|05.02.10 at 2:06 pm ET|
It is always fun to see the diminutive players take on the those of elevated physical stature. Smaller players, by definition, have to be scratchy, buckle-up-your-bootstraps type of guys if they want to survive in professional sports. It is not a matter of talent; often the smaller players are more talented than their larger peers and thus pack more talent per square inch into the smaller package. It is akin to pundits saying that Shaquille O’Neal was never a very talented center but was just so physically dominant that he became unguardable.
One of the smallest guys in the Bruins locker room (and also the oldest) is forward and future Hall of Fame member Mark Recchi. In Game 1 against the Flyers on Saturday he had lost his helmet in front of the crease and found himself face-to-chest with towering Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger. The defenseman is listed at 6-foot-6 while Recchi is quite generously on the roster at 5-10 (probably more like 5-7 or so, maybe a tad taller). Recchi did not like the extra juice with which Pronger hit him at the end of the play and gave the blueliner a big push to let to show his displeasure.
“It is just the way Mark Recchi has played for us all year,” B’s coach Claude Julien said. “I think we talk about him being a good example, and that is another one besides his work ethic and commitment. He has just gone in there and it is all about business. We know that Chris Pronger takes liberties with players at times, and at one point you have got guys pushing back and that is what [Recchi] decided to do.”
For his part, Recchi did not really think much of the fracas. He was served with roughing and cross-checking penalties, and Pronger took two for a cross check.
“It is part of it,” Recchi said. “It is the playoffs. That is the way goes. You know, he is a competitive guy, we all are. Whether it is him or whatever. You try to create space and try what it takes to win games, and he is going to do that, and there is a reason that he has won championships because he does what it takes. It is just us going out there and playing and it is really no big deal.”
This is an interesting series for Recchi, who served two separate stints with the Flyers, the first from the 1991-92 season until 1994-95, when he was traded to the Canadiens in midseason. Montreal then traded him back to Philadelphia in the middle of the 1998-99 season and he stayed there until 2003-04. He won a championship with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
“Yeah, I played the longest there and Philly is a great town and very similar to Boston, a great sports town,” he said. “Great place to live and I really enjoyed my time there. I ended up winning a Cup a couple of years later so it worked out. Everything happens for a reason.”
The 42-year-old Recchi may be one of the oldest players in the NHL, but even he would be hard-pressed to give specific details on the last time the Bruins and Flyers met in the playoffs in 1978, when he was 10 years old and living in British Columbia. That does not mean he is not unwilling to help write a new chapter in the rivalry.
|05.02.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed reports Sunday afternoon that forward Marco Sturm will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Sturm suffered the injury 21 seconds into his first shift of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers after he hit the boards when he missed a partial check on Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle. Sturm crumpled to the ice and had to be assisted to the tunnel.
“Marco suffer a knee injury yesterday that will keep him out for the rest of the year,” Julien said. “It is unfortunate news for our hockey club and especially for him who has battled through a major injury last year and was really looking forward to these playoffs.”
The injury is believed to be Sturm’s right knee, which is the opposite from when he injured his left knee on Dec. 18, 2008, and missed most of the 2009-10 season. Sturm had been held pointless for the Bruins’ seven playoff games, though led the team with 22 goals during the regular season. Sturm did not produce for the Bruins down the stretch, either, as he only had two points (a goal and an assist) since March 13 after back-to-back multiple-point games on March 9 and 11, the two games after center Marc Savard went down with a Grade 2 concussion in Pittsburgh on March 7.
Julien said that he was unsure what the next medical step would be for Sturm and that the doctors need to let the swelling go down before figuring the extent of the injury.
“I don’t know yet,” Julien said. “We talked about the injury keeping him out for the rest of the year. When you have the injury there is swelling involved and that is a medical issue and I don’t know what is going to happen either way with him.”
UPDATE — The Bruins announced on Sunday afternoon that Sturm has torn both his ACL and MCL and will have surgery in 4-6 weeks. Here is the full press release from the team:
BOSTON — Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that forward Marco Sturm will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. He sustained the injury during the first period of the Bruins/Flyers game on Saturday, May 1.
Sturm will have surgery within 4-6 weeks from the date of the injury (May 1). His expected recovery time is an estimated six months post-surgery.
Sturm is a veteran of 855 NHL regular season games and has registered 234 goals and 232 assists for 466 points in his career. The 31-year-old tallied 22 goals and 15 assists during the 2009-10 season, marking the seventh time in his career he surpassed the 20-goal plateau. He played in all seven playoff games this season and has scored eight goals and tallied 11 assists in 52 postseason games for San Jose and Boston.
