|Patrice Bergeron leads Bruins to 3-0 series lead with double-OT winner||06.06.13 at 12:15 am ET|
The Bruins fended off a much improved Penguins effort Wednesday night at TD Garden, getting a 2-1 double-overtime win thanks to Patrice Bergeron‘s latest game-winner and taking a 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
The win was Boston’s fourth overtime victory of the postseason. Bergeron, who scored the series-clincher in Game 7 against of the first round against the Maple Leafs, redirected a Brad Marchand pass past Tomas Vokoun with 4:41 left in the second overtime.
Game 4 will be played Friday at TD Garden, with the series shifting back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday if necessary.
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game for the third time in as many games series thanks to a David Krejci shot that went off Matt Niskanen‘s skate and past Vokoun for Krejci’s ninth goal of the postseason. The goal came just 1:42 into the game, and the score remained 1-0 until the Penguins finally got a goal out of their top six forwards when Chris Kunitz put them on the board in the second period.
The Bruins lost Gregory Campbell in the second period after he blocked an Evgeni Malkin slap shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Tuukka Rask was sensational at times on Wednesday, coming up big with saves on James Neal and Beau Bennett on the Penguins’ third power play of the night. But perhaps his biggest save of the night came on Kris Letang in front off a feed from Sidney Crosby behind the net in the opening minutes of the third period. He finished regulation with 38 saves. He also came up big with about five minutes to play in the fourth period with back to back saves on Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams.
— The B’s got the Penguins to take a couple of retaliatory penalties — Joe Vitale in the first and Kunitz in the third — to wipe out what would have been Pittsburgh power plays. On the other hand, Brad Marchand now has taken three dangerous penalties in three games — boarding James Neal in Game 1, tripping Crosby in Game 2 and kneeing Kunitz in Game 3.
— The Bruins stopped the Penguins on six power plays (including two in overtime), making Pittsburgh 0-for-12 on the series. Prior to the series, the Penguins had scored at least one power play goal in eight of 11 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Penguins began dominating on faceoffs (37 of 56 in regulation), and it paid off for them when Crosby beat Bergeron on a second period offensive-zone draw for the Penguins that led to Kunitz’ goal. Through regulation, no Bruin was above the 50 percent mark on faceoffs, with Bergeron winning eight of 22 faceoffs and Chris Kelly winning three of 13.
— David Krejci missed a shift in the third period after taking a forearm to the head from Deryk Engelland. The play went unpenalized but could be looked at by the league.
— The Bruins were positively abhorrent on a pair of third-period power plays on which they could have regained the lead. With Douglas Murray slashing Rich Peverley and Dupuis going off later for tripping Johnny Boychuk at the point, the Bruins mustered barely any offensive-zone time and totaled just one shot on goal (which came at the very beginning of the Murray penalty) between the two power plays. That’s a textbook case of a bad power play being costly.
— Dan Bylsma clearly made the right call in sticking with Vokoun. After letting in a goal off a deflection early on, Vokoun was consistently sound. Remember, he didn’t necessarily play bad in the first two games, but the Penguins had to do something in that first period of Game 2 with the Bruins exposing Pittsburgh’s defense.
— Campbell was in serious pain after laying out to block a Malkin shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play in the second period. After blocking the shot, Campbell stayed down on a knee before slowly getting up. The play continued as he got back on his feet, but he could barely move. Given that the play was still going on, he contributed as best as he could, softly getting his stick on a Penguins pass and knocking it back to Malkin. As fans took note of what was going on, the crowd began to chant “Camp-bell” and did so again as he headed off the ice and down the tunnel in pain.
— Kelly’s career-worst stretch of games without a goal now has reached 19 games. He was very good on the Penguins’ first power play, but he struggled on faceoffs (see above) and aside from a second-period two-on-one and the rebound of Jarmoir Jagr bid in double overtime Wednesday just hasn’t gotten significant scoring chances. This has been a disappointing season for Kelly, and that hasn’t changed in the playoffs.
|Gregory Campbell (right leg) knocked out of Game 3||06.05.13 at 10:51 pm ET|
After going to the ice to block a powerful slap shot from Evgeni Malkin on a power play in the second period, Gregory Campbell, the center of the “Merlot” line will not be returning.
Campbell stayed on the ice for over 30 seconds of the penalty kill and hobbled off on his left leg while unable to put any pressure on his right leg. He was pushed slightly by an official, who helped him to the bench as the crowd chanted, “Campbell, Campbell, Campbell.”
