|Lucic’s winner give Bruins 2-0 series lead||05.03.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers twice came back from a one-goal deficit before the Bruins reasserted their will in the third, paving the way for a 3-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milan Lucic scored the game-winner in the third to wrap up the victory for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask won his third straight playoff game with 24 saves, and once again out-dueled Brian Boucher, who took the loss by allowing three goals on 27 shots.
With the game tied at two heading into the final minutes of the third, David Krejci battled behind Boucher and sent a bouncing puck of a Flyers’ stick into the slot where Lucic settled it down and banged it home for the game-winner at 17:03.
After a strong start to the first period for the Flyers, the Bruins tampered the Philadelphia heat when Patrice Bergeron won a face off to the right of Boucher straight to the stick of defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk slipped a wrist shot with enough vigor on it through traffic to the top of the net and Boston had its second early lead of the series at 5:12.
Philadelphia came back late in the first when it used its aggressive two-man forecheck to break down the defensive pair of Matt Hunwick and Dennis Wideman coming out of the Bruins defensive zone. The trio of Ville Leino, Danny Briere broke down the exit and pushed the puck around the back of the net to Mike Richards who circled in from the circle to put the puck to the far side of Rask to make it 1-1 at 17:06.
Miroslav Satan continued his hot postseason in the second period when he put the Bruins back up at 9:31. The Flyers had been aggressively attacking the point of action on the puck to disrupt the Bruins flow in the offensive zone. Krejci was able to create a seem of space on the half wall and kick the puck to Wideman and then onto Blake Wheeler, who caught Satan on the dot on Boucher’s left and put a wrist shot into the net to make it 2-1.
Boston was guilty of one of hockey’s greatest pet peeves — allowing a goal in the last minute of a period. Leino and Briere rushed down the wing with a little give-and-go game that ended with the puck on Briere’s and a wrister above Rask to tie the game at two with 21.8 seconds left in the second.
Danny Briere — The feisty forward has pushed the Flyers attack through the first two games of the series and was instrumental in their first two goals with an assist in the first and a lamp-lighter in the second.
Miroslav Satan — Scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and extended his point streak to five games. Also had an assist on Lucic’s game-winner. The forward has nine points in the Bruins eight playoff games thus far.
Tuukka Rask — Solid when he needed to be in holding the Flyers to two goals and sending the series back to Philadelphia with the Bruins up two games.
Turning Point — Boston took control of the momentum in the second half of the third period when the Flyers took a couple of penalties to Arron Asham and Briere, as the Bruins turned the play around and held on after a fury of a Philadelphia attack through the late second period and beginning of the third.
Key Play — Lucic’s game-winner. The hulking forward scored his first of the playoffs in a big way when he settled the bouncing puck, turned and fired to beat Boucher low to his stick side.
|Thornton prefers playing: ‘Watching hockey sucks’||05.03.10 at 1:24 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton is not the type to sit and watch his team mates go up and down the ice in an intense playoff game. Yet, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, Thornton found himself a healthy scratch watching from media Level 9 of TD Garden, his heart trying to escape his chest every scoring chance the Bruins had on Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher.
“I want to be in every series. It is the best time of year, what you work for all summer and all winter long to get to this point. Watching hockey sucks. I would rather be playing,” Thornton said after the morning skate on Monday before Game 2. “I watched the second and third. The first I was working out. I can’t stand it. I almost had a heart attack. It is way harder to watch than it is to play. When you are involved you are in the flow but when you are up top or in the back room watching the game, every chance your heart jumps out of your chest, so it is tough but it is exciting as well. As I said before, I would rather be playing and that is one of the reasons because it sucks to have to sit there.”
Thornton will likely be in the lineup for Game 2, but not under the circumstances that anybody would find ideal. With Marco Sturm going down for the rest of the season (and the beginning of next) with two torn ligaments in his right knee, Thornton will resume his spot on the checking line and get down to business against the bruising Flyers attack. Thornton is a good Bruins citizen. He is always accountable, always present and always wants to play. There are more talented skaters among the Bruins forwards but he brings a lot of heart to the dressing room and the rink. He cannot see himself in the lineup as any type of reward because another one of the standout clubhouse guys has to face surgery and months of rehabilitation.
“I wouldn’t use the word rewarded. A good friend, good team mate is down. It is tough. I don’t like how it happened with the injury but I am going to get in the lineup and try to play as well as I can,” Thornton said.
