|Carey Price on the money playing ‘rope-a-dope’ with the Bruins||04.14.11 at 11:59 pm ET|
Before Thursday night’s 2-0 win over the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern quarterfinals, the last time Carey Price skated off the Garden ice it was to chants of “Carey, Carey!” as he let five goals go past him in 44 minutes of a 7-0 Bruins blowout on March 24.
Those chants came up again Thursday in the second period but they were more like a desperate plea from frustrated Bruins fans who couldn’t believe their forwards couldn’t put more pressure on Price.
So as it turns out, that blowout loss of at TD Garden pretty much had zero effect on Thursday.
“It is different in the playoffs,” Price said. “Things that happen in the regular season don’t necessarily happen in the playoffs because it costs a lot more. Teams are playing differently. We expected that type of game out of them and they definitely played physical but our guys didn’t back down.”
Backing down is exactly what everyone thought the Canadiens did in that March 24 embarrassment in Boston. Everyone expected the Canadiens to come out fired up in the first game since Max Pacioretty was hit by Zdeno Chara on March 8 at the Bell Centre, winding up with a concussion after smashing into the mid-ice turnbuckle.
Thanks mainly to Price and the blocked shots by his defense – backing down is exactly what the Canadiens didn’t do Thursday night. Even when they were being out-shot, 18-6, in the second period, the Canadiens and Price wouldn’t give in. How did they survive? By taking a page out of Muhammad Ali‘s book from the 1970s.
“I thought that we were sitting back a little bit in the second period,” Price said. “I thought our guys did a really good job of rope-a-doping it a little bit. They [Bruins] are a good hockey team and when they grab the momentum like that they definitely ran with it. Our guys just rallied, blocked shots, and kept it simple. We were fortunate to keep the puck out of the net.
“Our guys played excellent tonight. That’s it, our guys played great defense and we played a pretty perfect road game. If we were to write down on paper how we wanted to start the series that would be it right there.”
Now Price and company have stolen home ice in the very first game of the series.
“We came in here with a plan,” Price said. ” To come out with a good start to this game and a good start to the series. We did that exactly.”
On paper, it would appear the Bruins dominated Thursday night’s Game 1 but just happened to run into a hot goaltending performance from Carey Price. After all, they outshot the Canadiens, 31-20, on the night, including 18-6 in the second period.
What the stat sheet doesn’t show, though, is how many of the Bruins’ shots came with no traffic in front, allowing Price to easily get in position and make the save.
“I don’t think we did a very good job of taking away his vision,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He saw a lot of shots tonight and he saw a lot of pucks. We definitely have to get better in that area if we plan on scoring some goals.”
Of course, screening Price and getting traffic to the net is all about being willing to battle in the dirty areas. You have to be able to take a beating and win the fight for position. The Bruins didn’t appear willing to do that Thursday night, even when they had the chance to.
“I think for the most part, we were there and had those opportunities to be in front of the net,” Brad Marchand said. “We were just standing off to the side a bit, looking for tips. The opportunity is there to get in front of his eyes. We just have to do that.”
Julien agreed with his forward that his team simply didn’t work hard enough to get to those areas.
“It’s pretty obvious, I think. There’s no secret here,” Julien said. “If you’re going to score goals on that goaltender, you need to take away his vision, and we didn’t do a good enough job of that. We were all around the net, but we weren’t in front.”
Those problems carried over to the power play, too. The Bruins struggled to get set up on the man advantage early in the game, but they did a better job of possessing the puck and creating some chances as the game went on.
But as was the case at even strength, Price was able to track pretty much every shot. In several instances, the Bruins delayed shooting the puck in the hopes that someone would get to the net for a screen, deflection or rebound, but it rarely came. When they did pull the trigger, Price was able to easily cover or his defensemen were able to easily clear away the rebound.
“Again, same old, same old,” Julien said. “We had some great shots, but we didn’t do a very good job in front of the net with the screens, with the loose pucks, and weren’t able to capitalize.”
