|Patrice Bergeron: ‘We haven’t done anything yet’||06.09.11 at 7:48 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins have returned to Vancouver having tied the Stanley Cup finals after dropping the series’ first two games and winning two at home. Though the 2-0 hole may have seemed insurmountable, the Bruins were able to overcome it for the second time this offseason. With the team still two wins away from their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972, center Patrice Bergeron said now is not the time for the B’s to feel accomplished.
“We’ve done it against Montreal, when were down 2-0 [in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals], so we knew we could do it, but with that being said, we haven’t done anything yet,” Bergeron said Thursday at Rogers Arena. “Yes, we came back, but we need to make sure we’re not stopping there.”
The Bruins and Canucks will play Game 5 Friday night at Rogers Arena.
|Claude Julien: ‘We’ve got to bring our game with us’||at 12:16 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Bruins have turned the 2011 Stanley Cup finals upside down. They have overcome two remarkably heartbreaking losses in Vancouver by not just beating the Canucks on their Garden home ice but running the Sedin twins and the rest of the Western Conference champs right out of the building.
The Bruins dominated in every way possible, outscoring the Canucks, 12-1, in the two wins to even the series and turn it into a best-of-3.
Now, the Bruins have to carry that momentum with them on their cross-continent flight and translate it enough on the Rogers Arena ice on Friday night to give them a chance to win the Cup on that same Garden ice on Monday night.
How do they do it?
“I think we’ve got to bring our game with us, simple as that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to bring our game. That has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way whether you’re at home or on the road.”
And that mean laying out the hits, doing everything possible to keep the aggressive Tim Thomas in his comfort zone between the pipes, and continuing an amazing run on the penalty kill.
In the two wins, the Bruins outhit the Canucks 67-58 and Thomas stopped a remarkable 78 of 79 shots on goal, primarily because he saw nearly every single one of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The Canucks will no doubt run more bodies at Thomas in front and the Bruins defenseman must continue to clear bodies away. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Thomas has isolated himself from the outside world||at 2:42 am ET|
All series long, Tim Thomas has ignored everything the Canucks have said about his style of play. After Game 2, he ignored critics who questioned how often he leaves his net. Interestingly enough, Thomas has also ignored fans and media who have lauded him throughout the playoffs.
When asked about his relationship with Boston and the love fans have for him, Thomas gave an interesting answer.
“I’ve been so focused on playing in the playoffs that I’m a little bit removed from what’s happening inside the city right now,” Thomas said.
That isn’t to say Thomas doesn’t care about Bruins fans or anything like that. He just doesn’t want anything interrupting his focus on the games.
“I felt that it was the best way to approach these playoffs and the Final,” Thomas said. “The best way to keep my feet on the ground is to kind of isolate myself. That’s what I’ve kind of done. I’ve stayed away from reading the media and watching the media and stuff like that.”
When asked if isolating himself like that has helped him get into a zone this series, Thomas said it certainly hasn’t hurt.
“I felt like that for a lot of this year, to be honest with you,” Thomas said. “I have felt good in the Final so far. I’m just going to keep doing the same thing that I’ve been doing to try to have the same success that I’ve had.”
Instead of soaking in the accolades and acclaim during what little free time he has, Thomas is soaking in the sun.
“Spend some time with my kids. Spend some time by the pool with this nice weather that we’ve had,” Thomas said. “That’s really about all we’ve had time for. It isn’t like we’ve had a ton of time at home.
“My little boy is trying to get me to play hockey. I’m like, ‘I’m a little bit too tired. Wait till this summer.’ ”
It’s safe to say Thomas’ son would be OK with the wait if dad can get two more wins.
After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.
And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.
Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.
“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”
Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.
“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”
What the Canucks lack in goals against Tim Thomas, they make up for with talk about him. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault and his players have had plenty to say about the Boston netminder all series. It started out in Vancouver when Vigneault questioned whether or not Thomas was entitled to ice outside his crease, and whether or not he should be allowed to have a clear path back to the crease. Vigneault said the refs were being too lenient by letting Thomas set up outside his crease, despite the fact that the NHL rulebook says a goalie is allowed to do that.
Then after Game 3, several Canucks players questioned whether or not Thomas’ check on Henrik Sedin was legal. The complaints about Thomas wandering from his crease continued as well.
So it should come as no surprise that the Canucks once again chimed in on what Thomas can and can’t do after Wednesday’s Game 4. This time the grievances were the result of a scrum late in the third. Alexandre Burrows slashed Thomas’ stick and leg while the Canucks were on the power play, so Thomas slashed him back. Burrows responded with a cross-check on Thomas and a scrum ensued.
Henrik Sedin, however, either didn’t see Burrows’ initial slash or he simply chose to ignore it, because he said after the game that he fully expects the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ antics next game.
“I’m sure the referees are going to take a look at that and look for it next game,” Sedin said. “It’s not the first time it happened and it’s not going to be the last time. I think the referees are looking at the same tape that we are.
“They’re going to do that for sure. They’re going to look at those tapes and they’re going to see what goes on with [Zdeno] Chara and Thomas in front, and they’re going to have to call those. It’s not going to continue.”
When asked to respond to everything the Canucks are saying about him, Thomas said he’s not worried about what they’re saying.
“I don’t think it was ever an issue to begin with,” Thomas said. “I think it was made an issue by the people that were talking about it. But in reality, it was never an issue.”
As for his slash of Burrows Wednesday night, Thomas offered a drastically different account than that of Sedin. Thomas said it was the Canucks who were doing the agitating all night and not getting called for it.
