|06.16.13 at 8:47 pm ET|
The Blackhawks know they aren’t the NHL’s most physical team — both coach Joel Quenneville and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson acknowledged the fact on Sunday. Whether or not that played a role in the Bruins’ comeback win in Game 2 is harder to determine, but Quenneville said it’s a possibility.
“It’s hard to gauge,” Quenneville said. “I know you look at the hit sheet game to game, and I think we’re always on the underside of it by whatever number or margin. You’ve got certain guys that are more physical than others. I think we’ve got to be harder to play against than we were last night.”
The recorded number of hits the Bruins had compared to the Blackhawks isn’t particularly significant, given that hits can be measured differently in every venue. But as the Bruins worked their way back from a flat first period, outmuscling their opponents for loose pucks and seeing their hardest hitters — like Milan Lucic, who saw more time on the ice than any Bruins forward except David Krejci — play their hard-nosed style helped them even out the game.
The Blackhawks have faced teams known for their physicality before in this postseason, most notably the Kings. Quenneville said they’ve responded to the Bruins’ big hits much the same way they did to Los Angeles’.
“As long as we’re not deterred in where we have to travel to be successful, is something we’ll talk about,” Quenneville said. “L.A. is a physical team. Boston, they’re a big team. At the same time, we can’t get distracted knowing if we get out-hit, it makes a difference. Our guys have to travel, whether it’s to the net or first to pucks, we’ve got to be there.”
Defenseman Duncan Keith agreed, saying he thought the problems came when the Blackhawks were outworked in puck battles.
|06.16.13 at 5:58 pm ET|
There were plenty of sideline coaches suggesting Torey Krug sit Game 2 out after his gaffe in Game 1 that led to Chicago’s second goal and gave the Blackhawks momentum to begin their comeback.
But not Claude Julien.
He stuck with his talented rookie defenseman. And all the justification he needed from Krug was provided early in Game 2.
“Extremely well,” Julien said when asked how he thought Krug handled Game 2. “He didn’t lose any confidence. Again, you look at last night, he pushed the puck up the middle again, was able to come back, nothing came out of it. But, you know, his game continued to go in the right direction.”
“I thought I did play my game pretty well in Game 2, jumping up on the ice when I could, clearing the puck a little bit better,” Krug said. “Basically, there are still some things I can fix but I felt very confident, especially in overtime. We were up in the offensive zone a little bit more than we were the whole game. I felt a lot better.”
The irony is that Krug didn’t lean on a fellow defenseman for support after Game 1. It came from Patrice Bergeron, a forward, and given his propensity for offense, maybe that’s appropriate.
“He’s got the same routine every game,” Krug said. “I have never seen him play a bad game, but if he is having a bad game, I don’t think he changes anything up so that’s important in being a professional. He always goes about his business. He is an unbelievable leader and he does the little things that’s what’s amazing about him. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.16.13 at 3:18 pm ET|
The comparison has been obvious since the second round of this Bruins playoff run.
Is Tuukka Rask as good as Tim Thomas in 2011 when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup on the strength of one of the best goaltending performances in Stanley Cup history?
In the eyes of Bruins coach Claude Julien, there’s no doubt.
“I think it’s just as good, no doubt,” Julien said of Rask, who is now 13-5 in the playoffs, a 1.73 goals against and a .944 save percentage. All of those numbers better the performance of Thomas when he won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. “Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there’s always that fear that you’re not going to be able to replace him.
“Tuukka’s done an outstanding job. To me, he’s been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.”
Rask gave his take on Sunday morning.
“For myself, that was the best I’ve ever seen, obviously,” Rask said of Thomas’ 16-9 record, with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 save percentage in the 2011 playoffs. “I’d never been that deep in the playoffs before and for me, as a spectator, that was the best stretch of goaltending I’d ever seen.”
The only area where Thomas has Rask beat right now is in shutouts (4-2), that and a Conn Smythe trophy, for now.
Rask did admit one thing Sunday – this is the best goaltending he’s played in his career.
“Probably, yeah,” Rask said.
|06.16.13 at 3:05 pm ET|
Given the speed and skill that allow him to take over a hockey game at his best, it’s easy to forget that Tyler Seguin is still younger than most college seniors. While Seguin hasn’t often played the game he’s capable of in these playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien, impressed with his young forward’s effort in Game 2 on Saturday, reminded reporters of Seguin’s relative inexperience on Sunday.
