|Bruins explain injuries to Patrice Bergeron, Adam McQuaid, Tyler Seguin||04.27.12 at 1:30 pm ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron had to play the final four games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals with a strained oblique and a broken nose.
The oblique injury was suffered in Game 3 against the Capitals, and it got worse before eventually forcing him out of Game 5 in the third period. He played in Games 6 and 7, but only took one faceoff in each of the final two games.
Bergeron had a scoring opportunity in overtime against the Capitals in Game 7, but couldn’t control the puck and sent it wide of the net. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday that the injury prevented him from making the play, noting that Bergeron “couldn’t stretch for it.”
Adam McQuaid did indeed have a concussion from the hit that he took from Capitals forward Jason Chimera on March 29. McQuaid suffered a cut above his eye, causing pain that he said may have masked his concussion symptoms at the time. He tried returning on April 5 against the Senators, but didn’t feel right and came out of the game in the second period.
In other injury news, Tyler Seguin might need surgery on a detached tendon in one of his knuckles on his left hand.
|Zdeno Chara a finalist for Norris Trophy||04.26.12 at 12:40 pm ET|
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was among the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to ‘to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.’ The other finalists are Nashville’s Shea Weber and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.
Chara had a career-best 52 points (12 goals, 40 assists) during the regular season and his plus-33 rating was tops among all defensemen. This is his fourth nomination for the Norris, which he won in 2009.
|Claude Julien: Capitals ‘were the better team’||04.25.12 at 11:56 pm ET|
After the Bruins failed to make it out of the first round for the first time in four years, Bruins coach Claude Julien gave credit where credit was due by commending the defensively tight and shot-blocking Capitals.
“At the end of the series, when you look at their team and you look at ours, they were the better team,” Julien said. “They had more guys going than we did and they played us tough.”
The Bruins became the second-consecutive defending Stanley Cup champions to be eliminated in the first round, as the Blackhawks were bounced by the Canucks to open last postseason. Julien mentioned the difficulty with putting together a successful season following the Bruins’ 2011 championship, but ultimately said the series came down to the Bruins being outplayed.
“Right now, I’m not going to stand here and nitpick at our team because when I look at this hockey club ad what it went through last year, and you look at teams that have been through that situation and how they struggled throughout the year, we still finished at the top of our division,” he said. “We still finished second in the conference and we had really grind it out. It was a challenging year for our guys and it was a challenging series as well.
“They made it tough on us, and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they played and the number of shots they blocked and how they helped their goaltender through it. The young goaltender played extremely well, so let’s not forget to give them a lot of credit for how they handled us. At the end of the day, when you look at your team, your team wasn’t playing its best hockey in the series.
“Before this day started, you’d just hope that they could get through this Game 7 and hope to pick some momentum up as you move forward in the playoffs, but you have to get through this game, and we weren’t able to.”
|Tough act to follow: Bruins eliminated in first round by Capitals||04.25.12 at 10:24 pm ET|
The Bruins’ season ended in disappointing fashion Wednesday night, as they fell to the Capitals, 2-1, in overtime to decide Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The loss marks the first time in four years that the B’s have failed to make it out of the first round.
The series was the closest in the history of the NHL, as no other series have had each game decided by one goal. Joel Ward‘s overtime goal made the difference in the game and the series, as Washington outscored the B’s, 16-15, in the series. Four of the seven games in the series were decided in overtime.
The Capitals got on the board in the first period when a Milan Lucic turnover led to a John Carlson wrist shot that Matt Hendricks redirected in. The goal ended Tim Thomas‘ Game 7 shutout streak at 139:03, as he had blanked both the Lightning and the Canucks in Game 7s last postseason.
Tim Thomas stopped 24 of the 25 shots he saw in regulation, while Braden Holtby made 30 saves on 31 Boston shots prior to overtime.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Jason Chimera, who has been a villain around these parts since his hit on Adam McQuaid late in the season, chose a pretty bad time to put the Bruins on the power play. The Capitals forward took Boychuk down when the two were chasing a puck in the Bruins’ zone, resulting in a holding call. The Bruins wouldn’t be able to take advantage.
Boston also had a perfect opportunity to take the lead in the third period when Roman Hamrlik went off for holding the stick at 1:18. Unfortunately for the B’s, the power play of Games 1-4 showed up and the Bruins weren’t able to muster any production. The Bruins finished the first round 2-for-23 on the man advantage.
– In games as close as the ones this series had, playing mistake-free hockey is key, and that means limiting turnovers. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they were rather prone to them, and the Capitals got their first-period goal after Lucic overstated a puck along the half wall in the Bruins zone. The Capitals gained possession, and Carlson fired a wrist shot on net that Hendricks redirected past Thomas. In the second period, Boychuk and Andrew Ference had turnovers in their own zone on convective shifts.
