2008–09 Boston Bruins season

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2008–09 Boston Bruins
Northeast Division Champions
Division 1st Northeast
Conference 1st Eastern
2008–09 record 53–19–10
Home record 29–6–6
Road record 24–13–4
Goals for 274
Goals against 196
Team information
General Manager Peter Chiarelli
Coach Claude Julien
Captain Zdeno Chara
Alternate captains Patrice Bergeron
Rotating
P. J. Axelsson
Andrew Ference
Marco Sturm
Stephane Yelle
Arena TD Banknorth Garden
Average attendance 17,039 (97.0%)
Total: 698,638
Team leaders
Goals Phil Kessel (36)
Assists Marc Savard (63)
Points Marc Savard (88)
Penalties in minutes Milan Lucic (136)
Plus/minus David Krejci (+37)
Wins Tim Thomas (36)
Goals against average Tim Thomas (2.10)
<2007–08 2009–10>

The 2008–09 Boston Bruins season is the Bruins' 85th season in the National Hockey League (NHL). Their regular season began on the road on October 9, 2008, in Denver versus the Colorado Avalanche and concluded on April 12, 2009, against the New York Islanders. The Bruins looked to improve upon the accomplishments of the 2007–08 season, which included Boston's return to the NHL playoffs for the first time since the 2003–04 season.

Marc Savard again led the team in scoring for the regular season, his 88 points good for ninth in the league. Tim Thomas led all goaltenders in both save percentage and goals against at season's end, while sophomore sensation David Krejci led the league in plus-minus, narrowly beating out rookie team-mate Blake Wheeler.

The Bruins claimed their first division title since 2004 and clinched top seed in the East for the first time since 2002.

Season events[edit]

“I’m not big on going out there and making those big declarations, or comments, but I think we can go as far as we believe we can go.”

Claude Julien, prior to the 2008–09 season[1]

Arguably the two biggest events to occur during the Bruins' offseason were the acquisition of Canadiens forward Michael Ryder,[2] a noted 30 goal scorer, and Blake Wheeler, a promising 21-year-old from the University of Minnesota.[3] 12-year veteran Stephane Yelle was another strong addition to the roster.[4] Added to a line-up featuring young stars, such as Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic, the return of Patrice Bergeron, the improved goaltending of veteran Tim Thomas, and coming off the back of an impressive postseason, expectations were high for the team.

Pre-season[edit]

The Bruins pre-season saw the team compete in eight games over a two-week period. The team played two games each against the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Islanders, the Washington Capitals, and defending Stanley Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings. Boston maintained a 3–4–1 record through the pre-season with victories against the Habs, Caps and Wings, including an impressive 8–3 victory over arch-rivals Montreal in their first match-up.

October[edit]

On October 9, the Bruins opened their regular season against the Colorado Avalanche, at the Pepsi Center.[5] The Bruins notched a 5–4 victory and celebrated the return of centre Patrice Bergeron, playing his first NHL game in almost a year, while Blake Wheeler scored his first NHL goal on debut. The team would go on to lose its next two games,[6] including a shootout loss to rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.[7]

The Bruins home opener took place on October 20, with the team suffering another shootout defeat, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins.[8] Boston secured its first home victory of the season on October 25,[9] against the Atlanta Thrashers in what proved to be a memorable game, with the teams switching ends at the first stoppage in play after the 10-minute mark of the period due to incorrect markings on the West End (visitors bench side) of the TD Banknorth Garden Ice.[10] Winger Milan Lucic recorded his first NHL hat trick in the game, also adding an assist in the 5–4 victory.[11]

On October 27, in Edmonton in overtime and October 28 in Vancouver, Tim Thomas became the first Boston goaltender with consecutive shutouts since April 3–5, 1999 (Byron Dafoe), and only the second goaltender in NHL history to record consecutive 1–0 shutouts on the road (Florida's Craig Anderson, March 2–4, 2008).[12]

The Bruins ended October with a loss to Calgary on the road,[13] and finished the month with a 5–3–3 record.[14]

November–December[edit]

Phil Kessel equalled the longest point streak by a U.S.-born player in NHL history.

The Bruins opened the month of November with a 5–1 victory at home, in what proved to be a particularly physical match against the Dallas Stars.[15] The game would prove a turning point for the team, with many players citing it as the catalyst that would see the team go on to win their next 12 games at home.[16] One of those wins was a convincing 6-1 victory over the team's hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens on November 13. This would spark a winning streak against the Canadiens similar to that of the streak that Montreal had against the Bruins in the previous season.

On November 6, in a 5–2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blake Wheeler recorded his first NHL hat trick, while Captain Zdeno Chara celebrated his 700th NHL game.[17] In the return leg, on November 17, Matt Hunwick scored his 1st NHL goal as the Bruins once again defeated the Leafs. Two days later, Marc Savard would secure his 600th NHL point with a goal and 3 assists in the Bruins 7–4 win against the Buffalo Sabres.[18] On December 18, centre David Krejci recorded his first NHL hat trick in an 8–5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Phil Kessel also scored two goals in the match, his second bringing up his 100th career point.[19]

Boston finished the month of November with an 11–1–1 record, including an 8–0–0 record at home.[20] They would carry that form through the month of December, finishing with a remarkable 12–1–0 record and remaining undefeated at The Garden (4–0–0).[21] Phil Kessel maintained an 18-game point streak from November 13 – December 21, the longest such streak overall for the season and equalling Ed Olczyk's record for the longest point streak by a U.S.-born player in NHL history.[22] The biggest concern during this period was the loss of forward Patrice Bergeron, the young centre sustaining his second concussion in 14 months, after a heavy collision with Carolina's Dennis Seidenberg.[23] Bergeron would go on to miss the next 15 games.[24]

January[edit]

Boston would begin 2009 in the same manner with which they ended 2008 – with a victory over the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.[25] The victory, their 10th in a row and 14th straight at home, secured the team's longest streak since March 9–28, 1973, and catapulted the Bruins to the top spot in the NHL with 62 points, one more than San Jose.[26]

From January 12–29, forward Phil Kessel was sidelined with mononucleosis.[27][28] On January 13, Marco Sturm was lost for the season after undergoing surgery for an injury incurred on December 18 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.[29][30] On January 27, Patrice Bergeron would make his second return from concussion in as many seasons, tallying an assist in the Bruins 3–2 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals.[31] On January 31, Tuukka Rask, recalled from the Providence Bruins, played his first game with the Bruins for the season and recorded his first NHL shutout, stopping all 35 shots in a 1–0 victory against the New York Rangers.[32]

All-Star weekend[edit]

Tim Thomas, winner of the 2008–09 William M. Jennings Trophy

Three Bruins were assigned to the Eastern Conference for the 57th National Hockey League All-Star Game, with Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas all representing Boston as reserves.[33] Coach Claude Julien was also named as head coach ahead of Montreal counterpart Guy Carbonneau.[34] Over the course of the weekend Blake Wheeler was named MVP of the YoungStars game with a 4 goal performance,[35] Zdeno Chara recorded the hardest ever shot (105.4 mph) in the SuperSkills Competition,[36] while Chara, Savard and Thomas celebrated victory in the All-Star Game, with Savard tallying 3 assists while Thomas was awarded the win for his efforts in both the overtime and shootout periods.[37]


March[edit]

On March 4, the Bruins acquired defenseman Steve Montador from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Petteri Nokelainen.[38] Later that day the club announced the acquisition of forward Mark Recchi and a second round draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Matt Lashoff and forward Martins Karsums.[39] Three days later, on March 7, Recchi scored a pair of goals in his second outing for the Bruins, against the Chicago Blackhawks.[40]

The Bruins secured their second successive playoff berth on March 21, when the Florida Panthers lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The following night they secured the Northeast Division title with a 4–1 victory against Eastern rivals the New Jersey Devils.[41]

April[edit]

On April 2, against the Ottawa Senators, Boston recorded their 50th win for the season, the 8th time in franchise history and first since the 1992–93 season that the mark had been achieved.[42] Prior to the match David Krejci was the recipient of NESN's Seventh Player Award, the annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceed the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.[43]

Standings[edit]

Divisional standings[edit]

Northeast Division
GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 z – Boston Bruins 82 53 19 10 274 196 116
2 Montreal Canadiens 82 41 30 11 249 247 93
3 Buffalo Sabres 82 41 32 9 250 234 91
4 Ottawa Senators 82 36 35 11 217 237 83
5 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 34 35 13 250 293 81

Conference standings[edit]

Eastern Conference
R Div GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 z – Boston Bruins NE 82 53 19 10 274 196 116
2 y – Washington Capitals SE 82 50 24 8 272 245 108
3 y – New Jersey Devils AT 82 51 27 4 244 209 106
4 Pittsburgh Penguins AT 82 45 28 9 264 239 99
5 Philadelphia Flyers AT 82 44 27 11 264 238 99
6 Carolina Hurricanes SE 82 45 30 7 239 226 97
7 New York Rangers AT 82 43 30 9 210 218 95
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 41 30 11 249 247 93
8.5
9 Florida Panthers SE 82 41 30 11 234 231 93
10 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 41 32 9 250 234 91
11 Ottawa Senators NE 82 36 35 11 217 237 83
12 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 82 34 35 13 250 293 81
13 Atlanta Thrashers SE 82 35 41 6 257 280 76
14 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 82 24 40 18 210 279 66
15 New York Islanders AT 82 26 47 9 201 279 61

bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, z – placed first in conference (and division)

AT – Atlantic Division, NE – Northeast Division, SE – Southeast Division


Schedule and results[edit]

Preseason[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The Bruins allowed only 190 goals (excluding 6 shooutout goals), the fewest among all 30 teams.[44][45]

2008–09 Game Log

Legend:       Win (2 points)       Loss (0 points)       Overtime/Shootout Loss (1 point)

Stanley Cup Playoffs[edit]

The Bruins clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive season, securing top seed in the Eastern Conference in the process and gaining home-ice advantage through the first three rounds.[46]

Eastern Conference quarterfinals[edit]

Boston played the 8th-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Boston had previously lost to Montreal in three consecutive playoff appearances, and had not won a playoff series overall in the previous 10 seasons.

The Bruins won the first game of the series 4–2, with goals from Phil Kessel, David Krejci, and a powerplay winner from Zdeno Chara. In Game Two, Marc Savard had two goals and an assist, while Chuck Kobasew, Shane Hnidy – named as a replacement for the injured Matt Hunwick[47][48] – and Michael Ryder also scored as the Bruins won 5–1. Milan Lucic was suspended for game three after receiving a match penalty in the closing stages of game two for striking Montreal's Maxim Lapierre in the head with his stick.[49] Boston then travelled to Montreal for Game Three, where they secured another 4–2 victory with goals by Kessel, Ryder, Kobasew, and Shawn Thornton. They completed the sweep by winning Game Four, Michael Ryder posting two goals and an assist in the 4–1 victory as the Bruins advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since the 1998–99 season. This marked only the third time that Boston had swept Montreal in the playoffs in history, and the first time since 1992. The only time Boston swept Montreal in the playoffs and closed out the series in Montreal was in 1929, and that season, Boston went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Eastern Conference semifinals[edit]

Boston faced the Carolina Hurricanes, a franchise which carried the legacy of Boston's longtime rival the Hartford Whalers. Prior to the Bruins' first-round sweep of Montreal, their most recent playoff series victory had been against Carolina in April 1999.

The Bruins extended their 5-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory in Game 1, but Carolina stormed back on the strength of an aggressive forecheck and excellent goaltending from Cam Ward. Ward's shutout in Game 2, and Jussi Jokinen's game-winning goals in the next two matches, pushed the Bruins to the brink of elimination. Boston recovered for consecutive wins to push the series to a pivotal seventh game, but the Hurricanes prevailed in overtime of the final contest.

The series-winning goal was scored by Scott Walker, who earlier in the series had avoided punishment for an undefended punch to the face of former Hurricane Aaron Ward. Walker had been due for an automatic suspension, but that penalty was overturned by the NHL after a brief meeting in which he claimed to have thought Ward was prepared to fight. Ward disputed that account and publicly reprimanded the NHL for failing to follow through with a full investigation. In addition, Walker's wife received a diagnosis of cervical cancer midway through the series, lending an additional element of personal drama to his performance. After the series, Walker took public responsibility for striking Ward and expressed relief that his wife's cancer was treatable.

Playoff log[edit]

2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • Scorer of game-winning goal in italics

Player statistics[edit]

Skaters[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/- = Plus-minus; PIM = Penalty minutes

