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Jokinen pots game-winner for Hurricanes in Game 3

05.06.09 at 10:19 pm ET
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RALEIGH — No Andrew Ference in the third period for the Bruins, we’ll update that when we can.

18:53: The Bruins are hitting the Canes hard here in OT. Good strong rush down the slot by Lucic, but Ward was able to turn away the forehand bid.

18:15: Krejci from behind the net to a rushing Michael Ryder in front, but Ryder fanned on the shot attempt in close.

17:12: Jussi Jokinen goal for the game-winner off a rebound of a Sergei Samsonov shot. More later.

The B’s have lost to the Canes in overtime by a 3-2 score during Game 3 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

Recchi’s first goal of playoffs ties it up in third

05.06.09 at 9:29 pm ET
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RALEIGH — The Canes come right back out with jump and aggression to start the third.

19:45: Chad LaRose takes the puck away from Zdeno Chara in the corner, drives down the middle of the ice and puts a strong forehand shot on Thomas. Thomas kicks away the reboud to Matt Cullen, who misses high with a rebound attempt in tight.

13:32: Good shot by Dennis Wideman from the left faceoff circle off a cross-ice dish from P.J. Axelsson, but Ward kicked the puck into the corner. The Bruins have settled things down a little here.

10:57: Just wrote about all of the things Recchi has been doing even though he hasn’t been scoring. Well, now he’s scoring too. He plopped himself in front of the net and tipped a puck from Chuck Kobasew by the sideboard that slipped through Ward’s pads to tie things up. Big goal.

8:46: David Krejci has not been very good tonight. Just gave up a puck to Erik Cole in the nuetral zone that allowed the Canes winger to squeeze a shot off on Thomas.

7:50: Another bad giveaway by Krejci in the defensive end. This isn’t going on his Greatest Hits mix tape tonight.

3:43: Pretty close to a hold by Michael Ryder going up the ice against the Canes. It appears the refs are suffering from a bout of third period-itis.

2:38: Good calm save by Thomas on a Dennis Seidenberg bomb from the high slot with a pile of bodies in front.

00:38.3: Big save by Thomas on a Wallin shot from the right point. The Canes have been dangerous in these final seconds and kept the ice tilted toward Boston’s end.

Big clear by Savard in the waning seconds, so now we’ll go to overtime.

The Canes and Bruins are tied at a 2-2 score at the end of three periods, so now we’ll go to OT in Game 3 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

Canes score two quick ones to take a 2-1 lead in second

05.06.09 at 8:35 pm ET
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RALEIGH — I have confirmation of an excellent aborted goal call by Jack Edwards during the NESN broadcast, followed by a weird shot of the B’s broadcaster from behind.  I’ll have to check the tape later on that one.

Anyway, back to the action.

18:23: Great diving scoop save by Thomas on a Sergei Samsonov shot that hit the side of the net and then bounced dangerously toward the crease area before the B’s goalie gloved it.

17:02: Quick glove save by Thomas on Tuomo Ruutu on a high slot shot with two Hurricanes skaters bearing down on the Boston crease.

15:20: Aaron Ward and Ray Whitney battling for a puck speeding toward the Boston net, and Whitney ended up crashing to the ice and hitting his neck against the left post. Whitney has walked back to the Canes dressing room to get looked at.

11:41: Things getting a little testy after Ryan Bayda crashed the Bruins net at the end of a whistle following a Thomas save on a Pat Eaves shot. A lot of jawing between Chuck Kobasew and Rod Brind’Amour.

10:36: Big missed opportunity as Chara fed Aaron Ward at the left post when Ward was down and out, and Ward slammed the puck right into Ward’s right pad. Tuomo Ruutu knocked Ward down after the save, though and was whistled for interference.

8:51: Much better puck movement by the B’s PP unit tonight, but still no goal.

Whitney back out on the ice for the Canes.

7:13: Staal got a great feed from Whitney after he found a seam behind the Bruins D and the skilled forward came in all alone. He missed wide right with his hot shot slapper bid on Thomas, though. Bullet dodged.

5:40: Staal to Cole in front and the big winger missed wide right. Big shift by Carolina’s top unit with a bevy of shots that ends up drawing an interference penalty on Michael Ryder after he belted Pitkanen in the middle of the ice without the puck. Great shift by the Canes, and you can really feel the energy shifting in this one.

