|05.03.14 at 6:26 pm ET|
Every comeback has to start somewhere, and this one started with a move Brad Marchand has perfected. No, it wasn’t a shove after the whistle or a stick to someone’s legs behind the play.
It was that move where he pulls up on the rush before hitting a trailer, one that often leads to a quality scoring chance. With his team trailing 3-1 and just over nine minutes remaining Saturday, Marchand used the move to set up the goal that sparked the Bruins’ Game 2 comeback and helped them even up their second-round series against the Canadiens.
As Marchand entered the offensive zone, he had several options. He could have tried to beat Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin wide, but even though he had a full head of steam, Emelin was staying with him and appeared to be in position to ride him into the corner if he tried that. He could have tried to beat Emelin 1-on-1 with a move to the inside, but that’s a low-percentage play because most NHL defensemen are too good to get beat like that.
Marchand also could have stayed wide and just thrown the puck to the front of the net. That’s never really a bad option, especially when you have one linemate (Reilly Smith) driving hard to the net and another (Patrice Bergeron) following up the play. The potential for a redirect or a rebound makes that a pretty good scoring chance.
A lot of players would take that option, and no one would criticize them for it. But Marchand is able to recognize when he has an even better option than that. Time and time again, we’ve seen him throw on the brakes and hit the guy just crossing the blue line — whether it’s the center as the third man in or a defenseman as the fourth.
This time it was Dougie Hamilton. Marchand stopped on a dime and sent a beautiful backhand pass out to center point. Hamilton took the pass, took a few strides, and fired a quick snap shot from the high slot that beat Carey Price through a screen.
“The main thing is you’ve just got to drive wide with speed, and if you do that then you’re either going to get around their D or he’s going to cut you off,” Marchand said. “Once he cuts you off and you turn up, you’re going to have room. You know our D are really good at following up the play. Dougie has been playing great lately, so it was good to see him score.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.03.14 at 5:33 pm ET|
Call it sour grapes. Call it the frustration that comes with letting in a highly questionable goal that tied the game. Or just call it Carey Price answering a question the way he saw it.
However you characterize the Canadiens goalie’s response to letting in three goals in a span of 5:32 of the third period Saturday, you can’t help but read the frustration in his words after the Bruins came from behind and beat Montreal, 5-3, to even the best-of-seven second-round series at 1-1.
“Well, they poured it on at the end of the game,” Price said. “They got pretty lucky, I thought. They were playing desperate at the end of the game, and they found a way to put it in the net. We’ve just got to regroup, realize the situation were in, we’re in a good spot, and move forward.”
But still, a closer look shows what the Bruins might be trying to do the rest of the series to be successful. For the better part of five periods, the Bruins had point-blank range shots on Price, including several by David Krejci in Game 1, and Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla in the first 40 minutes Saturday.
But then, with the B’s trailing 3-1 and facing the prospects of heading to Montreal down 0-2, Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the center point that made its way through two Bruins parked in front of Price. That goal gave the Bruins desperately needed momentum. Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron fired a shot from the sharp angle along the boards that went off defenseman Francis Boullion and past a screened Price to tie the game. Then, with the Canadiens unable to control the puck in front and Price racing around to his right, Reilly Smith fired a puck past P.K. Subban and into an empty net for the go-ahead goal.
Create mayhem in front of Price and live by the adage, “You can’t stop what you can’t see.” That is what got the Bruins back in the game in the third period and turned the game and series around heading to Montreal for Game 3 Tuesday night.
“That’s playoff hockey,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. Right now, they’re throwing pucks at the net and they’re finding a way through. So, we’re going to have to do the same on their end. I thought we’ve played well so far. You’ve got to give that team a lot of credit. They didn’t quit, and in that third period they found a way to come back.”
Price thought the Bruins got “pretty lucky.” Bergeron didn’t argue that point.
“I was just trying to find the net,” Bergeron said. “Sometimes, you never know. I can’t say that I meant to do it, but I got lucky and I’ll take the bounce.”
|05.03.14 at 5:18 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton left the game in the third period after hurting his right knee on a collision with P.K. Subban in the neutral zone. Thornton was going for a hit on Subban, who lowered himself as he sent the puck into the Bruins zone. Thornton ended up returning to the game, but he said after the game that he didn’t like the position Subban put him in and that the Canadiens defenseman apologized to him for the play.
