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Sounds of the Game… Bruins 5, Senators 3 03.12.09 at 10:27 pm ET
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Claude Julien had a message for his team prior to its showdown with the Ottawa Senators – start playing like you’re playing for something.

Julien is more than aware that his team has sewn up a top three seed by virtue of their cakewalk over the Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. What he’s looking for is something more.

“We’ve got to give ourselves something to motivate us and aim for,” Julien said. “As I told them, ‘Why Not Us?’ Why shouldn’t we be giving ourselves a goal and maybe that’ll help us focus on those games coming up and not allow us to get into a comfort zone and say, ‘Well it doesn’t matter if we play .500 we’re going to be in a playoff position.’”

The 2009 Bruins taking a page out of the 2004 Red Sox’ bag of tricks.

“We want to try and be the best we can and that’s one way of motivating ourselves,” Julien added.

Specifically, there’s the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the team that finishes first overall in the NHL point standings. The Bruins entered Thursday one point behind Detroit and San Jose for first overall in the league.

So when the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead, and later 4-1, it certainly appeared like they got the message.

“We want to start having some fun around here again and the only way to do that is to start getting some wins,” Marc Savard said. “We know there’s 13 games left. We talked about it as a group. We have a chance to do something special here. We know we want to win the Stanley Cup and that’s the ultimate goal but the Presidents’ Cup is nice, too. We’ve got to want to play for something right now and we had a good chat about that. The way we started, we realized that and we went out and did something about it.”

But the Bruins had to hold on for dear life as the Senators cut the lead to one, 4-3. But the Black and Gold, thanks to an empty-netter by Phil Kessel, managed to skate away with a 5-3 win and now stand just three points shy of 100 for the season. Our man Joe Haggerty has insight on the re-emergence of Kessel and David Krejci and why they are key to Boston’s playoff hopes this spring.

Zdeno Chara said every night is going to be tough from here on out.

Tim Thomas won the game in net but said the Bruins can play better.

Aaron Ward said Thursday was still not a satisfactory win.

Ward on his first career short-handed goal.

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Sounds of the game… Coyotes 2, Bruins 1 03.06.09 at 12:03 am ET
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Well, a home ice loss to the 14th-best team in the Western conference was not exactly what Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien had in mind when the Bruins dealt for Mark Recchi and Steve Montador on Wednesday at the NHL trade deadline.

The Bruins came out and laid a massive egg against the overhauled roster of the Phoenix Coyotes and fell 2-1 at TD Banknorth Garden.

There are a number of reasons this loss is troubling. First, it comes on the heels of a 4-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Second it comes just a day after the team made two big deals for the stretch run. Third, the return of Milan Lucic to the lineup was expected to give the Bruins a little extra jump. That never materialized.

And finally, the New Jersey Devils are coming fast and this is another loss that brings the No. 2 seed a bit closer to being able to overtake the No. 1 Bruins, who are stuck on 93 points, just six ahead of Jersey.

It’s looking more and more like when the Bruins host the Devils on March 22 at the Garden, first place in the East could be on the line.

But before looking ahead, the Bruins must look back on what was a painful Thursday night on Causeway. And you could sense the frustration, starting with head coach Claude Julien.

Julien said his team, all of sudden, can’t finish on scoring chances.

Julien said when it comes to playing a full 60 minutes, talk is cheap.

Marc Savard said the Bruins were a little too cute on the ice with the puck.

Milan Lucic said the Bruins have to find a way to play 60 minutes.

Even as a newcomer, Steve Montador knows to expect boos when the team isn’t playing well.

Montador said the team is trying to look ahead and gain momentum.

Aaron Ward summed up the Bruins problems.

Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said his Coyotes put forth a good team effort.

Gretzky said his team had a good road effort in Boston.

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New Bruins ready to take ice… 03.05.09 at 1:33 pm ET
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One thing that has made Claude Julien so popular among his players is his ability to clearly define roles for his team.

He wasted no time on Thursday at the morning skate prior to the Bruins game with the Phoenix Coyotes in doing so for newcomers Mark Recchi and Steve Montador.

He was clear with them – don’t try to do too much too soon. Just play your game.

“They’ve been around,” Julien said. “We’ve already had our one-on-one meetings. I even tried to not give them too much information because I don’t want them going out there and over-thinking. Just go out there and play. We think you’re a good player and that’s why we got you. If there’s some adjustments to make along the way, we can make those. They got the basic crash course. Now it’s just go out there and play.”

Julien was one of those watching Wednesday’s trade deadline with great enthusiasm.

“Well, hopefully our whole team can give us the energy we need but those two guys are certainly bringing some life to our hockey club,” he said. “By the time 3 o’clock rolled around, we were a better team than we were at 9 o’clock, just with the addition of those guys.”

He could notice a jump in his team’s collective step on Thursday morning. They could use one after the performance they gave against the Flyers on Tuesday night, giving up three in the third as Philly captured a 4-2 decision.

He also could tell that some players were relieved that they weren’t the ones dealt out of town from a first-place contender just to shake up the team.

“There’s no doubt that that the guys this morning were pretty excited this morning, not only for still being here but for the additions,” Julien said. “We’re pretty pleased with what’s happened and looking forward to taking another step in the right direction.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sounds of the game… Sharks 5, Bruins 2 02.10.09 at 11:38 pm ET
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Maybe the Bruins needed that.

Maybe it was a wakeup call.

And maybe, just maybe, Joe Thornton is right.

When they’re on, no one can be the San Jose Sharks, not even the Black and Gold.

