|Matt Bartkowski, Justin Florek scratches for Bruins in Game 2 vs. Canadiens||05.03.14 at 11:32 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch for Game 2 of the second round against the Canadiens after taking a pair of penalties in Game 1, both of which led to P.K. Subban power play goals. Andrej Meszaros is back in the lineup after missing the last three games as a healthy scratch.
Daniel Paille, who returned from a head injury in Game 1, looks to be skating on the third line, with Jordan Caron back playing on the left wing of Gregory Campbell‘s line. That makes Justin Florek the healthy scratch, while Caron returns to a line on which he played well in the first round.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien also made a lineup change Saturday morning and also shared some interesting thoughts on one of the best players in his lineup.
Therrien said that Michael Bournival would be in the lineup in place of Travis Moen for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. Bournival played each game of the first round for the Canadiens, contributing an assist in Game 4 as they swept the Lightning but sat in Game 1 as the team opted for Moen’s size and experience.
Asked about Thomas Vanek, who was awfully quiet in Game 1 and was demoted to the fourth line, Therrien said that his players need to be passionate.
‘Work ethic is not negotiable, attitude is not negotiable and competing is not negotiable,” Therrien said.
Though he said he was not talking about one player in particular, you can put two and two together given that it was in response to a question about Vanek.
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|David Krejci, Bruins first-liners look to cash in on Carey Price in Game 2||05.02.14 at 2:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Missed opportunities were what separated the Bruins from winning and losing Game 1. Carey Price was beyond great for the Canadiens, but the B’s found themselves earning great scoring chances and somehow not finding the back of the net too often.
Though Carl Soderberg had the biggest heartbreaker of a failed bid in overtime when he sent a puck behind Price but across the crease, it was Boston’s first-liners in David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla who can play the “snakebitten” card the most as they prepare for Game 2.
Though the only even-strength goal Krejci was on the ice for was Francis Bouillon‘s third-period tally, the Krejci line turned in a borderline dominant performance after coming on strong late in the first round against the Red Wings. Yet Krejci missed the net on a second-period breakaway and was robbed by Price on a breakaway in overtime, Iginla missed the net on a rebound with plenty of space during a second-period power play and Lucic had a colossal fan in the third period just prior to Bouillon’s goal.
‘I thought we had so many chances, we could’ve scored like 10 goals yesterday,” Krejci said. “But we didn’t, so hopefully we are saving them for next game.’
Had the Bruins buried even one or two of those chances, they’d have won. Lucic said Friday that he didn’t see the puck as it was coming from Krejci, as Krejci sent the puck through Brandon Gallagher‘s legs. The result was him missing the puck by a mile despite having half the net open.
“It was a split-second; I couldn’t see it until the last second,” Lucic said. “Unfortunately, my stick wasn’t in the right spot where it went off it and in, and I missed it. We’ve got to do the same sort of things tomorrow to create those chances, but get a few more and bury them.”
Krejci’s line generated very little offense in Game 1 against the Red Wings in the first round and was on for a goal against in Game 2 before Lucic scored in the second period. When the series shifted to Detroit, the line was quiet as it handled the task of keeping Pavel Datsyuk from scoring, but the trio had a very sluggish start to Game 4. The line came alive late with a Lucic goal in the third period and the overtime winner from Iginla.
From there, Boston’s top line has elevated its game to the point where it looked like a group ready to score by the handful in the opening game against the Habs.
“Our shots and the chances that we were able to create last night, I think that’s definitely a positive,” Lucic said. “Once we got our feet moving in the second period there when we were down, 2-0, we were able to control the pace of the game and create all those chances like I was talking about. Going into next game, I guess the main focus is you don’t want to grip your stick too tight and bury those opportunities when you get them.
“It sucks losing the way that we did, it was a tough loss to swallow, but you’ve got to have short-term memory and forget about it as quick as you can and focus on the next one because it’s coming soon with a 12:30 game tomorrow. We’re excited about it.”
|Bruins condemn racist tweets about P.K. Subban||05.02.14 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins issued a statement Friday regarding the racist tweets that were sent out by some fans following P.K. Subban‘s game-winning goal in double overtime in Game 1 of the second round.
