|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.”
|06.20.13 at 7:21 pm ET|
It's kind of awkward that the book is now out on Corey Crawford, and everyone knows it.
Glove side. Glove side, glove side, glove side. The Bruins have scored 12 goals in the Stanley Cup finals, and 10 of them have beaten the Blackhawks goaltender's glove. The Bruins played dumb on Thursday, a day after they scored four goals glove side on Crawford. Asked whether players might overthink it now when they want to go glove side and they know that Crawford knows they're thinking glove side, the smart alecky Brad Marchand cut off the question.
'I thought it was five-hole,' Marchand said with a straight face.
Yeah, no. Glove side. Always go glove side. Tyler Seguin joked that perhaps the B's will have to go stick side from now on to keep Crawford on his toes, but he tried that in overtime and it didn't work. Go glove side.
Here’s a breakdown of each Bruins goal scored this series — who scored it, where they beat Crawford, and which Blackhawks were on the ice.
Game 1: Lucic at right circle hashmarks glove side – Hjalmarrson, Sharp, Toews, Oduya, Hossa
Lucic slap shot glove side — Hjalmarsson, Handzus, Oduya, Bickell, Kane
Bergeron (PP) slap shot glove side — Keith, Hjalmarsson, Kruger, Handzus
Game 2: Kelly rebound of Paille shot, stick side with Crawford down — Leddy, Sharp, Handzus, Rozsival, Kane
Paille in overtime glove side wrist shot — Keith, Seabrook, Kruger, Bollig, Frolik
Game 3: Paille snap shot from right circle glove side — Leddy, Sharp, Smith, Rozsival, Bolland
Bergeron (PP) stick side from bottom of the circle — Seabrook, Toews, Oduya, Bolland
Game 4: Peverley (PP) glove side, Crawford missed it by a mile — Hjalmarsson, Saad, Handzus, Rozsival
Lucic backhand in front off Chara rebound glove side — Hjalmarsson, Sharp, Toews, Oduya, Kane
Bergeron (PP) rebound off glass in front, high glove — Seabrook, Kruger, Oduya, Frolik
Bergeron snap shot below glove — Hjalmarsson, Kruger, Oduya, Bolland, Shaw
Boychuk slap shot glove side — Hjalmarsson, Kruger, Oduya, Bolland, Shaw
Here are some takeaways and trends:
- Glove side.
- From rewatching the Bruins’ goals, it’s pretty interesting how little screens have had to do with beating Crawford. Unless you want to count Johnny Boychuk‘s goal in Game 4 as one, none of the Bruins’ goals have been from the point. Boychuk stepped up and was almost to the high slot by the time he released his shot. Nathan Horton was skating by late in the play, but Crawford saw Boychuk’s shot the whole way.
It hasn’t been about establishing bodies in front, but rather creating off turnovers (Chris Kelly‘s goal, Daniel Paille‘s goal in Game 3) and burying rebounds (Kelly’s goal, Lucic’s goal in Game 4, Bergeron’s goal in Game 4). Of course, burying rebounds as closely as the Bruins have means they’ve been getting to the front of the net, but they haven’t need to set up and screen Crawford so their D can beat him from the point.
- Even on the rebounds, the Bruins are going glove side. Watch Bergeron’s goal in the the second period of Game 4. The puck bounced off Crawford’s mask, off the glass and back over the net in front, but Bergeron’s instinct was still to go high glove rather than just trying to jam it in. These guys haven’t just read the book on Crawford. They’ve memorized it.
- No Bruins goals this series have been redirected past Crawford. They’re beating him cleanly.
- Niklas Hjalmarsson was on the ice for all three Bruins goals in Game 1 and four of their five goals in Game 4.
- Johnny Oduya was on the ice for four goals against in Game 4, as was Marcus Kruger.
- Andrew Shaw was not on the ice for a Bruins goal until Bergeron’s second goal in Game 4. He was also on the ice for Boychuk‘s game-tying tally.
- Bryan Bickell has been on the ice for only goal against in this series. Part of that can be explained by the fact that he was on the fourth line in Game 3 and wasn’t exactly playing against top scorers.
- Duncan Keith has been on the ice for two Bruins goals. Zdeno Chara has been on the ice for six Blackhawks goals.
|06.20.13 at 4:23 pm ET|
Chris Kelly could at least joke about his near-miss in Game 4, some 14 hours after a certain goal went off his stick and hit the left post of the net vacated by Corey Crawford at the end of the second period. Had Kelly scored with 40 seconds left, the game would’ve been tied, 4-4. Instead, the Hawks made it to the dressing room clinging to a 4-3 lead.
“It is what it is,” Kelly said Thursday in front of his locker stall. “It would’ve been nice to put that in. It’s a game of inches. That just proved that even more. You just move forward. There’s nothing you can do about things like that. There’s no sense of dwelling on individual plays. I think there’s more important things to worry about.”