A lot of people scratched their heads when Thornton was the man to sit as opposed to a player like Blake Wheeler, who has been ineffective around the goal and prone to turnovers through the end of the season and the playoffs. The thought was that, since the Flyers are so physical and aggressive, that Boston would need a player of Thornton’s talents to help counterbalance Philadelphia’s style. Former Bruins player and coach and current NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury said on the Dale and Holley show recently that sitting Thornton would be a crime.
‘I would shed a real tear if I were a Bruins fan, if that happens,’ Milbury said. ‘I don’t think his presence in the lineup is given enough importance by the people in management, frankly. I’ve seen him sort of get jerked around this year and I thought it was a mistake. If he doesn’t play tomorrow I think it is a mistake, and if he doesn’t play every game the rest of the way I think it’s a crime.’
Crime averted though it took a catastrophe to happen.
Unlike Milbury, Thornton is not suited to the media level. He joked around with reporters that they had it easy on Level 9 but ultimately, it is just not his style.
“The game is so much easier on the ninth level. That is why you guys [the media] make so much money, huh? I kind of prepare the same way I would for any other game. It is easier up there, you can see things happen before they happen. It is a lot quicker on ice level so I just come out and do what I do,” Thornton said.
|Somber Sturm has long road ahead||05.03.10 at 12:35 pm ET|
Marco Sturm has been down this road before and he does not like it. On Dec. 18, 2008 Sturm tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and missed the rest of the Bruins regular season as well as the playoffs. On Saturday, he tore the medial collateral [MCL] and anterior cruciate ligaments [ACL] when he went in for a hit against Philadelphia Matt Carle 21-second into his first shift in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia.
“Yeah, I tried to hit him [Carle] and I felt it right away when I went to hit him. I got caught or something and my knee twisted just a little bit and I could hear right away the big pop and I had heard it again, before [his previous ACL tear] and I knew it was going to be the same thing from before,” Sturm said.
For Carle’s part, he did not register that the Bruins forward had been injured until play was stopped when Tuukka Rask covered the puck in the Boston zone. It was just a normal hockey play — Sturm going for a defenseman on the forecheck, the defenseman gets the puck away and braces for the hit.
“I just saw him coming out of the corner of my eye and had to get rid of the puck because I knew I was going to get hit,” Carle said. “So, I just flipped the puck and braced for the hit and saw him go down right after. Just kind of one of those weird plays that happens during a game. As soon as I flipped the puck and reacting to that and he just kind of bounced off me and I didn’t know he was hurt until later in the shift and he was just laying on the ice and you know it had to be something pretty serious because he wasn’t moving.”
Sturm noted that the injury is the exactly same that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered in the beginning of the 2008 NFL season. In as such, Sturm will wait for the MCL to reduce in swelling and heal itself a little before going in and having surgery on the knee. Like his left knee the year before, Dr. Peter Asnis and Dr. Tom Gill will perform the procedure in about four to six weeks. In terms of rehabilitation, Sturm does not yet know if he will stay in Boston or head back to Germany.
“I am definitely going to have Dr. Asnis and Dr. Gill do the surgery again but for sure I am going to have it here. I don’t know if I am going to stay here or go back home. There are a lot of questions and I just don’t know and we will have to wait and see,” Sturm said. “These guys, they didn’t do it, but it’s acting like Tom Brady. Same thing. But he decided to go to another doctor. And he did it too early, because the MCL wasn’t healed. So you got to get it healed first and then do the surgery. So it could be a while.”
At this point though, Sturm is just trying to cope with what could be the lowest moment of his career and perhaps the very end of his career. He is only 31 years old and has 855 NHL games under his belt but is now looking at his second major knee surgery in as many years.
“It is going to be the toughest challenge. The last one I didn’t know what to expect, I just went at it but I was around all the season with the boys,” Sturm said. “That helped me a lot. This time I know how hard it was and all that. It is a lot of work. I don’t know. Right now, I don’t know. I am still rattled and just got to be patient. I know I have my family to support me, my family at home so, we’ll see. It will be hard, definitely but I know what to expect now and just try do the best with it.”
