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Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night’ 05.09.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ Game 4 overtime win against Montreal. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Matt Fraser, who played in his first playoff game on Thursday, became an unlikely hero when he scored 1:19 into overtime to give the Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 4.

“You could almost sense it coming from that line, to be perfectly honest,” McGuire said. “I made that point a lot during the broadcast. I thought both [CarlSoderberg wanted it off the crossbar, [LouiEriksson was really pushing the pace and obviously Fraser fit in really well with them. Peter Chiarelli and the scouting staff of the Bruins and Bruce Cassidy out in Providence deserve a lot of credit.

“This is a kid who was an undrafted player coming out of the Western Hockey League, and he’s part of a big trade last summer with Rich Peverley going the other way and Tyler Seguin going the other way. He fits in so well. It was just a ping-pong play off the back board.

“I thought the Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night.”

The Bruins have had just two penalties during the past two games of the series.

“I just think they’re worried about taking penalties,” McGuire said. “The Bruins win that double-overtime game in Game 1, they become more of a beast, more physical, but they went down 0-1 in the series. They knew they couldn’t go down 0-2, they had to scramble to win Game 2, they lose Game 3 and now they’re saying, ‘Uh-oh, we cannot allow these guys to get man advantages,’ so they changed a little bit of their dynamic. I also think heading into tomorrow’s game, now that it’s 2-2 and heading back to Boston, I truly believe we’ll see a more physical Bruins team, more like the Bruins team the fans in Boston are used to seeing.”

The first line has consistently struggled throughout the series with Jarome IginlaDavid Krejci and Milan Lucic combining for a total of five shots during Thursday’s game.

“Just for whatever reason, David Krejci looks a little fatigued to me,” McGuire said. “I think today maybe he gets a day off and he goes into the game tomorrow energized and he plays a little bit better, but he wasn’t managing the puck well during that game, especially during the power play. They need to be better, and I think they will be better. I think the biggest part of it was Krejci with the Olympics, with all the games he played last year, the fact that he’s not an overly large guy. I think there’s a fatigue factor with him.”

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Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski
Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘You focus on winning tomorrow’ 05.09.14 at 11:05 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday following Thursday’s overtime win against the Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins are 2-2 in their series with Montreal after Matt Fraser scored in overtime to give Boston a 1-0 win Thursday night. The series will return to TD Garden for Game 5 on Saturday.

“It is a three-game series,” Thornton said of the rest of the semifinals, “but I think you look at it, honestly, just as tomorrow and you focus on winning tomorrow. I think if you start looking at, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get two out of three, got to win both at home,  you just start — all focus should be on the first period tomorrow, then the second period, then the third period.

“That’s how I approach it. That’s how our team approaches it and that’s why we’ve been pretty good in the playoffs the last few years.”

The Bruins have struggled with puck luck as several of their shots have hit the post in this series.

“[It’s] eight, nine times now?” Thornton said. “Keep saying to yourself the next one’s going to go in, the next one’s going to go in, I guess. It has been a lot of ringing it off the bar. I think three last game? Carl [Soderberg], [Reilly Smith] and [Jarome Iginla] had a couple the game before. 

“You hope the hockey gods start letting those go in for you.”

The Bruins’ first line in particular has struggled to find the back of the net in the series.

“The effort’s there,” Thornton said. “It’s not like they’re just coasting around. The pucks are going to start going in for them. They’re too good for them not to.”

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘There’s no panic’ in Bruins, even when trailing Canadiens late 05.05.14 at 10:14 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss Boston’s comeback win over the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins are 1-1 in the second round of the playoffs after they scored four goals in the final nine-plus minutes in Saturday’s game to grab a 5-3 victory.

“We started talking about it yesterday at the rink,” Thornton said. “I don’t think anybody really realized that we did all that in nine minutes left. We weren’t looking at the clock. We were just looking at the next shift and the next shift. It was how we’ve been for the past I don’t know how many years, but we’re not like, ‘Oh, no, we’ve got to get …’ There’s no panic. It’s just like, keep going, keep going, keep going. It’s going to work out. And we like to make it interesting, I’ll say that.”

Through the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game, Montreal goaltender Carey Price stopped 26 shots and had a big save on a shot by Milan Lucic in the second period. Price said after the game that the Bruins “got pretty lucky” in the third period.

“He’s obviously got a lot of confidence right now,” Thornton said. “We’re going to have to prove him wrong.

