|Barry Pederson on M&M: Capitals play into Bruins’ hands by focusing on physicality||04.13.12 at 1:29 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Friday to discuss Thursday night’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“If we had any doubt that Seidenberg was going to take his game to the same level it was at last year in the playoffs, man, did he ever show that,” Pederson said. “He and [Zdeno] Chara I thought did a tremendous job on the Ovechkin line. Of course, they had the advantage of having [Patrice] Bergeron‘s line out there as well. And then [David] Krejci‘s line did a great job against [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Alexander] Semin.
“The Bruins were very solid physically. Defensively I thought they were tremendous. The game I didn’t think should have been as close as it was. I thought in the second period in particular, the Bruins on the power play, they had 4 1/2 minutes to start the second period, the power play, and then they had that 4-on-3 a full two minutes. To me, that’s where the game should have been put out of reach for Washington. They only had seven shots against after two periods. The Bruins let them hang around, then they needed Tim Thomas to kind of hold the fort for them in that third period.”
Added Pederson: “The Bruins’ strength, as we all know, is their defensive game led by Thomas and Chara and Seidenberg and the physicality that they bring. If Washington wants to play that way, that to me is playing right into the Bruins’ hands. When you see a player like Ovechkin trying to take a run at Seidenberg and Chara, you could just see that pairing just licking their chops, saying, ‘Come on, bring it on. If we can get you off that offensive game and get you thinking about playing physical, that’s an advantage to us.’ ”
The Bruins struggled Thursday on the power play, a reminder of the team’s problems in last year’s playoffs.
“They were just way too stationary,” Pederson said. “When you watch the replays of it, you can just see they’re all standing — if you envision a box, they’re at each corner of the box, with the three Washington defenders allowed to collapse, and nobody was in a scoring position. So, Washington is just saying, ‘Hey, keep the puck on the outside, that’s fine, our goaltender can see it, there’s no traffic in front, there’s nobody who’s a direct threat to us.’ I just thought they got way too stationary.
“When the Bruins power play looked a little bit better that latter part of the season into the final month, they were moving around. I especially remember [Rich] Peverly on the point on the power play was very active. They were dropping down. Seidenberg would be dropping down and getting involved and not just staying stationary, moving the puck to the point. Because one of the things I was very impressed with with Washington, especially in the first two periods, they were blocking a lot of shots. So, for the Bruins to be successful, they’re going to have to get those shots through. They’re going to have to get their defense involved a little bit more by pinching and by being active in the offensive zone.”
|Bruins look for rare Game 1 victory||04.12.12 at 1:38 pm ET|
Not to rain on 2011’s parade, but one detail that may go forgotten as the story of that Bruins team is told is that the Bruins lost Game 1 of every series except the one they swept against the Flyers.
In hindsight, it’s just a minor detail that showed the makeup of the team. They came back from 1-0 deficits in three times, and from 2-0 deficits twice. They were resilient, and they didn’t give in whenever they fell behind.
That’s all fine and dandy, but the B’s would probably rather change that aspect of this postseason by picking up some Game 1 victories.
Two of those Game 1 losses were shutouts, as the B’s were blanked by Carey Price in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and Roberto Luongo in the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins obviously recovered nicely in both series as well as the Eastern Conference finals (they lost Game 1, 5-2, to Tampa Bay), but they’d rather start their series with the Capitals differently.
“This team has a lot of confidence and knows how to play under pressure and just knows how to come back from deficits in a series or in a game, but it doesn’t mean we can just rely on that,” B’s defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after Thursday’s morning skate. “We have to be focused and bring our A game tonight.”
The numbers are skewed a bit by their 7-3 win over the Flyers in Game 1 of the conference semifinals last year, but the B’s were outscored, 11-9 in Game 1s last postseason (8-2 in their Game 1 losses). In the rest of the postseason, they outscored their opponents by a 72-42 margin.
