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Bruins need at least three points to catch Flyers/Penguins 04.08.11 at 10:23 pm ET
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Thomas Vanek scored 1:16 into overtime to give the Sabres a 4-3 victory over the Flyers Friday. The Bruins probably wish he did it about 1:17 earlier.

With the Flyers picking up one point in the game, they improved to 104 on the season after 81 games. With one game remaining, they control their destiny as far as the No. 2 seed goes, though only a tie-breaker separates the Penguins (shootout win Friday, 104 total points) from snagging the Atlantic Division . A Flyers’ win over the Islanders Saturday means the second seed is all theirs. A loss or a tie, and the Bruins could still be in the picture. This, of course, is assuming the B’s can take care of business against the Senators.

With one game remaining for the Flyers and two left for the Bruins it all comes down to this: If the Bruins can finish the season with as many or more points than the Flyers and Penguins, they’ll be in via the tie-breaker (regulation and overtime wins). To spell it out even more, here are the scenarios:

FLYERS GET NO. 2 SEED IF:

– Flyers beat Islanders Saturday.

– Flyers lose in overtime/shootout Saturday AND Bruins lose or both remaining games.

– Flyers lose in overtime/shootout Saturday AND Bruins win one game and lose the other in overtime/shootout in the other.

PENGUINS GET NO. 2 SEED IF:

– Islanders beat Flyers in regulation or shootout/overtime Saturday AND Penguins beat Thrashers Sunday.

– Islanders beat Flyers in regulation Saturday AND Thrashers beat Penguins in overtime/shootout AND Bruins win one game and lose the other in overtime/shootout.

– Islanders beat Flyers in regulation Saturday AND Thrashers beat Penguins in overtime/shootout AND Bruins don’t win both both remaining games.

BRUINS GET NO. 2 SEED IF:

– Islanders beat Flyers in regulation or overtime Saturday AND Penguins lose in regulation or overtime AND Bruins beat Senators Saturday and Devils Sunday.

– Islanders beat Flyers in regulation Saturday AND Penguins lose in regulation AND Bruins win one game and lose the other in overtime/shootout.

———–

Montreal and Buffalo each have 94 points through 81 games. Since Montreal has 40 regulation and overtime wins (ROW) to Buffalo’s 37, the Habs currently hold the sixth seed while the Sabres are in seventh.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
Welcome back, Michael Ryder. The Bruins might be able to use you in the playoffs 04.02.11 at 8:37 pm ET
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By his own admission, the last three weeks haven’t exactly been a joyride for Michael Ryder.

He is a player talented enough to serve the same capacity as Miroslav Satan did in last year’s playoffs. He is a veteran sniper who has playoff experience finishing his chances.

But, in the second half of this season, it’s been a different story. His penalty shot score to win Saturday’s game against Atlanta and clinch the Northeast title for the Bruins was his 18th goal but first since Feb. 27, a span of 12 games.

“Yeah, I’€™ve struggled to find goals lately,” Ryder said. “Last game goal post, then [Saturday] crossbar. Just got to try and stay with it. If I keep just working hard and shooting the puck, it’€™ll go in for me.”

In that stretch, he has been benched twice by coach Claude Julien, once last Saturday against the Rangers and once on March 10 against the Islanders.

“You want to be in the lineup, nobody wants to be out,” Ryder said. “It’€™s frustrating and I’€™ve been there before, so I kind of know what it takes to get back in. It’€™s just working hard and finding your game, and not letting the little things get to you. Just make sure when you get back in that you take advantage of the chances that you get.”

Sometimes you get a break and Ryder made his own break with just under eight minutes left when he forced a neutral zone turnover by the Thrashers and broke in alone. He was hooked from behind by Johnny Oduya and was awarded a penalty shot.

I was just trying to skate and get away from the guy behind me. I don’€™t really know what happened. Just fell down and they called a penalty shot. I was just trying to catch my breath, that’€™s it.

Thursday night, during the shootout, Ryder went up top and missed the net during Boston’s loss. This time, he made sure to get it on net. And when he went up top on Ondrej Pavelec, above his right shoulder, the crowd exploded. Ryder had finally snapped his goalless streak at 12 games.

“I was just excited to get the goal,” Ryder said. “I was tired on the penalty shot, so I didn’€™t know what I was going to do. Like I said, that was a big win for us. I knew if we got the lead and I scored there, it would get the team going and hopefully we could pull out the win. Last game I missed the net, [Saturday] I hit it. It was a big goal for us, we wanted to make sure we got the win, and I think we’€™ve played better games but as long as we get the two points that doesn’€™t mean anything.”

