|Game 3 postgame notes: Bruins 2, Rangers 1||05.21.13 at 11:52 pm ET|
In the wake of the Bruins’ 2-1 victory in Game 3 that puts them one win from the Eastern Conference finals, here are some postgame notes of interest, courtesy of the Bruins.
• The Bruins now have a 19-10 lifetime record in Game 3s of best-of-seven series in which they won the first two games.
• They are 17-1 lifetime when leading a best-of-seven series 3-0 and they are 13-5 lifetime in Game 4s when leading a best-of-
seven series 3-0.
• The Rangers now have an 11-13 lifetime record in Game 3s of best-of-seven series in which they lost the series’ opening
• They are 0-10 lifetime when trailing a best-of-seven series 0-3 and they are 4-6 lifetime in Game 4s when trailing a best-of-
seven series 0-3.
• Daniel Paille had a goal and an assist for his second career multiple-point playoff game.
• Shawn Thornton had two assists for his first career multiple-point playoff game.
• Johnny Boychuk had a goal for the second straight game. He now has four goals this postseason after tallying just once during the regular season (Jan. 19 vs. the Rangers on his birthday) and is tied with Nathan Horton for second on the team in playoff goals.
• New York’s Ryan McDonagh had an assist, giving him 1-1-2 totals in two of his last three games.
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|Merlot Line leads Bruins to 3-0 series lead||05.21.13 at 10:11 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The Bruins’ fourth line stole the spotlight from Henrik Lundqvist Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden as the Bruins came back in the third period to beat the Rangers, 2-1, and take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With the B’s trailing by a goal entering the third period, the Merlot Line produced goals in two if its first four third-period shifts, the latter of which yielded a funky go-ahead goal from Daniel Paille off a rebound that went off Lundqvist’s mask and stayed in the air for a good amount of time before landing on the door step. Johnny Boychuk produced Boston’s first goal (his fourth of the postseason) on a shot from the point that had to make its way through some traffic that was led by Shawn Thornton.
Tyler Pyatt redirected a shot past Tuukka Rask at 3:53 of the second period to give the Rangers the lead in the second period after the teams skated to a scoreless first. The goal came on a rather uncharacteristic shift for Patrice Bergeron on which he lost the faceoff and then was unable to get a clearing attempt out of the zone.
But that was the only harm done against Rask, who turned in his latest superb performance highlighted by a pair of big saves on Rick Nash in the third period.
The Bruins will have the opportunity to finish off the Rangers Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
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|Ed Olczyk on M&M: Jaromir Jagr ‘always looking for that edge’||05.21.13 at 6:30 pm ET|
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Olczyk was quoted as guaranteeing a Bruins series victory, but the quote was mistakenly taken out of context.
NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Rangers.
Olczyk, who played for six NHL clubs during his 16-year career that ended in the 1999-2000 season and coached the Penguins for a season and a half (2003-04 and part of ’04-05), has a personal connection to Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, as he coached the Pittsburgh native when Bartkowski was a youngster.
“I just knew that he had the natural ability. It was just whether or not he would take advantage of the opportunities that were presented,” Olczyk said. “I couldn’t be happier for Bart. He’s a terrific young guy. I don’t think he’s really hit his full complement of his ability. He’s only played maybe 20 games in the NHL, whatever the number is. He’s getting a great taste of what it is to be a pro. I think he’s handled the situation very well.
“He has that great ability to skate you out of trouble. He’s poised with the puck. And I think there’s still an opportunity for him to continue to push the pace. And there’s something [to be said] for that, to have a guy back there that can be strong but also can skate you out of trouble. The game isn’t just about off the glass, get in to the neutral zone. Sometimes that’s the only play for a defenseman, sometimes that’s the best play. But for me, I think he’s got a lot of upside. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s playing obviously in one of the greats sports towns in the world, and playing for a great organization, for the Boston Bruins.
“He’s stepped in here very well, and it looks like he’s a seasoned veteran from watching him play. Is he going to make mistakes? Absolutely, those are going to happen. But when you put in [Torey] Krug, and you have [Dougie] Hamilton there, and you have the leadership of a guy like Zdeno Chara on the back end, I think it really makes those guys feel really comfortable.
