|Tim Thomas stands on his head then tips cap to ‘coming of age’ goal by Tyler Seguin||04.22.12 at 8:13 pm ET|
There’s no one on the Bruins who has handled pressure over the last two years any better than Tim Thomas.
He did it again on Sunday and thanks to that – and an overtime goal from Tyler Seguin – the Bruins will play a Game 7 against the Capitals on Wednesday in Boston.
“Basically, believe that we can do it, that we’re going to come out on top. It only takes one shot and we’re heading back home for Game 7 to sum it up,” Thomas said after registering 36 saves in the 4-3 OT thriller at Verizon Center.
Thomas defines clutch in Boston sports right now. He is 9-2 in elimination games with a 2.01 goals against average. His last loss to end a season came in the double-overtime crusher of 2009 against the Hurricanes in the Eastern semifinals.
His latest clutch moment came in a 60-second span when he denied Marcus Johansson with his paddle, a la his classic save on Steve Downie in Game 7 of the Eastern finals against the Lightning last year, and then, less than a minute later, Thomas stoned Jay Beagle point blank.
“I pride myself on doing the best I can every night, and doing the best I can to help the team,” Thomas said Sunday. “Our backs are up against the wall so I was trying to help them out. Hopefully, I did, but they stepped up and helped themselves out, too. The whole team did.”
“You’ve got obviously Tyler Seguin, a coming-of-age goal there, an overtime goal. [David Krejci] getting his first goal of the series. [Milan Lucic], it may not have shown up on the scoreboard, but the fact he had that extra gear helped us out. [Rich Peverley] again. All of us were there today and that’s what it took to come out of here with a win, and even having said that, it was hard.”
As for overtime, Thomas needed only to turn away one shot, a 53-foot shot from Beagle just 2:23 into the extra period.
“I’m not really feeling pressure like that,” Thomas said. “Yeah, it crosses my mind but I do my best to block it out as soon as possible and get into that mindset that you get into while you play the game, which is very little talk in your head. So, having said that, in the quiet times you realize that one shot, and our season is over. By the time the puck’s dropped, you better make sure you get that out of your head and you’re ready to make the save. More than hoping not to get scored on, I think you have to be ready to make the save.”
|Healthy or not, here comes Patrice Bergeron||at 7:54 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Patrice Bergeron wasn’t 100 percent healthy on Sunday, and it was (we’ll go without the “painfully” pun) obvious.
The best faceoff man in the league during the regular season was unable to take draws on Sunday, and in his place, Rich Peverley handled faceoffs and most of the day at center while Bergeron played wing.
Bergeron was hurt in the third period of Game 5 on Saturday, as he left the game after three third-period shifts. The Bruins didn’t say what his injury was, and Bergeron didn’t prepare as if it would keep him out.
“Ah, no,” Bergeron said when asked whether he doubted he would be able to play on Sunday.
Added Bergeron: “I [knew] was playing yesterday.”
Though Bergeron was banged up and took two offensive zone penalties, he still came through with a big game for the B’s. He assisted on Peverley’s first-period goal and nearly ended the game in overtime before Tyler Seguin got the chance. Just 2:16 into overtime — 1:01 before Seguin’s goal — Bergeron redirected a shot that beat Braden Holtby but hit the crossbar.
Perhaps the defining moment of Bergeron’s game, though, came late in regulation. The Bruins iced the puck with 1:02 left in a 3-3 game. The faceoff was coming in the Bruins’ zone, and a Capitals goal — they had scored earlier in the period off a faceoff win — would have likely ended the series.
To Bergeron’s left? Brad Marchand. To his right? Brian Rolston. No Peverley, no other center out there to take the draw. Rather than trusting the most important faceoff of the season to a winger, Bergeron broke protocol and took the draw. He won.
“Well, I kind of had to right?” Bergeron said when asked if he made the call to take the faceoff. “It was on that side and Pevs was not on the ice.
Finally, he took credit.
“Yeah, I made the call,” he said.
Bergeron will have two days to rest up and get healthy for Game 7 Wednesday at the Garden.
|Seguin says seven: Bruins stay alive||at 6:22 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins found their way to Game 7.
After blowing three separate one-goal leads, the Bruins were redeemed by a Tyler Seguin goal 3:17 into overtime to give them a 4-3 win Sunday and force a Game 7 with the Capitals, which will be played Wednesday at TD Garden.
The game was tied at 2 late, and with the Bruins driving to the net, Andrew Ference banged home a rebound off a Seguin shot to give the Bruins the lead shortly after the team had killed off a Benoit Pouliot penalty. The Capitals then tied it with less than five minutes remaining when Alexander Ovechkin beat Tim Thomas following a Nicklas Backstrom faceoff win in the Boston zone. That set up Seguin’s OT heroics.
The Bruins had initially taken the lead in the first period on a goal from Rich Peverley. Mike Green tied it later in the period, and David Krejci scored his first goal of the postseason to give the B’s a 2-1 lead after one. Jason Chimera tied it late in the second period before Ference eventually broke the tie.
