|05.27.11 at 12:58 pm ET|
There were plenty of negatives for the Bruins in their Game 6 loss. From a team perspective, giving up three power-play goals obviously stands out. And from an individual perspective, you would have to start with Johnny Boychuk, who was on the ice for all five of the Lightning’s goal.
But with Game 7 mere hours away now, Claude Julien isn’t dwelling on any of the negatives.
“This is Game 7, and sorry not to answer your question, but this is not a day or a time for me to question,” Julien said when asked about Boychuk. “I’m going to [abstain] from doing that today because I think our team needs to be positive, and we believe in everybody in our hockey club. So we’re going to stick with that motto for today.”
-One of the positives the Bruins can take from Game 6 is the play of David Krejci. The first-line center notched the first playoff hat trick by a Bruin since Cam Neely in 1991. Julien said the coaches have been encouraging Krejci to shoot more all season, and that Wednesday night was a perfect example of why.
“David, in his mind, is a pass-first kind of player and he always looks to pass first and foremost,” Julien said. “And we’ve encouraged him to shoot more because there’s times when he’s in a real good shooting position. Marc Savard was the same way. Marc had a real good shot and a lot of times he’d look to pass instead of shooting.
“But that’s a natural thing that those guys normally do, from Adam Oates back in the day — they’re guys that that’s the strength of their game. So you don’t want them to lose that strength, but you also want them to be able to make the difference between, ‘Am I in a good shooting area or a scoring area here, where I should take the shot versus passing?’ ”
-One guy Julien (and B’s fans) would still like to see shoot more is Tomas Kaberle. The veteran defenseman had one of his best games of the playoffs Wednesday night, assisting on two goals, registering a plus-1 rating and logging 19:46 of ice time, his highest total since Game 5 against Montreal. But there were still times, especially on the power play, when he passed up what appeared to be an open shot.
“The only thing you’ve always heard about Tomas is you’d like to see him shoot the puck more,” Julien said. “And there are times on the power play where, if he has that shooting lane, with Zdeno [Chara] in front, you have to shoot. It doesn’t have to be a big shot. It can be a wrist shot, it can be anything.”
|05.27.11 at 12:53 pm ET|
Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Friday morning that forward Sean Bergenheim is “doubtful” for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Bruins. Bergenheim, who has not played since leaving Game 5 of the series with an undisclosed lower body injury, participated in the team’s morning skate Friday, as he did Wednesday before missing Game 6.
“I wouldn’t say optimistic for now,” Boucher said of Bergenheim. “It’s better. He might try the warm-up. We’ll see. I’ve still got to talk to my therapists and doctors. There’s been some improvement. To what extent, we’ll have to wait and see, but doubtful.”
Bergenheim has nine goals in the playoffs, which at the time of his injury led all postseason skaters. He has since been surpassed by teammate Martin St. Louis and Bruins center David Krejci, both of whom have 10.
Boucher said that the absence of Bergenheim, who was exceeding expectations on the third line (he had 14 goals in the regular season), makes it more difficult to deal with the Bruins’ offensive depth.
“Obviously you want to think of your own team, but at the same time, when you look at the Bruins’ depth, it does make a difference, because instead of equalizing things, it has a tendency to give them a little upper hand on that,” Boucher said. “They’ve got [Tyler] Seguin on their third line and [Michael] Ryder, and [Chris] Kelly is doing really well. They’ve got [Rich] Peverley on the fourth line — first-line guy from another team on their fourth line — and that’s where Bergenheim became extremely important for us in the previous series and this series where the line with [Steve] Downie and [Dominic] Moore played like a first line.”
|05.27.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
The Bruins had the chance to close the Lightning out after holding a 2-1 lead after the first period in Game 6, but Tampa stormed back to grab a 5-4 win and force Friday’s Game 7. With a trip to the Stanley Cup finals on the line, Lightning players can appreciate when they did in fending off elimination in Tampa, but are done celebrating the win, or any of the series’ first six games, for that matter.
“The six games mean absolutely nothing now. We did our job. We gave ourselves a chance to play in this game by winning last game,” center Steven Stamkos, who had three points in Game 6, said Friday. “I thought we had a lot of positives, but we have to focus on some things for tonight defensively. We don’t like giving up that many goals, but the power play was going, we got some guys on the board that we need to get going.
“This is going to be an exciting challenge for us tonight. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we need everything going on the right path for us to win tonight.”
This will be Tampa’s second Game 7 of the postseason, as they trailed the Penguins, 3-1, in the first round before rattling off three wins in a row to advance to the second round. Showing the ability to stay alive is nothing knew for the Lightning, but throughout the dressing room, the team’s mindset is the same: keep the past in the past.
