|Milan Lucic: Penguins are ‘almost like the Miami Heat of the NHL’||05.26.13 at 1:02 am ET|
Now the road gets a lot tougher.
The Bruins enter the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins as decided underdogs. The Bruins might have the better goalie in Tuukka Rask and may have won the Cup more recently (2011) than the Penguins (2009). But the Penguins have their version of the Big Three in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla, reminding one player on the Bruins of a powerhouse in the NBA.
“Well, no doubt they’re a great hockey club,” Milan Lucic said after Saturday’s series-clinching 3-1 win over the Rangers at TD Garden. “In my mind, they’re almost like the Miami Heat of the NHL with all the star power they’ve got. Probably the two best players in the world and a 40-goal scorer and the former 50-goal scorer, a future Hall of Famer and a Norris Trophy candidate on their team.
“So, they definitely have a lot of weapons, and in saying all that, I think what makes them successful is they play real well as a team and I think that’s what you’re going to probably see going into this next series, is two well-rounded teams going at it, and for us we’ve got to be ready and excited for the challenge.”
“It was big for us,” Lucic said. “I think the mindset in this room was that we didn’t want to be denied and we knew that he was going to be the best player on their team, and he was in this series for them and he kept a couple of games closer. He stopped me four good times here tonight, but he’s a great goaltender for a reason and he played well and like I said we did whatever we could to try to get to him and we were able to do that.”
What will be the key to beating the Penguins?
“We just got to play a strong team game and play to our strengths,” Lucic said. “We’re a team that plays in-your-face-type of hockey and I think what worked for us this series was we were able to establish our forecheck, and we’ve got to keep doing that, and they’re a team that you don’t want to turn the puck over against because they have more than enough weapons to make you pay for it. So, puck management is going to be huge for us, and in saying all that, I think tonight and tomorrow we need to enjoy what we accomplished so far in the playoffs.”
“I’m not going to talk about the Penguins tonight, we just finished against the Rangers. I’ll stick to that, if you don’t mind,” Julien said.
John Tortorella has no such problems giving his opinion about Boston’s chances.
“I think Boston has a really good chance,” Tortorella said. “I think Claude and that staff has done a heck of a job with their club. I can’t believe some of the people, how they second-guess him, just being in the city for a few days, and the type of job he’s done here. That’s a good team. They’re very well-coached, and they’re seasoned. They’ve been through it before, and I give them a lot of credit, as far as what they’ve done with their club. They’re a good hockey team.”
|Bruins notes from Friday: Up-tempo practice as Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden pick it up||05.24.13 at 5:43 pm ET|
The Bruins took to the TD Garden ice for a 30-minute up-tempo, intense practice after coach Claude Julien and players admitted that their effort was there on Thursday night but not their execution.
Friday was an effort, even after a tough overtime loss, to pick up the intensity level for Saturday afternoon’s 5:30 start against the Rangers, with yet another chance to close out the series in Game 5.
“It was just a good flow, good practice,” David Krejci said. “Hard and short. We don’t know what’s going to happen [Saturday] morning but it’s kind of an odd time for the game, 5:30. We’re just taking it day-by-day and we felt that, and the coaches felt the same way, that we needed to go out there for a short, hard practice. And we did that. Now, we’re just going to focus on [Saturday].”
Krejci wasn’t overly critical of his teammates and their well-documented mistakes in Game 4 that caused them to blow a 2-0 lead and lose the game in overtime.
“It was an OK game,” he said. “There were chances on both sides but the game is behind us now. They won in OT. [Saturday] is a new game and we’re going to do everything we can to get over it.”
All Bruins were accounted for except defenseman Andrew Ference, out with a lower body injury. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Wade Redden (unspecified) skated together as a D-pair Friday and have been skating all week with the team. There’s a sense that Seidenberg could return on Saturday in place of Dougie Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski. Seidenberg hasn’t played since injuring himself on the second shift of Game 7 against Toronto on May 13.
“I felt comfortable out there today,” Seidenberg said. “But again it’s a decision where I have to talk to them first. We’ll see. They’re going to ask me a couple of a questions and go from there.
Seidenberg said he is itching to get back on the ice.
“Really bad,” Seidenberg said of his desire to return. “No one likes watching hockey games, especially around this time of year, so hopefully I get back in there soon, and hopefully can help.”
Seidenberg watched from upstairs Thursday night as the Bruins failed to close out Game 4.
