|Lightning trying to ‘stop’ Tyler Seguin, Claude Julien wishes they’d stop ‘flattering’ Bruins||05.19.11 at 1:31 pm ET|
TAMPA — Nobody — even the biggest “play Seguin at all costs” crybabies — could have expected what Tyler Seguin has done in the Eastern Conference finals.
Since making his playoff debut in Game 1 of the conference finals, Seguin has had six points (3 G, 3 A) and has gone from an injury replacement to a big problem for the Lightning in a matter of six periods.
‘The first two games, it’s clear the players and everybody underestimated his speed,” Tampa coach Guy Boucher said of Seguin. “That’s the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and his team. Being a young guy and having success right away, it certainly takes a lot of the nervousness away, and for us we know he’s going to be on the ice and we have to be able to keep up with his speed.’
The praise from the Lightning wasn’t limited to Boucher, as one player who knows Seguin’s style better than most said the team needs to find a way to prevent the rookie from taking over another game like he did in Game 2 (2 G, 2 A). Read the rest of this entry »
|Milan Lucic misses morning skate, but will play Game 3 vs. Lightning||05.19.11 at 1:08 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins forward Milan Lucic was not on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate at St. Pete Times Forum, marking his second straight absence from a morning skate after getting hit on the right foot by a Tyler Seguin shot in Monday’s practice. Despite whatever discomfort Lucic may be feeling, coach Claude Julien confirmed after the skate that the team’s regular-season leader in goals will be in the lineup Thursday night vs. the Lightning.
“There’s no issues,” Julien said of Lucic. He’s going to be in tonight. “During the playoffs, there’s certain things you do, and you give guys time off for whatever reason. He’s going to be in there, and there won’t be any excuses to his game at all. ‘¦ There’s very minor issues when it comes to that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien says Patrice Bergeron is ‘getting real close’ to returning to game action||05.19.11 at 12:51 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins center Patrice Bergeron participated in the team’s morning skate Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum, doing drills and taking faceoffs as the B’s prepare for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning.
Coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron is “feeling pretty good” and is “getting real close,” but said that a decision on whether Bergeron is ready for game action will be made either Thursday or Friday.
“He’s still day-to-day,” Julien said. “Until I’m told that he’s cleared — he obviously had to skate this morning, and we had to see what’s going on — all of this is protocol stuff and everything else that goes with it. I don’t want to elaborate more.”
Julien said prior to Game 2 that if Bergeron skated in warmups, it would be an indication that he was playing. The coach offered the same message Thursday.
“If you see him out there in the warmup tonight, I’m not just sending him out there for a skate. He’s going to be playing.”
In 11 games this postseason, Bergeron has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points.
|Bruins-Lightning Game 3 preview||05.19.11 at 2:10 am ET|
TAMPA ‘ The Bruins can pick up their third straight road win and first series lead of the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 3 win Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum. The B’s might have momentum on their side, as they took a high-scoring contest Tuesday in defeating Tampa, 6-5. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Thursday’s game:
Three things the Bruins need to do:
– Keep Ryding the hot duo: Whether or not Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup, any shakeup should not include a separation of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. The two have totaled five goals thus far in the series, and their chemistry is evident. The Lightning will try to be more physical to knock the rookie off his game, but Seguin simply needs to show that these games have given him more confidence. Expect him to stay with Ryder and Chris Kelly in Game 3.
– Extend the power play success: Who said this team stunk on the man advantage? Two goals in Game 2 (one of which came with one second remaining after the team failed to score on a 5-on-3) matched their postseason production on the power play entering the night, and there are certainly encouraging nights. Tomas Kaberle played better on the man advantage Tuesday, while Seguin was finally given the opportunity to contribute on special teams and did.
– Tighten it up: As much as Bruins fans can get on board with watching Tim Thomas come up big on multiple breakaway bids, the B’s would just rather they not happen at all. The Bruins could have had a much better defensive effort on Tuesday, and correcting it will lower the number of quality opportunities for the Lightning.
Three crazy stats:
– By scoring three goals on Dwayne Roloson Tuesday, the Bruins bumped the Lightning netminder out of the top spot in postseason goals against average and save percentage. The leader in both those categories now? Carey Price, who posted a 2.11 GAA and .934 in the first round against the B’s.
– The Bruins are 0-2 in games this postseason in which Nathan Horton fails to register a shot on goal. They’re 9-2 when he has at least one. Horton leads the B’s with 13 points, and his 34 shots on goal are second to Bergeron among forwards.
Three key players:
– Patrice Bergeron: As fun as the Seguin Show was to watch on Tuesday, the Bruins aren’t kidding themselves here. They need Bergeron back, and after taking contact he could return to the lineup for one of the games in Tampa. Whether that happens remains to be seen.
– Dwayne Roloson: The Tampa goaltender was not as bad as the numbers were on Tuesday, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to being chased for the first time this postseason.
– Johnny Boychuk: The 27-year-old has goals in two of his last three games, but he was positively wretched in Game 2. Boychuk’s sloppiness resulted in a minus-3 rating that would have been worse had the puck he accidentally banked off the skate of Kaberle in front of the net gone in. He ended up playing only 16:06, his lowest time on ice total this postseason.
|Marc Savard to attend Game 2||05.17.11 at 7:04 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard will be at Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between the B’s and Lightning, marking his first return to TD Garden since being shut down for the season on Feb. 7.