“I don’t like people ducking. I think [Brad Marchand] got about five games for it once,” Thornton said. “I will say, off the draw he apologized afterwards, so there’s that. I think it’s a dangerous play, personally. But it’s playoffs, it’s hockey, I’m fine, so we’re OK.”
The suspension to which Thornton referred was Marchand’s ban in the 2011-12 season for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo. Marchand’s offense was far more egregious than Subban’s, and no penalty was called on Saturday’s incident.
“I don’t know what happened,” Subban said of the play. “I just tried to shoot the puck around the zone and I sort of lost my footing there. Obviously you don’t want to see anybody go off hurt, but he came back. I don’t know if he stayed in the game, but [I was] happy to see that.”
When Thornton got back on the bench, the Bruins were still trailing by a pair of goals in the third period. He delivered them a message on the bench midway through the period: one goal every five minutes.
“I’m not psychic. It’s a pretty standard statement depending on the time and the score,” Thornton said. “I think I said two goals, but we’re a resilient crew here. We have been all year, so I knew the character would be there’I was just hoping the pucks would go in.”
|05.03.14 at 4:54 pm ET|
Moments after his team blew a 3-1 third period lead to the Bruins in Game 2 of their series, P.K. Subban stood in the Canadiens dressing room and addressed the racist tweets directed at him after his game-winning goal in double-overtime Thursday night in Game 1.
What he made extremely clear is that he, in no way, holds the Bruins or their fan base accountable for the hate comments in social media. As a matter of fact, he took the occasion to compliment Bruins fans for their passion.
“You know what, this is the first time and probably the last time I’ll comment on it,” Subban said. “First things first, the Boston Bruins are an Original Six franchise, they have been around for a very long time, they are respected. It’s completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base. They have passionate fans here, great fan base and since I’ve been in the league it’s been awesome. I’ve come to Boston many times, my family has come here, and it’s been great. What people may say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins. So, whoever that is, they’ll get dealt with, but it’s completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins organization.”
Subban said he felt badly that the comments have taken some focus away from two classic games to open what figures to be an other epic playoff meeting between the two longtime rivals.
“I know some of those players personally on that team, like I said, the fan base has been awesome, they are a great bunch of fans,” Subban said. “It’s unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago. It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey and that’s what we are going to talk about. So I’m happy now that we can just move on. You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league, you see how people come together and it’s great. And it’s not just about me, the NHL has tons of players from different backgrounds, from different places around the world and that’s what makes this league so special and that’s what makes sports so special, it brings everybody together. Another great hockey game today, I’m sure everybody enjoyed it and I look forward to the rest of the series and everybody else should, too.”
|05.03.14 at 4:26 pm ET|
Claude Julien was proud of his team for overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period to take a 5-3 win over the Canadiens in Game 2 Saturday, and he hinted that his team did it in spite of the officials.
The Canadiens had six power plays and scored on two of them. One of the Bruins’ penalties was a bench minor on Julien.
“We had the tough second period, and at the start of the third [they] got that other power-play goal, but the way that we just battled back from, I felt, a lot of crap that we put up with today was pretty indicative of what our team is all about,” Julien said. “It just shows that if you focus on the things you need to focus on, this is a pretty good team that can accomplish a lot.”
Julien wouldn’t specify what the “crap” was, saying that “anybody that watched the game knows what was going on there,” and adding that it was a “tough game.”
He did have a pretty hilarious explanation for his bench minor, which occurred late in the second period.
“The referee,” Julien said, “I kind of told him that I didn’t agree with his calls.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|05.03.14 at 3:23 pm ET|
The Bruins rallied from two goals down in the third period to tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece with a 5-3 victory in Game 2 Saturday at TD Garden.