The Bruins announced before overtime that Campbell would not be returning.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Tyler Seguin ‘about to break through’||05.22.13 at 12:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.
The Bruins controlled the first couple of minutes of the game, despite the Rangers’ desperate situation, sending an early message.
“If you’re going to start a game on home ice, you’re down 2-0, you know you’re never in trouble in a playoff series until you lose on home ice, you want to set the tone early,” McGuire said. “So, you want to go after it, you start your heavy hitters, you start Brian Boyle, you start Derek Dorsett, you start Taylor Pyatt. You start your bangers, I call them the stampeding elephants, and you’re expecting them to stampede. Well, they didn’t. In fact, Boston took the game to them. That really set the whole tempo for the game, I thought.”
McGuire said the Bruins have the upper hand because they have the Rangers questioning themselves.
“There’s three things you want to accomplish in a playoff series: concern, doubt and fear, if you’re the opponent,” McGuire said. “Right now the Rangers are clearly concerned, they clearly have doubt, and I thought last night in the third period in particular after [Daniel] Paille scored the second goal, they had fear. If you can accomplish those three characteristics in a playoff series, your chances of winning are really good. I think the Bruins have put themselves in that position right now.”
“Shawn is an emotional leader and he’s not going to burn you defensively,” McGuire said. “And he’s a tough guy. When they started challenging Marchand last night with Dorsett, you saw what happened on the offside faceoff: Marchand comes off, Thornton comes on, Dorsett gets stabilized, no more issues.”
That said, McGuire insisted Dorsett’s failure to respond physically doesn’t reflect badly on the Rangers winger.
“I don’t think he backed down,” McGuire said. “I just think at that point their team’s kind of lost some momentum. Thornton’s not going to fight him, but he’s going to tell him in his ear, whisper sweet nothings: Listen, dude, do you want to mess around? We will dance, and it won’t be fun for you. That’s all Shawn had to do.”
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to offer his take on Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers that gave the Bruins a 3-0 series lead.
“I’m lucky to play with those two guys,” Thornton said. “They’re not fourth-liners on a lot of other teams. I’m fortunate to have them with me.”
Thornton noted that all three fourth-liners could have signed elsewhere last offseason, but the Bruins kept the trio together.
“You’ve got to give Peter [Chiarelli] credit for having faith in us, bringing all three of us back,” he said. “We were all free agents at the end of the last season. I think I was the only one that got re-upped during the season. They paid a little money to keep all three of us around.
“I haven’t looked at the other fourth lines in the league, but we’re compensated pretty well as far as fourth-liners go. We’re getting some notoriety right now in the playoffs, but the team believed in us before this.”
A key moment in Tuesday’s game came when Thornton replaced Brad Marchand on the ice and confronted Derek Dorsett after Dorsett had been harassing Marchand.
“He’s doing his job,” Thornton said of Dorsett. “He got Marchy off the ice in the first period [on a penalty]. They’re both agitators. If they’re matching him against Marchy, he’s going to try and get under his skin and keep him off the ice as much as possible. Marchy’s probably been our best player in this series so far. He’s doing his job. I had to go out there and politely say that I wasn’t a fan of him being all over our star left winger.”
Thornton said he was ready to fight, but either way he wanted to send a message.
“I didn’t know [if Dorsett would fight],” Thornton said. “If he had wanted to, then I definitely would have obliged. I joked about being polite; I wasn’t going out there to ask him what dinner was later.”
Added Thornton: “It’s a job. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I was happy we got to play after that, too, that it wasn’t our last shift.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Those defensemen are playing unbelievable’||05.20.13 at 10:16 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the B’s-Rangers series.
The Bruins took a 2-0 series lead with Sunday’s 5-2 victory, as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers continued to play below par.
“I think they had their chances, to tell you the truth,” Thornton said. “I think the second period, it could have went either way. We were fortunate to get out of that with the lead. It could have been a different game if Tuukka [Rask] didn’t stand on his head for us in the second period.”
The big story of this series has been the play of the Bruins’ young defensemen, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, who have sparked the Bruins with their fresh legs.
“Those defensemen are playing unbelievable,” Thornton said. “Torey Krug, obviously — not just the goal and the assist, those are great plays — but there were some plays he made that probably went unnoticed during the game that made our lives as forwards a heck of a lot easier. Some of the vision he has and some of the plays he made look easy, but they weren’t really easy plays, especially in the neutral zone.”
