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Brad Marchand the OT hero this time as Bruins take Game 1 05.16.13 at 10:48 pm ET
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Brad Marchand celebrates his overtime goal that beat the Rangers in Game 1 Thursday night. (AP)

Overtime once again was the Bruins’ friend as Brad Marchand scored the game-winner to give the B’s a 3-2 win over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. The goal was Marchand’s first of the playoffs, and the Bruins now have won two straight overtime games and all three overtime contests this postseason.

After a scoreless first period, Zdeno Chara got a slap shot through from the point that trickled past Henrik Lundqvist, ending the goalie’s shutout streak at 152:23. Ryan McDonagh scored on a laser from the left point that Tuukka Rask didn’t see with bodies in front of him. The goal came with 1.3 seconds left in the second, and Derek Stepan scored 14 seconds into the third to give the Rangers the lead on two goals in a span of 15.3 seconds. It was Torey Krug, playing in his first career NHL playoff game after playing only one regular-season game for Boston this season, who tied it with a slap shot on the power play.

Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton were called upon Monday, as Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden were out of action due to various undisclosed injuries. Game 2 will be played Sunday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

• The Rangers might regret not taking advantage of this one later in the series if those defensemen are back. On the other hand, give guys like Krug and Hamilton credit for making the most of their responsibilities. Hamilton showed some of that much-talked-about poise on his pass to Krug on the power play to set up Boston’s second goal.

David Krejci picked up the primary assist on Chara’s goal, which means he now has an NHL-best 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through eight games this postseason.

• Though they didn’t score on it, the Bruins turned in a very strong power play following a Derek Dorsett interference penalty in overtime. The B’s managed six shots on goal during the man advantage — three from Chara and one apiece from Seguin, Hamilton and Jaromir Jagr.

• Once again, the back end was a source of offense for the Bruins. After the B’s got six goals from their defensemen against the Maple Leafs, they got two more Thursday from Chara and Krug.

• Speaking of the Bruins’ D, Bartkowski is just oodles more confident these days than he had been in the past with the Bruins. The same kid who was once too afraid of messing up is skating with the puck, hitting guys and doing everything in between. After losing his stick in the neutral zone, Bartkowski lit up Rick Nash, much to the delight of the crowd. Bartkowski was on the ice for both New York goals, but he’s been a very important part of this team’s defense since stepping in. He was third on the Bruins in time-on-ice in regulation, skating 21:55.

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Torey Krug, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara
Claude Julien: Brad Marchand fine, injured D trio ‘doesn’t look good’ at 11:57 am ET
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Brad Marchand

Following the Bruins’ morning skate, coach Claude Julien said that Brad Marchand will be “there” for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers after leaving the skate early with an apparent injury.

Marchand walked through the B’s dressing room following morning skate and seemed to be in good spirits. He was not limping or noticeably encumbered, though he declined to talk to the media.

“He’ll be fine,” Julien said of Marchand. “He’ll be there tonight.”

Though Marchand did appear to be fine when walking through the room, Carl Soderberg might be the more likely candidate to play in his place than Kaspars Daugavins if Marchand is unable to go. Though Daugavins played in Game 1 of the first round and said he is ready to make a return to the lineup, he stayed out on the ice with the healthy scratches while Soderberg left with the players who figure to be in the lineup.

“First thing that comes to your mind is it sucks when somebody get hurts, first of all,” Daugavins said. “Especially a guy like Marchy who is one of our better players on the team. You know it’s not good for us. Even when you want to play, you don’t want to see your best player go down. It’s tough, but whatever happens happens and you have to be ready just in case they tell you you’re playing. I’m ready. I’m waiting for my chance, and if I go in I’ll do my best.”

As for the trio of injured defensemen, Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andrew Ference (none of whom were there for the morning skate), Julien offered no update but said, “Doesn’t look good.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, Dennis Seidenberg,
Injured defensemen missing, Brad Marchand leaves morning skate early in pain at 10:50 am ET
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Brad Marchand

Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden all were missing from the Bruins’ morning skate prior to Thursday’s opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. Furthermore, left wing Brad Marchand left the ice in pain about 20 minutes into the skate following 2-on-1 drills.

With the trio of defensemen absent (all with undisclosed injuries), the lineup looked as follows prior to Marchand’s exit:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Extra forwards: Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg

Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Extra defenseman: Aaron Johnson

If Marchand is unable to play Thursday, Daugavins would be the most likely choice to replace him in the lineup. Daugavins last played in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Brad Marchand, Dennis Seidenberg,
Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Who can handle’ a determined Milan Lucic? 05.14.13 at 1:06 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Bruins’ historic comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.

