|04.14.11 at 9:36 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Canadiens took a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday, defeating the Bruins, 2-0, at TD Garden.
Scott Gomez hit Brian Gionta in front of Tim Thomas following a first-period Tomas Kaberle turnover, with the Habs’ captain cashing in at 2:44 for the game’s first goal. Gionta beat Thomas again on a slapshot with 3:18 remaining in the third.
The Bruins would pick up the pace in the second and third periods, but ultimately were doomed by a combination of solid play from Montreal goaltender Carey Price and a tendency for the B’s to shoot it right into the chest of Price, limiting their second-chance opportunities.
On the night Price stopped all 31 shots he saw en route to the shutout. Tim Thomas made 18 saves on the night.
The two teams will square off Saturday for Game 2. From there, they will play Monday and Thursday in Montreal before returning to Boston, if necessary.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Kaberle had a rough night for the Bruins. His turnover in the first period led to Gomez’ pass to set up Gionta’s goal, and he also took a first-period hooking penalty in the first. Furthermore, in order for anyone to buy his fake shots, he’ll have to actually shoot the puck more often. Defensively, he was suspect, and he isn’t bringing enough to the power play/offense to make up for it.
– The top line was ineffective for the majority of the night. The Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton trio totaled just one shot (from Horton) through the first two periods. Though they improved in the third, one period isn’t enough. Lucic has been big for the Bruins in the playoffs before, and Horton’s skill set suggests he can make an impact in the playoffs. They can’t just assume it will happen.
– Special teams are always crucial in the playoffs, and Thursday night, the Bruins just couldn’t get it done on the power play. It would have been one thing if they created a ton of chances and Price stood on his head, but that wasn’t the case.
The B’s struggled all night to set up on the man advantage and looked hesitant to shoot the few times they did. Brad Marchand had a breakaway chance on the first power play of the night and some good puck movement near the end of Boston’s third power play led to a few quality chances on the first shift after the penalty expired, but for the most part, the B’s did not make good use of their time on the man advantage.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– After a first period in which the Bruins looked a bit tentative, they stepped up and took control of the game in the second. The B’s outshot Montreal 18-6 in middle frame and had a number of strong offensive zone possessions result in scoring chances. Unfortunately for Boston, Price was always in perfect position to make the save. At the other end of the ice, the Canadiens rarely mustered any sort of attack on the Boston net. The Bruins did pretty much everything you could ask for in the second’¦ except put the puck in the net.
– Thomas and the Bruins dodged a real bullet in the second period. With Thomas way out of his net with the B’s on the power play, Tomas Plekanec had an open net to work with but rushed en route to missing the net.
– Zdeno Chara got five shots through to Price, but B’s fans seemed to take just as much joy in seeing the captain’s slap shots hobble Habs players. Both Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen were slowed after blocking shots from Chara. The B’s captain took a roughing penalty with 2:42 remaining in the third.
|04.14.11 at 5:30 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Chach and a cast of characters as the Bruins take on the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden. The blog will open at 6:30 p.m.
|04.14.11 at 2:26 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Bruins writer DJ Bean joined Fox 25 to preview the Bruins – Habs series. In the appearance, Bean picks the Habs to defeat the Bruins in six games. Check out the video below.
|04.14.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
The anticipation for the playoffs has been great enough for the Bruins, but “anticipation” might not even be say it all when it comes to Gregory Campbell.
The Bruins’ fourth-line center/unsung hero has been dependable for the B’s since being acquired in the Nathan Horton deal last June, and now he will finally be rewarded with his first playoff appearance since being drafted as a second-round pick in 2002. Six seasons in Florida yielded no opportunities to chase the Stanley Cup, so it’s safe to say Campbell is happy to be where he is.
“When you first start out in the league, it’s just a pleasure to be here and play in the league, but as you go further on into your career, I feel like winning becomes more important, and there’s a lesser chance of that,” Campbell said Thursday. “I’m fortunate enough to be here in Boston and have this chance to play in the postseason.”
Campbell tied a career-high with 13 goals this season and was a rock for the Bruins over 80 games this season. He hopes to extend that success into the playoffs, and he doesn’t seem to mind all of the heightened expectations.
“Playing hockey is fun enough, but when the games really matter is in the playoffs, and that’s what I’m looking forward to most, is playing games that actually matter,” he said. “Already you can tell, it’s just a different feeling. It’s been a while since I’ve had this, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Campbell and Horton got head-starts on their playoff beards. The wait for the playoffs has been long enough for those two, as neither one has seen the postseason since their junior hockey days.
“It’s been six, seven, eight years since we’ve been able to grow one,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I’ve been champing at the bit. The last time I grew one, I was 19.”
For that reason, Campbell can actually identify with rookie Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old’s playoff beard isn’t nearly as noticeable as some of his teammates’, but Campbell knows what it’s like.