“I’m not surprised, particularly with Matt Bartkowski, because I know him very well, but when you do put three young guys in there with not a lot of experience in the second round of the playoffs, more times than not you’re going to have a little bit more trouble, but the Bruins have been able to overcome that. And these guys and the organization could much better off because these guys have gotten this opportunity. … There is something [to be said] for experience, but the experience these guys are getting right now is just so valuable, not only for tomorrow or today, but for down the road.”
|Bruins can’t ease up with series lead like they did in first round||05.21.13 at 1:40 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Did the Bruins learn their lesson in the first round?
The lesson that they, as a Cup-winning team that had been embarrassed by a blown 3-0 series in the past, probably didn’t need taught to them? The lesson that nearly led to them being eliminated by Toronto and having their roster and coaching staff shaken up?
The lesson, of course, is that you never take a lead in a series for granted. You don’t go up in a series and assume that it’s won, and you don’t give your opponent any chance to get back in the series. The Bruins broke all those rules in the first round against the Maple Leafs, when they took a 3-1 lead and let Toronto force a seventh game with consecutive wins.
It took a monumental collapse from the Maple Leafs late in Game 7 for the Bruins to survive that and get through to the second round. Now that they’ve taken a 2-0 series lead on the Rangers, that killer instinct that wasn’t there before needs to start kicking in.
“I think we need to be aware with them being down, 2-0, and realize that they’re going to be a lot better,” Daniel Paille said Tuesday. “We felt that we had two strong games, but we can always improve. We don’t want to do too much, just add a little bit more effort and add a little bit more grit.”
Keep in mind that the Rangers dropped the first two games of their first-round series against the Capitals before storming back and winning it in seven. They’ve been in this position before and they’ve survived it, so the B’s had better expect a big push from John Tortorella‘s squad.
“We don’t want to lose two games here,” the Rangers coach said after New York dropped Game 2 on Sunday. “No one does. But there’s no give in the team. There will be no give in this team. Again, we need to go win a game. Not look anywhere else, just try to win our first home game this series.”
The good news for the Bruins is that they have swept two of the last three series in which they’ve held a 2-0 lead. They swept the Canadiens in 2009 and swept the Flyers in 2011, but sandwiched in there was their embarrassing seven-game elimination against the Flyers after holding a 3-0 series lead. While they haven’t won the first two games of a series since sweeping the Flyers, the only time they’ve held a two-game lead in a series since was this month against the Maple Leafs.
That means two of the last four series in which the B’s have held a two-game lead have resulted in sweeps, but the other two series have gone to seven games. They lost one of those series and they should have lost the other, so the B’s shouldn’t feel too satisfied just because they’ve got some breathing room.
“Obviously this is a huge game for both teams,” Chris Kelly said. “Killer instinct? I think we just want to go out and play well, play a solid 60 minutes and worry about our game and see what happens.”
|Dennis Seidenberg still not ready, unsure of status||05.21.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Speaking for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on his first shift in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs, Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg said he is feeling better but still isn’t ready for game action.
“It’s tough to say how it comes along,” Seidenberg said after skating for nearly an hour throughout an optional morning skate and afterward. “I mean, today it felt pretty good. Better than the last couple of days, so it’s definitely a step forward. It’s tough to say [when I'll] return.”
Seidenberg, who played two shifts in Game 7 against the Leafs, suffered the injury by landing awkwardly on an early play. After taking a second shift that lasted only six seconds, Seidenberg did not return to the game and has not played since. He remained on the bench, often standing up and sitting back down “to see if pain goes away and maybe somehow it recovers, but it never did.”
“You don’t want to just give up right away,” Seidenberg said, “even though it looked like [I was done].”
Claude Julien said he would be surprised if Seidenberg was able to take warmups Tuesday. Asked if he thought he could potentially be in the mix in Thursday’s Game 4, Seidenberg shrugged and seemed unsure. He certainly didn’t give off the impression of someone who thought his return was imminent.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes in practice tomorrow and make the decision [afterward] I guess, but right now it’s still open.
“It’s up to me the way I feel and when I’m ready to go,” he added. “The doctors, they just look at it and say whether they agree or not, but at the end of the day it’s whether I can perform and help the team or not.”
Seidenberg is regularly in the Bruins’ top two in time on ice and plays a major role as the right defenseman on Boston’s top pairing. It could be argued that he was Boston’s best player last postseason against the Capitals, so missing time has been hard for the veteran, who missed the 2010 postseason with a lacerated tendon.
