|Bruins-Canucks preview: Three keys, stats, and players to watch||06.06.11 at 1:54 am ET|
The Bruins have a tall task ahead of them as they look to overcome an 0-2 hole and turn the Stanley Cup finals into an actual series. Both games have been determined by just one goal thus far, and though the Bruins have played poorly from the most part, the first two games have shown the B’s can hang with the Canucks, even if they haven’t totally shown up yet. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Monday’s Game 3.
THREE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
- Get better looks vs. Roberto Luongo and establish a net-front presence. We’ll say it until it changes, and it didn’t change enough in Game 2. The Canucks have been able to box the Bruins out so far in the series, but look at how the B’s scored their goals in Game 2. Milan Lucic buried a rebound from in front, and Mark Recchi redirected a shot in front of Luongo. When the Bruins were able to set up shop and do things from close range, the puck went in. It seems trying it any other way is an exercise in futility.
- Keep moving Zdeno Chara around on the power play. Recchi’s goal came as a result of Claude Julien moving Chara back to the point, but Julien should keep mixing it up when it comes to the Bruins’ mammoth captain. He still appeared to be a nuisance in front of Luongo in Game 1, so Julien should have enough confidence in Chara’s abilities in both areas to play him in different spots from power play to power play.
- Use the home crowd to their advantage. Whether or not they want to admit it, Rogers Arena was absolutely electric and had to have been a tough place to play. If the Garden can turn down the music and let the fans create an authentic atmosphere, maybe the Canucks can truly feel like they’re at an opponent’s home and not a wrestling match.
- Both the Bruins and Canucks have seen four of their last five games be determined by one goal. The Bruins are 2-3 in that span, while the Canucks are 4-1.
- The four goals Tim Thomas has allowed over the last three games ties this stretch with his best of the postseason. Thomas let in four goals over Games 2 through 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers, though the difference is that the Bruins won all three of those games and have lost two of the three games in this stretch.
- Brad Marchand has gone four games without scoring. In the other two instances this postseason in which he went four straight without a goal, he scored the following game.
THREE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
- Tim Thomas: He plays aggressive ‘ the sky is falling! As bad as the game-wining goal he allowed in overtime Saturday looked, the reaction by some suggest nobody has actually watched Thomas before. He’s all over the place, and he plays farther out of his net than most. It will be interesting to see how be performs in Game 3 given all the heat he’s been under for his style this series.
- Alexandre Burrows: The Bruins have every reason to be furious that Burrows wasn’t suspended for Game 2, though they’re not showing it. At any rate, their No. 1 concern should be finding away to stop the guy who showed Saturday that his offensive ability (2 G, A in Game 2) is just as sharp as his teeth.
- Rich Peverley: Where to play the speedy winger? Peverley has seen time on the second line, third line and fourth line (and the first if you want to count him taking one of Nathan Horton‘s shifts in Game 7 of the conference finals when Horton was banged up) in recent games. Peverley could continue to take some of Mark Recchi‘s shifts on the second line, or he could skate with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder, as he did from late in the second period Saturday to the end of the contest. If and when Julien makes a move to get Shawn Thornton in the lineup at the expense of Tyler Seguin this series, the line of Kelly centering Peverley and Ryder would make sense.
Also, don’t rule out Peverley having a target on his back in Game 3. His two-handed slash to the back of Kevin Bieksa‘s knee didn’t go over well with Bieksa, his teammates or his coaches. Given the nature of the play, it shouldn’t have. Peverley really got away with one, and had he scored on his shot that followed the non-penalized slash, it would have looked even worse.
|Mark Recchi tells critics he’s no bum||06.05.11 at 12:28 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Bruins second-line right wing Mark Recchi scored his first goal in 12 games Saturday, giving the Bruins the lead in the second period of their 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Recchi had struggled at times as the B’s furthered their postseason run, and a popular topic among the fans and media alike was whether Rich Peverley should see more time on the second line in Recchi’s place, and whether the 43-year-old still belonged on the second power-play unit. After the loss in which he tipped a Zdeno Chara wrist shot past Roberto Luongo, he was asked about whether he felt he silenced critics.
“I’m not worried about critics. I’m worried about my teammates here. Critics, they’re not in the dressing room with us every day,” Recchi said. “They don’t know what I bring to the table every day, so really they can kiss my [rear].
“I’m not too worried about it,” Recchi continued. “My teammates are all I care about, my coaching staff. I’ve got a job to do, and that’s to focus on making sure that I’m helping in the dressing room , helping in other areas. Playing physical, trying to create things and that’s what I’ll do.”
Because Recchi’s goal came on the power play and he was on the ice for Alexandre Burrows‘ game-winner in overtime, he finished the night with a minus-1 rating.
|Bruins downplay Alexandre Burrows feasting on them||06.05.11 at 12:03 am ET|
VANCOUVER — There was plenty of buzz over whether Canucks first-line winger Alexandre Burrows would play in Game 2 in the hours that followed his bite on Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period of Game 1. The league’s decision not to suspend Burrows hurt the Bruins big-time Saturday, as he had a hand in all three Canucks goals and scored the game-winner 11 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 Vancouver win.
The Bruins and coach Claude Julien were quick to dismiss the connection between Burrows’ act the impact Wednesday he had Saturday.
“No comments. That’s got nothing to do with that,” Julien said when asked whether Burrows’ performance made him reconsider whether he felt the league made the right call. “I never thought about that that way. They made a decision and we moved on. If we start using that as an excuse, we’re a lame team. To me, it’s not even a consideration.”
Bergeron had cuts on his right pointer finger and had to get a tetanus shot following the bite. Given all the attention surrounding his finger, Canucks forward and longtime Bruins nemesis Maxim Lapierre waved his finger at Bergeron and even put his finger in his face in an effort to taunt the B’s center.
“I’ve got nothing to day about it,” Bergeron said of Lapierre’s gesture. “That’s just him I guess.”
Throughout the Bruins’ room, players tried to downplay any irony or added frustration from Burrows being the man who did them in.
“You don’t want to get too much into it with each little guy,” David Krejci said. “You’ve just got to take it the way it is. He scored. He’s just another player from their team.”
Added Bergeron: “I don’t see the relation there, but obviously just for us to lose like that, we’ve got to make sure we bounce back.”
|Alexandre Burrows sinks Bruins in overtime||06.04.11 at 10:58 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins blew their first lead of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday, and it came back to haunt them when Alexandre Burrows beat Tim Thomas to score the game-winner in overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 victory. Burrows had three points.
The Bruins now trail the Canucks, two games to none, in the series. The game was their first overtime loss of the playoffs, as they had won the previous four overtime games this postseason.
The Canucks got on the board thanks to a bit of a softy from Alexandre Burrows and led after one. The Bruins scored their first goal since Nathan Horton’s game-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference when Milan Lucic banged home a rebound at close range after a Johnny Boychuk slap shot from the point. Mark Recchi made it 2-1 with a power play goal at 11:35 of the second, and the B’s held that lead until Daniel Sedin tied it at two midway through the third period.
The teams will head to Boston for Monday’s Game 3 and Wednesday’s Game 4.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- After stopping the Canucks on six power play opportunities in Game 1, the Bruins’ penalty kill was beaten on Vancouver’s first chance Tuesday. With Chara in the box for interference on Ryan Kesler, the Canucks’ power play was lackluster at best until Andrew Ference failed to clear the puck along the boards. Sami Salo kept it in and sent the puck low, where Christopher Higgins set up Burrows’ bid, which rolled off the shoulder of Thomas and in.
- While Boychuk was more instrumental on Lucic’s goal than Burrows’ tally, it extended the WEEI.com Stat Truck’s note abut his presence for goals against. Boychuk was on the ice for Burrows’ power play goal, which was the eighth straight goal against the Bruins for which No. 55 was on the ice. The streak mercifully ended with Sedin’s goal, and he came up huge by laying out to break up a 2-on-1 with about six minutes remaining in regulation.
- Burrows was certainly a villain in Game 1 for biting Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period, but his villainous ways in Game 2 caused far more damage than a few cuts and a tetanus shot. In addition to scoring Vancouver’s first goal and the game-winner, he made a nice pass to get an apple on Daniel Sedin’s game-tying goal.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It was a triumphant moment for both Recchi and the Bruins’ power play when the 43-year-old redirected a Zdeno Chara wrist shot past Luongo. After one unsuccessful power play in the second period on a Kevin Bieksa delay of game penalty, coach Claude Julien moved Chara back to the point after he’d spent the last several power plays in front of the goaltender. The move paid off when Chara’s shot went past Tyler Seguin before Recchi tipped it in. It was Recchi’s first goal since Game 1 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.
