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Tim Thomas: ‘I didn’t realize it was my job to pump [Roberto Luongo's] tires’ 06.12.11 at 1:11 pm ET
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Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally got in on the fun Sunday, providing the media with the closest thing he’ll give to partcipation in a war of of words with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Thomas has allowed a minuscule six goals in five games of the Stanley Cup finals, yet its been Luongo’s opinion of his style that has made the most headlines. After saying he would have saved the Maxim Lapierre shot that won the game for the Canucks in Game 5, Luongo noted Saturday that he has praised Thomas without hearing anything back.

Said Luongo Saturday: ‘€œI’€™ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven’€™t heard any one nice thing he’€™s had to say about me, so that’€™s the way it is.’€

Thomas responded to Luongo’s comments Sunday after the team’s practice, saying that he as a goaltender respects other netminders, though he had some fun with the way he went about it.

“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said with a grin. “I guess I have to apologize for that.

“I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Roberto Luongo, Stanley Cup Finals, Tim Thomas
Bruins hold one last practice 06.12.11 at 11:40 am ET
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Assuming the B’s would not skate on Tuesday should they win Game 6, the Bruins held what it is most likely their last practice of the season Sunday at TD Garden. All parties were present, with Jordan Caron the fourth man on the second line with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Rich Peverley skated with the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

All eight defensemen were there as well, including Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Luongo: Lapierre’s goal ‘an easy save for me’ 06.11.11 at 5:58 am ET
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VANCOUVER — Some made a big deal of Roberto Luongo taking a shot at Tim Thomas before the series, even though Loungo never did so. Yet after Friday’s Game 5, Luongo may indeed have taken a bit of a dig at his fellow Vezina finalist.

One goal was allowed between both goaltenders, with Maxim Lapierre taking a puck that had bounced off the end boards after a Kevin Bieksa shot and beating Thomas. Asked whether he could make the save, Luongo went back to the series-long trend of talking about whether or not Thomas plays correctly postitionionally.

“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. “It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.”

Luongo picked up his fourth shutout of the postseason Friday.

Maxim Lapierre, Canucks take Game 5 06.10.11 at 10:53 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Bruins have had plenty of reasons not to like Maxim Lapierre, and he provided another Friday as his game-winning goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals brought the Canucks one win away from winning the it all.

After a Kevin Bieksa shot in the third period went wide and bounced back to the side of Thomas Thomas’ net, Lapierre fired it on net, with the B’s goaltender rolling into the net with the puck to make it 1-0, the game’s final score.

Roberto Luongo picked up his second shutout of the series, and fourth of the playoffs.

The teams will head to Boston for Monday’s Game 6. If necessary, Game 7 will be played in Vancouver on Wednesday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– All of the offensive firepower from Games 3 and 4 did not accompany the Bruins back to Vancouver. The B’s now have just two goals in three games at Rogers Arena in this series.

On the few solid opportunities that the B’s had, either Luongo would come up big or luck would play a factor. Brad Marchand was robbed by the Vancouver in front after a nice pass from Mark Recchi in the second period, and Chris Kelly hit the cross bar in the first.

– The B’s had three power plays in the first period, and the solid opportunities were rare. The B’s best chance on the man advantage came with Andrew Alberts in the box, and Patrice Bergeron tipping a Dennis Seidenberg slap shot. Luongo stopped that, and came up even bigger on the rebound. Manny Malhotra began that Bruins’ power play by getting stopped by Thomas on a shorthanded breakaway bid. On the night, the B’s were

Gregory Campbell saw time on each of the Bruins’ first three power plays, totaling 2:17 on the man advantage in the first period.

- The Bruins can’t expect to win a game without Milan Lucic or Michael Ryder getting a shot on goal. Neither were able to put a puck on Luongo the entire night. Lucic was also pit-pocketed at the Bruins’ blue line with about a minute left in the game.

– Alexandre Burrows was nice again on his worst behavior. In addition to taking a whack at Tim Thomas‘ glove well after the play was dead in the second period, he ramped up his diving game to new heights. He was called for a dive on a Milan Lucic trip before the face-off in the second period, and by the time the third period rolled around, it seemed the officials paid no mind to any contact made with Burrows and his subsequent reactions.

– Not the best time to take a tripping penalty for Rich Peverley. The Bruins’ offensive utility man went off with 7:51 remaining in a game the B’s were trailing by a goal.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Once again, the B’s were able to stop the Canucks on the power play. Vancouver fans weren’t happy with how few penalties were called on the Bruins, and the Canucks couldn’t capitalize on either of their three power plays. Vancouver is now 1-for-25 on the man advantage in the finals.