It’s the second time Bruins fans have been accused of racism in recent years, as Joel Ward was the victim of hateful tweets after he had the overtime game-winner in Game 7 of the first round in 2012 against the Bruins.
“The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday’s game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization,” Cam Neely said in Friday’s statement.
The idea that the people who used racist language regarding Subban are Bruins fans might be a bit of a stretch. The team’s regular-season co-leader in goals, Jarome Iginla, is black, while Subban’s younger brother, Malcolm Subban, was a first-round pick of the B’s in 2012.
“Exactly,” Milan Lucic said. “Jarome is here and he’s been treated with nothing but respect in Boston since he’s been here. All the Celtics and Patriots and Red Sox and all those players that have been here have been treated with nothing but respect. If you’re going to make bad comments, stick to hockey comments, not to stuff that crosses the line.”
Lucic himself has dealt with some unnecessary hatred on the part of hockey fans. His church in Burnaby, British Columbia, was vandalized in 2012 by Canucks fans.
Claude Julien said he’s never heard racism on any benches or from any fans during games.
“There’s a lot of good fans out there, and that’s the sad part about it,” Julien said. “Your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don’t belong in that same group.’
|P.K. Subban the villain as Habs beat Bruins in double OT in Game 1||05.01.14 at 11:28 pm ET|
The Bruins came back from deficits of two goals and one goal in the third period, but the Canadiens got the last laugh in double overtime as Montreal took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-3 win at TD Garden.
P.K. Subban scored his second power play of the night to end it for Montreal, as Matt Bartkowski had taken a holding penalty seconds earlier. Prior to the game, the Habs were 2 for their last 36 on the power play.
Boston had its chances in overtime with Carl Soderberg getting a puck off the end boards in front and sending it across the crease behind Carey Price but not going in. Price later came up with a big stop on Brad Marchand and robbed David Krejci on a feed from Milan Lucic.
After the Bruins had come back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, Francis Bouillon beat Tuukka Rask to break at 12:09 of the third period. Boston had one more comeback in them, as Johnny Boychuk fired a slapshot from the top of the zone that flew past Carey Price with Loui Eriksson in front of the net to tie the game at three.
The Bruins carried the play throughout the first two periods, but Subban’s power play goal in the first and a Rene Bourque goal off a Torey Krug turnover gave Montreal the lead through two. Prior to Subban’s goal, Montreal’s power play was 2 for its last 36 opportunities.
Reilly Smith finally got the Bruins past Price 2:44 into the third period, taking a wrist shot from the half wall through the legs of Andrei Markov that went past Patrice Bergeron and Alexei Emelin before sailing past the Habs netminder. After the B’s wasted a power play off a Subban interference penalty, Torey Krug tied the game by taking a feed from Milan Lucic and blasting it past Carey Price for his second goal of the postseason.
Price stopped 33 of the 36 shots he saw in regulation, while Rask made 20 saves on 23 shots through the first three periods. Paille made his return to Boston’s lineup after missing the first round with a head injury.
Game 2 will be played at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Wasted opportunities were a theme throughout regulation for the B’s, and it cost them again in the third period. Lucic fanned on a feed in front from Krejci with the game tied, and when the puck went the other way, the Habs went on to have a long stay in Boston’s zone by Montreal’s third line eventually leading to Bouillon’s goal.
|Canadiens hope to ride success of third line||05.01.14 at 2:33 pm ET|
One of the most encouraging signs the Canadiens were able to take out of their first-round sweep of the Lightning was the play of Montreal’s third line. The trio of Lars Eller between Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta combined for six goals as the Habs cruised past Tampa.
The question now is what that line will do against stiffer competition and a starting goaltender. Ben Bishop missed the entire series for Tampa, which gave Montreal a bit of an easier path to scoring 16 goals.
Bourque in particular saw the biggest uptick in his game, contributing three goals after scoring just nine goals all regular season. The 32-year-old hasn’t produced at the pace he did in his Calgary days when he scored 27 goals in back-to-back seasons from 2009 to 2011, but he thinks he’s at a point now with the Habs where he’s contributing a deep offensive group that could give the Bruins problems.
