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Corvo and Cullen give the Canes a 2-0 lead

05.03.09 at 8:37 pm ET
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17:30: A great shift by Carolina turns into their first goal. A Joe Corvo bomb from the left point with Staal drifitng in front of the net. This came directly after a quick snap shot from Staal off a short little push pass by Ray Whitney after he broke into the offensive zone.

16:01: Good takeaway from Lucic. He stripped Staal of the puck and moved it up the neutral zone and then into the offensive zone. He slipped a pass over to Phil Kessel in the high slot, but Ward was able to make the stop.

15:59: Big bomb from Dennis Wideman off the draw in the offensive zone, but Ward made the juggling catch with his glove hand.

14:36: Ryan Bayda decked Wideman behind the Boston with a huge shoulder hit. Good clean hockey hit right there.

13:50: Another good shift by the fourth line with Yelle and Thornton both getting good pressure on Ward.

13:36: First penalty of the game for these two well-mannered, disciplined hockey teams. It’s Joni Pitkanen for two minutes, but we can’t confirm whether it’s for having a woman’s first name or not.

We have confirmation. It’s for elbowing.

12:28: Great PK work by Chad LaRose. He broke up a point-to-point pass from Chara to Wideman and then beat both D-men back to the loose puck in Boston’s zone. He was stuffed in a quick short-side attempt when he tried to slip the puck inside the left post, but he flipped a pass out from to Matt Cullen in the slot. Cullen ripped away at a quick shot that Thomas didn’t have a shot at stopping.

And all of a sudden the Garden is silent.

9:17: Good cycling shift by Lucic, Savard and Kessel with a flurry of shots at the Carolina net, but nothing in the score sheet.

3:06: Great spinorama, no-look shot bid by Blake Wheeler from the right faceoff circle that was right on target, but Ward wasd there to stop it.

2:11: Holding penalty by Dennis Seidenberg when he was hanging to Lucic as he basically dragged him across the blue line. B’s PP didn’t look good the first time around.

00:48.6: Long shot by Wideman that was deflected and then just missed connecting with Mark Recchi in front of the Boston net. Recchi took a quick swipe at the pad, and then Corvo shoved him into the boards behind the net.

00:0.2: It looked like a Chad LaRose Carolina goal on a breakaway once Seidenberg jumped out of the penalty box, but the refs never called it a score. The puck bounced off the inside of the left post and landed on the goal line, and then it landed straight on the goal line. Mark Stuart swiped the puck away before it drop into the net, and the refs are currently reviewing it.

“No goal” call from the boys in stripes after a 10 minute replay delay.

The Canes have taken a 2-0 lead over the Bruins after two full periods during Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

B’s and Canes are locked in a scoreless tie

05.03.09 at 6:43 pm ET
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19:33: Big bomb from high slot area by Zdeno Chara that Cam Ward snatched out of the air with his glove. Erik Cole, Eric Staal and Ray Whitney are starting Game 2 together, and once again Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Chuck Kobasew are matched up against them.

18:08: Staal attempted to throw a big screen with his big body in front of an Anton Babchuk shot, and got a Chara shove for his efforts after Tim Thomas made the stop.

16:14: Great shift by Shawn Thornton, Stephane Yelle and P.J. Axelsson that produced a couple of quality scoring bids. One by Yelle on a follow-up stuff in at the post and a long bomb attempt by Dennis Wideman.

Big hand during TV timeout for Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara and Claude Julien for being named finalists for the Vezina, Norris and Jack Adams trophies after great respective regular season performances.

12:30: Little wipe-out for Cam Ward when he was trying to corral a puck behind the Hurricanes net. Didn’t lead to anything substantial from the B’s, however.

10:34: Good rush by Blake Wheeler up the right side of the ice. He pin-balled into Tim Gleason as he rushed the puck into the offensive zone, dropped Gleason to the ice and then feed Krejci for a fumbling shot attempt in the slot.

8:56: A couple of good bids by Milan Lucic at the edge of the left faceoff circle while he was battling with Niclas Wallin for the puck in front of the net.

8:31: Big missed chance by Patrice Bergeron. Chuck Kobasew wrestled the puck away from a Carolina defenseman and feed a rushing Bergeron all alone in front. Bergeron missed over the crossbar with his attempt.

