|Dougie Hamilton, Rich Peverley crack Bruins’ lineup in practice||05.03.13 at 11:06 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After staying off the ice on Thursday, the Bruins held practice at Ristuccia Arena with a tweak to their lineup. Rich Peverley, who was a healthy scratch in Boston’s Game 1 win over the Maple Leafs Wednesday, skated on the third line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr. That bumped Kaspars Daugavins out, as he appears to be headed for the press box in Saturday’s Game 2.
Andrew Ference, who is suspended for Game 2, practiced. It would appear based on defensive pairings in one of the drills that Dougie Hamilton will step into the lineup for Game 2, which would break up the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing.
The lineup was as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Seguin
Peverley – Kelly – Jagr
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
Extra forwards: Daugavins, Soderberg, Pandolfo
Extra defensemen: Ference (suspended), Johnson
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|Andrew Ference suspension leaves Bruins with choice to make on defense||05.02.13 at 6:37 pm ET|
After a completely one-sided contest in Game 1, things got interesting Thursday in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Bruins and Maple Leafs when B’s defenseman Andrew Ference was suspended for Game 2 for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski.
Ference was viewed as a repeat offender because his last suspension (the only other one of his 13-year career) came within the past 18 months — he was suspended for three games last January for his hit on Ryan McDonagh.
You can say all you wanted about Ference’s start to the season — which was not good — but he recovered well and is once again one of the more important and underrated pieces for the B’s. His absence isn’t something to overlook, and if the Maple Leafs plan on showing up for Game 2 (a big “if” after they chose not to Wednesday), it could be a closer game than the 4-1 drubbing the B’s gave the Leafs.
Without Ference, the Bruins have two options: There’s Dougie Hamilton, who played in 42 of the Bruins’ 48 regular-season games, and there’s Aaron Johnson.
While Hamilton’s name might come to mind first because of his offensive skill and the fact that he’s, well, Dougie Hamilton, don’t rule out Johnson. The 30-year-old is a left shot like Ference and could either slide into Ference’s spot on the pairing with Johnny Boychuk or play with Adam McQuaid, allowing Wade Redden to move onto Boychuk’s pairing.
The issue with Johnson is that he’s likely rusty after playing in only 10 regular season games, the most recent of which was over a month ago on March 30 against the Flyers.
Hamilton being in the lineup would give the B’s a bit of a predicament from a pairing standpoint. With Dennis Seidenberg playing on the right side with Zdeno Chara as part of the top pairing, that would give the Bruins three right-shot defensemen in their other two pairings. Perhaps Hamilton being in the lineup would force Claude Julien to break up the Chara-Seidenberg pairing to allow Seidenberg to go back to the left side on another pairing, with Hamilton skating with either Chara or Seidenberg, but would the Bruins really want to break up that top pairing given how effective it was in Game 1?
So those are the Bruins’ two options: Play the more talented rookie — but one who looked more and more like a rookie in the second half of the season — who would likely cause a bit of shuffling among the defensemen. Or, play the veteran who hasn’t been in the lineup in over a month. Those aren’t the best options, but just remember that Shane Hnidy at the very end of his career played three games in the playoffs in 2011, getting just 3:09 of ice time per game, and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup that postseason. Losing Ference is bigger than you might think, but it isn’t the end of the world.
|Andrew Ference suspended for Game 2||05.02.13 at 6:33 pm ET|
The NHL announced Thursday that Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been given a one-game suspension for his hit to the head of Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski during a first-period Leafs power play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
With both players coming from different directions to get a puck in the corner, Ference hit Grabovski high, causing him to fall to the ice on a play that received no penalty.
This is Ference’s second punishable infraction in a span of 18 months or less, making him a repeat offender given that he was suspended three games last January for his hit on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Adam McQuaid happy to be in postseason this time around||05.02.13 at 4:13 pm ET|
Since stepping up and essentially putting Mark Stuart out of a job in the 2010-11 season, Adam McQuaid has been a reliable and physical presence on the blue line — when he’s there, at least.
McQuaid has dealt with a number of injuries in his time in the NHL, ranging anywhere from the normal stuff to blot clot surgery during the lockout. The toughest stretch for him to miss came late last season, when he suffered a head injury in the second to last game of the season and missed the Bruins’ first-round series against the Capitals.
This season, after missing a total of 16 games for various injuries (11 games due to a shoulder injury), McQuaid is healthy and able to play a role in what figures to be a physical series after Wednesday’s Game 1 against the Maple Leafs.