By benching him twice and putting him on the third and fourth lines, Julien wanted to give him time to think about what it will take to rediscover that touch in time for a Stanley Cup run in two weeks.

“I think it’€™s just a matter of it was nice to see him score that goal,” Julien said. “Obviously it turned out to be a big goal for us, but these are steps in the right direction. I think, you know, when he starts feeling confident about doing those things and doing them without over-thinking, he’€™s going to be a good player again.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Michael Ryder
How far do Vezina winners take their teams in the playoffs? 03.31.11 at 12:03 am ET
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Everyone knows that goaltending plays a major role in the postseason. It isn’€™t always about who has the best goalie, but who has the hotter goalie.

This season, the Bruins have the best goalie, as Tim Thomas seems to have all but sewn up the Vezina. So, if Thomas is awarded the trophy this summer in Las Vegas, will he receive it having recently won the Stanley Cup? We take a look at how far goaltenders’ teams have gone in the playoffs in their Vezina-winning seasons.

First, here are some quick numbers on Thomas if he is to win the Vezina this year:

– He will become the first Bruins goaltender to win it since some guy named Tim Thomas way back in 2008-09.

– He will become the fifth goalie to win multiple Vezinas since the adoption of its current criteria in 1982 (it had previously been awarded to the goalie who played the majority of the games for whichever team allowed allowed the fewest goals). He would join an elite class of all-time greats, as Dominik Hasek (six), Martin Brodeur (four), Patrick Roy (three) and Ed Belfour (two) have also won the trophy multiple times since then.

– Since 1982, only Thomas and Pete Peeters (1983) have won the Vezina while playing for the Bruins.

– Thomas would become the third Bruins goaltender to win multiple Vezinas, joining Tiny Thompson (four) and Frank Brimsek (two). He would join Thompson as the only Boston goaltenders to win two Vezinas over the span of three seasons. Thompson won it in 1936 and 1938, and also won in 1930 and 1933.

Now here’€™s a look at how the teams of goalies that won the Vezina recently fared in the playoffs that season:

2010: Ryan Miller ‘€“ Sabres eliminated in first round
2009: Tim Thomas ‘€“ Bruins eliminated in second round
2008: Martin Brodeur ‘€“ Devils eliminated in first round
2007: Martin Brodeur ‘€“ Devils eliminated in second round
2006: Miikka Kiprusoff ‘€“ Flames eliminated in first round
2005: Season cancelled due to lockout
2004: Martin Brodeur ‘€“ Devils eliminated in first round
2003: Martin Brodeur ‘€“ Devils won Stanley Cup
2002: Jose Theodore ‘€“ Canadiens eliminated in second round
2001: Dominik Hasek ‘€“ Sabres eliminated in second round
2000: Olaf Kolzig ‘€“ Capitals eliminated in first round

Note that only Brodeur in 2003 even led his team past the second round. Since 1988, only two teams with Vezina winners have won the Cup that season. The Bruins are trying to prove they can make it to the Eastern Conference finals after knocking on the door, the past two seasons, so judging by these numbers, they might have to hope that history doesn’€™t repeat itself.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Tiny Thompson
Mark Recchi intends to retire if Bruins win Stanley Cup this season 03.29.11 at 11:28 pm ET
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Bruins forward Mark Recchi, who passed Paul Coffey for 12th all time in regular season points Tuesday, said after the game that he intends to retire if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season.

“If we win a championship, I’€™m gone,” Recchi said.

Recchi has won the Stanley Cup twice in his career, hoisting the coveted trophy as a member of the Penguins and Hurricanes. He said that he likes the idea of winning it with an Original Six team, and that if the Bruins don’t win this season, he could consider coming back.

“We’€™ll see,” Recchi said. “We’€™ll see if I can recover. Obviously take three weeks, a month, see if my body and my head is ready to get back in the grind physically doing the stuff I need to do to get ready for next year.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mark Recchi,
Bruins playoff tickets to go on sale Wednesday, March 30 03.25.11 at 3:48 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Friday that tickets for the Bruins’ first three home playoff games will go on sale Wednesday at 11 a.m. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets either at the TD Garden box office, online at bostonbruins.com, or by calling Ticketmaster.

Tickets for games that don’t end up being played due to the conclusion of a round will be refunded in full.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
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