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Claude Julien calls out Habs for late-game antics, says he expects Bruins to win Game 7 05.12.14 at 11:08 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Claude Julien had a field day with officials in the final minute of the Bruins’ 4-0 Game 6 loss to the Canadiens Monday night, and that frustration carried over into his postgame press conference.

Julien was angry that the Canadiens were taking liberties and not getting called for dangerous plays. Julien was angry that what he believed to be a David Desharnais slew-foot on Brad Marchand went uncalled in the third period, with emotions boiling over after Andrei Markov put his stick between Zdeno Chara‘s legs and whacked the Boston captain in the groin.

Scrums ensued from there, and Julien said such things will happen when dirty plays go unpunished.

“Although we’re perceived as the bad guys and they’re the good guys, when Markov trips Chara and then he puts his stick between his legs and nothing’s going to be called, eventually somebody’s going to react,” Julien said. “Whether it’s right or wrong, Zdeno reacted and then everything else started.

“There was a slew-foot before — Desharnais on Marchand. It’s a slew foot. Those are things that we keep talking about that are dangerous in our game. It’s a rivalry and there are some things going on on both sides.”

The Bruins are considered to be the aggressors in pretty much any series they play given their physicality and a tendency to cross the line. Julien said that the Bruins have pulled their share of stunts as well this series, but that Game 6 should show that it isn’t one-sided.

“I’m not portraying ourselves as innocent here,” Julien said. “I’m just saying it takes two teams to [tango].”

Julien was asked one more question after that, with a reporter asking what he expects from the seventh game.

“I expect us to win,” Julien said.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara,
Canadiens blank Bruins to force Game 7 05.12.14 at 10:22 pm ET
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MONTREAL — The Bruins can only hope that the Canadiens didn’t save anything for Game 7 after the beating handed out by the home team Monday night. The Canadiens trounced the Bruins, 4-0, in Game 6 at Bell Centre to stay alive and force a winner-take-all Game 7. The series will be decided Wednesday at TD Garden.

The B’s gave one to the Canadiens 2:11 into the game when Kevan Miller caught a bad bounce on an attempt to send the puck out from behind the Boston net. The puck bounced off his stick and in front, where Tuukka Rask tried to get it, but Lars Eller put it in to give the Habs a 1-0 lead.

Though the Bruins pushed back hard in the second period, the Habs scored twice in the final five minutes of the period to put the game out of reach for Boston. Max Pacioretty scored his first goal of the series with a partial breakaway goal that came as a result of gaffes from both Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask at 15:24 of the second, while Thomas Vanek buried a loose puck in front on a power play at 17:39 to make it 3-0.

The B’s went 0-for-3 on the power play on the night, while the Canadiens were 1-for-3. Though they didn’t score on the power play that followed Milan Lucic‘s trip of P.K. Subban at 3:58 of the third, the timing of the penalty was enough to hurt Boston’s minimal chances of a comeback.

The Bruins nearly got on the board with under 10 minutes to play in the third period on a shot from Zdeno Chara that bounced up and over Carey Price, but David Desharnais fell on it just before it crossed the line. The play was reviewed, with the no goal call being confirmed. Price’s shutout was his first this series.

Desharnais would later assist Vanek’s second goal of the game as Vanek buried an empty netter to seal the victory for Montreal.

The Bruins are no strangers to results like Monday’s, as they also failed to close out the Habs in Game 6 in 2011 after taking a 3-2 series lead; that year, Boston bounced back in Game 7 en route to a Stanley Cup. Whether they advance to the conference finals this year remains to be seen.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS Read the rest of this entry »

Bruins not afraid of Bell Centre magic entering Game 6 05.12.14 at 2:19 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Monday’s Game 6 marks the Bruins’ last game at the Bell Centre this season. It’s up to them to decide whether the same goes for the Canadiens.

There’s no home-ice advantage like the Bell Centre. Look up home and away records and it will tell you otherwise, but there is no crowd like the Montreal crowd — both in decibel level and in influence.

