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How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning 05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.

After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.

But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals — two in garbage time — in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”

“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”

Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.

There was nothing from Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolay Zherdev, an injury-slowed Jeff Carter, a nicked-up Chris Pronger and Scott Hartnell. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peter Chiarelli: Patrice Bergeron has ‘mild concussion’, likely to miss start of Eastern finals 05.07.11 at 11:25 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Saturday morning that Patrice Bergeron is dealing with the effects of another concussion.

Bergeron, who missed nearly a full year after a severe concussion when hit by former Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones in October 2007, collided with Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over the Flyers. He did not return, and Chiarelli indicated he is likely to miss the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay, with rookie Tyler Seguin getting the chance to take his spot on the roster.

“Patrice suffered a mild concussion,” Chiarelli said on Saturday, before adding that he thought the Giroux hit was “a shade late.”

While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return. The Boston Globe initially reported Saturday morning that Bergeron had sustained a concussion.

Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line role to center the line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.

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Claude Julien knows ‘toughest games are yet to come’ as Bruins seek Lord Stanley 05.07.11 at 1:15 am ET
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Claude Julien has taken the Bruins farther than he's taken them before, but it isn't enough. (AP)

As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.

“Well, it’s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.

“I thought we played extremely well. It’s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”

The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.

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Claude Julien has ‘no update’ on Patrice Bergeron injury in Game 4 win over Flyers 05.07.11 at 1:04 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron left Game 4 in the third period and did not return. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over Philadelphia. He did not return and his status for the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay is unknown at this point.

While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return.

“I don’t know. I have no update for you guys right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Basically, I can’t give you anything more than that.”

Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.

Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line duty to center the Marchand-Recchi line for the remainder of the third period Friday.

“We talked about this morning, somebody asked me about different scenarios, and Chris Kelly is a very reliable player, a lot like Bergeron,” Julien said. “And a great two-way player. He as put up some decent points and he has also been extremely reliable defensively. So it’s an easy fit there and even Soupy [Gregory] Campbell has been a good player for us as well.

“He competes hard and very reliable. So you are able to move guys around and know they are going to do the job. And we’ve talked about our fourth line being a good line for us. And they have been good enough, to move them up to spots when need be,” Julien said. “Dan Paille took a shift there too on one of those lines. You have to be able to move guys around and they did a great job of stepping in and filling in those voids.”

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Peter Laviolette points to Game 1 dud as the real reason for his team’s collapse 05.07.11 at 12:44 am ET
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Peter Laviolette did not get the results this time around. (AP)

In sweeping the team that spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Bruins thoroughly frustrated the Flyers from the opening faceoff through all four games, ending with Friday night’s 5-1 win in Game 4 at TD Garden.

“Look at tonight’s game, it’s 1-1 halfway through the third,” Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The chances are relatively close. I would’ve liked to have generated more, offensively. I think in all the losses, we needed to generate more, we needed to spend more in the offensive zone. Defensively, even tonight, we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone trying to get through their trap and trying to get a sustained forecheck that could generate some offense and we weren’t able to do that, and in the losses, that seems to be one of the key things that factors in.

“The other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You’re in your building and we don’t play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn’t get a win. We didn’t get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity.”

The Bruins swept Philadelphia for the second time in playoff history, having disposed of them in four straight in 1977. The Bruins won seven of the eight meetings between the two teams this year and Tim Thomas improved to 10-0-0 lifetime against the Flyers, including regular season and the playoffs.

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An angry Brad Marchand admits he was ‘just running around trying to kill guys’ 05.05.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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With all the talk about being up 3-0 for the second straight year against the Flyers in the playoffs, “killer instinct” is one cliche that will be brought up over the next 24 hours.

And no one has had more of it than Brad Marchand this series against Philadelphia – even if it’s resulted in the occasional undisciplined penalty.

But Claude Julien and the Bruins will gladly take that if it means finally getting that fourth win against the Flyers Friday night and putting their nightmare of 2010 to rest.

“It was one of those games where I was angry the whole time, and my emotions kind of get the best of me, just trying to run around and kill guys,” Marchand admitted after Wednesday’s 5-1 butt-whipping of the Flyers. “So, it was just one of those games. It’s not like that every night but tonight was one of those nights.”

But the funny part is that Marchand didn’t take any penalties Wednesday night. He just crushed Flyer after Flyer, like everyone on the James van Riemsdyk line that nearly beat the Bruins in Game 2 Monday night. The Bruins didn’t want any player or line doing to them what JVR did in Game 2. They wanted someone to get under the Flyers collective skins and Marchand was just the guy.
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Flyers owner Ed Snider still has faith, says his guys ‘will never quit’ 05.05.11 at 12:17 am ET
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He acted like a man who wanted to believe what he was saying but deep down Ed Snider had the look of a beaten owner of his beloved Philadelphia Flyers.

There isn’t an owner in hockey who has seen more. He brought hockey to the City of Brotherly Love. He rejoiced in 1974 and 1975 when his Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.

He beamed with nearly as much pride last spring when his team made history by overcoming an 0-3 deficit to beat the Bruins. His team fell two wins short of one of the best Stanley Cup championship of all time.

Well, after being shelled 5-1 in Game 3 at TD Garden Wednesday night, his team is in that very same hole. But in the Flyers dressing room afterward, Snider wasn’t talking like a man who really believes he can catch lightning in a bottle twice.

“It’s a really difficult thing to do and they would be the first team in history to do it two years in a row,” Snider offered.

That’s one way of looking at it.

This is another.

“It’s an awful lot to expect and Boston is playing very well and we’re going to have to step up our game in order to compete with them,” added Snider, who began to finally see the neon writing on the wall. And it’s starts with goaltending and continues with defense. Read the rest of this entry »

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