|David Krejci: ‘We don’t have guys like [Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin], we have a team’||06.02.13 at 12:25 am ET|
The question was innocent enough. After scoring two more playoff goals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh Saturday, David Krejci was asked if he considers himself in the same class as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“No. Those guys, I think they’re the best players in the world at this moment,” he answered after Saturday’s 3-0 Bruins’ win in Game 1. “There’s no one like those guys. On the other hand, we don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We all play as a team.”
Krejci, with seven goals and 12 assists, now leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 19 points. In yet another parallel with 2011, when the Bruins won it all, Krejci is leading the way. That year, Krejci had 12 goals and 11 assists in leading the Bruins to the Cup. The next three leading scorers in the playoffs are Penguins in Malkin (16 points), Kris Letang (16) and Crosby (15) and then another Bruin and Krejci line-mate in Nathan Horton, who scored the third and final goal of the night, and also has 15 points in the playoffs.
“I think Nathan played really well today,” Krejci said. “He set me up for my two goals. He scored a big one in the third. [Tuukka Rask] played pretty good, as well. I think it was pretty good effort by all the guys and a big win.”
Krejci was asked after his second goal that made it 2-0 whether it felt like the Bruins were playing with house money.
“I think so,” Krejci said. “You know, I think Tookes made some big saves in the third period. You know, that’s not our hockey, playing up and down. We want to play good defensively and play in their zone. They’re a good team, so it’s tough to do that. But the second goal was pretty big for our team. I think right after that we took over and kind of controlled the game from there.”
|Claude Julien: Tuukka Rask ‘wasn’t good, he was outstanding’||06.01.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
Claude Julien watched as his team scored first, then he scolded them for turnovers. Then the Bruins coach sat back and watched his team take Pittsburgh’s best punch and beat the Penguins, 3-0, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The Bruins got a first period goal from David Krejci, the first of two on the night from the team’s leading scorer in these playoffs. In the second period, Julien said he was worried that the team was giving Pittsburgh too many chances.
“I thought for a while, halfway through the second period, I was saying to our players that we were turning too many pucks over in the neutral zone or just outside or inside the offensive blueline,” Julien said. “Sure enough, they’re a team that really takes advantage of those turnovers.
“We got caught into a run’and’gun type of game. I think we all know we’re not a team that does well in those run’and’gun games.
In the third period, we settled down, played more of our game. I think that’s why we spent more time in our own end and managed the puck better. I thought there was some average puck management in the second period, too. That’s what I mean, some of the passes they would intercept, we tried to hit our D, they would cut those off. Luckily, whatever little mistakes we made, Tuukka was up to the task.”
Rask stopped all 29 shots on the night and even took a shove from Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period, prompting a center ice scuffle as the teams went to the dressing room. Julien said Rask’s work with goaltending coach Bob Essensa all week paid off, preventing any possible rust from a six-day layoff.
“Bob has been with us all week,” Julien said. “He did some work with us before practice, worked on all the things he wanted to work on.
Those are all things that obviously helped us. [Rask] got some rest. So tonight, as far as I’m concerned, he wasn’t good, he was outstanding.”
Julien downplayed the scuffle at the end of the second period and didn’t go after public enemy No. 1 in Matt Cooke for his hit on Adam McQuaid in the first period that resulted in game misconduct on Cooke.
“I don’t know if it had any impact at all, to be honest with you,” Julien said when asked. “Again, I didn’t get a chance to look at it closely. I was asked that question on the bench. I can’t comment on that stuff. I didn’t see it clearly enough. Was he in that position ahead of time, that Cooke could see him in a vulnerable position? I don’t know. I’ll have to look at it.
“No matter what I say, the league will rule on that stuff and move forward with it. You got to trust, again, they’re going to make the right decision.”
As for the scuffle at the end of the second that also featured a fight between Patrice Bergeron and Evgeni Malkin and ended with a shouting match between captains Sidney Crosby and Zdeno Chara, Julien said that stuff happens.
“Whatever. I didn’t see everything happen except that there was a fight,” Julien said. “I saw Sidney push our goaltender as he’s skating off.
