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How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning 05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.

After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.

But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘€” two in garbage time ‘€” in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”

“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”

Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.

There was nothing from Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolay Zherdev, an injury-slowed Jeff Carter, a nicked-up Chris Pronger and Scott Hartnell. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Danny Briere
Claude Julien knows ‘toughest games are yet to come’ as Bruins seek Lord Stanley at 1:15 am ET
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As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.

“Well, it’€™s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’€™s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.

“I thought we played extremely well. It’€™s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’€™s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”

The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Adam McQuaid skates, doing better 05.06.11 at 5:56 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid took the ice Friday morning, according to coach Claude Julien. McQuaid has been out with a sprained neck since leaving Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in the first period after crashing head-first into the boards attempting to hit Mike Richards.

“He’s getting better,” Julien said of McQuaid. “He skated this morning, and things are looking positive.”

Shane Hnidy filled in for McQuaid in Game 3, playing 2:38. He will be in the lineup again for Game 4.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Adam McQuaid, Claude Julien, Mike Richards
Claude Julien: Bruins ‘not sitting comfortable by any means’ 05.05.11 at 1:46 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien has had to note time and time again that his team is not the same club that blew a 3-0 series lead against he Flyers a season ago. Now up three games to none on Philadelphia, Julien stressed following Thursday’s practice that the B’s are by no means relaxing with the lead.

“This is a group that feels like it has to continue playing the way it has been, and we’re a determined group right now,” Julien said. “We’re certainly not sitting comfortable by any means. We never have, whether it was the last round or whatever.

“We have the right mindset, I think, as we speak, and we know the [importance] of tomorrow’s game and what it means. We’ll be prepared for that.”

The Bruins can sweep the series Friday at TD Garden. Should they eliminate Philadelphia, the B’s will host the Lightning in Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien,
Steven Kampfer still coming along, Adam McQuaid getting better for Bruins at 1:21 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer, who began skating this week for the first time since sustaining a knee injury on April 9 in an AHL game, still isn’t ready to return to the lineup. At any rate, he’s just happy to be back on the ice. On Thursday he practiced with the team for the first time since the injury.

“It’s good to get back out there. It’s been long couple of weeks sitting by and watching, but it’s good to get back out there skating and skating with the guys especially,” Kampfer said Thursday. “It’s definitely a perk. It’s moving ahead, but it’s always slow [progression] at this time.

“I’ve still go to talk to the doctors and everything. I’m just kind of cleared just to skate around to test and see how everything is. The flow drills are I’ve been cleared for, so I’ve got to see the doctors again before we make any decisions.”

As for how he feels out on the ice, Kampfer said that he still feels “the occasional pull,” but that he “wouldn’t be out there if everything wasn’t OK.”

Kampfer spent about a day and a half on crutches after a knee-on-knee collision with a Springfield Falcons player while on an assignment to Providence to get some playing time. General manager Peter Chiarelli figured at the time that the rookie defenseman would be out for “at least two weeks,” and just less than a month later, he remains out. Coach Claude Julien likes the progress he’s seen, but doesn’t expect to see Kampfer being in a position to jump in the lineup if need be just yet.

“We had no contact in our drills, so [Thursday] was a very good skate for him. We’re moving forward as we’re being told by our medical staff,” Julien said after the practice. “He’s looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he’s not ready.”

Had Kampfer been healthy, it’s possible he could have played in a pair of playoff games to this point. He was going to be healthy scratch for the start of the playoffs, but with Zdeno Chara missing Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens and Adam McQuaid out with a sprained neck, Shane Hnidy has gotten the call to fill in twice. Kampfer, who played in 38 regular season games, isn’t trying to think about what could have been.

“You can think about it, but at the same time, we have eight capable guys who can play. I thought Hnidy did a great job. That’s why we have depth and why this team is so strong. We have guys who can fill in at any time. It’s a good situation that we have eight D that are ready to go. Obviously it was an unfortunate incident that happened to Adam, but it looks like everything’s going to be OK.”

As for McQuaid,the 24-year-old defenseman did not skate Thursday and remains day-to-day. Julien noted that he has been encouraged by how he’s come along since leaving Game 2 after spraining his neck trying to hit Mike Richards.

“He is definitely getting better,” Julien said. “I know we are still saying day-to-day, but there is improvement in him and we are getting very optimistic that things are going to happen quicker than later. Right now we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well, and hopefully we will have better news here in the next few days.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Adam McQuaid, Claude Julien, Shane Hnidy
Why Tim Thomas vs. James van Riemsdyk is the best show in this series 05.04.11 at 11:15 am ET
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One player nearly evened the series by himself. The other put on perhaps the best pressure goaltending performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs.

