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Inside the playoff mind of Tuukka Rask: ‘You try to stay cool and not let the nerves get you’ 05.09.13 at 7:18 pm ET
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When Tuukka Rask stuck out his glove and saved Game 4 by robbing Joffrey Lupul midway through overtime Wednesday night, he showed almost no reaction.

As he told everyone Thursday, that’s just who he is – a focused goalie making save after save with little or no emotion when it’s playoff time.

‘€œI don’€™t know, nothing,” Rask said when asked what his emotions were in overtime. “You just try to stay focused on that that next shot I think. That’€™s about it. I’€™ve told you before, I don’€™t know how to talk about my feelings here.’€

Is it enjoyable for him?

‘€œI don’€™t think it’€™s fun,” he said. “Really, you try to stay cool and not let the nerves get you. You just try to stay cool and relaxed and do the things you normally do in practice and games and not get shaky.

“I think it’€™s human that you get a little nervous and try to battle through it and tell yourself to stay calm and stop the puck. But I think it’€™s both.’€

Rask says he’s not motivated by getting snubbed for the Vezina Trophy by NHL general managers.

‘€œI don’€™t know,” Rask said when asked if he felt snubbed. “People might say that. It doesn’€™t really matter to me. We made the playoffs, we’€™re battling for the Stanley Cup now. I think that’€™s our goal. These individual trophies come if they come and you can’€™t really do anything about it.

‘€œI think we just have to play our game as we have in the past few games here and not be thinking about closing the series more than playing our game as good as we can, and I think the results will come.’€

Does Rask work at being cool under pressure, or does it come naturally?

‘€œI think it’€™s both,” Rask said. ‘€œYou know the other team is going to throw everything at you because it’€™s do-or-die for them. So, you kind of have to take the same mentality. If you slip even a little bit, you give the other team life then they’€™re going to take advantage of that. I think that’€™s the challenge we’€™re facing, too. We have to approach the game like it’€™s a do-or-die game for us.’€

Battling the Maple Leafs has been a lot of work for Rask so far. He’s faced 157 shots in four games, allowing 10 goals. He has a .932 save percentage, right at his regular season average. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tuukka Rask
Bruins Thursday notes: Nathan Horton OK, David Krejci loves being ‘unpredictable’ and Tuukka Rask ‘in the zone’ 05.09.13 at 3:46 pm ET
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The Bruins held an optional skate on Thursday at TD Garden, with optional being the key word. David Krejci and Dougie Hamilton were among several Bruins in the tunnel outside their dressing room playing soccer but other than that there was no on-ice activity as the Bruins rest after their Game 4 victory over the Leafs that leaves them one win from the second round.

Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Nathan Horton is OK after taking a vicious body blow on a forecheck from Dion Phaneuf that led to Krejci’s game-winner in overtime Wednesday night. Horton is expected to be ready and play Game 5 Friday night at TD Garden.

Julien covered a number of topics on Thursday, including the play of Krejci, the nerves of steel of Tuukka Rask and what makes the Bruins so much fun to coach at this time of year.

Here were his answers in Thursday’s Q & A with reporters at TD Garden.

On if after the game he realized how good of a game last night was: “Yes, I do. I said it [Wednesday] night, I said it this morning to the guys. It shouldn’€™t be looked at who’€™s an experience team, who’€™s a young team, who’€™s this, who’€™s that; it should be viewed as two teams playing really good hockey right now. There’€™s a lot of teams that Leafs squad would have beat playing the way they did and we’€™re, when I say fortunate, that we played well enough and found a way to score that overtime goal to get that win, because it was a real good game that could have gone either way.”

On the mentality heading into a possible clinching game: “You’€™ve got to play your best game because we know how hard it to close. That’€™s the thing you hope your players realize extremely well after all the experiences we’€™ve had throughout the years. We now know how hard it is to close and no reason for us to come out tomorrow and not play as hard, if not harder, than we did last night.