- David Krejci displayed hard work behind the net prior to sending the puck back to Boychuk to set up Lucic’s goal. The first-line center had a decent showing in Game 1 with five shots on goal and expressed frustration Friday over the hype surrounding the Canucks. If he keeps turning in shifts like the one that put the Bruins on the board in the second period, maybe he’ll start hearing some of the praise he feels has been reserved for the Canucks.
- A combination of good breaks and huge saves from Thomas made it hard for the Canucks to capitalize on big chances. With the game scoreless in the first period, a Sami Salo shot from the point went off Thomas and was on its way into the net when Dennis Seidenberg knocked it away in the crease. Thomas came up with big stop after big stop from the second period until Sedin’s goal, including his latest of robbery of Jannik Hansen. This time, it came following another weak turnover from Tomas Kaberle.
|Manny Malhotra, Andrew Alberts in, Dan Hamhuis out for Canucks||06.04.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks third-line center Manny Malhotra will return to the team’s lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, as he is officially listed as active for the team. Malhotra has been out since March after getting hit in the eye with a puck vs. the Avalanche. The move makes Alexandre Bolduc a healthy scratch for the game.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis will not play for Vancouver, as he left Game 1 after hip-checking Milan Lucic and getting cross-checked by David Krejci in the second period. Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts will take Hamhuis’ spot in the lineup.
|Bruins looking for more physical, less penalized play in Game 2||06.04.11 at 5:48 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins found themselves shorthanded six times in the first two periods of Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, and despite shutting down the Canucks’ power play, they don’t want to push their luck.
“We don’t want to take too many penalties,” Nathan Horton said Saturday in anticipation of Game 2. “We know they’ve got a great power play, and we want to stay out of the box as much as possible, but we want to play as hard as we can and not cross that line. When we’re playing the way we can, we’re not taking penalties. We’re moving our feet, and that’s what we want to do.”
The Bruins’ primary focus for Game 2 will be to get better looks against Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who had a relatively easy 36-save shutout on Wednesday. One area in which the B’s know they need to be more physical — but cautiously so in an effort to stay out of the box — is in front to set up more close-range opportunities.
“There can always be more [net-front presence], regardless of if you feel you did a good job, or if you did a poor job,” center Chris Kelly said. “Obviously, when you get traffic in front of any goalie, especially a guy of his caliber, it makes things easier on yourself and harder on him.”
As for the 28 penalty minutes between the two teams in the game’s first 40 minutes, Kelly said the officials may have been more inclined to call the game tighter based on the fact that it was the first of such a big series.
“I think obviously the refs wanted to establish that they weren’t going to let anything go. You tend to see that in the first game of the series, lots of calls made,” Kelly said. “We need to know that we need to stay out of the box, because they’ve got a good power play. If we can stay out, the less chances they get. That’s better for us.”
Added Horton: “We don’t know what to expect from [the refs], but we’re just going to get back to the way we can play and leave everything on the ice. It’s an important game for us, and we don’t want to go down, 0-2.”
|Claude Julien doesn’t appear ready to sit Tyler Seguin||06.04.11 at 4:48 pm ET|
Seguin played 6:21 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, and including that contest, his two lowest career time-on-ice totals have come against the Canucks. The rookie has also been held with out the point the last six games, but when asked about Shawn Thornton Saturday, Julien didn’t give off the impression that the fourth-line enforcer would be in the lineup.
“Every game is about making decisions here… We’re in a position where we have to make decisions based on our needs, what has to happen,” Julien said. “We’ve at points envisioned a guy like Tyler, the way he played [early in the Eastern Conference finals], we had to keep him in the lineup.
“As games go on, we make decisions. What I’m saying today might be different tomorrow, so on, so forth.”
Seguin exploded with six points in the first two games of the conference finals, which were his first two career playoff games. It took a Patrice Bergeron concussion suffered in Game 4 vs. the Flyers for Seguin to even get his chance to play, and he doesn’t want to go back to the press box.
“I’m taking advantage of all opportunities I’ve been given,” Seguin said. “I don’t want to go back to the feeling of almost waiting for an
injury for you to get a chance to play. That’s not the emotional state I want to be in. I’m trying to stay away from that.”
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