|Claude Julien: ‘There’s no doubt we’re hungry’||06.10.13 at 5:02 pm ET|
The Bruins have reached the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in three years. And being back so soon hasn’t diminished the thirst to drink from the Cup, some Claude Julien pointed out Monday after another practice at TD Garden.
“I would think so,” Julien responded when asked if the desire to win it all still burns. “There’s no reason why it wouldn’t. Anybody that makes it this far know how hard it is. There’s no doubt we’re hungry.”
That doesn’t mean Julien won’t press a few buttons, something he did mid-practice Monday when he brought all of his troops together for a high-spirited discussion.
Beyond that, Julien and his staff are busy right now trying to impart the right information on the Blackhawks to his troops without bordering on information overload.
“That part of it hasn’t changed for us. Even if we haven’t played them we’ve taken the same approach as far as giving information,” Julien said. “Same thing, even if you’ve played them you don’t want to give them information overload. Like I said, we do all the research as coaches and we have all that stuff for ourselves, so if we need it we can share it with the players. We give them the basics and you give them the things that you really have to be careful with.
“That way you don’t kind of handcuff your players not to play their games because they’re overthinking. It really is all about your team and how well you want to play, and whatever they do extremely well you try to adjust to that. Not anymore than that, even though we haven’t played them it’s really about us having confidence in our game and trying to minimize their strengths like we’ve done with every other team so far.”
Most importantly, Julien made it clear that despite the speed the Hawks possess through the neutral zone in players like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, the Bruins have to stick to their game plan and have a strong forecheck in the offensive zone.
“Our forecheck has to be our forecheck,” Julien said. “It’s got to be efficient in order to minimize that. And that means putting pucks in the right places. If you don’t, they’ll have some easy breakouts. They excel at that area. They have a lot of D’s back there that can carry the puck and skate well, so there’s no doubt that that’s going to be a key. Some of our success will be how good we are in those areas.”
Friday was quite the night for Adam McQuaid.
He fulfilled Milan Lucic‘s prophecy of scoring a goal, a tally that sent the Bruins onto their second Stanley Cup finals appearance in three seasons. He savored the moment, talked to friends who texted him congratulations and got his rest.
Now, all of that is in the distant past.
‘That night was pretty fun but turn the page and [get] focused for the next round here,” McQuaid said Monday as the Bruins began to prep for the Blackhawks on the ice. ‘I had a few more messages than normal. It was nice. Just turn the page now and get re-focused.”
The Bruins skated on Sunday but Monday had more a regular feel as the Bruins staff had a day to break down film and get their team ready.
‘Yeah, we need to make sure that we’re ready to go,” McQuaid said. “We’re facing a real tough challenge. We have to make sure we’re focused and at our best here.”
McQuaid and the Bruins defensive corps will have their hands full with the likes of Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Jonthan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus. McQuaid was watching all of them Saturday night when the Hawks won Game 5 in double-overtime on a Kane hat trick.
‘They’re a well-balanced team,” McQuaid said. “They come hard with a lot of talent. And again, they’re another team that can generate offense and is strong on the puck. It’s going to be a good challenge.’
Both the Bruins and Blackhawks came perilously close to not making this date in the finals. The Bruins had their epic comeback from 4-1 down in the last 11 minutes of Game 7 against Toronto in the opening round. The Hawks were down 3-1 to the Red Wings before winning three straight in the second round.
‘To get that point and to be able to come through it, maybe we were able to relax a little bit and go out and play the way we’re capable of playing, where at times before, maybe we weren’t,” McQuaid said of being down in Game 7. “Maybe we were a little too worried about the result instead of going out and playing our game and giving ourselves the best chance.
‘I think you see for our teams to get this point usually they go through something like that. Chicago came back from that 3-1 [deficit] against Detroit. I guess we’ve learned nothing is over until it’s over. So, something to learn from, I guess.’
This is not the first trip to the finals for McQuaid, who of course was part of the 2011 Bruins team. He said that might help at first but then, it will come down to execution on the ice.
