|05.05.11 at 1:06 pm ET|
With all the talk about being up 3-0 for the second straight year against the Flyers in the playoffs, “killer instinct” is one cliche that will be brought up over the next 24 hours.
And no one has had more of it than Brad Marchand this series against Philadelphia – even if it’s resulted in the occasional undisciplined penalty.
But Claude Julien and the Bruins will gladly take that if it means finally getting that fourth win against the Flyers Friday night and putting their nightmare of 2010 to rest.
“It was one of those games where I was angry the whole time, and my emotions kind of get the best of me, just trying to run around and kill guys,” Marchand admitted after Wednesday’s 5-1 butt-whipping of the Flyers. “So, it was just one of those games. It’s not like that every night but tonight was one of those nights.”
But the funny part is that Marchand didn’t take any penalties Wednesday night. He just crushed Flyer after Flyer, like everyone on the James van Riemsdyk line that nearly beat the Bruins in Game 2 Monday night. The Bruins didn’t want any player or line doing to them what JVR did in Game 2. They wanted someone to get under the Flyers collective skins and Marchand was just the guy.
Read the rest of this entry »
|05.05.11 at 10:32 am ET|
ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ success in the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Boston took a 3-0 series lead on the Flyers with Wednesday night’s 5-1 victory and can close out the series Friday night at TD Garden.
“They’re playing at full tilt and they really aren’t making that many mistakes,” Barnaby said of the B’s. “When you look at the Philadelphia side, they just can’t seem to get anything going. ‘¦ It’s a different team than we saw all year long, very suspect goaltending and Chris Pronger not being in that lineup really changes the dynamic of that team.”
Tim Thomas has been stellar in the Boston goal and drawn comparisons to one of Barnaby’s former teammates. “Tim Thomas is to me right now what I played with in Dominik Hasek when I was with Buffalo,” Barnaby said. “He gets into guys’ heads. He makes you pass when you think you should shoot and shoot when you think you should pass. That plays into guys’ minds.
“Sometimes he has you beat [mentally]. He has shooters passing when they should be shooting, and it’s a tough thing to not think you can score. Because I saw it time in and time out, frustrating other teams, night after night, shift after shift. And that’s what Tim Thomas is doing. You expect him to make that big save, and it plays mind games with you.”
The Lightning swept the top-seeded Capitals in the other Eastern Conference semifinal, and that has Barnaby anticipating an exciting Bruins-Lightning series.
“I love this series,” Barnaby said. “You look at goaltending. Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas have been the two best goalies in the postseason so far and would be candidates for the Conn Smythe, early running. You look at power plays. Well, you have to give it to Tampa Bay. They’ve been incredible. I think they have 11 or 12 power-play goals already [12 for a 26.7 percent success rate]. Both with some dynamic forwards. The defensive side, I’d give it to Boston. I think Zdeno Chara, he’s logged so many minutes, he’s such a big man.
“I really think it will be an incredible series and could go seven games.”
Asked who he’d predict to win the series, Barnaby said: “I would take Boston.”
|05.05.11 at 12:17 am ET|
He acted like a man who wanted to believe what he was saying but deep down Ed Snider had the look of a beaten owner of his beloved Philadelphia Flyers.
There isn’t an owner in hockey who has seen more. He brought hockey to the City of Brotherly Love. He rejoiced in 1974 and 1975 when his Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.
He beamed with nearly as much pride last spring when his team made history by overcoming an 0-3 deficit to beat the Bruins. His team fell two wins short of one of the best Stanley Cup championship of all time.
Well, after being shelled 5-1 in Game 3 at TD Garden Wednesday night, his team is in that very same hole. But in the Flyers dressing room afterward, Snider wasn’t talking like a man who really believes he can catch lightning in a bottle twice.
“It’s a really difficult thing to do and they would be the first team in history to do it two years in a row,” Snider offered.
That’s one way of looking at it.
This is another.
“It’s an awful lot to expect and Boston is playing very well and we’re going to have to step up our game in order to compete with them,” added Snider, who began to finally see the neon writing on the wall. And it’s starts with goaltending and continues with defense. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.11 at 11:49 pm ET|
After Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals a season ago, the questions surrounding the Bruins weren’t about whether they could close out a 3-0 series. They were about how the Bruins could potentially reach their ultimate goal without David Krejci, who had left the game with what would later be diagnosed as a broken wrist. This time around, there’s a storyline with Krejci, but it’s far different. With Boston’s first-line center healthy, he’s shown just how much of a factor he can be, and the Flyers have been the biggest victim.