“He’s only a 21-year-old kid – this is his third year,” Julien said. “Sometimes patience doesn’t mean just for one year. Patience means a little more than a year. As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him.”
Despite receiving a rogue fourth-place vote for the Selke trophy as the league’s best defensive forward this year, defense has not been a hallmark of Seguin’s game through the first three years of his career. In Game 2, though, he made a few plays of which Patrice Bergeron might have been proud, forcing turnovers and breaking up Blackhawks plays.
More notably, Seguin was alert enough to take advantage of a failed breakout pass in overtime on Sunday, setting Daniel Paille up with all kinds of space to score the game-winner. Seguin was skating with Paille and Chris Kelly, a line that accounted for both of the Bruins’ Game 2 goals, making perhaps his biggest contribution of the postseason in a bottom-six role.
True, one game won’t change the perception that Seguin doesn’t quite meet his potential in the playoffs. This year, he has one goal and five assists through 18 games. That’s in line with his numbers from 2011, when he saw limited time: three goals and four assists through 13 games.
|06.16.13 at 12:34 am ET|
While the Blackhawks were threatening to blow open Game 2 and send the Stanley Cup final back to Boston with a 2-0 lead, it was Tuukka Rask who was the difference. The Hawks out-shot the Bruins 19-4 but had only a Patrick Sharp goal to show for it.
Claude Julien was quick to thank his goaltender after a 2-1 overtime win that has the Bruins flying back to Boston with the series tied, 1-1. Rask made 59 saves in a losing effort on Wednesday night before turning aside 33 shots on Saturday, including all four under the ultimate pressure of sudden death overtime.
“If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren’t there,” Julien said. “We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there. I thought the second, we started turning it around. Third, same thing. We got better as the game went on. Overtime, that was the best, had a lot of scoring chances there. Like I told our guys, we got to show up on time for these kind of games. It could have cost us tonight.
Was Julien concerned that eventually the Blackhawks pressure would wear down Rask?
“I think obviously our players responded to that,” Julien said. “I think we gave them four shots in the second, four shots in the third, maybe two or three in the overtime. I haven’t checked that out yet. We at least gave him a little bit of an opportunity to catch his breath again. That first period, like I said, was extremely hard for him. But thankfully our guys rewarded him with that effort by being a lot better in front of him for the rest of the game.
“Again, we got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, a better team, and by the end I thought we had more chances.”
Julien said the simple difference in the second period was his team moving their legs.
“We started playing,” Julien said. of the game’s turnaround. “I mean that in the right way. We were on our heels. We were second to the puck. We were just throwing pucks out of our own end. We weren’t making plays. We were standing still in our own end. A couple of point-blank shots. We were just not ready to play. After the first period, a bit of a chat, we got ourselves going. We got our feet moving at the start, then the rest followed, and eventually it just got better.”
It was Julien who mixed up the lines looking for added energy. It worked as Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin brought the energy the Bruins needed to overcome the early sluggishness.
“We didn’t have much going,” Julien said. “At one point I thought that line would give us something. They responded well. Got both goals tonight. It’s a hunch from a coach. I know that Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|06.16.13 at 12:09 am ET|
The Bruins tied the Stanley Cup finals as Daniel Paille scored the game-winner at 13:48 of overtime, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks Saturday night at United Center in Chicago. The series now shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday before returning to Chicago next Saturday night.
Here are some postgame notes, courtesy the Bruins media relations department:
• The Bruins now have an 18-28 lifetime record in Game 2 of best-of-seven series in which they lost the first game.
• They are 22-12 lifetime when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1 and they are 18-16 lifetime in Game 3s when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1.
• The Blackhawks now have a 17-13 lifetime record in Game 2 of best-of-seven series in which they won the first game.
• They are 15-11 lifetime when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1 and they are 15-11 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1.
• The Bruins are 1-3 lifetime when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1 and they are 1-3 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1.
• The Blackhawks are 2-0 lifetime when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1 and they are 2-0 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1.
• The Bruins played their 124th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 54-67-3 record in playoff overtime. They are 5-2 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 65th on the road and that record is now 24-40-2.
• This is the first time they have played back-to-back overtime games in the playoffs since games six (4-3 Boston win) and seven (2-1 Washington win) in their 2012 quarterfinal series. It was their first consecutive overtime games in a Stanley Cup finals since Games 1 (4-3 Montreal win) and 2 (3-2 Montreal win) of the 1946 finals.
