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Team psychologist Tim Thomas bends but doesn’t break under pressure 05.18.11 at 11:15 am ET
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Tim Thomas had better games in these 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs than the one he played Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final at TD Garden.

He allowed five goals on 41 shots on goal. He gave up a goal in the game’s first 13 seconds and the last 6.5 seconds of the first period, allowing the Lightning to take a 2-1 lead to the dressing room in the first intermission. As a goalie, Thomas knows you have to be equal parts netminder and psychologist.

“Each time you get some odd goals like that, it can put you on your heels,” Thomas said. “The human tendency is to tell yourself, ‘Oh, just, it’€™s not going to be our night.’ The team didn’€™t do that, and they fought back. They fought back after the first goal. We had really, a pretty good first period. And then we had another, second goal there at the end of the first period, which could deflate you. But being in the locker room between periods, we were never deflated.

“We’€™re determined to stick with it and in the second period there, Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder stepped up and got big goals for us. I’€™ve said it before, we know we have character. We’€™re battle tested by now. But having said that, you have to keep stepping up every time you need to, and we found a way to do that.”

After Seguin and Ryder put on a scoring display in the five-goal second period, it was up to Thomas and the Bruins to make a three-goal cushion hold. Thomas was – as they say – huge when he needed to be and made several spectacular saves in the second and third periods, helping the Bruins escape with a series-stabilizing 6-5 win.

Thomas’ first huge save actually led to Seguin’s first goal as he stopped Martin St. Louis 21 seconds into the second period. Then, he used his face mask in stopping Ryan Malone on a breakaway later in the period and that led to Seguin’s second spectacular goal of the period just moments later as the Bruins took a 4-2 lead. Then, in the third period, with the Lightning on the verge of tying the game, Thomas used his right pad and skate to kick away a Vinny Lecavalier shot between the circles.

Ironically, it was a save that he didn’t make where he showed how tough he could be as Dominic Moore shot went off his face and into the net, after his own defenseman crashed into him, knocking his mask off.

“I didn’€™t know,” Thomas said. “Dominic Moore was the guy in front of the net. I think what made my mask come off was Adam McQuaid was trying to get across the crease and we kind of ran into each other. I haven’€™t seen the replay. I have been told the puck went off my head but I didn’€™t even realize it. At that point I was trying to find it I think.”

Thomas showed again Tuesday that you don’t have to save every shot to make big saves.

“I think experience helps in those situations,” Thomas said. “Just this year we were in a few games, I think we beat Philly 7-5 or something like that, and we had a similar game against Montreal. Experience helps you to learn that, each time a goal goes in, you’€™ve just got to put it behind you. You’€™ve got to start focusing on the next one. If you start thinking about the goals that just went in, it’€™s going to lead to other goals, and it’€™s not going to be helpful. With our big second period there, I knew we had a big lead going into the third period, and the plan wasn’€™t to let them get close at all.

“But when it gets 6-4 and 6-5, when you’€™re a younger goaltender, it might be hard for you to keep your focus. But I’€™ve been through enough situations similar to that. I was just trying to keep my focus, and when it got 6-5, do everything I possibly could to keep it from becoming 6-6.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning
Shawn McEachern on D&C: Bruins ‘just don’t have another player’ with skill of Tyler Seguin 05.18.11 at 8:24 am ET
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Former Bruin Shawn McEachern appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which the Bruins evened up with a 6-5 victory over the Lightning in Game 2 Tuesday night. McEachern, a Waltham native who went on to star at Boston University and win a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1992, now coaches the hockey team at The Rivers School in Weston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins held on Tuesday night in a high-scoring affair, a game in which no lead appeared to be safe. “This whole year in the playoffs, all around the league, nobody’s been able to hold a lead,” McEachern said. “It’s been great to watch. It looks like hockey back in the ’80s, when Wayne Gretzky was scoring 90 goals.”

McEachern didn’t predict a winner, but he said the series appears destined to last for a while. “I think it’s going to be a long series. I think it’s a six- or seven-game series,” he said. “I hope it’s high-scoring like last night, because it’s an awful lot of fun to watch.”

Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin exploded with two goals and two assists in Game 2 after scoring a goal in his postseason debut in Game 1. However, McEachern said he had no problem with coach Claude Julien sitting Seguin for the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“He’s a 19-year-old kid,” McEachern said. “Probably the biggest thing that helped Tyler Seguin was sitting upstairs and watching the first 11 games of the playoffs. The game really slows down for you. He probably really figured it out a little bit.

“The other side is there’s no expectations on him when he comes back into the lineup. He wasn’t going to be the game-breaker they needed. They were hoping they’d get something out of him, but he played only nine minutes in the first game.”

