|Marc Savard texting Claude Julien pointers from afar||05.01.11 at 3:11 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — There’s been no sign of Marc Savard since he sat at a podium, choked up, as general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the center’s season was finished on Feb. 7 at TD Garden. The 33-year-old returned to his home in Peterborough, Ontario, and since then, neither Bruins fans nor the media have heard a peep from the center. They’ve heard about him, as he reportedly has dealt with memory issues, but have gotten nothing from the horse’s mouth.
On Sunday, Claude Julien touched on the contact that he’s had with Savard since he was shut down due to post-concussion syndrome. Text-messaging has kept the two in touch, with Savard even trying to help his boss call the shots at times.
“I’ve been texting back and forth with Marc, no doubt. For me personally, there’s the player and then there’s the individual. I care for him as an individual and I really hope that he gets better for the ask of his personal life,” Julien said after Sunday’s practice. “I’ve been texting to see how he’s doing, and every once in a while I’ve said, ‘I thought you were going to text me to give me some tips on certain parts of our game.’ As soon as I opened that door, he took advantage of it. I’ve gotten a few tips from him.”
One area in which Savard should be instructing Julien is the power play. The B’s are 0-for-26 thus far in the postseason, and Julien admitted Sunday that the unit’s performance might not be so bleak if they still had a healthy Savard.
“He was a guy that did such a good job on the power play,” Julien said. “We definitely miss him there, and that’s not a big secret. The way he was just poised and playing those areas, where to move the puck, it certainly created some awareness for the other team. They knew how dangerous he was. That’s a part where, yeah, we lost that part when we lost Marc Savard. It’s not a part that’s easily replaceable.
“Somehow we’ve got to find a way to improve our power play without Marc Savard. It’s been a challenge, but even Marc this year was not as good a player as he was before that major injury of his, and I still remember the first few years I had him. You couldn’t have asked for a better power play guy. When you lose a guy like that, you’re losing a real good player and a real good piece of your power play.”
|Rivet, rivet: Bruins say broken skate the reason for Nathan Horton’s absence||05.01.11 at 2:42 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Nathan Horton wasn’t on the ice as the Bruins held their Sunday practice at Wells Fargo Center, but his never-ending grin could still be seen in the team’s dressing room following the skate. Horton did only off-ice work Sunday, with he and the team explaining that it was an equipment issue that led to his absence. Horton, who famously went to a local sporting goods store to buy a stick during a prolonged scoring slump in the regular season, apparently realized he had a broken skate as he was getting ready for the practice. By the time it was realized, Horton said, coach Claude Julien told him not to bother worrying about the practice.
“His rivets popped just before going out there, so the trainer came to see me, and I said we were only going out there for 20 minutes, so by the time you get it fixed [it wouldn’t be worth it],” Julien said after practice. “He did a little off-ice workout, and it’s not a big deal. He’ll skate tomorrow morning.”
Horton led the Bruins with five shots on goal in Boston’s 7-3 win over the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 25-year-old had a goal and an assist for two points and was a plus-3 on the day. Through eight playoff games, Horton has five points and a plus-2 rating.
|Patrice Bergeron knows Flyers ‘will bounce back’||04.30.11 at 7:02 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins began the Eastern Conference semifinals by lighting up Brian Boucher and the Flyers to the tune of a 7-3 Boston victory Saturday. Boucher allowed five goals before being pulled in the second period, and though it marked the fourth time this postseason that the Flyers have had to make a goaltending change mid-game, the Bruins know better than to expect things to come that easy.
“Philly’s known for their comebacks, even within games, so you’ve always got to be on your toes,” Tim Thomas, who gave up three goals on the other end, said after the contest.
With the victory, the Bruins lead the series, 1-0, but won’t get ahead of themselves. The B’s had a 3-0 series lead a season ago before the Flyers won the final four contests to eliminate Boston.
“It’s only one game, and yeah, they will bounce back,” Patrice Bergeron, who had three assists in the victory, said. “We’re going to make sure we’re ready for that.”