That didn’t keep the goal horn from going off for a moment inside the Garden.
“No, I knew I didn’t score but the horn kind of threw me,” Kelly said. “I thought the period was over. I looked up and there was like 40 seconds left. But no, it didn’t throw me off. I knew I didn’t score.”
Kelly said he had put the near-miss behind him until being reminded of it on Thursday.
“It was gone until you guys brought it up,” Kelly said. “Thanks for that.”
As for his teammates, Kelly is very confident that the Bruins can put Game 4 completely behind him.
“I think we’re a confident group in here and we know how to play and what brings us success,” Kelly said. “We’re a group that’s learned throughout the past and has been through a lot of things, not only this year but in years past. I think we’ll be fine for next game.
“I think both sides were pretty poor on the D-side of the puck. There’s certain plays you want to look back, try to eliminate, make better reads. It’s a game of mistakes. I think both sides made their fair share of mistakes.”
|06.20.13 at 11:19 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The Blackhawks offense broke out with a six-goal performance in the game, which was more than the Bruins had allowed in their last four games combined. Pederson said that the Bruins defense struggled because the team’s forwards consistently turned the puck over in the neutral zone.
'Your defense creates your offense and it's your forwards that create your team defense,' Pederson said. 'Well the forwards last night were awful with puck management. Turnovers, of course that first goal with [Tyler] Seguin turning it over, but throughout the game Brad Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, they all struggled in areas where they had been very responsible at throughout the playoffs, not allowing outnumbered opportunities. You could also see that as that happened, the turnovers, the transition, Chicago's speed started to jump in, they got some confidence, you saw [Duncan] Keith jumping in, [Brent] Seabrook, [Michal] Rozsival from the backside.'
Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were a combined minus-5 on the night, in part due to their inability to keep Chicago forwards away from the front of the net. However, Pederson noted that the B’s forwards did not give them much help in the defensive zone like they had throughout the rest of the playoffs.
'If you can allow Chara and Seidenberg that even-up opportunity with two-on-two, there is no way [Tuukka Rask is not able to see shots through screens],' Pederson said. 'They were coming at them with three-on-twos and four-on-twos. When you're Chara and Seidenberg, when you see that, normally you are taking away their space by attacking defensively at them. Now you see you have an outnumbered opportunity you've got to back in. As soon as you back in you give up the blue line, and when you give up the blue line now Chicago can go east-west and not just north-south, which causes problems. As you back off and you have speed, now that allows Chicago to get in front of Tuukka with that front-net presence. You can't get inside position, you can't box out because they're coming at you in waves.
'But again, that all started with poor puck management in the neutral zone, getting caught defensively, you saw a couple of times when you saw the Bruins defense do what they were supposed to do which was pinch, but there were no forwards behind them backing them up like there was earlier on in the playoffs.'
However, Pederson pointed out that the silver lining for the Bruins in Game 4 was that they seemed to have figured out Corey Crawford. All five goals went to the glove side, which reminded Pederson of the goalie the Bruins beat last time they were in the Stanley Cup finals.
'To me, as that game wore on last night, he looked exactly like Roberto Luongo having trouble with that glove,' Pederson said. 'You watch him when he goes into that stance and he is anticipating a shot, instead of having his glove to his side where it should be, he has it up by his head. When he goes down, his glove has to go from by his ear all the way down to by his pads, and right in that area is where they were scoring.
'He didn't look comfortable. It was almost like he was sitting there ' and I can remember my baseball days playing second base saying, 'Don't hit the ball to me.' He didn't want that puck on him. It must have been overtime when he was sitting ' that one dump in by [David] Krejci on a snap shot from the blue line gave him all kinds of trouble.'
|06.20.13 at 4:54 am ET|
Claude Julien has always had the pulse of his team.
Right or wrong, no one gets more credit when things go right, or more of the blame when they don’t. Such was the case Monday when he gave his credit to being fully committed after a 2-0 win. But on Wednesday, the Bruins allowed 47 shots and six goals in nearly 70 minutes of hockey, Not the kind of defensive-minded, puck-controlling play he wants to see out of his five-man skating group.
“Not really, not really,” Julien said. “I mean, we tied it up. I thought our guys battled hard enough to get us back in the game and create an overtime. I don’t think we played our best game tonight. A lot of different reasons. I think our decision making wasn’t very good at times. Didn’t think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past.
“It was certainly a tough outing for us tonight, They came out hard, played extremely well. Somehow, again, they had the better of us for the first half of the game until we got ourselves going here a little bit. Again, those are things that happen in the Final where you don’t feel like you played well enough to win. That’s what happened tonight.”
In the second period alone, the Hawks outscored the Bruins, 3-2, as they seized control.
