|Canadiens could be thinking sweep, but they aren’t||04.16.11 at 11:50 pm ET|
After winning Games 1 and 2 in Boston, the Canadiens have a chance to close out the series in front of their own fans if they can defend home ice and win the next two games at the Bell Centre, where they went 3-0 against the Bruins in the regular season. Just don’t expect them to be looking ahead to Game 4 and the possibility of a sweep.
“We’re not concerned about the second game or coming back here,” said Canadiens goalie Carey Price. “All we’re worried about is the next game. It’s a cliché, but that’s really all we’re looking forward to, is the next day and the next game.”
Don’t expect them to spend any time celebrating their two straight road victories over their rivals, either.
“I’ve got no time for that,” Michael Cammalleri said. “Seriously. If we’re sitting here happy about that and celebrating, then we’re making a crucial mistake. The fans can be happy and our parents and our families can be happy, and good for them, but I’m dead serious. We have no time to be happy right now.”
The Canadiens know the Bruins are capable of playing better than they have in the first two games and they’re not taking anything for granted or expecting anything to come easy.
“We’re happy with those two games, but we really can’t be satisfied,” Mathieu Darche said. “It’s just going to get tougher. They’ll come to Montreal with a vengeance. We know they’re going to be better, and we’ll have to be better also.”
Price said the Canadiens also can’t get caught up in the excitement of the crowd or get down if something goes wrong.
“We’re going to have to really maintain our composure,” Price said. “I think that’s going to be the biggest thing. The crowd’s behind us and obviously there’s going to a lot of adrenaline, so we have to make sure everybody stays composed.”
The Bruins, meanwhile, aren’t getting down on themselves. They know they’ve been a good road team all season — their 24-12-5 record on the road was fifth-best in the NHL — and even though they’re down 0-2 and haven’t won in Montreal this season, they remain confident.
“It might be a good thing for us to get there and really simplify things and get more composed than we are right now,” Mark Recchi said. “We’ll be fine as long as we regroup here and as long as we embrace it and get ready for a big situation on Monday. The pressure is on us now. I believe in this group of guys and we’re going to have to go show them on Monday.”
|P.J. Stock on D&C: Bruins need to pick up the physical play||04.15.11 at 11:01 am ET|
Former Bruin and current CBC NHL analyst P.J. Stock appeared on the Dennis & Callahan Show Friday morning to talk about the Bruins’ Game 1 loss to the Canadiens and the rest of the series. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Stock said he thought the Bruins played well for the most part, but that they needed to be more physical and not play the finesse style that Montreal likes.
“I’m a big fan of Milan Lucic and this is a series where he has to dominate, be like Dustin Byfuglien in last year’s playoffs,” Stock said. “The Canadiens are not a physical team, so it’s very easy to get out of a physical game. ‘They’re not going to hit me, so I’m not going to hit them. I’m going to start playing their game.’
“I think the Bruins tried to play their game last night instead of getting the puck deep and hitting bodies. [Lucic’s] play isn’t trying to deke around at the blue line. It’s shoot the puck past them, run them over and get it deep. He didn’t do it last night and it cost them a couple goals. But it’s one night and I’m looking for him to rebound tremendously on Saturday.”
Asked about balancing that physical play with staying out of the box, Stock said avoiding penalties isn’t entirely necessary as long as you avoid weak penalties.
“No, you can take penalties, but take good penalties,” he said. “If you’re going to take two minutes, I don’t expect a one-handed hooking penalty. If you’re going to take two minutes, take it because you just ran Tomas Plekanec. He was great last night. You want to take an elbowing penalty on Tomas Plekanec. You want to run him over. You want to punch him in the back of the head. You want to get him off his game. That’s a penalty that will help you out in the long run. The Bruins took a couple hooking penalties last night, which are not good penalties.”
Echoing the sentiments of many of the Bruins after the game, Stock said Boston has to do a better job creating traffic and chaos in front of Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
“And they have to bump into him,” Stock said. “Don’t by shy about it. I was watching the Philadelphia Flyers play Buffalo last night and they were bumping the goalie. Carey’s their best player, hands down. You take Carey away and they’re not the same team.
“Every time the Bruins had momentum, he was able to see the puck and stop the puck. The thing I thought really helped the Canadiens and hurt the Bruins was he didn’t give up any rebounds. It was a momentum killer. … One of the things you’re going to have to do better is get in the face of Carey Price.”
