|Henrik Lundqvist talks like a man who knows he can only do so much||05.17.13 at 2:45 pm ET|
For the second straight year, Henrik Lunqvist is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goaltender. As a matter of fact, Lundqvist is making a very strong case as one of the greatest goalies ever to play the game. Before winning the Vezina Trophy in 2012, he was nominated in each of his first three seasons, and is the only goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons.
And, for a second straight year, he has led his team into the second round of the playoffs by standing on his head. He came into Thursday’s Game 1 with back-to-back shutouts of the Capitals in Games 6 and 7 to lead the Rangers to victory. He extended that streak to 152 minutes, 23 seconds before Zdeno Chara beat him midway through the second period.
He stopped 45 of the first 47 shots he faced Thursday night, including the first 15 of overtime before Brad Marchand finally beat him in overtime for a 3-2 Bruins win in Game 1.
Lundqvist was searching for answers after Game 1, while hinting that he can only do so much if his offense doesn’t do anything to help take the pressure off. The Rangers were outshot, 16-5, in the extra period.
“I don't know,” Lundqvist said when asked to describe the Marchand goal. “There was a two-on-one I guess, and I thought I made a bad decision. I mean it's a tough play, but I could play it better. That was a tough overtime for us. We didn't really get going, and they came out with a lot of energy and created a lot of chances. I thought we played a pretty good game. We did, but special teams were the difference, the one at one-nothing and then, I mean that's going to be the case these playoffs. I talked about it in the first round and we've got to get it done. We didn't.”
As is the case with most highly competitive athletes, he was looking for ways he could’ve done more to stop the game-winning goal, set up by a brilliant pass from Patrice Bergeron on a 2-on-1 rush up the center and right wing. Lundqvist stayed with Bergeron a bit too long, allowing Marchand the chance to get open in front.
“I've got to see the guy in the middle,” Lundqvist said. “I was too focused on the puck. I kind of knew he [Brad Marchand] was coming in the middle, but I just was too locked in on the puck, and that's why I made a stretch move instead of coming with my pads together. It's a technical thing and it happened fast. Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you're going to make a mistake. It's not a mistake I'm going to sleep less over. I thought we played a solid game, but we just came up short here, in overtime again.”
What did his coach John Tortorella think of Lundqvist being so hard on himself? Read the rest of this entry »
|John Tortorella: ‘We got spanked’ by Bruins in OT||05.17.13 at 2:24 am ET|
No one tells it like it is quite like John Tortorella, especially after a kick-in-the-gut loss like his Rangers experienced Thursday night at the hands of the Bruins in overtime.
The Bruins manhandled the Rangers in overtime, outshooting them 16-5, with the final shot coming off the stick of Brad Marchand 15:40 into overtime and delivering the Bruins a 3-2 win in Game 1. Six of those 16 shots came on one power play when the Bruins took complete charge and didn’t let go.
“In the overtime? We never regrouped,” Tortorella said. “It was a surge. We couldn't stop it.
Still, the Rangers had their chances. They scored on a Ryan McDonough slap shot with 1.3 seconds left in the second period to tie the game. They scored just 14 seconds into the third and had a lead. But Torey Krug scored his first career playoff goal in his first career playoff game two minutes later on the power play, tying the game, 2-2.
“We were OK,” Tortorella said. “We're going to need to be better. If we're going to win our next game here we need to be better.”
Before getting outshot in overtime, Tortorella felt his team was hanging in with the Bruins on the road in Game 1. But Tortorella, like he normally does, put everything in perspective.
“I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime,” Tortorella said. “But we got spanked in the overtime.”
|Brad Marchand gets ‘the monkey off the back’ and Bruins get a win||05.17.13 at 12:39 am ET|
Much was made of Tyler Seguin not scoring a goal in the seven-game series against the Leafs, and for good reason. After all, if the Bruins figure to go deep in the playoffs, they will eventually need one of their better players to get going offensively.
But the same could also be said of Brad Marchand, who also went goal-less in round No. 1.
