|Why the book on Carey Price is not out||05.05.14 at 1:24 pm ET|
Last year it was Corey Crawford‘s glove, and now it’s the top half of the net against Carey Price. As the Bruins score their goals in certain spots, the idea of “the book being out” on the opposing goaltender naturally emerges.
Yet in the case of the Bruins vs. Price, the narrative developing isn’t quite accurate. Speaking to the Bruins goaltender — whom we all know is extremely honest – the whole thing is silly. In Tuukka Rask‘s mind, goaltenders can’t reach the NHL with free spaces on their bingo boards.
“I think every goalie in this league feels like if you see the shot, you should stop it pretty much,” Rask said Monday. “I mean, there’s tendencies where guys get scored on more than other places, but I don’t think there’s one particular spot on any goalie where you just want to keep shooting and shooting.”
On Sunday, Bruins players were asked about the Bruins having scored a lot of goals this series on Price by shooting high, and their answers suggested that to be the case. Dougie Hamilton even said that B’s shooters had picked up on the fact that Price was looking low.
“I think we’ve definitely noticed that when he’s screened he’s looking low and he gets really low,” Hamilton said. “I think we can score a lot of goals up high when we have a net-front presence. I don’t know if we’re really trying, but we’ve noticed that.”
That may be the case, but after looking through all seven goals the B’s have scored on Price through the first two games of the series, it’s barely even a tendency. In fact, only three of Boston’s goals have come from shooting high: Reilly Smith‘s third-period goal in Game 1 while Price was trying to look around a screen, Daniel Paille‘s snap shot in Game 2 (which wasn’t even shot all that high; it went off Francis Bouillon and up) and Hamilton’s Game 2 snap shot glove side high as Price was moving across his net.
If anything, taking advantage of Price on the move has been key for the Bruins. Hamilton’s goal and Smith’s Game 2 goal both came as a result of that, as Smith shot the puck glove side around the middle of the net as Price was moving across.
|Tuukka Rask welcomes baby daughter||05.05.14 at 12:16 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and his girlfriend welcomed a baby girl this weekend, making the Bruins goaltender a father for the first time.
The due date for the child to arrive was Friday, the day after Game 1 of the second round against the Canadiens, and the baby was born either Sunday or early Monday morning. There was a state police officer at Friday’s practice, perhaps to provide an escort if need be, and the Bruins would have had a plan to get Rask to Boston from Montreal had the baby come after the Bruins had left for Canada on Monday.
Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson told ESPN Boston on Thursday that he was prepared to play in case Rask had to leave Game 1 to tend to the situation.
“I’ve sort of talked to him about it. You don’t know what’s going to happen there, so you sort of have to be ready,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if he’s going to leave or not leave in that situation, but again, you can’t really control anything. I just have to try to be ready for any situation, if I get to start or I get put in, I want to make the best of it and try to do as well as you can.”
Understandably with a lot on his mind, Rask had an uncharacteristic performance Thursday and vented about his own play following the 4-3 double-overtime loss to Montreal.
The weight off the new father’s shoulders was celebrated by the entire team Monday, as the B’s selected Rask to lead the team’s stretch at the end of Monday’s practice.
Games 3 and 4 of the second round will be played Tuesday and Thursday at the Bell Centre.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Andrej Meszaros glad to be back in Bruins lineup||05.04.14 at 2:06 pm ET|
When Matt Bartkowski got healthy and was given his usual spot on the Bruins’ second pairing back midway through the first round against the Red Wings, Andrej Meszaros had to know that he wasn’t going to sit for long. It’s the playoffs; players get hurt.
Yet when Meszaros made his return to Boston’s lineup in Saturday’s Game 2 against the Canadiens, it wasn’t because of injuries, but because Bartkowski was having a tough go of it. Bartkowski, who beat out Meszaros for the job as Johnny Boychuk‘s partner down the stretch, returned from the flu for Game 3 against the Red Wings, but struggled in Games 4 and 5 against Detroit.
When Bartkowski had another tough performance in Game 1 against the Canadiens — most notably taking the penalty that led to P.K. Subban‘s double-overtime-winner, Claude Julien showed just how short a leash he’s keeping his players on and put Meszaros back in the lineup for Game 2.
“It’s what we decided to do; it’s as simple as that,” Julien said Sunday. “I think we felt we needed a change and we made that.”
Meszaros had an assist and took a roughing penalty Saturday. His penalty for getting into it with Tomas Plekanec — which should have been matching — led to a Thomas Vanek power play goal.
