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David Krejci, Bruins first-liners look to cash in on Carey Price in Game 2

05.02.14 at 2:16 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Missed opportunities were what separated the Bruins from winning and losing Game 1. Carey Price was beyond great for the Canadiens, but the B’s found themselves earning great scoring chances and somehow not finding the back of the net too often.

Though Carl Soderberg had the biggest heartbreaker of a failed bid in overtime when he sent a puck behind Price but across the crease, it was Boston’s first-liners in David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla who can play the “snakebitten” card the most as they prepare for Game 2.

Though the only even-strength goal Krejci was on the ice for was Francis Bouillon‘s third-period tally, the Krejci line turned in a borderline dominant performance after coming on strong late in the first round against the Red Wings. Yet Krejci missed the net on a second-period breakaway and was robbed by Price on a breakaway in overtime, Iginla missed the net on a rebound with plenty of space during a second-period power play and Lucic had a colossal fan in the third period just prior to Bouillon’s goal.

‘€œI thought we had so many chances, we could’€™ve scored like 10 goals yesterday,” Krejci said. “But we didn’€™t, so hopefully we are saving them for next game.’€

Had the Bruins buried even one or two of those chances, they’d have won. Lucic said Friday that he didn’t see the puck as it was coming from Krejci, as Krejci sent the puck through Brandon Gallagher‘s legs. The result was him missing the puck by a mile despite having half the net open.

“It was a split-second; I couldn’t see it until the last second,” Lucic said. “Unfortunately, my stick wasn’t in the right spot where it went off it and in, and I missed it. We’ve got to do the same sort of things tomorrow to create those chances, but get a few more and bury them.”

Krejci’s line generated very little offense in Game 1 against the Red Wings in the first round and was on for a goal against in Game 2 before Lucic scored in the second period. When the series shifted to Detroit, the line was quiet as it handled the task of keeping Pavel Datsyuk from scoring, but the trio had a very sluggish start to Game 4. The line came alive late with a Lucic goal in the third period and the overtime winner from Iginla.

From there, Boston’s top line has elevated its game to the point where it looked like a group ready to score by the handful in the opening game against the Habs.

“Our shots and the chances that we were able to create last night, I think that’s definitely a positive,” Lucic said. “Once we got our feet moving in the second period there when we were down, 2-0, we were able to control the pace of the game and create all those chances like I was talking about. Going into next game, I guess the main focus is you don’t want to grip your stick too tight and bury those opportunities when you get them.

“It sucks losing the way that we did, it was a tough loss to swallow, but you’ve got to have short-term memory and forget about it as quick as you can and focus on the next one because it’s coming soon with a 12:30 game tomorrow. We’re excited about it.”

Read More: David Krejci, Milan Lucic,

Bruins condemn racist tweets about P.K. Subban

05.02.14 at 1:19 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins issued a statement Friday regarding the racist tweets that were sent out by some fans following P.K. Subban‘s game-winning goal in double overtime in Game 1 of the second round.

It’s the second time Bruins fans have been accused of racism in recent years, as Joel Ward was the victim of hateful tweets after he had the overtime game-winner in Game 7 of the first round in 2012 against the Bruins.

“The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday’s game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization,” Cam Neely said in Friday’s statement.

The idea that the people who used racist language regarding Subban are Bruins fans might be a bit of a stretch. The team’s regular-season co-leader in goals, Jarome Iginla, is black, while Subban’s younger brother, Malcolm Subban, was a first-round pick of the B’s in 2012.

“Exactly,” Milan Lucic said. “Jarome is here and he’s been treated with nothing but respect in Boston since he’s been here. All the Celtics and Patriots and Red Sox and all those players that have been here have been treated with nothing but respect. If you’re going to make bad comments, stick to hockey comments, not to stuff that crosses the line.”

Lucic himself has dealt with some unnecessary hatred on the part of hockey fans. His church in Burnaby, British Columbia, was vandalized in 2012 by Canucks fans.

Claude Julien said he’s never heard racism on any benches or from any fans during games.

“There’€™s a lot of good fans out there, and that’€™s the sad part about it,” Julien said. “Your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don’€™t belong in that same group.’€

Read More: Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban,

Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘The Bruins know it’s going to be a long series’

05.02.14 at 12:48 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“I was really surprised at the caliber of play, and that speaks well to a fantastic seven-game series, hopefully, because the caliber of play was good as any I’ve seen in this playoff season,” said McGuire, who noted that Friday night he will work his 18th game in 18 nights in 18 cities when he covers the Rangers-Penguins game in Pittsburgh.

