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Brendan Smith on Brad Marchand: ‘That’s why he’s great’ 04.23.14 at 3:01 pm ET
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Brendan Smith knows what Brad Marchand is all about. (AP)

Brendan Smith knows what Brad Marchand is all about. (AP)

DETROIT — Add Brendan Smith to the list of folks who were suspicious of Brad Marchand‘s actions when Marchand held his right knee after receiving a leg check from Smith on his left leg in the second period of the Bruins’ 3-0 Game 3 victory over the Red Wings.

Though Marchand planted his right leg and twisted it as he fell to the ice, video of the hit made the rounds on the internet suspecting that Marchand, trying to fake an injury in an effort to draw a penalty, forgot which leg to sell.

Smith said he saw a picture of the play and found it “interesting.” Upon having Marchand’s explanation — that he had twisted the other knee — relayed to him Wednesday, Smith sarcastically said “oh” and said “I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.”

“That’s the kind of player he is and he’s lived off of it for a long time and that’s why he’s great,” Smith said. “That’s something that he’s going to do, but it’s kind of funny when you get caught like that when you go down on your left leg and you’ve got your right leg up. But that’s how he is and how he plays.

“It’s worked for him. You think about last year’s playoffs. He baited [Matt] Cooke into maybe fighting and then he wheeled up the wing and put it top shelf, but that’s something that he does. He’s an antagonizer, he’s like a pest kind of a guy, but he’s very good at it and he’s one of the best in the league at that. It’s good that the refs can understand that and go from that.”

Marchand has been going after Smith since the opening shifts of Game 1. Smith denied that Marchand was getting under his skin but did say he has a problem with his cheap shots.

“I don’t know him, so I don’t know,” Smith said. “I don’t like some of the cheap shots here and there. Nobody really does — name somebody and I’ll call you a liar because nobody really likes cheap shots. In that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that way. Other than that way, I don’t really know him, so I can’t comment.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Brendan Smith,
Henrik Zetterberg getting closer to returning for Red Wings; Daniel Paille still not cleared for Bruins 04.23.14 at 1:28 pm ET
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DETROIT — Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg was more involved in Wednesday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena, fueling speculation that he could be available to return from back injury soon.

Mike Babcock said that the team was letting Zetterberg practice in place of Pavel Datsyuk, whose wife was having a baby. Asked after the skate whether there was any chance that he could play in Thursday’s Game 4 against the Bruins, Datsyuk responded, “I have no idea.”

Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21 and was initially expected to miss the first round. That may still be the case, though Zetterberg said he was ahead of schedule. Both he and Babcock have been relatively tight-lipped about just when he’ll return to Detroit’s lineup.

The Bruins, meanwhile, had an optional practice. Daniel Paille took part in the skate, but Claude Julien said that the player was still not cleared to play. Paille has been skating since last Friday after missing the last game of the regular season with a suspected head injury.

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

Read More: Daniel Paille, Henrik Zetterberg,
Brad Marchand probably did not dive in Game 3 vs. Red Wings 04.22.14 at 10:53 pm ET
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DETROIT — Brad Marchand is a dirty player and we’ve all seen him dive in the past.

There. Now that you know this isn’t an ode to the Bruins resident pest, let’s get to the matter at hand: Marchand most likely did not fake an injury to the wrong knee in the second period of Game 3 against the Red Wings.

Just over five minutes into the second period, Marchand went to jump out of the way to avoid a collision between he and Brendan Smith. The result was a leg check from Smith, who made contact with Marchand’s left knee.

Marchand fell to the ice, was slow to get up and Smith was penalized tripping. Soon after, video began circulating of the play, noting that Marchand was grabbing his right knee while on the ice. Marchand was doing a poor job, the good ship internet alleged, of faking an injury to the wrong leg.

But that isn’t what happened.

Marchand was grabbing his right knee because his right knee was the one that twisted all funkily and hit the ice when he fell. In fact, if he grabbed his left knee it would have been faking given that Smith didn’t actually make contact with the knee.

“I twisted it when I landed there,” Marchand said of his right knee. “It kind of felt like a pop, and my leg was tingling a bit. I just wanted to make sure it was OK and moving right.”

Marchand said he told the official that made the call that he didn’t think Smith’s hit was dirty.

“I even said that to the ref after when he asked what happened,” Marchand said. “I just tried to jump around him and he clipped me a little bit, but it was just more how I landed, so it was the right call.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Brendan Smith,
Bruins take series lead with Game 3 win over Red Wings 04.22.14 at 10:07 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton took advantage of the Red Wings early in Game 3. (AP)

Dougie Hamilton took advantage of the Red Wings early in Game 3. (AP)

DETROIT — The Bruins took a 2-1 series lead Tuesday with a 3-0 Game 3 victory over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron each scored their first career playoff goals in the win.

While the B’s and Wings were still in the third period, the Canadiens beat the Lightning in Game 4 to sweep their series. Montreal now awaits the winner of Bruins-Red Wings.

The first period saw the Bruins walk all over the Red Wings, outshooting them 11-4 and taking advantage of sloppy and lethargic play from Detroit. Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board by walking into the offensive zone on a power play and beating Jimmy Howard glove-side on a play that saw Darren Helm play the Boston defenseman far too generously.

