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Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Montreal doesn’t have an answer for Carl Soderberg’ 05.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Canadiens. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

The Bruins took a 3-2 series lead on Saturday by defeating the Canadiens by a score of 4-2 in Game 5 at TD Garden. Four skaters scored for Boston, while Tukka Rask recorded 31 saves in the contest.

“€œThe Boston Bruins played a tremendous game. They had a good start, they had tremendous supplemental offense from the third line, which Montreal doesn’t have an answer for, with Carl Soderberg, Matt Fraser and obviously Loui Eriksson,” McGuire said. ‘€œTheir penalty killing was very solid until the P.K. Subban ripper.

“I thought, quite frankly, that it was Boston playing a very good game and Montreal not playing up to their normal level because Boston didn’t allow it.”

Soderberg was particularly impressive in Boston’€™s last game, scoring his first goal of the postseason and adding two assists in the win. McGuire said that Soderberg’€™s size and playmaking ability has caused problems for Montreal throughout this series.

“€œAs a smaller team, Montreal doesn’t have an answer for Carl Soderberg,” McGuire said. “If you’re going to win a series, you need to have an X-factor player — someone that doesn’t get canceled out. The X-factor player so far in this series has been Carl Soderberg.”

Added McGuire: “Montreal doesn’t have an answer size-wise and skilled-wise for the depth of the Boston Bruins lineup. That’€™s the biggest issue that’€™s haunting them.”

Boston has the tall task of eliminating Montreal in the Habs’€™ home, the Bell Centre. The Canadiens posted a 23-13-5 record during the regular season and sit at 3-1 this postseason when playing in the friendly confines of their home arena.

“€œ[The Bruins are] a different team when they play here,”€ McGuire said. “€œThey play a much smarter brand in terms of penalty management. … They play a more physical, attacking style in Boston, they’€™re really comfortable playing and they want to provide that for their fans. When they go on the road, they want to take the crowd out of it and I thought they did a really great job in Game 4 in taking the crowd out of it and taking P.K. Subban out of it.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On the potential return of Dennis Seidenberg in the Eastern Conference finals: “I had a really nice visit with Dennis on Saturday night before the game. I would say that there’s a very good chance, if the Bruins were to progress, that he would be back for that next round.”

 On what Matt Fraser has brought to the third line over the last two games: “[He brings] better board play and the ability to maintain a cycle and dominate the defense and put duress on Carey Price because of that cycle play. … He can shoot the puck. He can shoot the puck from in tight and elevate it or he can shoot the puck from about 20 feet and get it there with a lot of velocity, so that makes a difference.”

On Shawn Thornton spraying Subban with water during Game 5: “As soon as the play was blown dead, I saw that [Subban] was angry and that there was some water on his visor. … Obviously, it was Shawn. He pays a price, he pays the fine. … I don’€™t think it’€™s that big of a deal, quite frankly.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Matt Fraser, Montreal Canadiens
Third line first-rate for Bruins as they are ‘playing smart and simple’ against Canadiens 05.11.14 at 8:33 am ET
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Keep it simple.

It’s a time-tested cliche in sports and the Bruins third line is proving that it’s also a very effective way to finally get through the Canadiens’ wall of defense and establish the style of play needed to advance.

Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist while Matt Fraser added an assist to help the Bruins build a 3-0 lead on their way to a 4-2 win Saturday night in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series against the Canadiens at TD Garden.

The third line was responsible for the only goal of Game 4 as Fraser scored within the first two minutes of overtime on a rebound from a shot by Soderberg. Since being down 2-1, the Bruins re-worked third line has single-handedly turned the Canadiens and the series around.

“We’€™re playing really good. We’€™re playing smart and simple and making good plays and we’€™re getting some really good chances out there. So, it definitely feels good. We have to keep doing that,” Eriksson said. “I thought in the game the other night we played really well, too. It was nice that we kept going in this game and I thought we played a really good game. So, it was definitely nice.”

“We are pretty good team to play with a league and they are, too,” said Soderberg, who was wearing the winner’s jacket on the dais postgame. “So I think in four of five games, the first goal scorers have won the game. It’€™s always important, especially in the second and third.”

Since Chris Kelly went down late in the regular season, the Bruins have been searching for an answer on the third line. They tried Justin Florek, who had a measure of success against the Red Wings in the opening round. But before Game 4 in Montreal, Peter Chiarelli decided to call up Fraser, who along with Reilly Smith and Eriksson, is yet another product of the Tyler Seguin trade.

“Yeah, I play with whoever Coach [Julien] wants to play with me. But right now since Fraz [Matt Fraser] came in and he scored the game winner last game and it seems like he is fitting in pretty well with our line. Loui [Eriksson] and I, I think we have played good the whole playoffs but we haven’€™t scored so it is a good both of us scored,” Soderberg said of the line chemistry.

