|05.04.11 at 4:07 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed 2009 third-round pick Ryan Button to an entry level contract. The defenseman played seven games for the Providence Bruins this year via an amateur tryout agreement and picked up one assist in the process.
Button split this past season in the WHL between Prince Albert and Seattle. He had five goals and 30 assists for 35 points between the two teams. The Edmonton native’s high in points came in 2008-09, when he had five goals and 32 assists for 35 points with Prince Albert.
|05.04.11 at 1:20 pm ET|
A 2-0 series lead is a good thing, but not the thing that a team ultimately wants. It’s a case of a team having desired results so far, but still not having the desired result. One game can change everything, and with the Bruins holding a 2-0 lead on the Flyers entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night, the Bruins know that. They should have as good a perspective on that as anyone else.
No, this isn’t about the players who were on last year’s team thinking back to the blown 3-0 series lead in 2010. Instead, the B’s can simply think back to the last series. With the Canadiens winning the first two games of the quarterfinals, the Bruins took Games 3 and 4 in Montreal and eventually won the series in seven games. It all started with that 4-2 Game 3 win, and they know it.
“[We were thinking] that if we got the third game, the series would completely turn around, and that the pressure would be on them, and we’d be right back in it,” Brad Marchand recalled Wednesday. “Anything could happen from that point forward, so the third game is a huge turning point. We knew that, and that’s what we want to focus on. They’re definitely doing that [in the Flyers’ room] right now.”
The similarities are there for the Bruins in the first round and the Flyers in the second round. Both teams lost the first two games at home, the second of which they had to play without their key defenseman. If the two teams are to share another thing in common, it could come in the form of a win on the road for the Flyers in Game 3.
“We want to make sure that we’re ready and not waiting. We’re prepared for that. We know that we were down 2-0, and we came back,” Marchand said Wednesday. “You kind of use that to put ourselves in this situation here and make sure that we don’t give them any opportunity to get back in this series.”
While some players are using their first-round triumph to give themselves perspective on how possible a Flyers’ comeback is, others are blocking everything out altogether. For Shawn Thornton, it’s as simple as winning a game.
“We’re not really talking about last series. We know that this is Game 3. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It’s Game 3, either way. I haven’t really put too much thought into anything except for preparing for tonight’s game as best as possible.”
The idea of not thinking about the score of the series is one shared by Thornton’s linemate in Daniel Paille. The fourth-liner remembers the feeling of having to “prove a point” after Game 2 of the last series, but doesn’t want to even consider the fact that the B’s could potentially have a stranglehold on the series with a win Wednesday. The way he sees it, they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“[Leading] 2-0 doesn’t mean much. The way we look at it, it’s still 0-0 right now because if start thinking ahead of ourselves, we get in trouble. When we start doing that, it’s just not good a team, so we try to do everything we can to stay focused and avoid all of those types of situations.”
The Bruins are in the right situation entering Wednesday, but they know as well as anyone that it could be a completely different story when the game is concluded.
|05.04.11 at 12:39 pm ET|
The buzz Wednesday morning at TD Garden surrounded Flyers forward Jeff Carter, who participated in the team’s morning skate and could lace up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Bruins. The 36-goal-scorer hasn’t played since leaving Game 4 of the first round with a knee injury suffered in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers. General manager Paul Holmgren has listed him as a game-time decision Wednesday, but aside from that, coach Peter Laviolette and Carter himself had very little to say on the subject.
“Jeff Carter looked good this morning,” Laviolette said after the morning skate.
Here is every word Carter had to say this morning:
Can you be a factor at half-speed?
“It’s a quick game right now, so I’m not too sure.”
Do you want to be in the lineup tonight?
“Of course. Everybody wants to be in the lineup.”
Are you optimistic you will be?
“I don’t know.”
More likely you need another game?
“I don’t know. Holmgren talks about all the injuries. We don’t talk about that.”
How many minutes do you think you could play?
“I don’t know. I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about getting myself healthy to get back. When I’m healthy, I’ll worry about the other stuff.”
So you’re not 100 percent?
“I don’t know. We don’t talk about injuries, remember? It’s been like that all playoffs.”
Is there more urgency to get back in the lineup down 0-2?
“Of course. You want to be in every game.”
Defenseman Chris Pronger was not on the ice for Philadelphia’s morning skate. He did not play in Game 2.
|05.04.11 at 11:42 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was not on the ice for Boston’s morning skate Wednesday at TD Garden, a sign that he could be out of the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Flyers. McQuaid left the game in the first period Monday with a sprained neck suffered while trying to hit Flyers forward Mike Richards.
