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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re fighting for our lives every night’ 05.15.13 at 9:09 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs, including the upcoming series against the Rangers.

The Bruins pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 on Monday night, while the Rangers routed the Capitals in their Game 7 the same evening. Thornton said neither team will get an advantage from the way the previous series ended.

“It’s a whole new series,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happened a few days ago. You clear the slate and off you go. ‘€¦ For us, that was a pretty emotional overtime, obviously, and an emotional comeback. We almost have to forget about that and get started on this new one.”

Thornton missed an open net toward the end of the last game when his shot from 10 feet in front went over the goal, apparently after deflecting off the mask of Toronto goalie James Reimer, who had been prone on the ice. Thornton returned to the bench and slammed down his stick.

“I wasn’t happy,” Thornton said. “I put it where I wanted to. I didn’t know he was going to be able to get his head up that high. I was going for the top of the net. I still didn’t see what it hit. People are telling me I hit him in the mask. I was ready to put my hands up; I thought it was in. Then I didn’t see the red light go on. I wasn’t very happy, that’s for sure.

“Almost, almost. That’s kind of my life story scoring goals. A lot of almosts.”

The Bruins have been plagued by inconsistency, something that continued from the latter part of the regular season into the playoffs.

“I don’t have an answer. We should be ready to go every night,” Thornton said. “It just seems like we have a little bit of success, then we deviate from the plan a little bit, shoot ourselves in the foot, and then we have to crawl our way back out of it again. We have been crawling out of it, but you can only do that for so long. I’m sure that will be addressed. We’ve got to get back to just playing the way we want to play.

“That being said, though, other teams are trying, too. It’s not we can go out there and dominate 20 minutes. They’re fighting for their lives the whole time. Toronto’s a lot better team than a lot of people gave them credit for. Yes, we haven’t played to the best of our ability at all times every night, but you’re not going to dominate a game in the playoffs for 60 minutes. It just doesn’t happen.”

Touching on the prospects of this being a physical series, Thornton indicated he’s ready for whatever comes his way.

“They say that for every playoff series before it starts,” Thornton said. “It should be physical. It’s the playoffs. They said that about the Leafs. They said that when we played Montreal a couple of years ago, and they didn’t have too many guys that were over 5-9.

“It’s the playoffs, it’s going to be physical. Do we like that? Yeah, we should. We should be physical, they should be physical. We’re fighting for our lives every night. That’s what makes the NHL playoffs so great.”

To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Shawn Thornton,
Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul: ‘That hockey game will haunt me until the day I die’ 05.14.13 at 1:27 pm ET
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While Boston is celebrating the Bruins’ historic comeback in Monday night’s Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, the feeling in Toronto is, understandably, one of misery.

Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul tweeted his feelings early Tuesday afternoon.

The Toronto Sun greeted its readers with a harsh take on the Leafs’ third-period collapse, using the headline “The choke’s on us.”

Wrote columnist Steve Simmons:

In one breath, [coach Randy] Carlyle felt about his team the way so many Leafs fans felt about this team. He was proud of them. He saw the progress that was made. He saw how close they were — how they had it, really. And then he watched it taken from them, not stolen, more like mugged by the physical Bruins in the final two minutes of regulation time, with the Bruins’ goalie on the bench.

In another Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, Allan Maki compared the Leafs’ collapse to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, among others:

What happened to the Leafs on Monday night was madness heaped on chaos doused in disbelief. For the Bruins, it was a historical first, the biggest third-period comeback by a team in the third period of a Game 7 in NHL history. For the Leafs, it was like being Bill Buckner as the ball bounced between their legs.

Up by three goals, the Bruins shy of bodies on defence, their hometown fans clearly restless, Toronto had it in the palm of its gloves — the game, the series, who could say how much more? And then Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic scored before Patrice Bergeron netted the tying goal followed by the winner in OT. Just like that 5-4. A miracle comeback, an epic failing.

Read More: Joffrey Lupul,
Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Who can handle’ a determined Milan Lucic? 05.14.13 at 1:06 pm ET
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NESN Bruins commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Bruins’ historic comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.

Brickley admitted he started questioning his faith in the Bruins when they fell behind by three goals in the third period before rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory.