‘Having been there before, everything won’t be totally new,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s a new year. We have to be sure we’re approaching it the right way, that we’re not thinking that just because we’ve been there before that we’re going to have the same result if we just go out and play. We have to make sure we’re approaching this as a new situation, a new year and being ready to go.’
|Patrick Kane hat trick sends Hawks into Stanley Cup finals against Bruins||06.09.13 at 12:08 am ET|
Patrick Kane scored his hat trick goal with 8:20 left in double-overtime to give the Hawks a 4-3 win over the Kings Saturday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, sending the Hawks to the Stanley Cup finals and a match up with the Bruins beginning Wednesday night in Chicago.
The meeting of the Bruins and Blackhawks gives the NHL its first “Original Six” final since 1979, when the Canadiens defeated the Rangers, 4-1.
Game 1 is Wednesday in Chicago, followed by Game 2 Saturday, June 15 in Chicago. The series will then shift to Boston for Games 3 and 4 back in Boston on June 17 and 19. Game 5 will be June 22 in Chicago, followed by Game 6 in Boston on June 24. Game 7 would be back in Chicago on June 26. All games will start at 8 p.m. ET.
The Hawks appeared on their way to an easy night when Duncan Keith and Kane scored in the opening six minutes. Keith’s goal came on a slap shot from the left point when Jonathan Quick didn’t seal the five-hole and the puck slipped between his pads. Kane scored when Quick came out of his net to play the puck but fell down and Kane circled until he had an open net.
But the Kings began to build momentum when Dwight King scored shorthanded in the second period.
Los Angeles got their first equalizer of the night when Bryan Bickell took an ill-advised boarding penalty. Anze Kopitar made Bickell and the Hawks pay with a power play goal 3:34 into the third. The goal was set up by a perfect pass from Jeff Carter from the high slot.
Another former Philadelphia Flyer – Mike Richards – would figure in much higher drama later in the game. After the Hawks got the second goal of the game from Kane with 3:52 left in regulation, Chicago appeared destined for the Stanley Cup finals.
But Bickell iced the puck with 15 seconds left, giving the Kings one more chance in the Chicago end with their goalie pulled. The Kings won the draw and Kopitar fired a shot from the boards that was redirected by Richards’ lower body and past Corey Crawford with 10 seconds left in regulation, forcing overtime.
|Sidney Crosby: ‘I thought we deserved better’||06.06.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
And in the mind of the superstar, that’s a starting point for trying to get back in an Eastern Conference final series they trail 3-0 heading into Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.
“Unfortunately, we’re kind of comparing Game 2, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance, so we can’t get that one back,” Crosby said. “We gave that one to them so-to-speak. We did a lot better job tonight, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. We do a lot of these same things, and I think we all trust and believe we can get this back to Pittsburgh.
“I think we responded pretty well. Unfortunately, that Game 2 nobody really liked the way that turned out, and what happened there. I thought we responded well and did everything we could have besides get that last one.”
Crosby had three of Pittsburgh’s 54 shots on the night and was a plus-1 for the night. He best scoring chance might have been a shot when he wasn’t even facing the net.
Late in the first period, and with the Penguins down, 1-0, Crosby was spun around in front of Tuukka Rask and flipped a backhander on goal. The shot rang off the post as Rask was caught slightly out of position.
“I didn’t’ really know where the net was, but I heard it hit the post,” Crosby said. “Obviously it was kind of a scrambled play but it would have been nice for it to go in.”
Evgeni Malkin had 10 shots on goal but he and Crosby are still scoreless in the series through three games.
“I think if we play the same way we’re going to get our chances,” Crosby said. “I thought we generated more scoring chances than them, and I thought we deserved better.
“I think the whole game we felt really comfortable with our play. I think we felt like it was just a matter of time before we were going to get it. Unfortunately they didn’t, and hung around, and got the one at the end.”
Gregory Campbell is officially done for the playoffs.
Just 12 hours after Campbell blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin during a Bruins penalty kill, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Campbell will miss the remainder of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs due to a broken right fibula.
The injury occurred during the second period of Game 3 as the Bruins were killing off a penalty for too many men on the ice when Campbell went to the ice to get in the way of a Malkin shot. Campbell blocked the shot and stayed on the ice for 30 seconds until he could get off at the next whistle. He immediately went down the tunnel with assistance and did not return.