“It always takes [time] — with [Chris] Kelly we had before, it took like 10 games, 15 games to get the chemistry together but then it was all set. Loui [Eriksson] and I had that chemistry for a long time and now we have changed the third guy in our line and, I don’€™t know. It seems like Fras [Matt Fraser] is a pretty good option there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser
Bruins beat Canadiens in Game 5 to take 3-2 series lead 05.10.14 at 9:45 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk of the Bruins fights for the puck with Montreal's Tomas Plekanec. (AP)

Johnny Boychuk of the Bruins fights for the puck with Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec. (AP)

The Bruins’ third line struck again as the B’s took a 3-2 series lead over the Canadiens with a 4-2 Game 5 victory Saturday at TD Garden.

Carl Soderberg scored his first career playoff goal and had a pair of assists for the Bruins. He opened the game’s scoring, taking a pass from Loui Eriksson and a firing a shot stick-side high shot on Carey Price that went off the Montreal goaltender’s blocker and in at 12:30 of the first period. The first period saw eight penalties called between the two teams, with less than half of the period being played five-on-five.

The Bruins got a pair of power play goals in a span of 22 seconds in the second period, first with Reilly Smith redirecting a Dougie Hamilton shot and then with a wide open Jarome Iginla taking a feed from Torey Krug and beating Price to make it 3-0.

Tuukka Rask‘s shutout streak, which dated back to Dale Weise‘s breakaway goal in the second period of Game 3, ended when Tomas Plekanec fired a shot from the left circle during a Montreal penalty that went off Brendan Gallagher and in. Rask’s streak had lasted 1:22:06.

Loui Eriksson made it 4-1 at 14:12, getting to the puck in front after Matt Fraser fired a shot from the half wall that yielded a big rebound. P.K. Subban scored during six-on-four play with Matt Bartkowski in the box for his second holding penalty of the game at 2:29.

The Bruins will be able to close out the Habs as soon as Monday at the Bell Centre in Game 6. The B’s held a 3-2 lead in the teams’ 2011 postseason meeting but dropped Game 6 by a 2-1 score in Montreal before eventually winning the series in seven games.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- That’s now two straight games in which Soderberg’s line has cashed in with Montreal’s third pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver on the ice. Taking advantage with the ever slow Murray on the ice should be a key to victory as long as Michel Therrien keeps the veteran defenseman in his lineup.

- The Bruins finally scored on the power play, ending a drought that had seen them go 0-for-10 at the start of the series. The goal featured a beauty of a pass from Torey Krug that got past Brian Gionta to Iginla. There were obviously coverage issues for Montreal to have left Iginla that wide open, but Gionta should have been able to get a stick on the pass to break it up.

- The Canadiens have to be in how-do-we-solve-Rask mode at this point, which is a fine turn of events after much the first eight periods of the series suggested the Bruins would be hard-pressed to solve Price. Rask stopped Max Pacioretty on a partial breakaway in the first period and stopped David Desharnais after the Montreal center took a stretch pass off a line change.

Rask even had his very own Tim Thomas moment, as he punched Plekanec in the hard after the Montreal center went hard to the net for a centering feed from Brian Gionta. The Bruins goaltender was penalized earlier in the period for batting the puck over the glass.

- One of the first things you should know about Fraser is that he has one of the best shots in the entire organization. The B’s didn’t see much of Fraser putting the puck on net during his 14 NHL games this regular season, however. The 23-year-old only had one shot on goal in Game 5, but it did major damage in yielding the rebound that led to Eriksson’s goal. Fraser had an opportunity in the high slot earlier but fired it wide of the net.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- In a development that few could have seen coming entering the series, the Bruins are taking a bunch of penalties at home despite being penalized only once in each game played in Montreal. Boston gave Montreal four power plays through the first two periods, and it could have been worse had Marchand gotten something extra for taking a whack at Eller after his penalty was called.

Bartkowski took a pair of holding penalties in Game 5, which gives him four this series and five penalties this series.

In scoring during Marchand’s penalty and Bartkowski’s second, the Habs have now scored six power play goals at the Garden this series with no power play goals at the Bell Centre.

- There was a brief scare for Johnny Boychuk on Plekanec’s penalty, as the Montreal center’s stick appeared to hit Boychuk in the throat area as Boychuk went to hit him. Boychuk was holding his chin/throat area after the play, but he stayed in the game, with Iginla’s goal coming on Plekanec’s penalty.

