|Johnny Boychuk hints at the biggest challenge vs. the Flyers||04.30.11 at 2:18 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins were fortunate to survive the Canadiens in the opening round and they know it will only get harder from here.
The biggest difference for the B’s will come in containing Philadelphia’s potent offense, which led the Eastern Conference with 259 goals, third overall in the NHL behind the Canucks (262) and the Red Wings (261).
“Last series it was two good lines. This series it’s three.” Defenseman Johnny Boychuk said just two hours before Game 1.
To Boychuk’s point, the Flyers have two 30-goal scorers in Jeff Carter and Danny Briere. The have five more who have scored at least 20, and Ville Leino who scored 19 and kept the Flyers’ season alive with an OT goal against the Sabres in Game 6 in Buffalo.
That’s where the top concern – and emphasis – will be for the Bruins. The fact that the Flyers are a physical team and create chances from a big forecheck helps the B’s, according to Boychuk.
“I think it’s the similar style. For me personally, when you’re playing a physical team, that brings the best out of all the players and it’s the same style we like to play. So, it should be a great series for that.”
The Flyers can roll out three high-quality lines led by centers Carter and captain Mike Richards. The Bruins might be catching a break as Carter is nursing a right knee injury from Game 4 in the first round.
|Claude Julien: We don’t need to change ‘a ton’ for the Flyers||04.29.11 at 2:06 pm ET|
Before the team left Boston for Philadelphia Friday, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said the Flyers are a better match up for his team than the Canadiens were in the first round. The Bruins captured three of the four meetings in the regular season and were even able to score on the power play four times, something they failed to do in 21 tries in the opening round.
“We match up well against them and they’re always close in tight games and we got to go in there with some confidence and obviously some determination,” Julien said. “Playoffs is a different situation than the regular season, but again as I mentioned it’s just one of those things that we feel that we don’t have to change a ton of things. And if there’s adjustments to make along the way, we just have to be prepared to make them.”
The Flyers, however, did not have big defenseman Chris Pronger at their disposal in the last meeting on March 27 in Philadelphia as he was still healing from the effects of a broken hand.
“He’s an experienced guy, a guy who has got good size as well and has got a good shot,” Julien said. “I know he certainly hadn’t used it much when he’s come back now. Whether he’s 100 percent, we don’t know, and it really shouldn’t matter to us.
“But he’s been a big part of their power play and when you get a guy like that back, it’s no doubt that it’s a boost for their hockey club and certainly helps. So we’ve just got to continue I guess playing the way we have been against them for most of the year this year. I thought we played them well and we came out with three wins, and I think we had the overtime loss.”
The Bruins’ only loss to the Flyers came with three seconds left in overtime on Dec. 11 at TD Garden when Mike Richards beat Tim Thomas with a wrist shot. The Bruins also showed they can win all sorts of games against Philly, 3-0, in Philly on Dec. 1, 7-5 in a Garden shootout on Jan. 13 and 2-1 on Brad Marchand’s goal late on March 27. The Bruins also appear to have the clear advantage in goal with Thomas starting all seven games of their series against Montreal while Brian Boucher was one of three different Philadelphia netminders to see action against Buffalo. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shawn Thornton laughs off 2010 comparisons, sort of||at 12:38 pm ET|
Following their final practice Friday morning at TD Garden, the Bruins packed their bags and headed for Philadelphia and Saturday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Flyers. But before departing, the Bruins addressed the media and spoke of their thoughts on the even of the playoff rematch with the team that came from 3-0 down in the series and Game 7 to eliminate them last spring.
‘You think if I answer this question right now, I won’t have to answer it the rest of the series? Promise?” Shawn Thornton said with a smile, before adding, “For some of the guys, obviously, here last year, it should be a little bit of motivating tool and a learning lesson. But that being said, last year was last year, this year is this year. Half the team has been turned over. We’ve brought in some great people.
“So, it’s a whole new year. They have new players, we have new players. It doesn’t really have a factor on this year’s series, except for the fact we haven’t forgotten about it because you guys remind us day in and day out, and I’m sure you will for the next two weeks.’
“It’s always a new situation, a new opportunity, and that’s how we’re looking at it,” added coach Claude Julien. “Just a new opportunity for us to get past these guys and hopefully, win this series.”
Game 1 is 3 p.m. on Saturday with Tim Thomas in net for the Bruins and Brian Boucher expected to get the call for the Flyers. Game 2 is Monday night, also at Wells Fargo Center before the series shifts to Boston next Wednesday and Friday for Games 3 and 4.
|Think the Bruins are looking forward to a rematch with the Flyers? You bet||04.28.11 at 1:58 am ET|
Don’t be fooled by Cam Neely.
The Bruins finally get their chance at revenge on the Flyers – and they want it badly.
“This probably gives you guys more to write about I’m sure,” Neely said with a grin following Boston’s 4-3 overtime over the Candiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday. “We don’t have the same team as we did last year, and Philly doesn’t have the exact same team either. That’s certainly going to be mentioned a lot and talked a lot about, but first and foremost we’ve got to concern ourselves [with] how we play in that first game.”
At least Neely would recognize their next round opponent. The same could not be said for Tim Thomas.
“I told you, I have at least until midnight before I have to think about that,” Thomas said when asked repeatedly about the second-round series that opens Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Yes, the teams have tweaked their rosters, but they still have two of the most identifiable logos on the crests of their sweaters. Claude Julien wanted to focus on the fact that his team just beat another franchise with a pretty famous logo on its sweater – and did so in historic fashion.
“I mean, it is what it is and the fact is we got ourselves down two nothing in this series,” Julien said of overcoming the 0-2 hole against Montreal. “I think it was important for ourselves to get back into this series. There was a lot at stake in this series as well. We understand the rivalry between Montreal and Boston and it’s been there many times. And we also know the statistics of the winning percentages of both teams when they play each other.”
Then came Julien’s acknowledgment of the next opponent.
“It was a big deal for us and we really focused on that and there is no doubt that tonight, we knew winning this game would give us another opportunity to play Philly. If anything I think it’s going to make it interesting. I think a lot of people are going to be watching this to see how it develops, and we’re excited to have that opportunity.”
First round hero Nathan Horton wasn’t even on the Bruins team that couldn’t close out last year against the Flyers, but he senses the pain and the desire for redemption.
“Well, this is huge, and definitely with what happened last year, we can put that in the past now,” Horton said. “It’s a new year. We’ve gone through it. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You’re up three-nothing, or down two-nothing, and things can turn. You’ve just got to work through it, and be prepared to always continue to work until you get that fourth win, because like everyone says, it’s the hardest one to get.”
Now, if they can just repeat it three more times.
Nathan Horton isn’t about to complain about being dragged to the postgame press conference room in full uniform like he was Wednesday night to talk about his series-winning goal. After all, he’s getting to be a real pro at taking the stage to discuss such heroics.
Four nights after winning Game 5 in double-overtime, Horton won the game and the series with a bomb of a shot that Carey Price never saw with 14:17 left in overtime to capture Game 7 for the Bruins and avoid the worst kind of heartbreak for Bruins fans.
It also sent the B’s onto a second-round rematch with the Flyers starting this weekend in Philadelphia.
“Yeah, it was pretty nice,” said a smiling Horton. “I mean, it felt pretty good. I don’t remember too much. I remember Looch [Milan Lucic] coming up with the puck and I just tried to get open, and I tried putting the puck towards the net. Luckily it got deflected off someone and it went straight in. That’s all I remember. It was pretty special, again, it doesn’t get any better.”
The goal also saved the Bruins from the devastating heartbreak of blowing a 3-2 lead with less than two minutes left in regulation, when P.K. Subban scored on the power play to force overtime.
“When you have the lead it feels good, but when you give it up, it’s tough, especially in Game 7, late in the third, and we battled,” Horton said. “We battled all year, when times have been tough, and we’ve come together and it seems like we get stronger and we just start pressing, and that’s the way it’s been all year. On if it’s safe to say he’s enjoying the playoffs’¦ I’m really enjoying it. Every day is exciting. Every day is a new day, but it feels good, definitely, to get used to this, continue winning. That’s what it’s all about.”
Horton was the Bruins player who started off like a house on fire this season, with eight goals in his first 15 games. Then he cooled off before finishing with 26 on the season, just four behind Milan Lucic for the team lead. Safe to say he’s caught fire again at the very best time. Read the rest of this entry »
|Powerless: B’s aren’t about to complain about officiating on the eve of Game 7||04.27.11 at 12:15 am ET|
After getting what many observers clearly felt was the raw end of the deal from the men in striped shirts Tuesday night, the Bruins still were not about to take a page out of the book of Mike Gillis.
He is the Vancouver Canucks general manager who lambasted the NHL and its officiating crew on Monday, just about 24 hours before its Game 7 Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks Tuesday night.
Yes, the Bruins were put on not one but TWO 5-on-3 disadvantages and the Canadiens scored both times in a 2-1 win to force Game 7 less than 24 hours later in Boston. Yes, the major penalty to Milan Lucic for boarding seemed harsh, even if Jaroslav Spacek was bleeding from the head. And yes, the Bruins can’t really complain about the power play since they yet to convert a single one of 19 chances in the series.