After the Habs increased their lead to 3-1 on Thomas Vanek’s second power play goal of the game, the B’s made their push in the final nine minutes of regulation. First, Dougie Hamilton took a feed from Brad Marchand and fired a shot past four players on its way past Carey Price at 10:56. Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a shot from the right half wall that went off Francis Bouillon and Reilly Smith gave the B’s the lead with 3:32 left by taking a feed from Torey Krug and beating Price from the right circle. Milan Lucic added an empty netter.
Daniel Paille gave the Bruins their first lead of the series when he took a pass from Carl Soderberg in the high slot and beat Carey Price at 13:02 of the first. The Canadiens answered back in the second when a frantic scrum in front of Rask ended with Mike Weaver blasting a shot past the Bruins goaltender, among others, from the right circle. Montreal’s possession on the play came off a Brad Marchand neutral zone turnover.
Vanek then scored his first goal of the series by tipping a P.K. Subban shot past Rask to make it 2-1 at 18:09 of the second. He added another with Dougie Hamilton in the box in the third. Hamilton brought the Bruins within one at 10:56 of the third, firing a slapshot from the top of the zone past four players on its way past Price off a feed from Marchand.
Game 3 will be played Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Shawn Thornton left the game after an injury scare in the first but ended up returning to the game. He appeared to hyperextend his right knee while going for a hit on Subban early in the third period. Subban went down as Thornton was going for the hit, resulting in an awkward play that saw Thornton’s knee hit Subban’s rear end before Thornton went down. He remained on the ice for a few moments and was helped off the ice as he put little pressure on his leg.
Watching the play happen, the end result could have been a lot worse than it was.
– Patrice Bergeron now has points in six straight games.
– Tuukka Rask was better Saturday after a shaky outing in Game 1. Rask stopped 25 of the 28 shots he saw.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Boston had a one-minute 5-on-3 when Brandon Prust took a holding penalty while killing off a Dale Weise hooking penalty. The B’s are now 0-for-5 on the power play this series. They scored on the man advantage in every game but Game 1 of the first round against the Red Wings.
– For the second straight game, the Bruins were penalized as a result of a really bad dive by the Canadiens. People get carried away with the talk about the Canadiens embellishing, but Dale Weise went down in the first period of Game 1 when Matt Bartkowski’s stick brushed against his pants, while Alexei Emelin fell to the ice in a hurry with minimal contact from Jordan Caron’s stick to earn the Habs a power play in Game 2.
– The Canadiens continue to have success on the power play, as they’ve now struck four times on the man advantage after scoring just twice in their 36 power plays entering the series.
Vanek’s goal would not have occurred had Zdeno Chara successfully gotten the puck out of the zone on his clearing attempt. The Habs managed to keep it in, and that passing led to Subban firing the shot that Vanek tipped in.
– Milan Lucic had a couple of close calls in the second period but came up empty. He caught a pass from David Krejci that had gone off Max Pacioretty‘s stick and then dropped it into the net. The play was reviewed and called no-goal, and Price actually ended up robbing Lucic on a bid shortly after.
|05.03.14 at 11:32 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch for Game 2 of the second round against the Canadiens after taking a pair of penalties in Game 1, both of which led to P.K. Subban power play goals. Andrej Meszaros is back in the lineup after missing the last three games as a healthy scratch.
Daniel Paille, who returned from a head injury in Game 1, looks to be skating on the third line, with Jordan Caron back playing on the left wing of Gregory Campbell‘s line. That makes Justin Florek the healthy scratch, while Caron returns to a line on which he played well in the first round.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien also made a lineup change Saturday morning and also shared some interesting thoughts on one of the best players in his lineup.
Therrien said that Michael Bournival would be in the lineup in place of Travis Moen for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. Bournival played each game of the first round for the Canadiens, contributing an assist in Game 4 as they swept the Lightning but sat in Game 1 as the team opted for Moen’s size and experience.
Asked about Thomas Vanek, who was awfully quiet in Game 1 and was demoted to the fourth line, Therrien said that his players need to be passionate.
‘Work ethic is not negotiable, attitude is not negotiable and competing is not negotiable,” Therrien said.
Though he said he was not talking about one player in particular, you can put two and two together given that it was in response to a question about Vanek.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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