Campbell skated in all 15 playoff games this year with seven points on three goals and four assists, including one game-winning goal. The 29-year-old has appeared in 569 regular season games and recorded 54 goals and 89 assists with 526 penalty minutes. In 47 playoff games (all with Boston), he has tallied four goals and nine assists.
It was not the result the Penguins desperately needed, but after losing their third straight to the Bruins to fall into an 0-3 hole, coach Dan Bylsma sees hope.
“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Bylsma said. “It was a very good response from our team. We did a lot of things to get opportunities to win the hockey game. We have to bounce back from a goal very early on in the game, and I thought we did that very well and stuck with it, got the goal to tie the game and really was a hard-fought game all over the ice. Again, we did everything but get the game-winning goal there.”
Asked if he and the team sensed frustration that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have yet to register a single point in the series, Bylsma went a step further than predicting they would come out of it. Bylsma made a prediction about Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.
“I don’t give goal-scoring tips to too many guys, but again, that’s the way we need to play. That’s the way we can play, and we pushed it and we pushed it hard, and we had opportunities. Those guys had great opportunities, five on five, Evgeni had a mini breakaway there, we had good chances on the power play, they all had good looks and we just have to keep playing that way, and that’s what we’re going to do. We know the situation being down 0-3 but we’re going to come back for Game 5 and we’re going to play exactly that same way and get a win in Game 4.”
Bylsma was reminded that his team led the East with 72 points in the regular season and is one game away from getting swept out by a No. 4 seeded team.
“We’re competing in the conference final for a chance to win and go to the Stanley Cup, and that’s where we’re going to be,” he said. “We’re down 3-0, we have lost the first three games, and we’re going to battle and lay it out there, and we threw it at them tonight and didn’t get the win, but we are going to — it’s a race to four, and they’re not there yet, and we’re going to come back in here, regroup and go after Game 4.”
|Tuukka Rask: ‘It was definitely a grind’||at 2:53 am ET|
Of all the great performances Tuukka Rask has had in these 2013 playoffs, Wednesday night was certainly the most grueling.
He stopped 53 shots in 95 minutes and 19 seconds, allowing only a Chris Kunitz goal in the second period as the Bruins prevailed, 2-1, in double-overtime in Game 3 of the Eastern finals at TD Garden.
“Yeah, it was definitely a grind,” Rask said. “Both teams played pretty good. That second period was the worst one for us, but we battled and going into double overtime it’s anybody’s game.
“It’s five periods. So I imagine everybody gets tired. It’s more of a mental challenge I think. I wasn’t cramping up today or anything. So that was positive.”
Is he wiped out?
“Yeah, a little bit. I mean, it’s I don’t know 12:30 or something, five periods of hockey. Not the freshest feeling, but I think the win makes it a little easier,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think you feel that physical fatigue-ness at that point. It’s just trying to keep your head, and not thinking that you’re tired. It’s just a nice little challenge ‘ you know if you think you’re tired you’re tired, and if you don’t you don’t.”
Tired or not, the numbers don’t lie. Rask is putting up even better stats to this point of the playoffs than Tim Thomas – the Conn Smythe winner – did in 2011 on the way to the Cup.
Thomas was 11-4 through 15 games with a goals against of 2.28. He had two shutouts, facing 521 shots with a save percentage of .931. Rask is also 11-4 through 15 games, with a 1.85 goals against, one shutout, facing 501 shots and a .940 save percentage.
“I feel good. I mean, I don’t feel any better than I’ve felt throughout the playoffs,” Rask said. “I think our team is helping me out a lot. Although obviously you let in two goals in three games you’re making some good saves too. But we’re blocking shots and taking care of those rebounds pretty well. So they’re helping my job a lot.”
Rask made several big saves and was helped out by a pair of posts, including a shot by Sidney Crosby in the first period. But the biggest save may have come from Gregory Campbell, who blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in the second period during a Penguins power play.
“I saw it, yeah. A guy had a lane and he sacrificed his body,” Rask said. “It was a great thing, just bad thing he got hurt. He blocks a lot of shots, he took one for the team there, and we really wanted to win this for him.”
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