|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.
|Rich Peverley, Dougie Hamilton healthy scratches for Game 1||05.01.13 at 6:55 pm ET|
The Bruins scratched Rich Peverley and Dougie Hamilton for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs. Boston’s other healthy scratches were Carl Soderberg, Jay Pandolfo and Aaron Johnson.
The lineup in warmups was as follows:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Kaspars Daugavins – Chris Kelly – Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Wade Redden – Adam McQuaid
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|James van Riemsdyk hopes to dazzle vs. Bruins in postseason again||05.01.13 at 2:29 pm ET|
The Maple Leafs don’t have as much playoff experience, but they do have one guy who has seen their current opponent plenty in the postseason. And he’s 23.
James van Riemsdyk, who was traded to Toronto from Philadelphia in the offseason, is now facing the Bruins in the postseason for the third time in his career. Additionally, the UNH product knows the Garden well from his college days. He played in the double-overtime loss to BC in Hockey East tournament in 2008 and a year later was responsible for getting the ball rolling on the Flyers’ Game 7 comeback from a 3-0 defecit.
“It seems like every year in the playoffs it’s against the Bruins,” van Riemsdyk said Wednesday. “Obviously, they’re a strong team and it’s a fun building to play in here, but you’re going to have to bring a strong game if you want to be successful.”
As a rookie, van Riemsdyk got the Flyers on the board late in the first period with Boston up, 3-0. The Flyers came back to win the game, capping off a four-game comeback after the B’s took the first three games of the season.
A year later, the Flyers and B’s met in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second consecutive year, with van Riemsdyk turning in one of the best single-game performances of that postseason from someone not named Tim Thomas in Game 2. He scored on his first shift and added another tally at 9:31 to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. The B’s came back to win the game in overtime, but that game should be remembered for being a showdown of van Riemsdyk vs. Thomas, the B’s goalie had to deal with eight shots from the young scorer.
While those two performances make for some major highlights of the 23-year-old’s career, JVR is hardly a Bruins killer. He has four goals in 11 playoff games against the B’s, but he hopes to add significantly to that total this year. After a successful season in which he scored 18 goals in his first campaign for the Leafs, he knows from experience that he’ll need to reach an even higher level this month and hopefully beyond.
“Obviously [the Bruins'] level of play kind of raises a bit in the playoffs, but these guys have had quite a bit of success the last few years,” van Riemsdyk said. “So you know you’re in for a tough game every time.”
The situation in which van Riemsdyk finds himself is an interesting one. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger went from being a kid on a team used to making the playoffs to someone with more postseason experience with most of his teammates on a team that is in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
“Maybe those teams had a little more playoff experience, but obviously when you make the playoffs you know you’re doing something right,” he said when asked to compare the Flyers squads that faced the B’s to this Maple Leafs club. “We obviously have a lot of skill in this room. We’re capable of doing good things. It’s just a matter of us going out there and taking it one shift at a time and focusing on the details of the game.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins-Leafs ‘should have all the elements of a playoff series [B's] can win’||05.01.13 at 2:15 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ approach to the playoffs, some lineup decisions they’ve made, and how they match up with the Maple Leafs.
Brickley said he would have preferred to see the Bruins face the Islanders in the first round, but he thinks Toronto is a better matchup for them than Ottawa would have been.
“Toronto, they’re a little porous on defense,” Brickley said. “I’m still not sold on [James] Reimer being an elite guy. He’s got no experience, really, when it comes to NHL postseason play. So I think it’s a pretty good matchup. My preference would have been the Islanders, but be careful what you wish for. But it should have all the elements of a playoff series they can win, which is physical play, 5-on-5 hockey. If Toronto wants to initiate, the Bruins will oblige, but I’m looking for the Bruins to initiate.”
Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are slated to play together as the Bruins’ top defensive pairing, although there had been some talk of breaking them up to balance the pairs out more evenly.
“I’m not surprised,” Brickley said of Chara and Seidenberg playing together. “I don’t know if it’s my preference. Toronto, one of their strengths this year is the fact that they have more than one scoring line. You put those guys together and you try to play them against Phil Kessel and his threesome, and they can still hurt you with [Joffrey] Lupul, [Nazem] Kadri. But that’s something they wanted to do. They were committed to it before the season ended. Now it’s up to the other four defensemen that are in the lineup to get the job done on the matchups.”
Brickley said that while Dougie Hamilton looks likely to sit in favor of Wade Redden in Game 1, Hamilton likely will crack the lineup at some point in the playoffs.
“I absolutely think we’ll see Dougie, whether it’s an adjustment or an injury or trying to get a little bit more on your power play,” Brickley said. “They want to get him some playoff experience, no doubt, but it’ll all be determined on how the Bruins play and how healthy they are on the back end.”
|Wade Redden making most of opportunity with Bruins||05.01.13 at 1:55 pm ET|
When the Bruins’ biggest deadline-day acquisition was Wade Redden, it appeared that the B’s were making a smaller move for depth, with Jaromir Jagr figuring to be the only acquisition to have a real impact down the road.
Fast forward to the beginning of the playoffs, and that is not the case. Redden has played his way into the Bruins’ lineup and figures to be Adam McQuaid‘s partner in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference, with Dougie Hamilton being a healthy scratch.
“This is what we all play for this time of year,” Redden said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “Everything is on the line, so it’s going to be fun. I’m going to try to enjoy as much as I can. It’s obviously an intense atmosphere. To try to go out there, play loose and play free. That’s the best way to approach it.”
It’s been a tough few years for Redden. The former second overall pick signed a six-year, $39 million deal with the Rangers prior to the 2008-09 season, and saw a fall from grace so great he spent the last two seasons in the AHL before being brought out prior to this season and signing a one-year deal with the Blues.
When he was traded to the B’s, he didn’t know if he’d be given the opportunity that he’s been given. He’s obviously happy with the way things have worked out.
“You never know what’s in store for you,” Redden said. “I went down, I approached the game I always have. That hasn’t changed today, so I’m use going to play my game, go out there and have some fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
In six games for the B’s, the 35-year-old has a goal and an assist for two points and an even rating.
“I think Wade feels pretty good about himself right now,” Claude Julien said. “He’s had some tough years, as far as where he was, whether how he’s been traded and everything else, but he’s come in here, and he’s got a fresh chance to prove himself. The games that he played, he moved the puck extremely well. His experience is invaluable, and his confidence right now is pretty good. When you have Wade in that zone, he becomes a pretty good player.”
One more note on Redden: The Bruins sent a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick to St. Louis in the deadline deal, with the condition being that the pick becomes a 2014 sixth-rounder if he plays at least one playoff game. That pick figures to vest Wednesday, making it a sixth-rounder for the defenseman.
- Relax, the sky isn't falling
- NHL Draft 2013: An Interactive Visualization of Drafts of Years Past
- Fresh Links: "Buckneresque" Edition
- Madison Square Garden is awful.*
- Friday Morning Skate: It Was Never Going To Be A Sweep
- Providence Bruins Join Boston Bruins as Black Aces
- 3 Questions With... Mike Murphy "Dig Deep" of Blueshirt Banter