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Brad Marchand hoping to see Patrice Bergeron play, preparing for end of the world 05.19.11 at 1:54 pm ET
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TAMPA — While there’s been no official word on whether Patrice Bergeron will be in Thursday’s lineup, but one player who would benefit from the concussed center’s return would be rookie winger Brad Marchand. Skating on a line centered by Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley in Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals, respectively, Marchand has had subpar showings (a minus-3 rating this series and just one shot on goal) and would like to turn it around.

“It’s always different when you play with different guys. We’ve had a different centerman the last two games,” Marchand said after Thursday’s morning skate. “It’s a little tougher getting used to chemistry and where the guys are on the ice.”

During the Montreal series, Marchand spoke about how inspiring his linemate in Mark Recchi was for him. Given that the rookie plays on a line with two assistant captains, Bergeron has had a similar influence. Marchand said Thursday he can recall the first time he realized how great a presence Bergeron is for him.

“It was a long time ago. I remember we had a training camp or development camp one time. It was right after his concussion, and he came out and I was battling with him in the corner,” Marchand said. “I just realized how strong he was on the puck, and how difficult it was to take the puck from him. From that point forward, I was like, ‘I want to be like that — play the same way, work on that and add that element to my game.’ I remember that very clearly, and from that point forward, I wanted to play more like him.”

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Kudos to Herald columnist/Sports Sunday host/old-time baseball aficionado Steve Buckley for bringing up the end of the world around Marchand. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, some nutbars are claiming that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Marchand was the perfect player to mention it to, as it caused a really funny couple of minutes with reporters and the rookie wise-guy.

“It’s been nice knowing you guys,” a surprised and disappointed Marchand said when told of the news.

Given that the Bruins are playing a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, the world could end (according to this theory) while the B’s are playing. Talk about getting off to a good start in the game — the B’s will at least want to be winning when the world ends.

“It would be a great way to kind of end the world on a high note and with a lead,” Marchand said. “Maybe get the win tonight, and we’ll be able to die happy people.”

And if they’re losing?

“If we fall behind, it won’t matter anyways,” he said. “I’d much rather die with a lead though.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron,
Lightning trying to ‘stop’ Tyler Seguin, Claude Julien wishes they’d stop ‘flattering’ Bruins at 1:31 pm ET
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TAMPA — Nobody — even the biggest “play Seguin at all costs” crybabies — could have expected what Tyler Seguin has done in the Eastern Conference finals.

Since making his playoff debut in Game 1 of the conference finals, Seguin has had six points (3 G, 3 A) and has gone from an injury replacement to a big problem for the Lightning in a matter of six periods.

“The first two games, it’s clear the players and everybody underestimated his speed,” Tampa coach Guy Boucher said of Seguin. “That’s the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and his team. Being a young guy and having success right away, it certainly takes a lot of the nervousness away, and for us we know he’s going to be on the ice and we have to be able to keep up with his speed.”

The praise from the Lightning wasn’t limited to Boucher, as one player who knows Seguin’s style better than most said the team needs to find a way to prevent the rookie from taking over another game like he did in Game 2 (2 G, 2 A). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin
Don’t expect more ‘pond hockey’ between Bruins and Lightning for Game 3 at 1:19 pm ET
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TAMPA — Steven Stamkos may only be 21 years old but he certainly can articulate like a crafty and well-versed veteran in the ways of winning playoff hockey.

He also proved Thursday morning in the hours before Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum that he was playing close attention to what his coach was preaching and teaching during film analysis of the Game 2 loss to the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.

After the game Tuesday, Guy Boucher spoke of how his team got into pond hockey and lost the race. He told his players in film study that he didn’t want that to happen again, even if it means giving up some scoring chances that came from desperate hockey in the third period.

“I don’t think for us there is a fine line,” Stamkos said. “I think that line doesn’t exist. We don’t want to play that run-and-gun pond hockey. That’s not our structure. That’s not how we’ve won games this year. At the end of the day, we had a lot of scoring chances, probably moreso that any other game we’ve played, maybe all year, but we didn’t win the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Martin St. Louis, Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic misses morning skate, but will play Game 3 vs. Lightning at 1:08 pm ET
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TAMPA — Bruins forward Milan Lucic was not on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate at St. Pete Times Forum, marking his second straight absence from a morning skate after getting hit on the right foot by a Tyler Seguin shot in Monday’s practice. Despite whatever discomfort Lucic may be feeling, coach Claude Julien confirmed after the skate that the team’s regular-season leader in goals will be in the lineup Thursday night vs. the Lightning.

“There’s no issues,” Julien said of Lucic. He’s going to be in tonight. “During the playoffs, there’s certain things you do, and you give guys time off for whatever reason. He’s going to be in there, and there won’t be any excuses to his game at all. … There’s very minor issues when it comes to that.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic
Claude Julien says Patrice Bergeron is ‘getting real close’ to returning to game action at 12:51 pm ET
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TAMPA — Bruins center Patrice Bergeron participated in the team’s morning skate Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum, doing drills and taking faceoffs as the B’s prepare for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning.

Coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron is “feeling pretty good” and is “getting real close,” but said that a decision on whether Bergeron is ready for game action will be made either Thursday or Friday.

“He’s still day-to-day,” Julien said. “Until I’m told that he’s cleared — he obviously had to skate this morning, and we had to see what’s going on — all of this is protocol stuff and everything else that goes with it. I don’t want to elaborate more.”

Julien said prior to Game 2 that if Bergeron skated in warmups, it would be an indication that he was playing. The coach offered the same message Thursday.

“If you see him out there in the warmup tonight, I’m not just sending him out there for a skate. He’s going to be playing.”

In 11 games this postseason, Bergeron has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
Lightning fans force Bruins to take down signs at TD Garden at 10:29 am ET
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Tampa Bay Lightning fans have taken offense to some of the signs that the Bruins marketing department put up at the TD Garden that poke fun at the Lightning and their fans. After receiving numerous calls from upset Lightning fans the team has removed the signs.

The signs removed say things such as, “Lightning fans, which Tampa player is your grandson?” and “The Loch Ness Monster. Big Foot. Lightning fans,” implying that Lightning fans are hard to find.

The Bruins say that the signs were just in good fun. “Nobody should take it personally,” said Bruins spokesperson Matt Chmura. “It’s just a fun-loving character that tries to embody Bruins fans and their spirit.”

The slogans were run by upper-level members of the organization first. “These things are vetted through our organization,” Chmura added.

The Bruins has had signs poking fun at opponents in the past, even in the prior series with the Philadelphia Flyers. One of the signs said, “Never, ever date a Flyers fan, even if she shaves her mustache.”

A Tampa Bay radio station host urged listeners to call the Bruins marketing department and express their displeasure with the signs. “We moved in like Seal Team 6 and shut them down in a way that other teams they attacked have never been able to do,” said Tampa Bay radio host Mike Calta.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
Bruins-Lightning Game 3 preview at 2:10 am ET
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TAMPA – The Bruins can pick up their third straight road win and first series lead of the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 3 win Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum. The B’s might have momentum on their side, as they took a high-scoring contest Tuesday in defeating Tampa, 6-5. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Thursday’s game:

Michael Ryder had two goals Tuesday. (AP)

Three things the Bruins need to do:

- Keep Ryding the hot duo: Whether or not Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup, any shakeup should not include a separation of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. The two have totaled five goals thus far in the series, and their chemistry is evident. The Lightning will try to be more physical to knock the rookie off his game, but Seguin simply needs to show that these games have given him more confidence. Expect him to stay with Ryder and Chris Kelly in Game 3.

- Extend the power play success: Who said this team stunk on the man advantage? Two goals in Game 2 (one of which came with one second remaining after the team failed to score on a 5-on-3) matched their postseason production on the power play entering the night, and there are certainly encouraging nights. Tomas Kaberle played better on the man advantage Tuesday, while Seguin was finally given the opportunity to contribute on special teams and did.

- Tighten it up: As much as Bruins fans can get on board with watching Tim Thomas come up big on multiple breakaway bids, the B’s would just rather they not happen at all. The Bruins could have had a much better defensive effort on Tuesday, and correcting it will lower the number of quality opportunities for the Lightning.

Three crazy stats:

- By scoring three goals on Dwayne Roloson Tuesday, the Bruins bumped the Lightning netminder out of the top spot in postseason goals against average and save percentage. The leader in both those categories now? Carey Price, who posted a 2.11 GAA and .934 in the first round against the B’s.

- The Bruins are 0-2 in games this postseason in which Nathan Horton fails to register a shot on goal. They’re 9-2 when he has at least one. Horton leads the B’s with 13 points, and his 34 shots on goal are second to Bergeron among forwards.

- Only two Bruins players have a minus-3 rating over the last three games. Those two players would be Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. Think they’d like to get Bergeron back?

Three key players:

- Patrice Bergeron: As fun as the Seguin Show was to watch on Tuesday, the Bruins aren’t kidding themselves here. They need Bergeron back, and after taking contact he could return to the lineup for one of the games in Tampa. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

- Dwayne Roloson: The Tampa goaltender was not as bad as the numbers were on Tuesday, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to being chased for the first time this postseason.

- Johnny Boychuk: The 27-year-old has goals in two of his last three games, but he was positively wretched in Game 2. Boychuk’s sloppiness resulted in a minus-3 rating that would have been worse had the puck he accidentally banked off the skate of Kaberle in front of the net gone in. He ended up playing only 16:06, his lowest time on ice total this postseason.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Dwayne Roloson, Johnny Boychuk
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