|04.26.11 at 9:40 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Canadiens have forced a seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals, as they took a 2-1 victory over the Bruins Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. Game 7 will be played Wednesday night in Boston.
With both Shawn Thornton (serving a too many men bench minor) and Dennis Seidenberg (Slashing) in the box, Micahel Cammalleri gave the Habs a 1-0 lead on a blast from the circle at at 10:07 of the first. Seidenberg would make it 1-1 just 48 seconds into the second period, though Brian Gionta would score on another two-man advantage at 5:48 to give the Habs the lead once again.
Milan Lucic was given a five-minute major and game misconduct in the second period for boarding Jaroslav Spacek. The Canadiens defenseman would remain bleeding on the ice for a few moments, though he did return to the game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS
– Once Lucic was tossed from the game, the Bruins didn’t get much from the top line. David Krejci and Nathan Horton combined for just one shot on goal (as many as Lucic had before being ejected), and it seemed Claude Julien was giving looks to multiple forwards in Lucic’s absence, including Michael Ryder, Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille. It was Paille who played with the line for much if the third period.
– It’s hard for a team to win when they are on the wrong end of two separate 5-on-3s. The Habs found themselves with a two-man advantage in both the first and second periods, and scored on both of them.
Denting the B’s chances at a comeback late in the third was a high stick called on Chris Kelly with 3:10 remaining in regulation. The penalty box, as it tends to be, was an enemy Boston’s Tuesday night.
– As great as Patrice Bergeron has been for the Bruins this series, Tuesday was not a night to remember for the B’s center. He negated an early B’s power play (not that it’s such a bad thing) by going off for goaltender interference late in the first. He also caused one of the two-man advantages by flipping the puck over the glass in Boston’s zone.
– While the Canadiens were able to take advantage of special teams, the B’s weren’t. Their power play looked especially dreadful in going 0-for-4 on the night. Through six games, they are now 0-for-19 in this series.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR BRUINS
– Nice play by Dennis Seidenberg early in the second period to step out from behind the net and beat Carey Price on a quasi-wraparound. The goal was his first of the postseason, but with the goal, he now has points in each game at the Bell Centre this series. He had one assist in both Game 3 and Game 4.
– Rich Peverley came ready. The third-line winger led the team with five shots on goal and picked up an assist on Seidenberg’s tally in the second period. The 28-year-old now has four points ( 1 G, 3 A) in the last four games of the series.
– The Habs appeared to score the first goal early, as Tim Thomas had no idea where the puck was when it wad mere inches from his blocker. Gionta came flying in to whack it home, but an apparent earlier whistle negated the goal. The referees were more than generous with makeup calls going forward, so ultimately it didn’t pay off as much as it could have.
|04.26.11 at 6:08 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others at the Bell Centre for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The B’s can close out the series with a win over the Canadiens. The live blog fun starts at 6:30, with the puck being dropped after 7 p.m.
|04.26.11 at 1:48 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Although the Bruins hold a 3-2 series lead over the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, much emphasis has been placed on the difficulty of closing out the Habs in Tuesday in Game 6 to prevent a possible Game 7. B’s coach Claude Julien acknowledged the challenge, but noted his team isn’t the only one needing an important win.
“Well, if it’s a challenge for us, it must be a pretty big challenge for them,” Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “I mean, this is playoff hockey. Right now it’s about winning the last game. It’s as simple as that. There isn’t a different approach to this game from either team. They need to win to survive and we need to win to end it. So I think the approach is the same.”
Should the Bruins win, they would face Philadelphia (should the Flyers win their Game 7 against the Sabres Tuesday) or the winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 between the Penguins and Lightning. If they lose to the Habs Tuesday, the two teams would play Game 7 Wednesday at TD Garden.
|04.26.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins couldn’t have expected to play a potential series-clinching game without hearing about last year, and it was a popular topic at the Bell Centre Tuesday morning.
While some, such as coach Claude Julien, noted that the team has “turned the page” and are thinking about the present, forward Milan Lucic had no problem addressing the team’s inability to close out their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Flyers despite winning the first three games.
“We learned last year that the fourth one is always the hardest one,” Lucic said. “It’s not going to be any different tonight. We know they’re going to bring their best game, and we have to do the same.”
Right now, the Canucks are dealing with the same thing the B’s faced last year. After jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, the top-seeded Canucks have dropped the last three to the Blackhawks, with the series-deciding Game 7 to take place Tuesday night. A native of Vancouver, Lucic can see big similarities between Boston’s collapse last year and Vancouver’s situation.
“You don’t want to relax just because you’re in the position that you’re in,” Lucic said. “It almost felt like that a bit too. After they won Game 4 and they won Game 5, all of a sudden you start panicking. You don’t start executing like you did the first three games. You’re seeing a little bit of it right now with Vancouver and Chicago. You give the their team a little bit of life, and they start gaining momentum. They start coming at you.
“You go back to [Chicago’s] Game 4, where they won 7-3,” he added. “Obviously, you can switch our Game 4 vs. Philly with their Game 6 that they just had with the big overtime win. They had Simon Gagne come back, and now [Chicago] has David Bolland coming back. It’s just an emotional lift for the team, and all that type of stuff. I remember Game 5 at home. Philly came into our building and won 5-0. It was almost the same thing when [Chicago] went into Vancouver and won 5-0. The wheels start turning and all that type of stuff. For us, we want to not make the same mistake, that’s for sure.”
Lucic seemed very comfortable going into detail when discussing one of the more devastating moments in team history. Despite how painful a lesson it was at the team, the 22-year-old feels the lesson was learned in the B’s dressing room.
“You learn from it,” Lucic said. “You definitely do learn from it. It’s a lot easier to talk about it now than before, for sure.”
The B’s will find out how well they learned when they face the Habs in Game 6 Tuesday night.
|04.26.11 at 12:31 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins can wrap up their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Tuesday night with a win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Following a trend they’ve had going lately, all B’s with the exception of Mark Recchi were on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate at Bell Centre. Recchi has often got the morning off on gamedays in the playoffs this postseason.
The Habs held an optional skate, with Jaroslav Spacek, P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber, Paul Mara and Alex Auld among those to take the ice. Coach Jacques Martin reiterated following the skate that both James Wisniewski and David Desharnais will be game-time decisions. Both players suffered lower-body injuries Saturday in Boston, with Wisniewski’s (leg) occurring in the second period and Desharnais (knee) suffering his injury in overtime.
|04.25.11 at 5:43 pm ET|
Before taking his team north for a Game 6 showdown with the Canadiens Tuesday night at Bell Centre, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he is fairly condifident that the Canadiens won’t engage the Bruins in a physical battle because they would likely lose that kind of game.
“I think both teams realize that discipline is a big factor in this series,” Julien said. “And when you look at last game, I think again, both teams had 30-plus hits. And it’s not like it’s not a hitting series, but it’s not a dirty one. And I think there is a lot of hate probably between the two teams but there is also a lot of respect. And we know that we respect their offense and their power play and we certainly don’t want to give them that advantage. And I think that they respect that if they get into a physical situation with us, they are probably not going to win that one.”
The Bruins lead the best-of-7 Eastern quarterfinal series, 3-2, needing just one more win to advance to the second round for the third straight year. Julien said the key Tuesday night is for the Bruins to match the Canadiens’ desperation with determination.
“I think that’s been something we’ve had to really adjust to in this series, is making sure we don’t give them an early lead,” Julien said. “But when they are in that situation I think they are playing out of desperation, they are playing for their lives, you have to play that game with determination and that’s the difference. For us it’s about determination, for them it’s about desperation and you have to hope that the determination is better than their desperation. It’s as simple as that.”
If the Bruins lose Tuesday, they will have one final chance on Wednesday in Game 7 at TD Garden to close out the Canadiens.
|04.25.11 at 1:27 pm ET|
On Monday, Chara was named one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL – the third time in four seasons that the Bruins captain has been so recognized.
Chara, who won the award in 2009, led the league with a plus-33 rating and recorded 44 points, including 14 goals and 30 assists.
“I think, obviously, he’s a well-deserving player,” Julien said. “There are a lot of reasons. I think everyone who knows him here knows he plays a lot of minutes. He also always plays against other team’s top lines. He’s utilized as a shutdown D against the top players on other teams. The stats at the end of the year, I think he’s a plus-30 something, plus-33, and I think that speaks for itself. And double digits in goals, and certainly, offensively, he’s contributed well.
“So, if you’re talking about the Norris and talking about a defenseman that brings a lot, he’s certainly. And I don’t think there are many players in this league who will raise their hand and say they really enjoy playing against him.”
Chara has bigger concerns on his plate right now, like closing out the Canadiens in Game 6 Tuesday night, but he did show sincere appreciation after Monday’s practice at TD Garden for being recognized.
“It’s obviously a big honor and I’m very humbled and very thankful, especially after you consider how many guys had such a great season – breakout seasons.” Chara said. “I’m just very thankful that people who did vote recognize the definition of the Norris Trophy award. And obviously, a big thank you goes to all the people who helped me get there, especially my teammates, all those in the organization, and obviously, my family and fans.
Chara consistently faces the opposing team’s top offensive line, something that makes him one of the most reliable players in black and gold.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in,” Chara said. “I’m very competitive when it comes to defending the top lines and playing top lines. I know that it’s not an easy job, but I get up to it every night. You can’t think that it’s just you. Yeah, it’s a big motivation for me every night to face such skill and great players.”
Chara – who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for fun – takes as much pride as anyone in his off-season training that year-in, year-out puts him among the finest conditioned athletes in not only hockey but the world. Monday, in the wake of another Norris nomination, he pointed to that training regiment as a big reason for his continued success.
“To me, the first priority is hard work,” Chara said. “I always like to work extremely hard on and off the ice. I’m very competitive, I’m very motivated to play against top lines and the best players every night. I take a lot of pride in that, and I just want to help the team as much as I can to win. That was always my first thing. I always want to put the team in front of egos or individual goals.
“To me, that’s the most important thing, and everything else will fall into place. I know I’m not the extremely skilled defenseman who’s going to put probably 70 points on the board every year. But I know that if I play my game, I give my team a good chance to win hockey games. That’s all I can do.”
Joining Chara as finalists are Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom and Nashville’s Shea Weber. The three were voted as finalists by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the names were released Monday by the league.
The winner will be announced June 22 during the 2011 NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas.