|Claude Julien: ‘I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey’||05.09.14 at 12:37 am ET|
MONTREAL — It was a lot easier for Claude Julien to admit the obvious after a 1-0 overtime win in Game 4 than the alternative. His team still does not look like the squad that won 54 games and the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points.
If it weren’t for the efforts of a player just called up from Providence to bolster the third line, the Bruins could easily be looking at being down 3-1 heading into Game 5 Saturday night back at TD Garden.
But Matt Fraser saved the day and Julien was grateful, not only to the player who got 14 games under his belt this season but to his boss Peter Chiarelli, who called Fraser up in time for Game 4. What did Julien expect?
“The winning goal,” Julien quipped. “He’s been playing well lately in Providence and actually has been scoring some goals. He’s been playing some pretty good hockey and he showed that tonight. I liked his game, not because he scored but his whole game. He seemed to be strong on the puck, making some good decisions, wasn’t turning pucks over, seemed to be skating well. It was nice to see [goal] happen. The GM probably deserves the credit because he was the one who called him up. He’s a good player. We knew that. We had him for quite a while there this year. He can certainly shoot the puck and he has a knack to score some goals. In this series, we need that.”
Then Julien seemed to go back to reality, the reality that his top two lines seem stuck in the mud against Montreal’s system, giving them precious little room to maneuver in the offensive zone. David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron have been bottled up in this series. Things were so bad that Julien tried to loosen everyone up by completely breaking up the lines in the Thursday morning skate.
“A win was important obviously to get us back in this series,” Julien said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey. That’s not to downplay this win. We’ve played hard but I know I’ve seen our team play better. But you know it seems to be a process right now and we’re working through it. You hope that this win here helps us to get better anyways, and you go from there.
“There’s no doubt these guys are working hard, they care, they want to. Just because it doesn’t always go as smooth as we like it to be, what I like is we’re showing character and we’re battling through it and trying to find ways to win games.
|Matt Fraser on his Game 4 OT winner: ‘Words can’t even describe that feeling’||05.08.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Boston has a new humble hero and his name is Matt Fraser.
Just seven hours after joining the Bruins on a recall for Justin Florek, Fraser calmly stepped into the playoff fray between the B’s and the Canadiens, scoring the game-winning goal on a rebound from a Carl Soderberg shot just 79 seconds into overtime, giving the desperate Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 4 of the second-round series.
Trying to describe his emotions while recollecting the goal that pumped new life into the Bruins, Fraser sounded an extraordinarily genuine and humble tone.
“Words can’t even describe that feeling,” Fraser said. “I just watched the replay of it and, you know, I don’t even want to begin to try and explain that because that’s something I wish every kid could feel.”
What exactly does he remember about the game-winner?
“I wish I could remember,” he said. “It just happened in a blur. The puck got to the net and was bobbling around in front. I tried to sniff it out and knock it in.”
More specifically, it was Johnny Boychuk who fired a shot high off the stanchion behind the net. The puck ricocheted in front of Carey Price, who stopped all previous 34 shots. Soderberg collected the puck and put a shot on net in the low slot. Price couldn’t contain the rebound and Fraser was more than happy to jam at the puck, with some help from Canandiens defenseman Mike Weaver, and put it past Price to even the series, 2-2, heading back to Boston Saturday night for Game 5.
“As you can tell from my voice, it’s pretty exciting,” Fraser said. “I hardly slept today and I’m sure I’ll hardly sleep tonight. But at the same time, you have to keep it in perspective. This is one game. We’ve evened the series and now we have to go back to Boston and come with the same effort.
“I actually turned my phone off today. It’s just easier to focus on the game rather than talk to everyone. It’s most important that I talk to my parents. I always try to talk to them after the game. Hopefully, my dad was impressed with this one.”
|Brad Marchand says ‘there’s no need to hit the panic button’ before Game 4||05.08.14 at 1:15 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Brad Marchand and the Bruins have been through the Stanley Cup playoff wars over the last four years and a little 2-1 hole in the second round against the Canadiens isn’t going to faze them one bit. Even if the pivotal Game 4 is again on the very hostile ice of the Bell Centre.
“There’s no need to panic here,” Marchand said. “It’s 2-1. It’s not like it’s 3-0 [down] here right now. There’s no need to hit the panic button. We have a lot of really good leadership in here. We’ve been in a lot of situations before, and I think we just want to make sure we put our best game on the ice.
“We’re definitely not in the position we prefer to be in but we’re here and we want to definitely try to make the most of our opportunities. These guys are a huge challenge. They’re playing very well right now and we definitely have a big job to be prepared tonight.”
