|06.20.13 at 1:19 am ET|
The captain of the Chicago Blackhawks knew what was at stake Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins. Jonathan Toews also knew that coming in, he had no points in the series so far.
When he scored 6:33 into the second period, the Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead and he was finally off the schneid. This was significant because just hours earlier he said he — as captain — needed to be more accountable. He was able to laugh about the irony and the foreshadowing of his comments when teammate Brent Seabrook ended the game at 9:51 of overtime, giving Chicago a 6-5 win and evening the series, 2-2.
“Absolutely, I think it makes a world of difference for you when you finally see one go in,” Toews said. “I’ve got to say this, the last couple days Seabrook has been coming up to me, asking me what I’m thinking about. You know, I have to give him the right answer. I’m thinking about scoring a goal (smiling).
“He’s been trying to help me out, make me think a little bit better, have those positive thoughts. You work hard, eventually you’re going to find a way. Tonight was one of those games, we treated it as a Game 7. We weren’t going to be denied.”
Toews said he felt the same about his offense.
“It’s time to put all those other games behind us, the games where we struggled to score, forget about it, just find a way to do what you do. It was fun to see the puck go in as often as it did tonight.”
Toews was so relieved he forgot what game of the series came next.
“We know we can be better defensively. But we’ll use that confidence and try our best to pounce on them in Game 6 here — Game 5, sorry. Getting ahead of myself (laughter).
As for Seabrook, this was the second huge overtime game-winning goal, as he ended the Western semis series against Detroit with a Game 7 OT goal.
“I mean, we just want to win games. At this point of the season, it’s down to best-of-three. We want to win games, find a way to win ‘em any way we can. Obviously, we like when we’re playing with speed, trying to play a puck-possession game, get down low, create chances. That’s when we’re playing at our best.
“Both these guys have been saying we got to be better defensively, as well. We’ve got to be prepared to win a game 1-0 or 2-1. That’s what it’s got to come down to. Boston is a great team. They play a solid style of play. We’re going to have to shore up our D zone and be better at that.”
|06.19.13 at 11:33 pm ET|
The Blackhawks tied the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece Wednesday night thanks to an overtime game-winner from Brent Seabrook that capped a 6-5 Chicago win. It marked the third game this series that has gone to overtime, the second of which the Blackhawks have won.
Chicago got on the board with a shorthanded goal from Michael Handzus, but the teams went into the first intermission tied at 1-1 thanks to a power-play goal from Rich Peverley.
It was the second period when things really opened up, with the teams combining for five goals. The Blackhawks took a two-goal lead on scores from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and after Milan Lucic brought the B’s back within one, Marcus Kruger scored less than a minute later. Patrice Bergeron made it 4-3 late in the period on his third power-play goal of the series, which was followed by a frantic final minute of the period in which the Bruins unsuccessfully pushed to tie the game.
The B’s carried that momentum into the third period, with Bergeron quickly knotting the score. Chicago finally broke Boston’s streak of penalties killed at 30 when Patrick Sharp sent a rebound past Tuukka Rask, but the Bruins tied it once again thanks to Johnny Boychuk‘s sixth goal of the playoffs. That set up the overtime session.
Game 5 will be played Saturday in Chicago before the series returns to Boston for Game 6, when the Stanley Cup will be in the building for the series’ first elimination game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR FOR THE BRUINS
– For the first time, a Toews line was able to beat Zdeno Chara. Both Toews and Bryan Bickell were in front of the net on Michal Rozsival‘s shot from the point, which Toews tipped past Rask while Chara was on the ice with Boychuk.
Chara also was left out to dry on Kruger’s goal, as Dennis Seidenberg stepped up and couldn’t get back when the puck went the other way, leading to a two-on-one against Chara on which Kruger buried the rebound of his own shot. Despite getting the primary assist on two of the Bruins’ goals (including Bergeron’s power-play goal), Chara was a minus-2 on the night, as he was on the ice for the power play on which Handzus scored.