Brickley admitted he started questioning his faith in the Bruins when they fell behind by three goals in the third period before rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory.

“My believability was challenged that they could come back once we got close to that 10-minute mark,” Brickley said. “But I will go back to the beginning of the third period. When we were trying to set the stage, we talked about — I think Jack [Edwards] used the phrase ‘final 20 minutes of someone’s season.’ I wasn’t convinced of that. I thought that game would go to overtime. But when it did get 4-1, yeah, I certainly had my doubts. It was creeping in.

“No surprise, though, when you look back at that third period, that a guy like Milan Lucic would spearhead that charge. It’s in his DNA, it’s in his makeup. When he’s that determined, that committed and refuses to lose that attitude, who can handle him?”

When the Bruins started to exert their will late in the third period, the Maple Leafs showed their inexperience.

“Absolutely unchartered water for these guys, and that certainly worked in the Bruins’ favor,” Brickley said. “The minute you start to put a little pressure on a team that’s trying to protect a three-goal lead, and really, because they haven’t been in that closeout situation in the NHL playoffs –  you can be in those positions during the regular season, with a three-goal lead or a two-goal lead in the third period, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it is in the postseason. Especially when you’re playing a team that supposedly, and in all probability, is a superior team to you.

“The minute [Nathan] Horton scores on that great rush up the ice by Lucic, the power move around the net and the nice pass out front, now that doubt seems to creep in. You start sneaking peeks at the clock, you start to watch the clock a little bit. You have the believability in your goaltender, even though he played really well in Game 5 and Game 6, can he handle the onslaught that you know is coming here in the final surge by Boston. And because they don’t have that experience on their resume, you knew that there was a lot of doubt, or at least some level of doubt for the Leafs.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin
Tony Amonte on M&M: For offensively challenged Bruins, ‘It’s in their heads’ 05.13.13 at 1:23 pm ET
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Tony Amonte

Tony Amonte, who provides Bruins analysis for CSNNE, checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the B’s first-round series against the Maple Leafs.

Following their 2-1 loss in Game 6 Sunday night in Toronto, the inconsistent B’s face a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden. Amonte said the Bruins’ failure to rise to the occasion the last two games is a very bad sign.

“You can’t survive that way. You can’t win a Stanley Cup. And that’s the way it’s been the last couple of months for this team,” Amonte said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get on a nighty basis. If you’re going to play that way, especially in the playoffs, you’re not going to go very far.

“Could it be that they’re going to be out tonight? Yeah. If their B club shows up, the minor league team shows up, they’re in trouble, they’re going to lose this game tonight.”

The Bruins had an impressive overtime win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead, but they haven’t been able to close it out after starting slow in the last two games.

“I was surprised,” Amonte said. “Coming off of Game 4, that was probably one of the best games of the playoffs as far as this year out of both teams. The Bruins showed a high-powered offense in that game, pretty strong defensively, Tuukka [Rask] was on his game. So, it seemed like, yeah, they put a dagger in the hearts of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But then to come out in Game 5 in the first period, and Toronto dominated. They turned the switch off and they didn’t play the way they needed to. By the time they got into the game, it was too late again, just like it was last night.

“It’s all about getting out there early, establishing some confidence. For these guys, now it’s in their heads. They’ve got to go out and score goals.”

Looking back at the closing minutes of Friday’s Game 5, Tyler Seguin was getting ice time over David Krejci on the power play despite failing to record a point in the series.

“You’ve got a guy out there basically quarterbacking the power play in Tyler Seguin who has no points and no assists,” Amonte said. “You’ve got a guy that’s got 10 points at that point in time, 10 points in the playoffs, leading the playoffs in scoring, sitting on the bench. From a fan’s perspective, it’s crazy. You have to play the odds. And the odds say Krejci’s going to score a point way before Seguin is ever going to do it.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, David Krejci, Jaromir Jagr
Leafs force Game 7 with dramatic win over Bruins 05.12.13 at 10:37 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask delivered another strong performance, but his Bruins teammates couldn't generate enough offense at the other end in Boston's Game 6 loss. (AP)

TORONTO — It isn’t about eliminating the Leafs any more than it is staying alive now for the Bruins, as Toronto handed them a 2-1 loss in Game 6 Sunday to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

The Bruins, who had a 3-1 series lead, could not get to James Reimer again, as the Toronto goalie allowed just one goal for the second straight game, with the one Boston goal not coming until the final 30 seconds of the game on a Milan Lucic tally.

