|Rough patch: Bruins overcome ‘pretty bad’ ice to beat Blackhawks in Game 3||06.18.13 at 1:34 am ET|
As hard as the crew inside TD Garden tried Monday, the ice was hardly suitable for two of the best hockey teams in the world to do battle. But battle they did.
There were bouncing pucks all night. There were players like Brad Marchand losing control on what appeared to be a certain shorthanded breakaway. There were pucks jumping over defensemen’s sticks as they tried to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
In short, this is what happens when you play on a humid 80-degree day in mid-June in Boston. The Garden is typically an ice-box in the winter because there is no in-house dehumidifier in the building. As they did in 2011, TD Garden tried to fix the humidity issue by bringing in high-tech dehumidifiers beginning with the Penguins series. On Monday, they didn’t do much good as far as the ice was concerned.
Asked if he thought the conditions were “crappy,” Dennis Seidenberg tried to be as kind as possible but couldn’t help but state the obvious.
“It is pretty bad,” Seidenberg said. “When you try to shoot, try to swing your blade on the ice, it feels like it’s sandpaper. It’s really rough. When you try to pass, the puck bounces. That’s why you have to keep the game simple, like I said. If there’s a play to be made, you have to make sure it’s an easy one. If not, you rather choose to go over the wall and out.
“Again, there was breakdowns today, but we seemed to cover them up a little bit better than the other side.”
It’s similar to when infielders complain about the dirt at Fenway Park, a common occurrence in the 1960s and 70s and, to a lesser degree, today.
Then there’s the perspective of the goalie. Tuukka Rask has already had one episode on the sketchy ice of Madison Square Garden – leading to the “butt stumble” in Game 4 of the Eastern semis that the Rangers won in overtime. Monday, Rask avoided an embarrassing repeat, no thanks to the ice conditions.
“The ice was pretty good in the start of the periods,” Rask said. “Then pretty quickly it got really chippy. It’s tough to get the read off of shots when it’s really a mess out there with the ice. You just got to be extra careful with the crazy bounces and stuff. You don’t want to make any stupid mistakes playing the puck either. You just got to be extra careful.”
|Claude Julien on Gregory Campbell: ‘He’s part of our family’||06.17.13 at 2:22 pm ET|
On Monday, part of the drama of the Bruins returning home to play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final at TD Garden will be Campbell in attendance to watch his team play in person. He was unable to make it to Chicago for Games 1 and 2 because of surgery to repair the leg.
“It’s nice to see him,” coach Claude Julien said Monday. “There’s no doubt. Obviously he can’t play. We miss him. He’s a good player for us. But just to be around our team, it’s nice to have him back. He’s part of our family. That’s how we look at things in that dressing room. If he could have, he would have been in Chicago. It was too early after surgery. From here on in, he’s good to go, going to be with us the whole way.”
Campbell, who drew huge cheers during an appearance on the video board in Game 4 against the Penguins, was with the team Monday morning as they prepared for Game 3 Monday night.
Julien has juggled the lines often since the injury to Campbell in Game 3 of the Eastern finals against Pittsburgh. Shawn Thornton has watched his playing time decrease somewhat but in Julien’s eyes he still remains an integral part of the fourth line.
“Let’s not confuse something here,” Julien said. “He’s not in the lineup because of what he brings in the dressing room. We got a lot of guys that do that. He’s in our lineup even though his minutes go down because he deserves to be there. He’s great on the forecheck. He’s actually a lot smarter of a player than a lot of people give him credit for. He reads plays well, doesn’t get himself in trouble much, gets the puck out of our end.
“Certainly his presence makes our team better. We’ve seen that at times when we’ve had to pull him out. There’s no doubt our team is more comfortable with him in our lineup for all the right reasons.”
WIth Daniel Paille jumping up to join Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly on the third line, the fourth line has been a work-in-progress. With the home team having the last change, Julien figures to have a distinct advantage in getting more time for Thornton and the fourth line.
“There’s no doubt it makes it a little bit easier,” Julien said. “Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen all the time, but it certainly is a lot easier. Joel’s a pretty good coach, smart coach. When he senses something, he’ll take advantage of it. I had to be extra careful in Chicago with that. But, again, tonight hopefully it’s a little easier. Nonetheless, we’re in the Final here, you got to do what you got to do. Sometimes you may play guys a little bit more, but they’re capable of handling the ice time. You’re right, that last change will hopefully give me a little bit of an easier change.”
|Brad Marchand: ‘I don’t think anybody is out there trying to injury guys’||06.17.13 at 1:53 pm ET|
Antagonizer. Spark plug. Skillful finisher. Intense.
But the one thing he maintains is he plays within the rules. He doesn’t, for a second, consider himself a dirty player. The “dirty” tag came up again in an interview with ESPN Boston on Monday when Don Cherry said Marchand “is not a pest. He’s a hockey player that plays dirty.”
“When you’re getting suspensions and stuff like that, that’s playing dirty,” Marchand said Monday morning before Game 3. “You play hard, a lot of things happen in a game but I don’t think anybody is out there trying to injure guys.”
During the Eastern Conference finals, Cherry first told WEEI’s Mut & Merloni that Marchand is no pest.
As a matter of fact, Marchand maintains he hasn’t even tried to get under the skin of the Blackhawks so far in this Stanley Cup final.
“I haven’t really tried to do a whole lot,” he said. “I’m just trying to play the game. Everyone is so caught up in trying to antagonize guys and stuff like that, it just doesn’t happen like that. It comes with the game and you have to react to different situations.”
One thing is for sure, Marchand has plenty of respect for a Chicago team that has just as much speed and skill as the Bruins.
“They’re a great team,” Marchand said. “They come with a ton of speed which is always tough to play against. They don’t just throw pucks away. Every time they have the puck they make a play, which makes it tough out there. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed is just that they don’t ever seem to throw pucks away. Everything is right on the tape. If they don’t have anything, they just seem to swing back so they’re a great team. There’s no doubt about that.”
Still, Marchand was asked if he thought the Blackhawks hate him yet?
“I have no idea. You have to ask them,” he said.
The Bruins are 3-0 in Game 3s so far in these Stanley Cup playoffs while the Blackhawks are 0-3. Meaningful heading into Game 3 of the Cup final?
“It means nothing right now,” Marchand said. “It’s a completely different series and a completely different time.”
|Claude Julien on sticking with Torey Krug: ‘He didn’t lose any confidence’||06.16.13 at 5:58 pm ET|
There were plenty of sideline coaches suggesting Torey Krug sit Game 2 out after his gaffe in Game 1 that led to Chicago’s second goal and gave the Blackhawks momentum to begin their comeback.
But not Claude Julien.
He stuck with his talented rookie defenseman. And all the justification he needed from Krug was provided early in Game 2.
“Extremely well,” Julien said when asked how he thought Krug handled Game 2. “He didn’t lose any confidence. Again, you look at last night, he pushed the puck up the middle again, was able to come back, nothing came out of it. But, you know, his game continued to go in the right direction.”
“I thought I did play my game pretty well in Game 2, jumping up on the ice when I could, clearing the puck a little bit better,” Krug said. “Basically, there are still some things I can fix but I felt very confident, especially in overtime. We were up in the offensive zone a little bit more than we were the whole game. I felt a lot better.”
The irony is that Krug didn’t lean on a fellow defenseman for support after Game 1. It came from Patrice Bergeron, a forward, and given his propensity for offense, maybe that’s appropriate.
“He’s got the same routine every game,” Krug said. “I have never seen him play a bad game, but if he is having a bad game, I don’t think he changes anything up so that’s important in being a professional. He always goes about his business. He is an unbelievable leader and he does the little things that’s what’s amazing about him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien: Tuukka Rask ‘just as good’ as Tim Thomas in 2011 Cup run||06.16.13 at 3:18 pm ET|
The comparison has been obvious since the second round of this Bruins playoff run.
In the eyes of Bruins coach Claude Julien, there’s no doubt.
“I think it’s just as good, no doubt,” Julien said of Rask, who is now 13-5 in the playoffs, a 1.73 goals against and a .944 save percentage. All of those numbers better the performance of Thomas when he won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. “Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there’s always that fear that you’re not going to be able to replace him.
“Tuukka’s done an outstanding job. To me, he’s been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.”
Rask gave his take on Sunday morning.
“For myself, that was the best I’ve ever seen, obviously,” Rask said of Thomas’ 16-9 record, with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 save percentage in the 2011 playoffs. “I’d never been that deep in the playoffs before and for me, as a spectator, that was the best stretch of goaltending I’d ever seen.”
The only area where Thomas has Rask beat right now is in shutouts (4-2), that and a Conn Smythe trophy, for now.
Rask did admit one thing Sunday – this is the best goaltending he’s played in his career.
“Probably, yeah,” Rask said.
|Claude Julien: Tuukka Rask ‘kept us in there’||06.16.13 at 12:34 am ET|
While the Blackhawks were threatening to blow open Game 2 and send the Stanley Cup final back to Boston with a 2-0 lead, it was Tuukka Rask who was the difference. The Hawks out-shot the Bruins 19-4 but had only a Patrick Sharp goal to show for it.
Claude Julien was quick to thank his goaltender after a 2-1 overtime win that has the Bruins flying back to Boston with the series tied, 1-1. Rask made 59 saves in a losing effort on Wednesday night before turning aside 33 shots on Saturday, including all four under the ultimate pressure of sudden death overtime.
“If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren’t there,” Julien said. “We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there. I thought the second, we started turning it around. Third, same thing. We got better as the game went on. Overtime, that was the best, had a lot of scoring chances there. Like I told our guys, we got to show up on time for these kind of games. It could have cost us tonight.
Was Julien concerned that eventually the Blackhawks pressure would wear down Rask?
“I think obviously our players responded to that,” Julien said. “I think we gave them four shots in the second, four shots in the third, maybe two or three in the overtime. I haven’t checked that out yet. We at least gave him a little bit of an opportunity to catch his breath again. That first period, like I said, was extremely hard for him. But thankfully our guys rewarded him with that effort by being a lot better in front of him for the rest of the game.
“Again, we got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, a better team, and by the end I thought we had more chances.”
Julien said the simple difference in the second period was his team moving their legs.
“We started playing,” Julien said. of the game’s turnaround. “I mean that in the right way. We were on our heels. We were second to the puck. We were just throwing pucks out of our own end. We weren’t making plays. We were standing still in our own end. A couple of point-blank shots. We were just not ready to play. After the first period, a bit of a chat, we got ourselves going. We got our feet moving at the start, then the rest followed, and eventually it just got better.”
“We didn’t have much going,” Julien said. “At one point I thought that line would give us something. They responded well. Got both goals tonight. It’s a hunch from a coach. I know that Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered.”
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|Game 2 postgame notes: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT)||06.16.13 at 12:09 am ET|
The Bruins tied the Stanley Cup finals as Daniel Paille scored the game-winner at 13:48 of overtime, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks Saturday night at United Center in Chicago. The series now shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday before returning to Chicago next Saturday night.
Here are some postgame notes, courtesy the Bruins media relations department:
‘¢ The Bruins now have an 18-28 lifetime record in Game 2 of best-of-seven series in which they lost the first game.
‘¢ They are 22-12 lifetime when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1 and they are 18-16 lifetime in Game 3s when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1.
‘¢ The Blackhawks now have a 17-13 lifetime record in Game 2 of best-of-seven series in which they won the first game.
‘¢ They are 15-11 lifetime when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1 and they are 15-11 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a best-of-seven series 1-1.
‘¢ The Bruins are 1-3 lifetime when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1 and they are 1-3 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1.
‘¢ The Blackhawks are 2-0 lifetime when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1 and they are 2-0 lifetime in Game 3 when tied in a Stanley Cup finals series 1-1.
‘¢ The Bruins played their 124th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 54-67-3 record in playoff overtime. They are 5-2 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 65th on the road and that record is now 24-40-2.
‘¢ This is the first time they have played back-to-back overtime games in the playoffs since games six (4-3 Boston win) and seven (2-1 Washington win) in their 2012 quarterfinal series. It was their first consecutive overtime games in a Stanley Cup finals since Games 1 (4-3 Montreal win) and 2 (3-2 Montreal win) of the 1946 finals.
‘¢ The Blackhawks played their 85th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 45-40 record in playoff overtime. They are 4-2 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 44th on home ice and that record is now 27-17.
‘¢ This is the first time they have played back-to-back overtime games in the playoffs since they played the each of first five games of their 2012 quarterfinal series vs. Phoenix into extra sessions, going 2-3 in those games. They had not played consecutive overtime games in a Stanley Cup finals since Games 2 (2-1 win) and 3 (3-2 win) of the 1931 finals vs. Montreal.