|No lead is safe as Tampa rallies to tie series||05.21.11 at 4:24 pm ET|
TAMPA — A three-goal lead wasn’t enough for the Bruins Saturday, and once again Simon Gagne made them pay.
The Lightning forward sent a wrist shot past both Tomas Kaberle and Tim Thomas at 6:54 of the third period, capping a run of four unanswered goals from Tampa Bay at St. Pete Times Forum. Martin St. Louis added an empty-netter in the final minute to make it a 5-3 Lightning win and even the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with a pair of goals from Patrice Bergeron and one from Michael Ryder to bring Mike Smith to the Lightning’s net in favor of starter Dwayne Roloson. The B’s saw their lead erased in the second period after two goals from Teddy Purcell and one from Sean Bergenheim.
Bergenheim now has nine goals this postseason after scoring 14 in the regular season.
Both the Bruins and Lightning went 0-for-2 on the power play, though Bergeron’s second goal was of shorthanded variety.
The teams will head to Boston for Game 5 of the series Monday before returning to Tampa for Wednesday’s Game 6.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The second period couldn’t have ended soon enough. The Lightning completely took control in the period. It could have been worse when the generally steady Andrew Ference nearly saw that happen late in the second when he misplayed a puck in front of Thomas’ net.
- Tomas Kaberle deserved credit for his improved play in Games 2 and 3, but he was soft behind the net on Bergenheim’s game-tying hole. Bergenheim had very little difficulty outmuscling the 33-year-old blueliner to gain possession before beating Thomas. This is the second time a lapse from Kaberle behind his own net has led to a goal in this series.
- A poor showing by the Bruins’ first line, and it was capped with the Gagne goal. Milan Lucic’s turnover set up the play, and Lucic was the only member of his line with a shot on goal through the first 50 minutes of the game. The Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton trio has been gigantic for the B’s in the postseason many a time, but Saturday was not one of them. Julien played with the lines a bit as the game went on, but it came with no success. Horton redirected a shot from Ference past Smith with 1:50 left while playing on a reconfigured line with Rich Peverley.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- If Patrice Bergeron’s return to the Bruins’ lineup on Thursday didn’t make enough noise, he made his importance the B’s known even more with a two first-period goals. The 25-year-old picked Steven Stamkos’ pocket at the blue line with the Lightning on the power play with about two minutes remaining in the first and took it the length of the ice for what would be his second goal of the game and Roloson’ final play. Bergeron now has four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 13 games this postseason.
- Guy Boucher called Tim Thomas an “enigma” prior to the series, noting that no team could crack the B’s netminder, but in reality, his own goaltender had been even better. Roloson led all playoff goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage through two rounds, but the B’s have now chased Roloson in two of this series’ four games. One would think the B’s would win both of those games, but that’s another story…
- Ryder’s been just as big a part of his line’s success as Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly have been, and he was rewarded on an odd goal that clearly fooled Roloson. The third-line winger tried a backhander on Roloson that went off the stick of Mike Lundin on its way up, and with Roloson cheating toward the far post, it beat the Lightning netminder in slow motion. Saturday marked the first time Ryder scored without having a two-goal game, as his first four goals this postseason game when he scored twice in Game 4 of the first round and twice in Game 2 vs. Tampa Bay.
|Bruins ready for a matinee||05.21.11 at 11:55 am ET|
TAMPA — The last time the Bruins played a day game, they took a 7-3 contest in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the first step of sweeping the Flyers. They will have their earliest start of the postseason with Saturday’s 1:30 Game 4 vs. the Lightning.
“I think we’re glad to get an earlier game,” forward Daniel Paille said Saturday at St. Pete Times Forum. “We’ve played the late games, so we’re happy to get the game started. I know we’re all anxious. We just want to play, and to get our afternoon games again is great to see.”
The Bruins have won eight of their last nine games and are hoping that nothing can disrupt their run. They don’t feel a matinee should be an issue.
“You’ve just got to make sure you go out there for the warmup and get your legs underneath you,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “That’s more or less what it’s all about.”
|Claude Julien says David Krejci is ‘fine’ after ‘good hit’ from Marc-Andre Bergeron||05.20.11 at 2:37 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins center David Krejci was among those absent from Friday’s practice at St. Pete Times forum. Krejci was crushed by Tampa Bay’s Marc-Andre Bergeron in the neutral zone late in the first period, but returned to play the second and third periods after staying on the bench for the remainder of the first. After practice, coach Claude Julien said that it was simply a day of rest for Krejci, and that his status for Saturady’s Game 4 is not in question.
