|Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul: ‘That hockey game will haunt me until the day I die’||05.14.13 at 1:27 pm ET|
While Boston is celebrating the Bruins’ historic comeback in Monday night’s Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, the feeling in Toronto is, understandably, one of misery.
Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul tweeted his feelings early Tuesday afternoon.
That hockey game will haunt me until the day I die…
— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) May 14, 2013
The Toronto Sun greeted its readers with a harsh take on the Leafs’ third-period collapse, using the headline “The choke’s on us.”
In one breath, [coach Randy] Carlyle felt about his team the way so many Leafs fans felt about this team. He was proud of them. He saw the progress that was made. He saw how close they were — how they had it, really. And then he watched it taken from them, not stolen, more like mugged by the physical Bruins in the final two minutes of regulation time, with the Bruins’ goalie on the bench.
In another Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, Allan Maki compared the Leafs’ collapse to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, among others:
What happened to the Leafs on Monday night was madness heaped on chaos doused in disbelief. For the Bruins, it was a historical first, the biggest third-period comeback by a team in the third period of a Game 7 in NHL history. For the Leafs, it was like being Bill Buckner as the ball bounced between their legs.
Up by three goals, the Bruins shy of bodies on defence, their hometown fans clearly restless, Toronto had it in the palm of its gloves — the game, the series, who could say how much more? And then Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic scored before Patrice Bergeron netted the tying goal followed by the winner in OT. Just like that 5-4. A miracle comeback, an epic failing.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Who can handle’ a determined Milan Lucic?||05.14.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
NESN Bruins commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Bruins’ historic comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.
Brickley admitted he started questioning his faith in the Bruins when they fell behind by three goals in the third period before rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory.
“My believability was challenged that they could come back once we got close to that 10-minute mark,” Brickley said. “But I will go back to the beginning of the third period. When we were trying to set the stage, we talked about — I think Jack [Edwards] used the phrase ‘final 20 minutes of someone’s season.’ I wasn’t convinced of that. I thought that game would go to overtime. But when it did get 4-1, yeah, I certainly had my doubts. It was creeping in.
“No surprise, though, when you look back at that third period, that a guy like Milan Lucic would spearhead that charge. It’s in his DNA, it’s in his makeup. When he’s that determined, that committed and refuses to lose that attitude, who can handle him?”
When the Bruins started to exert their will late in the third period, the Maple Leafs showed their inexperience.
“Absolutely unchartered water for these guys, and that certainly worked in the Bruins’ favor,” Brickley said. “The minute you start to put a little pressure on a team that’s trying to protect a three-goal lead, and really, because they haven’t been in that closeout situation in the NHL playoffs – you can be in those positions during the regular season, with a three-goal lead or a two-goal lead in the third period, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it is in the postseason. Especially when you’re playing a team that supposedly, and in all probability, is a superior team to you.
“The minute [Nathan] Horton scores on that great rush up the ice by Lucic, the power move around the net and the nice pass out front, now that doubt seems to creep in. You start sneaking peeks at the clock, you start to watch the clock a little bit. You have the believability in your goaltender, even though he played really well in Game 5 and Game 6, can he handle the onslaught that you know is coming here in the final surge by Boston. And because they don’t have that experience on their resume, you knew that there was a lot of doubt, or at least some level of doubt for the Leafs.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Milan Lucic ‘took that team on his back’||05.14.13 at 11:36 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, hours after the B’s completed an incredible comeback with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 at TD Garden.
Pederson passed around the praise, beginning with Milan Lucic.
“Lucic took that team on his back going down the stretch with his physical presence, intimidation and going to the front of the net,” Pederson said. “I thought he really turned things around.
“But it got scary there that first shift of the hockey game when [Dennis] Seidenberg goes down 37 seconds into the game. All of a sudden no Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference and no [Wade] Redden. And boy, [Matt] Bartkowski stepped it up, then the other young guys on the right side, [Johnny] Boychuk, [Adam] McQuaid and [Dougie] Hamilton, brought their game up. And it’s not easy with Toronto’s speed.
“Then you’ve got to talk about the captain [Zdeno Chara], with 35 minutes of ice time that he had to log. He’ll be one tired guy. Then you’ve got to give [Tuukka] Rask a lot of credit, too. Here’s a kid that [when] it was 4-1, he didn’t quit. He made some big saves down the stretch — that breakaway on [Matt] Frattin and then on [Joffrey] Lupul in overtime. It was a total team effort.”
While the Bruins came up big in the third period and overtime, the Maple Leafs are looking back at a stunning collapse.
“The other part of the story, of course, is as they’re coming on, a young Toronto team, who had never been through this war before and never experienced it, totally collapsed in the sense that they quit making plays, they’re back on their heels. they’re getting the puck and instead of going tape to tape and trying to create some offense, they’re just banging it off the boards,” Pederson said. “For [James] Reimer, who played so well for them in Game 5 and 6 to get them there, he just had no chance with so many bodies around him. He wasn’t controlling his rebounds and then the Bruins were just pouncing.”
While the Bruins have faced criticism for their inconsistency, Pederson said it’s been a league-wide problem during the lockout-shortened season. That said, Pederson noted that the B’s turnover problems need to be remedied in a hurry if they’re going to advance any further.
