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Claude Julien: ‘Maybe in trouble, but we’re not dead’ 04.22.12 at 10:50 am ET
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The Bruins know the refrain by now.

The series isn’t over till you win four games.

They repeated it over and over last year on their way to a sixth Stanley Cup title. And Claude Julien repeated it Saturday after a 4-3 gut-puncher at the hands of the Capitals at the Garden.

“Well there’€™s certainly lots of guys in that dressing room that have gone through that and there’€™s some others that are new to our hockey club that have to manage that as good as they can,” Julien said. “A guy like [Brian Rolston], he’€™s got some experience so our guys that we’€™ve gotten are experienced guys so I don’€™t see that as an issue. We’€™re down 3-2 in the series and most people will tell you, until they win four games, that’€™s when the series is over. So we’€™ve got an opportunity to get back into this series and create a Game 7 and that’€™s what we’€™re going to try to do.”

There were positives from Saturday that the B’s will try to carry over to today in Washington, like Milan Lucic getting in front of the net time and time again in the third period. Lucic’s “jam” in the slot created a point-blank chance for Tyler Seguin with 10 minutes left. Only a superhuman effort by Braden Holtby kept the Bruins from a late lead in their own building.

“There are some good things ‘€“ I don’€™t think now’€™s the time to start collaborating all those things with players,” Julien said. “Sometimes you’€™ve got to feel that sting a little bit in order to get yourself ready the next day and we’€™ll address that tomorrow certainly before the game. Still a lot of good things that we did tonight and you look at some of the missed opportunities ‘€“ Seguin is one, he had grease tonight and those opportunities were there for him, so that’€™s a positive. You wish he would have put some of those in and it’€™s a different outcome. But building on the positives, and as I said, we’€™re maybe in trouble but we’€™re not dead and we’€™re certainly going to make tomorrow a game that’€™s going to create a Game 7 for us.”

Johnny Boychuk finally blew a cannon past Holtby to tie the game on the power play to tie the game, 3-3. He sees a lot of hope.

“I thought we came out really well,” he said. “Again, [Holtby] played extremely well ‘€“ he made that one stop and stretched out and got it with his toe. We did play well, but it wasn’€™t good enough. They scored more goals than us and that’€™s the end of the day. We lost the game and [today], we have to win.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Braden Holtby, Claude Julien
With the season on the line, Tim Thomas isn’t worried about one bad game at 9:29 am ET
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If there were ever a time to put a sub-par game in the past, today is the day for Tim Thomas.

It’s Game 6 in Washington, D.C. and Thomas is focused on keeping his Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

As for Saturday’s Game 5, sure there are a couple of shots he’d like to have back but has he said afterward, you can’t turn back the clock and get another chance to make a save.

Asked if he could’ve done a better job handling the rebound that led to Mike Knuble‘s goal to make it 3-2 or Troy Brouwer‘s game-winner on the power play, Thomas was philosophical. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Mike Knuble, Tim Thomas
Claude Julien has a message for his team: Stop being ‘cute’ with the puck 04.15.12 at 9:04 am ET
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There’s a four-letter word in hockey – especially during the playoffs.

C-U-T-E

It’s what players hate to be called and it’s what coaches hate to see from their players.

Saturday, Claude Julien saw a bit too much of it from his Bruins in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern quarterfinal series.

“They play a patient game,” Julien said. “They sit back, and they get into their 1-4, and if you want to get cute in the neutral zone, then you’€™re not getting pucks in, but it took us two periods to get ourselves going and get some more opportunities, and instead of using our outside speed and everything else, we just kind of made it easy on them. And, you know, at this stage of the year, you would like to see more net-front traffic, and you would like to see that puck going to the net a little bit more with guys heading in that direction, and we don’€™t have a good enough commitment in that area right now to win hockey games.”

Julien has seen the commitment from the Chris Kelly line, with Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston again combining for the only Bruins goal – as was the case in Thursday’s 1-0 OT win. Now, Julien wants to see Patrice Bergeron‘s line of Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin do the same. Same goes for David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien,
What Tim Thomas did – and didn’t – see on the Capitals’ game-winner 04.14.12 at 9:29 pm ET
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There’s an old hockey adage that was proven very true Saturday as the Capitals tied the Bruins at a game apiece in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series – you can’t stop what you can’t see.

When Marcus Johansson outworked Johnny Boychuk for the loose puck in the defensive cornerboards, the Swede fed his native countryman Nicklas Backstrom to nearly the exact same spot Chris Kelly won Game 1.

Only difference this time was that there was a lot more traffic in front of the goalie. And in this case, Tim Thomas practically had no chance, unless he was lucky enough to have the puck hit him. No such luck.

“I just had time to yell ‘€˜screen’€™ and then I think I picked it up about halfway to me, but it was one of those knuckle [shots],” Thomas said. “You can’€™t get a read on exactly where it’€™s going. It is what it was.”

Asked if the shot dipped on him or just fluttered, Thomas again couldn’t describe what he couldn’t see.

“I didn’€™t see it enough to tell you,” Thomas added.