“I don’t know what the timeline is for those guys, but I’m sure Claude [Julien] will have some decisions to make once everyone’s healthy,” Thornton said. “Not easy decisions, I’m sure, but good decisions. It’s nice when you have that many options. It’s better than the opposite, when you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, we can’t find anyone to put in the lineup.’ ”
As for the possibility of hard feelings if a veteran sits in favor of a rookie, Thornton insisted it won’t be issue.
“Not in our locker room,” he said. “I’ve been that veteran guy squeezed out of the lineup for the playoffs. It’s all about winning this time of year. There’s no time for any personal feelings or agendas. It’s all about the team. We have a good bunch of guys in that room, and everyone’s aware of it.”
|Patrice Bergeron takes home the hardware in regular season finale||04.28.13 at 7:59 pm ET|
The Bruins announced their regular season award winners before the regular season finale with the Senators Sunday night. Patrice Bergeron was the recipient of the Eddie Shore Award (exceptional hustle and determination, chosen by the ‘Gallery Gods’) as well as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy (outstanding performance during home games, determined by the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association).
Gregory Campbell was selected for the John P. Bucyk Award (greatest off-ice charitable contributions, chosen by John Bucyk); and Tuukka Rask (First Star), Bergeron (Second Star) and Tyler Seguin (Third Star) were named the Bruins Three Stars (top performers at home over the course of the season).
Eddie Shore Award and Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy
Bergeron, the team’s alternate captain to Zdeno Chara, was also selected by the ‘Gallery Gods’ as the Eddie Shore Award winner for demonstrating exceptional hustle and determination throughout the 2013 campaign. The reining Selke Trophy winner currently leads the Bruins with a +25 rating (5th NHL), is second in assists (22) and is tied for fourth in points with 32 (10-22). The Bruins centerman also leads the NHL in faceoff percentage, winning puck drops at a 61.9-percent clip.
In addition to the Eddie Shore Award, the BPHWA has selected Bergeron as the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy recipient for his outstanding performance during Bruins home games this season. At TD Garden this year, Bergeron has notched eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. The forward’s +20 rating and 66.8% (280/419) faceoff percentage in Boston, leads all Bruins players.
John P. Bucyk Award
Gregory Campbell has been an active participant in the Boston Bruins off-ice charitable events in this years condensed NHL season. Campbell has spent many of his rare off days making community visits throughout the Greater Boston area, including visits to the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Home for Little Wanderers and was a one of the team’s participants in their annual ‘Cuts for a Cause’ event. Read the rest of this entry »
|Fourth line getting into postseason form for Bruins||04.26.13 at 12:55 am ET|
It’s getting to be the time of year when tight games are often decided by players like Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. As the Bruins wrapped up home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning on Thursday, their Merlot Line came through with a goal that solidified the victory, playing the way they’ll likely need to when the postseason begins.
Paille became a 10-goal scorer for the first time since 2009-10 at 13:31 of the second. Campbell found him open at the top of the right circle and sent the puck right into his wheelhouse, setting up Paille to fire a one-timer past Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback.
Paille had three shots and another that was blocked on Thursday, as many as any Bruin. Although they weren’t all over the scoresheet, the fourth line was one of the Bruins’ most energetic, creating chances with an aggressive forecheck and consistently maintaining possession in the Lightning’s zone.
‘We know, for our line, if we don’t score it’s not a big deal, but the main goal for us is to create as much energy as we can and it felt like we did that today,’ Paille said. ‘With [Thornton] taking the puck from a couple of guys, and [Campbell] as well, you know, I thought we all contributed in a positive way today, even if we didn’t score.’
Entering Thursday’s game, the trio had a combined 16 goals on the year. They’re not on the ice to score on every shift, but the Bruins will welcome any offensive contributions from them, especially with just two games left in the regular season. And although they haven’t been exempt from the Bruins’ recent line-shuffling, Paille acknowledged that the three of them do always seem to wind up back together.
‘We know we’re not going to play a ton of minutes, but we’re happy with who we play with,’ Paille said. ‘And I think that’s a big thing going on the last few years that we’ve been here.’
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he thought that line did its job on Thursday, overcoming some issues it had earlier in the year.
‘There’s some confidence there — you know, [Campbell] making that pass and Paille not hesitating, great shot, and the goaltender didn’t have much time to get across,’ Julien said. ‘So overall making the right plays and keeping pucks in down low and battling. And [Thornton], the same thing. Not only that, but they’ve had some challenges at times this year where they weren’t making good line changes and leaving the next line … hanging. But they were sharp in all those areas tonight, so I thought they were good.’
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