Stock said he still expects the Bruins to win the series. “For sure. It’s Game 1,” he said. “The Canadiens have to beat the Bruins three more times. It’s a tall task. But now all the pressure shifts to Boston. They have to win the next game.”
|Bruins fail to make things difficult for Carey Price in Game 1 loss||04.14.11 at 11:26 pm ET|
On paper, it would appear the Bruins dominated Thursday night’s Game 1 but just happened to run into a hot goaltending performance from Carey Price. After all, they outshot the Canadiens, 31-20, on the night, including 18-6 in the second period.
What the stat sheet doesn’t show, though, is how many of the Bruins’ shots came with no traffic in front, allowing Price to easily get in position and make the save.
“I don’t think we did a very good job of taking away his vision,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He saw a lot of shots tonight and he saw a lot of pucks. We definitely have to get better in that area if we plan on scoring some goals.”
Of course, screening Price and getting traffic to the net is all about being willing to battle in the dirty areas. You have to be able to take a beating and win the fight for position. The Bruins didn’t appear willing to do that Thursday night, even when they had the chance to.
“I think for the most part, we were there and had those opportunities to be in front of the net,” Brad Marchand said. “We were just standing off to the side a bit, looking for tips. The opportunity is there to get in front of his eyes. We just have to do that.”
Julien agreed with his forward that his team simply didn’t work hard enough to get to those areas.
“It’s pretty obvious, I think. There’s no secret here,” Julien said. “If you’re going to score goals on that goaltender, you need to take away his vision, and we didn’t do a good enough job of that. We were all around the net, but we weren’t in front.”
Those problems carried over to the power play, too. The Bruins struggled to get set up on the man advantage early in the game, but they did a better job of possessing the puck and creating some chances as the game went on.
But as was the case at even strength, Price was able to track pretty much every shot. In several instances, the Bruins delayed shooting the puck in the hopes that someone would get to the net for a screen, deflection or rebound, but it rarely came. When they did pull the trigger, Price was able to easily cover or his defensemen were able to easily clear away the rebound.
“Again, same old, same old,” Julien said. “We had some great shots, but we didn’t do a very good job in front of the net with the screens, with the loose pucks, and weren’t able to capitalize.”
The Bruins were happy with a lot of other aspects of their game Thursday night — Marchand even said they “have to play the exact same way” in Saturday’s Game 2 — but they know they’ll need to make things tougher for Price and not rely on him making mistakes if they’re going to win the series.
“He’s a good goalie, yes, but we’ve got to make sure we have traffic in front of him,” Patrice Bergeron said. “He’s going to make those stops if he sees it, and that’s all.”
|Third and fourth lines come up big in Bruins win||04.09.11 at 5:11 pm ET|
The Bruins know that if they’re going to make a deep playoff run, they’re going to need scoring from the third and fourth lines. In Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 win over the Senators, they got just that.
The fourth line scored the game’s first goal 12:53 into the first when Shawn Thornton threw a shot on net from the right wing that led to a juicy rebound. Gregory Campbell collected the loose puck and backhanded a centering pass right to Daniel Paille’s stick for an easy tap-in.
“That first goal that line scored tonight was something that all the coaches love to see,” coach Claude Julien said. “Thorny just throws a puck at the net, but Campbell is driving the net and there’s a loose puck and he gets to it first. And Paille is driving the net as well and they find him and it’s kind of a tic-tac-toe play. … Those guys are working hard and they’re earning their goals and I think that’s what I like about that line.”
Paille said he and his linemates are just trying to work as hard as they can down low and hope it pays off with goals like his on Saturday.
“What works for us is just keeping it simple and getting pucks in deep and winning the battles,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing right now and it’s paying off.”
The goal was Paille’s third in his last four games and fourth in his last eight. He had just two goals in 34 games prior to March 19, but he has come on strong in the last couple weeks and appears to have earned a spot in the lineup — at least to start the playoffs — after not being a regular until the last month or so.
“It’s just something I’ve been waiting for all year,” Paille said of the playing time. “I’m glad that it’s paying off at this point in the season. It’s something that I’ve thought I can do all season, so I’m just glad that it’s working right now.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Thomas gets start Saturday, aims for record||04.09.11 at 12:23 pm ET|
In what will likely be his final start of the regular season, Tim Thomas looks to break the NHL’s single-season save percentage record Saturday afternoon against the Senators. Through 56 games thus far, Thomas’ save percentage stands at .9376, .001 ahead of Dominik Hasek‘s record-setting mark of .9366 in 1998-99.