Game 2 will be played Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.
|David Krejci, Bruins beat Flyers in Game 1||04.30.11 at 5:54 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins began the Eastern Conference semifinals on a positive note, chasing Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher in the second period and taking a 7-3 victory at Wells Fargo Center Saturday.
David Krejci and Brad Marchand each had a pair of goals, with Nathan Horton, Mark Recchi and Gregory Campbell picking up tallies for the Bruins. The first five of the Bruins’ goals came against Boucher, who was pulled at 17:14 of the second period after allowing Marchand’s first goal. The rookie winger picked up his second of the night by beating Sergei Bobrovsky at 14:59 of the third, and Campbell scored his first career playoff goal at 17:39.
The teams will play Game 2 in Philadelphia on Monday before heading to Boston to play Games 3 and 4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Things sure are pretty when the first line gets first-line results. Krejci had just one point — his Game 3 goal — in the seven-game series vs. the Canadiens, and his four-point performance went a long way for the B’s Saturday. The B’s are still waiting to get more out of Milan Lucic, who did not have a point on the day, but his linemates certainly cashed in. Horton now leads the team with four postseason goals.
– The Flyers got some rough goaltending out of Boucher, and that’s obviously something the Bruins would welcome as a series-long trend. Boucher allowed five goals on 23 shots before being yanked, and some of the Bruins’ goals were very soft. Recchi got his own rebound before letting an easy one trickle underneath Boucher for Boston’s third goal, while Boucher knocked Horton’s goal into his own net while trying to stop it. Some goals, such as Krejci’s second, came as the result of traffic in front of the net, but it was just a bad showing for Boucher for the most part.
Saturday’s contest marked the fourth time in eight games this postseason that the Flyers have changed goalies during a game. Goaltending was an interesting topic before the series given that the B’s hold the clear advantage, so we’ll see if suspect Philadelphia netminding ends up playing a bigger role than we may have initially thought.
– The success continues for Patrice Bergeron. The second-line center was Boston’s best player in the conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens, and he had three assists on Saturday. The 25-year-old made a very nice play in redirecting an Andrew Ference shot from the point that would lead to Marchand’s goal off a rebound.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Pretty soon we’re going to have to change it to “What went wrong (aside from the power play not scoring) for the Bruins.” The B’s couldn’t bury one on any of their power plays, even when a shaky Boucher was in net for the first three. They finished 0-for-5 on the night and are now 0-for-26 in the playoffs. Yeesh.
– Sure, it was 5-1 at the time, but the Bruins allowed James van Riemsdyk’s second-period tally at a dicey time. Marchand had scored 16 seconds earlier to chase Boucher from the game, so the goalie change followed by the quick goal could have given Philadelphia a bit of a spark had they kept it up. Fortunately for the Bruins, they didn’t.
– Saturday marked only the second time since Game 2 of the first round that Chris Kelly’s line failed to produce a point. Peverley had a three shots on goal, but Ryder and Kelly combined for just one on the day. Kelly’s line was very good for the Bruins after the first couple games vs. Montreal, and the Bruins can only hope they get big production once again this round.
– The Bruins took four power plays in the first 13 minutes of the third period, and it finally paid off when Mike Richards ripped a wrist-shot past Thomas with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest. Sure, both teams in this series have bad power plays, but the B’s can’t assume the Flyers’ is as bad as theirs.
|A year after watching, Brad Marchand hopes Bruins can write ‘own chapter’ vs. Flyers||04.30.11 at 2:12 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Bruins forward Brad Marchand did not have to suffer last year’s collapse against the Flyers in uniform, but the rookie is happy to be a part of the continuation of what is becoming an interesting playoff rivalry.
“There’s a lot of hype going into this series right now, especially with what happened last year,” Marchand said. “It’s nice just to be here and hopefully we can write our own chapter.”
Marchand scored 21 goals in the regular season, making him one of the bigger additions to this year’s Bruins lineup. After five points in the first round vs. the Canadiens, he hopes to bring the B’s past the Flyers and into the Eastern Conference finals. Last year, however, he could only watch as the B’s blew a 3-0 series lead.
