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Gordie huh? Nathan Horton far more concerned with winning than personal achievements 05.05.11 at 1:07 pm ET
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Nathan Horton picked up his first career Gordie Howe hat trick Wednesday. (AP)

Nathan Horton is usually excited about everything. This time of year, he’s even more excited given that he’s finally in the playoffs. Yet through a personal achievement, it seems Horton has finally revealed something he isn’t particularly excited about: a personal achievement.

The Bruins winger picked a funny time to get his first career Gordie Howe hat trick, but the B’s gladly took the results in a 5-1 win that saw Horton assist David Krejci‘s first-period goal, drop the gloves with Sean O’Donnell in the second, and score in the third. Given Horton’s power-forward style of play, it is a bit surprising that he had never picked up a Gordie Howe hat trick over seven regular-season campaigns. Of course, it wasn’t a surprise for him, as he didn’t even know that Wednesday was the first time he pulled off the feat.

“Of my career?” Horton said when asked about picking up his first Gordie Howe hat trick. “I don’t know. I don’t remember [if I ever did before].”

As for having a goal, assist and fighting major all in one game for the first time, Horton seemed indifferent to it. He plays mean on the ice, but it doesn’t seem he puts much thought into the numbers that come of it.

“I don’t know. Just anything you can do for a win,” Horton said. “That’s what it’s all about. Things happen on the ice. It’s kind of how it went, but the big thing is that we won and want to keep winning.”

The 25-year-old was out of his element a bit when asked about personal achievements, but once the conversation was turned to his team, Horton was, as he usually is, happy as a clam.

“We have such a great team,” he said. “We can win any game we want when we play hard, and we play the right way and the way we can.”

The Bruins go for the sweep against the Flyers on Friday.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gordie Howe, Nathan Horton,
Numbers don’t lie: David Krejci continues to crush the Flyers 05.04.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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David Krejci has given the Flyers trouble for quite some time. (AP)

After Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals a season ago, the questions surrounding the Bruins weren’t about whether they could close out a 3-0 series. They were about how the Bruins could potentially reach their ultimate goal without David Krejci, who had left the game with what would later be diagnosed as a broken wrist. This time around, there’s a storyline with Krejci, but it’s far different. With Boston’s first-line center healthy, he’s shown just how much of a factor he can be, and the Flyers have been the biggest victim.

That isn’t news for Krejci. For one reason or another, the 25-year-old center has been an absolute force vs. Philadelphia, and it continued Wednesday night with his fourth goal in three games, as well as an assist on Zdeno Chara‘s power play goal in the third period.

Dating back to last year’s Winter Classic, and including the playoffs, Krejci now has 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in his last 12 games vs. the Flyers. The B’s have won 11 of those 12 games, with the one loss coming this season in overtime.

“One thing is that my shots are finding the back of the net, and that’s a good thing,” Krejci said after Game 3. “Hopefully it’s going to keep coming. I don’t think it’s anything different from other teams. I’m just trying to play the same way as I always do, and I guess I just hope that it’s going to keep going well.”

The Flyers have certainly made it a point to limit Krejci’s chances, but the first line has continued to click. He ended Game 2 in overtime with a goal off Brian Boucher, and his tally in the first period Wednesday also proved to be a game-winner. Try as the Flyers might, there’s been no silencing Krejci this time around, and the Bruins, with a healthy Krejci, have a far better 3-0 lead than they did a series ago.

“They’re playing me hard, that’s for sure,” Krejci said. “They’re all letting me know that it’s going to be tough, but the puck’s going in for me right now.”

Krejci isn’t one to boast about personal achievements, so you won’t catch him reflecting too much on his dominance vs. the Flyers, or even admitting it exists. The mere acknowledgement of it Wednesday was enough from a guy who certainly knows he’s in a groove.

“I know I was doing well last year before I got hurt, and obviously this year I know how I’m doing,” he said. “I just hope I can keep going.”

Given that he had just one point in the first round against the Canadiens and already has seven points through three games vs. Philadelphia, it’s clear that Krejci just steps it up against Philadelphia, and that the Flyers have had no fun when he’s been in the lineup. Krejci said Wednesday that he “didn’t plan” to get hurt last year, but he isn’t thinking about it. With the way he’s going, he might not even have to think about Philadelphia much longer, as his play could put them in the Bruins’ rear view mirror.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brian Boucher, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara
Up 3-0, Tim Thomas says Bruins must keep playing ‘one shift at a time’ 05.04.11 at 11:10 pm ET
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On Wednesday, the Bruins took just the series lead that they have been associated with for nearly a year. In holding a 3-0 edge over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins have the very lead that they blew a season ago when they were eliminated by Philadelphia in seven games. The Bruins are trying to block out the comparisons to last year, but given where they stand, it’s only natural.

“About half the guys weren’t here last year. It’s different,” center David Krejci said after the team’s 5-1 win. “We have better depth in our lineup, and we showed it in the first round. Hopefully that’s going to help us in the second round, too.”

While the roster itself is different, many of the veterans who were on the squad know that the B’s did learn from last season’s collapse — even ones who weren’t playing.

“We learned last year that the fourth win is the hardest,” Tim Thomas said. “We are playing one game at a time, one period at a time, and one shift at a time. We are going to try to play it the same way come Friday.”

The B’s can go for the sweep Friday at TD Garden.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, David Krejci, Tim Thomas,
Bruins sign Ryan Button to entry level deal 05.04.11 at 4:07 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed 2009 third-round pick Ryan Button to an entry level contract. The defenseman played seven games for the Providence Bruins this year via an amateur tryout agreement and picked up one assist in the process.

Button split this past season in the WHL between Prince Albert and Seattle. He had five goals and 30 assists for 35 points between the two teams. The Edmonton native’s high in points came in 2008-09, when he had five goals and 32 assists for 35 points with Prince Albert.

