|Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens||04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
‘I’ve been with him for a while,’ Ryder said of Julien. ‘Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
‘You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’ Ryder said. ‘Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
‘I’m happy for Rydes,’ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.’
|Andrew Ference denies giving Canadiens fans ‘the finger’||04.21.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Following their Game 4 win over the Canadiens, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference denied any intention of making an obscene gesture at Habs fans following his second-period goal. Following his tally, which at the time made it a 3-2 game, the veteran was caught on camera giving the middle finger to the crowd.
‘Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,’ Ference said following the win. ‘I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks. You guys have covered me long enough to know that that’s not part of my repertoire.
‘I was putting my fist in the air,’ he added. ‘I’m sorry it does look awful. I just saw it.’
Ference can be fined up to $2,500 for the gesture.
‘Honestly, I have no idea,’ he said of whether he’ll pay for it. ‘It looks really bad, but all I can do is tell you the truth and that’s the truth.’
Coach Claude Julien said in his postgame press conference that he had not seen the play.
MONTREAL — Claude Julien doesn’t like to share certain things in press conferences. Questions about the lineup or goaltending are generally met with something along the lines of a short, “I guess we’ll see tonight.” On Thursday, however, Julien decided to share his sense of humor.
Following the Bruins’ morning skate, a reporter asked Julien if he saw a difference in the overall mindset of the team following their trip to Lake Placid this week. The usually serious Julien saw the opportunity and took it.
“Yeah, I saw a miracle, in case you’re looking for that word,” Julien said, referencing the 1980 Miracle on Ice and causing an eruption of laughter from the packed room of reporters and cameramen.
“No,” he continued. “I think we just went there and wanted to go and relax and have some quality practices. We weren’t looking for any miracles, we just thought that was a good place for the team to be. We went out on the ice and skated the same way we skated the last time we were here.”
“Thanks,” the reporter said, to which an amused Julien shot back, “you’re welcome.”
“We all got our quote,” another reporter mused. “We can leave now.”
|Milan Lucic and the postseason expectations of a 30-goal scorer||04.19.11 at 6:17 pm ET|
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The playoffs are a time when the top talent can take over a series. Teams know which guys to account for, and the big-time goal-scorers are at or near the top of the list of guys who can change a series.
When Milan Lucic scored 30 goals in the regular season, perhaps he entered that class of players expected to do big things in the postseason. Given that he also had nine points in each of the last two postseasons, Lucic also had high expectations for himself as the Eastern Conference quarterfinals began.
So far, Lucic is the only member of the Bruins’ top line without a goal in the playoffs, as David Krejci and Nathan Horton scored the B’s first two goals in Monday’s 4-2 victory in Game 3 at the Bell Centre.
Once a player reaches the 30-goal mark in the regular mark, does he suddenly feel a responsibility to be a reliable producer? Lucic said that everyone puts pressure on themselves come the postseason, but admitted Tuesday that this time around he does expect more of himself.
“For myself, I think the first two games, I put almost too much pressure on myself to go out there and score,” Lucic said Tuesday at Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center. “For myself, my game, if I just simplify it and just go out there and play and just focus on just straight lines and getting pucks in deep, everything tends to take care of itself.”
Lucic was a minus-1 in each of the series’ first two games. Things seemed to be getting worse Monday when he stole the puck from P.K. Subban in the neutral zone, but got barely anything on his shot on the breakaway that ensued. The Habs brought it down the ice after the play and got on the board thanks to Andrei Kostitsyn maneuvering around Zdeno Chara and beating Tim Thomas. Instead of potentially being 4-0, it was 3-1 and the crowd made its presence felt once again. Lucic’s play improved over the rest of the game, though, and given the way things seem to be trending with his linemates, coach Claude Julien hopes Lucic will begin seeing some statistical output.
“He was better last night. If his linemates are starting to roll, usually he follows up or vice versa,” Julien said. “When those guys start playing, usually the other guys catch up to them. I’m expecting him to get even better, and we’re going to need him to be better if he expect to win this series.”
|Claude Julien not a believer in momentum||at 3:55 pm ET|
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — If you think that momentum can change a series, there is at least one thing that you and Claude Julien do not have in common.