Thomas made 35 saves on 38 shots in regulation, while Braden Holtby made 28 regulation saves for Washington.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— The Bruins got a power-play goal for the second straight game when Krejci gave the B’s the 2-1 lead in the first period. With two goals on the man advantage this series, the 2011-12 Bruins scoff at last year’s 0-for-21 effort in seven games against the Canadiens. The Bruins finished the day 1-for-5.
— After a woefully quiet and frustrating first five games of the series, Krejci finally got one. Remember, he also went the entire first round last postseason against the Habs without a goal. That means Sunday’s second-period tally was Krejci’s first goal in the first round of the playoffs since April 26, 2010, against the Sabres, a span of 13 first-round games.
— After a poor showing in Game 5, Thomas was better for the B’s on Sunday. He came up especially big for the Bruins in the second period, when he made 14 saves in a period in which the B’s were outshot, 15-5. The best save of the day for Thomas came in the second period when he dove across his net to stop Marcus Johansson with the blade of his stick.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Greg Zanon has had a pretty rough go of it this postseason, and his bad fortune continued on Green’s first-period goal. With Gregory Campbell laying out to block a potential shot, Green waited until he had space before firing a shot from the left point at the bodies in front of the net. The puck went off Zanon and into the net, tying the game at 9:47 of the first period. The Zanon-Mike Mottau pairing did not play get another first-period shift following the play and got very few shifts afterward.
— Bergeron returned to the lineup, but he was clearly limited. He only took one faceoff in the game (which occurred in the final minute of regulation), instead deferring those duties to Rich Peverley. As far as Bergeron’s game went, he twice committed the no-no of an offensive-zone penalty. Bergeron went off at 10:01 of the first period for tripping Karl Alzner and returned to the box at 15:44 of the second for high-sticking Alexander Semin.
— The fourth line also was on the ice for Washington’s first goal. Perhaps because of Bergeron’s injury, Claude Julien played Jordan Caron in place of Shawn Thornton. A potential reason for the move may have been that because Bergeron was clearly limited, the team would need another top-six-caliber forward should he exit the game once again.
— The Capitals got the game-tying goal on an ugly play for the Bruins. By the looks of how he went down, it looked like Brad Marchand was elbowed by Chimera in the Capitals’ zone. While Chimera finished the play by scoring, the Bruins did not. Marchand went down to the ice, grabbing his head but getting no call. Replays showed that contact might not have been made, but Marchand did catch himself in the face with his stick when he spun.
— For the second straight game, Pouliot took an offensive-zone penalty in the third period of a tied game. Pouliot left his feet as he finished his check a little too late on Alzner at 8:50, resulting in a roughing call that gave the Caps a great opportunity. The B’s got through the two minutes safely, effectively killing off the penalty.
|Patrice Bergeron and Joe Corvo will take warmups||at 2:08 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien did not indicate Sunday whether center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Joe Corvo will be in the team’s lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals, but he did say the two will take the ice for warmups.
Both players left Saturday’s 4-3 loss due to injury, as Corvo was hurt blocking a shot in the second period and Bergeron left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.
Both Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau will also take warmups for the B’s, as will blueliner Andrew Bodnarchuk.
|Bruins shed light on do-or-die Game 6||at 1:42 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins will need to win Sunday against the Capitals to avoid elimination and force a Game 7 on Sunday. Prior to the game, players spoke of the desperation with which the team must play.
“Obviously it’s a desperate situation, but you go out and play your game,” forward Brian Rolston said. “You just have to say calm and just play hockey.”
Though Rolston was not on the Stanley Cup-winning 2010-11 team, the 39-year-old is among the veterans whose experience the team can rely on. The B’s went 1-2 in Game 6’s last year, winning their only must-win Game 6 when they beat the Canucks, 5-2, at TD Garden to stay alive in the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s been a tight series,” he said. “There’s been a lot of guys in our dressing room that have been through it and been in situations like this. It’s a matter of how we play our game and execute our game plan. That’s what we have to do tonight and we’ll be prepared for that.”
Fourth-line forward Daniel Paille, who scored for the B’s in their Game 3 victory, said Bruins must take the ice with an “everything-you-got attitude.”
“Right now we’re playing for the season, and there’s nothing better than for us to play with that kind of mentality. It’s unfortunate that we’re in this position right now, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.”
|Patrice Bergeron arrives early for Game 6||at 12:21 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins’ best forward will at the very least be at Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Patrice Bergeron, who left Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals in the third period, was spotted by multiple reporters as he entered the Verizon Center by himself before noon. He could be early to undergo treatment or to be examined by team doctors.
Bergeron, who led the NHL with a plus-36 rating in the regular season, took only three shifts in the third period Saturday. After the game, coach Claude Julien did not indicate how Bergeron suffered the injury or what the injury was, but Bergeron could have been hurt on a third-period hit he took from Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin.