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Manny Malhotra, Andrew Alberts in, Dan Hamhuis out for Canucks

06.04.11 at 8:15 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Canucks third-line center Manny Malhotra will return to the team’s lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, as he is officially listed as active for the team. Malhotra has been out since March after getting hit in the eye with a puck vs. the Avalanche. The move makes Alexandre Bolduc a healthy scratch for the game.

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis will not play for Vancouver, as he left Game 1 after hip-checking Milan Lucic and getting cross-checked by David Krejci in the second period. Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts will take Hamhuis’ spot in the lineup.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alexandre Bolduc, Andrew Alberts, Dan Hamhuis

The Bruins have another foe to contend with in Vancouver: The Green Men

06.04.11 at 6:50 pm ET
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After a series-opening game of fights, bites and a last-second goal, it’s clear the Bruins will have their hands full in the Stanley Cup finals. As if dealing with one of the NHL’s most talented rosters wasn’t enough, players like Brad Marchand are finding that Vancouver’s advantage even extends into the stands.

We’re speaking, of course, about the Green Men.

If you haven’t heard about these goons already, here’s the short version: a pair of Canucks fans dress up in full neon green spandex body suits for every home game, transforming themselves into faceless green blobs in the crowd. Their purpose? Revving up the arena, dancing like madmen, and most of all, heckling opponents in the penalty box from their front row seats. Here’s just a small sample of their work.

The NHL has banned “Force” and “Sully” from banging on the penalty box glass and performing their signature handstands, but the masked marauders still managed to get under Marchand’s skin during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

In an interview with The Big Show, Green Man Adam Forsythe accused the 23-year-old forward of foul play while serving a penalty Wednesday night.

“We were sprayed with some water by [Marchand],” Forsythe claimed. “We were giving it to him a little bit, and yeah, he just sprayed water right through the glass.” You can listen to the full interview on The Big Show audio on demand page.

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Bruins, Canucks, Green Men

Bruins looking for more physical, less penalized play in Game 2

06.04.11 at 5:48 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Bruins found themselves shorthanded six times in the first two periods of Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, and despite shutting down the Canucks’ power play, they don’t want to push their luck.

“We don’t want to take too many penalties,” Nathan Horton said Saturday in anticipation of Game 2. “We know they’ve got a great power play, and we want to stay out of the box as much as possible, but we want to play as hard as we can and not cross that line. When we’re playing the way we can, we’re not taking penalties. We’re moving our feet, and that’s what we want to do.”

The Bruins’ primary focus for Game 2 will be to get better looks against Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who had a relatively easy 36-save shutout on Wednesday. One area in which the B’s know they need to be more physical — but cautiously so in an effort to stay out of the box — is in front to set up more close-range opportunities.

“There can always be more [net-front presence], regardless of if you feel you did a good job, or if you did a poor job,” center Chris Kelly said. “Obviously, when you get traffic in front of any goalie, especially a guy of his caliber, it makes things easier on yourself and harder on him.”

As for the 28 penalty minutes between the two teams in the game’s first 40 minutes, Kelly said the officials may have been more inclined to call the game tighter based on the fact that it was the first of such a big series.

“I think obviously the refs wanted to establish that they weren’t going to let anything go. You tend to see that in the first game of the series, lots of calls made,” Kelly said. “We need to know that we need to stay out of the box, because they’ve got a good power play. If we can stay out, the less chances they get. That’s better for us.”

Added Horton: “We don’t know what to expect from [the refs], but we’re just going to get back to the way we can play and leave everything on the ice. It’s an important game for us, and we don’t want to go down, 0-2.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Nathan Horton, Roberto Luongo

Claude Julien doesn’t appear ready to sit Tyler Seguin

06.04.11 at 4:48 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — While an argument could be made by some for Tyler Seguin to be taken out of the Bruins’ lineup, coach Claude Julien spoke like a man who wasn’t ready to take that action on Saturday.

Seguin played 6:21 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, and including that contest, his two lowest career time-on-ice totals have come against the Canucks. The rookie has also been held with out the point the last six games, but when asked about Shawn Thornton Saturday, Julien didn’t give off the impression that the fourth-line enforcer would be in the lineup.

“Every game is about making decisions here… We’re in a position where we have to make decisions based on our needs, what has to happen,” Julien said. “We’ve at points envisioned a guy like Tyler, the way he played [early in the Eastern Conference finals], we had to keep him in the lineup.

“As games go on, we make decisions. What I’m saying today might be different tomorrow, so on, so forth.”

Seguin exploded with six points in the first two games of the conference finals, which were his first two career playoff games. It took a Patrice Bergeron concussion suffered in Game 4 vs. the Flyers for Seguin to even get his chance to play, and he doesn’t want to go back to the press box.

