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Rich Peverley does his best Nathan Horton and the Bruins are grateful 06.09.11 at 1:09 am ET
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On Wednesday night at TD Garden, as the Bruins took the ice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, Rich Peverley had some extraordinarily large shoes to fill.

After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.

And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.

Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.

“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.

“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”

Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.

“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”

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Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Canada, Claude Julien
Barry Melrose on M&M: ‘Boston has to win this game to have a chance of winning this series’ 06.08.11 at 2:45 pm ET
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ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Stanley Cup finals and Wednesday night’s Game 4. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

When asked if he would be sitting with the Green Men at the game, Melrose joked: “I stay away from the Green Men. I can’€™t even believe they got into the country. I’€™m a little embarrassed about letting those guys in.”

He added: “We keep al-Qaida out, but we let these two guys in? What’€™s that all about?”

Melrose said that the finger-taunting in Game 3 has helped made this series an exciting one. However, it may come back to bite Boston in Game 4.

“I think [Alexandre] Burrows should’€™ve been suspended,” Melrose said. “I said that from Day 1. I think that if he would’€™ve been suspended that would’€™ve put away the finger crap. But I like the finger stuff. I thought it was funny. I had some fun with it. It’€™s interesting. Five years from now when we’€™re talking about this series, what are we going to talk about? We’€™re going to be talking about that stuff with the fingers and [Milan] Lucic and Burrows and stuff like that. I have no problem with that. It’€™s interesting. But, the NHL doesn’€™t want it.

“Obviously, the referees are going to crack down tonight. They’€™re going to be reffing very close to their vest. I think that favors Vancouver. Boston’€™s got to be aggressive. They’€™ve got to be physical. And the referees are going to be told to call everything, so we might see a lot of penalties tonight.”

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Read More: Alex Burrows, Barry Melrose, Boston Bruins, Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand said the Bruins were ‘really looking to send a message’ 06.07.11 at 12:50 am ET
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In one of the more physical, tense and nasty Stanley Cup final games in recent memory, the Bruins hammered the Canucks, 8-1, Monday night in Game 3 and now trail Vancouver, 2 games-to-1.

The physical play began with a shot to the head of Nathan Horton by Aaron Rome just over five minutes into the contest. Horton left on a stretcher after his neck was immobilized. He reported having feeling in all extremities and was taken to Massachusetts General for observation. The nastiness reached a new level in the third when Shawn Thornton was ejected via a 10-minute misconduct while three more Bruins followed. Rome was ejected along with three other Canucks in the third, as the Bruins poured it on with four goals in the second and four in the third.

“We had a good game but we were really looking to send a message and we wanted to get back in the series,” Brad Marchand said. “They had a pretty commanding lead there. We knew it was going to be a big game tonight and we were just hoping to get back in the series.

“Any playoff series it’s a battle out there. We’re fighting for something we wanted our whole lives. It’s going to be a battle every game. It’s going to look like that. I think it’s just going to get chippier as series goes on.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aaron Rome, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand
Gord Kluzak on D&C: Zdeno Chara in front of net ‘a waste of energy and time’ 06.06.11 at 11:04 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst and former defenseman Gord Kluzak called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Kluzak said that the Bruins could have won either of the first two games had they played slightly better.

‘€œI think they have had breakdowns at times that have really hurt,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œI think if they get back to what they can do ‘€“ and the model is Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay ‘€” this thing is very winnable. I’m much more optimistic than I hear you guys were this morning.

“I don’t think Vancouver is as good as advertised. I’ve never been overly impressed with the Sedins. I think [Ryan] Kessler may be hurt, the way that [Johnny] Boychuk hit happened early on in Game 2. I didn’t think Kessler was the same player, and I think if you’re the Bruins you’re trying to be as physical as you can with him because he is the key, in my opinion. I think this is still very winnable. The Bruins obviously have to play near-perfect hockey, but I think they can do that.’€

Kluzak said two specific adjustments the Bruins should make is getting Zdeno Chara away from the net on the power play and including Rich Peverley on the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand line.

‘€œChara up front in the power play is just a waste of energy and time,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œLook at the way Milan [Lucic] scored his goal. It was a rebound in front. Well, that’€™s what the power play is all about. That’€™s why you need him out there, and it doesn’€™t help you to have the guy that you rely on the most in your own zone up front of the net on the power play when you have a guy that’€™s probably better at it and would be more suited to it.’€

Kluzak said he thought that Peverley’€™s speed ‘€œwould open the ice up a little bit more for Bergeron.’€

Kluzak said he did not think fatigue is an issue for Chara. ‘€œThis is a guy who rides 110 miles on a bike through the mountains every summer day,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œThis guy is the best-conditioned athlete I think I’€™ve ever seen.’€

Despite Shawn Thornton‘s physicality, Kluzak said more playing time for the enforcer is not the answer for the Bruins.

‘€œThe guy you would have to take out of the lineup is [Daniel] Paille, and Paille is an outstanding penalty-killer,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œHe’€™s executed that, and I think you really need that skill set. You don’€™t want to use your better offensive players in that penalty-killing situation.’€

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Gord Kluzak, Roberto Luongo, Stanley Cup Finals
Travel and fatigue are challenges, not excuses, for the down but not out Bruins 06.05.11 at 10:34 pm ET
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One thing is for certain, that five-hour plane ride that began early Sunday morning in Vancouver would’ve been a lot shorter if the Bruins had found a way to hold onto their 2-1 third-period lead in Game 2 Saturday night.

But the Bruins had no choice but to get on the 7 a.m. bus and catch their 8 a.m. (PT) flight back for Boston. At least it was a charter and at least it was a big plane so most everyone could catch up on sleep and relaxation.

“We’re not going to hide the fact that we don’t travel as much as they do,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, referring to the fact that the Canucks basically head out on a lengthy road trip every time they don’t play at Rogers Arena. “They’re probably used to this more than we are. So I think it was important for us to really look at it in a way where we had to make it the best possible way for us.”

When they beat Tampa Bay, 1-0, in Game 7 of the Eastern finals, Julien and the Bruins knew managing their travel would be nearly as important as solving Roberto Luongo. Julien wanted his team to leave Sunday morning so they could get back Sunday afternoon and get back on Eastern time ASAP, with Game 3 Monday night at 8 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien
Tim Thomas is perfectly happy with the way he’s playing, so is Claude Julien at 6:13 pm ET
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Tim Thomas made one thing pretty clear Sunday.

He’s not about to change his aggressive approach in goal now.

The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner was outstanding in Game 1 and for most of Game 2 before allowing the game-tying goal with over 10 minutes left in regulation and a bizarre goal 11 seconds into overtime when he fell down chasing Alex Burrows.

Upon his arrival back in Boston Sunday afternoon at the Garden, Thomas was asked about whether he regrets his aggressive approach or plans on adjusting his tact in goal.

“I have a pretty good idea how to play goalie,” Thomas said at the beginning of the press conference. “I’m not going to take advice or suggestions at this time. I’m just going to keep playing the way I have.”

Following a five-hour flight back from Vancouver, Thomas and the rest of the Bruins came to the Garden briefly to check into their dressing room and fulfill a media obligation on the offday between Games 2 and 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“I think we’ve played in front of Timmy Thomas,” coach Claude Julien said. “To me, he’s a Vezina Trophy winner. We are here right now because his contribution has been really good. For us to be sitting here having to answer those questions is ridiculous to me. He’s won a Vezina Trophy already, he’s probably going to win one this year, in my mind anyway, for what he’s done. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alex Burrows, Andrew Ference
Barry Pederson on Sports Sunday: Bruins must ‘get physical’ to win Game 3 at 12:13 pm ET
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NESN hockey analyst Barry Pederson called in to WEEI’s “Sports Sunday” to discus the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the full interview, go the weekend shows audio on demand page.

While Pederson said that inserting Shawn Thornton into the starting lineup was important to the Bruins turning the Stanley Cup finals around, playing 60 minutes of physical hockey was essential.

‘€œThe Bruins have got to do what they have not done in the third periods of both games,’€ Pederson said. ‘€œWhen you listen to the coach, what he’€™s most frustrated about is both of those games they had an opportunity to win, and they lost non-Bruin-like, which was to sit back and allow the opponent to take the game to you.’€

Pederson said that the defense had to tighten up in support of Tim Thomas and stop allowing outnumbered situations. Part of that means the forwards making smarter decisions in the neutral zone, and part of that means resting Zdeno Chara on the power play.

‘€œ[Chara] is the single best shut-down defenseman in the National Hockey League,’€ Pederson said. ‘€œSo I want that matchup against the [Daniel and Henrik] Sedin twins. I know that [Vancouver coach] Alain Vigneault is going to be coming after every power play that Vancouver kills off, the first guys that are going to be thrown out there are the Sedin twins. I want to make sure that my top pair is fresh.’€

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Read More: Alex Burrows, Barry Pederson, Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Finals
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