“You’ve got to get some bounces to go your way when you’re down that many goals within nine minutes, to score that many goals with nine minutes left. You have to get the fortunate bounces that we maybe weren’t getting earlier. I don’t know if that’s luck. I think that’s just hockey. I think that happens a lot on both sides.

“I think we’re very fortunate that we got a few by him at the end. [Patrice Bergeron‘s] line played unbelievable — they capitalized on their chances, they were creating a lot of havoc and the pucks were where they needed to put them. … The stop on Lucic in the second period — I still don’t know how [Price] didn’t yank everything out of his body stretching to make that save. I’m glad we finally got something through, because we needed that win in a big way.”

The Bruins will fly out to Montreal on Monday before taking on the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Game 3 Tuesday night.

“The crowd definitely — I’ve seen the crowd call penalties up there, as crazy as that sounds,” Thornton said. “The energy in the building — I think we obviously fed off it last game in our building, and they’ll probably try to do the same in theirs.”

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

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: You feel rivalry with Montreal ‘once you put your jersey on’ 04.28.14 at 11:11 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk about the team’€™s win over the Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs and its upcoming series with the Canadiens. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins clinched a trip to the second round after defeating the Red Wings in five games. In Game 5, Zdeno Chara gave Boston a lead that it would not give up when he made it a 2-1 game with four seconds left in the second.

“That was a huge goal for us,” Thornton said. “The timing was unbelievable. I think he, obviously, tried to put it through the back of the net, but with [four] seconds left in the period put us back up. I think that was a real kick start for us.”

With the win, the Bruins will move on to play a heated rival — the Canadiens.

“You feel (the rivalry) once you put your jersey on the first time going to the rink or the first time they come to you,” Thornton said. “The way both cities are into it, the history of it, you embrace it. It’€™s a fun rivalry.

“I think Montreal’€™s very, very opportunistic with their goal-scoring ability. I think — from what I can remember — they’€™re very dangerous around the net. They have guys who put the puck in. They have tall, speedy guys. Their (general manager) Marc Bergevin has done a pretty good job with getting them a little bit of sand paper and grit in the last year too, trying to not be all speedy guys. They’€™re a well built team.”

Thornton added that while Montreal’€™s Bell Centre is one of the most challenging buildings to play in, he also enjoys the atmosphere.

“Their crowd’€™s on top of you, somehow. And every once and awhile, they can force a ref into calling penalties,” Thornton said. “It’€™s not the easiest building, but it’€™s almost the most fun place to play on the road too because you can feed off the energy in there. … It’€™s got a good energy, and you can feed off it from both sides, I think.”

For more team news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘well on their way to creating three things you have to have if you’re going to win’ 04.25.14 at 2:40 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss Thursday night’€™s game against the Red Wings.

After winning 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, the Bruins have a 3-1 series advantage over Detroit in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I would say the three things you want to plant in an opponent’€™s mind during a playoff series — concern, doubt and fear,” McGuire said. “Clearly there’€™s concern. If you’€™re Detroit, there’€™s got to be a whole lot of doubt, and I think coming into Game 5, there’€™s a little bit of fear.

“So Boston’€™s well on their way to creating the three things you have to have if you’€™re going to win a playoff series. But to say it’€™s over would be disrespectful to the Detroit Red Wings, and I would never disrespect that franchise.”

The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead in the first 25 minutes of play Thursday before Boston made its comeback.

“(Detroit) can put 60 minutes together,” McGuire said. “They just can’€™t do it the same way Boston can. The biggest thing is … Detroit, under (Mike) Babcock, made a subtle adjustment. They were really trying to stretch out the Bruins defense, and that’€™s why you saw the speed game engaged by the Detroit Red Wings in the first period, and that’€™s why the shot totals were so in Detroit’€™s favor.

“But (Claude) Julien and his staff made a subtle adjustment. They started moving their defensemen up and closing the gap, forcing more turnovers that allowed them to control the puck more and then they started a counterattack forcing those quicker Detroit players to play defense rather than offense.”

McGuire added: “You saw Boston with the four lines start to dominate, and what was really apparent in the third period (when) he was rolling four lines, and he was basically cutting the shift times from 35 to 45 seconds down to 30 to 25 seconds — and even 20 seconds, in some cases. But that four-line attack just wore Detroit down.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more team news, visit weei.com/bruins.

