|04.27.10 at 3:26 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien speaks to the media following the Bruins’ Game 6 win over Buffalo. The Bruins eliminated the Sabres with a 4-2 series win.
|04.27.10 at 1:00 am ET|
What a difference a year makes for Zdeno Chara following an opening-round win.
Last year, the Bruins dispatched of the Montreal Canadiens in four games, and then waited nine days for their second-round series to begin when Carolina came from behind to beat New Jersey in the closing five minutes of Game 7.
While the Bruins were long on rest, they were short on sharpness and, in the end, it cost them dearly as they dropped Game 2 at home and fell behind 3 games to 1 before rallying to force Game 7. They fell in heart-breaking fashion when Scott Walker scored the OT game-winner to end the Bruins season.
“We can’t lose the focus like maybe we did last year a little bit during that week off,” Chara said in the wake of Monday’s series-clinching win over Buffalo. “We have to stay on top of things and really get ready for our next opponent, which we don’t know who that’s going to be.”
The reason the Bruins don’t know who’s next is because Montreal has decided to learn from 2009 as well. They have not rolled over for Washington. Instead, following a 4-1 win over the Capitals on Monday, there will be a seventh game in America’s capital on Wednesday night.
If the Capitals survive, the Bruins open the second round in Pittsburgh against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. If the Canadiens pull off the shocker, the Bruins actually host Games 1 and 2 against Philadelphia beginning this weekend.
Chara said the team has earned one good day of rest but that’s all they need right now.
“Just maybe relax on [Tuesday], enjoy the day off, and then get back at it on Wednesday,” he said.
“Obviously it’s always a nice feeling, to be going to the second round. Buffalo was extremely playing well. They battled hard and it was a tough series.”
Another source of pride for Chara was the performance of the specialty teams. The Bruins killed off all 19 Buffalo power plays in the series while Boston scored five power play goals.
“I really thought that our specialty teams played extremely well,” Chara said. “We battled pretty much hard every game. We were almost into every game, besides Game 5.
“We take a lot of pride in our PK. We try to, you know, we’re obviously aggressive, but at the same time well-positioned and like I said, the people we have on the ice, those are the workers and we try to always outwork the opposite power play.”
|04.26.10 at 9:40 pm ET|
Summary — For the second straight season the Boston Bruins are headed to the Eastern Conference semifinals as they closed out their series against the Sabres with a 4-3 win at TD Garden on Monday night. Tuukka Rask earned the first series-clinching victory of his young career with 27 of saves while Ryan Miller was the loser, allowing four goals on 32 Boston shots.
The Bruins got on the board first with their fifth power play strike of the series. Mark Recchi shot from the right wing with David Krejci in the slot, slightly off-center from Miller. Krejci got enough stick on the puck to change its direction ever so slightly but enough to get it into the net for his second of the series at 13:39. It was the first time in the series that Boston scored the first goal of the game and entered the second period with a lead.
The Bruins took a two-goal lead early in the second period, again on the power play, this time a 4-on-3 with Zdeno Chara, Tim Connolly and Henrik Tallinder in the box. Krejci and Recchi were the culprits again, this time switched around as Krejci used the extra space to pick apart the Sabres triangle defense with a cross through the slot to Recchi on Miller’s doorstep for the pop in goal at 1:01.
The Sabres got one back in second period when an aggressive forecheck led to a couple snap passes to Patrick Kaleta wide open in front of Rask. Kaleta flipped it up and Rask had no chance to make it a 2-1 game at 6:34. The strike was Kaleta’s first of the series.
The teams traded goals within a minute of each other midway through the third period. The first was scored by Krejci on a snap shot to the side of Miller’s crease after receiving the puck from behind the goal line at 7:18. Former Boston College product Nathan Gerbe kept Buffalo’s playoff dream alive by bringing the Sabres back within a goal at 7:40 for his first career playoff strike.
Miroslav Satan got the goal back at 14:49 with his second of the playoffs when he beat Miller off a centering pass from Dennis Wideman that deflected off Milan Lucic as he passed through the crease. Thomas Vanek then brought the Sabres back yet again as Buffalo operated for the last two minutes with an empty net. He beat Rask at 18:47 to push the action to the final seconds of the game.
David Krejci — Opened the scoring with a tip goal passed Miller and put the helped on the second with a zip pass to set up Recchi. He added the game-winner in the third to cap his three-point night.
Mark Recchi — The veteran forward registered his 75th career postseason assist in the first period and scored his third goal of the series in the second. The strike was the 53rd of his playoff career.
Milan Lucic — Got two big assists in the third period for his first playoff points of the year in the Bruins biggest game of the year.
Turning Point – Krejci’s second goal of the game gave the Bruins a cushion that would prove essential as Gerbe brought the Sabres back within a goal 22-seconds later. The puck was pushed from behind the goal line by Milan Lucic to Krejci on the elbow of Miller’s crease for the snap shot goal at 7:18. Gerbe’s goal was unassisted after taking the puck off the half wall and turning with a whipcord to go far side on Rask to keep the Sabres playoff hopes alive.
Key Play – Satan’s goal sealed it as he crashed the net to put a Dennis Wideman centering pass into the net at 14:41 of the third. Lucic had cleared the way for the puck as he passed through the crease moments before and deflected the pass slightly to earn the primary assist on the play, his second of the period.
|04.26.10 at 8:46 pm ET|
The Bruins are 20 minutes away from heading to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight year as they lead Buffalo, 2-1, after two periods.
It seemed the Bruins would come out regretting the roughing penalty taken by captain Zdeno Chara at the 20-minute mark of the first period that wiped out a power play to open the second.
Then apparently Buffalo’s Tim Connolly felt bad for Chara and the Bruins as he took an equally puzzling and terribly-timed undisciplined penalty of his own.