It will be December before Sturm can even think about coming back to the ice for the Bruins for the 2010-11 season, his last of year under contract to the Bruins for $3.5 million. Yet, Sturm is the type of high-character guy who has worked hard to get back from injuries before and, though melancholy sitting on the stage at TD Garden Monday morning, showed a bit of resolve to think that he can make it back from a catastrophic injury, one more time.
“After the ACL from last year and just never thought it was going to be another injury like this. It is going to be a tough one but I have always come back from big injuries and I will come back from this one but it is going to be tough,” Sturm said.
|Recchi standing tall||05.02.10 at 2:06 pm ET|
It is always fun to see the diminutive players take on the those of elevated physical stature. Smaller players, by definition, have to be scratchy, buckle-up-your-bootstraps type of guys if they want to survive in professional sports. It is not a matter of talent; often the smaller players are more talented than their larger peers and thus pack more talent per square inch into the smaller package. It is akin to pundits saying that Shaquille O’Neal was never a very talented center but was just so physically dominant that he became unguardable.
One of the smallest guys in the Bruins locker room (and also the oldest) is forward and future Hall of Fame member Mark Recchi. In Game 1 against the Flyers on Saturday he had lost his helmet in front of the crease and found himself face-to-chest with towering Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger. The defenseman is listed at 6-foot-6 while Recchi is quite generously on the roster at 5-10 (probably more like 5-7 or so, maybe a tad taller). Recchi did not like the extra juice with which Pronger hit him at the end of the play and gave the blueliner a big push to let to show his displeasure.
“It is just the way Mark Recchi has played for us all year,” B’s coach Claude Julien said. “I think we talk about him being a good example, and that is another one besides his work ethic and commitment. He has just gone in there and it is all about business. We know that Chris Pronger takes liberties with players at times, and at one point you have got guys pushing back and that is what [Recchi] decided to do.”
For his part, Recchi did not really think much of the fracas. He was served with roughing and cross-checking penalties, and Pronger took two for a cross check.
“It is part of it,” Recchi said. “It is the playoffs. That is the way goes. You know, he is a competitive guy, we all are. Whether it is him or whatever. You try to create space and try what it takes to win games, and he is going to do that, and there is a reason that he has won championships because he does what it takes. It is just us going out there and playing and it is really no big deal.”
This is an interesting series for Recchi, who served two separate stints with the Flyers, the first from the 1991-92 season until 1994-95, when he was traded to the Canadiens in midseason. Montreal then traded him back to Philadelphia in the middle of the 1998-99 season and he stayed there until 2003-04. He won a championship with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
“Yeah, I played the longest there and Philly is a great town and very similar to Boston, a great sports town,” he said. “Great place to live and I really enjoyed my time there. I ended up winning a Cup a couple of years later so it worked out. Everything happens for a reason.”
The 42-year-old Recchi may be one of the oldest players in the NHL, but even he would be hard-pressed to give specific details on the last time the Bruins and Flyers met in the playoffs in 1978, when he was 10 years old and living in British Columbia. That does not mean he is not unwilling to help write a new chapter in the rivalry.
|Sturm out for season with knee injury||05.02.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed reports Sunday afternoon that forward Marco Sturm will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Sturm suffered the injury 21 seconds into his first shift of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers after he hit the boards when he missed a partial check on Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle. Sturm crumpled to the ice and had to be assisted to the tunnel.
“Marco suffer a knee injury yesterday that will keep him out for the rest of the year,” Julien said. “It is unfortunate news for our hockey club and especially for him who has battled through a major injury last year and was really looking forward to these playoffs.”
The injury is believed to be Sturm’s right knee, which is the opposite from when he injured his left knee on Dec. 18, 2008, and missed most of the 2009-10 season. Sturm had been held pointless for the Bruins’ seven playoff games, though led the team with 22 goals during the regular season. Sturm did not produce for the Bruins down the stretch, either, as he only had two points (a goal and an assist) since March 13 after back-to-back multiple-point games on March 9 and 11, the two games after center Marc Savard went down with a Grade 2 concussion in Pittsburgh on March 7.
Julien said that he was unsure what the next medical step would be for Sturm and that the doctors need to let the swelling go down before figuring the extent of the injury.
“I don’t know yet,” Julien said. “We talked about the injury keeping him out for the rest of the year. When you have the injury there is swelling involved and that is a medical issue and I don’t know what is going to happen either way with him.”
