|06.22.13 at 12:11 pm ET|
CHICAGO — As was the case before Game 4, Marian Hossa was not on the ice for Chicago’s morning skate here at United Center in the hours before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup.
Hossa did not skate on Wednesday morning in Boston but returned to the lineup for Game 4 after missing Game 3 with an upper body injury. Hossa had one assist in 29 shifts Wednesday night, taking just four shots after 10 in Game 2.
And as was the case in Game 4, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa will be available and will play. “He will play and we expect him to be better,” Quenneville said.
The extra forwards taking part in Saturday’s morning skate for Chicago were Ben Smith, the Boston College product who took Hossa’s place in Game 3, and agitator Dan Carcillo.
The series is tied, 2-2, heading into Saturday night’s Game 5.
For more on Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals from DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia in Chicago, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|06.21.13 at 9:09 pm ET|
Perhaps the lasting legacy of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins was their ability to win in a hostile environment when they had no other choice.
Game 7 in Vancouver was the ultimate testament to that quality.
Now, these Bruins have a chance to repeat that accomplishment, and must, if they are to achieve their ultimate goal. Already, the Bruins have proven they can win in Chicago. But after losing Game 4 in overtime, they must find a way again.
“It’s tough, but we know we can do it,” captain Zdeno Chara said Friday. “We have a good enough team. We just have to be ready. It’s going to be a battle.”
“I guess it helps some kind of confidence there, but it’s still going to be a tough one,” Tuukka Rask said of winning Game 2 last Saturday.
Chara knows the value of the experience of Game 7 in 2011 – and Game 2 this year – in Boston’s quest.
“It’s huge,” Chara said. “You need to be able to win games on the road. It’s something that good teams go to do, and certainly we’ve done it once, so we’ve got to do our best to do it again.”
Added Tyler Seguin: “I think it helps a ton. We know what to expect a bit more and that being said Chicago’s been in this series just as much as we have. You know, it’s going to be a long series still and it’s one we’re enjoying.”
All eyes will be on Rask to see how he handles the “bounce back” game.
“Yeah, we’ve got to focus on [Game 5], hopefully get the win and have a chance to finish it at home,” Rask said. “[We're] really confident. I think that’s one of our good qualities as a team. We never let things bother us.”
Maybe Johnny Boychuk had the best take of all on the road factor.
“It doesn’t really matter at this point where we’re playing,” Boychuk said. “I think both teams are just trying to worry about what they’re doing and trying to just battle as hard as you can to win a Cup.”
|06.21.13 at 8:56 pm ET|
CHICAGO — By now, the Bruins’ tendency to shoot (and score) on Corey Crawford‘s glove side is well known. Everyone knows it, and nobody can downplay it.
Crawford joked to the media Friday that his stick side was questioned against the Kings, so “both side are bad,” but there should be no joking about this. The Bruins have scored 12 goals this series and all but two have been shot glove side. One of the two that were stick-side was a rebound that was just jammed at the net with no spot picked, so basically when the Bruins are aiming, it’s for that glove. At least some of them.
“You’re asking the wrong guy,” Shawn Thornton said. “I’m just shooting the puck to shoot the puck most times. Maybe goal-scorers look up and see something different. I’m sure they do, actually. That’s why they get 50 a year and I get four.”
The Bruins are clearly trying to downplay the tendency, but they have to know that Crawford knows by now. Just like they have access to video, so too does anyone with YouTube. Then again, it’s not like you’d expect the Bruins to confirm that they know the opposing goaltender’s weakness.
“I think it might be a bit of a coincidence,” Thornton said. “… I know we’re not skating down the ice thinking, ‘Oh my God, if we don’t go glove-side we’re not going to score.’ It’s nothing like that. It’s just a bit of a coincidence. We’re trying to get pucks on net and create traffic and wherever that rebound pops out, for sure you’re trying to put it in. If it pops out stick side, I’m sure you’re not trying to do a spin-o-rama just to get it on his glove side. I’m sure it’s going to be whatever’s available.”
That’s true and it isn’t. Patrice Bergeron‘s power-play goal in Game 4 came from the puck bouncing off the glass and back in front of the net. Rather than just trying to jam it in, Bergeron fired a shot high glove side. It’s simply where they’re aiming.
“I don’t think it was done purposely on our end of it,” Claude Julien said of the Bruins’ five goals on Crawford’s glove side in Game 4. “We happened to shoot there because that’s where the opening was at that time. But I think you can score on other areas, hopefully, on Corey Crawford than just the glove. It’s one of those games where a lot of them went on that side.
“At the end of the day, you’re looking for ways to score goals, and whether it’s cross toss or tips or screens or whatever, it doesn’t really matter.”
For a closer look at the Bruins’ goals and the tendencies of their scoring this series, click here.
|06.21.13 at 2:37 pm ET|
Carl Soderberg may or may not make his Stanley Cup playoff debut in one of the biggest games of the season Saturday night.
But one thing is for sure, he feels confident he will be ready if called on by coach Claude Julien.
