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National reaction to Cup finale: Toronto Sun teases Bruins 06.25.13 at 1:21 pm ET
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Tuesday’s copy of the Toronto Sun was a thank you card to the Blackhawks. Maple Leafs fans got a chance to watch the Bruins collapse in the final minutes of a crucial playoff game just like their team did in the first round to Boston, and it was celebrated with a bolded “Thanks!” on the cover of the Sun. It was even signed “Love, Toronto” at the bottom.

“This time, the final 76 seconds ended the Boston Bruins season,” wrote Sun columnist Steve Simmons. “This time, the miracle ending went against them.”

National Post columnist Bruce Arthur — a Toronto resident — drew a similar comparison to the end of the Maple Leafs-Bruins series in his column. However, his was not so much of a celebration of the reversal of the situation like the Sun cover, but more of a sense of awe that that type of miraculous finish could happen twice in the same building.

“It was familiar, though, if you had been here before,” Arthur wrote. “Boston got here with two goals in the final 1:22, 31 seconds apart with their goalie pulled, to escape Game 7 against Toronto in the first round. They came within a bouncing puck of ending that game in regulation, too. This time, the other guys pulled the goalie, scored the goals, won the game on a puck that managed — on a hot and humid night where the ice was dripping and melting and becoming the pockmarked surface of a moon — not to bounce. How it happened again, in the same building, a sideways mirror image, is impossible to say, except to say it’s hockey.”

The comparison to the Bruins victory over Toronto was not limited to Canadian publications. Larry Brooks, a columnist for the New York Post, drew the same comparison.

“It was Emile Francis, the old Cat, who once observed that hockey is a slippery game for after all, it is played on ice,” Brooks wrote. “Never was the sport more slippery than it was last night for the Bruins, who six weeks earlier had pulled off the most remarkable escape trick in NHL playoff history by scoring twice within 31 seconds in the final 1:22 of regulation to tie the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the opening round before winning in OT.”

Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote his column on the joy of the Blackhawks final two goal-scorers, Brian Bickell and Dave Bolland. His piece described the scene on the ice after the game was done and the Blackhawks were celebrating.

“I see everyone in a Hawks uniform hugging each other in a big ball of wild celebration, and I see the vanquished Boston Bruins absolutely shocked out of their minds, heads down, shoulders sagged in defeat,” Morrissey wrote. “What had been a 2-1 lead fled the premises in the span of 17 seconds and gave way to a 3-2 Blackhawks victory. I can still hear the strange silence of a large stadium in shock and the faint whoops of Hawks players.”

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: Bruins have to ‘win one game twice’ 06.24.13 at 10:15 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Bruins’ mindset entering a Game 6 elimination game.

With potentially one game left in the season, Thornton said the Bruins are going to need a sense of urgency in order to keep the Blackhawks from raising the Stanley Cup in Boston.

“It is human nature,” Thornton said. “The survival instinct kind of kicks in. Whether you notice it or not while you are out there, I think you give a little bit more. That’s why they always say the last game is the toughest game to get. Let’s hope that is the case again tonight for us.”

The Bruins were in this situation in 2011, as they topped the Canucks, 5-2, in Boston before winning Game 7 on the road, 4-0. While Thornton said the B’s have confidence that they can stave off elimination thanks to that prior experience, that doesn’t help them win unless the sense of urgency shows itself.

“We know that we have done it before, so the experience helps give you that knowledge that it can be done,” Thornton said. “But at the end of the day, what we did before doesn’t really matter if we don’t bring it on the ice. We’ve got to go play a hockey game, like you said.

“We kind of approach it as you’ve got to win one game twice. So, tonight, just focus on winning tonight and once you get to a Game 7, if you get to a Game 7, it is a whole different ballgame. So we are focused on just winning tonight. Win one game.”

With the series on the line, Thornton said he expects Claude Julien’s pregame speech to be more of a motivational one. At the same time, Thornton said that extra motivation already will be there for the Bruins.

“I’m sure tonight it will be a little bit more than just the X’s and O’s,” Thornton said. “I don’t know yet. I don’t know if it will be a [Vince Lombardi] speech, but I think there will be a little bit of chatter. You shouldn’t have to do that at this stage of the playoffs, either, though. If you can’t motivate yourself to get up for a Game 6 elimination game in the Stanley Cup finals, I think you’re in the wrong business.”

