|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.
|No suspension for Andrew Ference after hit on Jeff Halpern||04.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters Thursday that defenseman Andrew Ference will not be suspended for his collision with Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of Boston’s 4-3 overtime win over Montreal Wednesday.
Halpern went down hard after hitting the shoulder of Ference in the Bruins’ zone, and it was reported following the game that Ference would have a phone hearing with the league at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Ference had two hearings with the league during the series. He was fined $2,500 for giving Canadiens fans the middle finger after scoring in Game 4.
|Report: Andrew Ference will have league hearing for hit on Jeff Halpern||04.28.11 at 1:52 am ET|
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will have a hearing with the league at 11 a.m. Thursday regarding his hit on Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of the B’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Halpern remained on the ice after colliding with the B’s defenseman’s shoulder in the Bruins’ zone.
“It was pretty solid [contact], actually,” Ference said of the play. “I kind of braced myself because I saw him off the side, and I definitely felt him hit me.”
Ference maintained that he did not intend to injure Halpern, who seemingly was not significantly injured given his quick return to the game.
“Oh yeah?” Ference responded when a reporter suggested he may have raised his shoulder. “No. It was like [I explained]. “I was holding my ice, and he was out the next shift.”
This will be Ference’s second hearing of the series, as he had one following an obscene gesture to Canadiens fans in Game 4.
|Bruins get their rematch with Flyers starting Saturday||04.27.11 at 11:24 pm ET|
After eliminating the Canadiens in seven games, the Bruins will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia. Game 2 will be played Monday evening at 7:30 p.m., before the Flyers and B’s will head to Boston for Games 3 and 4. Here is the complete schedule, per the league :
Saturday, April 30 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m.
Monday, May 2 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6 at Boston, 8:00 p.m.
*Sunday, May 8 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. (if necessary)
*Tuesday, May 10 at Boston, TBD (if necessary)
*Thursday, May 12 at Philadelphia, TBD (if necessary)
This is the second straight season in which the Bruins and Flyers have met in the conference semifinals. The B’s were eliminated in seven games last time around after blowing 3-0 leads in both the series and Game 7.
|Andrew Ference keeping Bruins’ Game 7 history in the past||04.27.11 at 5:14 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has seen the Bruins come up short in Game 7 multiple times. The team has seen their last three seasons end in such games, and on Wednesday they will go for their first Game 7 victory since 1994. The 32-year-old said prior to Wednesday night’s game vs. the Canadiens that he isn’t worried about the past.
“I’m not big on the history,” Ference said. “I always kind of laugh when they say ‘all-time records’ or ‘in past years, the Bruins have done this or that.’
“It really is in the moment. You play for today. What happened last year, the year before or the last 80 years of these teams playing each other, doesn’t have an effect on tonight. What happens out there is determined by the players on these teams.”
Claude Julien can certainly agree with his defenseman. All of Julien’s seasons in Boston to this point have ended with a Game 7 loss, but it’s the last thing the coach wants to think about.
“I think what’s in the past is in the past and you got to play for the present,” Julien said. “This is a pretty simple message, but that’s the message that you have to have playing those types of games. You’ve got to put everything behind you and look at what you need to do here to win.”
|Flyers await Bruins, if the B’s can make it happen||04.26.11 at 10:51 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The question of whether the Bruins will make it to the Eastern Conference semifinals remains unknown, but their opponent should they win Game 7 has been revealed. The Flyers beat the Sabres, 5-2, in Game 7 of their series to advance to the second round. Should the Bruins beat the Habs in Game 7 Wednesday at TD Garden, they would head to Philadelphia, where they would be hosted by the No. 2 seeded Flyers.
There is painful history between the two clubs for the Bruins, of course. Last season, the teams met in the conference semifinals, and after leading the series three games to none, the B’s let the Flyers win the next four, including a Game 7 in which Boston held a 3-0 lead.
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