On how important it is to come out hard and set a tone Friday night: “No matter what, we came out, I thought we came out well last night and we were down 2-0. It wasn’€™t because we didn’€™t have a good period, it was circumstances that one was a bit of a missed assignment, but a nice good goal on their part. The other one was just an unfortunate break on our part because Tuukka [Rask] was screened until the last second. I really felt we played well enough and came out in the second and regained ourselves and got ourselves back in the game.

“It’€™s just a matter of making sure you’€™re ready, you know how hard to start. Everybody says, ‘€˜Well, you’€™ve got to come out hard,’€™ both teams have to come out hard. The most important thing is you’€™ve got to be ready to play, not just a period, or have a good start, but play the whole
game, not just in a physical way, but a mental way.”

On if the other lines are way behind the David Krejci line right now: “I think it’€™s pretty obvious that that the line is leading the way right now. Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] scores a goal last night, it as on the power play. I think Bergy’€™s played well, I thought Tyler [Seguin] played extremely well here in Boston and that line was actually good, but I don’€™t think Tyler played his best, and neither did Brad [Marchand], in Toronto. They’€™ve got a chance to redeem themselves here, but the other lines have, at some point, produced, as well. But Krejci’€™s line is, no doubt, the dominant line, I think that’€™s the biggest thing. We saw that ‘€“ I feel like I’€™m repeating myself ‘€“ a few years back when I thought [Chris] Kelly, [Rich] Peverley, and [Michael] Ryder were a dominant in the Montreal series, and then other lines picked it up afterwards. At the end of the day, it’€™s a matter of always having somebody doing something to help us win hockey games and, so far, that’€™s what’€™s been happening.”

On what changes occur in Krejci’€™s game when the postseason comes around: “Well, some people like playing in these situations and we’€™ve seen those in the past from other players on other teams. He’€™s a playoff performer, he loves the intensity, the excitement of it. He comes up big in those kinds of situations. It’€™s always nice to have those kinds of players on your team and, so far, David’€™s always been a good playoff performer for us. It’€™s a good thing he’€™s on our team.”

On what it is about Tuukka Rask’€™s temperament that allows him to shine in situations like overtime: “Well, I think right now that Tuukka is calm, he’€™s in the zone, he’€™s not getting too high, not getting too low. All he wants to do is stop the puck. He’€™s been pretty good and he is temperamental at times, we’€™ve seen that side of it, too, when he’€™s not happy with either a situation or himself. But at the same time, right now, he understands how important it is to stay focused and he’€™s done a great job of that.”

On how much more dangerous Krejci is when he is shooting the puck: “It makes him unpredictable. When he’€™s not shooting and he’€™s not, maybe, at the top of his game, often you’€™ll see him looking to pass, now he’€™s taking whatever is given to him; sometimes it’€™s a pass, sometimes it’€™s a shot. He’€™s confident. Right now, everything about David is good; he’€™s been good on draws, he’€™s been good at scoring goals, he’€™s making great plays, he’€™s involved in the gritty areas, he’€™s been physical, he’€™s been all around such a great player. That’€™s what makes him good. Maybe, everybody would like to see him do that for 82 games, unfortunately, that’€™s not the case.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, David Krejci, Nathan Horton
Claude Julien: ‘You need breaks in the playoffs. … We scored on the opportunity given to us’ 05.08.13 at 11:21 pm ET
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To Claude Julien, Game 4 came down to the Bruins getting a break and making one of their own. Tuukka Rask made a glove save on Joffrey Lupul midway through overtime through a partial screen.

Minutes later, David Krejci took advantage of Dion Phaneuf taking out Nathan Horton in the Bruins’ end and went off on a break that ended in the game-winning goal in overtime as Boston beat Toronto, 4-3, at Air Canada Centre. Krejci’s hat trick produced a dramatic win that puts Boston up, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series, meaning the Bruins can clinch their first postseason series win since winning the Cup in 2011 with a win Friday night in Boston.