Marchand was playing it cool when asked about being separated from his typical line mates of Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith for the morning skate. Head coach Claude Julien said he was just having some fun with reporters who were watching the morning skate seven hours before Game 4.
“Every time he’s switched it up before, that’s normally how we start so we’d have to expect the same thing,” Marchand said. “We really just want to focus on our individual jobs and how we have to play. If that’s the lineup, we’re going to play the exact same way we do every night and just make sure we work hard. It doesn’t happen a lot but I’m sure there’s a reason whenever he does and he’s the coach. He makes those decision and we just live by them.”
More than who plays on which lines, Marchand knows full well it won’t matter if the Bruins aren’t winning the puck battles and taking care of their assignments in their own zone, something they failed to do at critical times in Game 3 Tuesday night.
“You look at their goals last game, they were all missed assignments by us. We left guys alone and they capitalized on them,” Marchand said. “So we definitely have to be more aware and definitely be better on our details.”
The Bruins, when they have been successful in recent years in the playoffs have imposed their will in critical games like Thursday’s Game 4. Marchand said Thursday morning they definitely need more of that than they showed in Game 3.
“I think we definitely could do a little bit more. They’re a very skilled team and you want to be physical on guys like that but they’re playing physical, too. We’re trying to take the opportunities when they’re there but we don’t want to take penalties and be reckless so we definitely have to do it within the rules.
“We definitely want to play our game a little bit more, be a little more physical on them, try to battle a little more in the corners. We turned a few too many pucks over at the blue lines so we definitely want to try and clean that up.”
|Carey Price thinks Bruins ‘got pretty lucky’ in their comeback win in Game 2, and Patrice Bergeron agrees (sort of)||05.03.14 at 5:33 pm ET|
Call it sour grapes. Call it the frustration that comes with letting in a highly questionable goal that tied the game. Or just call it Carey Price answering a question the way he saw it.
However you characterize the Canadiens goalie’s response to letting in three goals in a span of 5:32 of the third period Saturday, you can’t help but read the frustration in his words after the Bruins came from behind and beat Montreal, 5-3, to even the best-of-seven second-round series at 1-1.
“Well, they poured it on at the end of the game,” Price said. “They got pretty lucky, I thought. They were playing desperate at the end of the game, and they found a way to put it in the net. We’ve just got to regroup, realize the situation were in, we’re in a good spot, and move forward.”
But still, a closer look shows what the Bruins might be trying to do the rest of the series to be successful. For the better part of five periods, the Bruins had point-blank range shots on Price, including several by David Krejci in Game 1, and Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla in the first 40 minutes Saturday.
But then, with the B’s trailing 3-1 and facing the prospects of heading to Montreal down 0-2, Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the center point that made its way through two Bruins parked in front of Price. That goal gave the Bruins desperately needed momentum. Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron fired a shot from the sharp angle along the boards that went off defenseman Francis Boullion and past a screened Price to tie the game. Then, with the Canadiens unable to control the puck in front and Price racing around to his right, Reilly Smith fired a puck past P.K. Subban and into an empty net for the go-ahead goal.
Create mayhem in front of Price and live by the adage, “You can’t stop what you can’t see.” That is what got the Bruins back in the game in the third period and turned the game and series around heading to Montreal for Game 3 Tuesday night.
“That’s playoff hockey,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. Right now, they’re throwing pucks at the net and they’re finding a way through. So, we’re going to have to do the same on their end. I thought we’ve played well so far. You’ve got to give that team a lot of credit. They didn’t quit, and in that third period they found a way to come back.”
Price thought the Bruins got “pretty lucky.” Bergeron didn’t argue that point.
“I was just trying to find the net,” Bergeron said. “Sometimes, you never know. I can’t say that I meant to do it, but I got lucky and I’ll take the bounce.”
|P.K. Subban on racist tweets: ‘Completely unfair’ to point finger at Bruins or their fans||05.03.14 at 4:54 pm ET|
Moments after his team blew a 3-1 third period lead to the Bruins in Game 2 of their series, P.K. Subban stood in the Canadiens dressing room and addressed the racist tweets directed at him after his game-winning goal in double-overtime Thursday night in Game 1.
What he made extremely clear is that he, in no way, holds the Bruins or their fan base accountable for the hate comments in social media. As a matter of fact, he took the occasion to compliment Bruins fans for their passion.