• The Blackhawks played their 85th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 45-40 record in playoff overtime. They are 4-2 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 44th on home ice and that record is now 27-17.
• This is the first time they have played back-to-back overtime games in the playoffs since they played the each of first five games of their 2012 quarterfinal series vs. Phoenix into extra sessions, going 2-3 in those games. They had not played consecutive overtime games in a Stanley Cup finals since Games 2 (2-1 win) and 3 (3-2 win) of the 1931 finals vs. Montreal.
|06.15.13 at 11:33 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Unlike Game 1, overtime was the Bruins’ friend on Saturday as Daniel Paille beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot at 17:48 of the first overtime to even Stanley Cup finals with a 2-1 overtime win at United Center.
The Blackhawks dominated play early on, though they came out of the first period with just a 1-0 lead on a Patrick Sharp goal. Chris Kelly tied the game in the second period with his first goal of the playoffs and first point in 22 games, with Paille netting the game-winner in overtime for Boston.
Tuukka Rask made 33 saves on 34 shots, while Corey Crawford stopped 26 of Boston’s 28 shots.
The finals will now head to Boston, where the teams will play Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Wednesday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Good to see Tyler Seguin wake up, and he was relentless in his efforts to create turnovers. First, he lifted Sharp’s stick in the Blackhawks’ zone to start the possession that led to Kelly’s goal. He then chased down a puck that Crawford was playing behind the net and nearly forced a turnover and later made a nice play to knock down a Blackhawks pass in the third period. It has been all too noticeable that Seguin has not raised his game this postseason, but if he’s choosing to do it now, that can be big for the Bruins. Most importantly, Seguin had the primary assist on the game-winner.
- Chris Kelly on the scoresheet? You don’t say. This has been a very forgettable season for Kelly, who cashed in on a 20-goal campaign last season but put up a dud while also suffering a leg injury in the regular season. That 21-game pointless stretch dated back to April 17, which was the 41st game of the regular season.
- Fortunately for the B’s, Rask was at his best while the rest of the team was at its worst in the first period. He came up big early on by stopping a Toews bid against the Chara-Seidenberg pairing and also came through with a glove save on Nick Leddy from the left circle.
Zdeno Chara also helped prevent a goal in the first when Toews fed Marian Hossa after Dennis Seidenberg had broken his stick in the Blackhawks’ zone. As the Blackhawks drove to the net, Toews sent it across to Hossa in front, but Chara was able to get a stick on the puck to knock it away.
- Speaking of Rask and the Blackhawks not scoring, Chicago could have had a two-goal lead thanks to Marian Hossa knocking Rask’s pad to push the puck over the goal line following a save on a Toews wraparound. Replays showed that the puck crossed the line and the play was reviewed, but the whistle must have been blown prior to the puck crossing the line. With the way the game was going, Chicago could have pretty much sealed a win in the first period had they gotten a decent lead.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins were atrocious through the first two periods, spending minimal time in the Blackhawks’ zone and rarely possessing the puck. The Blackhawks had 25 of the first 30 shots attempted in the game, with Chicago having a 19-4 advantage in shots on goal after one. Jaromir Jagr was the only member of the Bruins’ top two lines with a shot on goal in the first period. The B’s were also bad in the neutral zones, with turnovers that led to scoring chances for Chicago.
- The B’s were 0-for-2 on the power play and are now 1-for-18 on the man advantage dating back to the start of the Eastern Conference finals. They were given a golden opportunity when Johnny Oduya took a tripping penalty in the final minute of the second period, but after getting a couple of Jaromir Jagr shots early on, they didn’t do much of anything in the minute-plus of power play time to open the third period.
- Jagr nearly ended it early in overtime on what would have been his first goal of the playoffs, but his shot that beat Crawford gloveside clanked off the post.
- Thursday Morning Skate: Oh My Bergeron
- Stanley Cup Final Quick Recap: Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. See ya Monday, TD...
- Public Skate: Bruins 5 Blackhawks 5 OT TIME Y'ALLLLLLL
- Public Skate: Game 4, Bruins 3, Blackhawks 4 - Third Period
- Stanley Cup Final: HNIC Game 4 Intro: Killing it, as usual.
- Bruins vs. Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Complete Coverage
- Bruin text messages: a Cup of Chowder exclusive