“My believability was challenged that they could come back once we got close to that 10-minute mark,” Brickley said. “But I will go back to the beginning of the third period. When we were trying to set the stage, we talked about — I think Jack [Edwards] used the phrase ‘final 20 minutes of someone’s season.’ I wasn’t convinced of that. I thought that game would go to overtime. But when it did get 4-1, yeah, I certainly had my doubts. It was creeping in.

“No surprise, though, when you look back at that third period, that a guy like Milan Lucic would spearhead that charge. It’s in his DNA, it’s in his makeup. When he’s that determined, that committed and refuses to lose that attitude, who can handle him?”

When the Bruins started to exert their will late in the third period, the Maple Leafs showed their inexperience.

“Absolutely unchartered water for these guys, and that certainly worked in the Bruins’ favor,” Brickley said. “The minute you start to put a little pressure on a team that’s trying to protect a three-goal lead, and really, because they haven’t been in that closeout situation in the NHL playoffs —  you can be in those positions during the regular season, with a three-goal lead or a two-goal lead in the third period, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it is in the postseason. Especially when you’re playing a team that supposedly, and in all probability, is a superior team to you.

“The minute [Nathan] Horton scores on that great rush up the ice by Lucic, the power move around the net and the nice pass out front, now that doubt seems to creep in. You start sneaking peeks at the clock, you start to watch the clock a little bit. You have the believability in your goaltender, even though he played really well in Game 5 and Game 6, can he handle the onslaught that you know is coming here in the final surge by Boston. And because they don’t have that experience on their resume, you knew that there was a lot of doubt, or at least some level of doubt for the Leafs.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin
Barry Pederson on D&C: Milan Lucic ‘took that team on his back’ 05.14.13 at 11:36 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, hours after the B’s completed an incredible comeback with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 at TD Garden.

Pederson passed around the praise, beginning with Milan Lucic.

“Lucic took that team on his back going down the stretch with his physical presence, intimidation and going to the front of the net,” Pederson said. “I thought he really turned things around.

“But it got scary there that first shift of the hockey game when [Dennis] Seidenberg goes down 37 seconds into the game. All of a sudden no Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference and no [Wade] Redden. And boy, [Matt] Bartkowski stepped it up, then the other young guys on the right side, [Johnny] Boychuk, [Adam] McQuaid and [Dougie] Hamilton, brought their game up. And it’s not easy with Toronto’s speed.

“Then you’ve got to talk about the captain [Zdeno Chara], with 35 minutes of ice time that he had to log. He’ll be one tired guy. Then you’ve got to give [Tuukka] Rask a lot of credit, too. Here’s a kid that [when] it was 4-1, he didn’t quit. He made some big saves down the stretch — that breakaway on [Matt] Frattin and then on [Joffrey] Lupul in overtime. It was a total team effort.”

While the Bruins came up big in the third period and overtime, the Maple Leafs are looking back at a stunning collapse.

“The other part of the story, of course, is as they’re coming on, a young Toronto team, who had never been through this war before and never experienced it, totally collapsed in the sense that they quit making plays, they’re back on their heels. they’re getting the puck and instead of going tape to tape and trying to create some offense, they’re just banging it off the boards,” Pederson said. “For [James] Reimer, who played so well for them in Game 5 and 6 to get them there, he just had no chance with so many bodies around him. He wasn’t controlling his rebounds and then the Bruins were just pouncing.”

While the Bruins have faced criticism for their inconsistency, Pederson said it’s been a league-wide problem during the lockout-shortened season. That said, Pederson noted that the B’s turnover problems need to be remedied in a hurry if they’re going to advance any further.

“One of the hallmarks of Claude Julien‘s teams and one of the things that I’ve enjoyed watching was the defensive responsibility and the way they protect the puck and the way they don’t beat themselves with turnovers,” Pederson said. “But boy, down the stretch of the regular season and at various times throughout these playoffs, that was not what we saw from this team. This was a team that was self-destructing by turnovers, not getting the puck deep, not protecting the puck. So for the Bruins to get to that next level and get away from that Jekyll and Hyde, as Claude calls it, they’re going to have to protect the puck better and be mentally tougher. Because again, the competition gets that much more difficult against the New York Rangers.”

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Read More: Barry Pederson, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara
Tony Amonte on M&M: For offensively challenged Bruins, ‘It’s in their heads’ 05.13.13 at 1:23 pm ET
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Tony Amonte, who provides Bruins analysis for CSNNE, checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the B’s first-round series against the Maple Leafs.