The Bruins were happy with a lot of other aspects of their game Thursday night — Marchand even said they “have to play the exact same way” in Saturday’s Game 2 — but they know they’ll need to make things tougher for Price and not rely on him making mistakes if they’re going to win the series.
“He’s a good goalie, yes, but we’ve got to make sure we have traffic in front of him,” Patrice Bergeron said. “He’s going to make those stops if he sees it, and that’s all.”
|David Krejci on P.K. Subban: ‘I don’t like him’||at 10:46 pm ET|
The Bruins had plenty of reason to be frustrated with their inability to put one past Carey Price in their 2-0 loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, but David Krejci‘s frustration extended past the score board.
With the Bruins trailing the Habs, 1-0, in the first period, Krejci was tangled up with Habs rookie defenseman P.K. Subban. Subban turned on the jets, seemingly knowing Krejci’s stick would obstruct him just enough for the officials to take notice, and drew a questionable hooking call that left the crowd booing and Krejci hoping for a better call. Krejci was even more upset when the refs didn’t treat second-period play similarly when he went crashing into the boards on the power play.
“I barely touched him,” Krejci said of his hooking call on Subban. “Then we had a power play in the second period, and they did the same thing to me. I almost killed myself by the boards there behind the net, and the ref didn’t see it, I guess. I know people make mistakes, but come on, the puck’s there, so there’s two referees. If he calls that penalty on me, he’s got to call [the other one] too. Obviously it sucks, but I can’t bring it back.”
As for Subban, who has proven on multiple occasions that he’ll do whatever he can to draw a penalty, Krejci didn’t hide his thoughts.
“I don’t like him,” Krejci said. “I’m not going to say what I think about him, but I don’t like him. I think he didn’t have to go down that easily, but it was a call. I don’t think it was a bad call or a good call, it was just a made call, but if you make a call that’s fine with me, but he’s got to make the same call on the other side when that happened to me. That’s what I’m kind of mad about.”
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Canadiens took a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday, defeating the Bruins, 2-0, at TD Garden.
Scott Gomez hit Brian Gionta in front of Tim Thomas following a first-period Tomas Kaberle turnover, with the Habs’ captain cashing in at 2:44 for the game’s first goal. Gionta beat Thomas again on a slapshot with 3:18 remaining in the third.
The Bruins would pick up the pace in the second and third periods, but ultimately were doomed by a combination of solid play from Montreal goaltender Carey Price and a tendency for the B’s to shoot it right into the chest of Price, limiting their second-chance opportunities.
On the night Price stopped all 31 shots he saw en route to the shutout. Tim Thomas made 18 saves on the night.
The two teams will square off Saturday for Game 2. From there, they will play Monday and Thursday in Montreal before returning to Boston, if necessary.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Kaberle had a rough night for the Bruins. His turnover in the first period led to Gomez’ pass to set up Gionta’s goal, and he also took a first-period hooking penalty in the first. Furthermore, in order for anyone to buy his fake shots, he’ll have to actually shoot the puck more often. Defensively, he was suspect, and he isn’t bringing enough to the power play/offense to make up for it.
- The top line was ineffective for the majority of the night. The Milan Lucic - David Krejci – Nathan Horton trio totaled just one shot (from Horton) through the first two periods. Though they improved in the third, one period isn’t enough. Lucic has been big for the Bruins in the playoffs before, and Horton’s skill set suggests he can make an impact in the playoffs. They can’t just assume it will happen.
- Special teams are always crucial in the playoffs, and Thursday night, the Bruins just couldn’t get it done on the power play. It would have been one thing if they created a ton of chances and Price stood on his head, but that wasn’t the case.