Tanner Glass probably isn’t going to be sleeping well after he had as golden an opportunity as he’ll ever get in the second period, though the win probably softens the blow. Glass took a pass right on Thomas’ door step and had about one whole second and an entire open net to work with, but he couldn’t get a handle on it. The play fell apart for the Canucks, and so too did a great shot at leading 1-0 midway through the game. Glass did not play in the first three games of the series, so if the Canucks hadn’t eventually gotten on the score board, thetalk of Jeff Tambellini getting g in there for Game 6 would have started up.

Bruins-Canucks Game 5 Preview: Five keys, stats and players 06.10.11 at 6:16 pm ET
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VANCOUVER ‘€“ The Bruins are starting out this trip to Vancouver just the way they did the last time around: even in the Stanley Cup finals. This time around, it’€™s a best-of-three series, and the importance of getting a road win is magnified greatly. Sticking with the fun game-number-themed preview, here’€™s a look at Game 5.

FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

Bring that home game on the road: Obviously, it is impossible for the B’€™s to replicate both the strategy and execution of Games 3 and 4 given that Canucks now have the last change, but all things considered, the Bruins can have success by continuing what made them successful in a couple of lopsided road wins: capitalize on what a disaster the Canucks have been offensively, and get to Roberto Luongo more with better opportunities. That’€™s something they can do without the benefit of last change.

- Keep the Sedins silent: The brothers Sedin were supposed to be stars of the Stanley Cup finals, and the fact that they have yet to show up would warrant any angry fan demanding a refund. The Zdeno Chara ‘€“ Dennis Seidenberg pairing vs. the Sedins has clearly worked out in the Bruins’€™ favor, as a two-point performance in Game 2 for Daniel Sedin remains the only time either brother has shown up on the scoring sheet in the first four games.

Sustain the surprising special teams play: This series was supposed to be about the Canucks’€™ power play dominating, while the B’€™s would continue their no-show on the man advantage. Instead, it’€™s been the Bruins who have three power play goals through first four games, while the Canucks are 1-for-22.

Score more than two goals: With the way the last two games have gone, Bruins fans might expect the B’€™s to toss six past Luongo Friday, but it was the lack of scoring at Rogers Center in Games 1 and 2 that hurt them in the end. It looks like they’€™ve exposed the Canucks’€™ defense well enough at this point, so the B’€™s should hope they can buck their trend of being limited on the scoreboard (two goals in their last trip here) at Rogers Arena.

Let the Canucks obsess over Tim Thomas: The more they complain, the less success they have, which causes them to complain and repeat the process. On the ice, they keep trying to bug him with childish antics such as trying to knock Thomas’€™ stick loose by hitting the top of it, and thus far it has only frustrated the Canucks. Thomas should watch how much he reacts, as his slash on Alexandre Burrows was retaliatory, but still ill-advised. As long as Thomas continues to limit the Canucks the way he has (one goal allowed over the last two games), he can do pretty much whatever he wants.

FIVE STATS

– The last time the Bruins dropped two straight games to open a series (the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens in April), they won three straight before eventually taking the series in seven games. The B’€™s

– Assists is the only major statistical category in which a Bruins player does not lead this postseason. David Krejci leads all postseason players in points (22), and goals (11), Zdeno Chara has a playoffs-best plus-14 rating, and Tim Thomas leads all goaltenders with a .936 save percentage and 2.11 goals against average. He is tied with Roberto Luongo with three shutouts and 14 wins, while Henrik Sedin is the only Canucks player to lead a category by himself. He has a postseason-best 19 assists. Thomas surpassed Carey Price‘€™s postseason-leading numbers with his shutout on Wednesday.

– This is now the Bruins’€™ first series this postseason in which the team that score the first goal won each of the first four games.

Tomas Kaberle has had a negative rating in just two of the team’s 22 playoff games. His play has been improved in the Cup finals, and he’s
a plus-8 this postseason.

-Michael Ryder has had four points the last two games after having just two in the previous seven.

FIVE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Brad Marchand: The rookie pest was the best player on the ice Wednesday, flying and giving reminders that he’€™s more of a skill player than he may receive credit for. No. 63 has three points in the last two games, one of which was a beauty on the penalty kill Monday.

