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Savard and Kobasew bump the B’s back up to 4-1

05.12.09 at 8:03 pm ET
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RALEIGH — 19:35 Booming one-timer from Staal in the left facoff circle off a pass from Ray Whitney, but Thomas came up with the juggling save.

17:11: The Bruins have been playing with fire for the last few minutes and they finally got burned. Shane Hnidy was beat to a puck in the corner by Matt Cullen, peeled off him and allowed him to get the net after he passed the puck and then Scott Walker found him in front. Thomas poked the puck away, but Cullen recovered and flipped a backhand past Thomas.

There was a scrum minute or two after the goal, and PJ Axelsson looked a little shaken up afterward. Keep an eye on that.

Things just turned up a notch physically. Erik Cole dumped Chara back behind the play with the Bruins moving the puck up the ice.

12:37: The Bruins have settled things down a little. A nice sequence there where Montador and Wideman were having trouble getting the puck out of the zone with speed, so Bergeron came back to help the B’s move the puck swiftly through the neutral zone.

12:36: Great neutral zone pass by Byron Bitz to a rushing David Krejci, but the nifty centerman couldn’t control the puck and shake his defender for a shot.

11″07: That was a big time play. Milan Lucic picked up the puck around the blue line and dangled through Tuomo Ruuto, Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen before dishing to a wide open Marc Savard at the right faceoff dot. Savard banged it into the open net, and the B’s have answered the Canes challenge again.

9:00: Quick glove save on Scott Walker after a testing bid from the right faceoff dot.

5:49: Interference call on Pat Eaves when he dumped Axelsson in front of the Carolina net. First PP for the Bruins. The Cainiacs are sitting down with hands folded, and are pretty quiet right now.

5:30: Big time save by Thomas on Cullen during a short-handed rush when Wideman turned the puck over from the left point.

4:18: Big glove save by Ward on a Kessel snap shot on his trademark curl and drag move from the left side boards.

3:37: Wideman just hit a left post on a blast from the right faceoff circle after Kessel had rushed the puck up the ice. That was a full wind up and blast from Wideman that beat Ward cleanly.

1:57: Another score. Bergeron carried the puck down low in the Canes end and then fired a shot in front of the net just as Kobasew reached the post. Kobasew tucked the puck between Ward’s pads for his third goal of the playoffs.

00:33: Mick Colageo of the New Bedford Times keeps calling Byron Bitz a “Young Man’s Knuble” and I can’t disagree. Bitz draws a penalty behind the net as Anton Babchuk basically hog-tied him to get the puck away from him. Somehow I don’t see Blake Wheeler drawing a penalty like that behind the Boston net.

The Bruins are beating the Hurricanes by a 4-1 score after two full periods during Game 6 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Read More: Marc Savard, Matt Cullen, Milan Lucic,

Recchi, Montador have Bruins up 2-0 after first period

05.12.09 at 7:12 pm ET
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RALEIGH — 19:26: Patrice Bergeron knifes through the Carolina defense and levels a shot at Cam Ward from the right faceoff circle.

18:48: Big heavy shot by Dennis Seidenberg from the right point that Tim Thomas kicked out harmlessly to the right.

17:59: Bruins score that immediately silences that crowd. Bergeron again rushed the puck up the right side of the all by himself, cut through the Hurricanes defense and then dished to a wide open Mark Recchi as Anton Babchuk took out Cam Ward at the net and knocked the post off the moorings. It looked liked the puck got through before the post came unhinged, but it’s under review.

Call on the ice stands. It’s a goal.

17:33: A bad Carolina turnever in their own end leads to another Michael Ryder snap shot from the slot. The Canes look sloppy in this one early.

14:56: Wow. Great behind the back tip pass from David Krejci in the high slot to Steve Montador at the right left point, and Montador beats Ward up high with a slap shot blast. The Carolina crowd’s silence is deafening.

12:06: Big pad save by Thomas on a Tim Gleason bomb from the right point. The Canes look as if everything is coming from the outside in the early going.

Just like I wrote in this piece, it looks like the Bruins players have made a little bit of an adjustment and are sometimes just lugging the puck all the way up the ice with speed rather than passing around too much and letting the forecheck hem them in their own zone.

8:14: Phil Kessel fired a shot from the slot and then just couldn’t corral the rebound in a prime shooting spot in front of the net.

7:40: Best save of the night for Thomas as he was falling forward on a doorstep bid by Eric Staal and basically leapt forward at the puck to block the shot in tight.

5:55: Great job by Patrice Bergeron of forechecking and stealing a puck out of mid-air and then battling with Chad LaRose for a potential one-on-one bid with Ward. Bergeron couldn’t quite get past LaRose, though, and just pushed a diving forehand bid to the right of the goal.

The B’s are putting heavy pressure on Ward in this period from very close to the night.

5:04: Good job by Thomas of blocking a Matt Cullen shot and then directing it toward the side of the net.

4:05: That was Thomas’ best save of the net. Sergei Samsonov rifled a shot from the left faceoff circle and Thomas kicked it to Jussi Jokinen in the slot. Jokinen fired but Thomas able to deflect the shot and avert a really messy situation in close to the B’s cage.

00:30.1: The Hurricanes have really started turning up the pressure, and the Staal, Cole, Whitney line kept the puck in the B’s zone for at least a minute with some really rapid fire puck movement. The possession resulted in Zdeno Chara blasting Eric Staal behind the net and holding him down behind the cage while his teammates tried to get the puck out of the zone. First PP for the Canes.

Big for the B’s to hold off the Canes and sustain their two-goal lead after getting hit with a pretty good shot by Carolina there at the end.