The 27-year-old Soderberg skated Friday morning in practice with the fourth line of Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley as Julien and the coaching staff wanted to get a feel for what that might look like if the Bruins decide to change out Kaspars Daugavins for the highly touted 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward out of Sweden.
“I was just trying something else here and I’ll make that decision [Saturday] but just getting a different look on what that would look like,” Julien said before hopping on a charter bus outside TD Garden Friday morning and heading off to Chicago for Game 5 Saturday night.
“Obviously, I was on that line today but I haven’t talked to coach so I don’t know what will happen [Saturday],” Soderberg said. “I’ve been practicing for a long time now so I feel ready. I’m a big guy and can protect the puck, and maybe can get it deep and go from there maybe.”
Soderberg, who was traded to the Bruins by St. Louis for Hannu Toivonen in July 2007, played in the last six regular season games for the Bruins, notching two assists and no goals. He was signed by the Bruins on April 9 to a three-year, one-way contract after he refused to play for the Swedish national team in the world championships.
“I’ve been here for 11 weeks now,” Soderberg said Friday. “I’m getting to know the system a lot. I haven’t played games in a while but if I’m playing [Saturday], I think it will go well. I know everything.
“It’s amazing to be here. I love being here in Boston. Of course, I want to play but I haven’t done it yet but hopefully [Saturday].”
|06.21.13 at 9:55 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and he was pretty clear about what the Bruins need to do to rebound in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago Saturday night: Slow the Blackhawks down.
The home team wasn’t able to do that in Game 4 Wednesday, and the Bruins paid for it in the form of a 6-5 overtime Blackhawks win. The back-and-forth contest was ill-suited for the Bruins’ skill set, Thornton said.
“They came to play. They had a lot of energy, a lot of fire,” Thornton said. “They changed their game a little bit — they found a way to get a little bit more speed through the neutral zone, that’s kind of the way they’re built. We’re going to have to remedy that for the next game. We don’t want them entering the zone with as much speed as they had last game.
“We have to get back to playing in layers and playing our game and coming up as a unit. … We’re a better team when we’re coming up together and making plays as a five-man unit. We’re not built for the one-on-one, beating guys, dangling, stuff like that. We’re more of a straight-line type of hockey team. We have to get back to that.”
Thornton echoed a sentiment similar to one coach Claude Julien has expressed on several occasions.
“We’re a defensive team that can score, not a scoring team that can play defense,” Thornton said. “That’s how we look at things.”
Thornton noted that although it wasn’t the Bruins type of game, they still scored five goals and were still very much in it until the very end. The team exposed an apparent weakness in Chicago goalie Corey Crawford‘s game — shooting to his glove-side — but Thornton insisted it wasn’t by design.
|06.20.13 at 9:55 pm ET|
As was the case at the beginning of this series, the Bruins Friday will give their fans the chance to send them off on a mission.
With their team tied, 2-2, in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, Bruins fans are invited show their support for their team as they leave TD Garden for Saturday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago. The Bruins are expected to hold a brief practice at 10:30 on Friday morning before gathering their belongings and hopping on a charter bus for their flight.
Fans can cheer on the Bruins as they board the team bus and head for the airport. The event will take place in the parking lot outside TD Garden off Causeway Street. Fans can enter the TD Garden parking lot starting at 11:00 a.m. The crowd is expected to gather for about one hour before sending the team off at noon to catch their charter flight to Chicago.
The event is expected to be similar to the send-off on June 11 when the Bruins first took off for Chicago for Games 1 and 2. The team will spend Friday night in Chicago in preparation for Game 5 Saturday at the United Center.
For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|06.20.13 at 9:31 pm ET|
Sometimes it just takes simplifying things to their most basic form.
That’s the way Tuukka Rask feels about the defense in front of him in Game 4 and what he expects for Game 5 Saturday in Chicago.
“We talked about it and moved on,” Rask said. “New game Saturday.”
Was Wednesday’s six-goal implosion on defense the result of Chicago’s skill or Boston’s breakdowns?
“I think it was both,” Rask said. “I think they played a good game. They had, as I said yesterday, legs right off the bat. We didn’t, and we had some mental mistakes. The layers weren’t there and we kind of got caught standing still a lot of times. So, I think it was both.”
Can Boston’s defensive issues from Game 4 be resolved by Saturday?
“Yeah. I think it’s not rocket science at this point,” Rask said. “I think they played good, as I said. We didn’t play our game for the most part. We were standing still and not doing the things we were supposed to do in order to have a chance to win hockey games. We have to adapt that.”
“I mean, a lot of occasions, these finals especially, the momentum shifts and both teams have their moments. We just try to recognize what the situation is and not get too much carried away about the losses or wins and just try to stay even-keel and try to play our game as good as we can and hope that the result will be good.”
There’s little doubt in Rask’s mind that the Bruins will find their game again.
“I don’t think it should be an issue,” Rask said. “I don’t think, for us, it matters whether we are at home or away we always play good games at either places, but I feel confident we can respond.
“That’s something we definitely can do. We can’t just rely on the fact that we have done it in the past. We have to go out there and make it happen again. We feel confident that we have it in us, but we have to be better.”