He had three assists but no goals as the Bruins survived in seven games.
Marchand picked a great time to end his drought Thursday night against the Rangers.
Marchand took a perfect feed from Patrice Bergeron on an odd-man rush and beat Henrik Lundqvist at 15:40 of overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“I think it might've been Z [Zdeno Chara] who had a nice poke check on the three-on-two there,” Marchand said. “And then Bergy did a really good job. I was able to get a little bit of space, he made a great pass, and I just put it in the open net.
“It felt great. We had a really good game tonight, and to be able to finish it off with a win is very big. We're happy that we're able to capitalize in these overtime games. They're very tough games to be in, but we're happy with the win tonight.”
It was obvious in overtime that the Bruins, thanks in part to a Rangers penalty, picked up valuable momentum due to their re-energized power play, which didn’t scored but put six shots on goal.
“Yeah, it's a whole new series and we're happy to play the Rangers,” Marchand said. “They're a very good team and a very good battle. It's nice to finally get one there and get the monkey off the back, and hopefully they keep coming.
“That's usually how it goes in the playoffs. One team does very well in overtime and then the other team gets a lucky one. We hit so many posts and had so many very good opportunities. They were bound to get one. But, again, we're very happy to get the win tonight.”
Marchand pointed to the six shots on the power play as the key to maintaining energy in the extra period.
|Tyler Seguin: Series with Rangers is ‘fresh start’ for me and everyone||05.16.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
No one in black and gold was more under the microscope in the near-disastrous series with the Maple Leafs than Tyler Seguin.
The third-year super-talented winger had no goals and one assist in the seven games, with the one assist coming on the final goal of the series, when he was on the ice for the series-winning goal by Patrice Bergeron. Things got so bad that Seguin was demoted to the third line of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley while Jaromir Jagr skated with Bergeron and Brad Marchand, a trend that continued at Thursday morning’s pre-game skate.
“Whole new series. Game 7 doesn’t matter and what happened in the last series doesn’t matter in this series,” Seguin said after Thursday morning’s pregame skate. “You have to come in fresh and ready to go.
“[This is a] fresh start for everyone. When I look at myself, it’s a whole new team, and my sisters don’t have to worry about going to school. It’s going to be nice. It’ll be nice to get things going.”
Seguin believes he was close to breaking through in the opening round series but just didn’t get rewarded.
“I thought the whole seires was kind of up and down,” he said. “I had a couple of games there where I thought I was playing great and wasn’t rewarded and there were a couple of games where I felt I wasn’t making smart plays or smart decisions and but in the end, being in overtime, getting the result says a lot, felt great and definitely gives me confidence.”
Seguin had three goals and four assists in 13 playoff games in 2011 after two goals and an assist against the Capitals in the only playoff series of 2012.
Seguin said he is hopeful that the team can take the momentum from the last 10 minutes of Game 7 and apply it toward this series, and maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on him.
“You try to take the momentum but also I think our team does really well and we succeed when we keep an even keel after losing and winning games,” Seguin said. “Obviously, you can’t block out the emotion of what happened in the last game and we wanted to make sure we enjoyed it but we want to make sure [we're focused] and get ready for tonight.”
|Claude Julien: Bruins ‘don’t have to redeem themselves for anything’||05.16.13 at 1:39 pm ET|
Claude Julien isn’t apologizing for his team’s miracle in Game 7 Monday night that has them opening an Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Rangers.
He also doesn’t want his team apologizing for being there either.
“For some reason, this last series seems to have been looked upon as negative for some people,” Julien said after Thursday’s pre-game skate at TD Garden, hours before Game 1 with the Rangers.
“For us, it was a great character win, we're looking forward to moving ahead and we're not looking at it the way a lot of people are looking at it. It's not a chance to redeem yourself because we're in the second round, we don't have to redeem ourselves for anything. What we have to do here is look forward to this series and do whatever we can to move ahead. The character win that this team showed in Game Seven should be looked upon as a positive. That's the way I look at it.”