Savard is dealing with post-concussion syndrome following a clean hit from former teammate Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22 in Colorado. Since being shut down for the regular season and playoffs, Savard has stayed at home in Peterborough, Ontario. The 33-year-old had two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 25 games this year. He began the season on long-term injured reserve due to PCS from the hit he took last March 7 from Penguins forward Matt Cooke.
Savard will not be available to the media.
|Lightning remain without Pavel Kubina||05.17.11 at 2:57 pm ET|
While the Bruins anxiously await the return of a concussed player in Patrice Bergeron, the Lightning seem a bit farther away from seeing Pavel Kubina back in their lineup. Kubina, who suffered a head injury in Game 1 of the conference semifinals vs. the Capitals, still is not with the team and doesn’t seem on the fast-track to return to action
“He’s not with us. He’s not even here, so the update is not very good,” Guy Boucher said when asked for an update on Kubina. “Every day when there seems to be a little progression, it kind of slips back a bit. So it’s kind of an injury that you never know.
“You wake up the next day and everything’s great or just keeps on going the same way so it’s very hard to monitor what’s going on with him. But obviously we’re missing him. He’s got size. He’s got some offensive abilities on our second power play, he made a big difference on it.
But right now we’ve adapted. Bergeron’s kind of taken the lead on that power play with Purcell. And we had to adapt because he was doing very well for us.”
Kubina had two power play goals and an assist for the Lightning before suffering the injury. He had dour goals and 19 assists for 23 points during the regular season.
|Steven Kampfer ‘definitely’ ready if needed by Bruins||05.17.11 at 1:15 pm ET|
As Tomas Kaberle continues to struggle, the Bruins could be getting closer to having a viable option (and one who has fared well against the Lightning) to threaten his ice time.
Defenseman Steven Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury late in the regular season while getting some playing time in Providence, told WEEI.com Tuesday that he is “definitely” ready to return to the lineup if need be. Kampfer, 22, has spent extra time out on the ice as he works to get his back into tip-top shape.
“I feel ready to go,” Kampfer said Tuesday. “It’s something that I talked about with the trainers the other day. If something happens, I definitely feel ready to go. It’s those extra couple skates that are definitely going to help.”
In the three games in which the B’s have had to go without one of their six regulars this postseason — Game 2 of the conference quarterfinals for Zdeno Chara and Games 3 and 4 of the semifinals for Adam McQuaid — Shane Hnidy has played, but has done so sparingly.
Coach Claude Julien has said multiple times recently that Kampfer is healthy, but that his conditioning as he returns to skating remains what separates him from being an option if needed. He barely strayed from that line Tuesday, saying Kampfer is “still working on his conditioning, but certainly getting close.”
Kampfer admitted that his conditioning remains a process, but that the extra work he’s put in has gotten to a point where he’d be comfortable returning to the lineup.
“When you don’t skate for a month, it definitely takes a while to get your conditioning back,” Kampfer said. “You can ride the bike, you can do things like that, but skating condition is different than a bike and everything like that. We’ve been doing a little extra work here and there, and a couple more extra skating sessions is definitely going to help.”
While it would seemingly take an injury for Kampfer to make his postseason debut, the idea of him putting a little pressure on Kaberle should be considered out of the question. Kaberle was awful in Game 1, and throughout the playoffs has been a disappointment for the Bruins. A good puck-moving defenseman is an asset against a team like the Lightning, but the only notable moving of a puck by Kaberle in Game 1 came on his turnover behind his own net to lead to a goal, and his confusing slap shot into the corner on the power play in the second period.
If Kaberle keeps putting up stinkers for 15-plus minutes a night, maybe it would be worth it to give the kid a chance. Call it the defensive version of the Tyler Seguin/Michael Ryder lineup spot argument, but Kampfer has performed at his best against Tampa, scoring two of his five goals this season against the Lightning. His speed and passing ability matches up well against a team that shows different looks in the neutral zone as well.
“It definitely fits my style when you play a team that I guess plays a 1-3-1,” Kampfer said of Guy Boucher‘s neutral zone forecheck. “You move your feet and you can skate through it, but that’s something our whole team can do. Everyone here is quick and everyone can make passes. It’s something that we’ve got to [do] tonight and the rest of the series.”
Though Kampfer had goals against the Lightning on Dec. 28 (his first career tally) and March 3, he said he doesn’t look at the Tampa matchup and think of how he can change the series. As he waits for his time, he has confidence in the guys out there.
“Anyone can make a difference in this series,” he said. “It’s just how you play and how you take the game plan to them. It’s something that we talked about this morning, is how our team’s going to play. We have our system that we’re going to stick to. I think everyone has had success against this team, and I think everyone here knows how to play.”
When Kampfer actually returns to game action for the Bruins remains unknown. If it’s this series, next series or next season, he’ll be ready to continue working off a rookie campaign that had its ups (the Tampa games, nine games of 20 minutes or more in 38 contests) and the downs (the disastrous ending to the March 17 game in which a misplay and a bad penalty cost the team the game and cost him his spot in the lineup) of his rookie campaign.
If Kaberle continues to struggle though, maybe it’s worth rolling the dice. Yes, Kaberle was a costly acquisition, but the Bruin showed in Games 3 and 4 of the second round that they can win without putting him out there. It’s crazy to think, but it’s not out of the question. A combination of more duds from Kaberle and a ready-to-go Kampfer could put a bit more pressure on the 33-year-old, if it isn’t there already.