James van Riemsdyk had to settle for scoring twice and watching his Flyers fall into another 2-0 hole against the Bruins while dominating every shift he was on the ice.

Tim Thomas saved 52 of 54 shots, including all 10 in overtime, as he single-handedly made sure van Riemsdyk and the Flyers came to Boston in another desperate situation.

Tonight, the two of them will be asked by their teammates to keep it up in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Looking back at Game 2, there were several moments that could have put an entirely different perspective on Game 3 tonight. If JVR beats Thomas with six minutes remaining in regulation on a break in on net, the Flyers win. If JVR beats Thomas on a phenomenal shot off a faceoff with just over four seconds remaining in regulation, the Flyers win. If Thomas doesn’t make a save on Philly’s No. 21 on a clean look from the left circle 10 minutes into OT, the Flyers win.

Thomas was ready for every possible scenario on Monday, including that dramatic end of regulation, which also saw Danny Briere miss by a hair of putting Thomas’ save on van Riemsdyk into the net for the game-winner.

‘€œThis is one of the most dangerous faceoff teams in the offensive zone or our defensive zone that we play against,” Thomas said. “They have a lot of different things that they do. They actually already scored once this series in the first game on a play. So I knew even with a few seconds left that the faceoff could be dangerous.

“The way it worked out it came off the faceoff and for just a second there it went behind a screen for me and I found it just as the guy was throwing the first shot to the net but I saw it so late that I couldn’€™t control the rebound. I saw the rebound go over to Danny Briere’€™s feet and in that one hundredth of a second I thought it might be over because he’€™s one of those guys that gets them and you know. He fumbled it for just a second, just long enough for Seidenberg to dive over and block one. I was still waiting for that buzzer and I don’€™t know if by the time it hit me if the buzzer had gone off or not but it was relief when the buzzer happened.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, James Van Riemsdyk
Tim Thomas and the Bruins know ‘It’s better to be on this end’ at 6:57 am ET
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The Bruins and Flyers are back in Boston for Game 3 tonight at TD Garden (7 p.m.) and there’s no extended wait between Games 2 and 3 like there is with the Celtics and Heat. And that’s probably a good thing on many levels for the Bruins.

There’s little time to think about being up two games in the series, having dominated the Flyers in pretty much every aspect of the game – except the power play, of course. There’s little time to answer questions about what it’s like being on the flip side of the 2-0 equation just one series after wiping out the deficit and beating the Canadiens in seven games.

These Bruins aren’t about to complain about being up two games despite losing to the Flyers in a similar position last year and overcoming the 0-2 hole in the last round.

‘€œWell it’€™s good to be on the other side this round,” Game 2 hero David Krejci said. “We can control our own things and bring it back to our building. We are going to use our fans as our seventh player and just go out there and take it game by game. Hopefully we can win the third one and go from there.’€

‘€œLike Dave said, it’€™s better to be on this end,” added Tim Thomas, who stopped 52 of 54 shots Monday, including all 10 in OT. “We do know from the way that we were able to come back last series though that a 2-0 lead in a series doesn’€™t mean that the series is over. We still have a lot of work in front of us. As long as we take the same approach one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time I think that’€™s the right approach. So that’€™s the way we will approach it going forward.’€

2010 met 2011 in the post-game following Game 2 when a reporter asked Bruins coach Claude Julien if he realizes how tenuous a two-game lead can be. Sure, it’s a great spot to be in heading home but the Bruins know what the Canadiens did.

‘€œWell, you know, it is a nice position to be in, especially when you win the first two on the road,” Julien said. “There is no doubt that it is the perfect scenario for the first two games on the road, but we are not thinking about that. We are thinking about this year. Probably half the players were not even here last year, so we can bring up whatever we want. Our goal here is to focus on what is happening this year. What happened last year is last year, so it hasn’€™t really been on our minds. We have absolutely learned from that. We are using those kinds of things as a learning tool.

‘€œThey took a two to nothing lead and we never gave up. I believe teams that make is this far are teams that have a lot of character. We know they are not going to give up, and we know has what happened with this team. They are capable of bouncing back just as they did in the last round, so we have to be ready for them. We need to understand that the second half of tonight’€™s game was not good enough for this hockey club. We hold ourselves responsible for higher standards, and we are going to have to be better.’€

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, David Krejci
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