Coach Claude Julien would not offer an update on McQuaid’s status, but in the seemingly likely event that the rookie does not play, veteran Shane Hnidy would take his spot.
“Same as yesterday,” Julien said of McQuaid’s status. “Day-to-day. Nothing more to report on Adam’s situation. I know Shane Hnidy is a guy ready to play, and he’s certainly a possibility in our lineup tonight.”
Hnidy has played in one game this postseason, filling in for an ill Zdeno Chara in Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. Hnidy played 4:13 in that contest. After the morning skate, he said he is ready for Wednesday should his number be called.
“The same as any other game,” Hnidy said of his preparation. “I’ve been taking warmups, and it’s the same. I’m prepared to play, and you never know what’s going to happen, so my preparation doesn’t change. I get ready for the game physically and mentally and once gametime comes, I go from there.”
Mark Recchi was the only other regular absent from morning skate, though he has been a participant in morning skates throughout the playoffs.
|05.04.11 at 11:15 am ET|
One player nearly evened the series by himself. The other put on perhaps the best pressure goaltending performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs.
James van Riemsdyk had to settle for scoring twice and watching his Flyers fall into another 2-0 hole against the Bruins while dominating every shift he was on the ice.
Tim Thomas saved 52 of 54 shots, including all 10 in overtime, as he single-handedly made sure van Riemsdyk and the Flyers came to Boston in another desperate situation.
Tonight, the two of them will be asked by their teammates to keep it up in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Looking back at Game 2, there were several moments that could have put an entirely different perspective on Game 3 tonight. If JVR beats Thomas with six minutes remaining in regulation on a break in on net, the Flyers win. If JVR beats Thomas on a phenomenal shot off a faceoff with just over four seconds remaining in regulation, the Flyers win. If Thomas doesn’t make a save on Philly’s No. 21 on a clean look from the left circle 10 minutes into OT, the Flyers win.
Thomas was ready for every possible scenario on Monday, including that dramatic end of regulation, which also saw Danny Briere miss by a hair of putting Thomas’ save on van Riemsdyk into the net for the game-winner.
‘This is one of the most dangerous faceoff teams in the offensive zone or our defensive zone that we play against,” Thomas said. “They have a lot of different things that they do. They actually already scored once this series in the first game on a play. So I knew even with a few seconds left that the faceoff could be dangerous.
“The way it worked out it came off the faceoff and for just a second there it went behind a screen for me and I found it just as the guy was throwing the first shot to the net but I saw it so late that I couldn’t control the rebound. I saw the rebound go over to Danny Briere’s feet and in that one hundredth of a second I thought it might be over because he’s one of those guys that gets them and you know. He fumbled it for just a second, just long enough for Seidenberg to dive over and block one. I was still waiting for that buzzer and I don’t know if by the time it hit me if the buzzer had gone off or not but it was relief when the buzzer happened.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.11 at 10:06 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, hours before the B’s host the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins have a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Boston. A year ago, the B’s led the Flyers 3-0 in the series before losing in seven games. Recchi said the Bruins have not avoided discussing last year. “We know that. We’ll talk about it. There’s no question we’ll address it,” Recchi said. “We’ll get ready. Our thing is: Hey, focus on what we do. Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on tonight. Focus on what we do as a team. Don’t focus so much on them and what’s going on on the outside, what people are saying, what people are talking about. Get in our bubble and let’s get ready for tonight.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that the pressure is on the Bruins now because they are expected to win. Recchi isn’t buying it. “The pressure’s on them,” Recchi countered. “They have to come in here and win. We went and did our job. They had home ice. The pressure’s all on them. If they don’t win, they’re down 3-0. They can talk all they want about last year and all that, [but] the pressure completely is on them right now.”
Tim Thomas has stood out in goal for Boston and has drawn comparisons to Dominik Hasek for his unconventional yet successful style of flopping all over the crease. “They found a way to stop pucks,” Recchi said of Hasek and Thomas. “It doesn’t matter how, they found a way. There’s a method to their madness, too. Timmy might look like he’s all over the place, but he really knows what he’s doing in there. He’s really controlled, and actually probably controlled in his mind in how he wants to play.”
At 43 years old, Recchi is in his 22nd NHL season. Asked about his ability to continue to produce as the oldest player in the league, Recchi said: “It’s all how you rest and prepare. I’ve got lots left in the tank. ‘¦ Once playoffs start, I just basically play right now. I don’t do a whole lot of practicing. I just try and keep myself sharp as much as possible.”
Recchi said he does his best to play through pain. “Regardless of my age, I want to be counted on,” he said. “And I want the coach to know that I’m going to be there. And I want my teammates to know I’m going to be there for them all the time.”
|05.04.11 at 6:58 am ET|
Everyone knows what happened after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last year: a Flyers Game 4 victory followed by three more in what ended up being one of the most devastating ends to a season in Bruins history.
