|Mike Smith leads Lightning out for Game 5||05.23.11 at 7:38 pm ET|
After the Lightning kept tight-lipped on who would start Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Mike Smith — not Dwayne Roloson — was first onto the ice Monday night as Tampa players went out for warmups.
Roloson entered the series leading all postseason goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage but was pulled in both Games 2 and 4 after the Bruins mounted large leads. Smith has stopped all 29 shots he has seen vs. the Bruins in relief. Smith went 1-2-0 against the B’s in the regular season, including allowing five goals in the Bruins’ 8-1 pounding of the Bolts on Dec. 2.
|Claude Julien sticking with Tomas Kaberle||05.23.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
“If you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there,” Julien said when a reporter asked about benching Kaberle. “You’ve got to also think, is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?”
In my humble opinion, I would answer “yes” to Julien’s question. Between Kampfer’s skill set/previous success vs. Tampa making him a good fit for this series and Kaberle’s ugly turnovers on which he’s looked indifferent, Kampfer could probably do more with 11:35 of ice time than Kaberle did in Game 4.
Yet Julien is correct in reminding doubters that sticking with a struggling player has worked for the Bruins. Many wanted Michael Ryder out of the lineup in the first round, and now Ryder has been the team’s best winger for the last five games.
“Some people wanted certain people out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off,” Julien said. “I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking [Kaberle] out of the lineup when there’s other players too that have struggled. I don’t know why we haven’t talked about that. That’s because we had patience. We believed in those guys, and Kaberle last game, that second goal, maybe [lost] the puck, but our system calls for support on that. Our support wasn’t there. According to our system, he’s not the only one to blame.”
Kaberle was certainly to blame for Sean Bergenheim’s game-tying goal in the second period Saturday, as the Lightning forward took the puck from Kaberle behind the Bruins’ net without a fight from No. 12. Kaberle was not to blame for Simon Gagne’s game-winner in the third, but Julien only addressed the fourth goal.
“On the winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice, and we turn the puck over, so we keep playing Kaberle? I think people are a little hard on this guy,” Julien said. “I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him, and one of those guys who’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. He’s going to be a good part of our hockey team. We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games, so that’s how we see Kaberle.”
There you have it. Kaberle is only worth 11:35 of ice time, but he’s worth believing in. The company line just sounds a bit off.
|Guy Boucher still not revealing whether it’s Dwayne Roloson or Mike Smith for Game 5||05.23.11 at 12:29 pm ET|
Lightning coach Guy Boucher once again danced around the subject when asked who is starting goaltender would be in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Bruins. The coach said starter Dwayne Roloson, who was pulled in Games 2 and 4, is “prepared,” but offered little else as to whether it would be Roloson or Mike Smith between the pipes for Monday night.
“We’re preparing like usual,” Boucher said. “[Roloson] is preparing like he’s prepared for other games. We’re prepared.”
Boucher did note that he knows his starter, but wouldn’t say who it was.
“We had a good talk,” Boucher said of Roloson. “He knows what’s coming.”
|Recchi’s dozen for morning skate||05.23.11 at 10:46 am ET|
It’s a Recchi’s dozen out there for the morning skate, as all Bruins with the exception of Mark Recchi took the ice Monday morning in anticipation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
No lineup changes are expected for the Bruins tonight. To see which lineup change we think they should make, and for a complete preview of Game 5, click here.
|Bruins-Lightning Game 5 preview: Five things, stats and players||05.23.11 at 1:12 am ET|
The Bruins learned the hard way Saturday that they need more than a strong start and a big day from Patrice Bergeron to get their third victory of the Eastern Conference finals. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Saturday’s Game 4, the Bruins will be back at home Monday to take on the Lightning in Game 5.
FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Take advantage of playing at home/score the first goal. The Bruins don’t want to find themselves a loss away from elimination when the teams head back to Tampa for Game 6, so taking care of business in their own building will be key.
The B’s weren’t able to score the first goal in Games 1 and 2, though they were able to head to Tampa with the series tied at a game apiece. The first goal hasn’t been everything this series, as the team to strike first has gone 2-2 thus far.
– The B’s must get the type of production from David Krejci‘s line that made the second round such a walk in the park. Krejci was a minus-3 with zero shots on goal in Game 4, while Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic each had just one shot on goal in the loss.
– The Bruins’ second line probably would be a stinker as well if it weren’t for the redeeming qualities of Bergeron. If it weren’t for a Brad Marchand interference penalty in the second period, there would be minimal proof that the feisty rookie even played in Game 4. Marchand had no shots on goal for the second time this series. The B’s have lost both games in which the 23-year-old has failed to put a shot on net. Mark Recchi is a minus-4 this series and has just five shots on goal.
– Selective memory would probably serve the B’s best after their Game 4 collapse. Remember that it happened, but don’t think about just how much momentum the come-from-behind win could have given Tampa Bay.