“It was disappointing last year not being able to play in the playoffs,” McQuaid said Thursday. “You play all season to get to this point, to give yourself an opportunity to play in the playoffs. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
After returning from his shoulder injury on April 11, McQuaid played in three games before missing the Bruins’ game against the Panthers on April 23 against the Panthers with an undisclosed injury. It’s been a tough year for the rugged blueliner, but he said Thursday that he feels healthy.
One thing that will help a player in McQuaid’s case is the scheduling of this first-round series. The Bruins got two days off after the season ended, and they have two more between Games 1 and 2. Claude Julien kept the B’s off the ice Thursday in order to keep his players fresh.
“I think it’s good,” McQuaid said. “I think it’s good for everybody. No question, the schedule’s been busy, so it’s good to have a few days here and there, just make sure that we’re just getting recharged and ready to go.”
As for the physicality of Game 1, both teams played a style that suits McQuaid well. Each team came out hitting hard and finishing their checks, though the physicality turned to choppiness as the game got out of hand in a 4-1 Bruins win.
“It’s playoff hockey,” McQuaid said. “It’s gong to be a long series, and I think both teams are just trying to compete hard.”
|Barry Melrose on D&C: Maple Leafs have to ‘be the Boston Bruins to be successful’||05.02.13 at 12:33 pm ET|
ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to analyze the Bruins’ Game 1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Game 2 is Saturday in Boston, before the series shifts to Toronto on Monday.
After trailing 1-0 early in the first period, the Bruins quickly answered with two first-period goals and coasted to a 4-1 win.
“[The Bruins] were awesome after [Wade Redden's goal],” Melrose said. “They looked like the old Bruins after that. They were physical, their play in the neutral zone was great. I can probably think of 10 passes and plays intercepted by the Boston Bruins in the neutral zone. They attacked the net with ferocity. And [Tuukka] Rask, he didn’t get a lot of work, but I thought he made three or four key saves when the game was on the line. It was just what the doctor ordered if you’re a Bruins fan.”
Melrose also discussed the importance for the Maple Leafs to be more physical in the coming games, and the consequence of not doing so — a quick exit in the playoffs.
“They have to play more aggressive,” Melrose said. “They’ve got to do some hitting. Toronto’s got to play on the edge. They’ve got to be finishing checks, winning battles. They’ve got to be the Boston Bruins to be successful, and they weren’t last night. They were always retaliating, they were never initiating, and that’s got to change for the Toronto Maple Leafs. If it doesn’t, this will be a short series.”
The Maple Leafs’ top offensive weapon, Phil Kessel, was essentially neutralized by the Bruins in Game 1. This is becoming all to familiar for Kessel, as he has struggled in his career against his former team, due in large part to Zdeno Chara‘s stellar defense.
“Chara’s on the ice every time Kessel’s on the ice,” Melrose said. “That just shows how good Chara is. Year in and year out I would give Chara the Norris Trophy, he’s that good defensively and that’s what he did last night. He’s out there with that huge reach. He’s got that mean streak to him, and Kessel just has no open ice. Kessel needs room, Kessel needs some space to make plays and with Chara and that long stick and that huge reach, he just doesn’t have any time or space to make plays. Chara always eats Kessel up.”
The favorites out of the Eastern Conference are the top-seeded Penguins, who took care of the Islanders 5-0 in their playoff opener. However, as we saw last year with the Kings, anything is possible in the playoffs.
“We see that every year,” Melrose said. “We see LA last year make the eighth spot and win the Stanley Cup and win it easily. It’s about getting your game together, it’s about getting hot at the right time, it’s about great goaltending, it’s about your special team kicking in key goals at key times and stopping their power play. We see it all the time. A team that looks unbeatable at the start of the playoffs loses in four straight. So, without a doubt things can change and change very quickly.”
|League reviews Andrew Ference’s elbow to head of Mikhail Grabovski||05.02.13 at 12:16 am ET|
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported following the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Maple Leafs that the league has reviewed Andrew Ference‘s elbow to the head of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski.
Ference elbow on Grabovski in the 1st was reviewed. Supplemental discipline possible, but seems unlikely.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 2, 2013
As the video below will show, both players were going after a puck in the corner from different directions during a Maple Leafs power play when the B’s defenseman caught Grabovski with a high elbow. When asked about the hit following the game, Ference said he didn’t recall the play. His coach didn’t offer much either.
