|04.13.11 at 12:40 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke Wednesday about what his team must do to find success against the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Among the things touched on was the play of special teams, an area in which the Habs have excelled and the B’s have struggled of late.
“This is a team that we’re playing that played good on the power play,” Julien said. “They’ve had success, and we’ve got to stay out of the box as best we can.”
While the Bruins’ penalty kill unit (which allowed three goals in the last six games) will be key, there is no area more lacking for the Bruins than the power play. Since acquiring puck-moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle, the success on the man advantage has trended in the opposite direction. The B’s have just seven power play goals in 67 opportunities since Kaberle joined the team.
The Bruins finished 20th in the league with a 16.2 power play percentage, while their 82.6 penalty kill percentage was 16th. Boston was 3-for-24 on the power play in six regular season games vs. the Habs this season. The Canadiens finished seventh in both power play percentage (19.7) and penalty kill percentage (84.4).
The Bruins got some work in on the power play Wednesday, and they can only hope their success with the man advantage is better in the playoffs than it has been for the last two months.
|04.13.11 at 11:06 am ET|
WILMINGTON — All the expected Bruins were accounted for Wednesday as the B’s held their last practice before they square off with the Habs in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
No surprises in the color-coded lines:
|04.12.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
The Devils won the NHL Draft lottery Tuesday night, meaning they got to move up the maximum four spots from No. 8 to the fourth overall pick. Given that the team that won the lottery was already picking ahead of the Bruins, the B’s, who have Toronto’s first-round pick from the Phil Kessel deal, will remain at ninth overall.
For the second consecutive year, the Oilers will pick first overall. Edmonton selected Windsor (OHL) left wing Taylor Hall with the top pick last season. Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini had tried to swing a deal with Boston to get the second overall pick as well in order to secure both Hall and Plymouth (OHL) center Tyler Seguin, but the B’s kept the pick and selected Seguin.
The rest of the top five sees Colorado picking second, followed by the Panthers, Devils and New York Islanders.
|04.12.11 at 6:25 pm ET|
Given the odd setup of the Bruins and Canadiens’ first-round schedule (thank you, Rush and Lady Gaga), one of the oddities of the B’s trip to Montreal next week is that they will have both Tuesday and Wednesday to practice in between Games 3 and 4.
The question hasn’t been how, but where the B’s will spend next Tuesday and Wednesday. One logical option seemed to be somewhere in Vermont, but the team announced Tuesday that they will head to Lake Placid, N.Y. to practice at the Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center.
|04.12.11 at 3:23 pm ET|
“Our fans are going to want us to beat the hell out of them and their fans are going to want to see them to beat the hell out of us,” Lucic said. “We know the energy is going to be high in both buildings, and I think that’s what makes this rivalry so great, the fans are so pumped up about it. That’s what it makes it fun being a player, being a part of this rivalry.”
The Bruins are trying to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 1992. They have lost in Game 7 in each of the last two seasons, including last year when they blew a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 to the Flyers, dropping Game 7, 4-3, when the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice.
“It is the playoffs, and it can even come down to one little thing that makes a difference in winning or losing,” Lucic said. “For ourselves, we have to do a good job of managing our emotions and using it to our advantage and feeding off of it. We don’t have to change anything from how we played in the season.
“We still have to play with an edge and play that high-energy type game where we’re into the game emotionally but then again we have to manage it to the point where we’re not spending most of the time in the box.”
|04.12.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All things considered, Michael Ryder stunk it up down the stretch for the Bruins in the regular season. Playing out the third season of a three-year, $12 million deal Ryder scored just one goal over his last 17 games en route to wrapping up a second consecutive 18-goal campaign.
Through his struggles, the hope for the Bruins was that Ryder could pick it up in the playoffs. Given his 13 points in 11 games in the 2009 playoffs, it wouldn’t seem so inconceivable. It’s far from a sure thing, as the signs of life from the forward seemed minimal at times over the final two months of the season (two goals over 25 games). Ryder had only five points in 13 playoff games last year, but he can understand why fans might expect him to elevate his game come the postseason.
“Playoff time is pretty easy to get pumped up for,” Ryder said in his usual reserved demeanor. “This is what we play for. It’s the most exciting time of the year, and if you can’t have fun and can’t get excited to play, the I think there’s something wrong. I enjoy the playoffs, and I want to make sure I get off to a good start and try to help this team go as far as we can.”
Given his laid-back attitude, it’s no surprise that Ryder rarely shows frustration with any individual struggles. Even prior to the season, Ryder never got too low on the fact that he had a tough year in 2009-10. Yet just as he rarely shows frustration, Ryder is not the type of player to get carried away when things are going right. It seems it isn’t so much a lack of emotion as it is keeping a level head.
“Through my career, I’ve been through everything,” Ryder said. “I’ve been a healthy scratch here and there and I’ve been through tough seasons. I’ve learned a lot from everything. For me, when I stay calm, I know what I have to do. I’ve been in the league long enough, and I know what I have to do to be successful to do things.
“When things go bad, I kind of [have to] calm myself down, even though I don’t show it sometimes,” he admitted. “It takes a toll on you when you don’t score and you’re supposed to score. I just try to stay calm and try to find my way. I guess everyone has their own way of getting out of things.”
The Bruins can only hope that Ryder can find his way out of his funk. Coach Claude Julien, who hasn’t been afraid to make Ryder watch games in the press box as a healthy scratch, is simply trying to look ahead rather than in the past.
“Where [his game] it at doesn’t really matter right now,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Where it’s going to be when the playoffs start is what should matter. That’s what we’re going to wait and see.
“It’s a new season, it’s a new start, and our worry right now is where we’re going to be as a team.”
|04.12.11 at 2:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said after Tuesday’s practice that he reached out to injured Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty recently. Chara’s hit along the center boards late in the second period of a game on March 8 caused the rookie Canadiens forward to lose balance and crash face-first into the turnbuckle, landing Pacioretty on the ice with a severe concussion and cracked verterbrae.
“Yes, Yes I did. We talked,” is all Chara would say Tuesday as the Bruins prepare to battle their archrivals again in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs beginning Thursday at TD Garden.
Chara was not penalized by the NHL during the game or after review by the league but Montreal police indicated initially they would investigate the hit and subsequent injury as a criminal matter. But on Monday, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli indicated that the police would not question or arrest Chara when the Bruins return to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday night, the first visit to the Bell Centre since the hit.
The Montreal Gazette reported Tuesday that while hopeful for a return during the playoffs, the Canadiens have ruled Pacioretty out for the first round series against the Bruins.