|Bruins-Lightning Game 3 preview||05.19.11 at 2:10 am ET|
TAMPA ‘ The Bruins can pick up their third straight road win and first series lead of the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 3 win Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum. The B’s might have momentum on their side, as they took a high-scoring contest Tuesday in defeating Tampa, 6-5. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Thursday’s game:
Three things the Bruins need to do:
- Keep Ryding the hot duo: Whether or not Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup, any shakeup should not include a separation of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. The two have totaled five goals thus far in the series, and their chemistry is evident. The Lightning will try to be more physical to knock the rookie off his game, but Seguin simply needs to show that these games have given him more confidence. Expect him to stay with Ryder and Chris Kelly in Game 3.
- Extend the power play success: Who said this team stunk on the man advantage? Two goals in Game 2 (one of which came with one second remaining after the team failed to score on a 5-on-3) matched their postseason production on the power play entering the night, and there are certainly encouraging nights. Tomas Kaberle played better on the man advantage Tuesday, while Seguin was finally given the opportunity to contribute on special teams and did.
- Tighten it up: As much as Bruins fans can get on board with watching Tim Thomas come up big on multiple breakaway bids, the B’s would just rather they not happen at all. The Bruins could have had a much better defensive effort on Tuesday, and correcting it will lower the number of quality opportunities for the Lightning.
Three crazy stats:
- By scoring three goals on Dwayne Roloson Tuesday, the Bruins bumped the Lightning netminder out of the top spot in postseason goals against average and save percentage. The leader in both those categories now? Carey Price, who posted a 2.11 GAA and .934 in the first round against the B’s.
- The Bruins are 0-2 in games this postseason in which Nathan Horton fails to register a shot on goal. They’re 9-2 when he has at least one. Horton leads the B’s with 13 points, and his 34 shots on goal are second to Bergeron among forwards.
Three key players:
- Patrice Bergeron: As fun as the Seguin Show was to watch on Tuesday, the Bruins aren’t kidding themselves here. They need Bergeron back, and after taking contact he could return to the lineup for one of the games in Tampa. Whether that happens remains to be seen.
- Dwayne Roloson: The Tampa goaltender was not as bad as the numbers were on Tuesday, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to being chased for the first time this postseason.
- Johnny Boychuk: The 27-year-old has goals in two of his last three games, but he was positively wretched in Game 2. Boychuk’s sloppiness resulted in a minus-3 rating that would have been worse had the puck he accidentally banked off the skate of Kaberle in front of the net gone in. He ended up playing only 16:06, his lowest time on ice total this postseason.
|Marc Savard to attend Game 2||05.17.11 at 7:04 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard will be at Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between the B’s and Lightning, marking his first return to TD Garden since being shut down for the season on Feb. 7.
Savard is dealing with post-concussion syndrome following a clean hit from former teammate Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22 in Colorado. Since being shut down for the regular season and playoffs, Savard has stayed at home in Peterborough, Ontario. The 33-year-old had two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 25 games this year. He began the season on long-term injured reserve due to PCS from the hit he took last March 7 from Penguins forward Matt Cooke.
Savard will not be available to the media.
|Lightning remain without Pavel Kubina||05.17.11 at 2:57 pm ET|
While the Bruins anxiously await the return of a concussed player in Patrice Bergeron, the Lightning seem a bit farther away from seeing Pavel Kubina back in their lineup. Kubina, who suffered a head injury in Game 1 of the conference semifinals vs. the Capitals, still is not with the team and doesn’t seem on the fast-track to return to action
“He’s not with us. He’s not even here, so the update is not very good,” Guy Boucher said when asked for an update on Kubina. “Every day when there seems to be a little progression, it kind of slips back a bit. So it’s kind of an injury that you never know.
“You wake up the next day and everything’s great or just keeps on going the same way so it’s very hard to monitor what’s going on with him. But obviously we’re missing him. He’s got size. He’s got some offensive abilities on our second power play, he made a big difference on it.
But right now we’ve adapted. Bergeron’s kind of taken the lead on that power play with Purcell. And we had to adapt because he was doing very well for us.”