3:58: Great diving play by Savard to break up the Canes PP and knock the puck out of the zone. Aaron Ward blocked a shot earlier in the kill that looked pretty painful.

3:01: And this place just went ballistic. Staal is a playmaker and that’s exactly what he did. Staal took the puck from Steve Montador behind the Boston net when he fanned on a clearing attempt, and then turned and whipped a top shelf blast by Thomas. All tied up.

2:02: The Canes strike again. Sergie Samsonov strikes on a wrister from just outside the right faceoff circle, and the momentum is squarely in Carolina’s corner.

00:38.3: Niclas Wallin just wall-papered Stephane Yelle into the boards from behind, and Yelle is shaken up. Wallin to the box, and Shawn Thornton was jawing with Scott Walker after the play.

00:3.5: Marc Savard drills Cam Ward from behind and goes directly to the box for goalie interference. That was a stupid penalty.

The Canes have taken a 2-1 lead at the end of two full periods of play during Game 3 at the RBC Center

Lucic gives Bruins a 1-0 lead by crashing the net

05.06.09 at 7:45 pm ET
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RALEIGH — 19:30: Right off the hop the Canes get a good chance with Eric Staal in tight off the opening faceoff that Tim Thomas immediately hopped on and deflected toward the back of the net. A quick icing for the B’s.

14:25: Good pad save by Thomas on a Joni Pitkanen blast from the high slot area. Then Tuomo Ruutu followed with a good bid from the middle slot area that Sergei Samsonov nearly got a stick on in front of Thomas. A good amount of traffic and chaos around Thomas early.

12:45: A big blast from Mark Stuart at the right point that appeared to hit some part of the net or post and then shoot right back out toward the blue line. Didn’t make any noise like it hit pipe, so wonder if they’ll take a look up in Toronto at that. Replays show that it hit Ward and then connected with the right post before bouncing back out.

11:17: The Bruins talked about being a bigger presence in front of the Carolina net, and there it was in living Black and Gold. Dennis Wideman shot the original bomb from the left point, which hit Lucic in front of the net and then dropped by his skates. Lucic corraled the puck and then hooked it around Cam Ward as he moved out from the net. First goal of this playoff run for Lucic.

9:50: Nice job by Shawn Thornton to turn a Carolina turnover into an odd man rush going the other way, but Ward blocked the Axelsson stuff attempt.

7:26: A great save by Thomas on Matt Cullen. First the Carolina winger barely missed on a redirect attempt from a Pitkanen shot, and then Thomas made an unbelievable stick save when Cullen attempted to sneak a puck past the diving goaltender. Steve Montador helped Thomas stop the puck and cover for the whistle.

3:32: Penalty for Andrew Ference on a hit from behind on Ryan Bayda, who was down on his knees on the ice for several minutes afterward. Two minutes for boarding.

They are, by the way, Wil Ferrel cowbell crazy down here apparently.

2:10: Near miss by the Canes PP when Erik Cole shoveled a puck toward the net by the left post, and the disc went airborne after striking bodies in front. Staal took a baseball hack at the puck in midair, but the hot shot missed wide of the net.

The Bruins are beating the Canes by a 1-0 score after one full period during Game 3 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

Some pregame hijinks from the Carolina Hurricanes

05.06.09 at 7:42 pm ET
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RALEIGH — Interesting pregame hijinks from the game production people here at the RBC Center home of the Carolina Hurricanes. First they announced “Bucky Dent” as one of the refs for tonight’s game, and then they showed the entire clip of Price is Right Host Bob Barker beating the tar out of Happy Gilmore wearing a Bruins jersey. Very creative and pretty funny.

This place, by the way, is just as loud as Aaron Ward and Mark Recchi promised it would be. Getting ready for the game to start.

The key to Game 3 is crashing Carolina’s net party

05.05.09 at 6:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — There has been enough idle chatter about neutral zone puck play, impressive fourth line performances and sloppy tendencies over the last few days to sink a hockey battleship, so let’s get to the crux of the matter against these playoff-worthy Hurricanes.

All of factors above were certainly present during Boston’s Game 2 loss at the hands of the mighty Tropical Storms, but there’s a limit to the sloppiness factor when a team is able to squeeze off 36 shots and limit the opposition to 25 shots on goal. The Bruins were able to retain possession of the puck and level an adequate numbers of outside attempts on the Carolina cage, but there was one vital playoff ingredient they were sorely lacking on Sunday night: a determined and consistent net front presence.