“I just think we weren’t very sharp in our decision making,” Julien said. “Where we talked about we have layers, our D's were pinching, our forwards were not really covering up, weren’t totally committed to that part of the game. That’s when you saw two'on'ones. Sometimes caught a little bit low. We were through the neutral zone, weren’t very aggressive. There was a lot of our game tonight that was just average, and average isn’t good enough at this stage of the season.”
“It wasn’t a Bruins' type of game, but at the same time you have to get yourself back into it, Our guys worked hard to score goals. Probably got ourselves out of what our normal game plan is. So we opened up and we scored goals, but we also gave them some goals, like the game'winning goal. Too many times where they had an opportunity to tee it up. We’d come back in our own end and make the big circle. When you make the big circles, you open up the middle of the ice. Just things that don’t characterize our team.
“Like I said, it was an average game. But give the guys credit. We battled back and gave ourselves a chance to win, even though it wasn’t our best game. Sometimes you got to do that. We tried to do that tonight. But at the end, you know, it didn’t happen.”
The Bruins will practice at midday on Thursday while the Blackhawks are headed back to Chicago.
Read the rest of this entry »
|06.20.13 at 3:06 am ET|
When you give up six goals in a Stanley Cup finals game, you’re not going to feel real good about your performance. But Tuukka Rask knows enough that when the Bruins allow six goals, it’s more of a defensive breakdown than anything else.
Rask allowed a playoff-high six goals Wednesday night, including the overtime game-winner by Brent Seabrook 10 minutes into the extra period as the Bruins lost Game 4, 6-5, and watched as the Blackhawks won back home ice advantage in the series.
“It's not fun, but we battled back many times, didn't make it easy on ourselves,” Rask said. “At the end of the day, it's a one-goal game. They get it. We just made it too tough on ourselves. Not our best night.”
Rask faced several odd-man rushes that led to scoring chances or loose rebounds, like the one that Patrick Kane finished in the second period on a backhander that left Rask sprawling across his crease, trying to stop the shot in vain.
“The got a lot of shots through and a lot of second opportunities,” Rask said. “You know, you let six goals as a goalie, you can't be satisfied, but as a team I thought it wasn't our best defensive game.”
As for the Seabrook winner from the right point, Rask was fighting through traffic provided by Jonathan Toews in front. By the time he saw the puck, it was ticketed far side and Rask had no chance of stopping it.
“I saw it at the last second,” Rask said. “There was some traffic in front, just couldn't make a stretch.”
It wasn’t just the fact the Bruins were outshot 47-33. The Blackhawks made good on their promise to make it harder on Rask, who was on pace to set a new Bruins postseason record for fewest goals against and save percentage.
“They just got shots through,” Rask said. “I wasn't able to make saves or we weren't able to block shots. They got those rebounds, that makes the difference.”
|06.20.13 at 1:31 am ET|
Of the Blackhawks’ seven highest scorers this postseason, just one — Patrick Sharp — had a goal in the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals. That changed significantly on Wednesday in Game 4, when the Hawks battered Tuukka Rask with 47 shots and two of the ones that went in came, finally, from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Possibly the most notable name on the scoresheet Wednesday was Toews, who hadn’t put the puck in the net since May 25 against Detroit in the conference semifinals. Toews gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead in the second period when he tipped a Michal Rozsival shot past Rask, breaking a 10-game drought.
“The last couple of days, [Brent] Seabrook has been coming up to me, asking me what I’m thinking about. You know, I have to give him the right answer,” Toews said, cracking a smile. “I’m thinking about scoring a goal. 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.”
Toews was reunited with Kane and Bryan Bickell, with whom he’s had success this spring, in Game 4 after starting Game 3 between Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger. In addition to Toews’ goal, Kane put away a backhander in the second period and set up Seabrook’s overtime game-winner, and Bickell assisted on both Kane’s and Seabrook’s goals. The three of them combined for 11 shots.
“I like that line,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the trio. “Big picture, getting reunited, they seem to have some chemistry. Scoring certainly helps. But, you know, got a little bit of difference – everybody in that line brings something different to the party. [Bickell] off the rush can shoot. Kaner has possession. Jonny gets through. It’s a nice combination. So it was nice to see them back and productive, too.”
Having Marian Hossa, who was tied for the team lead in playoff points entering Game 4, back in the lineup didn’t hurt. With Toews, Kane and Bickell back together, Hossa skated with Michal Handzus and Sharp, giving the Hawks two lines with a significant scoring punch. Handzus and Sharp each chipped in a goal, and Sharp had a game-high eight shots.
- Tuesday Morning Skate: 71 million new things to talk about
- Hockey's Culture of Revenge
- Fresh Links: Homecoming Edition
- Monday Morning Skate: Survivor Alberta
- Dougie Hamilton headed back to Boston; Miller OK; could Boychuk be back?
- Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Recap: Bruins win 5-2, Kevan Miller scores first...
- Public Skate: Third Period, Bruins 3 Leafs 1