“David is fine,” Julien said. “We had a bunch of guys with the day off today. It was more of an optional and short skate. There’s no issues with David, and he’s playing tomorrow with no issues at all.”
Bergeron was given a two-minute minor for elbowing on the play, which replays would show was an incorrect call given that it appeared to be a clean hit that featured more shoulder than anything else. Julien had no problem admitting that that’s how he saw it.
“If you have time to look at the replay and look at it in slow motion and do all that stuff, you’re going to say, ‘Well, it was a good hit.’ It’s happened to us before from our end of it, and sometimes you get called for penalties. The one thing that we’ve always said is that the league is very sensitive to head issues, so sometimes they’re making a call.
“Maybe it wasn’t the right call, but at the same time, they could have had a second penalty on that same play where the goaltender touched the puck outside the [trapezoid]. The referee was there, and I think he didn’t call it because he was probably trying to make up for it. This is about being smart with those kind of things, and there were no issues from my end of it. It kind of made up for it, and I think it all evened out in the end.”
Krejci had the team’s game-winning goal when he beat Dwayne Roloson in the first period to make it 1-0 in a game the B’s would win, 2-0, on Thursday. The Czech center leads the Bruins with seven goals this postseason.
|David Krejci feeling ‘pretty good’ after hit from Marc-Andre Bergeron||05.20.11 at 12:09 am ET|
TAMPA — The Bruins had what looked like another trip to the quiet room on their hands in the first period of Thursday’s 2-0 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. This time, it was David Krejci, who was rocked in the neutral zone by Marc-Andre Bergeron after receiving a pass.
Luckily for the B’s, Claude Julien won’t need to read the same “protocol” line to the media that he used the last couple of weeks to describe Patrice Bergeron. Krejci did not play for the remaining minute and a half of the period, but he remained on the bench and played his line’s first shift of the second period.
“I was a little sore, but I feel pretty good,” Krejci said following the game.
Krejci didn’t take issue with the hit, which earned Bergeron an elbowing penalty, and his teammates seemed to feel the same way. The first-line center did not see a replay of the hit, but said he doesn’t need to.
“I’m fine,” Krejci said. “I don’t think I have to look at it. I’m sure I’m going to see it. The guys told me that the guy just came off the bench. I didn’t even see him. They gave me a little heads up, so I got a little ready for it. If they didn’t give me a heads up on the bench, then I would get hit and in a relaxed body and it’d be maybe way worse. But I feel fine.”
Krejci scored his team-leading seventh goal of the postseason earlier in the first, and it proved to be the game-winner.
|Tim Thomas blanks Lightning, Bruins take 2-1 series lead||05.19.11 at 10:43 pm ET|
TAMPA — Tim Thomas blanked the Lightning in a 2-0 Bruins win at St. Pete Times Forum, giving the Bruins a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Lightning gave the Bruins’ netminder a run for his money in heavily outshooting the B’s in the third period, but Thomas and the Bruins held on for the 37-year-old’s first shutout of the postseason.
David Krejci opened the scoring for the Bruins, taking a feed from Milan Lucic and having all day to deke Dwayne Roloson in front to make it 1-0. The B’s scored again in the second period on a goal from Andrew Ference.
Both the B’s and Lightning went 0-for-3 on the power play, marking the first time this series that a special teams goal was not scored by either team.
The teams will square off for Game 4 in a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday before returning to Boston for Monday’s Game 5.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Krejci now has goals in back-to-back games, his second such streak of the postseason. The first-line center had goals in three straight games (four total goals) to kick off the second round. With seven playoff goals, Krejci now leads the team in the postseason and through 14 games has more than half the tallies he amassed a 13-goal regular season (75 games).
- After allowing 10 goals (one of which was an empty-netter) over the first two games of the series, the Bruins buckled down defensively. Dennis Seidenberg had a huge blocked shot when Thomas kicked a rebound off a Vincent Lecavalier shot right onto the stick of Martin St. Louis in front. Seidenberg got in the way to break up a golden opportunity, and it wasn’t the only case of a Bruins’ defenseman coming up big. A little more than six minutes into the game, a long pass through the neutral zone set up a 2-on-1 for Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. Zdeno Chara intercepted St. Louis’ pass to Lecavalier. Lucic had a big block in the third period when the game was 1-0 to keep the Bruins ahead.