A series is not won and lost in the first game, and truthfully, losing three of four Game 1s is a good thing because it means a team played in four Game 1s. Still, taking a series lead on home ice couldn’t hurt, could it?
|Was hit on Adam McQuaid dirty? ‘Reckless’ is more like it||03.30.12 at 12:07 am ET|
At first glance, the Jason Chimera hit on Adam McQuaid with six minutes left in the first period Thursday evokes emotions of anger and revenge.
But even the Bruins, who have been on both sides of vicious hits over the last several seasons, were careful to choose their words carefully after the game, given the fine line between finishing your check and hitting from behind and endangering a vulnerable player.
Chimera was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct for the hit that left McQuaid on the ice for several minutes with a gash over his eye and a dazed head.
The Bruins reaction? Measured.
“Well, you know, again, when it happens to you, you also have to be honest about it. I think, again, he came off the bench, and he was going hard, and maybe it was a little bit reckless, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t intentional,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know, McQuaid, Mac just turned at the last second and, you know, put himself in a bit of vulnerable position, but still, like, I agree with the referee’s call.
“It was a bit of a reckless hit, and it deserved probably a five[-minute penalty] when you look back at the replay, and they had to make that decision. It was a tough one, but certainly wasn’t intent to injure by the player, in my mind. And, you know, and that’s why I keep saying, and you’ve heard me before, I really, really encourage our players to be careful, with the speed of the game today, to make sure you don’t turn your back to the play as much because those kind of things happen. And you worry about the security of the players, you worry about the safety of the game, and I’m one of those guys that will look at both sides of it and not just preach for my side of it.”
Joe Corvo – already filling in for injured Dennis Seidenberg – not only saw the hit, but saw both sides.
“It’s nearly impossible when a guy comes, I noticed I think he came off the bench, and really didn’t break stride,” Corvo said. “It’s a tough play because it’s hard for that forward to stop when he’s coming that fast and Quaider [McQuaid] kind of turned a little bit. The guy could have let up a little bit but it just happens fast. I think that’s why he was so upset that he got thrown out. I don’t think he’s a dirty player, I think just with his speed it was hard for him to stop.”
|Infected cut forces Dennis Seidenberg out of Bruins’ lineup for first time this season||03.29.12 at 12:07 pm ET|
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was the only Bruin missing from morning skate Thursday, and he’ll miss his first game of the season when the B’s host the Capitals Thursday night at TD Garden.
Seidenberg will be kept out of the lineup with an infected cut. The blueliner suffered the cut on his left leg Saturday against the Kings, and after getting it stitched up played Sunday and Tuesday prior to it becoming infected.
“In LA, he suffered a cut on his leg, and they stitched it up and everything was good, but a little infection has gotten into it now, so he’s on antibiotics and just to play it safe, we’re going to keep him out,” coach Claude Julien explained. “It’s just day-to-day, it’s not long-term. It’s just to take care of that.”
Joe Corvo, who has been a healthy scratch for the last six games, will be inserted into the lineup in place of Seidenberg. With Seidenberg not playing for the first time this season, centers Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly will remain the only two Bruins to play in each contest.
Julien added that the team will “probably” go with the same forwards as they have the last two games, meaning Daniel Paille is likely to remain a healthy scratch.
|Barry Pederson on M&M: Bruins ‘built to be good for a number of years to come’||02.27.12 at 2:55 pm ET|
With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, NESN Bruins studio analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Monday afternoon to talk about what the Bruins need to improve and what kind of moves they should make, if any.
Very few major moves have been made by any teams, but Pederson said that he would be more surprised if the Bruins made no move than if they made a major trade.
“I think they need some depth, especially when Andrew Ference went down, that really showed me that you needed another left-handed defenseman,” Pederson said. “I would look for them to try to add that because I know that Dennis Seidenberg can play the right side, he showed that and then some in the playoffs what he could do when he’s with [Zdeno] Chara, and I think they’ll want to do that come playoff time again.