“I give him credit for trying,” he said with a smile.
|04.14.11 at 1:09 pm ET|
The 2010-11 regular season was a successful one for the Bruins, but as they begin the playoffs Thursday, a reminder was offered for how it wasn’t so great for every player.
Center Marc Savard remains at home in Peterborough, Ontario, as he attempts to recover from post-concussion syndrome for the second consecutive season. Savard played in just 25 games this season before a routine hit from Matt Hunwick left him in such bad shape that the team had to shut him down for the remainder of the season and playoffs. He reportedly has experienced memory loss, among other symptoms. While the B’s are focused on the Canadiens, they haven’t forgotten about their star center.
“I’ve kept in contact with Savvy every week or so. We communicate, and things haven’t changed in his case, and it’s unfortunate for him,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “I’m sure he’s going to be sitting at home and watching these games and wishing he could be part of it because as a player that part of you will never leave.
“This is the most exciting time of the year, and I know he loved the times that he was in the playoffs. He was obviously a pretty important part of the success of our hockey club, so will we miss his play? Absolutely. You don’t lose an elite player like him and not feel it.”
|04.14.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
When Milan Lucic scored his 30th goal of the season last month, he shocked many, and it had nothing to do with the fact that nobody expected him to reach the 30-goal mark.
Instead, it was his wardrobe choice that came off as perplexing. It was March 22, and it was the debut of the now famous Bruins jacket.
The jacket, a worn-out windbreaker seemingly from the late 80’s or early 90’s, was brought into the Bruins’ dressing room by Andrew Ference. Since Lucic debuted the windbreaker, it has been worn by a variety of differnt players in post-game interviews, with it signifying that the player wearing it was crucial to the team’s success. The list has included Daniel Paille and Zdeno Chara, and though it’s a bit snug on the 6-foot-9 captain, Ference isn’t concerned.
“Tough luck for him,” Ference said of Chara with a laugh. “He shouldn’t be so big. It’s not our fault.”
Ference said Thursday morning that he bought the jacket on eBay. He frequents the auction site, and was happy to pick up the jacket for the B’s room to keep the players loose. He did note that the jacket may not be worn by the best player every night, noting that “Timmy [Thomas] would hog it all the time.”
To those seeing the players interviewed the disgusting threads, the purpose of jacket may be confusing, but Ference sees it as just another sign of how close-knit a group this Bruins team is.
“You’ll drive yourself crazy if you don’t have fun,” Ference said. “It’s not just this time of year. This time of year is intense, so you need a release, but it’s a long year. When people talk about camaradie and a good dressing room, I think the value of a good dressing room comes at this time of year.
“At the end of 82 games, you’ve spent a lot of time together. If you don’t have camaraderie and a good vibe in the room, you’re sick of each other. I’ve been on teams where you are kind of sick of each other. ‘¦Chemistry is a very important thing.”
Now in his 11th season, Ference has been around a few locker rooms in his time. The former Penguin and Flame knows what it takes to cultivate the right chemistry, and he feels the Bruins are doing it right.
“It’s been good here for years, but I think it’s like a marriage. It takes work,” he said. “You have to make sure that theirs a certain attitude. The biggest thing we’ve done in this locker room is just the inclusion of everybody, whether it’s the rookies or the older guys, or the Europeans or the Canadians.
“Everybody goes out together. The benchmark is you can literally see any person in the room and go out with them for dinner on the road, and it wouldn’t be weird. That’s not normal. I’ve been on teams where there was a cliquiness with certain groups. Literally, around the room, everybody’s been out for dinner with each other and hangs out together. It’s not forced. It’s really good. It’s really nice.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ference found the jacket on eBay, as he certainly has a history of getting his clothing online. Back in February, Ference strutted through the B’s dressing room at Ristuccia Arena rocking a “Darth Quaider” shirt that he customized online. The shirt, an homage to fellow defenseman Adam McQuaid, was certainly clever, but he can’t take credit for it.
Turns out the inspiration for the shirt came from his daughter. Prior to the season, she called Milan Lucic “Looch Skywalker.” From there, a Stars Wars-themed nicknaming frenzy began, with “Darth Quaider” sticking for McQuaid.
|04.14.11 at 10:40 am ET|
With the Canadiens in town for Game 1, there’s only one thing to do: play soccer.
After two straight days of practice in anticipation of the playoffs, the B’s held an optional skate Thursday morning, with the rest of the players getting loose with some hallway soccer.
Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin, Shane Hnidy, Tyler Seguin, Michael Ryder, Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and Matt Bartkowski participated in the skate. From the goes-without-saying department, expect Tim Thomas between the pipes and Tyler Seguin to be the healthy scratch.
We’ll have more from the Bruins and Canadiens dressing rooms after each team has its morning availability.