- Another strong showing from unsung hero Ference, who fired the shot from the point on the goal that was somehow initially credited to Seguin. The puck slowly trickled through the pads of Roloson, though many in the press box were scratching their heads as to how Seguin factored into the scoring, as Chris Kelly was in front. Either way, it was created by a Ference shot that served as the latest reminder that it’s too bad that No. 21′s season has only gotten recognition as a result of gestures and comments about Daniel Paille.
- Kind of hard to believe it took this long given how solid he was late in the Montreal series and throughout the second round, but Thomas has his first shutout of the postseason. As WEEI’s Dale Arnold astutely pointed out on twitter, Thomas’ play this series is reminiscent of the first round when a couple of merely human games were followed by the Thomas people around Boston got used to in the regular season. It was Thomas’ first postseason shutout since May 10, 2010 when the B’s blanked the Hurricanes, 4-0, in Game 5 of the conference semifinals.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Scary moment for the B’s with about two and a half minutes to go in the first period. Krejci took a pass in the neutral zone and was absolutely leveled by Marc-Andre Bergeron. Krejci remained on the ice for a bit but went back to the bench rather than the quiet room. He did not play the rest of the period, while Bergeron went off for an elbow. Luckily for the B’s the center was out there for his line’s first shift in the second period.
- The Bruins got their big power play showing in Game 2, but Thursday night’s results did not mirror those of Tuesday’s two-goal showing. The B’s went 0-for-3 on the night and followed the postseason-long trend of getting progressively better. The B’s had just one shot on the power play that followed the Krejci hit, while a second-period man advantage thanks to a too-many-men call was cut short when Patrice Bergeron interfered with Adam Hall at the blue line to prevent the Tampa winger from having a shorthanded breakaway. The unit did look good the third time around, as a rocket from Seidenberg was among the three shots for the B’s.
|Claude Julien still not quite saying Steven Kampfer is ready to play||05.19.11 at 2:29 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer said earlier in the week that he is “definitely” ready to go if the Bruins need him, but coach Claude Julien still isn’t ready to go that far. Julien reiterated his week-long message that Kampfer, who is coming off a knee injury, is “close.”
“He’s pretty close I think. I just talked to him after practice there. We had a little bit of a chat on the ice and talked about what he’s been through the last little while and how he’s felt and everything else, so I think he’s getting pretty close to that,” Julien said after Thursday’s skate. “If anything, I think pretty soon we’ll be able to say he’s a guy that could jump in if something happened.”
|Brad Marchand hoping to see Patrice Bergeron play, preparing for end of the world||05.19.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
TAMPA — While there’s been no official word on whether Patrice Bergeron will be in Thursday’s lineup, but one player who would benefit from the concussed center’s return would be rookie winger Brad Marchand. Skating on a line centered by Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley in Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals, respectively, Marchand has had subpar showings (a minus-3 rating this series and just one shot on goal) and would like to turn it around.
“It’s always different when you play with different guys. We’ve had a different centerman the last two games,” Marchand said after Thursday’s morning skate. “It’s a little tougher getting used to chemistry and where the guys are on the ice.”
During the Montreal series, Marchand spoke about how inspiring his linemate in Mark Recchi was for him. Given that the rookie plays on a line with two assistant captains, Bergeron has had a similar influence. Marchand said Thursday he can recall the first time he realized how great a presence Bergeron is for him.
“It was a long time ago. I remember we had a training camp or development camp one time. It was right after his concussion, and he came out and I was battling with him in the corner,” Marchand said. “I just realized how strong he was on the puck, and how difficult it was to take the puck from him. From that point forward, I was like, ‘I want to be like that — play the same way, work on that and add that element to my game.’ I remember that very clearly, and from that point forward, I wanted to play more like him.”
Kudos to Herald columnist/Sports Sunday host/old-time baseball aficionado Steve Buckley for bringing up the end of the world around Marchand. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, some nutbars are claiming that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Marchand was the perfect player to mention it to, as it caused a really funny couple of minutes with reporters and the rookie wise-guy.
“It’s been nice knowing you guys,” a surprised and disappointed Marchand said when told of the news.
Given that the Bruins are playing a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, the world could end (according to this theory) while the B’s are playing. Talk about getting off to a good start in the game — the B’s will at least want to be winning when the world ends.
“It would be a great way to kind of end the world on a high note and with a lead,” Marchand said. “Maybe get the win tonight, and we’ll be able to die happy people.”
And if they’re losing?
“If we fall behind, it won’t matter anyways,” he said. “I’d much rather die with a lead though.”
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