An injury to his left knee caused him to miss significant time during the 2008-09 season.
|05.01.10 at 7:14 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron admitted the Bruins got away with one on Saturday.
Leading by two goals three on three different occasions, the Flyers scored twice in the final seven minutes to force overtime.
Then Marc Savard came to the rescue with his game-winner in overtime and the Bruins lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0.
But that doesn’t erase the fact that the Bruins couldn’t put away a short-handed Flyers team without stars Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne and enforcer Ian Laperriere.
“The overtime was huge,” Bergeron said. “After getting up the way we did, we couldn’t lose that game.
“Obviously, we didn’t come out the way we wanted to in the third period. We let them back in the game and we weren’t very happy about that. We had to come out strong because they are a good team, they are tough to play against and I thought the first couple of shifts set the tone for the overtime there.”
The Bruins wound up outshooting the Flyers 15-4 in overtime and it finally paid off.
“We were staying patient and staying confident that we could do it,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, we had a lot of chances. Sometimes it can hurt you when you don’t score, but we were staying positive and confident that we could get it done.”
|05.01.10 at 6:22 pm ET|
Marc Savard, playing his first game since the ‘Matt Cooke incident’ on March 7, may have scored the game-winner at 13:52 of overtime on Saturday but he wanted to make sure to thank Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for doing their part earlier in the game to make it possible.
“I felt bad for Bergy and Krech because I was doing all those half-circles and they ended up playing 25-26 minutes,” Savard said. “But they did a great job. They battled hard and they’ve been playing great all playoffs, so I just got a break tonight.”
Savard, who skated 23 shifts in his 15 minutes, 16 seconds of ice time, expected the Flyers to test his readiness and they didn’t disappoint.
“I think they played me hard and that’s part of the playoffs,” Savard said. “You don’t make too many friends out there. And that’s the way [Chris] Pronger plays against everybody. He just took me out hard a couple times. [Mike] Richards is a fierce competitor, but that’s part of the game. We had a couple words for each other, but that’s part of the game.
“So I’m sure it’s not going to get any easier. They’re a good hockey team out there, you got to give them credit. They were down all night and they kept battling back and put us in a tough spot. Tuukka [Rask] made some huge saves again when he had to, and I’m just proud of every guy. Every guy played hard again. It was a lot of guys keep their heads up high and just kept working.”
Now that Savard has his legs, he’s going to work on his focus.
“I mean it’s been a whirlwind for me,” Savard admitted. “Obviously I went through a lot of tough days and I don’t know what happened. I felt like when they tied it and we went in the room I felt like, ‘Geez, I think this is how it’s supposed to be right here.’ I mean, everybody played great tonight. I kept it as short as I could. Obviously I did a couple circles and then came back off. But when Wides [Dennis Wideman] pinched, Wides [Wideman] made a nice pinch there and kept it alive, I was just thinking, ‘As soon as this thing lands, I’m shooting it.’ And it found a way in.”
“I guess you can’t script it any better, if you ask anybody,” he added. “It’s only Game 1, you got to remember that. I’ll have a lot of time to enjoy it actually because it was an afternoon game, so that was nice. But, just get my rest, keep working through it, and hopefully get after Game 2.”
And maybe by then Savard will be skating full circles around the Flyers.
|05.01.10 at 3:46 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins and Flyers are off to the races in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals and it was Boston that came out a leg ahead in Game 1, taking it 5-4 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Philadelphia came back from two down in the last ten minutes of the third period to send the game to extra time. Marc Savard scored the game-winner to clinch the series opener when he beat Brian Boucher in overtime. Tuukka Rask took the win with 32 saves while Boucher was the loser by allowing five goals on 46 shots.
There was bad news for the Boston right off the bat as forward Marco Sturm tried to check Matt Carle into the boards but Carle sidestepped and Sturm only registered a partial hit. As Sturm skated away he crumpled and fell in the slot and could not make it off the ice on his own and had to be assisted by trainers off the ice and down the tunnel.
Irony would then strike and so would the Bruins. Steve Begin, who took Sturm’s spot on line with with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, scored his first career playoff (in 30 appearances) goal at 2:39 when he caught a loose puck off attempts from Recchi and Bergeron on the right side of Boucher’s crease and snapped it top shelf for the early lead. It was only the second time in the playoffs (though second straight game) where the Bruins have scored the first goal of the game.
The Bruins would make it 2-0 at 12:54 on a quick snap-bang-slam play between Bergeron and Dennis Wideman. Bergeron won a face off to the stick of Wideman at the point and the center went straight to the net as Wideman wound up and put a slap shot on Boucher’s pads. The puck bounced up and Bergeron put it behind the goaltender for his second point of the game and third goal of the playoffs.