– Lucic had a terrible turnover that ultimately led to Sharp’s power-play goal. The Bruins were on the power play for less than 20 seconds before Jagr was called for high-sticking Duncan Keith, and it was during four-on-four play that Lucic gave the puck away to Kane in the B’s zone. David Krejci had no choice but to hook Kane to prevent a Grade A scoring chance. The B’s made it through an abbreviated five-on-three, but Kane buried a rebound in front to give the Blackhawks the lead on Chicago’s first power-play goal of the series.
– That Handzus goal wasn’t Chara’s fault, though. The blame there would go to Tyler Seguin, who was exceptionally weak on the puck in letting Brandon Saad strip it from him high in the zone and go the other way to set up the game’s first goal. Seguin obviously has been making positive strides of late (including drawing that very penalty), but this isn’t the time of the season for uninspired play.
– Bickell finally made himself noticeable for his play. His traffic in front contributed to the Toews goal, and he also put the shot on net that led to Kane backhanding the rebound past Rask.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Think the book is out on Corey Crawford? At least four of the Bruins’ goals Wednesday were glove side, and 10 of the 12 goals they’ve scored on him this series have been glove side.
– Playing in his 200th career postseason game, Jaromir Jagr had his second multi-point night of the playoffs, so who needs goals? The cycle-happy Jagr showed earlier on in the shift in which Bergeron scored the game-tying goal that he can be all too predictable at times, but his feed from down low to Bergeron in the circle was his latest perfect pass.
– It’s nice to see Peverley contribute outside of just winning faceoffs and killing penalties. Those are both important, but the reemergence of his offense was needed by the B’s. Peverley’s goal doubled his point total to two for this postseason in 19 games, while he was also able to draw a tripping penalty on Keith on the penalty kill following a nice play up the boards by Chris Kelly.
– Give Andrew Ference a lot of credit on Peverley’s goal. He did a tremendous job keeping the puck in the zone, and after it bounced off Saad high in the zone, Peverley stepped up and fired it past Crawford.
|06.19.13 at 8:07 pm ET|
Marian Hossa is in for the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals after missing Game 3. Chicago’s lines, which feature a number of changes, are as follows:
Bickell – Toews – Kane
Sharp – Handzus – Hossa
Saad – Shaw – Stalberg
Kruger – Bolland – Frolik
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|06.19.13 at 10:47 am ET|
Marian Hossa was absent for the Blackhawks’ morning skate Wednesday, a day after coach Joel Quenneville had said the right wing was “likely to play” in Game 4.
Quenneville reiterated that after the morning skate, saying “he’s expected to play tonight.” Asked about Hossa missing the skate, Quenneville replied, “he’s fine.”
The Bruins’ lines and defensive pairings were the same as they were in Game 3. The lineup was as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Daugavins – Peverley – Thornton
Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid
|06.19.13 at 9:35 am ET|
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, with the B’s hours away from hosting the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Despite the Bruins’ domination in their 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night, Thornton said his team is not overconfident.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “We played pretty well last game. [But] we had some frustration, too. We took a few penalties and we had some emotions at the end, too. So, it could have went either way. We just were fortunate enough that Tuukka [Rask] stood on his head and got us that shutout. To say that we’re in control I think is a little bit of a stretch at this point in the series.”
The Blackhawks were never more inept than when on the power play, as the Bruins stopped all five opportunities (allowing just four shots) and had better scoring chances shorthanded.
“They have pretty dangerous players over there,” Thornton said. “Our PK has done a very good job so far. But when I was in [penalty box] last game for two minutes, I was sweating the whole time hoping that my penalty wasn’t the reason they scored.
“They were missing [Marian] Hossa, one of their best players, last game. I don’t know what happened to him. But he’s back tonight, as far as I know. I think it will be a little bit of a different game tonight.”
The Bruins have demonstrated a solid team approach, committing to coach Claude Julien‘s defense-oriented system. Asked who the most important Bruin is, Thornton said newcomer Jaromir Jagr deserves credit for adjusting his game to fit the B’s style.