Before Saturday’s game, coach Claude Julien said he’s focused more on just making sure Thomas is ready for the playoffs than he is on the record.
“He seems to be feeling good,” Julien said. “He’s realized that he’s forced his game a little bit, especially the game in New York [on Monday], but other than that, I think he’s been pretty steady for us all year. He feels well-rested, he feels good and he feels ready to get into the playoffs.”
Julien made a couple changes to the lineup for Saturday’s game, giving both Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg the day off. This will be the first game Seidenberg has missed all season. Tyler Seguin will take Bergeron’s place as the second-line center, while Shane Hnidy will fill in for Seidenberg on the blue line.
|Ray Bourque on M&M: Bruins ‘shouldn’t lose’ to Canadiens in potential playoff series||03.25.11 at 12:45 pm ET|
Bruins legend Ray Bourque appeared on the Mut & Merloni show Friday to talk about the NHL’s crackdown on hits to the head, rookie Tyler Seguin and what to expect from the Bruins in the playoffs. To hear the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Bourque said that not only are hits to the head more noticeable now because of the NHL’s crackdown, but also because it seems like there are just more of them. “I think some of the stuff has changed,” Bourque said. “You might’ve seen certain hits that were similar in our day, but it seems like there were less head shots.
“Just flagrant elbows to the head, you’re seeing a lot more it seems like, like [Matt] Cooke a few times that he’s done,” Bourque continued. “I don’t think you used to see that as much. I’m not sure why you’re seeing more of that now, if it’s lack of respect for each other out there or what. I’m happy that they’re really trying to cut it down.”
Bourque also discussed Mark Recchi’s comments about the Canadiens embellishing the severity of Max Pacioretty’s concussion after Zdeno Chara‘s hit on him. Bourque said that sometimes it’s necessary for a veteran leader to step up and take some pressure of a teammate.
“That was a nice veteran move and great leadership in terms of taking a little of the pressure off and moving it on him and bringing some things up for question that were being talked about,” he said.
The guys asked Bourque about Seguin and some of the challenges he’s facing as a rookie, particularly when it comes to the physical play in the NHL. “Well, I think that’s a big part of it, the physical part of the game,” Bourque said. “But also, he’s such a young guy. You’ll look at this kid three years from now, in terms of maturity mentally and physically, he’s going to be in a different place. That’s what he has to gain and he has to grow.
“And he’s in a different situation than Taylor Hall,” Bourque added. “Taylor Hall, [the Oilers] can play him all they want. He can make mistakes and they can keep throwing him out there. That’s not the case with the Bruins. The Bruins are going for something here. Every shift is an important one for them.”
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Thursday’s game more helpful to Bruins than damaging to Canadiens||03.25.11 at 10:00 am ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Bruins’ 7-0 thrashing of the Canadiens on Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The hosts suggested that the game was only a Shawn Thornton fight short of perfection.
“I’m not sure that Shawn would ever have a dancing partner on that team,” Brickley said. “I know that Ryan White did a pretty good job on Johnny Boychuk when we were up in Montreal, but outside of him and maybe Travis Moen, I don’t think there’s really anybody on that roster that’s in Shawn Thornton’s league. So that was not going to happen.”
Of course, there was an expectation of fisticuffs given Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty in the teams’ last meeting and Mark Recchi’s suggestion that Montreal embellished the severity of Pacioretty’s concussion.
“I was just curious to see if Montreal would alter their game plan at all, relative to the way they play, if somebody was going to try and get in Chara’s face early in the game,” Brickley said. “When I didn’t see that happen, I was pleased to see that it was just going to be a hockey game. I loved the way the Bruins responded and played their game.”
Recchi said after the game that he made his controversial comments in an attempt to take some pressure off Chara. Brickley said he thought that showed leadership on Recchi’s part and he thought there was some truth to what he said.
“That carries a lot of weight when it comes from a guy like Mark Recchi who’s been around a long time and is so well respected in the league,” he said. “But there is an element of truth to what he said, too. I think what he said, because it was inflammatory or whatever you want to describe it as, it takes the attention away from Zdeno Chara and he takes it on his shoulders, Mark Recchi. But I think what he said was true. I think a lot of players in that locker room and across the league feel that way.
“Because the Bruins have a hands-on experience with Marc Savard, with Patrice Bergeron, they know just from observation what a severe concussion is. And the evidence suggests that this is not severe when you see the reports that Pacioretty was up and around and feeling good. It just leaves questions, and I think that’s what Mark Recchi was saying. And I think he speaks the truth.” Read the rest of this entry »
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