|Claude Julien frustrated with his ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Bruins||05.13.13 at 12:14 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he didn’t want to say he was frustrated after a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs that forced a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden.
But after watching how his team handled or more accurately – in his eyes – mishandled the puck Sunday night, he’d seen enough.
“Before the game we talked about it, and after the first period, I didn’t think our puck management was very good,” Julien said. “That means being strong on the puck and making the right plays, shooting versus over-passing. I didn’t think it was very good.”
Asked about the inconsistent play of his team, he didn’t mince words.
“As I said to our players after the game, we’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde hockey club all year, and that’s what you’re seeing right now,” Julien said. “I think it’s important for us to bring the good Bruins team to the table for Game 7.”
Julien was asked about his team’s inability to put away teams when they have the chance.
“No doubt, I’d like to have it any other way but at this stage of the year, frustration on my part isn’t going to help my club turn it over,” Julien said.
What Julien wouldn’t do is throw one particular player or line under the bus.
“I have no comments on my lines,” Julien said tersely. “I’m not talking about certain lines. I’m talking about our whole team as a Jekyll and Hyde hockey club. You see when we play well how good we can be. Tonight, poor puck management never gave us a chance to win. It’s as simple as that.”
|Plane ‘malfunction’ forces Bruins to fly back to Boston on Monday||05.12.13 at 11:57 pm ET|
Things simply went from bad to worse after a Game 6 loss that forced the Bruins to a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston Monday night.
Not only will the tired Bruins be playing three games in four nights, they will be forced to fly on the morning of their most important game of the season due to trouble with their charter plane Sunday night in Toronto.
The Bruins issued the following statement from general manager Peter Chiarelli.
“Late during [Sunday's] game we were made aware that there was a malfunction with our airplane. As a result we are staying in Toronto on Sunday night and the team will travel to Boston on Monday morning.”
The Bruins will not have a morning skate but instead have select players available to the media at 4:30 p.m. with coach Claude Julien speaking to reporters about an hour later.
Face-off is set for 7 p.m. Monday night at TD Garden, as the Bruins try to avoid the indignity of blowing 3-1 series lead, three years after losing a 3-0 advantage to the Flyers.
This much the Bruins know for sure – they need a more complete effort from everyone if they are to close out the Maple Leafs in Game 6 tonight at Air Canada Centre.
“I thought our first period, if we would play the same way we played from the midpoint of the game, we would be in much better shape I think, so we’ve got to make sure we play the same way like we did towards the end,” captain Zdeno Chara said after Friday’s 2-1 loss in Game 5.
In the third period, the Bruins finally showed the urgency they had been lacking the whole game. It was in the third period that Chara provided the only offense of the night with a shot from the mid-slot that beat James Reimer.
“The aggressiveness, we had a lot of jump,” Chara said. “We needed that one goal, which we got, and we were obviously working for the second one, but we’ve got to put it behind us and get ready for the next game.
“It’s the playoffs. You can’t be sitting on your wins or your losses. You’ve got to move on.”
Does Chara think the pressure will still be on Toronto in Game 6 tonight?
“I don’t know. I don’t know how to answer that question,” Chara said.
He and the Bruins will find out soon enough.
|Patrice Bergeron on Game 5 loss: ‘We’re not looking into the past’||05.11.13 at 12:20 am ET|
The Bruins spoke nearly consistently over the 48 hours before Game 5 about coming out with energy because they knew they would have to match the urgency of the Leafs.
Yet, they couldn’t do it.
They were outworked and outmuscled for most of the first 40 minutes before a last period push fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs Friday night at TD Garden.
“Yeah, we’re expecting them to come out hard,” Patrice Bergeron said. “They did and we didn’t match it. Yeah, it is disappointing, but at the same time it’s a series so we got to think about the next game now and make sure we’re ready.
“We didn’t come out the way that we should have come out in order to win the game, in order to get some momentum and we knew they were going to come out hard and we didn’t match it and we were kind of scrambling after that. But, I thought we got to play like we did in the third and now look forward to Game 6, but it’s going to be a tough one so we need to make sure we’re ready for a big game.”
The next game will be Sunday night and somehow the Bruins will have to find a way to win all three games in Toronto if they are to avoid a Game 7 winner-take-all Monday night back at TD Garden.
The Bruins did show signs of life in the third, and the hope is that will carry over to Sunday night. But right now, it’s only hope.
“That’s the way we had to play in order to get the result,” Bergeron said of the Bruins’ third period, in which they scored the only goal and outshot Toronto, 19-4.
“They’re a good team, and we thought that the third period was much better and the chances were there to show for them,” Bergeron said. “I thought we didn’t get the start we wanted obviously, and they have some good forwards, so you got to make sure you do the job with the puck, in the critical situation of the bluelines, and some breakdowns in our zone that we got to be better also. So, like you said, it is a game of mistakes, but we got to make sure we avoid them as much as possible.”
As far as thinking about the what-if of losing Game 6, Bergeron said the Bruins can’t afford to think about past failures in close-out situations. They are now 4-7 in their last 10 such games.
