|Guy Boucher goes back to Dwayne Roloson for Game 6||05.24.11 at 3:36 pm ET|
TAMPA — Maybe it’s because he didn’t like what he saw in Game 5. Or maybe it’s because he thinks Mike Smith is best coming off the bench. Or, maybe Guy Boucher wants the grizzled veteran in net for a do-or-die game with the team’s season on the line.
Whatever the real reason, Boucher announced Tuesday that he is going back to Dwayne Roloson as his starting goalie for the team’s do-or-die Game 6 against the Bruins Wednesday night at St. Pete Times Forum.
Boucher thought – with the series tied – it was time to give Roloson a blow and let him have the night off.
“He was the guy that took us here, and that’s how I felt before last game,” Boucher said Tuesday. “But like I said, I felt like it was time to give him a little breather. And at the same time I felt that Smitty played really well. So it’s a perfect situation to put Smitty in. If something were to go wrong in the previous game, put a new goaltender in for a do-or-die, I don’t think it would have been a good moment for anybody.
So this is a perfect situation. He’s going to be the only rested guy on the two teams.”
Boucher is convinced that Roloson – at the age of 41 – will come back refreshed on Wednesday night.
“He’s had tremendous stretches with us,’ Boucher said. “And I remember there was one time where it wasn’t going so well. We gave him two days off and he came back and he was outstanding after.
So he’s like everybody else. He puts — he’s one of the hardest working guys on our team. He puts in a lot of hours and a lot of time. And he’s like everybody else, at some point or another just needs to breathe a little bit.
“He needed a little break like everybody else. Whether you’re a goaltender, defenseman or forward, I know players on both sides are getting more tired as the series are evolving. And it’s normal. Everybody’s expecting that. And your most important player is your goaltender. So he’ll be rested.”
After relieving Roloson in goal in Games 2 and 4, Mike Smith made his first career playoff start and stopped 17 of 19 shots before Rich Peverley‘s empty-net goal with 12.1 seconds left sealed Monday’s Game 5 win for the Bruins.
Roloson entered the Eastern Conference finals against Boston with a playoff-leading 2.01 goals against average. That has skyrocketed to 2.52 as the Bruins beat him six times in Game 2 to tie the series and then chased him in Game 4 last Saturday. In Game 4, Roloson stopped just six of nine shots before being pulled with two minutes left in the first period when Patrice Bergeron scored shorthanded.
Smith entered the game and stopped all 21 shots he faced, allowing the Lightning to rally to a 5-3 win and even the series before Monday night’s 3-1 Bruins win.
|Report: Steve Downie won’t be disciplined for Game 5 hit||05.24.11 at 12:10 pm ET|
Lightning forward Steve Downie will not be suspended for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, according to a tweet by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Halfway through the third period of the Bruins’ 3-1 win in Game 5 Monday, Downie slammed Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the back, receiving a boarding call for the hit. Boychuk was shaken up and didn’t return to the game, although Bruins coach Claude Julien later acknowledged that the blue-liner was “fine.”
Downie has 40 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games in 2011 and had already received a one-game suspension in these playoffs for leaving his feet on a hit on in the conference quarterfinals against the Penguins.
|Barry Melrose on D&C: Thomas ‘only guy to talk about’ for Bruins||05.24.11 at 10:23 am ET|
ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and predictably talked about the play of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who allowed just one goal on 34 shots in Boston’s 3-1 win over Tampa Bay Monday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and made perhaps the best save of the playoffs in the third period on a shot from Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie. (To hear the entire interview, click over to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.)
“Last night, he was the only guy to talk about,” Melrose said. “The Bruins basically took the first half of the game off and left Timmy Thomas out to fend for himself. The guy was great. He was fantastic. He made that game-saving save later in the game. But right off the start, he was very solid. You could tell he was on his game. He was very aggressive. He was outside the crease. And that’s how you tell if Timmy’s ready to play or not. If he’s making saves inside the paint, it’s going to be a long night. If he’s out challenging and outside the paint and very aggressive, it’s going to be a good night for Timmy Thomas. Last night, he was really on his game.”
Melrose was also willing to discuss the Lightning situation between the pipes. Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher gave Mike Smith the start in net instead of Dwayne Roloson, who had started the previous four games in the conference finals. Despite Tampa Bay’s loss on Monday, Melrose said he would stick with Smith going forward.