Following their 2-1 loss in Game 6 Sunday night in Toronto, the inconsistent B’s face a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden. Amonte said the Bruins’ failure to rise to the occasion the last two games is a very bad sign.

“You can’t survive that way. You can’t win a Stanley Cup. And that’s the way it’s been the last couple of months for this team,” Amonte said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get on a nighty basis. If you’re going to play that way, especially in the playoffs, you’re not going to go very far.

“Could it be that they’re going to be out tonight? Yeah. If their B club shows up, the minor league team shows up, they’re in trouble, they’re going to lose this game tonight.”

The Bruins had an impressive overtime win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead, but they haven’t been able to close it out after starting slow in the last two games.

“I was surprised,” Amonte said. “Coming off of Game 4, that was probably one of the best games of the playoffs as far as this year out of both teams. The Bruins showed a high-powered offense in that game, pretty strong defensively, Tuukka [Rask] was on his game. So, it seemed like, yeah, they put a dagger in the hearts of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But then to come out in Game 5 in the first period, and Toronto dominated. They turned the switch off and they didn’t play the way they needed to. By the time they got into the game, it was too late again, just like it was last night.

“It’s all about getting out there early, establishing some confidence. For these guys, now it’s in their heads. They’ve got to go out and score goals.”

Looking back at the closing minutes of Friday’s Game 5, Tyler Seguin was getting ice time over David Krejci on the power play despite failing to record a point in the series.

“You’ve got a guy out there basically quarterbacking the power play in Tyler Seguin who has no points and no assists,” Amonte said. “You’ve got a guy that’s got 10 points at that point in time, 10 points in the playoffs, leading the playoffs in scoring, sitting on the bench. From a fan’s perspective, it’s crazy. You have to play the odds. And the odds say Krejci’s going to score a point way before Seguin is ever going to do it.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, David Krejci, Jaromir Jagr
B’s recall Matt Bartkowski from Providence 05.09.13 at 9:05 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Thursday that they have recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from AHL Providence.

Bartkowski, 24, played in 11 regular-season games for the Bruins this season, recording two assists and averaging 13:29 of ice time.

He played 56 games for the P-Bruins, recording three goals and 21 assists with 56 penalty minutes. He had five assists in Providence’s five-game opening-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Hershey Bears. Providence advanced and will open a second-round series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Boston hosts the Maple Leafs in Game 5 on Friday night, looking to close out the first-round series.

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid on M&M: ‘It’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against’ 05.09.13 at 2:18 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about Wednesday’s night’s overtime victory over the Maple Leafs that gave the B’s a 3-1 series lead.

The intensity in this series hit a new high in Game 4, a back-and-forth game that featured plenty of hard hitting. Although Toronto doesn’t have the obvious villains like some of the Bruins’ more fierce rivals, McQuaid said it’s not difficult to develop some animosity toward the skaters in blue and white.

“We’re playing for the Stanley Cup, and the guy across from you is the one that’s trying to prevent you from getting that, so it’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against. They’re trying to take something away from you,” McQuaid said. “You kind of know who you’re playing against. At the same time, we’re kind of trying to focus on ourselves and make sure that we’re playing hard.”

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has been surprisingly successful in this series after struggling in regular-season action against his former team.

“He’s got a lot of speed. He’s a great offensive talent,” McQuaid said. “He’s got a quick shot, so he doesn’t need much time to get a good opportunity. So, you have to do your best to try and limit his opportunities and be aware when he’s on the ice.”

Tuukka Rask had a big game Wednesday, the same day the league announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. Despite posting stats that put him at the top of the list, Rask is not one of the three finalists.

“We know how valuable he is to our team and what he brings to our team,” McQuaid said. “We let him know in our eyes that he deserved to be there. Some guys are joking around that he’s just going to have to be better next year. ‘€¦ We know how important he is to our team and how good he is. There was a little bit of surprise that he wasn’t nominated. But like I said, his value within our team, we know how important he is.”

McQuaid has been paired in this series with Wade Redden, the veteran who spent two years in the minors before returning to the NHL this season and being acquired by the Bruins from the Blues at the trade deadline in April.

“He’s a guy that has a ton of experience,” McQuaid said. “Him going through what he went through the last couple of years I think speaks volumes to the type of person he is. To persevere through that. I was just happy to see him have the success that he’s had. I feel pretty fortunate to have a D partner like that.

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Phil Kessel, Tuukka Rask, Wade Redden

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