|Nathan Horton visits Bruins after win, passes jacket to Rich Peverley||06.09.11 at 12:25 am ET|
Horton was declared out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a severe concussion, the result of a blindside hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome Monday. He came in the room after Wednesday’s game to pass on the team’s 1980′s jacket, awarded to the game’s MVP. Horton still had the jacket in his stall because he had scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals and the team did not want to take it from him. On Wednesday, he came in to give the jacket to Rich Peverley, who scored two goals filling in for Horton on the first line.
“It was pretty emotional,” Peverley said. “Nathan came in, and he’s a big part of this team. Just to be able to see him and know that he’s healthy and safe, that’s very important to us.”
Julien did not tell the team that Horton was in the building, and it was a pleasant surprise for his teammates.
“I didn’t know,” linemate David Krejci said. “It was a good feeling when [Julien] said that Horty was here. It was good to see him smile, telling us he’s feeling OK, he’s feeling much better. It was good to see him.”
The pre-game festivities featured Bobby Orr waving Horton’s No. 18 flag, and as the Bruins built their lead, chants of “Nathan Horton” rang out from the crowd.
“He’s such a good team guy,” Shawn Thornton said of Horton. “He does everything for us and he has all year. Everybody on this team loves him. He makes everybody around him feel better about themselves. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more positive guy in the room. For him to come in, guys were pretty excited.”
|Rich Peverley starts out on first line||06.08.11 at 7:49 pm ET|
The question that has been on everyone mind since Nathan Horton’s season was announced as over was answered Wednesday in warmups. Rich Peverley skated on the first line, meaning is the team’s first option at filling in for Horton on the team’s top line. Tyler Seguin is skating on the third line with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder.
|Tyler Seguin ready to step back in, Jordan Caron moves up a peg||06.08.11 at 1:33 pm ET|
Bruins fans and media should know the drill by now. A forward goes down, and it’s Seguin mania. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Tyler Seguin was a popular guy as he prepared for his return to the team’s lineup Wednesday.
With Nathan Horton out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a severe concussion suffered on a headshot from Aaron Rome in Game 3, Seguin will step in after being a healthy scratch for Monday’s 8-1 win over the Canucks. While plenty of attention will be placed on how his presence in the lineup makes up for the loss of Horton, he knows as well as everyone else should that asking him to fill the shoes of the team’s second-leading regular season scorer may be a bit of a stretch.
“Obviously, you can’t replace a guy like Horts, but everybody has to step up just like when [Patrice Bergeron] was out,” Seguin said Wednesday. “Guys had to step up even more, and that’s what guys have to ask of each other for tonight’s game.”
After scoring three goals and totaling six points against the Lightning in his first two playoff games, Seguin’s play declined. He turned in a solid performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, but by the time the Vancouver series began, he was getting less opportunities and played a more timid game. He was a ghost for nine minutes in Game 2, and coach Claude Julien sat him in Game 3 in favor of Shawn Thornton as a result.
“I think you have to be understanding. I wasn’t happy with how I played the last game in Vancouver. I don’t think I played my best. I can’t say I saw it coming, and I can’t say I was shocked,” Seguin said. “It was what it was. I gave Thorny a pat on the back and said, ‘go get ‘em,’ and that’s all you can really do.”
While Games 1 and 2 featured flashier play, Game 3 against the Lightning was the most indicative of an NHL player. He was sound in all zones in his 13 minutes of ice time and showed more hockey smarts than he had previously. Though he wasn’t credited with an assist given that the puck changed hands too many times afterward, he set up Andrew Ference‘s third-period goal. On Wednesday, he was asked what was bigger: his fear of screwing up in his own zone (a common tendency for younger players) or the pressure he’s put on himself to make a difference offensively.
“I think it’s neither,” Seguin said. “I think it starts with being good in your defensive zone, and I think that will lead to offensive opportunities. I feel like if I go out there worried of making mistakes, that’s what I’m going to make. If I go out there confident and focused, I shouldn’t make any. That’s my mindset going into tonight.”
Then there’s the idea of the rookie finding motivation in the healthy scratches. After all, Seguin wore a suit for the first two rounds of the playoffs and it took Bergeron’s concussion to get him into the lineup. While the idea of proving himself has been a season-long motivating factor, Seguin intimated that a certain trophy trumps all personal goals when it comes to getting up for the finals.
“Everyone in here is motivated for this,” he said. “There’s a million reasons right there in front of you. Obviously that’s another one in there. You’ve got to bring it tonight and use it as good energy.”
With Horton out and Seguin in, suddenly there’s a spot for the 23rd guy in warmups. That man will be fellow rookie Jordan Caron, who began the year with the team in Prague and totaled seven points in 23 games with the B’s in a season that saw him spend the majority of his time with the Providence Bruins. He won’t be playing, but he’ll be able to go out there with the Stanley Cup patch on his uniform and take in the finals experience.
