Bruins motivated by failed 'vengeance' against Penguins

Thornton1.jpgI was frankly appalled when the Boston Bruins failed to show any
emotion in their much-hyped rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This was the game they were supposed to get revenge for the Matt Cooke
injustice; no one was looking for some sort of violent backlash with
dirty shots and sticks to knees, but some sort of “we’ll get you back”
approach to the game would have been nice.

The NHL was making sure there weren’t any Todd Bertuzzi-esque acts of
vengeance, but they needn’t worry. The Bruins played as though they
forgot to set their alarm clocks that morning, and just drifted through
the most disappointing game I’ve seen from a team in years.

According
to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com
, the Bruins used that wasted chance as
motivation for the rest of the season.

“People wanted
to see blood or a win, and we didn’t give them either one. If we’d just
gotten a win afterward people would have been happier than hell,” said
[Shawn] Thornton.

But that, strange as it seems, may have been the
turning point.

“It seems like guys really responded to some of
the negative criticism and have started to play a little bit better,”
said Thornton. “I don’t think we’ve had any passengers since then.”

The
Bruins won eight of their remaining 12 games after that loss to the
Penguins, and were able to secure a playoff spot thanks to actually
winning and not backing in to the postseason. They now have confidence
and momentum, something that hardly seemed possible just a month ago.

The
Bruins were close to becoming a sad, sad story at the end of the
season. It was great to see them actually rise to the occasion when it
really mattered. Now if they are able to make it past the first round,
and possible face Pittsburgh again? I’m certain we’ll see a bit more
life.

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    After 11-game absence, Savard (oblique) back for Columbus

    David Savard
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    These are pretty decent times for the Blue Jackets.

    The team is 7-3-2 in its last 12, recently re-upped with Ryan Murray on a two-year deal and, on Friday, announced that blueliner David Savard has been activated from IR after missing the last 11 games to an oblique strain.

    Savard, 25, was a pretty integral part of John Tortorella’s defense when healthy. He averaged over 24 minutes per night and had 15 points through 39 games prior to being sidelined by the ailment.

    He’ll presumably draw back into the lineup when the Jackets take on Ottawa on Saturday. No word yet on a corresponding roster move.

    Who’s got the best/worst combined special teams?

    The Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, (8), of Russia, leaps in the air in celebration after scoring his 500th career NHL goal during the second period of a hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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    Recently, the Washington Capitals went five whole games without scoring a power-play goal.

    It was a real nightmare for those guys.

    Despite the fact Washington went 3-1-1 over those five games, one headline called it a “troubling power-play drought” — which tells you how few “troubling” things the Caps have had to deal with this season.

    Overall, special teams have been a boon for Washington, which ranks first on the power play and fifth on the penalty kill.

    Compare that to, say, Calgary, which ranks 29th and 29th, respectively. Now that’s troubling.

    Anyway, here’s how all 30 teams rank when their special teams are combined:

    Rankings

    Not surprisingly, there’s a strong correlation between good special teams and winning hockey games.

    In the left column, 12 of the 15 teams are currently in a playoff spot. New Jersey, Buffalo, and Montreal are the exceptions.

    On the right, only four teams — Colorado, Detroit, Nashville and the Rangers — are in a playoff spot.

    John Scott to return to Habs’ AHL team this weekend

    Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) is lifted up by teammates Mark Giordano (5), of the Calgary Flames, Joe Pavelski (8), and Brent Burns (88), of the San Jose Sharks after they defeated the Atlantic Division team 1-0 at an NHL hockey All-Star championship game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The Pacific Division won 1-0. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
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    John Scott’s had enough time off following his All-Star Game MVP award.

    Now, he wants to get back to work.

    Scott, who made major headlines at the end of January thanks to his unforgettable All-Star performance in Nashville, will return to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s this weekend, as the IceCaps play a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies.

    “It’ll be nice to [be] back playing hockey and doing my thing. I’m actually really excited for it,” Scott said, per ESPN. “This has been the longest break I’ve had, ever. But I play like 7-8 minutes, I won’t be too out of shape, I’ll be able to keep up.”

    Scott, 33, hasn’t played since his Pacific Division team won the annual ASG 3-on-3 tournament on Jan. 31. Following that whirlwind weekend, the Montreal organization allowed him to take a leave to be with his wife, Danielle, who gave birth to twin girls on Feb. 5.

    Scott only appeared in four games for St. John’s prior to the All-Star Game, going pointless with six penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

    Related:

    The John Scott story, coming to a theater near you?

    Therrien on Habs recalling Scott: ‘You never know’

     

    Goalie nods: Budaj set to make Kings debut

    during a preseason game at Staples Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
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    Journeyman Peter Budaj looks as though he’ll make his first regular-season NHL appearance since April of 2014, when the Kings take on the Rangers at MSG.

    Recalled from AHL Ontario due to an injury to Jonathan Quick, Budaj gets the nod tonight after Quick’s backup, Jhonas Enroth, was beat for four goals on 29 shots in last night’s loss to the Islanders.

    Budaj, 33, has certainly earned another crack at the big leagues. After catching on with the Kings through a PTO in training camp, he’s been terrific in Ontario, going 26-9-3 with a 1.58 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Slovakian netminder also has eight shutouts this year.

    For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the start in goal, giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off.

    Elsewhere…

    Ben Scrivens, who appears to be the new No. 1 in Montreal, will go for his fourth straight win when the Habs visit Buffalo. Chad Johnson is in goal for the Sabres, who’ve really struggled of late.

    Marc-Andre Fleury goes for the Penguins, while it looks like Cam Ward is in for Carolina.

    — Really good matchup in Detroit as Semyon Varlamov goes up against Petr Mrazek who, according to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, has “crashed Braden Holtby’s Vezina party.”

    — Battle of All-Star netminders in Tampa Bay, as Ben Bishop goes for the Bolts while Pekka Rinne starts for Nashville.

    The red-hot Brian Elliott will continue to roll as St. Louis’ No. 1 in Florida. The Panthers will go with their old reliable, Roberto Luongo.

    Now that Karri Ramo’s on IR, it’s Jonas Hiller time for the Flames. He’ll start tonight in Arizona, against Louis Domingue.