|05.26.11 at 6:07 pm ET|
The Bruins have experience winning a Game 7 at home, having done so against the Canadiens in the first round. But how much can they actually draw from that come Friday night? Players say at least a little.
“We got some confidence,” David Krejci said Thursday. “We know we’ve been there before, so it’s nothing new to us. Hopefully we can use our experience to our advantage tomorrow.”
Perhaps that will be the case, but there a few flaws in the theory that the Game 7 against Montreal will give Boston any sort of an advantage Friday. First, the Bruins didn’t look nervous at all to start that game. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 5:33, which is an anomaly for a team that has surrendered seven goals in the opening three minutes of games this postseason. So you can’t really make the argument that they’ll be less nervous.
Second, and more importantly, the Lightning aren’t new to this whole Game 7 thing either. They beat the Penguins on the road in Game 7 in the first round, so no one should expect them to be overwhelmed by the atmosphere and magnitude of the game.
“Obviously we have played in a Game 7, but so have they,” Chris Kelly said. “You can kind of look back and realize how you approached it, but at the end of the day, it’s two new teams, a new situation and a new experience.”
Kelly hit the nail on the head with that last line. A Game 7 in the first round is one thing. A Game 7 in the conference finals with a berth in the Stanley Cup finals on the line is another.
Claude Julien said his team realizes that and that he hopes his players are excited about it.
“Why shouldn’t we be excited? This is what playoffs is all about,” Julien said. “If you had told us at the beginning of the year that we had to win one game to go to the Stanley Cup finals, we would be excited about it. And that’s where we’re at right now.”
|05.26.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
BEDFORD — Much has been made of the fact that the Bruins’ power play has looked better with Zdeno Chara set up in front. It has appeared to frustrate whoever the Lightning have had in net, it resulted in Chara drawing a penalty in Game 5, and it finally paid off with a goal in Game 6 when Matthias Ohlund stuck to Chara, freeing up David Krejci to tip home a pass from Nathan Horton.
Something that has gotten lost in the shuffle, though, is the job Chara has done forechecking on entries into the zone while playing forward. He has consistently either been the first to the puck or been right on the Lightning player who retrieves it.
As a defenseman — and one who doesn’t jump into the rush all that much — Chara doesn’t get too many chances to be one of the first guys in on the forecheck. He said he understands exactly what he has to do, though.
“Obviously when you’re up front, you have to get to the pucks and win the battles and races and get the puck to our guys,” Chara said Thursday. “It’s not really that big of an adjustment. You just have to time the speed going into the zone and kind of predict where the puck’s going to be.”
Once he helps the Bruins get possession, Chara knows his assignment is to park his 6-foot-9 frame right at the top of the crease.
“I try to just create some more traffic in front, some room for other guys, and do whatever I can to help the power play,” Chara said.
|05.26.11 at 4:38 pm ET|
The Bruins will be fighting for their playoff lives when they take the ice for yet another decisive Game 7.
How many times have B’s fans heard that phrase in the last 10 years? Well, Friday night’s Game 7 against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals will be the sixth time in the last decade that the men in black and gold have played in the most-pressure packed game in professional hockey. In fact, Boston has played in a Game 7 in five of the seven seasons that it qualified for the playoffs over that span.
But that Game 7 history hasn’t been necessarily a good one. The Bruins are a horrid 1-4 in Game 7’s since 2001, with the lone win finally coming this season in the opening round against the rival Canadiens.
Here’s a look back at how the B’s fared in each of their Game 7’s of the past decade.
2004 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, 2-0 L vs. Canadiens
As the second seed in the Eastern Conference, this series against the seventh-seeded Habs should’ve been an easy one on paper. After the first four games of the series, it looked like that would certainly be the case as Boston jumped out to a 3-1 lead. But this was still the NHL playoffs, arguably the least predictable of all the professional North American postseason tournaments, and the Habs stormed back to score five goals in both Game 5 and Game 6 to tie the series.
In Game 7, it was Montreal goalie Jose Theodore‘s time to take over. The netminder stoned all 32 shots from the Bruins while Richard Zednik potted both goals in the third period, one on an empty net in the waning seconds, to give the Habs the series win. The Game 7 win marked the first time Montreal had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. If there’s any silver lining for the Boston fans looking back on this loss, it’s that current Bruins bench boss Claude Julien was actually calling the shots for the Canadiens at the time. (Julien is 2-3 in Game 7’s for his career.) Read the rest of this entry »
|05.26.11 at 4:19 pm ET|
The NHL made the Stanley Cup finals schedule official Thursday, and it will open in Vancouver on Wednesday, with two days off between Games 1 and 2. The series will follow the 2-2-1-1-1 format rather than the 2-3-2 (none of this is to be confused with the 1-3-1, of course). Here it is, per the league.
2011 Stanley Cup Final Schedule
Game 1 Wed., June 1 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Game 2 Sat., June 4 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Game 3 Mon., June 6 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 4 Wed., June 8 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Game 5 Fri., June 10 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
*Game 6 Mon., June 13 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Game 7 Wed., June 15 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Sorry folks, this means Milan Lucic could not win the Stanley Cup in his hometown on his birthday.
|05.26.11 at 4:06 pm ET|
BEDFORD — One day after a complaint about officiating may have suggested Guy Boucher could be getting to him, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday at Hanscom Field that he is not concerned with what the Lightning head coach is saying.
Boucher called referee Eric Furlatt “lopsided” against the Lightning prior to Game 6 in Tampa Bay, and after a game in which the Bruins weren’t satisfied with the four penalties called against them, Julien said that “hopefully what was said [by Boucher] didn’t have any impact” on the officiating. Boucher fired back in his press conference by pulling out the box score and counting that the Bruins were penalized less than the Lightning.
After the team landed in Bedford, Julien declined to take the semi-war of words any further.
“I’ll tell you what,” the coach said. “I’ve been around this game too long to worry about what’s going on on the other side. Right now I’m focused on our team. It’s as simple as that.”
Game 7 will be played Friday at TD Garden.
|05.26.11 at 4:02 pm ET|
The internet is going crazy over this video, which features Nathan Horton squirting and then throwing a water battle at a fan, who threw what appeared to be one of the clapping devices given away at St. Pete Times Forum at David Krejci after Game 6.
As has been documented many a time, Horton is one of the friendliest people you’ll meet, but when people go after Krejci or Milan Lucic, he loses his mind.
|05.26.11 at 3:50 pm ET|
BEDFORD — The Bruins landed at Hanscom Field Thursday afternoon as they return to Boston for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning. Here are some photos of them landing, taken by an extraordinarily untalented photographer who should probably stick to writing. Either way, here they are. Taken just before interviews took place/were devastated by loud engine noise.