This time around, the Bruins have set about righting that wrong, if it’s possible, and they’re off to the best start they could have through two games: a 2-0 series lead. Even if they take Game 3, it won’t be anything new for a team that was in the same position a year ago, but they’ll be sitting pretty.
It looks like they’ll have to play Game 3 without Adam McQuaid, as the rookie defenseman sprained his neck trying to hit Mike Richards in Game 2. Expect Shane Hnidy to be in his place for the veterans second game this postseason. Hnidy played just 4:13 in Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens when he filled in for an ill Zdeno Chara.
Injuries and substitutions aside, Wednesday’s game is a pivotal one. As the B’s saw last week, winning Game 3 when you’re down 2-1 can change plenty, and that’s what the Flyers will aim to do. On the other hand, if the B’s can grab a 3-0 series lead, they’ll be in good position to do what 99% of teams do with 3-0 leads. Here are a few quick points on where things stand entering a big game at the Garden:
KREJCI REMAINS KEY
Sure, the L’s didn’t start coming until game four, but the Bruins suffered a major loss in Game 3 last season when David Krejci broke his wrist. Without Krejci, the B’s weren’t the same team, and it had a lot to do with why Philadelphia was able to crawl back to make it a series.
This year, and after a pedestrian first round vs. the Canadiens, Krejci has been as a big a force as anyone else (except for perhaps Tim Thomas) through two games. After having difficulty finishing plays vs. the Habs, Krejci has lit up the Flyers to the tune of five points in two games, including the game-winner in overtime in Monday’s Game 2.
With Marc Savard making only a 25-game cameo, Krejci was the de facto top center on the team most of the year, yet he didn’t always play like it. Krejci’s a guy who runs hot and cold, but he’s showing that he’s using the right faucet when it counts.
The Bruins aren’t going to sit back and play the “what if” game with what they could have done with a healthy Krejci last year, but so far they’re finding out what they can do with him this year.
THE WINNING WAY: CIRCUMVENTING REGULATION, POWER PLAY?
Four overtime games, zero power play goals, and only one win in which they’ve outshot their opponent. Those are some of the interesting details of the Bruins’ postseason thus far, but they’ll take the results.
The B’s are in no way welcoming more OT games, but given that they’ve won all four they’ve played so far, they’ve got to like the reputation they’ve developed. Contests like Game 2 are ones they most certainly won’t win every time, as Thomas faced 32 shots in the third period and overtime, while the B’s mustered just 12 shots. As they say, a win’s a win. You’d think the B’s would just rather win the way they did in the 7-3 fashion in which they took Game 1.
As for the power play, the mystery of when “the streak” will finally end (they’re at 0-for-29 thus far in the playoffs), is growing in legend. Will it get to 30? 35? It looked better late in the second period Tuesday, and perhaps with the confidence of winning will come the confidence to get this ugly streak out of their heads. The B’s just need to make sure their power play looks more like it did in Game 2 than it did in Game 1, when the Flyers were easily gaining possession and sending it the length of the ice.
THOMAS HAS BEEN IN OCTOBER FORM IN THE PLAYOFFS
Blaming the goaltender would be absurd, but it would be fair to say after the first two games of the quarterfinals that Thomas wasn’t quite where he was earlier in the regular season. The rebounds were big, and the Habs were game-planning around them. Since then, the B’s netminder has played to the lights-out standard he set way back in October. The line of thinking back then was that if the Bruins could get that kind of performance in the postseason, they’d be tough to beat. Well, they’ve gotten that performance, and they sure are tough to beat.
As Brad Marchand pointed out after Game 2, the Bruins had no business winning that game. The Flyers came out harder, played a fantastic game and got 54 shots on Thomas. Yet Thomas was the exception to the rule that if a team can come out flying at home, they should win.
Consider that James van Riemsdyk, who had two goals in the first 9:31 of Game 2 but was stopped on his following bids, should have had even more than the hat trick he didn’t get (we make too many Ovechtrick jokes in this space, explaining the absence of an obvious reference here), but Thomas shut him down on a night nobody else could. Regardless of what an opposing team can throw out there, it seems Thomas, when at his best, trumps all. He may not have the numbers from the first month of the season, but he is playing like it and giving the B’s a great chance to win each night.
Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how each team comes out. The Flyers should be desperate to avoid a 3-0 deficit, but it would be hard to top the effort they gave in Game 2. The Bruins should come out stronger if they don’t want to leave it up to their goaltender again. Even if it does fall in Thomas’ hands, he proved in Game 2 that he can handle it.