“It was really tough being there watching. Even though I didn’t play, it was tough it was tough watching what was going on and being part of it. we’re really excited this year, and we have a full new crop of guys. We’re pretty excited going into this series.”
|Train Blogging: A look at what the Bruins are facing in Philadelphia||04.29.11 at 9:00 pm ET|
The second round is almost here for the Bruins, and WEEI.com is on its way to Philadelphia to cover the series. As we blog on the train, here’s the information you need heading into the opening games of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 1: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Game 2: Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 to be played at Wells Fargo Center (*if necessary)
(ALL) BUSINESS CLASS (who is getting the job done): Patrice Bergeron was the Bruins’ best player against the Canadiens. His seven points vs. the Canadiens led the Bruins, and his first-round performance seemed to rub off on Brad Marchand. Remember, Bergeron would have been a free agent after the season had the B’s not inked him to an extension back in October. Right now it’s looking like a good thing that the B’s have avoided a bidding war on the 25-year-old center.
THE CONDUCTOR (who needs to set the tone): Milan Lucic had a couple of big assists in setting up both of Nathan Horton‘s overtime goals in the first round, but those were his only two points of the series. Lucic led the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season, and has generally been a solid contributor in the playoffs. He had nine points in two series in each of the last two years, so his two points thus far are both uncharacteristic of his performance this year and a dropoff from his normal postseason production. Lucic is the Bruins’ top goal-scorer and needs to perform like it.
COMING UP IN THE CABOOSE (who might have a bigger factor in this series): Rich Peverley racked up five points in the first round but still seemed to fly under the radar a bit. You’ve got to love the way he plays, as his speed and willingness to throw pucks on net make him a real asset on that third line. Peverley’s 15 shots on goal in the first round were third among Bruins forwards, behind only Patrice Bergeron (22) and Marchand (18). Peverley’s line with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder is definitely clicking, and he could wind up with more goals in the second round after scoring one vs. Montreal.
|Tim Thomas on M&M: P.K. Subban’s act ‘a travesty to the game’||04.28.11 at 2:09 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas joined Mut & Merloni Thursday to discuss the B’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals win over the Canadiens. In talking with Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni, Thomas said he does not respect the play of Habs defenseman P.K. Subban, who appeared to dive in an attempt to draw a penalty on Gregory Campbell with Montreal already on the power play late in the first period Wednesday.
“I have respect for the Montreal Canadiens team and the way they played that series and the way that they battled, but to be completely honest, I don’t have respect for actions like that,” Thomas said when asked about Subban. “That’s a travesty to the game. That’s not the way the game is supposed to be played. When I saw that happen in the first period, when he threw himself back on Campbell… it can be infuriating.
“If anything, it seems the refs let him get away with more, which I’m very surprised at. He’s making the refs look not good on a regular basis. He’s got enough talent, and he’s a good enough player that there’s no need for stuff like that.”
Thomas is not the first Bruin to publicly criticize Subban’s style of play. Center David Krejci was open about his feelings for the rookie defenseman after Game 1 of the series.
‘I don’t like him,’ Krejci said after Subban appeared to embellish on a play to draw a hooking call in the Habs’ 2-0 win. ‘I’m not going to say what I think about him, but I don’t like him.”
While Thomas is no fan of Subban’s play, he is clearly a supporter of the Canadiens’ netminder in Carey Price. Both Thomas and Price allowed 17 goals over the course of the series, and though they fought back on Feb. 9, there is clearly a mutual respect between the two.
“He battled hard from start to finish in that series,” Thomas said. “I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. As an opposing goalie, it’s team vs. team. You’re not really playing goalie vs. goalie. In this scenario, when the other goalie’s playing that well, he pushes me to be as good as I can be.
“There were moments where you just kept waiting for him to hopefully break. It just never happened. A lot of times, if you put enough pressure for a long enough time on the opposing goalie, they’ll break. That didn’t happen.”
The Bruins will open the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday in Philadelphia vs. the Flyers.
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