Connolly’s cross-checking penalty penalty just 16 seconds in led to a pretty power play goal for the Bruins as David Krejci found Mark Recchi down low to the left of Ryan Miller. Recchi wasted no time with the one-timer that beat Miller for a 2-0 Boston lead just 61 seconds into the second.
With the gold towels going crazy the Bruins seemed to be on the verge of putting away the Sabres.
But after Boston killed its 18th straight penalty in the series, Dennis Wideman turned the puck over in the defensive zone and the Sabres found some new life when Patrick Kaleta scored with just over 13 minutes left in the period to make it 2-1.
The Bruins killed off yet another penalty near the end of the period for too many men on the ice and now are a perfect 19-for-19 in the series.
|04.26.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
The Bruins, who struggled all season finding the back of the net on the man-advantage, scored for the 5th time in 18 power play chances this series.
The assist was Recchi’s 75th career in the playoffs, by far more than any active player in the playoffs.
With the Bruins looking for an early strike in Game 6, it was the Sabres who got the game’s first big break.
Steve Begin was whistled for a cross-checking penalty at 2:32 of the first period.
But as it has been all season and in this season, the Bruins penalty kill came up huge.
Not only did they remain perfect in 17 kill chances this series, the Bruins were the ones who created the best scoring chances.
Patrice Bergeron collected a loose puck in the neutral zone on sloppy play by Buffalo and skated in on Miller. He lost control near the top of the right circle but Marco Sturm was there to gather it and fired point blank. The shot deflected off the crossbar keeping the game scoreless.
Daniel Paille had another clean shot on net on Buffalo’s power play from the left point but Miller made a nice pad save.
Buffalo’s best chance came with just over eight minutes left in the period on a re-direct when Nathan Gerbe got his stick on a puck in front of Rask but the Bruins netminder made the clean save with no rebound.
And the Bruins appeared certain to start the second on the power play thanks to a Henrik Tallinder, who flipped the puck out of play with 5.6 seconds to go for a delay-of-game call. But Zdeno Chara was called for an undisciplined roughing call in a scrum at 20 minutes to nullify the advantage.
|04.26.10 at 3:08 pm ET|
According to WEEI’s Michael Holley, Bruins center Marc Savard will not make his first appearance since March 7 when the B’s host the Sabres in Game 6 of their series Monday night. Savard skated with the team Monday morning but did not address the media. He previously said he would have another neuro-psych test Monday afternoon to check on how he is recovering from his concussion. Bruins coach Claude Julien said only “No confirmation right now” when asked about Savard’s availability following the moring skate.
Meanwhile, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek appears likely to make his return for Game 6. “All indications point to him playing,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Monday. Vanek has been out since sliding into the end boards and injuring his left ankle following a slash on the knee from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in Game 2.
|04.25.10 at 1:36 pm ET|
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff made some tweaks to his lineup before Game 5 that ended up working out well for Buffalo. To the bench went Raffi Torres, who has yet to score a goal for the Sabres after being a deadline acquisition with the express intent of providing some scoring pop. Up came Cody McCormick and former Boston College star Nathan Gerbe and Ruff put them on a line with Paul Gaustad in Game 5 to good results.
The Bruins probably do not need to do something as drastic as a roster move the likes of bringing Gerbe up from Portland but Sunday’s practice at TD Garden did give a different look from what has been seen in this series.
Coach Claude Julien flipped Marco Sturm back to his old line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi while Milan Lucic join Miroslav Satan and David Krejci. It is the third line change of the series for Lucic after riding the wing with Krejci and on the fourth line with Steve Begin and Daniel Paille.
“I think, obviously, playing with new guys, I haven’t played up to my potential or the caliber of hockey that I know I can play,” Lucic said. “Maybe third time’s a charm. Third different line in the playoffs but hopefully they can get me going and I think I would like to find a way to get myself going with more of an edge, for sure. If I do play with an edge I am helping out the team a lot more and so I just got to do whatever I can to find it in me.”
Julien said not to think too much into the new lines. He is right. Monday will be Game 88 of the Bruins’ season through the regular season and playoffs. Just about everybody on the team has played with everybody else so there should not be a great adjustment.
“There is not much to talk about as far as those guys have played together before. We’ve moved guys around all year. There is not a ton of reasons behind it. I just felt that it was time to try that out for today and we will see what we have tomorrow,” Julien said.
Sturm is the latest of the Bruins so-called scoring forwards to go completely absent from the goal column. He has had one goal and one assist since March 11, with the goal coming in the last game of the season against the Capitals.
“I was trying to get involved a bit more and be aggressive. We had some good battles in their end and I think it was better,” Sturm said. “I know where I am going to be and I he is going to be on the puck and Recchi, like I played it in the past. Relax and have fun.”
It is now time for the daily update on Marc Savard.
The center skated on Sunday with the team. He stayed on the ice longer than most other players doing conditioning and working on starting and stopping along with sustained skating. Savard said that he has another test tomorrow after the morning skate at the hospital to determine where is in the recovery process. Depending on the results, Savard may be cleared to play or maybe just to receive permission to do fuller contact drills in practice.
“I felt great out there and I was controlling the puck good,” Savard said. “I still have one more test tomorrow. I don’t know what the situation is, we have’t talked much about it so at this point it is not looking good right now.”
Julien kept to the party line when asked about Savard — wait for the doctors and get him in shape.
“He is certainly coming around, no doubt but that is all I can tell you right now because that is all we have. We have not yet been told by the medical staff that he is has been cleared so there is nothing more we can do besides keep working with him and get him in shape,” Julien said.
Tickets still available
The Bruins just announced that an extra ticket hold of approximately 500 seats will be released for purchase at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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