But these Bruins know they still have Game 7 ahead. They figure that eventually the breaks have to even out – with the whistles and on the scoresheet, right?
But still it was a crushing blow to lose your top scorer with more than half the game remaining in a 1-1 contest in Game 6. But that’s what happened when Lucic was shown the gate when Spacek showed the officials blood from the hit just under five minutes into the second period – and just moments after the Bruins had tied it.
“Well, I’m not going to comment on it, and simply not for not getting any information, but I haven’t had any chance to really look at it closely,” Julien said cleverly. “And you see quick replays here and there but it’s something that I need to see here before I’m able to comment on that.”
“I can’t comment because I heard it but haven’t seen a replay at all,” added Mark Recchi. “Strange game and a lot of strange things happened out there but it’s part of it. I think 5-on-5 we were a very good hockey team tonight and we have to take that positive and go home and have our home crowd. We’ve been in this before. We have to stay focused, stay relaxed, stay positive and go from there.
“I’m not going to focus too much on what happened. It’s over now. We have to worry about [Wednesday] and can’t dwell on it and have to embrace what’s coming up [in Game 7].”
Added Patrice Bergeron, “I didn’t get a good look at it so I can’t comment on it but obviously, losing Looch, he means a lot.”
Then there was this from Tim Thomas that summed up the Bruins’ frustration.
“It was no harder than any other game,” Thomas said with a wry smile. “Obviously, when it’s 5-on-3, it’s harder to keep the puck out of the net. I’m not a forward. I don’t make or take those type of hits. I’ve already heard from some of the guys on their take on it but I don’t have one. I’m just a goalie.”
|Mark Recchi with the cold, hard truth: Bruins’ power play ‘needs to be a lot better than that’||04.26.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Moments after losing Game 6 to the Canadiens, 2-1, on a pair of 5-on-3 goals, Bruins veteran Mark Recchi admitted he and his teammates need to do a better job of cashing in on their power play chances. While the Canadiens scored a pair of two-man advantage goals, the Bruins were 0-for-4 on the power play, making them scoreless in 19 chances during the series.
“We had opportunities but it wasn’t good enough for power play on our end,” Recchi said. “Five-on-five, we were terrific. They got a couple of 5-on-3 goals. We have to be a lot better, obviously. We’re not getting any sustained pressure to top it off. We’re getting one shot and it’s getting blocked half the time. We’re not getting pucks on net and so it’s one-and-out kind of thing. You have to find your way back in [the offensive zone] and then one-and-out again. We have to sustain pressure. Our power play hasn’t been that bad all year and then for right now, it hasn’t been good in this series. We get the opportunity [Wednesday], we have to step up.”
Recchi was on the Bruins last year when the team lost its last Game 7 on home ice to the Flyers, 4-3. He and the Bruins have a chance at redemption with a win on Wednesday. If they beat the Canadiens, they will again draw the Flyers in the Eastern semis starting this weekend in Philadelphia.
“It’s a big one [Wednesday],” Recchi said. “We’ll go get some rest and be ready. If we play like that 5-on-5 and if we get opportunities on the power play [in Game 7], we have to be a lot better than that.”
Recchi actually has the chance to do something about it on the ice. Claude Julien can only watch from behind the bench as the team continues to look totally out of kilter.
“Well, let’s put it this way, our power play is struggling,” Julien said. “I think we’ve talked about that every day so far. They scored two goals five-on-three. Five-on-four they weren’t a threat and neither were we. Five-on-five I thought we were obviously a team that held most of the control if the game and that’s what we have to do. We have to stay disciplined, stay away from the penalty box like we talked about at the beginning of the series.
“But I would have liked to have a five-on-three, maybe our power play would have scored as well. But it wasn’t the case and again, it’s one of those games where we tried, we worked hard, we had our chances and we weren’t able to bury them. But certainly not down or disappointed in our game except for the fact those five-on-threes ended up costing us the game.”
Now, it’s Game 7 – the ultimate test in hockey that the Bruins haven’t won since beating Montreal’s Patrick Roy and his case of appendicitis in 1994 at the old Boston Garden. They have lost their last four attempts, including home games in 2010 vs. the Flyers and 2009 vs. the Hurricanes.
“Just focus on getting ready,” Recchi said. “You’ve gotta relax and you’ve got to get ready to play a one-game series now. We worked all year to get home ice and we’re going home and we’ll go get a lot of rest, and focus on what we have to do, make little adjustments but for the most part we’ll just save our energy and get ready.”
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