“I think we match up great against them depth-wise,” Bourque said Thursday morning. “Obviously they’re a good team, but I think we can play with them.”
Should the third lines play against one another, Bourque will go up against a familiar opponent in Loui Eriksson. The two played against one another often in their days out West, as Bourque played for the Blackhawks and Flames while Eriksson played for the Stars.
Eriksson is one of Boston’s top two-way players, and he and fellow 200-foot skaters Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were part of an offensive group that aided Boston’s defense tremendously in eliminating the speedy Red Wings in five games in the first round.
Bourque hopes that the Habs can use their speed to their advantage against the Bruins with better success. The aim is to chip pucks behind Boston’s defense and maximize on Montreal’s quickness down low, but Bourque knows it won’t be easy.
“I think every round’s going to get harder,” Bourque said. “Boston’s a big, physical team, especially in front of their net. It’s going to be tough for us to get in front there and get those second and third opportunities. I think we have to sacrifice our bodies and just get to the front of the net. We know they’re going to be physical on us, but that’s where we’re going to score our goals.”
It goes without saying that Montreal’s top line is its most dangerous. The trio of David Desharnais between Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek packs an offensive punch, but Bergeron’s line figures to match up against them in Boston. From there, Krejci’s line will likely get Tomas Plekanec‘s line with Brandon Prust and Brandon Gallagher.
Peter Chiarelli said before the first round that top-six forwards often cancel each other out in the playoffs. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how the two offensively deep teams fare in the battle for secondary production. After all, Eriksson’s line with center Carl Soderberg and Justin Florek had a superb series against the Red Wings.
“I think they probably are [better defensively than Tampa], but I think that’s what made our team successful the first round, is that every line chipped in with a goal here and there in every game,” Bourque said. “To be successful against Boston, that’s what we’re going to need again because they have a lot of depth up front, a lot of depth on the back end and a good goalie, so I think goals will be hard to be come by, but I think the same could be said for our team.”
|Michel Therrien: ‘The Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now’||05.01.14 at 12:44 pm ET|
The Canadiens are feeling plenty confident heading into their second round matchup with the Bruins, but Michel Therrien painted a pretty black-and-white picture of his team’s situation prior to Game 1.
After finishing second in the Atlantic Division to the B’s in the regular season, Montreal swept a Tampa team that was missing its starting goaltender in the first round to set up a meeting with the Bruins. Asked Thursday morning whether he felt his team should be considered an underdog in the series, Therrien, whose team beat the Bruins in three of four regular-season meetings, said Boston deserves to be favored.
“We’re playing against the best team. Underdog or not, the Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now,” Therrien said. “We understand that it’s a huge challenge not only for us, but all the teams that play the Bruins this year.
“They finished in first place and it was well-deserved. So yes. We’re confident, though. I liked the way we finished the [regular season]. The way that we finished the year gave us the confidence to approach the playoffs. We had a really good first round, and again, the way that we played in the first round gave us the confidence for the next step, and this is the next step.”
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|Brad Marchand misses morning skate, Daniel Paille a game-time decision for Bruins vs. Canadiens||05.01.14 at 11:41 am ET|
For the second time in three days, Brad Marchand was not on the ice with his Bruins teammates as the team held its morning skate in anticipation of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Canadiens.
Marchand, who missed Tuesday’s practice but practiced Wednesday, was hoarse when he spoke to the media Wednesday, suggesting he was ill. Claude Julien — as is customary in the postseason — offered no update on Marchand’s health after Thursday’s morning skate, saying that “he took his option.” Based on that, the expectation should be that Marchand plays.
Daniel Paille, who missed the first round against the Red Wings due to a head injury, has been cleared to play for a number of days. Julien said that Paille is a game-time decision for Game 1. Assuming that Paille returns to the lineup, Jordan Caron would sit after filling in for Paille in the first round.
On the Canadiens’ end, Max Pacioretty was not on the ice for morning skate, but Michel Therrien said he too took his option. When asked if Pacioretty was OK, Therrien responded, “of course.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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