The Bruins actually had a much better home record (31-7-3) than the Canadiens (23-13-5) this season, which makes sense because the Bruins were the best team in the NHL. The Bruins already have a victory at Centre Bell this series, and they can fondly recall the days of winning Games 3 and 4 in Montreal in 2011. Yet as the teams prepare for Monday’s Game 6, the idea of eliminating the Canadiens in their own building is daunting. The B’s couldn’t do it when they had the chance in 2011, as it took a seventh game and Nathan Horton overtime heroics to close out that series.

Should the Canadiens take Game 6, as they did in that classic 2011 series, they’ll have a full head of momentum headed into Boston for a winner-take-all seventh game. It’s do-or-golf time for the Habs, and they wouldn’t rather face it anywhere else.

“We understand they use their crowd to their advantage here,” Torey Krug said after Monday’s morning skate. “They come out very fast. When you can handle that, it does well for your team. We’re just going to come in and make sure we focus on the first 10 minutes and then after that we’ll see what happens and let it take care of itself.”

The Bruins aren’t going to psych themselves out, however. They know the building and they’ve won in the building. As intimidating as it may be to sit in the dressing room and hear all the madness going on during Montreal’s epic — and it is epic — pregame ceremony, they’re smart enough to try to avoid it. That especially goes for the younger guys.

“You try to focus on yourself. The biggest thing is you know they’re going to have their game plan and we’re going to have ours,” Matt Fraser said. “I think for us, we want to dictate the pace of play and dictate how things out there. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to stick to our game plan.”

Fraser handled his first real experience in the Bell Centre (he’d played a preseason game there back in September) extremely well, as he was given a career-high 14:44 of ice time and scored the game’s only goal on his first shift in overtime of Game 4. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Matt Fraser, Torey Krug,
Bruins’ Dennis Seidenberg begins taking contact 05.12.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Dennis Seidenberg has begun taking contact, marking a sizable step in his road back from ACL/MCL surgery.

Seidenberg, who had surgery in early January after tearing the ligaments in his right knee on Dec. 27 and being ruled out for the season, stayed out after Monday’s morning skate and did one-on-one battle drills in the corner with Jordan Caron and Andrej Meszaros. Seidenberg has been skating since April 8, doing more and more until eventually joining the team in practices late last month. Monday was his first time taking contact.

The 32-year-old had said last week that he felt good enough to play but that he still wasn’t healed. Now that he is taking contact, the chances of him returning this postseason — assuming the Bruins advance past the Habs — become much more realistic, but the timetable is unknown. Daniel Paille, who was working his way back from a concussion, had begun taking contact on April 25 before playing May 1, but Seidenberg has been out much longer, and such timetables vary from player to player and injury to injury. It’s safe to assume that Seidenberg would need at least a week of contact before the team could start considering him as an option to play.

The Bruins initially had said that Seidenberg’s recovery time would be 6-8 months, but he has been well ahead of schedule. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has declined comment on the status of the player since the beginning of the playoffs, saying only that the team is not assuming that the player will return at some point.

“We’€™re not counting on Dennis to be back,”  Chiarelli said on April 14. “We’€™re going to be very cautious with this injury. He has been skating and that’€™s pretty much all I can say on it.”

If Seidenberg were to return, he would provide stability on the B’s back end in a spot that has seen some inconsistency. Both Meszaros and Matt Bartkowski have struggled on the left side of the second pairing, and though Seidenberg traditionally has served as Zdeno Chara‘s postseason partner, he might be better served strengthening Johnny Boychuk‘s pairing.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Peter Chiarelli,
Though not perfect, Bruins playing their best hockey of series with chance to close out Habs 05.11.14 at 11:10 pm ET
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It isn’t just because the Bruins have a 3-2 lead in the series, but they have plenty reason to be confident in themselves right now.

With two chances to close out the Habs, the B’s are playing their best hockey of the series. The first two games of the series saw them have to rely on third-period comebacks to allow them to split the games at the Garden, while Game 3 saw them make far too many mistakes in a 4-2 loss. Yet the last two games have seen them turn a corner of playing sound defensive hockey while managing to get offense both on the power play and an increasingly strong third line.