Kubina had two power play goals and an assist for the Lightning before suffering the injury. He had dour goals and 19 assists for 23 points during the regular season.
|Steven Kampfer ‘definitely’ ready if needed by Bruins||05.17.11 at 1:15 pm ET|
As Tomas Kaberle continues to struggle, the Bruins could be getting closer to having a viable option (and one who has fared well against the Lightning) to threaten his ice time.
Defenseman Steven Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury late in the regular season while getting some playing time in Providence, told WEEI.com Tuesday that he is “definitely” ready to return to the lineup if need be. Kampfer, 22, has spent extra time out on the ice as he works to get his back into tip-top shape.
“I feel ready to go,” Kampfer said Tuesday. “It’s something that I talked about with the trainers the other day. If something happens, I definitely feel ready to go. It’s those extra couple skates that are definitely going to help.”
In the three games in which the B’s have had to go without one of their six regulars this postseason — Game 2 of the conference quarterfinals for Zdeno Chara and Games 3 and 4 of the semifinals for Adam McQuaid — Shane Hnidy has played, but has done so sparingly.
Coach Claude Julien has said multiple times recently that Kampfer is healthy, but that his conditioning as he returns to skating remains what separates him from being an option if needed. He barely strayed from that line Tuesday, saying Kampfer is “still working on his conditioning, but certainly getting close.”
Kampfer admitted that his conditioning remains a process, but that the extra work he’s put in has gotten to a point where he’d be comfortable returning to the lineup.
“When you don’t skate for a month, it definitely takes a while to get your conditioning back,” Kampfer said. “You can ride the bike, you can do things like that, but skating condition is different than a bike and everything like that. We’ve been doing a little extra work here and there, and a couple more extra skating sessions is definitely going to help.”
While it would seemingly take an injury for Kampfer to make his postseason debut, the idea of him putting a little pressure on Kaberle should be considered out of the question. Kaberle was awful in Game 1, and throughout the playoffs has been a disappointment for the Bruins. A good puck-moving defenseman is an asset against a team like the Lightning, but the only notable moving of a puck by Kaberle in Game 1 came on his turnover behind his own net to lead to a goal, and his confusing slap shot into the corner on the power play in the second period.
If Kaberle keeps putting up stinkers for 15-plus minutes a night, maybe it would be worth it to give the kid a chance. Call it the defensive version of the Tyler Seguin/Michael Ryder lineup spot argument, but Kampfer has performed at his best against Tampa, scoring two of his five goals this season against the Lightning. His speed and passing ability matches up well against a team that shows different looks in the neutral zone as well.
“It definitely fits my style when you play a team that I guess plays a 1-3-1,” Kampfer said of Guy Boucher‘s neutral zone forecheck. “You move your feet and you can skate through it, but that’s something our whole team can do. Everyone here is quick and everyone can make passes. It’s something that we’ve got to [do] tonight and the rest of the series.”
Though Kampfer had goals against the Lightning on Dec. 28 (his first career tally) and March 3, he said he doesn’t look at the Tampa matchup and think of how he can change the series. As he waits for his time, he has confidence in the guys out there.
“Anyone can make a difference in this series,” he said. “It’s just how you play and how you take the game plan to them. It’s something that we talked about this morning, is how our team’s going to play. We have our system that we’re going to stick to. I think everyone has had success against this team, and I think everyone here knows how to play.”
When Kampfer actually returns to game action for the Bruins remains unknown. If it’s this series, next series or next season, he’ll be ready to continue working off a rookie campaign that had its ups (the Tampa games, nine games of 20 minutes or more in 38 contests) and the downs (the disastrous ending to the March 17 game in which a misplay and a bad penalty cost the team the game and cost him his spot in the lineup) of his rookie campaign.
If Kaberle continues to struggle though, maybe it’s worth rolling the dice. Yes, Kaberle was a costly acquisition, but the Bruin showed in Games 3 and 4 of the second round that they can win without putting him out there. It’s crazy to think, but it’s not out of the question. A combination of more duds from Kaberle and a ready-to-go Kampfer could put a bit more pressure on the 33-year-old, if it isn’t there already.
|Claude Julien won’t say whether Patrice Bergeron is in, says Milan Lucic is fine||05.17.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
The Bruins had only two absences for their morning skate Tuesday, with forwards Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic the only players to miss the skate. Recchi does not take part in postseason morning skates, while Lucic could have been given the morning off due to a shot off the foot he took from Tyler Seguin on Monday.
