|06.07.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
Following the Bruins’ sweep against the Penguins, B’s forward David Krejci once again emphasized the importance of his team’s togetherness.
“We don’t have the superstars on this team. We don’t have the best player in the world. But we might have the best team in the world,” said Krejci. “We play as a team.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Krejci talk about the “best players in the world.” After a 3-0 Game 1 victory, Krejci compared the Penguins to the Bruins.
'Those guys, I think they're the best players in the world at this moment. There's no one like those guys. On the other hand, we don't have guys like that. We have a team. We all play as a team,' Krejci said at the time.
The Bruins forward is the team leader in points, goals, and assists this postseason, but has stressed a team-first mentality throughout.
“In the playoffs you need everyone to step up at one point,” answered Krejci. “Tuukka [Rask] has been doing it, defensemen have been doing it, and forwards have been doing it. If you want to go far in the playoffs you need more than just one or two lines to score goals.”
Fifteen different Bruins players have scored goals so far this playoffs.
|06.07.13 at 10:35 pm ET|
The Bruins punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals Friday night by concluding an unprecedented sweep of the top-seeded Penguins with a 1-0 victory at TD Garden. The B’s, who won it all in 2011, are in the Cup finals for the second time in three years.
Adam McQuaid broke the scoreless tie 5:01 into the third period with his second goal of the postseason, which doubles his regular-season production. At the end of his shift, Brad Marchand brought the puck into the Penguins zone and waited for McQuaid to enter the zone before sending the puck back to the blue line, where McQuaid stepped up and rifled a slap shot past Tomas Vokoun top shelf glove side.
Tuukka Rask closed the door from there, wrapping up a four-game stretch in which he allowed a total of two goals against the NHL’s top offense. The likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang and James Neal went the entire series without a point.
The Bruins will play the winner of the Western Conference finals, which the Blackhawks currently lead, 3-1, over the Kings. If the Blackhawks win Game 5 on Saturday, the Stanley Cup finals will begin Wednesday in Chicago. Should the Bruins face the Blackhawks, they, the 2011 champions, will be playing the 2010 champions after eliminating the 2009 champions. It would also be their third Original Six opponent of the postseason (Maple Leafs, Rangers).
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins got more of the good stuff from Rask. He made a big save on Crosby on a partial breakaway in the first period and later made a pair of key stops on Neal. He finished the series with a save percentage somewhere north of .985, which is absolutely crazy. Rask had middle-of-the-pack numbers this postseason entering the conference finals, and the feeling here was that he’d need to turn himself into a Conn Smythe candidate if the B’s were to get past the Penguins. He’s done just that.
– You have to wonder what happened to Letang, because it was more underwhelming play on Friday night. The offensively gifted blueliner whiffed on a couple of scoring chances in the second period, one of which was off a rebound with open net and the other of which resulted in a turnover. Letang also took a hooking penalty with the season on the line and less than 10 minutes to play when he took down Patrice Bergeron.
– McQuaid’s goal wasn’t his only contribution. With less than 10 minutes to play, he cleared the rebound from a shot from the point with a Penguins player at the bottom of the circle waiting to pounce.
– After losing 51 of 89 faceoffs in Game 3, the Bruins got back to winning the majority of the draws on Friday. The B’s went 32 and 26 on draws.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins have made it this far without some guys performing, but that’s got to change going forward. It’s now 20 games without a point for Chris Kelly, while Tyler Seguin has just one goal this postseason.
|06.07.13 at 1:58 pm ET|
The Penguins are going to give their biggest push Friday, and after outplaying the Bruins in Game 3, that should make the fourth win — as it usually is anyway — the toughest one to get.
Yet also facing the Bruins is the fact that they’ll be sporting a revamped bottom six. Regardless of whether the bottom six that Claude Julien put out in morning skate (Daugavins – Peverley – Seguin, Paille – Kelly – Thornton) sticks, the Bruins will be dealing with two different lines than usual.
That could be an advantage for the Penguins, as they are already a deeper team offensively than the Bruins (though this series wouldn’t tell you that), so their bottom two lines could take advantage of those of the Bruins as they try to get their footing.
“I don’t think it’s unfamiliar roles,” Chris Kelly said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think everyone’s played with one another in certain aspects not only this year, but in years past. It’s just one of those things that you plug in guys and they go out there and do a job. There’s chemistry between all six of us that play, so I don’t see it being a problem.”
The Penguins still have just two goals in the Eastern Conference finals — one from Chris Kunitz and one from Brandon Sutter. THat means that Pittsburgh has gotten one goal out of its top two lines and one from it’s bottom two.
So for as much attention is being paid to the Bruins shutting down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends, consider that the B’s — while not getting much secondary scoring themselves — have also kept the Penguins’ bottom two lines quiet.
“I think everyone wants to play their role and get their required job done,” Tyler Seguin, who has gone from a top-six guy to the bottom-six in this postseason, said. “I think it’s good D zone first with us, and it always has been. Whether it’s shutting down secondary scoring or whatnot, that’s what comes first. We’d obviously like to pop in a couple for ourselves if we can.”
Assuming the lines seen in morning skate are used Friday night, it will be interesting to see which one is used as a third line and which one is used as a fourth line. Kelly has no points the last 19 games, but his presence on the Merlot Line might mean more minutes than usual for what was once the Merlot Line.
|06.07.13 at 1:46 pm ET|
Andy Brickley, the color commentator for the Bruins on NESN, called into Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon, and he wholeheartedly agreed with Claude Julien‘s apparent decision to play Kaspars Daugavins Friday night after Gregory Campbell broke his leg in Wednesday’s double-overtime win.
