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Tim Thomas sent the right message to Bruins between periods

05.07.11 at 4:18 am ET
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The Bruins were able to break a 1-1 tie in the third period in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals thanks to a snapshot from Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic‘s second goal of the game, and a couple of empty net goals courtesy of Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille en rout to sweeping the Flyers Friday night.

The win was just the latest example of what has been a season-wide trend for the Bruins. The Bruins’ 94 third-period goals in the regular season ranked second in the NHL, while they had a league-best 57 goals against in the final 20 minutes. The biggest case in the regular season was their five-goal showing to come from behind in the third against the Penguins back in November, but the most recent, and now most important, one came Friday. Tim Thomas knew the B’s had it in them, so between the second and third period, he spoke up and said so.

“It was an actual comment that I made to the team, was ‘third periods are ours,'” Thomas recalled after the game. “I just said that to reinforce and to remind guys that that’s the way it had been all year and hopefully help their confidence.”

It sure looked like it helped their confidence. After the Flyers got momentum in the second period on Kris Versteeg‘s goal, the Bruins were able to come out and make it a 2-1 game 2:42 into the third on Boychuk’s blast.

“Well, the result was great,” Thomas said. “We played a really good third period, but you did see a little bit of the fatigue set in because we weren’t getting pucks deep there a few times at the far blue line. It was just a couple of mistakes that we don’t normally make and stuff, but I think guys battled through it and just made sure to be even safer.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic breaks out of slump with two goals in Game 4 win

05.07.11 at 2:09 am ET
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Friday night’€™s series-clinching win over the Flyers was special for everyone involved with the Bruins, but it was a little extra special for Milan Lucic. The team’€™s leading goal scorer during the regular season entered the game without a goal in the playoffs. In fact, he hadn’€™t scored in 20 games going back to the end of the regular season.

That drought finally came to an end when Lucic one-timed home a centering pass from Nathan Horton for a power-play goal 12:02 into the game.

‘€œIt was great,’€ Lucic said when asked how he felt after the goal. ‘€œIt was a great feeling once I scored that goal just to get that monkey off my back and get that lead.’€

Lucic wasn’€™t done, either. He gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 4:57 remaining in the game when he beat Sergei Brobovsky five-hole on a breakaway for his second goal of the night. That was the backbreaker for the Flyers, who had turned up the pressure after the Bruins made it 2-1 earlier in the third.

‘€œThat’€™s what it was all about here. We had to weather that storm,’€ coach Claude Julien said. ‘€œWhen you are desperate and you need to score to stay in the series, you know they are going to give it their best shot. ‘€¦ We did a great job until we got that third goal, which was a big goal. Certainly it relieved a lot of pressure.’€

Lucic admitted that he got frustrated at times during the slump, but he credited his teammates for supporting him and helping him get through it.

‘€œMy teammates, especially my linemates with [David] Krejci and Horton, we’€™ve been able to create so much chemistry here,’€ Lucic said. ‘€œThey had my back and they just told me, ‘€˜It’€™s going to come. Just keep sticking with it.’€™ I tried my hardest not to get frustrated. There was a time there when I was really frustrated. But right now, obviously it feels good to step up and help the team win a big game.’€

Assistant captain Mark Recchi said that sort of team unity is one of the biggest reasons the Bruins are where they are right now.

‘€œThat’€™s what good teams do,’€ Recchi said. ‘€œWhen you haven’€™t scored for a while, you tend to get tight. He’€™s a young kid and hopefully now he’€™s found a really good time to start getting hot. He’€™s been a great teammate to everybody else this year. When guys are struggling or they’€™re fighting to score goals, what good teams do is find ways to help him and take that pressure off of him.’€

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton

Claude Julien knows ‘toughest games are yet to come’ as Bruins seek Lord Stanley

05.07.11 at 1:15 am ET
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As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.

“Well, it’€™s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’€™s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.

“I thought we played extremely well. It’€™s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’€™s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”

The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL

Claude Julien has ‘no update’ on Patrice Bergeron injury in Game 4 win over Flyers

05.07.11 at 1:04 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over Philadelphia. He did not return and his status for the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay is unknown at this point.

While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return.

“I don’€™t know. I have no update for you guys right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Basically, I can’€™t give you anything more than that.”

Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.

Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line duty to center the Marchand-Recchi line for the remainder of the third period Friday.

“We talked about this morning, somebody asked me about different scenarios, and Chris Kelly is a very reliable player, a lot like Bergeron,” Julien said. “And a great two-way player. He as put up some decent points and he has also been extremely reliable defensively. So it’€™s an easy fit there and even Soupy [Gregory] Campbell has been a good player for us as well.

“He competes hard and very reliable. So you are able to move guys around and know they are going to do the job. And we’€™ve talked about our fourth line being a good line for us. And they have been good enough, to move them up to spots when need be,” Julien said. “Dan Paille took a shift there too on one of those lines. You have to be able to move guys around and they did a great job of stepping in and filling in those voids.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, NHL

Peter Laviolette points to Game 1 dud as the real reason for his team’s collapse

05.07.11 at 12:44 am ET
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In sweeping the team that spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Bruins thoroughly frustrated the Flyers from the opening faceoff through all four games, ending with Friday night’s 5-1 win in Game 4 at TD Garden.