‘€œI like the way we’€™ve gotten better as a team. I like that we’€™ve progressively improved our game,’€ Gregory Campbell said Sunday. ‘€œWe’€™ve been fairly strong mentally. Montreal’€™s a tough place to play and we were down 2-1, but we fought our way back and put ourselves in a good position.’€

Bruins players seemed to be in agreement that Saturday’s 4-2 victory in Game 5 was their best game of the series. That game saw their power play break through with a pair of goals, while the fact that they got on the board early and built a 3-0 lead allowed them to play all but the first 13:19 with a lead.

“We had a solid game last game,” Matt Bartkowski said. “We had a good start and had the lead for once, which was nice. I think we played a pretty complete game. I said that before the game, if we play a full 60 minutes, we don’t really give them much and we’re fine.”

The Bruins didn’t give the Habs much in Game 5. After shutting out Montreal in Game 4 to even the series, the B’s kept the Habs quiet in five-on-five play, with Montreal’s only goals coming in the form of power play tallies, the second of which was a six-on-four goal with Carey Price pulled with 2:29 remaining.

Whether Game 6 sees as few penalties as the first two in Montreal did (the B’s took two penalties) remains to be seen, but if the refs lay off the whistles it will be advantageous to the Bruins. Boston is the better five-on-five team anyway, but the way the B’s have silenced Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais (thanks largely to Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron) has made up for the lack of offense out of David Krejci‘s line and left Montreal looking for answers.

With the Bruins having found their way and the Canadiens struggling to find a way to beat Tuukka Rask, the best thing the Canadiens have going for them in Game 6 is the fact that it’s at the Bell Centre. Remember, the last time the Bruins had a 3-2 series lead and the opportunity to end the series in Montreal, they couldn’t do it. The roster is plenty different from that 2011 team, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that closing out the Habs at the Bell Centre won’t come easy.

“Our biggest focus right now is to close out the series as fast as we can,” Reilly Smith said. “You don’t want to give a team like Montreal time to linger around because anything can happen in games and their goalie’s been pretty hot. If you give them a chance to shut you out, he’ll definitely do that. We’re going into the Bell Centre trying to [win]. That’s definitely our main focus.”

Shawn Thornton fined for squirting P.K. Subban with water bottle; Claude Julien ‘can’t support’ Thornton’s actions 05.11.14 at 11:21 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was fined $2,820.52 by the NHL Department of Player Safety for unsportsmanlike conduct committed late in the Bruins’ Game 5 win over the Canadiens.

Thornton squirted Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban with a water bottle at least once during the game, with Subban complaining to the official and yelling at Thornton after the second occurrence in the final minute of the game.

“€œWith Thorty, I don’€™€™t know if it was him, but somebody had squirted water twice at the end of the game there,”€ Subban said after the Bruins’ 4-2 win. “œHit me in the visor. I couldn’€™€™t even see the last minute and a half out there. I was pretty upset about that.”

After the fine was handed down, Thornton spoke to the media about it, taking no questions. Thornton seemed irked by the life the story has taken on and didn’t sound overly apologetic.

“I obviously got caught up in the moment. I’ll pay the fine. We obviously agree with what the league does there. I’ll pay the fine and move on. I’m sorry that the silly incident kind of overshadowed how my teammates played and the great win and how good the series has been.

“I think that there are definitely more important things to be focusing on. I got caught up in the moment. I probably shouldn’t have done that. I’ll move on, get ready for Game 6, pay the fine, and hopefully have a good showing.”

Claude Julien said Sunday morning that upon seeing the video of Thornton squirting Subban, he gave Thornton a talking to. Julien also made clear that he doesn’t support such behavior.

“As a coach, you always want to support your players, but there are certain things you can’t support,” Julien said. “I don’t think I can support Shawn on those actions. To me, I don’t think we like seeing our players do that. Whether he got caught up in the game or whatever, to me, he’s got to own up to it. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

The fine was the maximum possible for unsportsmanlike conduct under the current CBA.

It’s been a costly season for Thornton, who forfeited approximately $84,615.45 earlier in the season during his 15-game suspension that stemmed from his Dec. 7 incident with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. This season is the first in which Thornton has made over $1 million, as he signed a two-year contract that would pay him $1.1 million both last season and this season, but he lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $456,000 during last season’s lockout.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, P.K. Subban, Shawn Thornton,
Bruins beat Canadiens in Game 5 to take 3-2 series lead 05.10.14 at 9:45 pm ET
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The Bruins’ third line struck again as the B’s took a 3-2 series lead over the Canadiens with a 4-2 Game 5 victory Saturday at TD Garden.