- Smith hit another post for the Bruins in the first period, which, if you’ve been counting how many times the Bruins have done that this series, means you’ve counted to a high numbers. Posts and missed nets on non-redirected shots usually means you’re going up a good goalie and you have to pick your spots well to beat him.

Read More: Bruins, Canadiens, Carey Price, Carl Soderberg
Bruins prepare for Game 5 vs. Canadiens at 11:40 am ET
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Milan Lucic was the only absence from the Bruins’ morning skate Saturday, though different players have been kept off the ice for practices and morning skates throughout the postseason for rest’s sake.

Lucic skated Friday and was spotted in the Bruins’ dressing room after Saturday’s skate, so it’s best to assume that the player was simply taking his option, as Carl Soderberg did Thursday before playing in Game 4.

All other players were on the ice for the B’s, including Dennis Seidenberg. The veteran defenseman has still yet to take contact as he tries to work his way back from a torn ACL/MCL.

Game 5 of the second round against the Canadiens will be played Saturday night at TD Garden. The series is tied, 2-2.

 

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Dennis Seidenberg, Milan Lucic,
Carl Soderberg is playing; Claude Julien was just playin’ with Bruins lines 05.08.14 at 12:48 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Carl Soderberg was absent from the Bruins’ morning skate Thursday, but Claude Julien said that the player simply “took his option” and will be available to the team for Game 4 against the Canadiens.

Matt Fraser was on the ice after joining the team in Montreal Wednesday night. It is unknown whether the sharp-shooting 23-year-old will be in the lineup or where he will play.

Julien offered only this: “We’re going to make some game-time decisions as far as our roster’s concerned, guys.”

Now for the fun part. Julien, who is extremely secretive with what he reveals to the media during the postseason, had a bit of a chuckle making his lines for Thursday’s skate, and the result was a group of forward lines that has absolutely no shot of seeing time together when the puck is dropped. The lines were:

Milan LucicPatrice Bergeron – Loui Eriksson
Daniel PailleDavid Krejci – Reilly Smith
Brad MarchandGregory Campbell – Jarome Iginla
Matt Fraser – Jordan Caron – Shawn Thornton

Julien was asked after the morning skate if he was serious with his morning skate lines. Julien indicated he wasn’t, which pretty much should have gone without saying.

“Oh, I think it just gives you guys something to write about so you don’t get bored,” Julien said. “Then tonight I can decide whether I want to stick with those or put my lines back to what I want.”

The Boston coach was then asked why he went with silly lines.

“I think you’re overthinking, honestly,” Julien said. “We have fun with things sometimes and that’s all we’re doing right now. We’re OK. We’re just having fun with things. If you guys want to write about that stuff, that’s fine, but we’re OK in there. We’re just focusing on our game.”

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

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Claude Julien, Matt Fraser,
Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins say they ‘have another gear’ to their game 03.19.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.

“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,”€ Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’€™re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’€™re winning games because we’€™re playing team hockey, and we’€™re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”

Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.

“€œHe’€™s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”

The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL. One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘really becoming a well-oiled machine’ 03.14.14 at 1:24 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss how the Bruins are playing after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

After defeating the Coyotes, 2-1, Thursday night, the Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak.

“They’€™re strong,” McGuire said. “They really are tight as a group. They haven’€™t messed with the integrity of their roster. Their defensive-zone posture’€™s getting better and better all the time. I think Andrej Meszaros is going to fill in well with Zdeno Chara. He’€™s going to help the power play as well.

“They’ve done a lot of things well there in Boston for a long period of time now, and when you watch them play you get the sense that this is a group that’s really becoming a well-oiled machine.”

During that span of time, Carl Soderberg has played at center while Chris Kelly has made the move to wing.

“The way Chris Kelly has been able to move over to wing rather than being center so Carl Soderberg, who is much more comfortable playing center, can play center — I think you’ve seen Soderberg really start to rise, and Kelly’€™s been a great trooper handling the assignment moving from center to wing,” McGuire said.

“People always want to talk about the young star, they don’€™t want to talk about the old guy that’€™s moved over to accommodate this, and obviously the extra ice helps Soderberg a lot, and not having to play on the boards helps him a lot, but Chris Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this. He really does. I think he’€™s done valiant work.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug sitting out: “I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think it’€™s about one person or two persons. … I think it’€™s about the way the team needs to play. One of the things you try to do too is keep your roster competitive at this time of year and have guys fighting for ice so that everybody stays fresh but everybody stays focused. I like the way the Bruins are handling things. Is it easy to watch Dougie Hamilton sit out back-to-back games? No, because I think Dougie’s starting to make significant progress in his career. Is it easy to see Krug sit out? No, it’s not. But, again, this is part of having a competitive, deep roster, and that’s one of the things I admire so much about the Bruins.”

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug
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