The Bruins had 51 shots on goal but missed the net on a number of other opportunities and appeared to overplay the puck on others, leading to turnovers. From his perch between the benches, McGuire heard the Bruins coaches telling the players to be more aggressive in getting the puck to the net.

“I kept hearing them say, ‘Just shoot the puck. Shoot the puck. Don’t be too cute. Shoot the puck,’ ” McGuire said, adding: “One of the big agendas I think for the Bruins going into Game 2 tomorrow afternoon is to shoot the puck from anywhere and just get to the net.”

Meanwhile, the Canadiens pounced on some Bruins turnovers to create chances on the Boston goal.

“The closing speed of the Canadiens is vastly underrated. People that don’t see them a lot don’t understand,” McGuire said. “Everybody knows about Carey Price. Two things people don’t know about the Canadiens that are really important: One, they’re extremely quick. Two, they have a huge amount of character. Much greater than ever before. You saw it with Dale Weise, you saw it with Brandon Prust, you saw it with Travis Moen last night. Their character quotient is a lot higher than people give them credit for. And that’s why I think this will be a long series. And I know the Bruins know it’s going to be a long series and a hard series. They’re aware of it as a team.”

Tuukka Rask was highly critical of himself after Thursday’s game, saying, “When you suck, you suck.”

“I think Tuukka said it best. I don’t have to jump on and pile on. I’m sure people are piling on,” McGuire said. “But then again, I remember after Game 1in the Detroit series, everyone was ripping him for the [Pavel] Datsyuk goal, which was a thing of beauty. And he said, ‘Well, maybe I should have had it.’ Tuukka’s harder on himself than any fan could ever be or any newspaper reporter could ever be. He knows he needs to be better. He wasn’t good enough last night. And I think he’ll have a huge bounceback. I’m not surprised that he’s as honest and open as he is, because he doesn’t doubt his abilities at all. And when you don’t doubt your ability, you’re not afraid to say when you make a mistake or you’re not on top of your game. He wasn’t on top of his game last night.”

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Read More: Carey Price, Matt Bartkowski, Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask

Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Pucks just wouldn’t go in’

05.02.14 at 9:51 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, following Thursday’s double-overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins suffered a 4-3 loss despite dominating play for much of the night, outshooting the Habs 51-33.

“I think everyone was happy with the way we played, pucks just wouldn’t go in,” Thornton said. “There were a lot of bounces that just rolled across the line or inside a post, inside of crossbars. Carey Price played unbelievable, but I thought for the most part we played a really, really good game.”

In looking at this series, analysts have noted that Montreal’s speed is likely to give the Bruins problems. However, in Game 1 Boston didn’t seem to have an issue — at least during five-on-five play.

“You look at the positives, we controlled most of it,” Thornton said. “A lot of people said we couldn’t keep up with their pace of play. In think for the most part, again, we did a really good job of that last night.”

Added Thornton: “I think that we controlled the pace of play. That’s something that people said we wouldn’t be able to do. I thought we played good enough to win. We didn’t, though, so we’re going to have to do better next game.”

The Canadiens scored the game-winner on a power play, after Matt Bartkowski was called for holding after he took down Dale Weise in front of the Boston goal. Thornton expressed his displeasure with the officials after the game ended.

“I think that that stuff happens a lot, at both ends of the ice,” Thornton said. “I kind of feel bad for Bart. I’m not going to say anything about the officiating, but I think it’s a call that probably could go either way in overtime, double overtime.”

Added Thornton: “I’m kind of old school. I kind of like when they put the whistles away in overtime. But that’s just me. You want consistency so you know on any given night where the line is. I thought they did a good job for the most part last night. I thought that was maybe a little bit of a — it could have went either way.”

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Matt Bartkowski on his penalty: ‘I just threw him down’

05.02.14 at 3:18 am ET
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Tuukka Rask might have been willing to take the fall for Thursday’s 4-3 loss in double overtime, but Matt Bartkowski knows better.

Just seven seconds after Bartkowski hauled down Dale Weise in front of the Boston net, P.K. Subban scored his second power-play goal 4:17 into the the second overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden.

What did the defenseman have to say for himself after?

“I don’€™t know. I mean, I’€™m not going to comment on whether or not it was a penalty,” he said. “The result sucks, afterwards. So, I think it could have been prevented before the call was made.”

Later, pressed on what kind of chance he was trying to limit in front of Rask, Bartkowski acknowledged that he felt he had no choice but to not let Weise get in prime scoring position.

“[Brandon] Prust shot it in front, and I’€™m just trying to get positioned so he can’€™t get to the puck,” Bartkowski said. “I couldn’t get it so I just threw him down.”