“I think you want to get some depth up front for the reasons we just talked about — you’re not sure what’s going to happen with Nathan [Horton], you’re hoping he can come back, and Rich Peverley with that knee injury, you never know what they’re going to be like.”
That being said, Pederson noted that the Bruins would be wise to not jeopardize the promising future that they have with their current roster.
“They’re still in great, great shape,” Pederson said. “They’ve got a great core, they’re well-positioned salary cap-wise, they’re young, they’re talented, they’re physical, they’re packing the building over here.
“The Bruins fans are excited not only because of last year’s win, but if you look ahead and you go, ‘You know what? Barring any major injuries, this organization is built to be good for a number of years to come.’ ”
Part of the reason the Bruins should be weary of a major trade, to Pederson, is that trades often come with a wide array of variables and can often backfire.
“The difficult part with that, and it’s the same thing I’m sure the Rangers are kind of talking about and Pittsburgh with [Sidney] Crosby, is you have concussions and you also have great chemistry, and that’s something that you can’t take for granted,” Pederson said. “One of the major reasons for the Bruins to be so successful in that Cup run last year was they had each other’s back.
“It was an all-for-one, one-for-all type of mentality. The Rangers, I think, have that right now, I think Pittsburgh’s getting that. That, to me, is so important.”
|Bruins wake up late, win in third period again||01.31.12 at 9:32 pm ET|
The Bruins returned from the All-Star break two periods late Tuesday night, but by the time they awoke, they were back to their old ways and defeated the Senators, 4-3, with a dominant third period.
The B’s came back from a 3-2 deficit in the third period, with Dennis Seidenberg scoring the unlikely game-winner with a slapshot from center ice that beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. The win improved the B’s to 6-8-1 when trailing after the second period.
The Bruins took the lead in the first period on a power play goal from Zdeno Chara. Colin Greening tied the game late in the first thanks to a nice pass from Milan Michalek. The Senators then dominated the B’s in the second period, getting goals from Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson before Milan Lucic brought Boston within one with 45 seconds left to play in the period.
In a fashion that’s been somewhat typical this season, the Bruins won the game in the third period. Brad Marchand‘s hard work in front paid off in the form of the game-tying goal. Seidenberg gave them lead less than five minutes later.
Tim Thomas got the start in net for the Bruins, manning the pipes in Boston for the first time since blowing off last Monday’s trip to the White House. The reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe winner was given a loud ovation from the fans on hand at TD Garden.
The Bruins will return to action Thursday when they host the Hurricanes at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Chara’s first-period power-play goal was the captain’s first tally in 17 games, as his last goal came way back on Dec. 17 in the Bruins’ 6-0 win over the Flyers. The goal featured some nice work in front screening by Milan Lucic, who on Monday said that the hardest shot contest serves as an annual reminder that he’s pretty crazy to stand in front of that shot each time the B’s go on the power play.
– Great persistence from the Little Ball of Nicknames on Marchand’s goal to tie the game in the third period. After Joe Corvo put the puck on net from the point, Marchand out battled Chris Phillips in front of the net with Anderson sprawled out and tied the game with his 18th goal of the season.
– Good to see Corvo with a two-point night for the Bruins. If there were to be one spot the B’s might need to upgrade it would be Corvo’s after his disappointing showing thus far with the B’s, but his second half got off to a much better start.
– Seidenberg has a knack for scoring goals from center ice. The German defenseman also picked up a goal from the red line last season when he faked a dump-in on Lightning goaltender Mike Smith and put the puck on net.
Tuesday’s goal was a case of horrifically weak stuff from Anderson, as unlike Smith, Anderson hadn’t left his net and saw the puck as it went past him and in.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– In allowing three goals, the Bruins extended their season-long streak of games with three or more goals allowed to four games. Prior to the last four games, the Bruins’ longest such stretch was two games.
The team has sloppy play to credit to the development, and the fact that Thomas wasn’t at his best Tuesday didn’t help.