After the teams skated to a scoreless first two periods, Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf tipped a Nazem Kadri shot past Tuukka Rask at 1:48 of the third period to give the Leafs the lead. Phil Kessel later beat Tyler Seguin to a rebound to extend the lead to two goals, which was too much for the Bruins to overcome given the performance of Reimer.

Game 7 will be played Monday at TD Garden, with the winner facing the victor of the Capitals-Rangers series, which also is tied at three games apiece.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

• Any hockey fan had to smirk at the sound of the “Thank You, Seguin” chants that rang throughout Air Canada Centre following the Kessel goal. With another night without a point, Seguin has now put up a goose egg through the first six games of the playoffs while Kessel has three goals and one assist for four points. Seguin needs to rise to the occasion.

David Krejci had a rough go of it on the shift on which Phaneuf scored. A botched drop-pass in the Toronto zone left the B’s behind as the Leafs took the puck the other way. Furthermore, Krejci was gliding back into the zone and let Kadri get the shot off. Had he been hustling, Krejci likely could have broken up the play by knocking the puck away.

• The Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line had no shots on goal in the first period, with Seguin missing the net on a 3-on-2. Bergeron had a shot on goal late in the first, but it came on the power play and not with his line. Marchand played just 3:49 in the first and registered his first shot on goal in two games late in the second period.

The line came to life early in the second period and had a number of scoring chances, including on one shift in which Bergeron followed a Seguin bid by trying for a wraparound and being stopped by Reimer. On that same shift, a Bergeron slap shot yielded a rebound with lots of open net, but Marchand was battling in front and didn’t see it.

• With Andrew Ference out, Claude Julien inserted Dougie Hamilton into the lineup and broke up the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing in order to have a lefty and righty on each pairing. There was a lot of mixing and matching done on the blue line for the B’s, but Hamilton was used less as the game went on. After playing 4:49 on six shifts in the first period, Hamilton was given only three shifts for 1:31 in the second.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

• For the third straight game, Rask showed up big. Rask made a glove save on a Phaneuf slap shot in the final seconds of the second period to keep it scoreless after shining late in Game 4 and through Game 5. Yes, the Bruins gave up a big series lead against the Leafs, but don’t think this is 2010 all over again for Rask. He’s been one of the B’s most consistent players. The same can’t be said for a lot of guys on this team right now.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, Dougie Hamilton, James Reimer
Brad Marchand: ‘Toronto Stronger’ sign ‘very disrespectful’ 05.07.13 at 6:19 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

TORONTO — On Tuesday, Maple Leafs players stayed away from questions about the “Toronto Stronger” sign that was held up — complete with blue and white ribbon — by a fan prior to and during the Bruins’ Game 3 victory in Toronto. The players said they hadn’t seen the sign, though James van Riemsdyk (a New Jersey native who played college hockey at UNH) said that it isn’t “the best idea” to make a joke about such an issue as sensitive as the Boston Marathon bombings.

Brad Marchand has made a career of saying things that get under players’ skin, but he felt that the sign crossed the line, as it didn’t hurt the Bruins, but a city that has been through a lot.

“I think sometimes fans overreact with things and sometimes go places maybe they don’t need to go. Obviously it’s a very tragic thing that happened. I don’t think anyone should ever take it lightly or make a joke out of it,” Marchand said. “Obviously, people can be very disrespectful, but Boston went though a lot and you saw the respect that every team that we played against after that gave to our city. It’s not about going about going after our guys, our team and putting the team down. It’s more about the city and the people. Everyone reacted the right way about it and gave their respect. If fans want to go the other way then that’s up to them, but it’s not really necessary.”

Claude Julien also found the sign insensitive but pointed out that fans can be that way during the playoffs, noting that a fan in a Leafs jersey was knocked out at TD Garden after Toronto’s Game 2 win.

“Playoffs bring a lot of passion to the fans and rightfully so, and those things are things that happen,” Julien said. “There was an incident in Boston that unfortunately happened to a Leaf fan, and last night’s sign, to me, had nothing to do with hockey. ‘Boston Strong’ is about something that struck our city, not our team and maybe it’s a little sensitive for the Boston people. Those kind of things happen in the playoffs and the best and sometimes the worst comes out of the passion of our game. That’s all I can say about that situation. It’s maybe a little sensitive for the city of Boston more than it is for our hockey club.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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