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Absolutely no surprise: Patrice Bergeron a finalist for Selke 04.24.14 at 1:02 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron won his first Selke in 2011-12. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron won his first Selke in 2011-12. (AP)

DETROIT — To the surprise of no one, Patrice Bergeron finished in the top three in Selke voting for the trophy annually awarded to the league’s best defensive forward.

The other nominees were Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews; Bergeron will in all likelihood win, with Kopitar likely finishing second and Toews coming in third.

Bergeron won his first Selke in the 2011-12 season and just barely lost to Toews last season. With a 30-goal season, the most faceoff wins and first- and second-place finishes in Corsi and CorsiRel, respectively, this regular season, Bergeron appears to be in line for his second Selke.

“€œI’€™ve always been taught to play the game that way –€“ both sides of the ice,”€ Bergeron said Thursday. “Growing up playing junior my coach put a lot of emphasis on that, and I tried to work on my faceoffs as well.

“I came into the league and guys like Ted Donato and other older guys that were taking a lot of pride in that aspect of the game helped me through it. Obviously, with the coaching staff here now, that’€™s something we put a lot of work on and I’€™m trying to get better at it.”

Zdeno Chara is the main reason as to why the Bruins are such a great defensive team, but its forwards — most notably Bergeron, who plays against other teams’ top lines — is why Boston regularly finishes with one of the league’s top goal-differentials.

“I think there’s no [surprise] about the nomination,” Chara said of Bergeron. “Even before it was announced, a lot of people knew that he would be one of the finalists. [It's] well-deserved; he works really hard on both ends of the ice. He does so many things offensively, defensively that it’s nice that he’s recognized again. I’m sure he’s probably going to be one of the favorites to win it.”

Bergeron’s 30-goal season was the second of his career, as he scored 31 in the 2005-06 season. Given that he never cheats offensively or risks a potential odd-man rush for the sake of a scoring opportunity, the consensus is that he could score much more if he didn’t play such a responsible game.

Yet throughout his career, Bergeron has never cared to find out just what would happen if he sacrificed two-way play for scoring. That sense of responsibility is why he wears an “A” on his sweater and why the Bruins pay him handsomely. Next year, Bergeron will begin an eight-year, $52 million contract that makes him the team’s highest-paid forward.

“That’€™s the way I want to play the game,” Bergeron said. “It does feel natural for me to play both sides of the ice.”

Read More: Patrice Bergeron,
Henrik Zetterberg game-time decision for Red Wings in Game 4 vs. Bruins; Daniel Paille out again 04.24.14 at 11:36 am ET
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DETROIT — Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will be a game-time decision for Game 4 of the first round against the Bruins Thursday night.

Zetterberg, who had back surgery in February, skated on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader and took turns with the power play in Detroit’s morning skate Thursday.

Todd Bertuzzi will play for the Red Wings, with Mike Babcock choosing to scratch Tomas Jurco to allow the veteran in the lineup. Assuming Zetterberg plays, Joakim Andersson will sit. Daniel Alfredsson remains out but could play Game 5.

The lines in morning skate were:

Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Abdelkader
Franzen – Helm – Nyquist
Bertuzzi – Sheahan – Tatar
Miller – Glendening – Legwand

The Bruins’ morning skate featured the same lineup as in Tuesday’s Game 3 win. Daniel Paille was on the ice, but he did not skate with a line and Claude Julien said afterwards that Paille would not play in Game 4. Julien did say, however, that Paille has been cleared for “a little bit of contact.”

With Paille out, Jordan Caron will play on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton again.

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

Read More: Daniel Paille, Henrik Zetterberg,
Bruins don’t mind being the punchline of Jimmy Fallon’s joke 04.23.14 at 4:27 pm ET
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DETROIT — The which-knee-was-hurt video wasn’t the only one involving Brad Marchand that has been circulating over the last 24 hours.

Marchand, Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara were all the butts of Jimmy Fallon‘s jokes in Tuesday’s “Tonight Show” as Fallon gave superlatives to different players in the NHL postseason based solely on their headshots.

Marchand was given the superlative for being the “Most Likely to Play a Pizza Delivery guy in an 80s Movie About Skiing,” Hamilton got “Easiest to Replicate as a Bobblehead” and Chara got “Most Likely to be Two Humans Sewn Together.”

“It’s pretty funny,” Milan Lucic said Wednesday. “At the end of the day, we had something to laugh about this morning.”

Hamilton, who has also said his head shot makes him look like Beeker from The Muppets, said he didn’t understand how he looked like a bobblehead, but did say he prefers Fallon to The Muppets. His teammates felt that Marchand’s superlative was the most accurate.

“I could [see him delivering pizzas],” Lucic said. “Out of the three, that’s probably the best one.”

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 »

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