Seven seconds later, the Bruins were behind in their second-round series. Bartkowski didn’t need to be asked how frustrating the loss was afterward.

“That’€™s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “We got it going there a little bit, in the first overtime I thought we played pretty well. It thought we took it to them pretty good and then I don’€™t know, we kind of came out flat, or whatever you want to call it. It just, it sucks.

“We turned it on at the end of the third, got a few big goals from Kruger [Torey Krug] and Johnny [Boychuk] there. If we bring that intensity the whole game then it’€™s a different story.”

Now, for the second straight series, the Bruins are in the position of having to win after losing Game 1 at home.

“You can take some good from that, but it’€™s a different series, a different team,” Bartkowski said. “We just, like I said, we’ve got to — the parts that we did play well and we did play our game, we really have to focus on that and focus on bringing that for 60 minutes.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Dale Weise, Matt Bartkowski, Montreal Canadiens

Bruins penalty kill suffers Alex Ovechkin relapse against P.K. Subban

05.02.14 at 1:29 am ET
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Back on March 1, in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of nearly identical power-play goals against the Bruins. He set up in his favorite spot in the left circle, and blasted two one-timers past Tuukka Rask.

After the game, the Bruins couldn’€™t really explain how or why it happened. They knew that was where Ovechkin liked to set up. They knew he was the most dangerous weapon Washington’€™s power play had. They had talked about all of it in their preparation for the game. Yet, it happened.

The Bruins learned from those mistakes, though. The next time they played the Capitals and actually took a penalty (they didn’€™t take any in a March 6 meeting), their penalty kill went a perfect 3-for-3. Ovechkin did end up with two shots on goal on those man advantages, but neither was anywhere near as dangerous as the rockets he blasted past Rask on March 1.

Fast forward two months, and the Bruins find themselves facing a similar situation. P.K. Subban is the Canadiens’€™ biggest threat on the power play, and the Bruins know that. They’€™ve known it for a long time. Yet, in Game 1 of the rivals’€™ second-round series, the B’€™s penalty kill twice gave Subban too much space at the point. And like Ovechkin before him, Subban made the Bruins pay both times.

The situations aren’€™t exactly the same, obviously. For starters, this is a much bigger stage than a regular-season game against a non-playoff team. Also, Subban isn’€™t just hanging out waiting for his teammates to get him the puck. While he is certainly capable of bombing a one-timer like Ovechkin, he’€™s just as likely to create his own shot or set up a teammate.

Neither of the goals Subban scored Thursday night came on a one-timer like Ovechkin’€™s. Both were quick shots from center point, though. And on both, Subban had way too much time and space. Read the rest of this entry »

P.K. Subban is expecting nothing less than fierce battle from Bruins: They are ‘a resilient team’

05.02.14 at 1:04 am ET
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P.K. Subban wasn’t turning cartwheels in the Canadiens dressing room after his power-play goal 4:17 into the second overtime lifted Montreal to a 4-3 win over the Bruins in Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden.

There’s good reason for his reservation.

Three years ago, Subban’s Canadiens not only won Game 1, they came back and beat the Bruins in Game 2 soundly and everyone, including the Canadian media, had the Bruins dead and buried heading up north for Games 3 and 4. But a funny thing happened in the Lake Placid retreat between Games 3 and 4. The Bruins found themselves. They tied the series and took a 3-2 lead before losing Game 6 in Montreal.

Of course, Game 7 back in Boston was sent to overtime after Subban drilled home a laser on the same end of the ice where he won Game 1 Thursday night. Nathan Horton saved the day, the series and the Stanley Cup dreams with an overtime goal and the Bruins were on their way to their first title since 1972.

All of which led to Subban keeping it low key after the Game 1 win Thursday.

“Well, it’€™s great that we won, but listen, I have played against these guys more than a few times over the past couple of years and in the playoffs. The one thing I can tell you is this is a resilient team,” Subban said of the Bruins. “That’€™s not something that you can say about every team, but against these guys I have to give them credit. They always battle back. They always find a way to persevere. Tonight, it feels good to be the team that found the way to get it done.”

Boo him all you want, but Subban does understand the value of respecting your playoff opponent, especially when it’s the Bruins.

“Listen, I don’€™t think we can even think about winning the series,” Subban added. “I mean, a couple of years ago we came in here and took two games and went back and we lost in Game 7. When there is success you have to take it and get better. I still think that there are things we need to get better on. We can’€™t be giving up 50-plus shots, I can tell you that for the rest of the series. [Carey Price] shouldn’t have to stop that many pucks.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, P.K. Subban, Stanley Cup Playoffs
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