– Not that they will, but the B’s should at least give consideration to playing Steven Kampfer. We said it last week, and Saturday’s soft showing behind the net on a costly turnover to Sean Bergenheim only confirms it: it’s worth seeing what Kampfer can do in place of Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle looked better in Games 2 and 3, but if you’re going to give him between 11 and 12 minutes a game and he still finds a way to make them costly minutes as he did Saturday, you’re better off easing Kampfer back in with an 11-or-12-minute night. Kampfer has as many goals this season against the Lightning (two) as Kaberle has had turnovers that resulted in Tampa goals this series.
FIVE CRAZY STATS
– Kaberle’s 11:35 of ice time in Game 4 isn’t just ridiculously low for someone the team invested so much in, but it’s the lowest total that Kaberle ‘ two injury games aside — has played in his entire career. While with the Maple Leafs, he left the team’s March 2, 2007 game vs. the Devils after being blindsided in the second period by Cam Janssen, and he left a Jan. 6, 2004 game with a shoulder injury in the first period. Back then, injuries were all that could keep Kaberle from playing less than 12 minutes. Now, it’s just poor play.
– That stuff about Michael Ryder turning it on in the playoffs is true. Ryder has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in his last five games. He never amassed more than five points in any five-game stretch during the regular season, and this five-game stretch ties for Ryder’s second-best as a member of the Bruins. He had nine points over the Bruins’ first five games of the 2009 playoffs.
– Tim Thomas has allowed four goals four times this postseason, and the Bruins are 3-0 thus far in games that directly followed said performances. Thomas allowed one goal in 89 minutes in Game 5 of the first round after allowing four goals two nights earlier. He followed the team’s 5-2 loss in the conference finals opener by allowing five in Game 2, but the B’s came away with the win. It was after that contest that Thomas really bounced back, blanking the Lightning in Game 3.
– Neither the Bruins nor the Lightning have scored a power play goal since Game 2 of the series. This marks the first time this postseason that the Bruins and their opponent have put up a goose-egg on the man advantage in consecutive games.
– Steven Stamkos is a minus-2 this series, and has only had a positive rating in one game this postseason. The lone positive rating came in Game 5 of the quarterfinals when he had two goals, an assist and was a plus-1.
FIVE KEY PLAYERS
– Whichever Lightning goalie starts. Dwayne Roloson has been chased from two of the series’ first four games, and Guy Boucher has yet to reveal whether Roloson will be a go for Game 5. If Boucher makes a change, it will be Mike Smith, who has stopped all 20 shots he’s seen from the B’s in 60:51 this series.
– Simon Gagne: The veteran winger simply slays the Bruins, and he did it to the tune of three points and a plus-4 rating in Game 4.
– Ryder and Tyler Seguin: In the event that Lucic and Horton fail to step it up and Bergeron’s wingers continue to struggle, the B’s will need the magical Ryder/Seguin duo to light it up the way they did in Game 2. Seguin was on the ice for three of the Lightning’s five goals Saturday, but he’s been second to only Ryder this series as far as who the B’s best winger has been.
– Dennis Seidenberg: One last opportunity to point out that the B’s minute-eating defenseman had seven blocked shots in Game 4. He and Kaberle were out there for Gagne’s game-winner.
|Guy Boucher won’t reveal Lightning’s starter for Game 5||05.22.11 at 5:22 pm ET|
Lightning coach Guy Boucher did not reveal who will start between the pipes Monday in speaking with reporters at TD Garden on Sunday. No. 1 goalie Dwayne Roloson has been pulled in two of the last three games and replaced by Mike Smith due to poor play, but the most the coach would offer was that Roloson is “getting ready” for Game 5 in Boston.
Smith, who replaced Roloson after the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period Saturday and allowed nothing to the B’s as the Lightning came back for a 5-3 win, said following the victory that he didn’t expect to start Game 5.
“I don’t think so,’ Smith said Saturday when asked if he thought he’d get the start. ‘It’s one game. Roli has got us this far and he’s played outstanding in the playoffs. I don’t doubt that he comes back and plays really well for us. I have no doubt in my mind that he rebounds from a game like this.’
Through 15 games this postseason, Roloson has a 2.51 goals against average and a .925 save percentage to go along with a pair of shutouts.
|After signs of improvement, Tomas Kaberle takes another step backwards in loss||05.21.11 at 7:10 pm ET|
TAMPA — Call it a Kaberlapse. After stronger performances in Games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference finals gave the Bruins reason to believe that Tomas Kaberle was turning a corner, the 33-year-old defenseman reset the “Days Without a Costly Kaberle Turnover” safety board to zero in the team’s 5-3 loss to the Lightning in Game 4.
Tampa Bay tied the game at three in the second period when Kaberle turned in a soft play behind his own net and was outmuscled by Sean Bergenheim, who stole the puck and scored to tie it up.
“I saw it. I lost it between my legs there,” Kaberle said after the game. “I just have to be sure to be sharper on that play. It’s one of those games you have to learn from.”
The play looked more like the Kaberle of Game 1, who gave the puck away behind Thomas’ net for an easy Teddy Purcell goal. Kaberle picked up a secondary assist on Michael Ryder‘s first-period goal on Saturday, but was a minus-1 on the day. After blocking a shot in the third period, he tried to go for a change but stayed out in an effort to prevent Simon Gagne’s game-winner. Gagne fired a wrister past Kaberle and Thomas to make it 4-3.