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘forwards last night were awful with puck management’ 06.20.13 at 11:19 am ET
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The Bruins defense did not get enough support from the Boston forwards in Wednesday night's Game 4, leading to a Blackhawks victory in overtime. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The Blackhawks offense broke out with a six-goal performance in the game, which was more than the Bruins had allowed in their last four games combined. Pederson said that the Bruins defense struggled because the team’s forwards consistently turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

“Your defense creates your offense and it’s your forwards that create your team defense,” Pederson said. “Well the forwards last night were awful with puck management. Turnovers, of course that first goal with [Tyler] Seguin turning it over, but throughout the game Brad Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, they all struggled in areas where they had been very responsible at throughout the playoffs, not allowing outnumbered opportunities. You could also see that as that happened, the turnovers, the transition, Chicago’s speed started to jump in, they got some confidence, you saw [Duncan] Keith jumping in, [Brent] Seabrook, [Michal] Rozsival from the backside.”

Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were a combined minus-5 on the night, in part due to their inability to keep Chicago forwards away from the front of the net. However, Pederson noted that the B’s forwards did not give them much help in the defensive zone like they had throughout the rest of the playoffs.

“If you can allow Chara and Seidenberg that even-up opportunity with two-on-two, there is no way [Tuukka Rask is not able to see shots through screens],” Pederson said. “They were coming at them with three-on-twos and four-on-twos. When you’re Chara and Seidenberg, when you see that, normally you are taking away their space by attacking defensively at them. Now you see you have an outnumbered opportunity you’ve got to back in. As soon as you back in you give up the blue line, and when you give up the blue line now Chicago can go east-west and not just north-south, which causes problems. As you back off and you have speed, now that allows Chicago to get in front of Tuukka with that front-net presence. You can’t get inside position, you can’t box out because they’re coming at you in waves.

“But again, that all started with poor puck management in the neutral zone, getting caught defensively, you saw a couple of times when you saw the Bruins defense do what they were supposed to do which was pinch, but there were no forwards behind them backing them up like there was earlier on in the playoffs.”

However, Pederson pointed out that the silver lining for the Bruins in Game 4 was that they seemed to have figured out Corey Crawford. All five goals went to the glove side, which reminded Pederson of the goalie the Bruins beat last time they were in the Stanley Cup finals.

“To me, as that game wore on last night, he looked exactly like Roberto Luongo having trouble with that glove,” Pederson said. “You watch him when he goes into that stance and he is anticipating a shot, instead of having his glove to his side where it should be, he has it up by his head. When he goes down, his glove has to go from by his ear all the way down to by his pads, and right in that area is where they were scoring.

“He didn’t look comfortable. It was almost like he was sitting there — and I can remember my baseball days playing second base saying, ‘Don’t hit the ball to me.’ He didn’t want that puck on him. It must have been overtime when he was sitting — that one dump in by [David] Krejci on a snap shot from the blue line gave him all kinds of trouble.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Claude Julien: Tuukka Rask ‘kept us in there’ 06.16.13 at 12:34 am ET
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Tuukka Rask had all the angles covered while the rest of his teammates were back on their heels. (AP)

While the Blackhawks were threatening to blow open Game 2 and send the Stanley Cup final back to Boston with a 2-0 lead, it was Tuukka Rask who was the difference. The Hawks out-shot the Bruins 19-4 but had only a Patrick Sharp goal to show for it.

Claude Julien was quick to thank his goaltender after a 2-1 overtime win that has the Bruins flying back to Boston with the series tied, 1-1. Rask made 59 saves in a losing effort on Wednesday night before turning aside 33 shots on Saturday, including all four under the ultimate pressure of sudden death overtime.

“If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren’t there,” Julien said. “We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there. I thought the second, we started turning it around. Third, same thing. We got better as the game went on. Overtime, that was the best, had a lot of scoring chances there. Like I told our guys, we got to show up on time for these kind of games. It could have cost us tonight.

Was Julien concerned that eventually the Blackhawks pressure would wear down Rask?

“I think obviously our players responded to that,” Julien said. “I think we gave them four shots in the second, four shots in the third, maybe two or three in the overtime. I haven’t checked that out yet. We at least gave him a little bit of an opportunity to catch his breath again. That first period, like I said, was extremely hard for him. But thankfully our guys rewarded him with that effort by being a lot better in front of him for the rest of the game.

“Again, we got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, a better team, and by the end I thought we had more chances.”

Julien said the simple difference in the second period was his team moving their legs.

“We started playing,” Julien said. of the game’s turnaround. “I mean that in the right way. We were on our heels. We were second to the puck. We were just throwing pucks out of our own end. We weren’t making plays. We were standing still in our own end. A couple of point-blank shots. We were just not ready to play. After the first period, a bit of a chat, we got ourselves going. We got our feet moving at the start, then the rest followed, and eventually it just got better.”

It was Julien who mixed up the lines looking for added energy. It worked as Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin brought the energy the Bruins needed to overcome the early sluggishness.

“We didn’t have much going,” Julien said. “At one point I thought that line would give us something. They responded well. Got both goals tonight. It’s a hunch from a coach. I know that Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered.”
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