By the looks of it, Meszaros will remain in the lineup going forward, as Bartkowski skated with the injured players and scratches Sunday.
“I had to prepare myself because you never know what’s going to happen, if there’s going to be injuries or whatever,” Meszaros said Sunday. “But obviously being out of the lineup it’s tough for anybody, not just for me. But I’m glad I got the opportunity to go out there and play. It was a fun game.”
There is one interesting wrinkle to Meszaros’ situation: The pick that was traded to the Flyers at the trade deadline was conditional, and it’s in jeopardy of vesting. As is, Boston has sent a third-round pick in the upcoming draft to Philadelphia for Meszaros, but if the B’s advance to the Eastern Conference finals and Meszaros plays in two thirds of Boston’s postseason games, the Flyers would get Boston’s second-round pick instead.
Meszaros has now played in three of the Bruins’ seven playoff games, but if the B’s beat the Canadiens, he’ll have played in at least 6 of Boston’s 10. In other words, if the Bruins beat the Canadiens and Meszaros stays in the lineup for the rest (or even most) of Boston’s playoff run, the Flyers will get that pick. Philly also gets that pick if the Bruins re-sign Meszaros before the draft. Should the B’s sign him after the draft, the Flyers get a fourth-rounder 2015 in addition to this year’s third.
|No practice for Bruins; Adam McQuaid has ankle surgery||05.04.14 at 1:40 pm ET|
Adam McQuaid, who has been out since Jan. 19 with a quad strain, is officially done for the season after getting arthoscopic surgery on his right ankle. McQuaid played 30 games this season, the last of which was Jan. 19 in Chicago before missing the rest of the season with a quad strain.
McQuaid was last seen skating on April 19. According to an industry source, the decision was made for McQuaid to have surgery on the ankle — an issue that he’d already been dealing with — once it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to play this season due to the quad injury. At that point, it made sense to take care of the ankle immediately.
It was obviously a very trying year for McQuaid, who initially hurt himself on Nov. 9 against the Maple Leafs and made multiple comeback attempts that didn’t take. He returned for three games in November before re-aggravating his quad injury and then came back in December to play 11 games before getting injured again. The team shut him down for over a month in March, but he never returned to game action.
“Every time I’ve come back, I’ve hoped that that was going to be the end of it, but it’s hockey and things happens,” McQuaid said in February. “So it goes in life.”
It could be tougher for McQuaid going forward, as Kevan Miller may have claimed the third-pairing right spot — McQuaid’s usual role — for good. McQuaid has one more year on his current contract after this season with a $1.56 million cap hit, while Miller is signed up for the next two seasons at $800,000 a year.
McQuaid’s teammates stayed off the ice for the most part Sunday as they have a two-day break between Saturday’s Game 2 victory in Boston and Tuesday’s Game 3 in Montreal.
On the ice for the Bruins Sunday morning were Dennis Seidenberg, Corey Potter, Justin Florek and Matt Bartkowski. Florek and Bartkowski were both healthy scratches in Game 2 against the Canadiens.
Potter’s presence on the ice is a good sign, as he suffered a shoulder injury between Games 4 and 5 of the first round against the Red Wings.
As for Chris Kelly, who has yet to skate since suffering a back injury late in the season, Claude Julien gave minimal update on Boston’s third-line left wing. Julien would only say that each day has been better for Kelly.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|P.K. Subban apologized to Shawn Thornton for ducking||05.03.14 at 5:18 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton left the game in the third period after hurting his right knee on a collision with P.K. Subban in the neutral zone. Thornton was going for a hit on Subban, who lowered himself as he sent the puck into the Bruins zone. Thornton ended up returning to the game, but he said after the game that he didn’t like the position Subban put him in and that the Canadiens defenseman apologized to him for the play.
“I don’t like people ducking. I think [Brad Marchand] got about five games for it once,” Thornton said. “I will say, off the draw he apologized afterwards, so there’s that. I think it’s a dangerous play, personally. But it’s playoffs, it’s hockey, I’m fine, so we’re OK.”
The suspension to which Thornton referred was Marchand’s ban in the 2011-12 season for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo. Marchand’s offense was far more egregious than Subban’s, and no penalty was called on Saturday’s incident.
“I don’t know what happened,” Subban said of the play. “I just tried to shoot the puck around the zone and I sort of lost my footing there. Obviously you don’t want to see anybody go off hurt, but he came back. I don’t know if he stayed in the game, but [I was] happy to see that.”
When Thornton got back on the bench, the Bruins were still trailing by a pair of goals in the third period. He delivered them a message on the bench midway through the period: one goal every five minutes.
