|Tony Amonte on M&M: For offensively challenged Bruins, ‘It’s in their heads’||05.13.13 at 1:23 pm ET|
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.”
“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.”
|Bruins Thursday notes: Nathan Horton OK, David Krejci loves being ‘unpredictable’ and Tuukka Rask ‘in the zone’||05.09.13 at 3:46 pm ET|
The Bruins held an optional skate on Thursday at TD Garden, with optional being the key word. David Krejci and Dougie Hamilton were among several Bruins in the tunnel outside their dressing room playing soccer but other than that there was no on-ice activity as the Bruins rest after their Game 4 victory over the Leafs that leaves them one win from the second round.
Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Nathan Horton is OK after taking a vicious body blow on a forecheck from Dion Phaneuf that led to Krejci’s game-winner in overtime Wednesday night. Horton is expected to be ready and play Game 5 Friday night at TD Garden.
Julien covered a number of topics on Thursday, including the play of Krejci, the nerves of steel of Tuukka Rask and what makes the Bruins so much fun to coach at this time of year.
Here were his answers in Thursday’s Q & A with reporters at TD Garden.
On if after the game he realized how good of a game last night was: “Yes, I do. I said it [Wednesday] night, I said it this morning to the guys. It shouldn’t be looked at who’s an experience team, who’s a young team, who’s this, who’s that; it should be viewed as two teams playing really good hockey right now. There’s a lot of teams that Leafs squad would have beat playing the way they did and we’re, when I say fortunate, that we played well enough and found a way to score that overtime goal to get that win, because it was a real good game that could have gone either way.”
On the mentality heading into a possible clinching game: “You’ve got to play your best game because we know how hard it to close. That’s the thing you hope your players realize extremely well after all the experiences we’ve had throughout the years. We now know how hard it is to close and no reason for us to come out tomorrow and not play as hard, if not harder, than we did last night.
On how important it is to come out hard and set a tone Friday night: “No matter what, we came out, I thought we came out well last night and we were down 2-0. It wasn’t because we didn’t have a good period, it was circumstances that one was a bit of a missed assignment, but a nice good goal on their part. The other one was just an unfortunate break on our part because Tuukka [Rask] was screened until the last second. I really felt we played well enough and came out in the second and regained ourselves and got ourselves back in the game.
“It’s just a matter of making sure you’re ready, you know how hard to start. Everybody says, ‘Well, you’ve got to come out hard,’ both teams have to come out hard. The most important thing is you’ve got to be ready to play, not just a period, or have a good start, but play the whole
game, not just in a physical way, but a mental way.”
On if the other lines are way behind the David Krejci line right now: “I think it’s pretty obvious that that the line is leading the way right now. Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] scores a goal last night, it as on the power play. I think Bergy’s played well, I thought Tyler [Seguin] played extremely well here in Boston and that line was actually good, but I don’t think Tyler played his best, and neither did Brad [Marchand], in Toronto. They’ve got a chance to redeem themselves here, but the other lines have, at some point, produced, as well. But Krejci’s line is, no doubt, the dominant line, I think that’s the biggest thing. We saw that ‘ I feel like I’m repeating myself ‘ a few years back when I thought [Chris] Kelly, [Rich] Peverley, and [Michael] Ryder were a dominant in the Montreal series, and then other lines picked it up afterwards. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of always having somebody doing something to help us win hockey games and, so far, that’s what’s been happening.”
On what changes occur in Krejci’s game when the postseason comes around: “Well, some people like playing in these situations and we’ve seen those in the past from other players on other teams. He’s a playoff performer, he loves the intensity, the excitement of it. He comes up big in those kinds of situations. It’s always nice to have those kinds of players on your team and, so far, David’s always been a good playoff performer for us. It’s a good thing he’s on our team.”
On what it is about Tuukka Rask’s temperament that allows him to shine in situations like overtime: “Well, I think right now that Tuukka is calm, he’s in the zone, he’s not getting too high, not getting too low. All he wants to do is stop the puck. He’s been pretty good and he is temperamental at times, we’ve seen that side of it, too, when he’s not happy with either a situation or himself. But at the same time, right now, he understands how important it is to stay focused and he’s done a great job of that.”