This is playoff hockey. Those things are going to happen. You don’t whine or complain about it, you just deal with it. What we had to deal with tonight was winning a hockey game. That’s all that mattered. Whichever way we took at the end of the night, that’s all that mattered.”
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|Game 1 postgame notes: Bruins 3, Penguins 0||at 11:14 pm ET|
The Bruins got off to a strong start in the Eastern Conference finals by shutting out one of the most prolific offenses in recent Stanley Cup history with a 3-0 win over the Penguins Saturday night at Consol Energy Center. Here, thanks to the Bruins media relations department, are some postgame notes.
‘¢ The Bruins now have a 48-45 lifetime record in Game 1s of best-of-seven series.
‘¢ They are 33-14 lifetime when leading a best-of-seven series 1-0 and they are 29-17-1 lifetime in Game 2s when leading a best-of-seven series 1-0.
‘¢ The Penguins now have a 23-25 lifetime record in Game 1s of best-of-seven series.
‘¢ They are 12-12 lifetime when trailing a best-of-seven series 0-1 and they are 13-11 lifetime in Game 2s when trailing a best-of-seven series 0-1.
‘¢ In the previous four series between these teams, each team won the first game twice and both teams were 1-1 in the series in which they won the first game.
‘¢ Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for his first career playoff shutout.
‘¢ It was the 43rd playoff shutout by a Bruins goaltender and the first since Tim Thomas earned a 1-0 overtime win over Washington on April 12, 2012.
‘¢ It was the 17th time the Penguins have been shut out in a playoff game and the first since Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson earned a 1-0 win on April 27, 2011.
|Andrew Ference: ‘It’s a matter of trainers and coaches figuring out’ return||05.31.13 at 2:21 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference is close to playing. How close? Well, that depends on whom you ask and when.
Ference, himself, said that he’s had a very good and productive week of practice as he comes off a left foot injury that sidelined him for the last two games of the first round series against Toronto and all five games against the Rangers.
“I’ve had some really good practices. I think it’s a matter of trainers and coaches figuring out that,” Ference said after Friday’s practice. “The only thing I can do is skate and do what I have to do to make myself ready. But, at a certain point, it’s in other people’s hands as well.”
“We’re certainly not going to tip our hands,” Julien said when asked about possible maneuvering with defensive pairings. “If Ference is cleared, we have to consider that.”
Ference was skating for a fourth straight day with Aaron Johnson. As it stands now, Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk would start the series as the top D pair, followed by Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski and then Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug. Given Krug’s firepower on the power play, Bartkowski figures to be the odd man out when Ference is cleared.
“I feel good. I feel good,” Ference repeated moments later. “Good practices. I was able to take part in everything. It was nice to be at full speed with the guys. Feeling great. I think everybody is excited to get going here. We’ve done a lot of watching of the other series over the last few days. [Good to] get back to the real deal.”
The other major theme regarding Ference is his return to Pittsburgh. The Bruins are playing the Penguins in the playoffs for the first time since Ference began his career in Pittsburgh in the 1999-2000 season, after being an eighth-round pick in 1997.
“As far as going back to Pittsburgh, I’m actually surprised this is the first time our teams have met up in the past few years. Obviously, we’ve both had success. Should be great hockey. Obviously, good for the game to have those good, big markets left over here,” Ference said.
Ference broke in on a team that included Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Mario Lemieux, Kevin Stevens and Alexei Kovalev. That team made it to the Eastern Conference finals in 2001 before bowing out to the Devils in five games.
WILMINGTON — David Krejci returned Friday morning from his “minimal maintenance” day on Thursday, as Claude Julien termed it. The Bruins skated for just about an hour before packing up at Ristuccia Arena and leaving immediately for Pittsburgh and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center. All Bruins were on the ice and accounted for as the team worked out in Wilmington for a fourth straight day.
After working almost exclusively on power-play and penalty-kill drills on Thursday, the Bruins returned to a more conventional practice on Friday.
The lines remained the same, but of note on the defensive pairing side, Zdeno Chara was paired with Johnny Boychuk while Dennis Seidenberg was teamed with Matt Bartkowski. Andrew Ference was still working with Aaron Johnson, an indication that Ference likely won’t be activated for Saturday’s game.
Adam McQuaid was with Torey Krug while Wade Redden was skating with Dougie Hamilton.
Another significant sign was the amount of drills in the corners as the coaching staff had the top four lines work on winning puck battles in the corners, an area that several players and Julien have said will be key if the Bruins are to have a chance of winning the series.
For more, including reports from DJ Bean in Pittsburgh, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien: Bruins relish being a part of a fabulous final four ‘it’s pretty impressive’||05.30.13 at 5:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — As the Bruins wrap up preparations for Game 1 of the Eastern finals Saturday night in Pittsburgh, they are taking a very brief moment to relish what it’s like to be part of a little recent history.
The quartet of the Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks and Kings isn’t just a made-for-TV dream for NBC, they represent the most successful franchises in hockey over the last four years, as measured by Stanley Cup banners.
Each team has lifted the Cup once in the previous four seasons, starting with the Penguins in 2009, the Blackhawks in 2010, the Bruins in 2011 and the newbies, the Kings, who won their first in franchise history last year.
“I think it’s pretty impressive, knowing about parity in the league and how hard it is to get back there,” Claude Julien said. “To know that somebody is going to win it twice in, at the most, four years is pretty impressive, I think. That’s what we have here. It’s an opportunity for all of us here to duplicate what we’ve wanted to duplicate here for a while.”
Tyler Seguin was a mere 19-year-old pup when the Bruins last made a deep run, as he was a rookie in 2011. But that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate what the Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks and Kings have all accomplished.
“It’s very cool,” Seguin said. “It’s great to be a part of it. I don’t know if that’s happened too often throughout history but it’s going to make for a great final finish. I think experience has always been huge, especially when it comes to playoffs. We have so much experience in our locker room we can face different types of adversity and I think when it comes to playoffs, teams that have experience are always going to have the edge. There’s always the underdogs or teams that surprise other teams but this year, I think it’s a little different because the last four winners are in the final four.
“I think chemistry can definitely be huge at times, especially when you’re making playoff runs of more than one in the last few years for all four of us. I think chemistry is big in those situations and experience goes a long way.”
Julien also appreciates the job his boss, GM Peter Chiarelli has done in keeping a young core together and in tact, ready to compete for a title, year-in and year-out.
“You know it becomes harder when you win,” Julien said after Thursday’s practice. “We won a couple years ago and he’s managed to keep the core and most of the players around. He’s done a great job. I’ve said it all along, to have an opportunity to coach a team that’s deep because of the players he’s provided us with. Thats’a credit to him and his group. The coach is as good as the people that surround him; that means the assistant coaches, but also means the players, and obviously management.
“That’s always been the case, it’s not something that’s new. It’s more about you have to realize what you have and we have a good group of people here, players, coaching staff, and then management. Everybody seems to be doing a good job at what they have to do and allows us the opportunity right now to be in the top four.”
“Maintenance, minimal maintenance,” the Bruins coach said as Krejci was given the day off.
Krejci was the only player not spotted on the sheet at Ristuccia Arena as the Bruins worked at a fast pace for 20 minutes with their power play and penalty kill units.
Andrew Ference, one of the team’s leading penalty killers, was back on the ice again and was paired with Aaron Johnson on one penalty kill unit. Julien said toward the end of his media briefing after practice that Ference has not yet been medically cleared by team doctors to play in games.
“I haven’t heard from the medical staff so I’d say the answer is ‘no,'” Julien said when asked about Ference’s medical standing as the defenseman attempts to come back from a left foot injury that sidelined him since Game 5 of the first-round series against Toronto.
Tyler Seguin took Krejci’s spot on the power play with Zdeno Chara, Jaromir Jagr, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic but the units were mixed and matched throughout practice as the team worked more on power play and penalty kill drills than concentrating on specific special teams combinations.
The Bruins will practice one final time on Friday morning at 10:30 at Ristuccia before taking off for Pittsburgh afterward. The Bruins play the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.
For more, including reports from Pittsburgh from DJ Bean, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.