‘€œI think they definitely wanted to win this game for the sake of going back to Boston tied,” Julien said. “At the same time, we wanted to win this game as well to put ourselves in the position to just have to win one more game.

“In overtime it was about making sure we made plays and not pass up on shots. Rask made a great save there on Lupul. He was screened and stuck the glove out and made the save, and that was huge for us. There was a post there by Kessel. You need breaks in the playoffs and we got some in overtime and you make your own. We scored on the opportunity that was given to us.’€

As for Krejci and his line in this playoff series, Julien couldn’t be happier.

‘€œObviously, his line has been good through the whole series but tonight, David certainly was the guy shining and was on top of his game. He’€™s been a real good playoff performer for years for us and he continues to do that. There are just certain players that thrive on playoff hockey and he’€™s one of those guys.

‘€œThere’€™s a couple of things. We know he’€™s a great playmaker. He’€™s a great skill player but the other part is he doesn’€™t shy away from traffic, he doesn’€™t shy away from a physical game. He’€™s very gritty when he needs to be gritty. If he’€™s got one weakness, it’€™s that he’€™s very hard on himself at times when things aren’€™t going well. But when you see him play like that, not sure you want to call it a weakness because when he does find his game, he’€™s a pretty dominant player.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Postgame notes after Bruins beat Leafs, 4-3, in OT in Game 4 05.08.13 at 10:50 pm ET
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Courtesy of the Bruins, here are some key postgame notes in the wake of Boston’s 4-3 overtime win in Toronto on Wednesday night.

‘€¢ The Bruins now have a 13-15 lifetime record in Game 4s of best-of-seven series in which they entered with a 2-1 series lead.

‘€¢ Their Game 5 record when leading a best-of-seven series 3-1 is 9-8 and they are 15-2 overall in best-of-seven series in which they
have led 3-1.

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs now have an 18-12 lifetime record in Game 4s of best-of-seven series in which they entered trailing the series 1-2.

‘€¢ Their Game 5 record when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-3 is 4-10 and they are 1-13 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 3-1.

OVERTIME STATS

‘€¢ The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs by a 4-3 score in the first overtime game of this series. It was the second career playoff overtime goal for David Krejci and completed his second career playoff hat trick.

‘€¢ The Bruins played their 118th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 50-65-3 record in those games. It was their 63rd on the road and that record now stands at 23-38-2.

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs played their 108th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 55-52-1 record in those games. It was their 68th on home ice and that record now stands at 36-32-1.

‘€¢ This was the 17th playoff overtime game between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, with Toronto now holding an 11-6 record in the previous 16 contests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, David Krejci, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto Maple Leafs
Claude Julien has the back of Jaromir Jagr: ‘That was vintage Jagr’ 05.06.13 at 11:09 pm ET
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Everyone knew Jaromir Jagr was due to break out.

He picked a very good time to do exactly that as Claude Julien had his patience in the 41-year-old superstar rewarded in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3 of their first-round series at Air Canada Centre.

Heading into Game 3, the line of Jagr, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly hadn’t done much. They were struggling to find a rhythm in the first two games. Jagr was weakened heading into the playoffs by flu-like symptoms, cutting down on the amount of time he could spend generating any type of chemistry with teammates.

That changed 5:57 into the second period when he stripped the puck behind the Leafs net and found Peverley all alone in front of James Reimer for the goal that made it 2-0 Bruins.

“It’s my job to make the excuses, and I made the excuses for them because I felt it was right,” Julien said. “Jags hasn’t been feeling that great and he had to turn a corner here and, at the same time, he had new line mates that hadn’t played much together so it’s just a matter of giving him some time. Sometimes, you have to be patient and I’m more of a patient guy that I am someone who’s going to panic, and tonight it paid off because I thought they were a real good line for us.