One thing is for certain, no one is going to feel sorry for the Bruins having three injured defenseman heading into the series. With Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden all missing Thursday’s skate, it’s high likely that Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski will all play in Game 1 against the Rangers Thursday night.
The one advantage of it all, though, is the fact that two of the three, Krug and Bartkowski, have played the same defensive system with AHL Providence this year.
“It helps everybody because [Providence Head Coach] Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff seem to see the game the same way we do,” Julien said. “There's a good connection there in the way we coach our teams, very much the same approach. I know I've talked to Bruce; the things we do, he does as well.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Leafs’ Phil Kessel: ‘You can’t blow a lead like that’||05.14.13 at 3:26 am ET|
In the immediate moments after the worst Game 7 collapse in Stanley Cup playoff history, Phil Kessel, a man of few words to begin with, need few words to describe his emotions.
“It's pretty tough,” Kessel said. “Obviously, we were up 4-1 with 10 minutes left or something. You can't blow a lead like that.”
What did coach Randy Carlyle tell the Leafs in the intermission before overtime after his team self-destructed?
“Obviously, he just said if we put ourselves in this position, we take it,” Kessel said. “Obviously it's disappointing. I don't know what happened to us. 4-1, you can't lose that game.”
How will the Leafs possibly bounce back from this next season?
“Obviously we'll have the summer to think about it, work hard and get back at it next year,” Kessel said. “It's pretty tough — 4-1, you can't lose.”
Kessel kept repeating 4-1 over and over. Did the Leafs fall into a shell and take their foot off the gas?
“I don't know. I don't think so, they kind of took it to us and we sat back,” Kessel said. “We can't do that. I think, we didn't do things we needed to do right? We sat back and they came at us.
“I don't know. I can't look at the positive after a game like that, it's pretty tough.”
|Milan Lucic: ‘Screw it, you just have to leave it all out there’||05.14.13 at 3:10 am ET|
How desperate were the Bruins in the last 11 minutes of the third period of Game 7, down three goals?
“I just said, ‘Screw it, you just have to leave it all out there and anything can happen.’ And that’s what happened,” Milan Lucic said after the greatest Game 7 comeback in Stanley Cup playoff history Monday night.
“That’s all it took, especially when you’re down. You do whatever you can to give yourself a chance, and we were finally able to have a clean break out into a rush, which we haven’t had in three games until [Nathan Horton's] goal. And then it seemed like we started to play more reckless and taking pucks to the net and everything like that.
“That’s where I talk about, ‘Screw it, leave everything on the line and everything hopefully will take care of itself.’ ”
Lucic said Patrice Bergeron helped lift a weight off the shoulders of his team by lifting a weight off his own shoulders, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals in the 5-4 Miracle on Causeway.
“Definitely, it’s a weight lifted off the shoulder and it creates momentum, and hopefully that’s the case this year as well. You need guys to step up at key times,” Lucic said. “Things aren’t always going to go smoothly for you, just like things didn’t go smoothly at all for Bergy, Marchy [Brad Marchand] and Segs [Tyler Seguin]. But all said and done, it doesn’t matter. They were still able to step up and get a goal when it mattered the most. Hopefully, they can gain some momentum off that and the team can gain momentum off the win.
“Hopefully, it builds momentum. Two years ago, it definitely built a lot of momentum for our team. We have a lot to look forward to. We know it gets tougher as each round goes on.”
Another great aspect of the win is that it gives Boston and New York fans one more chance to go face-to-face in the playoffs. It was the Red Sox-Yankees in 1999, 2003 and ’04. It was the Patriots and Jets in 2006 and 2010. The Knicks just dispatched the Celtics in six games. And now, it’s Bruins-Rangers in the 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals.
“Here we go, Boston-New York, Red Sox-Yankees, Giants-Patriots, Knicks-Celtics this year and now we have Bruins-Rangers. Two cities there’s a lot hatred between in sports. I think from a fans perspective, and a players’ perspective, there’s a lot to look forward to,” Lucic said.
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