Jordan Caron, who scored just one goal in the regular season, made it 2-0 when he bounced on a rebound off a rush following a Shawn Thornton shot and buried it past Howard.

The Bruins held on through second and third periods that saw the Red Wings generate more offense, with Patrice Bergeron scoring an empty net goal with 1:59 remaining. Tuukka Rask picked up his fourth career playoff shutout.

Matt Bartkowski returned to the lineup and came up big in the third period in breaking up a Kyle Quincey bid early in the third period. With Bartkowski back in the lineup, Andrej Meszaros was a healthy scratch.

Game 4 will be played Thursday at Joe Louis Arena, after which the series will return to Boston for Saturday’s Game 5.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins and Rask deserve major credit for how they’ve been able to limit the Red Wings in this series. Detroit has two goals through three games, with one of them coming off a sensational play from Pavel Datsyuk in Game 1 and the other coming off a Helm shot that bounced off bodies and past Rask in Game 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Bartkowski back in for Bruins for Game 3, Andrej Meszaros sits vs. Red Wings 04.22.14 at 7:28 pm ET
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DETROIT — Matt Bartkowski is back in the Bruins lineup for Game 3 of the first round against the Red Wings.

Bartkowski missed the first two games of the series due to a stomach flu. His return means that Andrej Meszaros will sit after playing the first two games in Bartkowski’s place.

Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both remain out for the B’s. Paille is recovering from a suspected head injury while Kelly hasn’t played since April 8 due to a back issue.

The forward lines are the same for the Bruins, while Joakim Andersson being in for Daniel Alfredsson is the only change to Detroit’s lineup.

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

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Matt Bartkowski,
Justin Florek could play himself into permanent job in Boston 04.22.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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Justin Florek

Justin Florek

DETROIT — Last year the Bruins saw one Michigan native play his way into a job during the postseason in Torey Krug. Might they be in the process of seeing another?

Well, that depends on the definition of “job.” Justin Florek has filled in for Chris Kelly admirably in the first two games of the postseason, scoring a fluke goal but also playing very well five-on-five and killing penalties. While Florek won’t be stealing Kelly’s job any time soon, it’s entirely possible that his play could make him the team’s 13th forward over Jordan Caron, if that isn’t already the case.

With both Kelly and Daniel Paille out, Florek has played in place of Kelly on Carl Soderberg‘s line, while Caron has played on Gregory Campbell‘s line in place of Paille. Though Caron was with the Bruins throughout the season and Florek spent much of the year in Providence, it would appear that Florek has become a better option to play in different roles. For what it’s worth, both Caron and Florek are restricted free agents at season’s end.

Florek, who is in his second full professional season, is just happy to be playing playoff hockey. If what he does now sets him up for more of an opportunity going forward, that’s gravy.

“I don’t think about it at all really,” Florek said of playing his way into an NHL role. “I just go out there and play my role. I just do what I can to help my team win and whatever happens happens. It’s just kind of the way I’ve approached my career the way long. I’m just going to continue to play that way.”

The Bruins brought up Florek prior to the playoffs on an emergency basis. However, the terms of that recall will not present an issue for the Bruins once Paille or Kelly is ready to return, as teams are permitted three regular recalls at the start of the postseason.

Florek, like Caron, has had to play in different roles with the B’s this season. Florek played well on the fourth line earlier in the season, picking up a goal and an assist in a three-game sting in January, and he’s also looked good on a more skilled line with Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

“I feel comfortable playing both roles. At the same time, I just go out and play my game,” Florek said. “[Regardless] of who I’m playing with, I’ve just got to play my game and not get outside of it or do too much. Playing with those guys is great. No matter what line I’m on, I feel comfortable with [them]. Hopefully I can continue to play that way.”

Read More: Jordan Caron, Justin Florek,
X-factor? Bruins know Red Wings’ Luke Glendening well 04.22.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Torey Krug knows the kind of player that Luke Glendening is. (AP)

Torey Krug knows the kind of player that Luke Glendening is. (AP)

DETROIT — There’s something about Luke Glendening.

At least there is for Mike Babcock, and that’s really all that matters as the Red Wings try to find a way to both quiet Boston’s scorers and create advantageous matchups for their own.

The first two games of the series saw Babcock use Glendening — an undrafted rookie fourth-line center who played three games on a tryout with the Providence Bruins two years ago — in ways that demonstrated significant trust in the player. Glendening, who was a two-year captain for Michigan and wore an ‘A’ as a sophomore, is a key member of Detroit’s penalty kill, but he also saw plenty of shifts against David Krejci‘s line in the first two games. He scored his first career playoff goal and second career NHL goal in Game 1 against the Krejci line and was later on the ice for Milan Lucic‘s goal.

If you’re surprised by how big a role he’s been given thus far, don’t be. Torey Krug, who saw plenty of him in college, isn’t.

“I’m not surprised, and we don’t even view him as [a fourth-liner],” Krug said. “He’s a good player and he shuts down opposing teams’ guys. In Game 1 he’s out there when it’s 1-0 in the last minute. I saw him in that role before and I’m not surprised that he’s in it now.”

As the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena and Babcock gets last change, he wants to see more of Glendening against Boston’s best players. Babcock wants to get his young scorers, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, away from Boston’s power forwards, as Lucic and Jarome Iginla have rendered them invisible through the first two games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Luke Glendening, Mike Babcock, Torey Krug,
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