“I haven’t seen it,” Claude Julien said. “I can’t comment on that.”
Ference was suspended for three games last January for his hit on Ryan McDonagh, which would put him in the repeat offender category given that his last suspension was within 18 months.
|Bruins swarm all over Maple Leafs in Game 1 win||05.01.13 at 9:44 pm ET|
If Wednesday’s Game 1 was any sort of indication as to how the Bruins-Maple Leafs series is going to go, you can expect this to be a quick one. The B’s swarmed the Leafs in an uncharacteristically relentless effort and took the opening game of the series at TD Garden, 4-1.
The Leafs took an early lead on a power play goal from James van Riemsdyk, but it was all Bruins from there. Wade Redden validated Claude Julien’s decision to put him in the lineup by tying the game on a slap shot that trickled past James Reimer, and it was Redden’s shot that was tipped past the Toronto goalie with 12 seconds remaining in the first to make it 2-1.
The B’s added second period goals from David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk to put the game out of reach, though Toronto coach Randy Carlyle stuck with Reimer the whole way. Both Redden and Krejci’s goals were stoppable, but the Leafs turned in a really poor effort in front of their goalie.
Tuukka Rask didn’t have a very tough night and was able to stop 19 of 20 shots he faced. Van Riemsdyk’s goal came from a rebound tap-in out in front.
The series will resume Saturday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bergeron line was absolutely buzzing for the Bruins. Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand had three shots on goal apiece in the first period alone, with Seguin finishing the night with a game-high seven shots on goal. Though the B’s didn’t get a goal from the line, they almost got two. Seguin hit the crossbar/left post corner in the second period on a goal that was waved off, and Bergeron crashed the net to knock in a puck that was ruled no-goal because it had been whistled dead. If the Bruins get performances like that out of the Bergeron line, they’ll be sitting pretty.
- Where was Phil Kessel? The former Bruin didn’t register a shot on goal until the third period. In 23 career games against the Bruins now, Kessel has three goals and six assists for nine points and a minus-22 rating.
- David Krejci was a slow starter in the last two postseasons, but he kicked off the 2013 postseason with much better production. Krejci, who had two goals and two assists for four points in 11 first-round games over the last two seasons, scored in the second period and had a helper on Horton’s goal, which gives him more points (two) than he had in the first round against the Canadiens two years ago in a seven-game series in which he only produced a goal.
The most comical part of Krejci’s goal was that it started out as a bad play by the center, but the Leafs gave him an easy opportunity to correct it. Entering the zone, Krejci sent an ill-advised pass to the swarmed Horton, and the pass was broken up in front. Krejci was able to step over, gain control of the puck and wheel around to beat Reimer, who didn’t seem to expect a shot on net.
- The Bruins had three goals in only one of their last nine games of the season, and that three-goal performance on April 21 included an empty-net goal. They were able to get to three goals in just over halfway through the game Wednesday. Yes, they were playing a team that allowed the second-most goals of the 16 playoff teams during the regular season, but they also stepped up their game big time. All that talk of “not being able to flip a switch”? It’s bogus.
- With his goal, Nathan Horton now has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 22 career playoff games. Horton’s only other playoff experience came in the 2011 season, when he scored three game-winning goals and five others.
- The Bruins didn’t score on the power play against the Maple Leafs in the regular season (0-for-7), but Horton’s goal came on the power play. The tally came following a shorthanded bid from James van Riemsdyk in which the Toronto left wing hit the cross-bar. The goal was reviewed to see if Horton, who tipped it in, had his stick above the crossbar at the time.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- While the top two lines were dominant for the Bruins, the third line was not. The trio of Chris Kelly between Kaspars Daugavins and Jaromir Jagr had just one shot on goal in the first period, and each member had one shot on goal apiece through the first 40 minutes.
- The Bruins really got away with one when Andrew Ference elbowed Mikhail Grabovski in the head with the Maple Leafs already on the power play. With both players coming from different directions into the corner, Ference threw a high elbow that knocked Grobovski to the ground. Watching it live, it seemed like Grabovski was fishing for a call, but replays showed that Ference got away with a dirty play. Here’s the video.
- JVR strikes again. He’s had some big games against the Bruins in the playoffs in the past, and he could have had a second goal Wednesday had he not hit the crossbar. Van Riemsdyk led the Bruins with five shots on goal.
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