Carl Soderberg scored his first career playoff goal and had a pair of assists for the Bruins. He opened the game’s scoring, taking a pass from Loui Eriksson and a firing a shot stick-side high shot on Carey Price that went off the Montreal goaltender’s blocker and in at 12:30 of the first period. The first period saw eight penalties called between the two teams, with less than half of the period being played five-on-five.

The Bruins got a pair of power play goals in a span of 22 seconds in the second period, first with Reilly Smith redirecting a Dougie Hamilton shot and then with a wide open Jarome Iginla taking a feed from Torey Krug and beating Price to make it 3-0.

Tuukka Rask‘s shutout streak, which dated back to Dale Weise‘s breakaway goal in the second period of Game 3, ended when Tomas Plekanec fired a shot from the left circle during a Montreal penalty that went off Brendan Gallagher and in. Rask’s streak had lasted 1:22:06.

Loui Eriksson made it 4-1 at 14:12, getting to the puck in front after Matt Fraser fired a shot from the half wall that yielded a big rebound. P.K. Subban scored during six-on-four play with Matt Bartkowski in the box for his second holding penalty of the game at 2:29.

The Bruins will be able to close out the Habs as soon as Monday at the Bell Centre in Game 6. The B’s held a 3-2 lead in the teams’ 2011 postseason meeting but dropped Game 6 by a 2-1 score in Montreal before eventually winning the series in seven games.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- That’s now two straight games in which Soderberg’s line has cashed in with Montreal’s third pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver on the ice. Taking advantage with the ever slow Murray on the ice should be a key to victory as long as Michel Therrien keeps the veteran defenseman in his lineup.

- The Bruins finally scored on the power play, ending a drought that had seen them go 0-for-10 at the start of the series. The goal featured a beauty of a pass from Torey Krug that got past Brian Gionta to Iginla. There were obviously coverage issues for Montreal to have left Iginla that wide open, but Gionta should have been able to get a stick on the pass to break it up.

- The Canadiens have to be in how-do-we-solve-Rask mode at this point, which is a fine turn of events after much the first eight periods of the series suggested the Bruins would be hard-pressed to solve Price. Rask stopped Max Pacioretty on a partial breakaway in the first period and stopped David Desharnais after the Montreal center took a stretch pass off a line change.

Rask even had his very own Tim Thomas moment, as he punched Plekanec in the hard after the Montreal center went hard to the net for a centering feed from Brian Gionta. The Bruins goaltender was penalized earlier in the period for batting the puck over the glass.

- One of the first things you should know about Fraser is that he has one of the best shots in the entire organization. The B’s didn’t see much of Fraser putting the puck on net during his 14 NHL games this regular season, however. The 23-year-old only had one shot on goal in Game 5, but it did major damage in yielding the rebound that led to Eriksson’s goal. Fraser had an opportunity in the high slot earlier but fired it wide of the net.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- In a development that few could have seen coming entering the series, the Bruins are taking a bunch of penalties at home despite being penalized only once in each game played in Montreal. Boston gave Montreal four power plays through the first two periods, and it could have been worse had Marchand gotten something extra for taking a whack at Eller after his penalty was called.

Bartkowski took a pair of holding penalties in Game 5, which gives him four this series and five penalties this series.

In scoring during Marchand’s penalty and Bartkowski’s second, the Habs have now scored six power play goals at the Garden this series with no power play goals at the Bell Centre.

- There was a brief scare for Johnny Boychuk on Plekanec’s penalty, as the Montreal center’s stick appeared to hit Boychuk in the throat area as Boychuk went to hit him. Boychuk was holding his chin/throat area after the play, but he stayed in the game, with Iginla’s goal coming on Plekanec’s penalty.

- Smith hit another post for the Bruins in the first period, which, if you’ve been counting how many times the Bruins have done that this series, means you’ve counted to a high numbers. Posts and missed nets on non-redirected shots usually means you’re going up a good goalie and you have to pick your spots well to beat him.

Read More: Bruins, Canadiens, Carey Price, Carl Soderberg
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