Rich Peverley: After spending much of the last two rounds playing on either the fourth line or floating around in the lineup, Peverley showed he can handle playing on the Bruins’€™ first line by scoring two goals on Wednesday.

Roberto Luongo: The Vezina finalist turned in back-to-back performances that warranted being pulled in Boston, but he insisted that he remain in the net for all of the team’€™s 8-1 loss in Game 3. The Bruins know to beat him high, and they’€™ve taken advantage of it. Alain Vigneault insists Luongo will remain the starter, as he should, but Luongo needs to prove that he isn’€™t falling apart on the biggest stage.

Tyler Seguin: The rookie had a nice pass to set up Michael Ryder’€™s goal on Wednesday, but it looks like he’€™s regressing as far as the physical play goes. On the very shift in which Ryder scored, the rookie was chasing a puck in the corner but pulled up before he got there to avoid getting hit, and the Canucks broke it out easily. Seguin took so many steps in the right direction through the first few games of the Eastern Conference finals, and he needs to go back to that.

Kevin Bieksa: It’€™s gotten worse and worse for Bieksa throughout this series, and if the report that Dan Hamhuis will remain out with a ruptured testicle is correct, the Canucks’€™ top-pair defenseman is in serious trouble. He’€™s been a minus-4 over the last two games, and Milan Lucic simply toyed with him priort to Peverley’€™s second goal Wednesday.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Bruins know they won’t win anything if they can’t succeed in Vancouver 06.10.11 at 3:35 am ET
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VANCOUVER — The Bruins were a very good road team in the regular season. Now, whether they are able to win on the road will determine whether they win the Stanley Cup.

With the Canucks having the advantage of home ice in Games 5 and 7 of the finals, the Bruins will need to win one (or possibly two) games at Rogers Arena if they want to hoist the Cup.

“We know that, because basically now we’re in a best-of-three series with Vancouver having the home-ice advantage,” Tim Thomas, who allowed four goals over the Bruins’ losses in Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, said Thursday. “We know that we have to win here, for sure.”

The Bruins were able to shake off their two losses to open the series by returning to Boston and beating the Canucks in convincing fashion Monday and Wednesday to tie the series. Winning by at least four goals, as they did both nights, would be nice, but then again, doing anything to resemble the way they dominated at home would be a welcomed sight.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily bringing a home game, it’s just bringing our game,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “As I mentioned here, I don’t think we played extremely well in those first two games. We were OK. That wasn’t good enough against a team like Vancouver. They’re a great hockey club.

“We need to play with a lot of emotion, intensity and play on our toes. That’s something that we have to certainly bring here.”

The friendly folks over at the WEEI.com stat truck passed along this nugget: The B’s have yet to pick up their third victory of a series on the road. If they can’t do so this series, they’ll be returning to the Garden facing elimination.

From the pregame presentation, to the in-house band, to the sea of white towels waving, to the arena-wide singing of “O Canada,” Rogers Arena certainly has a way of pumping up the Canucks players and fans. The B’s were able to silence that energy in Game 2 when they held a 2-1 lead, but as the Bruins get ready to take the ice in Vancouver for the third time this series, they do so knowing they haven’t gotten anything more than lessons from their two games at Rogers thus far.

“It’s pretty hard to play here,” Patrice Bergeron said in the visitors locker room. “The crowd is very loud, and obviously Vancouver is going to look to bounce back, so we’re going to need to make sure we’re bringing the same energy we had in Games 3 and 4. That being said, it’s a huge game tomorrow and we need to focus on that.”

Either way, the Stanley Cup will be at TD Garden on Monday for Game 6. Whether the Bruins can give themselves the chance to play for it depends on what they can do in the opponents’ building.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Alain Vigneault says Roberto Luongo will start Game 5 06.09.11 at 9:32 pm ET
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Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday at Rogers Arena that he will not be making a goaltending change prior to Friday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. Vezina finalist Roberto Luongo has allowed 12 goals over his last two games (both lopsided Bruins wins), but Vigneault said he will not be turning to Cory Schneider, as he did in the first round after Luongo struggled in Games 4 and 5.

“My gut at that time told me that putting Schneids in was the right thing to do, but it was just a one-[time] thing,” Vigneault said. “Roberto is the guy. He’s my guy, and he’s playing. It’s that simple.”

Schneider replaced Luongo after the Bruins’ scored their fourth goal in Wednesday’s Game 4 at TD Garden. The Marblehead native and former BC netminder stopped all nine shots he saw.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo
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