for the B's when Adam McQuaid knocked his own ass out when he caught an edge and slammed his head into the boards behind the net. He was clearly on dream street and eventually went into the dark room to get treated. I dont think that he will be playing on Saturday night. Look for Matt Bartkowski to get some more playing time in Darth Quaider's place.

*McQuaid could've just been looking for a KFC Double Down and a Bud Light in the locker room though.

*I love the new presentation on Versus. The ten-year deal with NBC has made the NHL a bigger player than ever in American sports. With the NBA out for the first few weeks, now is the best time for the league to grab all the attention they can. Hockey pretty much every night? Hell yeah!

*Doc Emerick is becoming insufferable. I like his goal calls but that's pretty much it, he screams on nearly every shot. However, I did learn that Tulusty means "fat" in his native Czech language. I wonder what "Beckett" translates to.

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