Thornton gave us all this little nugget afterward when he said no one can handle the Sharks.

Though for two periods on Tuesday night, they appeared ready to take the bite out of the Sharks, leading San Jose, 2-1.

But then they dropped the puck in the third and the Sharks circled and cycled and tore into the Bruins.

San Jose scored four times in the third period on their way to a 5-2 win, their 37th of the season, just two fewer than Boston and they drew to within four points of Boston’s 85 for top spot in the NHL.

Thornton did score in his return, making his comeback to Boston a pleasant one.

The Bruins could rely on just three lines because of injuries to Michael Ryder and a nasty eye injury late in the first period to Petteri Nokelainen.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said the Bruins simply looked worn out in the third.

Julien said the Sharks are the best team the Bruins have played this season.

Marc Savard said it was simple, you can’t sit back against a team like San Jose.

Aaron Ward said the Bruins hopefullhy have learned their lesson about playing 60 minutes.

Tim Thomas said the Bruins lost their mojo in the third.

Thomas said the Bruins could have won the game.

Milan Lucic said the Bruins lack the killer instinct right now.

Lucic said the Sharks are first in the West for a reason.

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Jumbo Joe remembers… 02.10.09 at 2:16 pm ET
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Joe Thornton can’t help but remember the last time he was in Boston. Though he’d like to forget.

It was Jan. 10, 2006, less than two months after he was dealt to the San Jose Sharks in a blockbuster trade by then Bruins general manager Mike O’Connell.

He logged exactly 2 minutes, 10 seconds of ice time before taking a elbowing penalty at 5:13 of the opening period. That bad-boy behavior also carried with it a game misconduct and it was nitey-nite for Jumbo Joe, in his much anticipated return.

“I really don’t remember too much,” Thornton said this morning while surrounded by 25 reporters in the visitors’ locker room at TD Banknorth Garden. “I just remember going through warm-up and then I was out of the game, pretty much. I had a great warm-up and I thought I was ready for the game and I remember we won the game, actually, that’s the only thing I remember. But I don’t remember too much on the ice because I wasn’t on it long enough to remember anything.”

He hopes to have a better return tonight.

“It’s super for hockey,” Thornton said of the matchup between the top two teams in the NHL. “To have a game like this in mid-February that has so much buzz around it is good for the game and good for hockey.”

Other nuggets from Jumbo Joe.

He said he still stays in touch with old teammates, like getting text messages from P.J. Axelsson Monday night.

He said he has no great expectations on a reaction from the Garden fans.

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Sounds of the game… Flyers 4, Bruins 3, OT 02.07.09 at 9:04 pm ET
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The Bruins under Claude Julien rarely blow leads at home. They almost NEVER blow two-goal leads.

Saturday they did both to the very hungry Philadelphia Flyers.

After beating Philadelphia, 3-1, on Wednesday with an extremely sound game and a nearly perfect third period, the Bruins looked very tired once they went up by two with their fastest two goals since Barry Pederson and Norman Leveille scored eight seconds apart on Dec. 20, 1981.

But the Flyers were the better and more desperate team for the last 43 minutes of this one, and you’ll get no argument from the Black and Gold on that point.

Yes, they could’ve won when the Flyers’ Antero Niittymaki inexplicably knocked the puck up and over the boards for a delay of game penalty in the final 90 seconds.

Yes, they could’ve won it when Dennis WIdeman’s shot from the left point and rang off the right post in overtime.

And yes, they could’ve LOST it when Jeff Carter broke in on a shorthanded breakaway and when Simon Gagne fired one on net only to have Manny Fernandez come up big.

But they lost this game when Randy Jones, of all people, flipped the puck toward the net. It went off Andrew Ference and past Fernandez exactly three minutes into overtime for the game-winner.

It was Jones who hit Patrice Bergeron from behind on Oct. 27, 2007 at the Garden, causing Bergeron to miss the rest of the season with a grade three concussion.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said the Bruins looked like a tired bunch.

Julien said Manny Fernandez deserved a better fate in his first game back since early January.

Marc Savard said he thought the Bruins played like a tired team.

Savard said now is no time to worry about a Bruins team that already has 85 points.

Andrew Ference on the bad bounce that when off his pads and past Fernandez for the winning goal.

Randy Jones on hearing the Bruins crowd boo him every time he touched the puck.

Jones on the fortunate goal that gave the Flyers the win.

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Sounds of the game… Bruins 1, Rangers 0 01.31.09 at 5:17 pm ET
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Marc Savard, Saturday’s lone goal scorer in a tight 1-0 Bruins win over the Rangers at TD Banknorth Garden, said it was just like a playoff game.

Aaron Ward said both teams played the game like it was the playoffs.

And head coach Claude Julien said his team got contributions all around.

The couple of hundred blueshirts (that’s New York-speak for Rangers fans) in attendance didn’t have much to cheer about all afternoon in a game that was void of much offensive action. The perfect game for Tuukka Rask to give Tim Thomas a rest between the pipes since Thomas is expect to start Sunday afternoon in Montreal.

And Rask was perfect, stopping all 35 Rangers shots to record his first career shutout.

Claude Julien said Marc Savard gave the team the lift they needed late in the second.

Julien said it was a complete team effort to shut out New York.

Julien was very happy for Rask.

Julien said Thomas needed a break.

Julien said Rask can still grow as a hockey player.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lunqvist said Savard deserves props for a nice re-direct on the goal.

Rangers center Chris Drury said they didn’t put enough pressure on Rask.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Broadway Blueshirts, Chris Drury, Marc Savard Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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