UPDATE — The Bruins announced on Sunday afternoon that Sturm has torn both his ACL and MCL and will have surgery in 4-6 weeks. Here is the full press release from the team:
BOSTON — Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that forward Marco Sturm will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. He sustained the injury during the first period of the Bruins/Flyers game on Saturday, May 1.
Sturm will have surgery within 4-6 weeks from the date of the injury (May 1). His expected recovery time is an estimated six months post-surgery.
Sturm is a veteran of 855 NHL regular season games and has registered 234 goals and 232 assists for 466 points in his career. The 31-year-old tallied 22 goals and 15 assists during the 2009-10 season, marking the seventh time in his career he surpassed the 20-goal plateau. He played in all seven playoff games this season and has scored eight goals and tallied 11 assists in 52 postseason games for San Jose and Boston.
An injury to his left knee caused him to miss significant time during the 2008-09 season.
|Savard triumphs in overtime to take Game 1||05.01.10 at 3:46 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins and Flyers are off to the races in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals and it was Boston that came out a leg ahead in Game 1, taking it 5-4 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Philadelphia came back from two down in the last ten minutes of the third period to send the game to extra time. Marc Savard scored the game-winner to clinch the series opener when he beat Brian Boucher in overtime. Tuukka Rask took the win with 32 saves while Boucher was the loser by allowing five goals on 46 shots.
There was bad news for the Boston right off the bat as forward Marco Sturm tried to check Matt Carle into the boards but Carle sidestepped and Sturm only registered a partial hit. As Sturm skated away he crumpled and fell in the slot and could not make it off the ice on his own and had to be assisted by trainers off the ice and down the tunnel.
Irony would then strike and so would the Bruins. Steve Begin, who took Sturm’s spot on line with with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, scored his first career playoff (in 30 appearances) goal at 2:39 when he caught a loose puck off attempts from Recchi and Bergeron on the right side of Boucher’s crease and snapped it top shelf for the early lead. It was only the second time in the playoffs (though second straight game) where the Bruins have scored the first goal of the game.
The Bruins would make it 2-0 at 12:54 on a quick snap-bang-slam play between Bergeron and Dennis Wideman. Bergeron won a face off to the stick of Wideman at the point and the center went straight to the net as Wideman wound up and put a slap shot on Boucher’s pads. The puck bounced up and Bergeron put it behind the goaltender for his second point of the game and third goal of the playoffs.
The Flyers cut into the lead at when Ryan Parent found the puck idling up the high slot after Mike Richards and Arron Asham put pressure on Rask at 7:38 of the second period. Parent skated in with a full head of steam and got every piece of it to send it screaming through traffic in front and rattle around the back of the net to make it 2-1.
But Boston insisted on keeping its two-goal advantage and used the power play to its advantage (Mike Richards, Daniel Carcillo and Marc Savard all for roughing at 9:58) when Johnny Boychuk hit a liner from the point that deflected off of defenseman Braydon Coburn’s skate straight onto the stick of Miroslav Satan on the right dot for the put back and a 3-1 lead at 11:43 in the second period.
Philadelphia gradually shook off the rust from its long layoff between series as the game went along and kept itself in the game and the Flyers finally broke down the Bruins penalty kill late in the second. Chris Pronger was the culprit as the puck was cycled to him in the high slot and he skated over to the right point and took a seeing-eye slap shot that went through Rask’s pads to make it 3-2 at 15:58. It was the first power play goal the Bruins had allowed all postseason through 21 opportunities.
David Krejci put Boston back up by two goals at 7:25 in the third when a shot by Satan got through traffic in front of the net and slipped through to crease level where the center could wait for Boucher to commit, which he did on Krejci’s second fake, and put it in the corner passed the goaltenders skate to make it 4-2.
Philadelphia stormed back with two goals four minutes apart in the back half of the third period. The first was a rebound put back by Richards at 12:37 to cut the Bruins momentum and keep the Flyers hanging around long enough to make it a contest. The strike would prove pivotal as Danny Briere tied the game at 16:38 when he took the puck straight down the middle of the ice, through the neutral zone and high slot and split Wideman and Matt Hunwick in half to shoot, rebound and score on Rask to knot it at four goals apiece.
Marc Savard– Had the game-winner in overtime.
Patrice Bergeron — Boston’s biggest engine propelled the team to a hot start with a goal and an assist in the first period and another in overtime giving him seven points (three goals, four assists) through seven playoff games.