“It’s really nerve-wracking,” he said. “Watching games is tough. It doesn’t matter who it is, watching games is never fun. You always want to be part of it and help the team win. It’s something that I don’t enjoy, obviously.”
The silver lining for the Bruins is that young defensemen have stepped up with the injuries to Seideneberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden.
“They’ve been real impressive,” Seidenberg said. “They’ve been really poised with the puck. That’s what they’ve been doing all season in Providence, I guess. I haven’t seen them, but that’s what I’ve heard. It’s really nice to have that backup and young guys to step in and stay calm and perform the way they have. It’s comforting.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien on Game 3: ‘It’s what we expect from ourselves’ that matters||05.21.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien is convinced that the outcome of Game 3 won’t hinge on the desperation of the Rangers as much as it will from the execution of his own team.
The Rangers are in the same 0-2 hole heading into tonight’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden that they were in the first round against the Capitals, while the Bruins find themselves two wins away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
“Doesn’t matter, I think it’s what we expect from ourselves,” Julien said. “That’s the thing, we always worry about the other team; we need to worry about ourselves. When we play well, we’re a good team and we give ourselves a chance to win. It’s more about our expectations right now, that has to be the important topic for us. We need to, obviously, understand they’re going to be better; we also need to be better. We’re on the road, we don’t get the last change, so it will be a tougher situation.”
One thing the Bruins know they must cut down is the number of turnovers. They committed 16 on Sunday in Game 2, and two of them led to New York’s only two goals of the game. The Rangers committed just one, and still the Bruins dominated in a 5-2 win.
“Oh, I think it was us,” Julien said when asked if the turnovers were self-inflicted. “When you look at some of those turnovers, David Krejci, just inside the blue line, turns around and it’s intercepted; you could see it coming from the bench. You could see the passes from our end on their sticks. A lot of that stuff was of our own doing. I think we can be better in that area, although we played a pretty game, I think most of those things came in the second period. We just have to be a little bit better. I thought our third period was much better in regards to puck management.”
Krejci had a team-leading three giveaways while four others had two. Brad Marchand had only one but it led to New York’s first goal, an end-to-end rush by Ryan Callahan.
“I thought our transition game has been better,” Julien said. “Obviously, the young guys have been doing that, but so have our veterans that were in our the lineup the last couple of games. That’s been pretty consistent from our back end, so that’s helped a lot. Those guys are part of that group; they seem to have enough poise to make the right plays, so it’s helped our game a lot.”
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|Slumping P-Bruins pushed to Game 7 after OT loss||05.21.13 at 7:42 am ET|
While the attention of local hockey fans is on the Bruins, who visit the Rangers in Game 3 of their second-round series Tuesday night, the AHL’s Providence Bruins are in an intense battle in their own second-round series.
The P-Bruins won the first three games vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins but have lost three straight, including Monday night’s 2-1 overtime loss at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Despite outshooting the Penguins 47-18 — including 33-5 over the last two periods — Providence could only score once: Craig Cunningham‘s second-period on former Northeastern standout Brad Thiessen, who has allowed just one goal in the last two games.
“Listen, we’re missing open nets. At some point you’ve got to put the puck in the net,” P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told the Providence Journal. “A goalie can only do so much. We had open nets. We missed open nets or there’s a pad in the way. We’ve got to start finishing, plain and simple.”
Trevor Smith scored a wraparound goal 3:26 into overtime, beating goalie Niklas Svedberg to force a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night in Providence. This is just the fourth time in AHL history a team came back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7.
Providence was playing without winger Graham Mink, who was suspended for the final two games of the series after pounding Thiessen during a brawl in a fight-filled Game 5 Saturday night.
In the final five minutes of a chippy game Saturday, Mink was cutting across the crease when the fighting started. He started unloading punches on a turtling Thiessen before a referee jumped in to break it up.
“I didn’t say or do anything. It kind of happened and I’m not sure what provoked,” Thiessen told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre after recording the shutout in a 4-0 decision. “Whatever they want to do. My job’s to stop the puck.”
Here’s a look at Saturday’s brawl. The nastiness starts at the 6:30 mark of this video.
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