On Brad Marchand: “It’€™s three (missed shots) in a row now. You go back to Game 3 where he hit the post on the empty net and then two last night. … The good news for Brad is that he’€™s creating these opportunities and he’€™s playing with a whole lot of vim, vigor and vitality, which is really important. … He’€™s just trying to be too refined right now, and I think it’€™s a little bit in his head.”

On Carl Soderberg: “I’€™m prepared to say he’€™s the best third-line center in the National Hockey League right now from a skill standpoint, from a game-breaking standpoint and from a not being a defensive liability standpoint. And when you factor in no Chris Kelly on that line — he’€™s such an important player for the Boston Bruins — that says a lot about the Bruins’€™ depth. It says a lot about Carl Soderberg’s ability to really stabilize a game.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Shawn Thornton on D&C: Bruins had ‘a little extra giddy-up’ in Game 2 04.21.14 at 12:51 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk about the 2014 Boston Marathon and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Nine runners are participating in the Boston Marathon for the Shawn Thornton Foundation.

“They were very fired up to be running,” Thornton said. “There’€™s a reason they gave 10,000 more numbers this year. A lot of people want to be involved in this for the right reasons. I talked to them and it was just, ‘Good luck, have fun and enjoy it. And thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.’ I think they’ve raised $70,000 for my foundation.”

Thornton added: “[Running the marathon is] one of my goals when I’€™m done. I don’€™t know if my body would let me, to be completely honest, but I’€™d like to try a year or two after I’€™m retired.”

Thornton is on his way to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 of the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins are now 1-1 in the series after defeating the Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday.

“I think the first game, for whatever reason, we didn’t have that extra little hop in our step,” Thornton said. “I don’€™t know if that was from having a weekend between games. I’€™m not making excuses whatsoever. I’€™m just saying that last night we seemed to have a little extra giddy-up, I suppose.

“We got to the puck a little bit quicker. We were able to be a little more physical as a whole. We definitely played more our style of game in Game 2, and we’ve got to continue to try to play that way.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more team news, visit weei.com/bruins.

On Zdeno Chara: “He’€™s fought all the big boys coming up. He’€™s definitely not afraid to do it. He’€™s way more valuable to us on the ice. Arguably him, [Patrice Bergeron], Tuukka [Rask], and maybe [Milan Lucic] are arguably the most important players on our team. Him sitting in the box for five minutes isn’t helping us. We really would miss him out there.”

On Kevan Miller: “He’€™s a big, tough guy. He was, I think, he was fairly amped to play in the first playoff game and he definitely set the physical tone early, which was nice. That’€™s what he does. I think he’€™s underrated as a puck handler, but he’€™s definitely not underrated with how physical he can be.”

Read More: Kevan Miller, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Red Wings’ Mike Babcock ‘the most creative coach in the NHL’ 04.18.14 at 2:33 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

For McGuire, Friday night’s matchup against the Red Wings is the toughest scenario the Bruins could have faced.

“The only reason I say that is the creativity of Mike Babcock, [Detroit’s] coach,” McGuire said. “I think most people know on paper the rosters don’t compare. Boston’s roster is better on paper than Detroit’s just because of the veteran experience and the fact that most of the players on the Bruins roster have been part of a Stanley Cup run to the final and/or won a Stanley Cup.

“A lot of these Detroit players really haven’t been a part of that. It’s really been a huge turnover in their roster — some because of injury, some because of retirement and some just because they had no other choice. The one thing I will say about this Detroit roster is a lot of the younger players you’€™ll see won an American [Hockey] League championship last year in Grand Rapids.”

One of the main concerns for the Bruins is the Red Wings’ speed.

“œThat’s going to be the No. 1 thing to watch early on,” McGuire said. “Watch what they do when they’re attacking Zdeno Chara. Watch what they do when they’re attacking Johnny Boychuk — two of the bigger, more important defensemen for the Bruins just because of the shutdown capabilities. Let’s see if they play chip-and-chase hockey or if they really try to stretch them out and create huge seams.

“You won’€™t know until the game starts, but this is going back to my point about Mike Babcock — to me he is the most creative coach in the NHL. Doesn’t mean he’€™s the best — although he’s getting one of my votes for Coach of the Year. I think he’€™s the most creative coach in the National Hockey League and we’€™ll see how he breaks down the Bruins defense because the Bruins defense, as we know, is extremely good.”

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