|04.28.11 at 1:58 am ET|
Don’t be fooled by Cam Neely.
The Bruins finally get their chance at revenge on the Flyers – and they want it badly.
“This probably gives you guys more to write about I’m sure,” Neely said with a grin following Boston’s 4-3 overtime over the Candiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday. “We don’t have the same team as we did last year, and Philly doesn’t have the exact same team either. That’s certainly going to be mentioned a lot and talked a lot about, but first and foremost we’ve got to concern ourselves [with] how we play in that first game.”
At least Neely would recognize their next round opponent. The same could not be said for Tim Thomas.
“I told you, I have at least until midnight before I have to think about that,” Thomas said when asked repeatedly about the second-round series that opens Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Yes, the teams have tweaked their rosters, but they still have two of the most identifiable logos on the crests of their sweaters. Claude Julien wanted to focus on the fact that his team just beat another franchise with a pretty famous logo on its sweater – and did so in historic fashion.
“I mean, it is what it is and the fact is we got ourselves down two nothing in this series,” Julien said of overcoming the 0-2 hole against Montreal. “I think it was important for ourselves to get back into this series. There was a lot at stake in this series as well. We understand the rivalry between Montreal and Boston and it’s been there many times. And we also know the statistics of the winning percentages of both teams when they play each other.”
Then came Julien’s acknowledgment of the next opponent.
“It was a big deal for us and we really focused on that and there is no doubt that tonight, we knew winning this game would give us another opportunity to play Philly. If anything I think it’s going to make it interesting. I think a lot of people are going to be watching this to see how it develops, and we’re excited to have that opportunity.”
First round hero Nathan Horton wasn’t even on the Bruins team that couldn’t close out last year against the Flyers, but he senses the pain and the desire for redemption.
“Well, this is huge, and definitely with what happened last year, we can put that in the past now,” Horton said. “It’s a new year. We’ve gone through it. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You’re up three-nothing, or down two-nothing, and things can turn. You’ve just got to work through it, and be prepared to always continue to work until you get that fourth win, because like everyone says, it’s the hardest one to get.”
Now, if they can just repeat it three more times.
|04.28.11 at 1:52 am ET|
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will have a hearing with the league at 11 a.m. Thursday regarding his hit on Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of the B’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Halpern remained on the ice after colliding with the B’s defenseman’s shoulder in the Bruins’ zone.
“It was pretty solid [contact], actually,” Ference said of the play. “I kind of braced myself because I saw him off the side, and I definitely felt him hit me.”
Ference maintained that he did not intend to injure Halpern, who seemingly was not significantly injured given his quick return to the game.
“Oh yeah?” Ference responded when a reporter suggested he may have raised his shoulder. “No. It was like [I explained]. “I was holding my ice, and he was out the next shift.”
This will be Ference’s second hearing of the series, as he had one following an obscene gesture to Canadiens fans in Game 4.
|04.28.11 at 12:40 am ET|
Nathan Horton isn’t about to complain about being dragged to the postgame press conference room in full uniform like he was Wednesday night to talk about his series-winning goal. After all, he’s getting to be a real pro at taking the stage to discuss such heroics.
Four nights after winning Game 5 in double-overtime, Horton won the game and the series with a bomb of a shot that Carey Price never saw with 14:17 left in overtime to capture Game 7 for the Bruins and avoid the worst kind of heartbreak for Bruins fans.
It also sent the B’s onto a second-round rematch with the Flyers starting this weekend in Philadelphia.
“Yeah, it was pretty nice,” said a smiling Horton. “I mean, it felt pretty good. I don’t remember too much. I remember Looch [Milan Lucic] coming up with the puck and I just tried to get open, and I tried putting the puck towards the net. Luckily it got deflected off someone and it went straight in. That’s all I remember. It was pretty special, again, it doesn’t get any better.”
The goal also saved the Bruins from the devastating heartbreak of blowing a 3-2 lead with less than two minutes left in regulation, when P.K. Subban scored on the power play to force overtime.
“When you have the lead it feels good, but when you give it up, it’s tough, especially in Game 7, late in the third, and we battled,” Horton said. “We battled all year, when times have been tough, and we’ve come together and it seems like we get stronger and we just start pressing, and that’s the way it’s been all year. On if it’s safe to say he’s enjoying the playoffs’¦ I’m really enjoying it. Every day is exciting. Every day is a new day, but it feels good, definitely, to get used to this, continue winning. That’s what it’s all about.”