“Everyone has to buy in for us to be successful,” Thornton said. “The most impressive is probably I’d say Jagr, being that he just got here. I don’t know a whole lot about where he was before this — other than what you read on paper, and everyone knows — but I’m pretty sure that he’s pretty used to doing his own thing out there, and it’s worked out pretty well for him the last 22 years. He comes in here and he’s backchecking and finishing checks and battling on pucks. That’s pretty impressive when you’ve been doing something one way for 21 years and now you’re told you’re going to do it this way if you want to have success, and he’s bought in.
“The other guys, top to bottom, the whole time I’ve been here, it starts with those big boys. Then the little guys like myself have to fall in line and follow the system or else you’re not around. So, I think all the way throughout it’s been pretty good.”
Patrice Bergeron has stepped into the national spotlight with his all-around play in this series, something Thornton noted is long overdue.
“I think he’s finally getting his due,” Thornton said. “We’ve appreciated him in that room for the last five, six years that I’ve been here. He’s so good defensively. And the players he plays with — this isn’t taking anything away from [Tyler Seguin] or [Brad Marchand] when they’re together, or Jags and Marchy now, but if you put another centerman in between them, I’m not sure if they’re as successful in their own zone. He does a lot of things to cover up — not cover up, but he’s in the position to let them maybe take advantage a little bit more offensively, because he’s so good at being in the right spot and making sure that he’s behind you 100 percent defensively.”
Added Thornton: “On the other side of the puck he doesn’t get enough credit, how good he is offensively. He’s finally starting to get some due because he’s scored some timely goals for us in the playoffs. But when we skate with him in the offseason and in training camp and on a daily basis, the things you see him do with the puck, and how strong he is on it and how quick he is, there’s not too many guys that can control it like him.”
|06.18.13 at 5:49 pm ET|
Following Monday night’s 2-0 win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Claude Julien paid the ultimate tribute to his team by saying they’re fully committed to the cause.
Ask the players, and that is high praise indeed. The players know how much they played with fire late in the regular season and how much that spilled over into the first round. They were almost burned against Toronto.
The Bruins can sense the difference in consistency. That is to say, it’s there every night, compared to the beginning of the playoffs.
“Yeah, especially against Toronto,” Brad Marchand said, referring to the “Jekyll and Hyde” phase the team was going through. “Guys are way more focused and determined to do the little things right. I think after going through what we went through against Toronto, it kind of opened guys eyes to realize we need to all bear down and be better if we’re going to have shot at winning. I think after that series we all bared down and we’re doing a lot more things right.”
Obviously, for the Bruins to reach their goal, they need to do even more of those things in the next week and manage two more wins, something Marchand is fully convinced he and his teammates are capable of accomplishing.
“I think there’s still areas where we can improve, but for the most part we played a pretty good game,” Marchand said. “We’re doing some things right, there’s still lapses in our game where we need to get a little bit better. Hopefully we can clean that up going down the stretch.”
|06.18.13 at 5:16 pm ET|
Ever since April 15, sports in Boston has taken on deeper meaning as the city and its people look to heal from the Boston Marathon attacks.
On Tuesday, the off-day between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, Claude Juilen articulated in a very sensitive way what a Stanley Cup championship might mean to Boston and its people.
“I think we can help in probably a large way,” Julien said. “Everybody is looking right now for something to cheer about, smile about. I guess it doesn’t fix the things or the people that have been lost. That will never be fixed. At the same time you have to try to heal.”
Julien then gave perspective inside the Bruins dressing room and reminded everyone just how much the events of April 15 affected them.
“As much as the city itself has been touched by that, so have we as a team,” I’ve known for a long time, that’s all we talked about in the dressing room. It really hit us hard. Right now, we got to focus on doing our job and trying to stay focused on that so that in the end you hope that you can make that happen.”
Julien said his team is riding a fine line between wanting to be motivated for the people of Boston and going about their job. Julien said the focus now is the latter.
“But right now it’s got to be about us before we can even think about that,” he said. “If we think about ourselves, the job we need to do, hopefully the rest takes care of itself.”