On how much more dangerous Krejci is when he is shooting the puck: “It makes him unpredictable. When he’s not shooting and he’s not, maybe, at the top of his game, often you’ll see him looking to pass, now he’s taking whatever is given to him; sometimes it’s a pass, sometimes it’s a shot. He’s confident. Right now, everything about David is good; he’s been good on draws, he’s been good at scoring goals, he’s making great plays, he’s involved in the gritty areas, he’s been physical, he’s been all around such a great player. That’s what makes him good. Maybe, everybody would like to see him do that for 82 games, unfortunately, that’s not the case.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Postgame notes after Bruins beat Leafs, 4-3, in OT in Game 4||05.08.13 at 10:50 pm ET|
Courtesy of the Bruins, here are some key postgame notes in the wake of Boston’s 4-3 overtime win in Toronto on Wednesday night.
‘¢ The Bruins now have a 13-15 lifetime record in Game 4s of best-of-seven series in which they entered with a 2-1 series lead.
‘¢ Their Game 5 record when leading a best-of-seven series 3-1 is 9-8 and they are 15-2 overall in best-of-seven series in which they
have led 3-1.
‘¢ The Maple Leafs now have an 18-12 lifetime record in Game 4s of best-of-seven series in which they entered trailing the series 1-2.
‘¢ Their Game 5 record when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-3 is 4-10 and they are 1-13 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 3-1.
‘¢ The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs by a 4-3 score in the first overtime game of this series. It was the second career playoff overtime goal for David Krejci and completed his second career playoff hat trick.
‘¢ The Bruins played their 118th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 50-65-3 record in those games. It was their 63rd on the road and that record now stands at 23-38-2.
‘¢ The Maple Leafs played their 108th lifetime playoff overtime game and they now have a 55-52-1 record in those games. It was their 68th on home ice and that record now stands at 36-32-1.
‘¢ This was the 17th playoff overtime game between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, with Toronto now holding an 11-6 record in the previous 16 contests.
|David Krejci’s hat trick puts Leafs on brink of elimination||at 10:25 pm ET|
TORONTO — David Krejci scored the third goal of a hat trick at 13:06 of overtime to give the Bruins a 4-3 win and put the Bruins, who now hold a 3-1 series lead, a win away from closing out the Leafs as the teams head to Boston for Game 5.
The Maple Leafs took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Joffrey Lupul and Cody Franson. The Bruins came back to take the lead in the second period thanks to a power-play goal from Patrice Bergeron and a pair of goals from Krejci, the second of which also came on the man advantage. The Maple Leafs answered Krejci’s go-ahead goal quickly, with Clarke MacArthur tying the game just 44 seconds later. The teams skated to a scoreless third period in which Toronto outshot Boston, 14-7. The Leafs held a 37-36 shots on goal advantage in regulation.
Tuukka Rask made 45 saves, while James Reimer stopped 41 pucks.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢ Milan Lucic kept up his impressive pace this postseason by picking up his eighth assist of the postseason. With eight points this postseason, Lucic now has as many points as he did in the first round the last three seasons combined, a span of 20 games.
Lucic had an injury scare late it the first period, as a puck from Zdeno Chara was redirected and hit him somewhere in the face, causing him to bleed. The 24-year-old was back on the ice for the start of the second period, however, and was able to battle in front on his first shift, which allowed Bergeron to get to the rebound of Chara’s shot and fire it past Reimer.
‘¢ Speaking of Bergeron’s goal, the reigning Selke winner finally got his first point of the postseason with that tally. Brad Marchand had an assist on Krejci’s first goal of the game, which gives the member of Bergeron’s line three points this postseason. Johnny Boychuk‘s Game 2 tally remains the only one of those goals the line has been out there for.
‘¢ For the first time this series, the Bruins held the Maple Leafs without a power-play goal. That included rising to the challenge when Toronto got a 53-second 5-on-3 late in the second heading into the third as well as a third-period high-sticking penalty to Chara. The Leafs finished 0-for-4 on the power play after going 4-for-12 in the series’ first three games.
‘¢ The Bruins failed to capitalize on what was a nearly four-minute power play when Nazem Kadri cut Chris Kelly on a high stick 58 seconds into the third period, toward the end of Gregory Campbell‘s slashing penalty. However, the team still went 2-for-5 on the power play Wednesday after going 1-for-9 over the series’ first three games.
‘¢ Boychuk is a tough cookie. He looked hurt on two consecutive shifts after taking a puck off the knee and was limping very slowly down the tunnel in the second period. Despite the apparent pain he seemed to be in, he returned to the ice in short order. Still, that might be something to watch going forward.
|Dougie Hamilton wins Bruins’ Seventh Player Award||04.25.13 at 7:45 pm ET|
In what could be the first of many individual honors, Dougie Hamilton received his first Thursday night.