“I’m taking advantage of all opportunities I’ve been given,” Seguin said. “I don’t want to go back to the feeling of almost waiting for an
injury for you to get a chance to play. That’s not the emotional state I want to be in. I’m trying to stay away from that.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Shawn Thornton, Stanley Cup Finals

Manny Malhotra mystery might finally end, Dan Hamhuis game-time decision

06.04.11 at 4:22 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The will-he-or-won’t-he guessing game surrounding the status of Canucks center Manny Malhotra could come to an end Saturday night at Rogers Arena. Malhotra, who has been out since March after taking a puck to the eye in a game against the Avalanche, skated Saturday morning with teammates and said afterwards that his status as it relates to his chances of playing in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals has improved.

“It’s gone from day to day to game-time decision right now,” Malhotra said. “I’m honestly not trying to send you guys on a wild goose chase. That’s just the nature of the situation right now.”

Malhotra, who had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season, was cleared for contact a week ago but has been in and out of practices. He missed Tuesday’s skate, reportedly due to an eye appointment, but has taken the ice in recent days and said Saturday that he feels comfortable.

“I feel really good,” the center said. “I felt good yesterday skating and felt good this morning. So, again, hopefully I’ll continue throughout the day.”

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has given the standard, three-word response of “day-to-day” over the course of the week when asked about Malhotra, and Saturday he had three new words.

Said the coach: “Game-time decision.”

Vigneault said the same of defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who left Game 1 in the second period after hip-checking Milan Lucic and getting cross-checked by David Krejci in succession. If Hamhuis can’t go, former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts could be in the lineup, with Keith Ballard also an option.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, Stanley Cup Finals

Claude Julien: Bruins can overcome another defecit

06.04.11 at 3:45 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Bruins did not hold a morning skate in anticipation of Saturday’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals vs. the Canucks, instead holding media availability at the the team hotel. With the B’s having lost Game 1 for the third time in four playoff series this postseason, coach Claude Julien acknowledged that being in familiar territory makes it easier on the general mindset of the team.

“That’s why we’re going into this game tonight with positive thoughts and positive feelings,” Julien said. “This isn’t unknown territory for us. We’ve been through that, and it doesn’t mean [the wins] happen automatically. We know we have to work through it, but having done it certainly gives you the confidence to go out there and play the type of game that you need to play in order to win. We need to do that tonight.”

The Bruins lost the first two games of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens before winning the next three and eventually closing out the Habs in seven games. The B’s dropped the opener of the Eastern Conference finals to the Lightning before winning the next two and taking the series in seven once again.

“We certainly don’t want to go to Boston down two games, and this is a game we feel is an important one for our hockey club,” Julien said. “[We’ve had] two days to talk about it and prepare for it. Now it’s time to show it.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Stanley Cup Finals,

Bruins-Canucks Game 2 preview

06.04.11 at 5:12 am ET
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VANCOUVER — They’ve been there before, but the Bruins would really like to avoid a two-game hole.

The B’s will not hold a morning skate Saturday in anticipation of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals vs. the Canucks, while the Canucks are scheduled to go at Rogers Arena. The Bruins will hold availability at their hotel at about 2:30 EST. Here are two objectives, two stats and two players to keep an eye on in Game 2.

TWO THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

– Continue to make the special teams a wash. The Bruins may not have been as good on the power play Wednesday as they’ve said they were, but having both teams go 0-for-6 on the man advantage is a tradeoff the Bruins should be more than happy to take. Leaving Zdeno Chara in front of the net is the right move for the Bruins, even if it isn’t paying off just yet.

– Get better chances against Roberto Luongo. The shutout for Luongo in Game 1 was much like Tim Thomas‘ shutout in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, only Luongo faced more shots. Though the Bruins got 36 shots on Luongo, the opportunities came far less often than the shots. As Milan Lucic noted Friday, the Bruins have to get in closer and be persistent in front.

TWO STATS

– Luongo also had Game 1 shutouts in the first and third rounds, as he blanked the Blackhawks and Predators to kick off those series. In the games that followed, Luongo allowed multiple goals. He let in three in Game 2 vs. the Blackhawks and two against the Predators, though the latter came in double overtime.

– This one has made the rounds the last couple of days, but the fact that Johnny Boychuk has been on the ice for the Bruins’ last seven goals against makes for a streak No. 55 would probably like to see end.

TWO PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Henrik Sedin. It was Daniel Sedin who turned in the standout performance Wednesday among the twin brothers, with Henrik doing little of note. Henrik didn’t have a shot on goal (Daniel had eight), and he didn’t even fire a shot all night. The Canucks’ frist-line center also went 8-for-25 in the face-off circle and had a giveaway.

Tim Thomas. It’s been up to the Vezina favorite to keep the Bruins in the last two games, and though he’s only allowed one goal over that stretch, he only has one win for it. The B’s need Thomas to remain as sharp as he’s been, but it would be nice if the Bruins’ goal-scoring department gave him some support.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
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