Regular season[50] Playoffs[51]
Player GP G A Pts +/- PIM GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Savard, MarcMarc Savard 82 25 63 88 25 70 11 6 7 13 2 4
Krejci, DavidDavid Krejci 82 22 51 73 37 26 11 2 6 8 6 2
Kessel, PhilPhil Kessel 70 36 24 60 23 16 11 6 5 11 7 4
Ryder, MichaelMichael Ryder 74 27 26 53 28 26 11 5 8 13 4 8
Wideman, DennisDennis Wideman 79 13 37 50 32 34 11 0 7 7 3 4
Chara, ZdenoZdeno Chara 80 19 31 50 23 95 11 1 3 4 1 12
Wheeler, BlakeBlake Wheeler 81 21 24 45 36 46 8 0 0 0 0 0
Kobasew, ChuckChuck Kobasew 68 21 21 42 5 56 11 3 3 6 3 14
Lucic, MilanMilan Lucic 72 17 25 42 17 136 10 3 6 9 12 43
Bergeron, PatricePatrice Bergeron 64 8 31 39 2 16 11 0 5 5 3 11
Axelsson, P. J.P. J. Axelsson 75 6 24 30 -1 16 11 0 1 1 -6 2
Hunwick, MattMatt Hunwick 53 6 21 27 15 31 1 0 0 0 0 0
Yelle, StephaneStephane Yelle 77 7 11 18 6 32 11 0 1 1 -4 2
Stuart, MarkMark Stuart 82 5 12 17 20 76 11 0 1 1 5 7
Recchi, MarkMark Recchi 18 10 6 16 -3 2 11 3 3 6 0 2
Ference, AndrewAndrew Ference 47 1 15 16 7 40 3 0 0 0 1 4
Sturm, MarcoMarco Sturm 19 7 6 13 9 8
Hnidy, ShaneShane Hnidy 65 3 9 12 6 45 7 1 0 1 -1 0
Thornton, ShawnShawn Thornton 79 6 5 11 -2 123 10 1 0 1 0 6
Ward, AaronAaron Ward 65 3 7 10 16 44 11 1 0 1 4 2
Bitz, ByronByron Bitz 35 4 3 7 0 18 5 1 1 2 0 2
Sobotka, VladimirVladimir Sobotka 25 1 4 5 -10 10
St. Pierre, MartinMartin St. Pierre 14 2 2 4 -1 4
Nokelainen, PetteriPetteri Nokelainen 33 0 3 3 -1 10
Montador, SteveSteve Montador 13 0 1 1 3 18 11 1 2 3 5 18
Lashoff, MattMatt Lashoff 16 0 1 1 1 10
Karsums, MartinsMartins Karsums 6 0 1 1 -3 0
Thomas, TimTim Thomas (G) 54 0 1 1 6 11 0 1 1 0
Fernandez, MannyManny Fernandez (G) 28 0 0 0 2
Lehtonen, MikkoMikko Lehtonen 1 0 0 0 0 0
Boychuk, JohnnyJohnny Boychuk 1 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 270 465 735 60[52] 1016 34 60 94 9[53] 147
  • Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Bruins. Stats reflect time with the Bruins only.
  • Denotes player was traded mid-season.
  • (G)Denotes goaltender.

Goaltenders[edit]

Note: GPI = Games Played In; MIN = Minutes played; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime/Shootout Losses; SO = Shutouts; SA = Shots Against; GA = Goals Against; SV% = Save Percentage

Regular season[50] Playoffs[51]
Player GPI MIN GAA W L OT SO SA GA SV% GPI MIN GAA W L OT SO SA GA SV%
Thomas, TimTim Thomas 54 3259 2.10 36 11 7 5 1694 114 .933 11 680 1.85 7 4 0 1 323 21 .935
Fernandez, MannyManny Fernandez 28 1644 2.59 16 8 3 1 791 71 .910
Rask, TuukkaTuukka Rask 1 60 0.00 1 0 0 1 35 0 1.000
Combined 2.26 53 19 10 7 2520 185 .927 1.85 7 4 0 1 323 21 .935

Personnel[edit]

Boston Bruins staff

Hockey operations

Coaching staff

Management

Awards and records[edit]

Milestones[edit]

Regular season milestones
Player Milestone Reached
Blake Wheeler 1st NHL game
1st NHL goal
1st NHL point
October 9, 2008
Michael Ryder 100th NHL goal October 9, 2008
Aaron Ward 700th NHL game October 15, 2008
Manny Fernandez 300th NHL appearance October 21, 2008
Milan Lucic 1st NHL hat trick October 25, 2008
Blake Wheeler 1st NHL assist November 1, 2008
Blake Wheeler 1st NHL hat trick November 6, 2008
Zdeno Chara 700th NHL game November 6, 2008
Matt Hunwick 1st NHL goal November 17, 2008
Marc Savard 600th NHL point November 19, 2008
Patrice Bergeron 200th NHL point November 19, 2008
Dennis Wideman 100th NHL point December 8, 2008
Martins Karsums 1st NHL game December 13, 2008
Phil Kessel 100th NHL point December 18, 2008
David Krejci 1st NHL hat trick December 18, 2008
Marc Savard 700th NHL game January 8, 2009
P. J. Axelsson 100th NHL goal January 8, 2009
Byron Bitz 1st NHL game
1st NHL assist
January 10, 2009
Martins Karsums 1st NHL assist January 10, 2009
Zdeno Chara 200th NHL assist January 10, 2009
Tuukka Rask 1st NHL shutout January 31, 2009
Phil Kessel 200th NHL game February 7, 2009
Byron Bitz 1st NHL goal February 7, 2009
Andrew Ference 500th NHL game February 21, 2009
Tim Thomas 100th NHL win February 26, 2009
Zdeno Chara 100th NHL goal February 28, 2009
Patrice Bergeron 300th NHL game April 2, 2009
Mikko Lehtonen 1st NHL game April 11, 2009