The Bruins have taken a 2-0 lead after one full period of play during Game 6 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Read More: Mark Recchi, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas,

Wheeler is the scratch for the Bruins again in Game 6

05.12.09 at 7:00 pm ET
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RALEIGH, N.C. — For the second straight game rookie winger Blake Wheeler is the scratch for the Boston Bruins — along with Andrew Ference and Matt Hunwick — and Byron Bitz is again in the lineup and skating with David Krejci and Michael Ryder.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins, Byron Bitz,

Keys to a Game 6 victory for the Bruins

05.12.09 at 2:28 pm ET
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RALEIGH, N.C. — There are obviously intriguing player matchups and clear strengths and weaknesses to each of the seven elite NHL hockey teams still alive during the postseason, but a great deal of any best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series comes down to momentum and pressure.

Which team is riding high on the momentum wave, and which team is slowly crumbling under the pressure?

The Carolina Hurricanes clearly rode a tsunami-like blast of momentum to a 3-1 lead in the series and utilized quick D-to-D passing and a strangling forecheck as something of a Shock and Awe attack on a sleepy Bruins outfit. The Hurricanes stifled, confused and obstructed a frustrated Bruins team that clearly didn’€™t respect the Canes after blowing them out in Game 1 of the series.

But after the B’€™s woke up out of hibernation ‘€“ something that Mark Recchi admitted during the team’€™s last disastrous trip through Carolina for Games 3 and 4 last week ‘€“ the real Black and Gold team took a big step forward on Sunday night. The Boston defenseman suddenly remembered that part of their job is to move the puck up the ice with speed and good decision-making, and the forwards remembered to provide back pressure while taking care of all of the little details needed to slow down a Carolina team with far greater team speed along the blueline than the Bruins.

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Aaron Ward will be in Bruins lineup for Game 6

05.12.09 at 2:08 pm ET
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Though it isn’t much of a surprise given that the Bruins didn’t fly an extra defenseman down to Raleigh with them, Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward will suit up and play for the B’s in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The B’s mentioned in the minutes following Sunday night’s Game 6 in Boston that Ward might have suffered a fractured orbital bone following a “sucker punch” from Hurricanes forward Scott Walker in the final minutes of the third period, and Walker was fined $2500 by the NHL for the transgression.

But, according to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli during an interview this morning on WEEI 850’s Dale and Holley show, Ward may actually only aggravated a prior orbital injury to his left eye and he’s expected to play without limitations and without any kind of protective face shield for the 35-year-old blue line battle horse.

“I haven’t worn (a visor) in 16 years,” said Ward. “I’m not going to start now.”

The one real byproduct of the Game 5 fireworks are the introduction of the physical element and the passionate “hockey hate” to a series that had been largely known as Nice Guy Hockey since the drop of the puck in Game 1. The switch to a physical, heated tone is something that favors the Bruins in the series, and it’s a Pandora’s Box that the Hurricanes may regret that they’ve opened if they can’t close out Boston Tuesday night at the RBC Center.

Bruins need speed burners for Game 6

05.11.09 at 6:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON -With so much focus on the intensity and nastiness that has been cranked up as the result of Game 5 between the Bruins and Hurricanes, one small detail is getting overshadowed.

The Bruins finally found a way on Sunday to contain the speed of Carolina’s attack. Their reward was a plane flight Monday afternoon bound for Raleigh, where they play Game 6 on Tuesday night.

Duplicate Sunday’s effort on Tuesday and the Bruins will bring the series to a Game 7 back in Boston on Thursday night.

“I think our backs are still against the wall,” Milan Lucic said on Monday at the team’s practice facility at Ristuccia Arena. “They’re still up 3-2 going into their barn. There’s pressure in every game of the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. We’re the ones with our backs against it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton

No suspension, $2500 fine for Walker punch on Aaron Ward

05.11.09 at 3:36 pm ET
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The National Hockey League today announced that Hurricanes forward Scott Walker has been fined $2,500 for the “sucker punch” of Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward that occurred at the 17:13 mark of the third period of Sunday night’s Game 5 against the Boston Bruins.

There will be no additional punishment assessed. Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said that doctors thought Ward might have suffered a fractured orbital bone, and he is still a question mark for Game 6 Tuesday night against the Hurricanes in Raleigh.

Walker was originally assessed an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the third period, which earns an automatic one-game suspension pending a ruling by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell. Campbell apparently ruled that Walker’s late game actions didn’t merit a suspension despite being the third man in and throwing the “sucker punch” while Ward clearly had his gloves on.

‘€œWe are satisfied with the league’€™s ruling,’€ said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. ‘€œAfter our team received several punches throughout the series leading up to Game 5, it was a matter of time before one was going to be thrown back.’€

 ‘€œI accept the league’€™s decision,’€ said Walker. ‘€œBased on what was said on the ice as I was dropping my gloves, it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation.’€

B’s coach Claude Julien expected a suspension and said at Monday morning’s practice that he would be disappointed if Walker didn’t get hit with a penalty for something he considered to be a dirty play.

“In reviewing what I saw, I just didn’t like what happened. . . . I just don’t think there was any need for that,” said Julien. “He sucker-punched him once coming into the scrum when (Ward) was involved with another player. And then he dropped his gloves and sucker-punched him.

“I don’t care what people say about, ‘Ward should’ve protected himself.’ He had no intention of getting involved,” he added. “We asked our guys to stay composed and not fall into that trap, and he just did that. A guy with Walker’s experience should know better than to sucker-punch a guy.”

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