The Bruins announced that the 19-year-old defenseman is the winner of the NESN Seventh Player Award. Voted on by Bruins fans, the Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.
Ironically, Hamilton was a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Lightning as the team gives him a rest before the start of the playoffs next week.
In his first season with the Bruins, Hamilton has notched five goals and 11 assists in 42 games with a plus-6 rating. The rookie ranks second among Bruins defensemen in points (16) and goals (5).
Hamilton is tied for third in the NHL among rookie blueliners in points (16), third in assists (11) and tied for third in goals (5).
Hamilton started the season with the Niagra IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League), skating in 32 games, notching eight goals and 33 assists for 41 points. Last year, he was named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year.
The 6-foot-5, 199-pound native of Toronto was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (9th overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.
In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Hamilton will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.
The Seventh Player Award sweepstakes winner was Scott Martioski of Orange, Mass. Martioski wins a three-year lease on a 2014 Kia Sorento courtesy of Central Auto Team of Norwood and Raynham.
|Bruins prepare for emotional return to action||04.17.13 at 12:41 pm ET|
Wednesday will be an emotional night at TD Garden, as the Bruins’ contest against the Sabres marks the first professional sporting event in Boston since Monday’s bombings at the Marathon.
“We don’t only need to be ready, but we need to show that we want to support everyone in the city,” Daniel Paille said after Wednesday’s morning skate.
The security was ramped up at TD Garden Wednesday, with all entrants being tested with a security wand and having their bags checked thoroughly. Additionally, the Bruins’ helmets now have “Boston Strong” decals on the back.
It isn’t the game-day experience everyone’s used to in which you go to the morning skate, go home and come back to play a game with the rest of one’s everyday life sprinkled in. It’s amplified and it’s more emotional because the seconds spent off the ice are occupied by dealing with Monday’s events. The important thing, Claude Julien said, is that the Bruins use their emotions for good Wednesday night.
“It’s a natural thing to still be emotional, but yesterday’s practice had a lot of energy. Today’s skate, we seemed to be showing a lot of energy,” Julien said. “The only thing left is to bring it to the game and really put it in the right place where we can do what we want to accomplish.”
What the Bruins hope to accomplish is obvious. They want to give Boston not only a distraction from its grieving, but, to quote Brad Marchand from Tuesday, “something to believe in.” They can’t make everything better, but they can help.
“The one thing I sense from our team is we have the ability to maybe help people heal and find some reason to smile again by representing our city properly,” Julien said. “To me, this is a time when you’re proud to be associated with a professional team. Even the NHL and all professional sports. When you look at the support this city’s had from rivals and everything else that are giving us support at this time, it’s amazing. We have an opportunity to make our city proud, and I think we’re all in for it. Hopefully we can do that for the city right now.”
Folks get into the National Anthem every game, but it figures to be an impassioned scene prior to Wednesday’s game. The players have felt the weight of Monday’s events like the rest of the city, so they’ll have to deal with the challenge of keeping it together once they hit the ice.
“Obviously it’s going to be emotional in the beginning, we’re going to show respect, but after that, for the next two and a half hours, we just have to play the game,” David Krejci said. “It’s all we can do to give something to Boston to be happy about.”
|Bruins trade for Jaromir Jagr||04.02.13 at 1:11 pm ET|
The Bruins acquired Stars right winger Jaromir Jagr Tuesday for a draft pick and two minor prospects. The trade is the first Boston has made this season and it comes a day prior to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. The story was first reported by Czech reporter Roman Jedlicka.
In exchange for Jagr, the Bruins will send a conditional second-round pick and young players Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne to Dallas. If the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference finals, the pick becomes a first-rounder.
Jagr, 41, has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 34 games this season for Dallas. He had 19 goals and 35 assists for 54 points in 73 games last season for the Flyers after spending the previous three seasons in the KHL.
MacDermid, an enforcer, has been up with the Bruins all season but has been a healthy scratch for all but three games thus far. He was not on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate, with Claude Julien saying it was because he was dealing with a minor injury. Payne was a fifth-round pick of the Bruins in 2012 and is currently playing for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. In 66 regular-season games for Plymouth this season, Payne had 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points.
Prior to the trade, Bruins center David Krejci was asked multiple times about growing up a fan of Jagr, as both hail from what was Czechoslovakia. Now, Krejci could be Jagr’s linemate.
“Obviously, he was the best for a long time,” Krejci said. “He’s still one of the best right now. It’s good to see him still do well at his age. I had posters of him when I was a kid. He was my hockey idol.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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