Speaking Tuesday at Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center, the Bruins coach said he wasn’t concerned about the Habs grabbing momentum in the first two games at TD Garden more than he was about getting the team’s first win of the postseason. The victory finally came Monday in 4-2 fashion.
“The thing is, we felt that we needed to win yesterday,” Julien said. “We never talked about them having momentum, we just needed to play better. That’s the way I see it as well. Everybody might see it differently. I’m not a big guy about momentum more than it’s game per game. You’ve got to come back next game and realize that you’re still down 2-1 in the series. You have to be ready, because they will.”
The Bruins will return to the Bell Centre Thursday for Game 4.
|Claude Julien sees Scott Gomez/Chris Kelly play as being similar to Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty incident||at 3:44 pm ET|
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — In the first period of Monday night’s 4-2 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, Rich Peverley missed with a shot on a 3-on-1 opportunity. While Peverley wasn’t able to hit the net, his linemate in Chris Kelly was thanks to a shove from Scott Gomez that sent him into Carey Price‘s goal.
Gomez was given a minor for interference on the play, and while it may have looked worse than it was, Claude Julien had an interesting comparison in addressing the perception of it.
“Well, he got a penalty for interference. I would say, to be honest with you, it’s a little bit of the Zdeno Chara hit on [Max] Pacioretty,” Julien said. “It’s a hit that turned out badly. I think in Kelly’s case, it was interference [on Gomez], but I don’t think he meant to push him in the net or [have him] go head-first into the post.”
Chara was tossed from the March 8 meeting between the Bruins and Habs when he hit Pacioretty into a stanchion. There was no punishment from the league, and Chara stressed that it was not his intention to hurt the Habs forward on what ended up being an interference call. Asked whether the Gomez play should warrant a second look from the league, Julien took the same stance Chara did last month.
“You’ve got to understand that there are parts of the game that the result of what happens is not necessarily the intention. Was it a penalty? Absolutely, but I don’t think there was any intent to injure there,” Julien said. “Thankfully, our player came out of it OK. It’s not something you like to see, and thank God he had a visor which certainly helped take the blow away a title bit. Still, it was a very dangerous play.”
|Whether or not the big man plays, Bruins will have to block out big-time crowd noise||04.18.11 at 1:34 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bell Centre is going to be roaring for Monday night’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Given that the Habs have taken the first two games of the series against the rival Bruins, the crowd noise should be plenty loud, and that’s without factoring in the possibility of Montreal villain Zdeno Chara playing.
If things get as loud as they’re expected to, it could actually impact the game in how players communicate with one another. Unable to hear over all the hoopla, calling to teammates suddenly becomes a much more of an intended yell.
“That happens a lot during a game,” Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said after the Canadiens’ morning skate. “I guess it will happen more often if they’re cheering or boring more often when someone’s on the ice. Even if you get a rush chance, everyone gets excited and on their feet. Sometimes you can’t hear a guy and things of that nature because the fans get loud. Players are pretty used to that kind of thing.”
The Bruins are at enough of a disadvantage playing in the Bell Centre down two games to none, so the crowd noise seems to be the least of their concerns. Either way, they know it’s there.
“If you’re close enough — and you may have to talk a little louder than normal — but normally it’s not too bad, but it definitely is a loud atmosphere,” B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid said Monday. “When you’re down on the ice, you just kind of have to speak over it.”
McQuaid has never played in Montreal in the postseason, but did admit that he “can only imagine what it will be like tonight.”
If Chara plays, he can expect perhaps the heftiest booing of his career, as long as Habs fans can top some of their personal bests. Should he be in the lineup Monday, the crowd will get its first crack at the Boston captain since he was ejected for shoving forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion on March 8. Much like the rest of the crowd noise, the B’s will have to block out any pointed jeers as well.
“That doesn’t matter,” Claude Julien said of the reception Chara would get if he plays. “I think what matters to us right now is what is at stake in this game. No matter what happens, you have to play through those things. We’re all aware of that and guys are professional enough.
“I don’t know if there is a rink Zdeno doesn’t get booed in, certainly not because of what happened, but because of the realization of the impact he has on the game and the difference he can make in game situations. He’s a big man, he’s a strong guy that we rely on a lot and he’s a big part of our team. I think other buildings realize that.”