The Flyers cut into the lead at when Ryan Parent found the puck idling up the high slot after Mike Richards and Arron Asham put pressure on Rask at 7:38 of the second period. Parent skated in with a full head of steam and got every piece of it to send it screaming through traffic in front and rattle around the back of the net to make it 2-1.
But Boston insisted on keeping its two-goal advantage and used the power play to its advantage (Mike Richards, Daniel Carcillo and Marc Savard all for roughing at 9:58) when Johnny Boychuk hit a liner from the point that deflected off of defenseman Braydon Coburn’s skate straight onto the stick of Miroslav Satan on the right dot for the put back and a 3-1 lead at 11:43 in the second period.
Philadelphia gradually shook off the rust from its long layoff between series as the game went along and kept itself in the game and the Flyers finally broke down the Bruins penalty kill late in the second. Chris Pronger was the culprit as the puck was cycled to him in the high slot and he skated over to the right point and took a seeing-eye slap shot that went through Rask’s pads to make it 3-2 at 15:58. It was the first power play goal the Bruins had allowed all postseason through 21 opportunities.
David Krejci put Boston back up by two goals at 7:25 in the third when a shot by Satan got through traffic in front of the net and slipped through to crease level where the center could wait for Boucher to commit, which he did on Krejci’s second fake, and put it in the corner passed the goaltenders skate to make it 4-2.
Philadelphia stormed back with two goals four minutes apart in the back half of the third period. The first was a rebound put back by Richards at 12:37 to cut the Bruins momentum and keep the Flyers hanging around long enough to make it a contest. The strike would prove pivotal as Danny Briere tied the game at 16:38 when he took the puck straight down the middle of the ice, through the neutral zone and high slot and split Wideman and Matt Hunwick in half to shoot, rebound and score on Rask to knot it at four goals apiece.
Marc Savard– Had the game-winner in overtime.
Patrice Bergeron — Boston’s biggest engine propelled the team to a hot start with a goal and an assist in the first period and another in overtime giving him seven points (three goals, four assists) through seven playoff games.
Mike Richards — The Flyers’ captain had two assists and a goal as Philadelphia kept up with the Boston attack.
Turning Point – Briere torched Matt Hunwick and Wideman by skating straight down the ice, through the slot and put a shot on Rask, picked up the rebound and put in in the net without ever really slowing down to tie the game at four at 16:42 in the third to bring the Flyers back from what seemed a certain defeat in the opening game of the series and eventually send the game to overtime.
Key Play – Savard scored the game-winner in overtime when he found the puck on the right circle and whipped it with vigor at Boucher who had little chance at the screamer that sent TD Garden into a riot.
|05.01.10 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Flyers showed some life in the second period, outscoring the Bruins, 2-1, but it’s the home ice team that still leads, 3-2, after 40 minutes.
Ryan Parent blasted a slap shot through a heavy screen to make it, 2-1, Bruins at 7:38 of the period.
Boston came right back though and scored on the power play when Braydon Coburn blocked a shot from Johnny Boychuk from the right point. The carom came out to Miroslav Satan at the top of the right circle. His shot beat Brian Boucher to re-establish the two-goal advantage at 11:43.
But the Flyers responded with the first power play goal against the Bruins in these playoffs after 21 consecutive kills as Chris Pronger scored his third of the playoffs on a blast from the right point at 15:48.
The Flyers outshot the Bruins, 11-6, in the second.
It’s the first time the Flyers have trailed after two periods in six playoff games this year.
|05.01.10 at 1:16 pm ET|
The Bruins came out with the early energy and dominated the Flyers in the opening minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and lead 2-0 after 20 minutes.
The only bit of bad news was an apparent right knee injury to Marco Sturm.
Sturm will not return to Game 1 after colliding with Philadelphia’s Matt Carle along the offensive corner boards in the first two minutes of the first period and apparently banging his right knee.
He was helped off the ice by teammates Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Sturm’s replacement, Steve Begin, scored the game’s first goal, his first in 30 playoff games. The goal came at 2:39 of the first.
Bergeron, who assisted on Begin’s goal, scored one of his own when he put a collected a loose rebound offered up by Brian Boucher on Dennis Wideman’s slap shot from the right point. Bergeron’s flipped it past Boucher for a 2-0 lead at 12:54.
Both goals were even strength and both were the result of lots of traffic in front of Boucher. No penalties in the first.
The Bruins outshot the Flyers, 15-8, in the opening period.
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