“I’m not psychic. It’s a pretty standard statement depending on the time and the score,” Thornton said. “I think I said two goals, but we’re a resilient crew here. We have been all year, so I knew the character would be there’I was just hoping the pucks would go in.”
|Claude Julien: Bruins beat Canadiens in Game 2 despite ‘a lot of crap that we put up with’||05.03.14 at 4:26 pm ET|
Claude Julien was proud of his team for overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period to take a 5-3 win over the Canadiens in Game 2 Saturday, and he hinted that his team did it in spite of the officials.
The Canadiens had six power plays and scored on two of them. One of the Bruins’ penalties was a bench minor on Julien.
“We had the tough second period, and at the start of the third [they] got that other power-play goal, but the way that we just battled back from, I felt, a lot of crap that we put up with today was pretty indicative of what our team is all about,” Julien said. “It just shows that if you focus on the things you need to focus on, this is a pretty good team that can accomplish a lot.”
Julien wouldn’t specify what the “crap” was, saying that “anybody that watched the game knows what was going on there,” and adding that it was a “tough game.”
He did have a pretty hilarious explanation for his bench minor, which occurred late in the second period.
“The referee,” Julien said, “I kind of told him that I didn’t agree with his calls.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins come back in third period to tie series vs. Canadiens||05.03.14 at 3:23 pm ET|
The Bruins rallied from two goals down in the third period to tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece with a 5-3 victory in Game 2 Saturday at TD Garden.
After the Habs increased their lead to 3-1 on Thomas Vanek’s second power play goal of the game, the B’s made their push in the final nine minutes of regulation. First, Dougie Hamilton took a feed from Brad Marchand and fired a shot past four players on its way past Carey Price at 10:56. Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a shot from the right half wall that went off Francis Bouillon and Reilly Smith gave the B’s the lead with 3:32 left by taking a feed from Torey Krug and beating Price from the right circle. Milan Lucic added an empty netter.
Daniel Paille gave the Bruins their first lead of the series when he took a pass from Carl Soderberg in the high slot and beat Carey Price at 13:02 of the first. The Canadiens answered back in the second when a frantic scrum in front of Rask ended with Mike Weaver blasting a shot past the Bruins goaltender, among others, from the right circle. Montreal’s possession on the play came off a Brad Marchand neutral zone turnover.
Vanek then scored his first goal of the series by tipping a P.K. Subban shot past Rask to make it 2-1 at 18:09 of the second. He added another with Dougie Hamilton in the box in the third. Hamilton brought the Bruins within one at 10:56 of the third, firing a slapshot from the top of the zone past four players on its way past Price off a feed from Marchand.
Game 3 will be played Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Shawn Thornton left the game after an injury scare in the first but ended up returning to the game. He appeared to hyperextend his right knee while going for a hit on Subban early in the third period. Subban went down as Thornton was going for the hit, resulting in an awkward play that saw Thornton’s knee hit Subban’s rear end before Thornton went down. He remained on the ice for a few moments and was helped off the ice as he put little pressure on his leg.
Watching the play happen, the end result could have been a lot worse than it was.
- Patrice Bergeron now has points in six straight games.
- Tuukka Rask was better Saturday after a shaky outing in Game 1. Rask stopped 25 of the 28 shots he saw.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Boston had a one-minute 5-on-3 when Brandon Prust took a holding penalty while killing off a Dale Weise hooking penalty. The B’s are now 0-for-5 on the power play this series. They scored on the man advantage in every game but Game 1 of the first round against the Red Wings.
- For the second straight game, the Bruins were penalized as a result of a really bad dive by the Canadiens. People get carried away with the talk about the Canadiens embellishing, but Dale Weise went down in the first period of Game 1 when Matt Bartkowski’s stick brushed against his pants, while Alexei Emelin fell to the ice in a hurry with minimal contact from Jordan Caron’s stick to earn the Habs a power play in Game 2.
- The Canadiens continue to have success on the power play, as they’ve now struck four times on the man advantage after scoring just twice in their 36 power plays entering the series.
Vanek’s goal would not have occurred had Zdeno Chara successfully gotten the puck out of the zone on his clearing attempt. The Habs managed to keep it in, and that passing led to Subban firing the shot that Vanek tipped in.
- Milan Lucic had a couple of close calls in the second period but came up empty. He caught a pass from David Krejci that had gone off Max Pacioretty‘s stick and then dropped it into the net. The play was reviewed and called no-goal, and Price actually ended up robbing Lucic on a bid shortly after.
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