“Well, obviously we’re not looking in the past,” Bergeron said. “We’re thinking about this year and tonight it wasn’t the start that we needed in order to do close that game and that series. So, now we have to look ahead at Game 6.”
|Andrew Ference on his turnover: ‘It sucks to mishandle the puck’||05.10.13 at 11:02 pm ET|
In a game when your offense isn’t finishing, every mistake is magnified. And in a playoff game, that magnification can become enormous.
Andrew Ference knows this only too well.
The Bruins defenseman mishandled a puck at the right point in the Bruins offensive end while on the power player and it led to Tyler Bozak scoring just the second shorthanded goal of the season for Toronto. Tyler Bozak won a footrace with Ference, who tried desperately to get back but couldn’t as Bozak broke a scoreless tie and the Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 win in Game 5 Friday night at TD Garden.
“Well, it sucks,” Ference said. “It sucks to mishandle a puck, but it’s not a bad decision or anything like that. It just happens, so it’s fine. It’s happened to all of us and you deal with it.”
Now the Bruins must hit the road for Game 6 in Toronto Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.
“I can’t really recall anything ever being easy for any team,” Ference said. “Like I said, wins are difficult to get this time of year and they have to be earned. Like I said, if you don’t match a team at the beginning of a game like that, you spot them a couple of goals, it’s a tough win this time of year.”
Ference was playing with Johnny Boychuk on defense the entire game while Matt Bartkowski replaced the injured Wade Redden on defense.
“It’s tough to miss anybody, but there’s always people to come in and play well and fill a role that they need to fill,” Ference said. “Every team has to deal with that. There’s guys that go down for every single team, so there’s no feeling sorry for yourself or wishing you had a guy. You just deal with it.”
Did the Bruins miss Redden’s offense on D?
“Well, of course, but he wasn’t able to play so you don’t get into the ‘we wish this.’ It’s not the way it is,” Ference said.
A few little scrapes aren’t about to get in the way of a hockey player’s appointed Stanley Cup rounds.
Just ask Milan Lucic (right eye) and Chris Kelly (right cheek), both of whom took nasty shots in Game 4 and both of whom have the bruises and stitches to show for it. Both will be ready to go in Game 5 against Toronto.
“I’ve been icing it the last few days, but I probably have the worst eyesight on the team and I’m squinting all the time [normally], so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Lucic joked. “I feel good. I’m looking forward to tonight. Obviously I’ve got a little bit of a shiner on my right eye, but looking forward to tonight and there’s a lot on the line for both teams. After last game, we expect them to come out hard and bring their best because we know what they’re playing for and we need to come out with the same approach as the Leafs are.”
As for Kelly, he was injured when he took a high stick to the face from Toronto’s Nazem Kadri in the opening minute of the third period Wednesday. He received what he called “nine or 10 stitches” and returned.
“Just a little swollen, just a cut, it’s fine,” Kelly said Friday morning. “It was bleeding and the refs knew it was bleeding, so there’s no need for me to lay on the ice; skate off and get it done quickly.”
At least Lucic and Kelly are playing. The same can’t be said for Toronto defenseman Mark Fraser. He had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone in the forehead after being hit with a puck shot by Lucic in the third period.
“He’s back home resting comfortably,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said Friday. “It is tough when you lose players, and lose players to that type of injury.”
|Inside the playoff mind of Tuukka Rask: ‘You try to stay cool and not let the nerves get you’||05.09.13 at 7:18 pm ET|
When Tuukka Rask stuck out his glove and saved Game 4 by robbing Joffrey Lupul midway through overtime Wednesday night, he showed almost no reaction.
As he told everyone Thursday, that’s just who he is – a focused goalie making save after save with little or no emotion when it’s playoff time.
“I don’t know, nothing,” Rask said when asked what his emotions were in overtime. “You just try to stay focused on that that next shot I think. That’s about it. I’ve told you before, I don’t know how to talk about my feelings here.”
Is it enjoyable for him?
“I don’t think it’s fun,” he said. “Really, you try to stay cool and not let the nerves get you. You just try to stay cool and relaxed and do the things you normally do in practice and games and not get shaky.
“I think it’s human that you get a little nervous and try to battle through it and tell yourself to stay calm and stop the puck. But I think it’s both.”
Rask says he’s not motivated by getting snubbed for the Vezina Trophy by NHL general managers.
“I don’t know,” Rask said when asked if he felt snubbed. “People might say that. It doesn’t really matter to me. We made the playoffs, we’re battling for the Stanley Cup now. I think that’s our goal. These individual trophies come if they come and you can’t really do anything about it.
“I think we just have to play our game as we have in the past few games here and not be thinking about closing the series more than playing our game as good as we can, and I think the results will come.”
Does Rask work at being cool under pressure, or does it come naturally?
“I think it’s both,” Rask said. “You know the other team is going to throw everything at you because it’s do-or-die for them. So, you kind of have to take the same mentality. If you slip even a little bit, you give the other team life then they’re going to take advantage of that. I think that’s the challenge we’re facing, too. We have to approach the game like it’s a do-or-die game for us.”
Battling the Maple Leafs has been a lot of work for Rask so far. He’s faced 157 shots in four games, allowing 10 goals. He has a .932 save percentage, right at his regular season average. Read the rest of this entry »
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