“It speaks a lot to Jags. It doesn’t matter how old he is or how long he’s been in the league. It doesn’t matter how much he’s accomplished. He’s a real proud competitor and he takes everything at heart. And the fact that he hadn’t been doing as much as he would’ve like to because of circumstances, he was determined to be a difference-maker tonight and help our team. I thought he did a great job. And the other two guys were a lot more comfortable with him tonight. And again, talking and practicing together certainly helped. He’s strong on the puck, and I know every time he has it, they need one or two guys on him to take it away and that means somebody’s open. He does a great job of that and I thought he was on top of his game tonight.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Jaromir Jagr, Milan Lucic
Postgame notes from Bruins 5, Leafs 2 in Game 3 05.06.13 at 10:18 pm ET
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Courtesy Boston Bruins media relations, here are some postgame notes from the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3.

‘€¢ The Bruins now have an 18-16 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

‘€¢ The B’s Game 4 record when leading a best-of-seven series 2-1 is 12-15 and they are 19-8 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have led 2-1.

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs now have a 13-22 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

‘€¢ The Leafs’ Game 4 record when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-2 is 18-11 and they are 10-19 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 1-2.

MILESTONES REACHED

Jaromir Jagr had an assist on Boston’€™s second goal which was his 190th career NHL playoff point. That ties him with Brett Hull for sixth place on the league’€™s all-time playoff points list. Adam McQuaid scored his first career NHL playoff goal with Monday night’€™s opening score. Toronto’€™s Jake Gardiner scored his first career NHL playoff goal.

THIS AND THAT

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs outshot the Bruins by a 48-38 margin. That was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a playoff game since Montreal had 51 on April 23, 2011, which was a 2-1 Boston win in double overtime. It was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a non-overtime playoff game since April 11, 1975, when Chicago had 56 in a 6-4 Blackhawks win.

‘€¢ Monday night’€™s game was the first of this series in which the team that scored first also won the game.

‘€¢ There have been four goals scored in the first two minutes of a period in the three games of this series, with Toronto netting three and Boston one.

‘€¢ McQuaid’€™s goal was the fourth by a Boston defenseman of the 10 scored by the Bruins in this series.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Jaromir Jagr, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrice Bergeron takes home the hardware in regular season finale 04.28.13 at 7:59 pm ET
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The Bruins announced their regular season award winners before the regular season finale with the Senators Sunday night. Patrice Bergeron was the recipient of the Eddie Shore Award (exceptional hustle and determination, chosen by the ‘€œGallery Gods’€) as well as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy (outstanding performance during home games, determined by the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association).

Gregory Campbell was selected for the John P. Bucyk Award (greatest off-ice charitable contributions, chosen by John Bucyk); and Tuukka Rask (First Star), Bergeron (Second Star) and Tyler Seguin (Third Star) were named the Bruins Three Stars (top performers at home over the course of the season).

Eddie Shore Award and Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy

Bergeron, the team’s alternate captain to Zdeno Chara, was also selected by the ‘€œGallery Gods’€ as the Eddie Shore Award winner for demonstrating exceptional hustle and determination throughout the 2013 campaign. The reining Selke Trophy winner currently leads the Bruins with a +25 rating (5th NHL), is second in assists (22) and is tied for fourth in points with 32 (10-22). The Bruins centerman also leads the NHL in faceoff percentage, winning puck drops at a 61.9-percent clip.

In addition to the Eddie Shore Award, the BPHWA has selected Bergeron as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy recipient for his outstanding performance during Bruins home games this season. At TD Garden this year, Bergeron has notched eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. The forward’€™s +20 rating and 66.8% (280/419) faceoff percentage in Boston, leads all Bruins players.

John P. Bucyk Award

Gregory Campbell has been an active participant in the Boston Bruins off-ice charitable events in this years condensed NHL season. Campbell has spent many of his rare off days making community visits throughout the Greater Boston area, including visits to the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Home for Little Wanderers and was a one of the team’€™s participants in their annual ‘€œCuts for a Cause’€ event. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Boston Bruins Foundation, Gallery gods, Gregory Campbell
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