Horton was the Bruins player who started off like a house on fire this season, with eight goals in his first 15 games. Then he cooled off before finishing with 26 on the season, just four behind Milan Lucic for the team lead. Safe to say he’s caught fire again at the very best time. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.28.11 at 12:01 am ET|
Had the Bruins lost Wednesday’s Game 7 against the Canadiens, the backlash would’ve been severe. Bruins fans and Boston media would be calling for Claude Julien‘s head and the general feeling would be one of disgust and disbelief at the fact that the B’s fell short in a Game 7 once again.
If the reactions by Montreal players after the game are any indication, there will not be anywhere near that sort of outcry north of the border after it was the Canadiens who fell short in Game 7. The mood in the locker room was one of disappointment, obviously, but also one of optimism about the future of the Habs.
“You see the maturity of the team, and it’s going in the right direction,” said captain Brian Gionta. “We didn’t get the result we wanted this year, but you look at some of the guys who played and they really made great strides for this organization. Hopefully we can continue that and grow off that.”
One point of pride for the Canadiens was how they battled through injuries all season. They rarely had their full team healthy and playing, and that didn’t change in the playoffs. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, two of the team’s best defensemen, missed the entire series, as did forward Max Pacioretty. On top of that, forward David Desharnais and defenseman James Wisniewski both battled through injuries during the series and missed varying amounts of time.
“We’ve had young guys have to step in and play big minutes and play big roles and elevate their game,” said defenseman P.K. Subban. “This is how you build a franchise, when you give guys like that the opportunity. We were all given great opportunities here, and it just looks great for the franchise the next couple years. There’s a lot of young talent and a lot to look forward to. … If guys don’t step up, we don’t even have this opportunity to be in a Game 7, or even be in the playoffs.”
That said, there was still plenty of disappointment in the Montreal room. Although overcoming that kind of adversity can certainly be seen as a positive, they didn’t want to use an excuse for losing to the Bruins.
“Maybe the outside public can commend us for those sorts of things, and we definitely appreciate that, but it’s not something we dwell on very much,” Michael Cammalleri said. “Whoever’s next over the boards has to do their job. It really doesn’t do us any good dwelling on those things.”
|04.27.11 at 11:24 pm ET|
After eliminating the Canadiens in seven games, the Bruins will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia. Game 2 will be played Monday evening at 7:30 p.m., before the Flyers and B’s will head to Boston for Games 3 and 4. Here is the complete schedule, per the league :
Saturday, April 30 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m.
Monday, May 2 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6 at Boston, 8:00 p.m.
*Sunday, May 8 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. (if necessary)
*Tuesday, May 10 at Boston, TBD (if necessary)
*Thursday, May 12 at Philadelphia, TBD (if necessary)
This is the second straight season in which the Bruins and Flyers have met in the conference semifinals. The B’s were eliminated in seven games last time around after blowing 3-0 leads in both the series and Game 7.
|04.27.11 at 10:10 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins gave Boston its latest Game 7 scare by blowing a pair of leads, but advanced to the second round of the postseason in thrilling fashion Wednesday night thanks to a Nathan Horton series-clinching goal in overtime that gave the B’s the 4-3 win. It was Horton’s second overtime goal this series.
With the victory, the Bruins will get a shot at redemption, as they will face the same Flyers team that came back from a 3-0 Boston series lead to eliminate the B’s in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
With the teams tied at two midway through the third, Chris Kelly put a rebound from an Andrew Ference shot under a diving Carey Price at 9:44 of the third period. P.K. Subban would erase the lead with a blast past Tim Thomas on the power play at 18:03 of the third. That set up Horton’s heroics.
Johnny Boychuk opened the night’s scoring by sending a shot from the point through traffic and past Price. Mark Recchi would follow with his first goal of the playoffs at 5:33, giving the B’s an early 2-0 lead and filling TD Garden with quite a buzz.
The Habs would come roaring back thanks to their special teams, with Yannick Weber scoring on the power play at 9:49 of the first period and Tomas Plekanec beating Thomas on a shorthanded breakaway at 5:50 of the second. Thomas would have 29 saves in regulation for the B’s.