Mike Richards — The Flyers’ captain had two assists and a goal as Philadelphia kept up with the Boston attack.
Turning Point — Briere torched Matt Hunwick and Wideman by skating straight down the ice, through the slot and put a shot on Rask, picked up the rebound and put in in the net without ever really slowing down to tie the game at four at 16:42 in the third to bring the Flyers back from what seemed a certain defeat in the opening game of the series and eventually send the game to overtime.
Key Play — Savard scored the game-winner in overtime when he found the puck on the right circle and whipped it with vigor at Boucher who had little chance at the screamer that sent TD Garden into a riot.
|Julien: ‘I think some of our players weren’t even born’||05.01.10 at 12:25 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien held a pre-game press conference at TD Garden Saturday morning before puck drop of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Julien touched on how he will monitor the return of center Marc Savard, the play of rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid and the playoff history of the two teams. Along those lines, Julien said not to expect the same type of series that was waged between the two franchises during the heyday of the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s.
“Because the past is the past and we all anticipate the same thing to happen that happened in I think it was 1975, that was quite a few years ago. I think some of our players weren’t even born,” Julien said. “Nonetheless, we want to associate that with today. The game has changed, the rules have changed, so much has changed. I’m not saying it won’t be a physical game, but to try and associate those two, I don’t think there is going to be a ton of comparison.”
The Bruins and Flyers have not met in the playoffs since the semis in 1978 when the Boston took down Philadelphia in five games.
Julien was noncommittal about who would make the lineup come game time though word has just come down that Shawn Thornton is the healthy scratch. He participated in warmups but will be on his way to the press box to watch shortly. Blake Wheeler will get the nod at the forward spot on the fourth line.
Here is the transcript of the press conference, courtesy of the Bruins media relations staff:
On how the team is going to handle Philadelphia is going to try and rough up the thin defensemen core:
Well, Mick I think we have been dealing with that for about a month now, since those two other guys [Mark Stuartand Dennis Seidenberg] got hurt and we have had to use more those [other] players. It hasn’t been an issue so I don’t know why we should be looking at it as an issue again. Guys know what to do. They want to stay out of the box. We have to stick together. It’s the same old cliche as you hear everyday so, again, it’s not a big deal for me and we will deal with it the way we have dealt with it so far and if it becomes more of an issue, then we will make the adjustment.
On how he monitors how Marc Savard is playing and feeling:
I think you get a pretty good idea by watching what he is doing out there and seeing the energy he is deploying and at one point he gets to the bench, you can see if he is overly tired. You can do that with any player right now. When you see them on the bench, you have a pretty good idea if a guy needs an extra break, so those are all things that we have to look at. The thing is, we talked about putting him in situations where he is going to help our hockey club. At the same time, this is playoff hockey. We can’t wait or sacrifice our team for the sake of giving him that opportunity. It is important for him to go out in the situations we put him in and really try and help our team out. It’s as simple as that. We are here to win. We are not here to cater to anybody, but we have to do what it takes for the team and that is why he has been working hard for the last ten days to get into the best shape possible so that he can step in and at least contribute in some way or fashion.
On Adam McQuaid and how he has been prepared for the playoffs:
He is a stay at home defenseman, we know that. You’re not going to see him rush up the ice a lot, but what he does is take care of his own end and takes care of it well. He is a good sized defenseman that has a good presence. He can certainly take care of the toughness area. He takes care of himself extremely well there. He makes a good first pass and that is what we’re getting out of him and that’s what we expect out of him. I don’t think we are going to ask him to do more than what he does well. I think he has done a tremendous job when called upon. That is where he fits in and we are happy with the way he has answered.
On if he expects the style of play to be the same between the two teams as it was in the past:
I don’t know. We always want to predict here before it starts and a lot of times we predict rough and tough and all of the sudden it is a good, fast-paced hockey game. I think we will probably have a better idea after tonight which direction the series is going into. I know that we just want to go out there and play our game and I think they want to do the same thing here. Because the past is the past and we all anticipate the same thing to happen that happened in I think it was 1975, that was quite a few years ago. I think some of our players weren’t even born. Nonetheless, we want to associate that with today. The game has changed, the rules have changed, so much has changed. I’m not saying it won’t be a physical game, but to try and associate those two, I don’t think there is going to be a ton of comparison.