It was a bizarre kind of game for Thomas, who thought he was going to smother a puck that fluttered in on him in the second period. But out of nowhere Greg Zanon collided with him as he was trying to cover and Troy Brouwer was on the spot to find it, and flip a backhander between his legs while he was on the ground trying to get on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Greg Zanon, Tim Thomas
When it mattered most, Tim Thomas turned back the clock to 2011 04.13.12 at 8:25 am ET
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For two periods, rookie goalie Braden Holtby stole the show.

Then Tim Thomas reminded him, the Capitals and everyone else that he is still one of the best clutch goalies in the game.

For two periods, Tim Thomas saw a grand total of seven shots. The second period was especially dull. He didn’t face a shot on net for the first 10 minutes of the period as the Bruins outshot the Caps, 17-2, for the stanza.

But then the Capitals came out for the third. They were a different group, intent on showing they can actually get a shot on net.

“More often than not, when your team outshoots the other team heavily for a couple of periods, whether you score or not, there’€™s usually a time period in the game where the tables turn, and I knew they were going to get their bursts sooner or later. So I was mentally prepared for that going into the third period.”

Just four minutes in, Thomas had to be ready as the Capitals were on a power play and Alex Ovechkin was in the low left circle when he skated in and fired a wrister on Thomas.

“It was a toe save,” Thomas said of his left foot save. “I know he likes that spot, generally, over there, but he’€™s been changing it up and going to different spots. I didn’€™t even think about Ovechkin until the pass happened. I was focusing on who made the pass, the left-handed guy who made the pass. I was trying to get to my angle to make sure that he couldn’€™t score. But when I did see the pass released in that direction, I very quickly realized where it was going and who it was going to, so I’€™d better get over there very fast, and fortunately it hit my toe.”

“When a goaltender doesn’€™t get a ton of shots, it becomes a challenge for him to mentally stay in the game, and even physically,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know, you don’€™t want to stiffen up; you want to stay warmed up, and sometimes goaltenders thrive on the more shots they get, the more they’€™re into the game. So I thought Tim did a great job of staying focused and staying sharp, and when he had to make those big saves, he made them, and that was nice to see, and that’€™s Tim. With the experience he’€™s had over the course of his career now, those things are starting to really show, and I thought he did a great job. It wasn’€™t an easy task for him tonight, and the shutout, although he had 17 shots, was well deserved because he stayed focused through the whole game.”

Then came his biggest save. Naturally, it came in overtime where any little mistake means game over. Just about a minute in, Marcus Johansson came down the left wing with only defenseman Greg Zanon in position to defend. Zanon did his job, giving Thomas a chance to see Johansson and make the game-saving stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Tim Thomas
Claude Julien and the Bruins can joke about the power play – for now at 12:58 am ET
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Maybe Claude Julien thought he was going to get out of the 10-minute post-game session with reporters in the press area without being asked the question that hounded the Bruins like a hungry bear last spring.

But then it happened.

How concerned is the Bruins coach about going 0-for-4 on the power play?

“You’€™re right, it was asked a lot,” Julien joked, responding to the reporter who prefaced the situation in the 2011 playoffs. “So, uh, probably a little bit too much.”

Julien, of course, is referring to the fact the Bruins actually found a way to win the Stanley Cup with an anemic power play for three rounds before actually producing against the Canucks in the finals.

But Thursday, it was back to old – and bad – habits.

The Bruins had six consecutive minutes of power play at the end of the first and beginning of the second. Yes, they got eight shots on Braden Holtby but really no sustained pressure in terms of scoring chances. Jay Beagle took a double-minor for high sticking and Troy Brouwer was called for delay of game.

Fortunately, the Bruins scored the only goal of the game or the second-guessers would be out in force.

“We talked about that,” Julien said. “Our guys weren’€™t seeing much tonight. There was some openings we could have used, and we were dusting the puck a little bit too much versus shooting it, and, you know, when we made some of those passes, some of those guys should have ripped a shot right way, and instead, we stopped and we started looking for another play.

“You know, it’€™s unfortunate, because at practice this week, I thought our guys were moving the puck well, and they were finding the openings that we didn’€™t find tonight. So, we’€™ll keep working on that and hopefully make it a better situation because there’€™s no doubt, if we don’€™t win the game tonight, we’€™d be talking a lot about that being the reason that we lost. We found a way to win it. We turn the page and work on the things you need to work on.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Jay Beagle
Bruins need to do the dirty work to score in these playoffs 04.12.12 at 12:23 pm ET
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As much as Tim Thomas was amazing under pressure, justifiably winning the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins offense was as explosive as any team in the playoffs last season.

The Bruins scored 81 goals in 25 playoff games, including games of eight, seven and six tallies as they scored when they needed to when Thomas wasn’t – well – Thomas. By comparison, the high-flying Canucks in their 25 playoff games scored just 58.

David Krejci scored 12 goals. Brad Marchand set a Bruins rookie playoff record with 11. Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder had eight apiece. Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi each had five. Count them up and that’s 21 of the 81 goals the Bruins scored that are missing to start these playoffs.

“I think it’s just playing the system properly,” Kelly said. “The minute you start thinking about scoring goals and lots of goals, that doesn’t happen. We capitalized on our opportunities last year, and hopefully we do the same this year. But by no means are we heading into these playoffs we’re going to be a big-scoring team. We take care of our own end first and work our way out.”

Funny thing, it didn’t start that well for the Bruins as they scored just once in losing their first two games at home to Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley
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