“I think Mike Smith. I think number one it’s hard to go back to Roloson,” Melrose said. “You have a 41-year-old goaltender. You pull him twice. You bench him and then say, ‘Hey man, we made a mistake. We want you back.’ So I think it’s Mike Smith’s series now, win or lose. And Mike Smith played well, those two goals he gave were basically unstoppable. The guy handles the puck well. That created a lot of problems for Boston. If Boston falls asleep, Mike Smith will make that long pas and create a breakaway at the other end. So that gives Boston another thing to worry about when they’re looking at their gameplan.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien says Johnny Boychuk is ‘fine’||05.24.11 at 3:53 am ET|
The Bruins got a bit of a scare in the third period of their 3-1 vicctory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals when Lightning forward Steve Downie took a run at B’s defenseman Johnny Boychuk and sent Boychuk down the tunnel and out of the game. Downie went off for boarding, and though Boychuk didn’t take another shift, the encouraging news was that he made his way back to the bench for the end of the contest. Coach Claude Julien said he did not see the hit, but that the defenseman is OK.
“Johnny is fine,” Julien said. “I haven’t had an opportunity to look at it. I haven’t watched the video yet. I know some people have, but from what I hear it’s not a great hit. I’ll maybe save my comments more for after I see it.”
Boychuk logged 16:09 of ice time before leaving after the play, which occured at 10:54 of the third.
|Video: Bruins react to Game 5 win||05.24.11 at 1:27 am ET|
|Claude Julien: ‘We can’t be tight’ if we want to reach Stanley Cup finals||05.24.11 at 1:26 am ET|
Claude Julien is on the verge of taking his Bruins to a place no one has in 21 years. It’s a place he won’t mention by name by it starts with “Stanley” and ends with “Cup finals”.
And after Monday’s 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Eastern finals, he’s more than prepared for all the questions he’ll be hearing about it over the next two days.
“Well it’s going to take, and you’ve heard it before, it’s almost a clichÃ©, it’s going to take our best game. When a team’s got its back against a wall, it comes out with the best of efforts and this is where we have to make sure that next game, as I mentioned here earlier, we can’t be tight,” Julien said. “We’ve got to out there and play with a purpose and be ready to go out there and play hard.
“Maybe put them on their heels and maybe get them to play tight. But this is the position you want to be in obviously, up in the series. We’ve got two games here to win one. Our goal right now is not to play Game 7. And I know their goal is to create a Game 7. So, there’s a difference between the two teams.”
Julien doesn’t want to see his team feel the pressure in Game 6 the way they did in the first period Monday night.
“I just think we need to understand we’ve got the lead in this series. And we’ve got to go out there and play without playing on our heels. When you’ve got the lead like that you should go out and play on your toes, not your heels, and if you play well enough, maybe you put the other team on their heels. I didn’t say we are groining to put them on their heels, I said the goal is to play well and try to play as well as you can. And they’ve got their backs against the wall, so this is our opportunity here to come up with our best effort of the series.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Guy Boucher thinks Tim Thomas is a miracle-worker||05.24.11 at 12:45 am ET|
All series long, Lightning coach Guy Boucher has been complimentary of the Bruins, especially Tim Thomas. After Monday’s Game 5, in which Thomas stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced, Boucher tried to explain just how difficult it is to win a game against Thomas when he’s playing his best.
‘It’s extremely hard to play in this building, and to get 30-something shots and hold your opponent to 20, you should take that,’ Boucher said. ‘But that’s not enough against this goaltender. You need more. You need miracles. He’s making miracles. We have to come up with miracles.’
The Lightning ended up outshooting the Bruins 34-20 in Game 5, including 14-4 in the first period. When asked if it was frustrating to dominate shots like that and not win the game, Boucher had an interesting response.
‘We’re not frustrated. We’re expecting that,’ he said. ‘He’s done it all year. He’s done it in the playoffs. If you don’t expect that, it’s because you got the wrong expectations.’
Boucher said the only thing his team can do is throw even more shots at Thomas.
‘Good’s not good enough if you want to beat that goaltender,’ he said. ‘At one point the shots were 30-12 or something like that, so I guess we’re going to need 55. There’s no two ways about it.’
Of course, Thomas might not be quite as invincible as Boucher makes him out to be. After all, the Lightning have scored four or more goals on him three times in this series, and it didn’t take 55 shots to do it.
The Lightning players said the biggest difference between those games and nights like Game 3 (a 31-save shutout for Thomas) and Game 5 is the quality of their shots.
‘I think he saw the puck pretty good tonight,’ Ryan Malone said. ‘It looked like it was point shots most of the time. He’s a world-class goalie. If he sees it, he’s going to stop it. It’s our job to make him not see it.’
Perhaps that would help create some of the ‘miracles’ Boucher is looking for.