“We know we played a good game,” Seidenberg said. “A couple of hiccups there but for the most part, we put a lot of pucks on the nets, had quite a few chances, especially on the power play so we know we could’ve won it. We just have to stick in the moment and try to win the next one.
“Every game we want to finish with the win, especially being up 3-1, it would be nice to finish it off but again, we have to play a good game first because they have the momentum now.”
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez gave us the “Butt Fumble” against the Patriots last Thanksgiving. Tuukka Rask gave us the “Butt Stumble” right across the Hudson River from MetLife Stadium Thurday night.
Say this much for Rask: He has a lot of patience with repetitive questions from reporters and he has a good sense of humor.
Both were on display Friday after practice at TD Garden as he was peppered with more questions about Thursday’s “Butt Stumble on Broadway” and the Bruins losing Game 4 in overtime just like they did three years ago when the collapse began in Philadelphia.
“I don’t even want to compare,” Rask said when asked whether the bizarre loss in overtime in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of 2010. “It’s a totally different team. We beat Philly out the next year, 4-0. We won the Cup. Lots of things have happened. As we’ve said all along, we don’t like to look in the past or too much ahead. We like to live in the moment and focus on the task.”
And as for the blooper of all hockey bloopers this season?
“I think you either decide to cry about it or have a sense of humor about it and that’s it,” Rask said. “You just have to move on. You let in goals and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of goals you let in, it’s still a goal. Some days it sucks to be a goalie.”
Rask lost an edge and fell backwards in the second period Thursday night, allowing Carl Hagelin‘s weak backhander to slide past him and into the net to cut Boston’s 2-0 lead in half.
“Yeah, I saw it. I saw it many times in my head, too,” Rask said. “I mean, you can either cry about it or laugh about it and I decided it’s better to have a sense of humor and laugh about it. Tough break, those happen. But to be honest, I think throughout the years I’ve been pretty good in making those ‘Not-so Top 10 lists’ so there we are again.”
Enough of the funny business. As for the serious business of getting ready for Game 5 Saturday night, Rask said he liked what he saw at the 30-minute up-tempo practice Friday at TD Garden.
“Absolutely,” Rask said. “It’s been a few days since we had a full team practice on an off day and today we just want to make everybody’s minds are in the right place and we’re making crisp passes and executing the plays and keeping it short and sharp, and that’s what it was.”
Does he wish he could play right away and not wait until Saturday?
“No, no. I’ll take my rest,” Rask said.
Claude Julien has been happy with his power play unit in this series, that is when the Bruins actually get a power play.
He made that much perfectly clear on Friday after practice as his team prepares for another chance to wrap up the series against the Rangers in Game 5 at TD Garden Saturday evening.
The Bruins were 2-for-4 on the power play Thursday in the Game 4 loss to the Rangers, with one of the two misses actually resulting in a goal as Tyler Seguin scored his first goal this postseason as a penalty was expiring in the third period. The Bruins didn’t get a single power play in Game 3 and had only one in Game 2. Boston is 3-for-9 in this playoff series while the Rangers are now 1-for-14 on the man-advantage.
With Nathan Horton and Torey Krug scoring on the power play Thursday night, is Julien pleased that his power play is making the most of its chances?
“Well, yeah especially the lack of them that we’ve had in this series,” Julien said. “It was nice to see us score a couple of goals. It’s been tough. It’s a good thing we’re a good five on five team and that we’ve managed to win hockey games, but last night two for four, and certainly it could have been three for four I guess two seconds after the power play ended, so our power play did a good job of producing and whenever you can count on that it’s always a bonus.
Other notes from Friday’s practice:
The Bruins skated hard for 30 minutes in an up-tempo, early afternoon practice on the TD Garden ice. All players were present and accounted for except for Andrew Ference, who is still nursing a lower body injury that has kept him out since Game 5 in the first round. Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden were the fourth defensive pairs to skate in drills Friday. Julien kept his defensive pairings the same, with Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton leading the way, followed by Johnny Boychuk and Matt Bartkowski and then Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug. There were no changes on the lines either as Tyler Seguin remains on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
“I think it was one of those practices today where you wanted to get a good sweat, knowing it’s an early game tomorrow, or afternoon game,” Julien said of the odd 5:30 p.m. start time on Saturday afternoon. “And we just want to make sure we’re ready for tomorrow.”
|Bruins recall goaltender Niklas Svedberg from Providence||at 3:52 pm ET|
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday the club has recalled goaltender Niklas Svedberg from Providence (AHL).