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Bruins power play needs more puck pizzazz

05.04.09 at 2:51 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — A lot of Bruins chatter on Monday morning concerning power play outages and sharpness issues in the wake of a somewhat listless loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday night. The team didn’t conduct any type of skating practice, but instead held a full team workout on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena. 

The power play is now 0-for-14 dating back to the middle of the Montreal series, and Boston’s special teams unit seemed overwhelmed by the pressure that the Canes exerted on both points and at Marc Savard conducting things on the right sidewall during each PP attempt.

The B’s coach felt that the haphazard-looking power play was part of a bigger malady that struck at the Black and Gold over the first two periods: lackadaisical, out-of-sync play that infected all facets of their game. 

“I thought our power play reflective of our whole game. We’re not as sharp as we can be and our whole decision-making was just iffy,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “That followed through on the power play with the same thing. The power play was reflective of our whole game: winning battles, decision-making, and moving the puck. We weren’t sharp. We didn’t play as hard as we could have.  We did in the third period when we started to play a little harder, but we need to play like that for 60 minutes rather than 20.”

With all that being said, there could be changes coming to the power play unit when it next makes an appearance at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Wednesday night for Game 3. Perhaps Milan Lucic will be inserted in place of Mark Recchi by the goal post, or Patrice Bergeron will be plunked down low as he was during PP moments in the last quarter of the season.

PP triggerman Marc Savard said the key to the man advantage is getting back the timing and puck movement that seemingly slackened during their long layoff prior to playing the Canes, and find alleys for more pucks through the forest of trees and in toward Cam Ward.

“We went in the third last night, and in our second to last power play we got back to basics and got pucks to the net and we were all around him. We couldn’t find a hole,” said Savard. “We just need to simplify things. We went through stretches during the year when things weren’t great, and we always seemed to stay in the top 10. We just need to get pucks to the net and get guys in front whacking away at it.

“We can’t be pretty. We need to get dirty in order to score goals,” added Savared. “It’s also about moving it quicker so a guy has a lane to shoot. In that last one we were getting (the puck) back, around and over and moving those lanes. I think when we’re not at our best we’re dusting (the puck) and holding it and looking. We need to be bang-bang and get more results.”

Or perhaps my own personal dream team power play will be constructed. What would it be, you ask? Putting David Krejci and Marc Savard both on the same five-man unit with perhaps Michael Ryder as a shooter/grinder in the corner collecting pucks and Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Wideman at the two point positions. The two centerman play together in 5-on-3 situations, and it would be interesting to see if they could work together on the same unit during 5-on-4 action. But, then again, there’s also a reason I’m blogging and Claude Julien is making space on his trophy shelf for a Jack Adams Award.

–Julien said that there is nothing bothering Zdeno Chara physically after suffering through a tough Game 2 that saw him finish with a bogus -3 for the night. Chara has appeared — at points during the season — to be slightly favoring his left knee, but Julien said he is “100 percent” healthy. Chara was not available to answer questions following the team workout on Monday.

“It was a tough night for the whole team. I guess because he gets a lot of credit for the way he plays, when he’s not on top of his game the first thing we do is notice it,” said Julien. “He’s going to be fine. He is 100 percent. No questions asked. Honestly, there are no issues there at all.”

–Recchi is obviously very familiar with the loud NASCAR-loving, Waffle House-eating Hurricanes home crowd and expects the B’s to be walking into something of a hockey hornet’s nest for Game 3 and 4 at the RBC Centre in Raleigh.

“It’ll be loud. It’s an energetic building, it’s loud and they get into it,” said Recchi. “They’ll be tail-gating all afternoon on Wednesday and they just feed off the energy. It’s going to be loud, so we’re going to have to prepare for it. It’s one of the loudest buildings I’ve ever been in, period. It’s the same as Montreal. You have to be ready to counter their start, push back and challenge them as well.”

–Patrice Bergeron mulled a little bit over the open net he missed in the first period of Game 2 and what might have been had he connected early in the game and given his team the quick lead, but the center was focused on Game 3 once the team worked out on Monday morning.

“You always think about it, but the puck was rolling and I caught it flat,” said Bergeron. “Yes, I should have put it in, but there are so many plays in any game that happen. You think about (a little), but you can’t think about it anymore.”

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