“You have to look at it this way: What players are available in the absence of Gregory Campbell? And what are we losing in Gregory Campell?” Brickley said. “You're losing an energy guy, a real good faceoff guy, a penalty-killer, reliable, accountable ' all those things that you want in your role-playing centerman.”
Brickley said once Julien split up Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to center the bottom two lines, Daugavins makes the most sense of the options, including Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron.
“Which player has the most trust of the coaching staff, and which player gives your team the greater flexibility and versatility if you have to shorten the bench or you get into a special teams game?” Brickley asked. “Daugavins is probably your best bet.”
Brickley, like many, many others the last two days, lauded Campbell for sticking it out for the rest of his shift after breaking his leg while blocking a shot during Wednesday’s marathon Game 3. He said the effort exemplified “the [hockey] culture, how these guys grew up,” and Campbell finishing his shift was a high-risk, high-reward situation.
“I know there was some discussion whether he should've just lied down and writhed in pain in order to get the whistle — but I don't think it would have come — so he did what he had to do,” Brickley said. “The impact that that can have if you survive that penalty-killing situation, but then get yourself to the bench, the message received by the players [about] how committed you are.”
|06.07.13 at 12:52 pm ET|
Sidney Crosby is finding no silver lining when it comes to his scoring drought.
In going the first three games without a point, Crosby is in his longest scoreless streak in since November of 2009. He won a faceoff against Patrice Bergeron in Game 3 to set up a Chris Kunitz goal, but through three games this series, he has a total of zero points and is a minus-2.
“Sometimes that’s the way it goes,” he said when asked if his drought has been a weight on his shoulders. “You get chances and they don’t go in. Unfortunately they haven’t the first few. You’ve got to trust that they will. I don’t think it’s something that I’ve thought about too much, to be honest with you.”
Here’s the thing, though. Evgeni Malkin doesn’t have a point, either. Nor do Jarome Iginla, James Neal or Kris Letang. Yet all anyone’s talking about is Crosby. As a captain, he could welcome the heat as a means of letting his teammates avoid criticism as the Penguins trying to get back in the series. Does he?
“I don’t welcome not scoring,” Crosby said.
“I want to score,” he said. “I think that everybody wants to. The playoffs are tight-checking. You have to realize that you have to take advantage of your chances, but if you don’t, you’ve got to find ways to put it in. There’s no way around it. There’s no trying to make something positive of it besides [recognizing] they’re good chances. You’ve got to find a way to score goals.”
The Penguins have just two goals this series.
|06.07.13 at 12:15 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry checked in with Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Cherry already is looking forward to a Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup finals.
“Every guy on that team has an edge, and they play with an edge, the Bruins,” Cherry said. “I don’t know when they get on against Chicago and that. But I know one thing, boy, they’re playing smoking now. And when Chicago wins — and they’re going to win, too — that’s going to be a bang-up series. Chicago doesn’t hit — I know I’m jumping ahead a little here — but they’d better be ready because it’s going to be a tough series for them. There’s a few guys on Chicago that I think you’re going to hear footsteps.”
Cherry credited Claude Julien with using a more cautious strategy in overtime of Game 3.
“One thing I’ve never seen before in the playoffs or any time: Everybody, when you get in the OT, you always say attack, get it over with quick, attack, attack, get it in the first five minutes. The Bruins, if you watch, they had five guys back. I’ve never seen it before. They had five guys back, waiting for them to come, sitting and waiting for a break. I’ve never seen that before. And they got the break when [Jaromir] Jagr took the puck off [Evgeni] Malkin, and they went in. '¦ You watch, just before the goal, they were back at the red line, waiting for a break. Boy, it really paid off, I’ll tell you.”
“He’s not a pest,” Cherry said. “A pest is a guy that will get you about three or four goals, or five or six goals, that will go around jabbing guys and stuff like that. This guy is above all that because he can score goals. He’s what you call a good player that goes around looking for trouble, causes disturbances and that. '¦ You just can’t call him a pest or dirty or anything like that, he’s too good a player for that. He’s above that stuff. He’s just a good, honest, hard player that can score goals. That’s the why I look at it. He’s no pest.”
Gregory Campbell has become a cult hero for playing with a broken leg after blocking a shot on the penalty kill in the second period of Game 3.
“There’s no other sport in the world [in which] a guy will play with a broken leg. '¦ That’s the spirit of the Bruins,” Cherry said.
|06.07.13 at 11:57 am ET|
Kaspars Daugavins took line rushes with the third line in Friday’s morning skate, a sign that he could be in the lineup with Gregory Campbell (broken leg) done for the season.
Daugavins killed penalties while playing for the Senators and has been in on penalty kill meetings since he came to the Bruins, making him a possibility to replace Campbell on the PK.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
- Fresh Links: Sneaky Tough Edition
- Friday Morning Skate: Late Night
- Bruins vs Oilers Recap: Second periods will be the death of us. Bruins...
- Public Skate Third Period: Bruins 3 Oilers 2
- Public Skate Second Period: Bruins 3 Oilers 0
- Public Skate: Bruins vs. Oilers, 9:30PM EST
- Bruins vs. Oilers Preview: Captain Planet Reunion Day