That isn’t news for Krejci. For one reason or another, the 25-year-old center has been an absolute force vs. Philadelphia, and it continued Wednesday night with his fourth goal in three games, as well as an assist on Zdeno Chara‘s power play goal in the third period.
Dating back to last year’s Winter Classic, and including the playoffs, Krejci now has 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in his last 12 games vs. the Flyers. The B’s have won 11 of those 12 games, with the one loss coming this season in overtime.
“One thing is that my shots are finding the back of the net, and that’s a good thing,” Krejci said after Game 3. “Hopefully it’s going to keep coming. I don’t think it’s anything different from other teams. I’m just trying to play the same way as I always do, and I guess I just hope that it’s going to keep going well.”
The Flyers have certainly made it a point to limit Krejci’s chances, but the first line has continued to click. He ended Game 2 in overtime with a goal off Brian Boucher, and his tally in the first period Wednesday also proved to be a game-winner. Try as the Flyers might, there’s been no silencing Krejci this time around, and the Bruins, with a healthy Krejci, have a far better 3-0 lead than they did a series ago.
“They’re playing me hard, that’s for sure,” Krejci said. “They’re all letting me know that it’s going to be tough, but the puck’s going in for me right now.”
Krejci isn’t one to boast about personal achievements, so you won’t catch him reflecting too much on his dominance vs. the Flyers, or even admitting it exists. The mere acknowledgement of it Wednesday was enough from a guy who certainly knows he’s in a groove.
“I know I was doing well last year before I got hurt, and obviously this year I know how I’m doing,” he said. “I just hope I can keep going.”
Given that he had just one point in the first round against the Canadiens and already has seven points through three games vs. Philadelphia, it’s clear that Krejci just steps it up against Philadelphia, and that the Flyers have had no fun when he’s been in the lineup. Krejci said Wednesday that he “didn’t plan” to get hurt last year, but he isn’t thinking about it. With the way he’s going, he might not even have to think about Philadelphia much longer, as his play could put them in the Bruins’ rear view mirror.
|05.04.11 at 11:43 pm ET|
Last year, the Bruins failed to keep their foot on the gas pedal and let the Flyers back into a 3-0 series and back into a 3-0 Game 7. Whether the Bruins can finish off the Flyers in this series remains to be seen, but they showed on Wednesday night that they’re not about to ease off the gas again. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s opening 63 seconds, the Bruins refused to let up and continued to pressure the Flyers at both ends of the ice.
‘I think we knew there was still lots of hockey left to play, and it was important for us to keep playing our game and not all of a sudden go into a shell or sit back,’ Claude Julien said. ‘They’re a team that is very good offensively and if you give them some space or if you sit back, they’re going to make you pay for it.’
The Bruins made it clear they weren’t going to sit back with a pair of huge hits on the forecheck. First it was Brad Marchand, who knocked Ville Leino clean off his skates with a hard shoulder to the chest. Later in the first period, Daniel Paille unloaded on Kris Versteeg and sent the forward sprawling into the boards.
‘There were a couple big hits, and we need that,’ said defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who had a nice hip check of his own on Leino in the defensive zone. ‘It’s a physical game in the playoffs. We just need guys to play like that and not run out of position to get that hit and give up an odd-man rush or something like that. They picked their spots and there were a couple great hits.’
Even when they weren’t landing bone-jarring hits, the Bruins were consistently disrupting Philadelphia’s breakouts. They got sticks on passes, forced them to circle back toward their own end and pressured them into turnovers.
‘I think our forecheck was really good,’ defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. ‘Our forwards were really getting on their D. Even when they were coming out of their zone, our guys were stepping up and having good gaps and just keeping them from coming with speed into the middle.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.11 at 11:10 pm ET|
On Wednesday, the Bruins took just the series lead that they have been associated with for nearly a year. In holding a 3-0 edge over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins have the very lead that they blew a season ago when they were eliminated by Philadelphia in seven games. The Bruins are trying to block out the comparisons to last year, but given where they stand, it’s only natural.
“About half the guys weren’t here last year. It’s different,” center David Krejci said after the team’s 5-1 win. “We have better depth in our lineup, and we showed it in the first round. Hopefully that’s going to help us in the second round, too.”
While the roster itself is different, many of the veterans who were on the squad know that the B’s did learn from last season’s collapse — even ones who weren’t playing.
“We learned last year that the fourth win is the hardest,” Tim Thomas said. “We are playing one game at a time, one period at a time, and one shift at a time. We are going to try to play it the same way come Friday.”
