|Bruins Friday practice notes: David Krejci returns, all accounted for||05.31.13 at 11:05 am ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci returned Friday morning from his “minimal maintenance” day on Thursday, as Claude Julien termed it. The Bruins skated for just about an hour before packing up at Ristuccia Arena and leaving immediately for Pittsburgh and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center. All Bruins were on the ice and accounted for as the team worked out in Wilmington for a fourth straight day.
After working almost exclusively on power-play and penalty-kill drills on Thursday, the Bruins returned to a more conventional practice on Friday.
The lines remained the same, but of note on the defensive pairing side, Zdeno Chara was paired with Johnny Boychuk while Dennis Seidenberg was teamed with Matt Bartkowski. Andrew Ference was still working with Aaron Johnson, an indication that Ference likely won’t be activated for Saturday’s game.
Adam McQuaid was with Torey Krug while Wade Redden was skating with Dougie Hamilton.
Another significant sign was the amount of drills in the corners as the coaching staff had the top four lines work on winning puck battles in the corners, an area that several players and Julien have said will be key if the Bruins are to have a chance of winning the series.
For more, including reports from DJ Bean in Pittsburgh, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins Thursday notes: ‘Minimal maintenance’ day for David Krejci||05.30.13 at 1:28 pm ET|
“Maintenance, minimal maintenance,” the Bruins coach said as Krejci was given the day off.
Krejci was the only player not spotted on the sheet at Ristuccia Arena as the Bruins worked at a fast pace for 20 minutes with their power play and penalty kill units.
Andrew Ference, one of the team’s leading penalty killers, was back on the ice again and was paired with Aaron Johnson on one penalty kill unit. Julien said toward the end of his media briefing after practice that Ference has not yet been medically cleared by team doctors to play in games.
“I haven’t heard from the medical staff so I’d say the answer is ‘no,'” Julien said when asked about Ference’s medical standing as the defenseman attempts to come back from a left foot injury that sidelined him since Game 5 of the first-round series against Toronto.
Tyler Seguin took Krejci’s spot on the power play with Zdeno Chara, Jaromir Jagr, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic but the units were mixed and matched throughout practice as the team worked more on power play and penalty kill drills than concentrating on specific special teams combinations.
The Bruins will practice one final time on Friday morning at 10:30 at Ristuccia before taking off for Pittsburgh afterward. The Bruins play the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.
For more, including reports from Pittsburgh from DJ Bean, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins notes from Friday: Up-tempo practice as Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden pick it up||05.24.13 at 5:43 pm ET|
The Bruins took to the TD Garden ice for a 30-minute up-tempo, intense practice after coach Claude Julien and players admitted that their effort was there on Thursday night but not their execution.
Friday was an effort, even after a tough overtime loss, to pick up the intensity level for Saturday afternoon’s 5:30 start against the Rangers, with yet another chance to close out the series in Game 5.
“It was just a good flow, good practice,” David Krejci said. “Hard and short. We don’t know what’s going to happen [Saturday] morning but it’s kind of an odd time for the game, 5:30. We’re just taking it day-by-day and we felt that, and the coaches felt the same way, that we needed to go out there for a short, hard practice. And we did that. Now, we’re just going to focus on [Saturday].”
Krejci wasn’t overly critical of his teammates and their well-documented mistakes in Game 4 that caused them to blow a 2-0 lead and lose the game in overtime.
“It was an OK game,” he said. “There were chances on both sides but the game is behind us now. They won in OT. [Saturday] is a new game and we’re going to do everything we can to get over it.”
All Bruins were accounted for except defenseman Andrew Ference, out with a lower body injury. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Wade Redden (unspecified) skated together as a D-pair Friday and have been skating all week with the team. There’s a sense that Seidenberg could return on Saturday in place of Dougie Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski. Seidenberg hasn’t played since injuring himself on the second shift of Game 7 against Toronto on May 13.
“I felt comfortable out there today,” Seidenberg said. “But again it’s a decision where I have to talk to them first. We’ll see. They’re going to ask me a couple of a questions and go from there.
Seidenberg said he is itching to get back on the ice.
“Really bad,” Seidenberg said of his desire to return. “No one likes watching hockey games, especially around this time of year, so hopefully I get back in there soon, and hopefully can help.”
Seidenberg watched from upstairs Thursday night as the Bruins failed to close out Game 4.
“We know we played a good game,” Seidenberg said. “A couple of hiccups there but for the most part, we put a lot of pucks on the nets, had quite a few chances, especially on the power play so we know we could’ve won it. We just have to stick in the moment and try to win the next one.
“Every game we want to finish with the win, especially being up 3-1, it would be nice to finish it off but again, we have to play a good game first because they have the momentum now.”
|Claude Julien on Game 3: ‘It’s what we expect from ourselves’ that matters||05.21.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien is convinced that the outcome of Game 3 won’t hinge on the desperation of the Rangers as much as it will from the execution of his own team.
The Rangers are in the same 0-2 hole heading into tonight’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden that they were in the first round against the Capitals, while the Bruins find themselves two wins away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
“Doesn’t matter, I think it’s what we expect from ourselves,” Julien said. “That’s the thing, we always worry about the other team; we need to worry about ourselves. When we play well, we’re a good team and we give ourselves a chance to win. It’s more about our expectations right now, that has to be the important topic for us. We need to, obviously, understand they’re going to be better; we also need to be better. We’re on the road, we don’t get the last change, so it will be a tougher situation.”
One thing the Bruins know they must cut down is the number of turnovers. They committed 16 on Sunday in Game 2, and two of them led to New York’s only two goals of the game. The Rangers committed just one, and still the Bruins dominated in a 5-2 win.
“Oh, I think it was us,” Julien said when asked if the turnovers were self-inflicted. “When you look at some of those turnovers, David Krejci, just inside the blue line, turns around and it’s intercepted; you could see it coming from the bench. You could see the passes from our end on their sticks. A lot of that stuff was of our own doing. I think we can be better in that area, although we played a pretty game, I think most of those things came in the second period. We just have to be a little bit better. I thought our third period was much better in regards to puck management.”
“I thought our transition game has been better,” Julien said. “Obviously, the young guys have been doing that, but so have our veterans that were in our the lineup the last couple of games. That’s been pretty consistent from our back end, so that’s helped a lot. Those guys are part of that group; they seem to have enough poise to make the right plays, so it’s helped our game a lot.”
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|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.