It also means that should another Bruins’ forward go down, Caron would be on the biggest stage after not seeing game action for nearly two months.
“It’s the Stanley Cup Final, so just to be around the team and playing practice with them and stuff [is cool],” Caron said. “If I get the call I’ve got to be ready. It should be fun.”
Said Julien: “Jordan has an opportunity to live that same experience that we’ve been giving [Seguin], and [Steven] Kampfer, a young player that we feel is a big part of our organization. Besides the game, you look at ways to help your young players grow. I think that’s one of the ways, as well.”
|Phish and their fans like the Bruins, too||06.08.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
Check out the following video from last night’s Phish concert. Sticktap to twitter follower @billdamon.
|Alain Vigneault still unhappy with Tim Thomas, talks to league||06.08.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault expressed frustration with Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas Wednesday, saying that he has spoken to the NHL about the way Thomas plays outside the crease and initiates contact with players. He also had a problem with Thomas’ hit on Vancouver center Henrik Sedin in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a hit that occurred in the crease.
“We’ve asked the league, obviously,” Vigneault said. “Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, he’s set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that.
“If we’re behind him, then that’s our ice. We’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact, like he did on Hank, and they’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”
Vigneault had also complained about Thomas after Game 1, in which Thomas drew a tripping call on Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows.
|Bruins-Canucks Game 4 preview: 4 keys, stats and players to watch||06.08.11 at 2:20 am ET|
The Bruins, coming off an 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, have a chance to tie the series up Wednesday in Boston. Thus far in the playoffs, the Bruins have followed up their first win of a series with another one the next day. Here is a preview of Game 4:
FOUR THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
- Figure out life after Nathan Horton, and fast: At the very least, David Krejci and Milan Lucic will be playing with someone they haven’t played with much this season, so they’ll need to click fast. Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley seem to be the best options.
- Beat them physically, but watch out: The refs are going to be on extra lookout for extra curricular stuff. The Canucks might want to entice the Bruins, but the B’s have to keep in mind that the other guys aren’t interested in fighting as much as they are in drawing penalties. As for the finger stuff, there probably aren’t many players who want to be the one that ends up costing his team a goal because he stuck his fingers in another players’ mouth.
- Keep the pedal to the metal on the power play: The Bruins have now scored power play goals in back-to-back games for just he second time this postseason. The other time occurred in Games 3 and 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.
- Treat it as a must-win: The Bruins can either tie the series or end up going to Vancouver down three games to one. It would be hard to imagine the B’s overcoming such a deficit, so the level of desperation has to be high on Wednesday night.
- The Canucks outshot the Bruins, 41-38, in Game 3. The B’s are now 10-4 in games in which they’ve been outshot. They had a 6-0 mark in such games through the first two rounds, and have gone 4-4 when being outshot the last two rounds.
- Tim Thomas allowed five goals in the team’s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. Since then, he’s allowed five goals over four games.
- Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts has had a negative rating in four of the five games he’s played this postseason. The 16:28 he played in Game 3 made for a postseason high. Part of that is a result of the team having five defensemen for all but five minutes of the game.
- Chris Kelly‘s goal in Game 3 was his first since removing the full cage from his helmet. Kelly had four goals while wearing the cage, but had gone 11 straight games without a goal, nine of which were cageless. Now, the curse of the cageless Kelly can be laid to rest.
FOUR PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
- Tyler Seguin: The rookie hasn’t registered a point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, and he hasn’t played particularly well since Game 3 of that series. Now his scoring ability is more of a need for the Bruins than a luxury with Horton out.
- Roberto Luongo: Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault didn’t want to pull Luongo, and Luongo didn’t want his coach to pull him on a night in which the floodgates opened wide. Now it’s a matter of how he bounces back. There’s no history to guide this one, as he had never allowed eight goals before, and the only time in which he allowed seven was Game 6 against the Blackhawks last year in the second round, a contest in which Vancouver was eliminated.
- Henrik and Daniel Sedin: It has to have dawned on the Sedin twins that they haven’t been their dominant selves this series. Aside from a two-point performance in Game 2 from Daniel, the Sedin twins have been kept off the scoring sheet. Daniel has an even rating this series, while Henrik has only a minus-1 rating and a big hit from Thomas in Game 3 to show for himself.
|Report: Further finger-work will be penalized||06.07.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
According to a report from ESPN.com, NHL vice president Mike Murphy has told both the Bruins and Canucks that from Game 4 onward, any player waving their fingers or putting their fingers in the mouths of other players will recieve a two-minute penalty and 10-minute misconduct.
Players have taken to the aformentioned actions in wake of Alexandre Burrows biting Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins’ center was facewashing the Canucks’ winger when Burrows bit his finger, and since players have gestured to one another with their fingers. Defenseman Adam McQuaid got in Burrows’ face in Game 2 and asked “are you going to bite me?” and Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi have since waved their fingers at other players.
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