The Bruins' 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, on February 17, 2009, was the 200th NHL winning game coached, for current Bruins coach Claude Julien.
The Bruins' 5-4 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens, on April 9, 2009, was the 400th NHL game coached, for current Bruins coach Claude Julien.

Playoff milestones
Player Milestone Reached
Mark Recchi 150th playoff game
50th playoff goal
May 12, 2009
Byron Bitz 1st playoff goal May 14, 2009

Awards[edit]

Player Award Notes
Claude Julien Jack Adams Award[54] Awarded to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success.
Zdeno Chara James Norris Memorial Trophy[54] Awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position.
Tim Thomas Vezina Trophy[54] Awarded to the goaltender who is adjudged to be the best at this position.
Tim Thomas
Manny Fernandez
William M. Jennings Trophy[55] Awarded to the goalkeeper(s) playing for the team that conceded the fewest goals.
Patrice Bergeron Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee[56] Nominated by the Writers' Association for league-wide recognition.
Zdeno Chara
Tim Thomas
NHL First All-Star Team[57] Voted by representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Milan Lucic NHL.com Fans' Choice Award[58] Hit of the Season - as voted on by users at NHL.com.

On April 4, prior to the game against the New York Rangers, the team announced its award winners for the season.[59]

Player Award Notes
David Krejci NESN Seventh Player Award Awarded to the player who exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.
Milan Lucic Eddie Shore Award Awarded to the player who exhibits exceptional hustle and determination.
Marc Savard Elizabeth C. Dufresne Trophy Awarded by the Boston Chapter of the PHWA, for outstanding performance during home games.
Aaron Ward John P. Bucyk Award Awarded to the Bruin with the greatest off-ice charitable contributions.
Marc Savard
Zdeno Chara
Tim Thomas
Three Star Awards Awarded to the top performers at home over the course of the season.

Transactions[edit]

Trades
May 27, 2008
To Columbus Blue Jackets
Jonathan Sigalet
To Boston Bruins
Matt Marquardt
June 21, 2008
To Columbus Blue Jackets
Fourth-round pick (#107 overall) in 2008
Fifth-round pick (#137 overall) in 2008
To Boston Bruins
Fourth-round pick (#97 overall) in 2008
June 24, 2008
To Colorado Avalanche
Matt Hendricks
To Boston Bruins
Johnny Boychuk
July 24, 2008
To Chicago Blackhawks
Pascal Pelletier
To Boston Bruins
Martin St. Pierre
October 13, 2008
To Philadelphia Flyers
Andrew Alberts
To Boston Bruins
Ned Lukacevic
Fourth-round pick in 2009 draft
March 4, 2009
To Anaheim Ducks
Petteri Nokelainen
To Boston Bruins
Steve Montador
March 4, 2009
To Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Lashoff
Martins Karsums
To Boston Bruins
Mark Recchi
Second-round pick in 2010 draft


Draft picks[edit]

Boston's picks at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa, Ontario.

Round # Player Position Nationality College/junior/club team (league)
1 16 Joe Colborne Center  Canada Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) / University of Denver
2 47 Maxime Sauve Center  France Val d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
3 77 Michael Hutchinson Goaltender  Canada Barrie Colts (OHL)
4 97 Jamie Arniel Center  Canada Sarnia Sting (OHL)
6 173 Nicholas Tremblay Center  Canada Smiths Falls Bears (CJHL) / Clarkson University
7 197 Mark Goggin Center  United States Choate-Rosemary (HIGH-CT)

Affiliates[edit]

American Hockey LeagueProvidence Bruins (standings)

Johnny Boychuk was selected as a starter for Team Canada in the 2009 AHL All Star Classic. Martins Karsums was selected as a reserve for the PlanetUSA team. Both players were under two-way NHL contracts and played games with Boston during the season. In the game, Karsums, named as a late starter, scored two goals and three assists.[60]

References[edit]

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