Svedberg will join Boston on Saturday, May 25. In his first season with the Providence Bruins, Svedberg appeared in 48 regular season games, compiling a 37-8-2 record with a 2.17 goals against average (fifth in the AHL) and a .925 save percentage (third in the AHL) with four shutouts. The netminder’s 37 regular season wins ranked second among AHL goaltenders. Svedberg was in net for 12 postseason games for the P-Bruins, where he racked up a 6-6 record with a 3.29 goals against average and .889 save percentage.
Svedberg was part of the nightmarish end to the P-Bruins season as the Baby B’s lost a 3-0 series lead to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and fell in seven games. He was pulled from the Game 7 5-0 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday night in Providence after allowing four goals on 19 shots.
Prior to joining Providence this year, the 23-year-old Svedberg spent four seasons in the Swedish Elite League from 2008-12. He helped lead Brynas to the SEL title in 2011-12 after registering a 1.70 GAA, .947 save percentage and four shutouts in 13 playoff games. The 6’0″, 176-pound native of Sollentuna, Sweden was signed as a free agent by the Bruins on May 29, 2012.
|Claude Julien on Game 4 OT loss: ‘There’s no panic here’||at 12:34 am ET|
NEW YORK — There were no Jekyll and Hyde comments from Claude Julien after his team blew a 2-0 lead in the second period and lost a potential series-clinching Game 4 to the Rangers in overtime, 4-3.
To the Bruins coach, Thursday’s loss wasn’t a matter of being outworked, just sloppiness, puck-watching and a lack of execution.
“There’s no panic here,” Julien assured everyone afterward. “Had we been outworked and not been there at all, I’d be talking differently here. But we didn’t get outworked. All it was, our team didn’t execute as well as we have been lately. We have to go home and play a better game. But our work ethic was there. The things we did extremely well weren’t that easy tonight.”
Julien was asked about the bizarre two goals scored by New York on mistakes by Tuukka Rask (falling down) and Zdeno Chara (getting picked behind the net) and how those goals erased the 2-0 lead and allowed the Broadway Blues back in the game.
“I don’t know if it was the momentum that shifted more than … I felt we didn’t get outworked but we didn’t play as well as we could’ve throughout the whole game, even after the first period we talked about it,” Julien said.
“But the other thing is when you give them two gift goals, eventually it’s going to hurt. So, that’s what happened. We have a 2-0 lead there and it’s looks good. But then [get] unlucky and it’s a goal and it’s gives them life again. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple, didn’t play well enough, not outworked. We competed as hard as they did but we didn’t execute as well as we can.”
Rask falling down, Chara getting stripped and too many men on the ice all were mistakes that added up to disaster for the Bruins on Thursday.
“I think Tuukka did the job he had to do and just Z got stripped,” Julien said. “Again, it’s a mistake, but as we often say, how many does he repair versus how many does he cost. At the end of the day, those two goals certainly hurt us.”
On the Rangers’ power-play goal, their first of the series and just third in 41 tries in the playoffs, the Bruins allowed Brian Boyle to get deep into the slot with no one covering him and score with 10 minutes left to force overtime.
“We’re 3-2 and the power-play goal [happens] and it’s a mistake on our part. We’re puck-watching. We felt we were puck-watching, allowing Boyle to get into the slot for an easy shot. We were a little sloppy. We weren’t as crisp as we have been in past games. Eventually, they came back and found a way to win this hockey game.”
When Seguin scored at 8:06 of the third period, the Bruins were just under 12 minutes from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. It looked like the perfect way to celebrate breaking his goal drought in the postseason. He jumped in the air and punched the glass behind Henrik Lundqvist as a sign of relief.
The Rangers spoiled it, of course, by tying it less than two minutes later on the power play and winning it in overtime, 4-3.
“It’s a weird feeling, of course,” Seguin said of scoring in the loss. “It feels good. I don’t know exactly how many shots, but it was too many I’ve taken that haven’t gone in. I want to be relied on as a guy who can bury the puck. It feels good that it went in. It’s not a great feeling losing but we’ll learn from this, talk about, move on and get ready for [Saturday].”
Seguin said he could feel his first goal coming on after getting momentum from a first-period power play that didn’t yield any goals but did produce several chances, including one from Seguin.
“Especially in the first, having a power play right away got me into the game where last game it took me a couple more shifts,” he said. “I didn’t start off playing too much in the first period. Again, I felt great as the last few games go on, gaining more confidence and making smarter plays so just didn’t work out.”
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