The B’s struggled all night to set up on the man advantage and looked hesitant to shoot the few times they did. Brad Marchand had a breakaway chance on the first power play of the night and some good puck movement near the end of Boston’s third power play led to a few quality chances on the first shift after the penalty expired, but for the most part, the B’s did not make good use of their time on the man advantage.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- After a first period in which the Bruins looked a bit tentative, they stepped up and took control of the game in the second. The B’s outshot Montreal 18-6 in middle frame and had a number of strong offensive zone possessions result in scoring chances. Unfortunately for Boston, Price was always in perfect position to make the save. At the other end of the ice, the Canadiens rarely mustered any sort of attack on the Boston net. The Bruins did pretty much everything you could ask for in the second… except put the puck in the net.
- Thomas and the Bruins dodged a real bullet in the second period. With Thomas way out of his net with the B’s on the power play, Tomas Plekanec had an open net to work with but rushed en route to missing the net.
- Zdeno Chara got five shots through to Price, but B’s fans seemed to take just as much joy in seeing the captain’s slap shots hobble Habs players. Both Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen were slowed after blocking shots from Chara. The B’s captain took a roughing penalty with 2:42 remaining in the third.
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Chach and a cast of characters as the Bruins take on the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden. The blog will open at 6:30 p.m.
|Finally, Gregory Campbell gets a taste of NHL Playoffs||at 1:54 pm ET|
The anticipation for the playoffs has been great enough for the Bruins, but “anticipation” might not even be say it all when it comes to Gregory Campbell.
The Bruins’ fourth-line center/unsung hero has been dependable for the B’s since being acquired in the Nathan Horton deal last June, and now he will finally be rewarded with his first playoff appearance since being drafted as a second-round pick in 2002. Six seasons in Florida yielded no opportunities to chase the Stanley Cup, so it’s safe to say Campbell is happy to be where he is.
“When you first start out in the league, it’s just a pleasure to be here and play in the league, but as you go further on into your career, I feel like winning becomes more important, and there’s a lesser chance of that,” Campbell said Thursday. “I’m fortunate enough to be here in Boston and have this chance to play in the postseason.”
Campbell tied a career-high with 13 goals this season and was a rock for the Bruins over 80 games this season. He hopes to extend that success into the playoffs, and he doesn’t seem to mind all of the heightened expectations.
“Playing hockey is fun enough, but when the games really matter is in the playoffs, and that’s what I’m looking forward to most, is playing games that actually matter,” he said. “Already you can tell, it’s just a different feeling. It’s been a while since I’ve had this, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Campbell and Horton got head-starts on their playoff beards. The wait for the playoffs has been long enough for those two, as neither one has seen the postseason since their junior hockey days.
“It’s been six, seven, eight years since we’ve been able to grow one,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I’ve been champing at the bit. The last time I grew one, I was 19.”
For that reason, Campbell can actually identify with rookie Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old’s playoff beard isn’t nearly as noticeable as some of his teammates’, but Campbell knows what it’s like.
“I give him credit for trying,” he said with a smile.
|Claude Julien: ‘Things haven’t changed’ for Marc Savard||at 1:09 pm ET|
The 2010-11 regular season was a successful one for the Bruins, but as they begin the playoffs Thursday, a reminder was offered for how it wasn’t so great for every player.
Center Marc Savard remains at home in Peterborough, Ontario, as he attempts to recover from post-concussion syndrome for the second consecutive season. Savard played in just 25 games this season before a routine hit from Matt Hunwick left him in such bad shape that the team had to shut him down for the remainder of the season and playoffs. He reportedly has experienced memory loss, among other symptoms. While the B’s are focused on the Canadiens, they haven’t forgotten about their star center.
“I’ve kept in contact with Savvy every week or so. We communicate, and things haven’t changed in his case, and it’s unfortunate for him,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “I’m sure he’s going to be sitting at home and watching these games and wishing he could be part of it because as a player that part of you will never leave.
“This is the most exciting time of the year, and I know he loved the times that he was in the playoffs. He was obviously a pretty important part of the success of our hockey club, so will we miss his play? Absolutely. You don’t lose an elite player like him and not feel it.”
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