|04.21.11 at 10:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins grabbed a gutsy win Thursday, sinking the Canadiens, 5-4, in overtime and tying the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at two games apiece. Michael Ryder, who had three points on the night, scored the game-winner 1:59 into OT.
The Habs jumped out to a 1-0 lead 8:13 into the first period on a shot from Brent Sopel. With just over eight minutes of scoreless play, Game 4 had the most scoreless time of any so far in the series. Ryder would tie the game in the second period, though goals from Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn made it a 3-1 game. The B’s were able to battle back in that same period, getting goals from Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron to tie it at three at the end of two.
With Patrice Bergeron in the penalty box for hooking, Habs rookie defenseman P.K Subban scored to make it 4-3 early in the third. Once again, the Habs’ lead would not stick, as the Bruins would tie it on a Chris Kelly goal at 13:42 of the third, setting the stage for Ryder’s overtime heroics.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Michael Ryder scoring after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle? Ryder later setting up a critical goal? That’s something the Bruins had been waiting to see. While it’s been a while since either of those two have proven capable of playing to their potential (in Kaberle’s case, the argument could be made that he hasn’t proven it since joining the B’s) the thought of some of their ‘money’ players stepping up their play is something the B’s would welcome.
‘¢It was almost unbelievable the two teams were tied after Ryder’s goal, as the B’s were being handled by the Habs. Being able to tie it once may have given them a dose of resiliency, as they were able to battle through and later make up a two-goal deficit. Kelly’s goal gave tied it once again, proving that the team is capable of playing well from behind, an area that plagued them in Games 1 and 2.
‘¢The Brad Marchand – Bergeron – Mark Recchi line continues to be the lone Boston trio with a consistent pulse. Bergeron has two goals in four games, while a lucky bounce helped give Marchand an assist on the Ference goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Going down a man just 32 seconds into the third period of a tied playoff game isn’t what a team is looking for, and when Subban scored on the power play with Bergeron in the box on a questionable hooking call. It was the Bruins’ only penalty of the game, but it was very costly.
‘¢Terrible sportsmanship on the part of Ference after his goal. Cameras caught him giving the middle finger to Habs fans after beating Price to make it 3-2. For a series with as much chirping and after-the-whistle activity, Ference would have aplenty opportunity to do that stuff to the guys on the ice. Ference is one of the better people in the game, so there’s no doubt he would like to have those few seconds back.
‘¢Milan Lucic needs to make a difference in this series, and it turns out his lack of presence has made a big difference. The underperforming winger was the B’s best scorer in the postseason, and his quiet playoffs continued Thursday. He did have a nice pass to set up David Krejci all alone in front of Price, but the center wasn’t able to finish.
|04.21.11 at 6:04 pm ET|
Join WEEI.com’s D.J. Bean (and friends) as they help you follow all the action from the Bell Centre in Montreal, with the Bruins looking to even up their best-of-seven series with the Canadiens as the teams head into Game 4 …
|04.21.11 at 2:43 pm ET|
MONTREAL ‘ There are two very different scenarios that could come of Thursday ngiht’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. A Canadiens win puts Montreal up, 3-1, in the series, while a Bruins victory would send the teams back to Boston tied at two games apiece.
While a win for each side would dramatically shift the series in its own way, the two teams do have one thing in common headed into a pivitol Game 4 at Bell Centre: they’re not thinking about it.
‘The implications are there. Two-2 and and 3-1 sound like very different stories,’ Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said. ‘I’ve said it all along, and I’ll say it again: It does us no good to worry about those implications. We go play as well as we can, and the results will figure themselves out.’
‘Obviously, we realize the situation being 2-2 or 3-1, but it’s all about the process and doing the right things,’ Brent Sopel said. ‘If we come out here and do the right things from the drop of the puck until the end, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity. We need to feel good about our game, and how that is either way, if the outcome comes out good or bad. It’s all about doing the right things for a complete 60, and then we’ll make that determination.
Players were saying the same thing in the Boston room after the two teams held their morning skates. If the Bruins are going to take Game 4, they’re going to do so thinking about what’s on the ice, and not what the future holds.
‘Just go out there and don’t think about anything. Just really go out there and play the game,’ David Krejci said. ‘That’s what we did the last game, so we’ve got to do the same thing.’
|04.21.11 at 2:40 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Claude Julien doesn’t like to share certain things in press conferences. Questions about the lineup or goaltending are generally met with something along the lines of a short, “I guess we’ll see tonight.” On Thursday, however, Julien decided to share his sense of humor.
Following the Bruins’ morning skate, a reporter asked Julien if he saw a difference in the overall mindset of the team following their trip to Lake Placid this week. The usually serious Julien saw the opportunity and took it.
“Yeah, I saw a miracle, in case you’re looking for that word,” Julien said, referencing the 1980 Miracle on Ice and causing an eruption of laughter from the packed room of reporters and cameramen.
“No,” he continued. “I think we just went there and wanted to go and relax and have some quality practices. We weren’t looking for any miracles, we just thought that was a good place for the team to be. We went out on the ice and skated the same way we skated the last time we were here.”
“Thanks,” the reporter said, to which an amused Julien shot back, “you’re welcome.”