– The B’s took the second period off, though they were fortunate to get a goal in the final minute from Lucic. Ottawa outshot the B’s, 13-5, in the second period, and the Bruins went a long stretch without hitting the net after Steven Kampfer’s shot from the point about four minutes in. Teams talk about wanting to put together 60-minute efforts, and the Bruins failed to do that Tuesday.
– It was Tyler Seguin‘s birthday, but he and hits line played like they had a birthday party to get to. Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Marchand seemed out of sync as a unit, as Seguin’s pass to Marchand on a second-period 2-on-1 was well ahead of his line-mate. Marchand made up for his line’s uncharacteristic play with his game-tying goal.
|Bruins prepared to play without Zdeno Chara, however long that may be||12.12.11 at 7:54 pm ET|
The Bruins are going to be without Zdeno Chara — reportedly for at least a week — but the B’s captain isn’t ready to count himself out for even Wednesday’s game against the Senators.
“There is no time frame when I’m going to be back, but most likely I won’t be playing tomorrow,” Chara said Monday at Ristuccia Arena. “That’s as far as I can tell you right now, because honestly it’s at a stage where we can’t really talk about any further than 24 hours ahead.”
Chara injured his left leg in a collision with Antoine Vermette Saturday night in Columbus. The Boston Globe reported Sunday that he would miss at least this week, and could potentially held out until after Christmas.
The 6-foot-9 defenseman has not missed more than five games in a season since signing with the Bruins prior to the 2006-07 season. With that being said, he understands that injuries do occur, and that he hopes to return as quickly as he can.
“It’s just the nature of this sport. In any sport, you do get hurt. Injuries do happen, and there are some things as players that you can’t control,” he said. “They do really happen. As a player, really your job is to try to do your best with the treatments and rehab to get yourself back and on the ice with the team as fast as possible. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, but also at the same time, you don’t want to rush it. You want to be smart about it.”
With Chara out, the Bruins practiced Monday without drastically shaking up their defensive pairings. Claude Julien simply subbed in Steven Kampfer for Chara on his pairing with Johnny Boychuk and left the Dennis Seidenberg – Joe Corvo and Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid pairings alone.
It will be Kampfer’s first NHL game since Nov. 17, though he played two games for Providence when the B’s sent he and Jordan Caron for some game action earlier this month.
Assuming Chara does indeed miss the team’s games this week, Kampfer, who played in three straight games last month, will get the opportunity to do so again here. For a seventh defenseman, playing time and opportunities in the lineup may come sporadically, but a week’s worth of game action will give him time to get settled in and shake off any rust.
“I think you can always get a rhythm, even if you’re not playing,” Kampfer said. “You get in for one game, you’re practicing, you’re playing well and you’ve got the guys around you that are keeping you in a rhythm, so it’s definitely easier when you’ve got a team playing as well as we are.”
With Chara out, Seidenberg, who is averaging 24:12 of ice time per game (second only to Chara’s 24:28), could see an increased work load. He wouldn’t complain if that were the case, though the B’s probably don’t want to tire their second best defenseman.
“It’s up to the coaches,” Seidenberg. “We’ve been playing pretty even minutes these last few games. Guys have been playing pretty great as a group, and no matter who’s on the ice, [Doug Houda] feels comfortable putting them out there.”
With all the hoopla surrounding Chara’s injury, it’s clear that the best news is that it isn’t serious enough to keep him out for significant time. The B’s have good depth defensively, but removing arguably the best blueliner will certainly create a challenge for the B’s. It’s a challenge the other defensemen think they can handle.
“I think that some of the other forwards on the other teams will probably be in better moods, but that’s probably the biggest change,” Ference said. “He’s a big presence. Guys don’t like playing against him. He’s obviously a huge matchup against other teams’ top lines. That’s something that there’s quite a few of us back there that have played against top lines and top two lines in the league. It’s not like anybody’s getting outside of their comfort zone.”