– The first period was Braden Holtby’s series in a nutshell. The B’s outshot the Capitals, 11-5, but only a Rich Peverley bid late in the period challenged the rookie goaltender. The Capitals successfully play their 1-4 neutral zone trap to made it tough for the B’s to get good rushes, and when they broke into the zone their shots were often from outside the perimeter. Holtby continued to give up big rebounds, but the Bruins had trouble capitalizing on them. For example, Benoit Pouliot ant a puck to Brian Rolston in front after a first-period blast from Zdeno Chara yielded a big rebound, but Rolston couldn’t get to it.
– The playoffs aren’t a time for one to lose their cool, and that nearly happened with the one of the last players from whom you’d expect to see foul play. Rich Peverley was sandwiched between Holtby and Carlson in front of the net late in the second period. Holtby shoved Peverley to the ice, and when the B’s forward got up he started to slash Holtby up high. He held up before skating away, but he could have put the Bruins in a real tight spot entering the third period had he followed through.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Seguin generally avoids contact at all costs, but he really played a grown-up shift when it was most needed. Seguin had to lunge at multiple bodies and take contact in order to put that puck in, and he did so instinctively. The Bruins need Seguin to continue to roll up his sleeves like that.
– The Bruins did an admirable job of killing off a third-period Patrice Bergeron penalty with nine minutes remaining. The Capitals were applying pressure heavily, and the odds were further stacked against the B’s when Dennis Seidenberg broke his stick. The B’s still managed, as Thomas juggled a save on Ovechkin and lost the puck behind the net before eventually covering to get a whistle.
|Bruins-Capitals Game 7 Live Blog: Jordan Caron in, Shawn Thornton out||04.25.12 at 7:26 pm ET|
|Will Bruins go with Jordan Caron or Shawn Thornton in Game 7?||04.25.12 at 1:28 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton or Jordan Caron?
That’s the question that Bruins coach Claude Julien faces going into the most important game of the season. Caron played in his first career postseason game Sunday when Julien called his number for Game 6.
“I was waiting for that for a little while, so I was pretty happy when Claude told me I was going to play,” Caron said. “It went well, so I was pretty happy with it.”
Julien had been saying throughout the series that he was keeping Caron in mind when it came to Boston’s lineup. When Patrice Bergeron had to leave Game 5 but was healthy enough to go in Game 6, the B’s went with Caron, presumably because he could play on the second line if anything were to happen to the Selke finalist.
On Wednesday, Bergeron was on the ice for morning skate but did not take faceoffs. That means that he’s still banged up a little bit, something that could have been assumed when No. 37 wasn’t on the ice in Tuesday’s practice.
Julien has confirmed multiple times that Bergeron will be in the lineup in Game 7, but if his status is still even the least bit shaky, the team could elect to keep Caron in and Thornton out. Another option is to play Thornton anyway, and if anything happens to Bergeron the team could explore putting Brian Rolston on right wing of the line with Rich Peverley at center.
With Caron unsure of his status, he’s had to do something he’s done a lot of over the last two seasons: prepare as though he’s playing and hope for the best.
“I think a lot of it is mentally. You just need to prepare,” he said. “You don’t know if you’re playing or not, so I think you’ve just got to be ready to jump in and do your job.”
Said Julien: “We talked to him before the series started, because I thought if anything, he was a real good player for us in that last stretch of the regular season. It was tough to take him out [before the playoffs] but we went with some experienced guys, first and foremost. The one thing that we said to him ‘ we said you’ve got to stay ready because there’s going to come a point where we’re going to need you and obviously we did last game.”
|Quick notes from morning skate: No faceoffs for Patrice Bergeron||04.25.12 at 12:15 pm ET|
The Bruins held what may have been their last morning skate of the season Wednesday, and everyone (except the injured Adam McQuaid) was present for it.
Patrice Bergeron skated Wednesday after taking Tuesday off, but he was a notable nonparticipant during faceoff drills. That means you can expect Rich Peverley to handle those duties again after doing so in Game 6.
With Bergeron skating on the second line, Jordan Caron took turns skating with the Merlot Line. It’s unknown whether Caron or Shawn Thornton will be the healthy scratch in Game 7 Wednesday night against the Capitals.
After the skate, Julien reiterated for a third time that Bergeron is in the lineup. In fact, he opened his press conference by asking, “Anybody want to know if Bergeron’s playing?”
For the Capitals, it appears Jeff Schultz will indeed go back into the lineup in place of John Erskine.
Here are the Bruins’ lines:
Greg Zanon ‘ Mike Mottau