The B’s can go for the sweep Friday at TD Garden.
|05.04.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Flyers can say they have the Bruins right where they want them, but the B’s now have a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series and a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference semifinals clash.
Nathan Horton had a Gordie Howe hat trick and David Krejci continued his dominance of the Flyers in a 5-1 Bruins’ win. Horton assisted Krejci’s goal in the first period, fought former Bruin Sean O’Donnell at 3:31 of the second, and scored his fifth playoff goal at 15:14 of the period. Even the power play scored, as Zdeno Chara scored his second of the night on a 5-on-3 in the final minutes.
Though they essentially stole Game 2, the Bruins came out and beat the Flyers Wednesday night just about as handily as they could beat anyone. Chara scored his first goal of the playoffs with a rocket past Brian Boucher just 30 seconds in, and Krejci scored his fourth goal of the last three games just 33 seconds later, and from there, the Flyers’ response was minimal. Andrej Meszaros provided Philadelphia with its lone tally in the second, though it was after the B’s had scored four and chased Boucher for the second time this series. In pulling Boucher in the second period for Sergei Bobrovsky, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has now changed goalies mid-game due to performance five times in 10 postseason games this year.
The Bruins will go for the sweep in Game 4 at TD Garden Friday. Should the Flyers take that contest, the series would continue in Philadelphia on Sunday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Once again, Krejci got on the scoresheet against the Flyers, which at this point should come as no surprise. With his first-period goal and third-period assist, Krejci extended his point streak vs. the Flyers to 12 games, including the playoffs. Krejci has four goals thus far in the series, and dating back to last year’s Winter Classic, he has five goals and 12 assists vs. Philadelphia. Even better? The Bruins are 11-0-1 in those games.
Krejci’s goal also proved to be the game-winner, giving him two game-winning goals in the Bruins’ three wins in the series against Philly. He scored in overtime to clinch Game 2 in Philadelphia.
– The Bruins really couldn’t have asked for any better of a start. They assaulted the Philadelphia net right from the get-go, resulting in Chara’s first goal of the playoffs just 30 seconds in. Boucher made the initial stop on a pretty centering pass from Patrice Bergeron to Brad Marchand, but Marchand collected the rebound at the side of the net and fed Chara for a laser-guided one-timer into the top corner. The B’s struck again just 33 seconds later when Milan Lucic found Krejci in front for his fifth of the postseason. Boston didn’t let up after the fast start, either, as it continued to dominate pretty much all aspects of the game (including an astounding 14-3 advantage on faceoffs) throughout the first.
– The Bruins were the more physical team from the beginning, and they did what they could to get that point across. Marchand absolutely crushed Ville Leino in the corner with the Flyers on the power play early on, and Boychuk followed suit. Marchand had a team-leading seven hits in the first two periods.
– As a fourth-liner, Paille doesn’t get a ton of ice time, but he certainly made the most of it Wednesday night. In the first period, he did an outstanding job killing the Flyers’ first penalty of the night. Paille was on the ice for the first 55 seconds of it and he was all over the place. He disrupted several passes and twice cleared the puck the length of the ice. Later in the period, he landed a huge hit on Kris Versteeg at the Flyers’ blue line. Paille’s hard work paid off with his first goal of the playoffs 13:39 into the second when he took a pass from Gregory Campbell on a 3-on-2 and rifled it over Boucher’s shoulder.
Give credit to Boychuk on the play as well, as it was a heads up play in intercepting a Flyers’ pass that started the play.
– With his assist on Chara’s goal early in the first, Bergeron is now tied with Philly’s Claude Giroux for the most points in these playoffs with 12 (2g, 10a). The assist wasn’t even the most impressive part of Bergeron’s game, though. He won 16 of 18 faceoffs to help lead a team-wide domination on draws (the B’s won 39 of 51 for the game). Bergeron also came close to ending Boston’s power-play drought on three occasions. He missed just wide on a one-timer in the first period. In the second, he got robbed by a sliding Bobrovsky and then hit the left post just a few seconds later. The B’s won 43 of 55 faceoffs ‘ Bergeron won 17 of 19.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE FLYERS
– Laviolette can try all of the “the Bruins are supposed to win” head games that he wants, but the Flyers are in deep, deep doodoo. The B’s know they can take advantage of the Flyers’ goaltending, and the idea of it holding up for four straight games is very hard to imagine, even given the history.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It was going to be the power play, but Chara changed that when he made it 5-1 with 1:22 remaining in the contest.