8:11: Solid shoulder block of a shot by former Boston College winger Patruck Eaves from the left faceoff circle. Good action up and down the ice by both teams over the last five minutes.

5:41: Another bid in tight from Bergeron by the left post, but Ward played big and gobbled up the shot attempt.

3:19: The pounding of Eric Staal continues. Chara dumps him down the ice. Aaron Ward dumps him down the ice. Then Staal shows a little frustration by bumping Ward after the whistle in front of the Boston net. It looks as if the Z treatment is starting to get to him.

00:55: Good save by Thomas after Cole picked Chara’s pocket behind the Boston net and fed a pass off the boards to Staal on the other side. Staal wheeled around and trying to slam in a wraparound shot at the right post, but Thomas beat him to it and closed off the opening.

Hurricanes outshoot Bruins by a 13-8 margin for the period.

The B’s and Hurricanes are locked in a scoreless tie after one full period during Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

A few quick pregame numbers before Game 2

05.03.09 at 6:38 pm ET
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A few notes before things get started here at the TD Banknorth Garden while Thunderstruck plays over the opening highlights for Game 2:

–Tim Thomas is riding an 11-game win streak after finishing the regular season on a six-game win streak. His last loss came to the Los Angeles Kings by a 3-2 overtime score on March 19.

–David Krejci leads the NHL with a +8 during the postseason after leading the NHL through the regular season with a +37. Milan Lucic and Michael Ryder are both a +7 during the playoffs.

–Matt Hunwick is biking and conducting light workouts again, and has gained back three pounds of the 14 that he lost after rupturing his spleen following Game 2 of the first round vs. Montreal.

Don Cherry giving some big B’s love on HNIC

05.03.09 at 4:51 pm ET
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Good Boston Bruins material from Don Cherry from ‘Coach’s Room’ on Hockey Night in Canada over the last couple of weeks. Cherry has never shied away from showing some big, big love for his former team, and he fires off a few good rounds over the last few weeks of TV time.

The first CC is a walk down memory lane with the Lunchpail AC team he helped mold behind the Boston bench, and a comparison between B’s goaltender Tim Thomas and Hall of Famer Gump Worsley given their similarly athletic, frenetic goaltending styles. There’s no denying that some of the old school grainy Gump footage looks like a heck of a lot like Thomas when things get a little hectic around the Boston cage.

Here’s another round of CBC’s Coach’s Corner from this weekend with Cherry continuing his long-standing hockey love affair with Marc Savard. Cherry also features what looks like a Bruins beanie baby on the HNIC desk while he and HNIC host Ron MacLean breeze their way through the intermission show. He starts it all by pronouncing “I’m on the (Bruins) bandwagon”, and then lauds Savard for everything from his playmaking to the understated way he celebrates goals in Game 1 against the Hurricanes. Love the Scott Stevens “crazy eyes” shot as well.

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Game 2 Pregame Notes: Kessel skates, looks ready

05.03.09 at 1:07 pm ET
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Phil Kessel was on the ice for a voluntary team skate on Sunday morning, and appears ready to go one day after missing practice with a swollen left elbow. Kessel injured the wing after taking a spill and landing on it in the corner during the second period of Game 1 on Friday night.

–A long pregame chat with Hurricanes winger — and former Boston Bruins wunderkind — Sergei Samsonov, who found himself on his fifth NHL team when he joined up with the Canes last season. Samsonov seems to have found a home in the heart of NASCAR country over the last two seasons, and had himself a pretty good season for the Canes in getting close to 50 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 81 games played.

“I had a great time (in Boston). It was the best years of my career. I felt like something was never accomplished because we never really did it in the playoffs, but as far as everything else goes it was great,” said Samsonov. “My first game, my first NHL goal — stuff like that (I remember). There’s a lot of (memories).

“We still come back as a family here to Boston during the summer because we still have a lot of friends here,” added Samsonov. “It’s only natural when you spend so much time in one city that you grow roots here.”

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Phil Kessel is raising his game in the playoffs

05.03.09 at 2:41 am ET
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Phil Kessel fell on his left elbow and yelped in pain during the second period of Friday night’s opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, and the collective members of Bruins Nation held their breath with more than a hint of concern.