Read More: Ryan Button,
Bruins use their own comeback vs. Canadiens to keep perspective vs. Flyers 05.04.11 at 1:20 pm ET
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The Bruins started their comeback from an 0-2 deficit on the road, just as the Flyers hope to. (AP)

A 2-0 series lead is a good thing, but not the thing that a team ultimately wants. It’s a case of a team having desired results so far, but still not having the desired result. One game can change everything, and with the Bruins holding a 2-0 lead on the Flyers entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night, the Bruins know that. They should have as good a perspective on that as anyone else.

No, this isn’t about the players who were on last year’s team thinking back to the blown 3-0 series lead in 2010. Instead, the B’s can simply think back to the last series. With the Canadiens winning the first two games of the quarterfinals, the Bruins took Games 3 and 4 in Montreal and eventually won the series in seven games. It all started with that 4-2 Game 3 win, and they know it.

“[We were thinking] that if we got the third game, the series would completely turn around, and that the pressure would be on them, and we’d be right back in it,” Brad Marchand recalled Wednesday. “Anything could happen from that point forward, so the third game is a huge turning point. We knew that, and that’s what we want to focus on. They’re definitely doing that [in the Flyers' room] right now.”

The similarities are there for the Bruins in the first round and the Flyers in the second round. Both teams lost the first two games at home, the second of which they had to play without their key defenseman. If the two teams are to share another thing in common, it could come in the form of a win on the road for the Flyers in Game 3.

“We want to make sure that we’re ready and not waiting. We’re prepared for that. We know that we were down 2-0, and we came back,” Marchand said Wednesday. “You kind of use that to put ourselves in this situation here and make sure that we don’t give them any opportunity to get back in this series.”

While some players are using their first-round triumph to give themselves perspective on how possible a Flyers’ comeback is, others are blocking everything out altogether. For Shawn Thornton, it’s as simple as winning a game.

“We’re not really talking about last series. We know that this is Game 3. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It’s Game 3, either way. I haven’t really put too much thought into anything except for preparing for tonight’s game as best as possible.”

The idea of not thinking about the score of the series is one shared by Thornton’s linemate in Daniel Paille. The fourth-liner remembers the feeling of having to “prove a point” after Game 2 of the last series, but doesn’t want to even consider the fact that the B’s could potentially have a stranglehold on the series with a win Wednesday. The way he sees it, they haven’t accomplished anything yet.

“[Leading] 2-0 doesn’t mean much. The way we look at it, it’s still 0-0 right now because if start thinking ahead of ourselves, we get in trouble. When we start doing that, it’s just not good a team, so we try to do everything we can to stay focused and avoid all of those types of situations.”

The Bruins are in the right situation entering Wednesday, but they know as well as anyone that it could be a completely different story when the game is concluded.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton,
Little being said with Jeff Carter a game-time decision for Flyers in Game 3 05.04.11 at 12:39 pm ET
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The buzz Wednesday morning at TD Garden surrounded Flyers forward Jeff Carter, who participated in the team’s morning skate and could lace up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Bruins. The 36-goal-scorer hasn’t played since leaving Game 4 of the first round with a knee injury suffered in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers. General manager Paul Holmgren has listed him as a game-time decision Wednesday, but aside from that, coach Peter Laviolette and Carter himself had very little to say on the subject.

Jeff Carter could provide the Flyers with a big boost in Game 3.

“Jeff Carter looked good this morning,” Laviolette said after the morning skate.

Here is every word Carter had to say this morning:

Can you be a factor at half-speed?

“It’s a quick game right now, so I’m not too sure.”

Do you want to be in the lineup tonight?

“Of course. Everybody wants to be in the lineup.”

Are you optimistic you will be?

“I don’t know.”

More likely you need another game?

“I don’t know. Holmgren talks about all the injuries. We don’t talk about that.”

How many minutes do you think you could play?

“I don’t know. I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about getting myself healthy to get back. When I’m healthy, I’ll worry about the other stuff.”

So you’re not 100 percent?

“I don’t know. We don’t talk about injuries, remember? It’s been like that all playoffs.”

Is there more urgency to get back in the lineup down 0-2?

“Of course. You want to be in every game.”

——-

Defenseman Chris Pronger was not on the ice for Philadelphia’s morning skate. He did not play in Game 2.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jeff Carter, Peter Laviolette,
No update on Adam McQuaid, Shane Hnidy ready to go for Bruins 05.04.11 at 11:42 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was not on the ice for Boston’s morning skate Wednesday at TD Garden, a sign that he could be out of the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Flyers. McQuaid left the game in the first period Monday with a sprained neck suffered while trying to hit Flyers forward Mike Richards.

Coach Claude Julien would not offer an update on McQuaid’s status, but in the seemingly likely event that the rookie does not play, veteran Shane Hnidy would take his spot.

“Same as yesterday,” Julien said of McQuaid’s status. “Day-to-day. Nothing more to report on Adam’s situation. I know Shane Hnidy is a guy ready to play, and he’s certainly a possibility in our lineup tonight.”

Hnidy has played in one game this postseason, filling in for an ill Zdeno Chara in Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. Hnidy played 4:13 in that contest. After the morning skate, he said he is ready for Wednesday should his number be called.

“The same as any other game,” Hnidy said of his preparation. “I’ve been taking warmups, and it’s the same. I’m prepared to play, and you never know what’s going to happen, so my preparation doesn’t change. I get ready for the game physically and mentally and once gametime comes, I go from there.”

Mark Recchi was the only other regular absent from morning skate, though he has been a participant in morning skates throughout the playoffs.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Adam McQuaid, Shane Hnidy,
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