“They’d been getting the butt end of my stick, actually,” Thomas said. “They did it a couple times on the power play in the first period, also. … That was like the third time that [Burrows] hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I’d give him a little love tap and let him know, ‘I know what you’re doing, but I’m not going to let you do it forever.’ “
Horton was declared out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a severe concussion, the result of a blindside hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome Monday. He came in the room after Wednesday’s game to pass on the team’s 1980’s jacket, awarded to the game’s MVP. Horton still had the jacket in his stall because he had scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals and the team did not want to take it from him. On Wednesday, he came in to give the jacket to Rich Peverley, who scored two goals filling in for Horton on the first line.
“It was pretty emotional,” Peverley said. “Nathan came in, and he’s a big part of this team. Just to be able to see him and know that he’s healthy and safe, that’s very important to us.”
Julien did not tell the team that Horton was in the building, and it was a pleasant surprise for his teammates.
“I didn’t know,” linemate David Krejci said. “It was a good feeling when [Julien] said that Horty was here. It was good to see him smile, telling us he’s feeling OK, he’s feeling much better. It was good to see him.”
The pre-game festivities featured Bobby Orr waving Horton’s No. 18 flag, and as the Bruins built their lead, chants of “Nathan Horton” rang out from the crowd.
“He’s such a good team guy,” Shawn Thornton said of Horton. “He does everything for us and he has all year. Everybody on this team loves him. He makes everybody around him feel better about themselves. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more positive guy in the room. For him to come in, guys were pretty excited.”
|Tim Thomas shuts out Canucks, Bruins even series||06.08.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins evened the Stanley Cup finals up at two games apiece Wednesday night at TD Garden, chasing Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo on the way to a 4-0 win. Tim Thomas picked up his third shutout of the playoffs.
Rich Peverley, seeing time on the first line with Nathan Horton out for the remainder of the playoffs, had a two-goal night for the Bruins. His second of the night chased Luongo in the third period, making way for Marblehead native and former Boston College goalie Cory Schnieder. Peverley had entered the game with two goals the entire postseason.
As for Thomas, he has now allowed only five goals over his last five games, and one goal over the last two. He took a vicious hack at Alexandre Burrows after the Vancouver winger cross-checked him in the third period. Thomas took a slashing minor for the play.
The pre-game ceremonies were topped off by Bruins legend Bobby Orr waving a No. 18 flag in honor of Horton. With the B’s leading in the third period, chants of “Nathan Horton” filled the arena.
The B’s and Canucks will head to Vancouver for Friday’s Game 5. The teams will return to the Garden for Game 6 on Monday, the last Bruins’ home game of the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Claude Julien‘s decision to give both Peverley and Ryder time on the first line in place of Horton paid off. David Krejci gave a nice pass to Peverley in the neutral zone in the first period, and Peverley flew past Raffi Torres en route to beating Luongo on a breakaway. Even following the goal, Ryder continued to see time with Krejci and Milan Lucic. Lucic and Krejci picked up assists on Peverley’s third-period goal, which chased Luongo from the game.
– Marchand was clearly a man on a mission, and for the second straight game, he was able to cash in. No, his second-period goal wasn’t anywhere near as pretty as his shorthanded goal in Game 3, but he certainly displayed a high level of skill and fanciness in putting together sound rushes. He also displayed his signature feistiness, though he needed to be calmed down a couple of times after dives from Henrik Sedin.
– We wrote here after Game 3 that the Bruins did a good job exposing Luongo’s weak glove — three of Monday’s goals beat the netminder high to the glove side. Ryder continued that trend in Game 4 when he snapped off a fluttering shot that Luongo just waved at with the leather. Luongo might’ve been screened a bit by his own defenseman, but it was still a shot he should’ve had. It wasn’t a rocket and it wasn’t a snipe — it was actually only about two feet off the ice. Not every shot high-glove is going to go in, but the Bruins would be well-advised to keep shooting there until Luongo proves he can stop it.
– When it came to his normal role as a third-liner, Ryder got some help from an old friend in Tyler Seguin. The rookie turned in a characteristically timid play in the Canucks’ zone, stopping short of going in the corner and allowing the Canucks to break it out as a result, but made up for it later in the shift by feeding Ryder.
Seguin’s assist was his first point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins are going to need both Ryder and Seguin to turn in big performances going forward, and on Wednesday Seguin showed that the good can outweigh the growing pains.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– When Peverley scored with 8:01 left in the first, shots were 7-5 Vancouver. Whether the Bruins eased up a little after the goal or the Canucks just picked up their play, shots for the rest of the period were 5-1 in favor of Vancouver. The Canucks didn’t generate a ton of sustained pressure or long offensive-zone possessions, but they were able to get shots on rushes and force Thomas to make some quality saves. The shot deficit carried over into the second, as Vancouver registered eight of the period’s first nine shots. The Bruins pressured Vancouver’s defense plenty during the first eight minutes of the second — even controlled play at times — but they couldn’t translate it into shots.
-At 16:10 of the first period, Marchand was called for cross-checking Kevin Bieksa. At full speed, it was easy to see why the ref thought it was a penalty, but replay showed that it was a pretty soft call. Bieksa had lost an edge and was already falling to the ice when Marchand barely got his stick on Bieksa’s back. Luckily, it didn’t cost the Bruins thanks to another great penalty kill.
Bieksa later rewrote the book on embellishment when he grabbed his face following a check from Mark Recchi in the third period. He apparently sold it well enough, as Recchi was sent to the box for high-sticking despite not making contact with his face in any way. Yes, Recchi should have controlled his stick better, but that’s a tough break when you don’t commit the infraction.