‘€œLook at tonight’€™s game, it’€™s 1-1 halfway through the third,” Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The chances are relatively close. I would’€™ve liked to have generated more, offensively. I think in all the losses, we needed to generate more, we needed to spend more in the offensive zone. Defensively, even tonight, we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone trying to get through their trap and trying to get a sustained forecheck that could generate some offense and we weren’€™t able to do that, and in the losses, that seems to be one of the key things that factors in.

‘€œThe other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You’€™re in your building and we don’€™t play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn’€™t get a win. We didn’€™t get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity.’€

The Bruins swept Philadelphia for the second time in playoff history, having disposed of them in four straight in 1977. The Bruins won seven of the eight meetings between the two teams this year and Tim Thomas improved to 10-0-0 lifetime against the Flyers, including regular season and the playoffs.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, NHL, Peter Laviolette

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it awaits: Bruins sweep Flyers

05.06.11 at 10:42 pm ET
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By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin

The Bruins finished off the Flyers with a 5-1 win, sweeping the Eastern Conference semifinals in four games and advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1992. The Bruins will next face the Lightning, who also swept their semifinals series vs. the Capitals.

Johnny Boychuk sent a blast from the point over the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky at 2:42 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie. It was Boychuk’s second goal of the playoffs, both of which have come in series-clinching games this postseason.

Milan Lucic had two goals for Boston in the win. With Daniel Carcillo in the box for cross-checking, Lucic put the Bruins on the board at 12:02, scoring his first goal of the playoffs and giving Boston its first 5-on-4 goal this postseason. The Flyers would apply minimal pressure throughout the rest of the first period, but got on the board thanks to a goal from deadline acquisition Kris Versteeg. Lucic added his second of the night on a breakaway in the third period. Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille added empty netters.

Tim Thomas made 22 saves in the winning effort. It was the second straight game in which he allowed just one goal.

The Bruins will host the Lightning in Games 1 of 2 of the conference finals. The schedule of the series is currently unknown, though it may depend on when the Western Conference finals are set. San Jose and Vancouver hold 3-1 series leads over the Red Wings and Predators, respectively.


– Lucic finally broke out of what was statistically a postseason-long scoring slump by picking up his first goal since March 22. He had played much better in this series than in a pedestrian first-round vs. the Canadiens, so it was fitting that he be rewarded with a big goal on the score sheet before the second round was over. Going forward, the B’s will need more like that from their 30-goal-scorer.

– The Bruins could let out the smallest of sighs of relief after their 5-on-3 goal in Game 3, but getting their first 5-on-4 goal didn’t come until Lucic killed two birds with one stone. Nathan Horton hit Lucic with a pass on the doorstep to end the 5-on-4 drought and give Boston its second power play goal in the last two games (and of the playoffs).

– The Flyers turned up the pressure once the Bruins took a 2-1 lead, but the B’s responded to the challenge by getting in shooting lanes and preventing Philly from getting pucks to the front of the net. The Flyers tried to get shots from the point with traffic in front, but the Boston forwards did an excellent job of getting right on top of the Philly defensemen and not giving them anything to shoot at. Chris Kelly led the effort with with three blocks.

– Another game vs. Philadelphia, another point for David Krejci. Boston’s first-line center has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) over his last 13 games vs. Philadelphia. Krejci picked up a helper on Lucic’s first-period goal.

– The Bruins drew three penalties in the first by just moving their feet and attacking on offense. James van Riemsdyk went off for a hook when he couldn’t catch up to Lucic, who was driving hard to the net in search of a centering pass. Then Gregory Campbell forced his way to the front of the net from below the goal line and drew a cross check on Daniel Carcillo. A few minutes later, Claude Giroux went to the box for a trip after Tomas Kaberle cut inside him on an aggressive entry into the offensive zone. The power play resulting from Carcillo’s infraction ended with the Bruins’ second power-play goal in as many games.




– The B’s had an injury scare for just one of th least guys they could stand to lose. A hit from Claude Giroux in the third period sent Patrice Bergeron downb the tunnel for the B’s, and he would not return to the game. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points this postseason.

– Bad turnover by Brad Marchand in the Flyers’ zone to create a 2-on-0 for the Flyers, and it cost the B’s. Kris Versteeg beat Tim Thomas for his first goal of the playoffs. Versteeg was once property of the B’s, but was traded for Brandon Bochenski in 2007.

-The Bruins obviously want and need Zdeno Chara to be physical, but with eight seconds left in the first, he took it a little too far. When Scott Hartnell took exception to Chara trying to clear out the front of the Boston net, Chara responded by dropping his gloves and then dropping Hartnell with one punch. Unfortunately for Chara, Hartnell never dropped his gloves and Chara got a double minor to put the Flyers on the power play. Two minutes without Hartnell in exchange for four minutes without Chara is a deal the Flyers will take 11 times out of 10.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Johnny Boychuk

Bruins/Flyers Game 4 Live Blog: Brad Marchand empty netter makes it 4-1

05.06.11 at 7:05 pm ET
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Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and other from TD Garden for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The B’s will have a chance to sweep the Flyers and advance to conference finals for the first time since 1992. The blog opens at 7:30.

<a href=”” mce_href=”” >Bruins/Flyers Game 4 Live Blog</a>

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, David Krejci, Sergei Bobrovsky, Tim Thomas
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