“We all got our quote,” another reporter mused. “We can leave now.”
|04.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins center Chris Kelly will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being cleared by team doctors. Kelly, who returned to Boston to be examined following a hit into Carey Price’s goal on Monday, wore a cage in morning skate and will do so Thursday night. He said there was no fracture after seeing the doctors.
“I’m good to play tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun.”
Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Kelly would play, saying the third-line center is “good to go” and that “he’s going to be in the lineup tonight.”
Kelly was shoved by Habs forward Scott Gomez while the Bruins were on a 3-on-1 in the first period. The B’s center said he took no issue with the hit, which caused him to slide head-first into the post and left him with a shiner below his right eye.
“I know Gomez. I played against him for a lot of years,” Kelly said. “He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”
As for wearing a cage for the first time since he was 14 years old, Kelly said that his comfort with it is “much better” than he expected it to be. Kelly even joked that if he were to play well with it, he could keep it on a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons, who kept a clear mask on as his signature look in the 2003-04 season.
“He kept it on,” Kelly joked. “Who knows?”
As for any lineup changes, it appears there won’t be any. Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice for the morning skate, though it’s likely the veteran was simply given the morning off. Rookie Tyler Seguin stayed out on the ice with the scratches following the skate.
|04.21.11 at 10:50 am ET|
MONTREAL — The Habs seemed to have held a semi-optional morning skate Thursday in anticipation of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Bruins. In addition to both goaltenders, nine forwards (Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Halpern, Ryan White, Benoit Pouliot, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Tom Pyatt) and six defensemen (Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara, Brent Sopel, Yannick Weber, Hal Gill and P.K. Subban) took the ice.
Among the missing for the skate were Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn, James Wisniewski, Mathieu Darche and Roman Hamrlik.
|04.21.11 at 7:48 am ET|
MONTREAL — The truth is that every playoff game is important. The stakes are always high, and every loss brings a team one game closer to elimination. Yet if Bruins fans can’t help but place a bit more emphasis on Game 4, it wouldn’t be so irrational.
Take a look at Wednesday night, and a game that put the Rangers in a real hole. As Jason Chimera tapped the game-winning goal past Henrik Lundqvist in the second overtime, the Rangers had to have known that they blew it.
Leading 3-0 earlier in the game (sound familiar?) the Rangers let the Capitals get back into it, and three quick tallies in the third period suddenly made it 3-3.
To lose such a game (especially on your own ice) in that sort of fashion is a tough pill to swallow, but the Rangers’ No. 1 concern should be with the fact that they have spotted the Capitals a 3-1 lead in the series. A 3-1 deficit, while not insurmountable, is obviously far from ideal, and the Bruins, despite being able to return home for Game 5, should be viewing it as such. Game 4 is every bit as much a must-win as Monday’s Game 3 victory was.
Unless a team has won the first three, that’s generally the nature of Game 4. Thursday night, the rest of the series could begin to look a bit clearer. Easily the most interesting non-elimination game of a series, the Bruins can tie it with two of the three remaining games to be played at TD Garden, while the Habs are looking to put the Bruins just one loss away from failing to advance to the second round for the first time in three years.
A 3-1 deficit in a series is far from impossible to overcome (Bruins fans of course know that a 3-0 deficit in a series is not impossible to overcome thanks to the Flyers), and the Flyers weren’t the only team to do it last season. The other team to come back from being down three games to one? The very Canadiens that will host the B’s Thursday night. Two of eight teams in such a position last postseason were able to come back and win the series, though the Bruins would just as soon skip out on that discussion altogether by grabbing a road win in Game 4.
One could suggest the B’s have momentum on their side after taking Monday’s Game 3 by a 4-2 score. Claude Julien wouldn’t agree with that logic, but if it’s something that is going to motivate the Bruins at the Bell Centre Thursday, he’ll probably take it. Whether or not the B’s are feeling that momentum and whether the Habs are feeling any added pressure remains to be seen.
One thing the Bruins can expect on Thursday, aside from the possible return of Jeff Halpern to the lineup and the removal of Benoit Pouliot, is for the Habs to come out flying. Given the way they turned it on for the final 30 minutes of Game 3, the Habs have to know that if they can start better and take advantage of the early breaks (such as the two penalties the Bruins took in the first eight minutes of the game), they have a far better chance of playing the third period with a lead rather than bombarding Tim Thomas with shots in a desperate attempt to tie it late.
If the Bruins can get a full game of what Thomas brought on Thursday night, even a great 60 minutes from the Habs might not matter. This has not been the prettiest series for the Vezina shoo-in, but he dominated late in Game 3, and if he can do so for all three periods Thursday, perhaps the series will return to Boston with the home team having yet to win through four games.
The Bell Centre is a loud and hostile environment. The Bruins were able to hang on to send the fans home hanging their heads Monday, but if they want to leave Montreal Thursday knowing they will return for a Game 6, they’ll need to block out the deafening boos for Zdeno Chara and notch the ever-important Game 4 win. If they lose, it could be a hole too big to come back from. A win and they are suddenly favorites once again to win the series. They’ll need more than they brought Monday night, but if they get it, they can breathe just a bit easier.