Bergeron won’t make New York road trip
|04.10.09 at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Patrice Bergeron and fallen defenseman Andrew Ference won’t be making the two-game Empire State sight-seeing road trip to close out the season in Buffalo and the Island with the rest of the Spoked B crew after Thursday night’s slugfest with the Habs at the Garden.
Bergeron took a shot off the foot on Thursday night while playing like a body-checking hockey demon all over the ice and Ference is still out with the “undisclosed injury” that has wiped out the rest of his regular season.With that in mind, P.J. Axelsson and Dennis Wideman will both make the road trip with the Black and Gold with the intentions of potentially getting in either one or two of the back-to-back games. Bet on Wideman being ready to play on Saturday after revealing that he likely would have played through whatever ailed him if the Bruins were fighting for their playoff lives a la last season. Axelsson may be a bit more of a question mark after participating in practice at Ristuccia Arena.
With the B’s down another body in Bergeron, Boston called up prospect Mikko Lehtonen from the P-Bruins on an emergency basis. It’s Lehtonen’s first call up to the NHL after spending this past season opening up eyes at the American Hockey League level.
Lehtonen was the P-Bruins’ leading goal scorer this year after potting 28 goals in 72 games. His 10 power play strikes ranked tied for first and his 53 total points were the fourth most on the squad. 2008-2009 was the first professional season for the 6’3’’ 196-pound winger from Espoo, Finland, as he played the last four years with the Blues of the Finnish Elite League.
The 22-year-old Lehtonen was originally drafted by the Bruins in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Lehtoenen joins fellow Baby B Sobotka, who was called up on an emergency basis on Thursday morning when it was clear Axelsson wouldn’t be able to play against Montreal.
B’s bench boss Claude Julien indicated that more players may see some time of rest or scaled-back ice team this weekend in a pair of games against hockey teams simply playing out the string — and that, obviously, everything now is being geared toward a battle with either the hated Habs or Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
“We’re under the cone of silence,” said a smiling Julien. “I think what’s most important is doing the right, and we’ll see that. We might see some guys sitting out for whatever reason — whether its rest or because they’re not 100 percent. We’ll move along here as we go. Now Lehtonen has been called up and we’ve got Vladdy, so we’ll take it game-by-game.
“Bergy took a shot off the foot and we’re not going to take a chance with that,” added Julien. “We’re going to leave him behind and he’s day-to-day.”
–One day after the final regular season battle royal on ice between the B’s and Canadiens, many of the players were admitting that perhaps things got a little too out-of-hand in the second period — despite the near-deafening noise of approval from the 17,000 plus at the Garden — and the Big Bad Bruins will likely be sucking it up and staying away from retaliatory penalties when the playoffs begin next week.
In other words, we won’t see any playoff games with 76 penalty minutes at a rink near you anytime soon, and a toned-down third period was a pretty good example of Bruins players swallowing down the emotion and going about winning a game.
“We got away from our game a little bit and our emotions got out of control, but that won’t happen in the playoffs,” said Thornton, who attempted to step in against Mike Komisarek in the second before Milan Lucic face-tackled the Canadiens defenseman from behind. “It was high emotion and those games are fun to play in, but as far as all the antics and stuff, it was 10:30 by the time the game was over and I was pretty hungry by then. I could have gone for a little bit [of a quicker game].
How does a player reign it in for the playoffs?
“I’ve been around long enough. It’s being a little smarter,” said Thornton. “I can keep my emotions in check. During the last game, as much as we wanted to win, it wasn’t do or die like a playoff game. You don’t have to keep it as in check, I suppose. Every shift in the playoffs could be your last one, and you can’t let [your emotions] get the better of you.”