Coach Claude Julien noted after practice that there was nothing to worry about with Lucic, and offered very little on the status of Patrice Bergeron, who was on the ice Tuesday morning but will reportedly miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals due to the concussion from which he is still recovering.
“As far as Bergeron is concerned, I think if he’s in, you’re going to see him in the warmups,” Julien said. “With Lucic, there is no issues there are all.”
Bergeron has two goals and 10 assists this postseason for a team-leading 12 points in 11 games. Lucic, who led the team with 30 goals in the regular season, has two goals and three assists for five points.
|Report: Patrice Bergeron out for Game 2||05.17.11 at 10:23 am ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning Tuesday night, according to the Boston Globe. Bergeron has been out with a concussion since leaving Game 4 of the conference semifinals following a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux.
Bergeron began skating on Sunday, and has skated each day since. He has not been cleared for contact yet, which was made evident by his leaving Monday’s practice (his first with the team since suffering the concussion) early.
|Bruins-Lightning Game 2 preview||05.17.11 at 2:07 am ET|
Twos are wild as the Bruins take on the Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. The B’s are looking to knot the series at one game apiece before it moves to Tampa for Games 3 and 4, and they’ll need to correct some costly mistakes that doomed them in Game 1.
With the number two in mind, here’s a preview of the contest:
Two things the Bruins need to do:
- Go back to winning 5-on-5. The excuse for the Bruins amidst their power play’s horrid 2-for-41 playoff showing is that they were playing dominant 5-on-5 hockey to make up for it. It was an argument that was clearly backed up by their ability to advance through two rounds, but the B’s gave Game 1 away with both teams at even strength, letting the Lightning score three goals ‘ two of which were unassisted ‘ in a matter of 1:25. The Lightning did score a power play goal in the third period, but it was the ugly first period that lost the Bruins the game.
The Bruins have clearly been the best 5-on-5 team throughout the playoffs. Their 33 goals for lead all remaining teams, while the 16 goals they have allowed is the lowest total among the last four teams. They just cam’t let those numbers take hit like they did Saturday, because for a team whose power play is a non-factor, they have to make sure they do all the damage they can at even strength.
- Know which Tomas Kaberle shows up, and adjust accordingly. Yes, this is coming from the same person who noted Kaberle’s skills could help them in this series, and while they still can, the 33-year-old proved to be nothing but a liability (again) in Game 1. The Bruins limited his minutes significantly (13:20 and 13:15, respectively; the his lowest totals of the last five seasons) in Gmaes 3 and 4 of the Philadelphia series and were still able to win, so 17:29 for a guy who committed as bad a turnover as one could in Game 1 Saturday was excessive. Putting Kaberle on a tighter leash means more minutes for other guys, but they were able to pull it off twice last series. If Kaberle is going to cost them, he can’t be out there as much.
Two crazy numbers:
- Steven Stamkos led the Lightning with 297 shots on goal in the regular season, yet Game 1 was the second game this postseason in which he failed to put a puck on net. The Lightning went 4-3-0 in the regular season when Stamkos didn’t register a shot on goal, while they lost the other playoff game in which he put up a goose egg.
The playoff leader in shots on goal remains James van Riemsdyk, and it will likely be at least a couple games before he is surpassed. With 70 through two rounds, he leads the field by nine shots.
- Mark Recchi‘s 20:02 of ice time made Saturday the first time in a while that he led Bruins forwards in time on ice. He did not do so at all during the regular season, and you would have to go back to Jan. 19, 2010 to find the last time he did. He led B’s forwards in ice time on three occasions that season, including the first time Winter Classic.
Two key players:
- Patrice Bergeron: Guy Boucher keeps saying he’s expecting the concussed center to be in the Bruins’ lineup Tuesday, and if the Lightning coach is proven right, the Bruins will win the ‘best media deception’ award. From what we’ve seen, he’s skated only three times and he hasn’t taken contact. Unless he’s doing something we’re not seeing, it’s hard to imagine the B’s rushing him back.
- Sean Bergenheim: Nobody planned on having to account for Bergenheim in the playoffs, but so far, nobody has been able to stop him. After scoring just 14 regular-season goals, the third-line winger added to his league leading playoff total Saturday with his eighth goal of the postseason.
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