It was simply a swollen left elbow that kept the former first-round pick out of Saturday morning practice, but coach Claude Julien assured all concerned that his young scorer would be “100 percent” for Sunday night’s Game 2. That’s good news for a hockey team that already had to make due without Kessel for 12 games missed this season due to injury and illness, but didn’t want to learn to live without their top goal-scorer in the playoffs.

While many of the eyes in the B’s/Canes series centered on Zdeno Chara and the Bruins’ handling of Carolina scorer Eric Staal, it’s just as vital that the Canes contain the growing offensive force known simply as “Phil the Thrill.” Kessel has just as many goals scored this postseason as household hockey names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, but has turned the trick in less actual playoff games.

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Kessel not practicing, should be 100 percent for Game 2

05.02.09 at 12:35 pm ET
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Kessel was missing from Saturday practice with a swollen left elbow, but should be "100 percent" for Sunday night.

Kessel was missing from Saturday practice with a swollen left elbow, but should be "100 percent" for Sunday night.

WILMINGTON — Phil Kessel wasn’t on the practice ice for the Bruins Saturday morning at Ristuccia Arena, but B’s coach Claude Julien indicated that the young sniper was simply taking a day off after banging his left elbow during the second period of Game 1. Kessel took a hit in the corner and landed hard on his left elbow. He had an ice bag wrapped around the area while walking through the Bruins dressing room this morning after practice.

The 22-year-old dusted himself off to set up Boston’s second goal of the game on a Marc Savard rebound shot, and then played the rest of the game without any problem. Julien indicated that Kessel would be back in the lineup for Sunday night’s Game 2.

“Phil’s okay,” said Julien. “When he fell (Friday) he banged his blow. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a little swollen this morning, so we kept him off (the ice). He’ll be 100 percent tomorrow.”

–A lot more talk about the goaltender crowding/bumping that took place in Game 1, and that the B’s expect it to be a favored Hurricanes tactic for the duration of the playoff series. The aggressive Carolina skaters zeroed in on Thomas between the pipes in Game 1 — to the point of earning themselves a goaltender interference call immediately after they scored their one and only goal — and are hoping to drive “Tank” to distraction much like they did with New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur during the last round.

Right now it looks as if Ryan Bayda (5-foot-11, 185-pounds), Tuomo Ruutu (6-foot, 200-pounds) and Erik Cole (6-foot-2, 205-pound) will be the bodies of choice used to make Thomas’ life more difficult, but it’s something the Black and Gold skaters are prepared for in defending their turf.

“That’s what they do,” said Bruins winger Michael Ryder. “They throw bodies in front to try to cause traffic and get rebounds, and they’re going to do that. It’s a matter of us being strong in front of our net defensively. Against Jersey and Brodeur they were doing the exact same thing and I think they banged into him a couple of times too. We know they’re going to come to the net and we just have to be strong in that area.”

–A scoring change from Game 1 that was announced at practice on Saturday morning. The Bruins first goal was credited to back to Aaron Ward, who fired a long shot at the point that was originally credited to center David Krejci during the first period on Friday night. It didn’t appear that Krejci changed the trajectory of the puck as it hurtled toward the net, so now Krejci and Ryder have the assists. And Ward has his playoff goal against his former team.

–There was actually a Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake sighting at Bruins practice on Saturday morning. When I first saw the bleach blonde hair and the tight white UnderArmor T-shirt I thought it was Randy “The Ram”, but Brutus still looks like he could get in the ring and lock down a few sleeper holds if he really wanted to. Mr. Beefcake is a friend to one of the members of the B’s training staff, and was observing as a guest of the club. No word on whether he gave out any unwanted haircuts following practice. 

–Finally, a big thanks to reader Hockey Joe for sending this along. Here’s our favorite mullet-headed hockey analyst, Barry Melrose, on the Worldwide Leader stating that Carolina has more talent up-front on their roster than Boston heading into the semifinal series. He also calls the Vezina-bound Thomas a “small question mark” in the series. Perhaps this is why Steve Stamkos took out a restraining order against the Pinstriped Bandit in Tampa Bay before Melrose was mercifully gassed by Bolts ownership this season.

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