“You know what, this is the first time and probably the last time I’ll comment on it,” Subban said. “First things first, the Boston Bruins are an Original Six franchise, they have been around for a very long time, they are respected. It’s completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base. They have passionate fans here, great fan base and since I’ve been in the league it’s been awesome. I’ve come to Boston many times, my family has come here, and it’s been great. What people may say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins. So, whoever that is, they’ll get dealt with, but it’s completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins organization.”
Subban said he felt badly that the comments have taken some focus away from two classic games to open what figures to be an other epic playoff meeting between the two longtime rivals.
“I know some of those players personally on that team, like I said, the fan base has been awesome, they are a great bunch of fans,” Subban said. “It’s unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago. It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey and that’s what we are going to talk about. So I’m happy now that we can just move on. You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league, you see how people come together and it’s great. And it’s not just about me, the NHL has tons of players from different backgrounds, from different places around the world and that’s what makes this league so special and that’s what makes sports so special, it brings everybody together. Another great hockey game today, I’m sure everybody enjoyed it and I look forward to the rest of the series and everybody else should, too.”
|Matt Bartkowski on his penalty: ‘I just threw him down’||05.02.14 at 3:18 am ET|
Tuukka Rask might have been willing to take the fall for Thursday’s 4-3 loss in double overtime, but Matt Bartkowski knows better.
Just seven seconds after Bartkowski hauled down Dale Weise in front of the Boston net, P.K. Subban scored his second power-play goal 4:17 into the the second overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden.
What did the defenseman have to say for himself after?
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m not going to comment on whether or not it was a penalty,” he said. “The result sucks, afterwards. So, I think it could have been prevented before the call was made.”
Later, pressed on what kind of chance he was trying to limit in front of Rask, Bartkowski acknowledged that he felt he had no choice but to not let Weise get in prime scoring position.
“[Brandon] Prust shot it in front, and I’m just trying to get positioned so he can’t get to the puck,” Bartkowski said. “I couldn’t get it so I just threw him down.”
Seven seconds later, the Bruins were behind in their second-round series. Bartkowski didn’t need to be asked how frustrating the loss was afterward.
“That’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “We got it going there a little bit, in the first overtime I thought we played pretty well. It thought we took it to them pretty good and then I don’t know, we kind of came out flat, or whatever you want to call it. It just, it sucks.
“We turned it on at the end of the third, got a few big goals from Kruger [Torey Krug] and Johnny [Boychuk] there. If we bring that intensity the whole game then it’s a different story.”
Now, for the second straight series, the Bruins are in the position of having to win after losing Game 1 at home.
“You can take some good from that, but it’s a different series, a different team,” Bartkowski said. “We just, like I said, we’ve got to — the parts that we did play well and we did play our game, we really have to focus on that and focus on bringing that for 60 minutes.”
|P.K. Subban is expecting nothing less than fierce battle from Bruins: They are ‘a resilient team’||05.02.14 at 1:04 am ET|
P.K. Subban wasn’t turning cartwheels in the Canadiens dressing room after his power-play goal 4:17 into the second overtime lifted Montreal to a 4-3 win over the Bruins in Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden.
There’s good reason for his reservation.
Three years ago, Subban’s Canadiens not only won Game 1, they came back and beat the Bruins in Game 2 soundly and everyone, including the Canadian media, had the Bruins dead and buried heading up north for Games 3 and 4. But a funny thing happened in the Lake Placid retreat between Games 3 and 4. The Bruins found themselves. They tied the series and took a 3-2 lead before losing Game 6 in Montreal.
Of course, Game 7 back in Boston was sent to overtime after Subban drilled home a laser on the same end of the ice where he won Game 1 Thursday night. Nathan Horton saved the day, the series and the Stanley Cup dreams with an overtime goal and the Bruins were on their way to their first title since 1972.
All of which led to Subban keeping it low key after the Game 1 win Thursday.
“Well, it’s great that we won, but listen, I have played against these guys more than a few times over the past couple of years and in the playoffs. The one thing I can tell you is this is a resilient team,” Subban said of the Bruins. “That’s not something that you can say about every team, but against these guys I have to give them credit. They always battle back. They always find a way to persevere. Tonight, it feels good to be the team that found the way to get it done.”
Boo him all you want, but Subban does understand the value of respecting your playoff opponent, especially when it’s the Bruins.
“Listen, I don’t think we can even think about winning the series,” Subban added. “I mean, a couple of years ago we came in here and took two games and went back and we lost in Game 7. When there is success you have to take it and get better. I still think that there are things we need to get better on. We can’t be giving up 50-plus shots, I can tell you that for the rest of the series. [Carey Price] shouldn’t have to stop that many pucks.”