“We did [earn the right to play in Game 7],” defenseman Eric Brewer said after Stamkos’ comments. “That’s a good point, but at the end of the day, it’s a Game 7. Both teams recognize that the other six are gone. One team is going to play on, and one’s not, so you just really have to keep your mind in small places and not get too far ahead of yourself.”
Should the Lightning win Friday, it will be the team’s first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since they defeated the Flames for the Cup in 2004.
|05.27.11 at 12:24 pm ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi has barely made a peep in the Eastern Conference finals, totaling zero point and just six shots on net in the first six games of the series. Asked Friday to evaluate his performance thus far, the 43-year-old admitted that his play has been subpar, but that the past doesn’t matter with the Bruins in a do-or-die Game 7 vs. the Lightning.
“I think the first game, I wasn’t good,” Recchi admitted. “I think after that I’ve been OK. I haven’t been good, I haven’t been bad. You know what? That’s all washed away. One game now tonight. We’re going to lay it out on the line and go out and have fun with this and get back to the Stanley Cup finals.”
Recchi’s line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand was strong in the first round vs. the Canadiens, and the winger had four points, including a goal in Game 7, in that series. While his line and Recchi in particular has been more quiet in the third round, Recchi pointed to the different lines stepping up (as it did in Game 6) and invited all four lines to do the same in in Game 7.
“We’ve been together all year. Obviously you like to have an impact, but at the same time, teammates, that’s why we’re here for each other,” Recchi said. “I think earlier in the playoffs, our line was terrific and carried a lot of the burden of the team. Other guys have stepped up and been terrific now. Now it’s one game, and let’s all do it together. That’s the important thing, is we all have one opportunity here to get to the Stanley Cup finals, and we’ll do it together.”
Recchi has two goals and five assists this postseason for seven points and a plus-4 rating. He is a minus-5 in the conference finals.
|05.27.11 at 11:35 am ET|
After falling behind, 5-3, more than halfway through the third period of Game 6, the Bruins and their first line ramped up the pressure put on Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson in what would eventually be a 5-4 loss. First-line left wing Milan Lucic, who had a first-period goal and assisted the third goal of David Krejci‘s hat trick, hopes that the Bruins’ late surge in Game 6 can extend throughout Friday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“It would be nice to start off the game the way we finished [Game 6]. I think we applied a lot of pressure, we saw an opportunity and we started to play with that confidence that we need in order to succeed,” Lucic said. “That’s what it’s all going to come down to tonight: which team is more confident, which team is more determined and which team is more willing to go out there and pay the price to win this game.”
While Lucic was able to list what needed to be done, he noted that simply knowing what to do won’t be enough with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals in his hometown of Vancouver on the line.
“I can give you every cliche in the book, but in the end, what I say, words don’t mean nothing right now,” Lucic said. “Our actions are going to speak louder than anything right now.”
|05.27.11 at 11:10 am ET|
Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former Bruins defenseman Garry Galley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, hours before Game 7 between the Bruins and Lightning. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Galley said the Bruins have the edge because of home-ice advantage and Tim Thomas.
“I always like the team that is at home, and I like the team that’s got the best goaltender,” he said. “Dwayne Roloson just has not had the kind of series, and he’s not exuding the kind of confidence right now that I would have liked to have seen. Even though he won Game 6, I don’t think he looked as good as I thought he was going to, and it’s a very tough series for him.
“I do believe you go with Dwayne Roloson. You have to; he’s the one who got you to the dance. And he’s capable of having a Game 7-winning kind of game. But I just think Tim Thomas has always bounced back from games like this. He shown in this series in Game 5 that he can pretty much win a game on his own. I like Boston in this.”
Galley also said he won’t be surprised if the game is decided on an unpredictable bounce of the puck.
“This game may come down to late in the third and overtime,” he said. “And it comes down to a bounce, guys, it always has. ‘¦ There’s always something that happens. It’s a game of mistakes, so there will be a mistake on the play, and someone will benefit from it. I don’t think it will be next to one team or another when that happens, it will just be the hockey gods that tip it one way or another.”
Here are some other highlights from the interview:
On the biggest factor for Game 7:
Listening to Claude Julien‘s comments, what matters the most is that you embrace the opportunity. You can’t go into this thing thinking of the ‘what ifs’ and what can happen. You have to go in and you have to embrace the chance that you have the opportunity to win a hockey game and put yourself in the Stanley Cup finals. That’s it. If you come into this game thinking about losing and what’ll happen if you lose, then you’re already done.
|05.27.11 at 10:42 am ET|
Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice in Friday’s morning skate in anticipation of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Recchi generally takes his veteran option for morning skates, leaving a “Recchi’s dozen” of the remaining 11 forwards plus healthy scratch Shawn Thornton out there for forwards.
Defensively, everyone was out there, including healthy scratches Shane Hnidy and Steven Kampfer. Hnidy did not participate in Wednesday’s morning skate.
Check back following the skate for updates from players and coach Claude Julien.