The Bruins will begin the conference semifinals in Philadelphia, as the Flyers (ranked No. 2) are the higher seed. It is the third straight year in which the B’s have advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The B’s have been eliminated in the conference semifinals in each of the last two seasons.
With the win Wednesday, the Bruins have their first Game 7 victory since 1994, when the B’s eliminated the Habs at the Boston Garden. It is also the first time in Claude Julien‘s four years in the Boston that he’s led the team to a Game 7 victory. Julien’s first three seasons in Boston ended in Game 7 losses.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR BRUINS
– The B’s got off to a fast 2-0 start in the first 5:33 of the contest. Sure, they ended up blowing it, but Boychuk getting the B’s on the board early in the first period with a blast from the point was reminiscent of the team’s 7-0 victory over the Habs back on March 24. In that game, of course, Boychuk scored 1:01 into the game and the B’s never looked back.
– Kelly had just two goals and three assists in 24 regular-season games with the Bruins … and then topped that in one playoff series, tallying three goals and three assists against the Canadiens. More importantly, he produced in the biggest of situations. In Game 4, he scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then set up Michael Ryder for the overtime winner. Wednesday, he buried a rebound with 10:16 remaining in the third to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
– The Bruins started the third period playing much better than they did in the second. They were able to string together good shifts from each of the top three lines, something they didn’t do in the middle frame. The B’s dominated time of possession for the first half of the period and were consistently swarming around Price. The pressure finally paid off when Kelly buried a rebound 9:44 into the period to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
– Andrew Ference may give crowds the occasional finger, but he was huge for the Bruins this series. He scored a key goal in Game 4 (Finger Gate) and had two assists Wednesday, including on Kelly’s go-ahead goal in the third.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS
– No use in having a two-goal lead when you can’t hold it. In front of a crowd that was trying to forget last year’s 3-0 collapse vs. the Flyers, the B’s let the Habs erase Boston’s 2-0 lead and clearly grab the momentum in the second period. It was a very rough period for the B’s, who ended up being outshot, 12-7, in the second.
– The B’s made Price’s night rough early, but they hardly poured it on once they grabbed their 2-0 lead. Following a timeout called by Jacques Martin, the B’s got only two shots on goal for the rest of the period. That means the B’s had as many goals in the first 5:33 as they did shots in the final 14:27 of the opening period. Hardly terrific, but given the two goals part, they’d probably take that every period.
– It was bad enough that the Bruins couldn’t score on the power play. It was even worse when they allowed Montreal to tie the game while Lars Eller was in the box for cross checking. After failing to get set up for the first minute of the power play, Recchi couldn’t control a pass from Dennis Seidenberg in the neutral zone, allowing Plekanec to skate in on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Thomas. Boston couldn’t get set up after the goal, either, and concluded the man advantage without a shot on goal. The B’s had a lot of bad power plays in the series, but this one was the worst, which is really saying something.
– Midway through that second period, Brad Marchand opted out of a golden scoring opportunity to make a pass to no one in particular. He took a feed on the left wing on a 3-on-1 and had an open lane to the net, but instead tried to pass the puck across the top of the crease to one of his two linemates. Unfortunately, one of them was tied up by a defender and the other was already past the right post by the time Marchand made the pass. What should’ve been a grade-A scoring chance became nothing more than a dump into the corner and an easy clear for Montreal.
– Poor officiating. Just a horrid penalty called on Shawn Thornton called late in the first period. With Habs forward Ryan White seemingly holding Thornton in blatant fashion, Thornton was called for an elbow that replays failed to show.
A hooking call on Michael Ryder on Plekanec at 8:22 of the first wasn’t much better. Plekanec seemed to go down rather easily on a play in which it seemed Ryder was simply outmuscling him. Boychuk’s boarding call late in the second period looked to be the closest to a penalty of all the ones called on the Bruins, as the late high-sticking call on Patrice Bergeron seemed to be more James Wisniewski theatrics than anything else.
|04.27.11 at 5:53 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Joey the Fish and others from TD Garden for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. It’s do or die for the Bruins, and the blog will open at 6:30 p.m..