“One of the hallmarks of Claude Julien‘s teams and one of the things that I’ve enjoyed watching was the defensive responsibility and the way they protect the puck and the way they don’t beat themselves with turnovers,” Pederson said. “But boy, down the stretch of the regular season and at various times throughout these playoffs, that was not what we saw from this team. This was a team that was self-destructing by turnovers, not getting the puck deep, not protecting the puck. So for the Bruins to get to that next level and get away from that Jekyll and Hyde, as Claude calls it, they’re going to have to protect the puck better and be mentally tougher. Because again, the competition gets that much more difficult against the New York Rangers.”
|Leafs’ Phil Kessel: ‘You can’t blow a lead like that’||05.14.13 at 3:26 am ET|
In the immediate moments after the worst Game 7 collapse in Stanley Cup playoff history, Phil Kessel, a man of few words to begin with, need few words to describe his emotions.
“It’s pretty tough,” Kessel said. “Obviously, we were up 4-1 with 10 minutes left or something. You can’t blow a lead like that.”
What did coach Randy Carlyle tell the Leafs in the intermission before overtime after his team self-destructed?
“Obviously, he just said if we put ourselves in this position, we take it,” Kessel said. “Obviously it’s disappointing. I don’t know what happened to us. 4-1, you can’t lose that game.”
How will the Leafs possibly bounce back from this next season?
“Obviously we’ll have the summer to think about it, work hard and get back at it next year,” Kessel said. “It’s pretty tough — 4-1, you can’t lose.”
Kessel kept repeating 4-1 over and over. Did the Leafs fall into a shell and take their foot off the gas?
“I don’t know. I don’t think so, they kind of took it to us and we sat back,” Kessel said. “We can’t do that. I think, we didn’t do things we needed to do right? We sat back and they came at us.
“I don’t know. I can’t look at the positive after a game like that, it’s pretty tough.”
|Milan Lucic: ‘Screw it, you just have to leave it all out there’||05.14.13 at 3:10 am ET|
How desperate were the Bruins in the last 11 minutes of the third period of Game 7, down three goals?
“I just said, ‘Screw it, you just have to leave it all out there and anything can happen.’ And that’s what happened,” Milan Lucic said after the greatest Game 7 comeback in Stanley Cup playoff history Monday night.
“That’s all it took, especially when you’re down. You do whatever you can to give yourself a chance, and we were finally able to have a clean break out into a rush, which we haven’t had in three games until [Nathan Horton's] goal. And then it seemed like we started to play more reckless and taking pucks to the net and everything like that.
“That’s where I talk about, ‘Screw it, leave everything on the line and everything hopefully will take care of itself.’ ”
Lucic said Patrice Bergeron helped lift a weight off the shoulders of his team by lifting a weight off his own shoulders, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals in the 5-4 Miracle on Causeway.
“Definitely, it’s a weight lifted off the shoulder and it creates momentum, and hopefully that’s the case this year as well. You need guys to step up at key times,” Lucic said. “Things aren’t always going to go smoothly for you, just like things didn’t go smoothly at all for Bergy, Marchy [Brad Marchand] and Segs [Tyler Seguin]. But all said and done, it doesn’t matter. They were still able to step up and get a goal when it mattered the most. Hopefully, they can gain some momentum off that and the team can gain momentum off the win.
“Hopefully, it builds momentum. Two years ago, it definitely built a lot of momentum for our team. We have a lot to look forward to. We know it gets tougher as each round goes on.”
Another great aspect of the win is that it gives Boston and New York fans one more chance to go face-to-face in the playoffs. It was the Red Sox-Yankees in 1999, 2003 and ’04. It was the Patriots and Jets in 2006 and 2010. The Knicks just dispatched the Celtics in six games. And now, it’s Bruins-Rangers in the 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals.
“Here we go, Boston-New York, Red Sox-Yankees, Giants-Patriots, Knicks-Celtics this year and now we have Bruins-Rangers. Two cities there’s a lot hatred between in sports. I think from a fans perspective, and a players’ perspective, there’s a lot to look forward to,” Lucic said.
|Bruins open against Rangers on Thursday at TD Garden||05.13.13 at 11:59 pm ET|
Fresh from their miraculous Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs, the Bruins will open the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Rangers on Thursday night, the NHL announced Monday night. The Bruins, as the No. 4 seed, have home-ice advantage for the series against the Rangers, who finished as the No. 6 seed and eliminated the Capitals, 5-0, in Game 7 Monday night in Washington.
The Bruins will play Game 1 at TD Garden at 7:30, and that will be followed up by Game 2 on Sunday at 3 p.m., also at TD Garden.
The series will shift to Madison Square Garden for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will be next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. followed by Game 4 Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m.
Game 5, if necessary will be back in Boston on Saturday, May 25. Game 6 would be Monday, May 27, at MSG and Game 7 would be back in Boston on Wednesday, May 29.
|Claude Julien: ‘We make it tough on ourselves’||05.13.13 at 11:51 pm ET|
Claude Julien spoke for Bruins fans everywhere and certainly those in his own organization when he was asked what it was like to survive the most miraculous Game 7 comeback in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday night.
“They certainly keep you in check,” Julien said. “I’m a tired coach, I’ll you that much, trying to find a way to get these guys to give us what we want out of them. We make it tough on ourselves. We’re being honest here, not being able to close it in Game 5. We’ve had trouble, we’ve always had trouble with the killer instinct.”
Down 4-1 and the their season all but over, the Bruins managed to score three times, including twice with an extra attacker in the final 1:22 of regulation to force overtime in Game 7. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying and game-winning goals as the Bruins prevailed, 5-4, in Game 7 and now get to face the Rangers starting Thursday at TD Garden.
“That’s maybe a fault of ours but the strength of ours is the character that you saw tonight,” Julien said. “There’s that fault and that character and somewhere along the way you try to fix the faults and keep the character going. That’s the biggest challenge for me.”
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