Added McEachern: “I think the thing with Seguin is that he brings something that the Bruins don’t have. That high-end speed and skill, they just don’t have another player like that.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Shawn McEachern, Tyler Seguin,
Unlike fans, Bruins and Lightning aren’t thrilled with 11-goal game 05.18.11 at 1:49 am ET
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Savor the 11-goal thriller while you can, because it’€™s probably not going to happen again. The Bruins and Lightning entered this series as the top two defensive teams in the postseason. High-scoring games like Tuesday night’€™s Game 2 are not their preference.

‘€œTo be honest with you, it was a pond game tonight,’€ Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. ‘€œWhen you play a pond hockey game, there is a chance that it won’€™t turn your way. It’€™s your breakaway, it’€™s my breakaway. It’€™s your 2-on-1, it’€™s my 2-on-1. It might be exciting for the fans, but from the teams’€™ perspective and standpoint, it’€™s not how we have played.’€

The Bruins were obviously happy to get the win, but coach Claude Julien acknowledged that he wasn’€™t particularly thrilled with how wide-open the game was, either.

‘€œNot the way it opened up to the point that there were breakaways,’€ Julien said. ‘€œWhen two teams start the series and they are two of the best defensive teams in the playoffs, and then you see a game like this, I don’€™t think anybody’€™s happy. We want to score goals, there’€™s no doubt there, but the way we’€™ve been giving up goals is not something that we’€™re proud of right now.’€

The Lightning players said the anomaly of a game was due in part to a breakdown of their defense-first structure. Forward Vincent Lecavalier said the Bruins did a good job using their speed to exploit those breakdowns.

‘€œWe didn’€™t play the way we usually do with our structure,’€ Lecavalier said. ‘€œI don’€™t want to take credit away from the Bruins. I thought they came out flying in the first and second. ‘€¦ Giving up five goals in that second period was tough. It seems every time we had a good chance, it would just come back. I think we just gave them a lot in the second, but they were skating. They were playing hard.’€

Now the focus for both teams in the lead-up to Thursday’€™s Game 3 will be to get back to playing the type of defense that got them here, and to not allow as many odd-man rushes and quality scoring chances as they did Tuesday.

‘€œReally for both teams it was a strange game,’€ said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. ‘€œI expect it to be much different when we both go back down there, to be the style we both usually play. It will be hard, another close one coming up, so we have a lot of work to do.’€

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Guy Boucher, Mark Recchi
Claude Julien: ‘Sloppy’ Bruins were ‘hanging on’ 05.18.11 at 1:36 am ET
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While the Bruins were hanging on for dear life, coach Claude Julien admitted to feeling exactly was every Bruins fan was feeling watching the third period of Tuesday night’s Game 2 win over the Lightning at TD Garden. The Bruins were lucky to get away with a 6-5 regulation win to even the Eastern Conference final at one game apiece.

“I don’€™t think anybody in that dressing room is extremely happy with our game because we got sloppy at times,” Julien said of his team’s defense after building a 6-3 lead heading into the final period. “And we turned pucks over and weren’€™t strong on in the third period. But there’€™s no doubt we were hanging on. And thank God time was on our side and we came up with the win. So we need to regroup here, take the win for what it is in the playoffs, and know that we got to get better.

“When two teams start the series and they are two of the best defensive teams in the playoffs and then you see a game like this, I don’€™t think anybody’€™s happy. We want to score goals, there’€™s no doubt there. But the way we’€™ve been giving up goals is not something that we’€™re proud of right now. And we need to be better in regards to that.”

Julien also hinted that the play of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder could coincide with the return of Patrice Bergeron in Game 3. Bergeron missed the first two games of the series with a mild concussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Video: Bruins beat Lightning in Game 2 05.18.11 at 1:35 am ET
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Read More: Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin is on the right end of the learning curve 05.18.11 at 12:53 am ET
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Following one of the most stunning playoff performances by a rookie in Bruins history, 19-year-old Tyler Seguin took it all in stride. Seguin, playing in just his second playoff game after the concussion to Patrice Bergeron at the end of the second round, took over and amazed the TD Garden crowd with a second period performance for the ages.

“It’€™s definitely tough watching from above,” Seguin said of his vantage point as a healthy scratch from the press box in the first two rounds. “I try to take everything in and learn as much as I can, but it’€™s hard sitting there and not being able to help the boys. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity I got.”

After scoring a goal and an assist his first playoff opportunity in Game 1 Saturday night, Seguin took over in the second period with the Bruins down, 2-1. He scored the first of his two second-period goals 48 seconds in to tie the game. He would add another goal while setting up both of Michael Ryder‘s second-period tallies.

“I think it’€™s just the learning curve,” Seguin said. “It’€™s been a whole learning curve all year. As the year went on, I’€™ve felt more confident and more poised. In big games, I always want to step up. Tonight, I had some lucky bounces, but I was trying to take advantage of all the opportunities and they were going in tonight.”

And to think he was snubbed by the mighty Canadian World Junior team in 2010, presumably because the coaching and development staff didn’t think he was ready to put his talent all together on the world stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Seguin lights up Lightning, Bruins tie series 05.17.11 at 10:57 pm ET
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By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin

It was the Tyler Seguin Show Tuesday, as the rookie had a four-point showing in a 6-5 Bruins win over the Lightning at the TD Garden that tied the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.

Seguin scored two goals, tying the game 48 seconds into the second period, and giving the B’s a 4-2 lead at 6:30 of the second. Michael Ryder also had two goals for the Bruins, both of which were assisted by Seguin. Nathan Horton and David Krejci also scored for the Bruins. Horton and Krejci are now tied for the team lead with six goals this postseason.

The B’s chased Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson after two periods and six goals. It was the first time this postseason that Roloson allowed more than three goals. Tampa got its scoring from Adam Hall, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore. They came back from a 6-3 deficit to make it 6-5 in the third, but in the end Tim Thomas and the Bruins held on.

The teams now travel to Tampa, where they will play Games 3 and 4 before returning to Boston next week for Game 5.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Everyone knew Seguin had all the talent in the world, but nobody expected the type of explosion that was displayed Tuesday. The 19-year-old’s pair of flashy goals made for his second and third tallies of the series. On his first goal, he blew by a pair of Lightning defenders and beat a sprawling Roloson with a nifty forehand-backhand move. Six minutes later, just moments after Thomas stoned Ryan Malone on a breakaway, Seguin rifled a shot under the crossbar to give the B’s a 4-2 lead. He would contribute assists on a pair of Michael Ryder goals in the period (one of which game on — gasp — the power play) to cap an impressive four-point second period.

With six points in two games this postseason, Seguin now has half the points of Patrice Bergeron, who entered the game leading the team with 12 points.

Milan Lucic has hardly been a force to be reckoned with this postseason, and after taking a Seguin shot off the right foot Monday and missing Tuesday’s skate, his impact on Game 2 was something many were keeping an eye on. Amidst all that, he came out like a man possessed. Lucic had four shots on goal in the first period, which had already made for his second-highest total of the postseason. Lucic played a big role in the team’s power play goal, screening Roloson alongside Horton, who tipped it in.

– As bad as the opening and closing seconds of it were, the Bruins absolutely dominated play in the first period. Though the Lightning got 11 shots on Tim Thomas, the puck possession swayed heavily in favor of the Bruins, whose nonstop possession in the offensive zone for two shifts without the puck leaving the zone caused Tampa coach Guy Boucher to call a timeout at 5:52 despite his team holding a 1-0 lead.

– The Bruins had two power-play goals in the entire postseason entering Tuesday night. They doubled that with a pair of tallies on the man advantage in Game 2. After Roloson stood on his head to deny the Bruins on an extended 5-on-3, Kaberle set up a Seidenberg one-timer that Horton deflected home with one second left on the 5-on-4. Then in the second period, Ryder collected a rebound off a Seguin shot and backhanded the puck past Roloson to make it 5-3. Perhaps just as important as the goals themselves was the fact that the power play looked good all game long. The Bruins got set up with relative ease, made clean passes and created one scoring chance after another.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins dominated the vast majority of the first period, but a pair of breakdowns at each end of the frame left them trailing at the intermission. The Lightning scored just 13 seconds into the game when Lecavalier sent a shot wide and Hall beat a pair of Bruins to the left doorstep and banged home the rebound. After getting outworked for the next 19-plus minutes, the Lightning struck again with just 6.5 seconds left in the period when St. Louis beat Johnny Boychuk to the front of the net and tipped in Stamkos’ centering pass.

– As explosive as they were offensively, there is still a bit of sloppiness they need to clean up. Boychuk nearly gave the Lightning a goal in the first period by banking an intended pass off Tomas Kaberle in front of the net. The Lightning’s second goal went off Boychuk’s skate, and he looked bad on Stamkos’ goal as well. Kaberle made things dangerous for Krejci with a buddy pass when breaking out of the Bruins’ zone. The Lightning also had a pair of breakaways, though Thomas stopped them both.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tyler Seguin,

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