BOSTON – The Bruins added two pieces for their playoff push without giving anything up from the roster that came into deadline day tied for the best record in the NHL.
The Bruins acquired Mark Recchi and defenceman Steve Montador in separate deals on Wednesday. Both are expected to be in uniform for Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes, when Boston will try to reverse a skid in which it’s lost eight of 11 games.
“To get picked up by a first-place team is really nice and comforting. It’s a team that thinks I can help, and I’m going to do everything I can to,” Recchi said in a conference call. “Boston’s been pretty successful the last few years with other sports. I think it’s Bruins time.”
Boston sent forward Petteri Nokelainen, who hasn’t played since getting hit in the face with a stick on Feb. 10, to Anaheim for Montador. Forward Martins Karsums and defenseman Matt Lashoff, who have a combined 22 games and two assists for Boston, were shipped to Tampa Bay for Recchi and a second-round pick in 2010.
“I know we’ve been in a bit of a lull,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who didn’t expect the deals to affect the team’s chemistry because no active players were shipped out. “I’ve seen these guys play the whole year and they have good character. So I don’t think they’ll ruffle any feathers in the room.”
The Bruins entered Wednesday tied with the San Jose Sharks for the best record in the NHL with 93 points – six points ahead of the New Jersey Devils for the Eastern Conference lead. But Chiarelli saw the holes in his lineup and filled them, with an eye toward what his rivals were doing.
“It could be considered that we took a half-step, full-step – whatever – ahead. But they’re still tough teams,” he said. “I’m a little tired, but I’m proud of the whole process that we went through.”
Montador will help out on defence, and Recchi is a left-handed shooter who fills that need on Boston’s power play. A seven time all-star and two-time Stanley Cup champion, Recchi has 13 goals and 32 assists this season and 1,426 points in his 1,471 game, 20-year NHL career.
“The experience factor was big,” Chiarelli said. “Just the experience that he’s played in the league a long time. He’s a durable player and you need that in this stretch, in the playoffs.
“Then you factor in the Stanley Cup experience, and that’s invaluable.”
Recchi was just happy to have another chance, moving from the Lightning, who are 13th in the East, to the first-place Bruins.
“That’s what 99 per cent of the NHL players play for – to get a chance to win the Stanley Cup,” he said. “I have no illusions I’m going to go in and change anything there. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win hockey games. As long as you have that thought process, you’re going to fit in.”
Among active players, Recchi is third in games played, sixth in goals and trails only Joe Sakic in assists and points.
“Nobody’s ever had a bad thing to say about him,” Montador said in a conference call. “If you look at his track record, he’s certainly been consistent.”
The 29-year-old Montador has four goals and a career-high 16 assists for Anaheim this season. In his NHL career, Montador has 18 goals and 49 assists.
Nokelainen has three assists this season. Karsums played in six games for Boston this season and registered one assist, and Lashoff has one assist in 16 Bruins games.