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Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Jarome Iginla fail to get going in Bruins’ Game 1 loss to Red Wings 04.19.14 at 12:02 am ET
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Going into this series, it seemed like a pretty safe assumption that Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk would match up frequently. Maybe you’€™d give the Bruins a slight edge there given that Datsyuk is coming back from an injury, but for the most part, you’€™d expect that to be a back-and-forth dogfight. Sure enough, that’€™s more or less how Game 1 played out — their lines went against each other pretty much every time out, and the matchup was essentially a wash until Datsyuk’€™s goal with 3:01 left in the game.

In theory, that matchup should have freed up the Bruins’€™ top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla to pick on Detroit’€™s lesser lines and banged-up defensive corps. That didn’€™t happen, though.

In fact, that line played one of its worst games of the season in Game 1. It went up against the trio of Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar for the majority of its shifts (thanks to shiftchart.com for the excellent data), and found itself chasing the puck most of the night. Lucic, Krejci and Iginla were able to get what should have been a favorable matchup against Detroit’€™s second pairing of Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser — an OK, but far-from-great duo — for about half their shifts, but they never really got a chance to take advantage because of how much time they spent in their own zone.

A lot was made of Detroit’€™s speed going into the series, and this was really the one place that it showed. Nyquist and Tatar motored their way through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’€™ end time and again, with the back pressure from Krejci and company a little too late too often. From there, the cycle was on, as Boston’€™s top trio had to resort to chasing the puck rather than possessing it. When they did get it, they struggled to get through the neutral zone and sustain any sort of offensive pressure.

The result was Lucic, Krejci and Iginla all finishing with Corsi percentages under 40 (according to the fantastic extraskater.com), marking just the sixth time this season their possession numbers as a line have dipped that low. In near perfect symmetry, Nyquist, Sheahan and Tatar all finished with Corsi percentages over 60. If the more basic shot on goal stat is your thing, Sheahan’€™s line had eight, while Krejci’€™s line had four. It is worth mentioning, however, that Krejci’€™s line had arguably the Bruins’€™ best chance all night when Lucic tipped an Iginla shot that wound up trickling just wide about 30 seconds before Datsyuk scored. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jimmy Howard admits Red Wings were ‘pretty lucky’ to beat Bruins 04.18.14 at 11:20 pm ET
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It was the key moment of Game 1.

Jarome Iginla fired a centering pass from the right side boards to Milan Lucic with just over three minutes left in regulation. Lucic got a clean piece of the puck for a redirect on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It appeared to be the perfect pass and perfect chance in a game that had precious few of each.

But instead of the puck finding it’s way past Howard, the Detroit goalie got just enough to flick the puck wide of the goal mouth and out of harm’s way.

“It was a fortunate save,” Howard said. “It was pretty lucky. [Lucic] stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it sort of just spun off my glove and I was able to get just enough on it. I was pretty lucky.”

The momentum swing didn’t end there. The pendulum, as it often does in a game like Friday night, swung completely the other way leading to a Red Wings rush up the ice. Wings veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk came across the Bruins blue line and, using the collision of Justin Abdelkader and Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a screen, fired a shot that beat Tuukka Rask on the far side for the game’s only goal and a 1-0 Detroit win.

“He was by himself there so I’m just thinking a shot there and then he drags it across and releases from our D’s legs so you just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said of Datsyuk’s shot. “It squeaked by me. Usually he tries to make a pass but I thought he was by himself there. I just couldn’t see it.

“It still went through me so I thought I should have it. But I didn’t see it.”

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Claude Julien on Marathon bombings a year later: Way city came together is what I’m trying to remember most 04.15.14 at 3:46 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara spoke for an entire organization when he responded to the question Tuesday of what the one year anniversary of the most painful day in Boston history meant to him.

“I’m not born and raised but I feel a part of the city,” the Bruins captain from Slovakia said with pride. “I’m always going to call myself a Bostonian. It’s just one of those things that it feels like a home. You try to respect the city and what it represents.”

The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, getting ready for their playoff opener on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. But after practice, coach Claude Julien, Chara and Jarome Iginla all recalled what they were feeling one year ago to the day when Boston was terrorized and attacked by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the weeklong manhunt that nearly shut down the city.

“Anybody who doesn’€™t know this is the anniversary isn’€™t paying attention,” Julien said. “But it’€™s got some good and it’€™s got some bad obviously. It’€™s sad what happened but for us, I look at how the city just came together and how everybody helped each other and did everything they could to help one another so that’€™s what kind of sticks in my mind.

“But at the same time it was a tough few days from the lockdowns and everything else, those are the things that are coming to mind and some games that were postponed, rightfully so. So some of it isn’€™t great memories but some of it ‘€“ certainly the way the city came together is what I’€™m trying to remember it the most for.

Julien and Chara were getting ready to play Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, April 19 at TD Garden when a manhunt for the two bombers centered in Watertown shut down the entire city. The game between the Bruins and Penguins was eventually called off on that Friday night and rescheduled for the next day.

The Bruins had two games rescheduled due to the bombings and the manhunt. On April 15, the Bruins postponed their game against the Ottawa Senators to the last day of the season.

On Tuesday, the Bruins reflected on that day in 2013, and how sports and the Bruins helped the city heal.

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Andy Brickley on M&M: Dennis Seidenberg should not supplant Kevan Miller 04.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg, the injuries to Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller, where Andrej Meszaros fits on the depth chart, the play of Matt Bartkowski and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With momentum picking up on Seidenberg playing in the postseason at some point, fans have started to wonder where the defenseman would be on the depth chart. Brickley said he didn’t think that the 32-year-old should be slotted back on the top pairing at the expense of Miller, who’€™s played well in his absence.

“I just find it so difficult to put a guy that’€™s not a hundred percent, or depending on what percent he is, in front of say, Kevan Miller, who’€™s been getting the job done, who’€™s in top form, who’s game-ready and ready to go and proven that they have trust in this guy,” Brickley said.

Miller and Iginla both missed Tuesday’€™s matchup with Minnesota, despite making the trip. Brickley is confident both will be ready to go for the playoffs.

“€œIf this was playoff hockey right now, I’€™m convinced both would be able to play,”€ Brickley said. “€œIt’€™s all about maintenance, it’€™s all about rest, it’€™s all about precautionary, those are the terms you’€™re going to hear right now. Because the Bruins put themselves in this position, they have the options to really focus on the middle of April and not so much on the results and having guys play right now.”

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Jarome Iginla, Kevan Miller day-to-day with Bruins being ‘cautious’ 04.07.14 at 12:31 pm ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller were both missing from Monday’s practice at TD Garden, as the Bruins consider both players day-to-day. They are both options to play for the Bruins Tuesday in Minnesota and/or Thursday in Winnipeg.

Both players missed Saturday’s win over Philadelphia, with the Bruins saying neither were healthy scratches. Iginla has missed two of the Bruins’ last three games with a lower-body injury after playing the first 75 games of the season, while Miller had played 33 consecutive games prior to sitting against the Flyers.

“They’re coming on the trip with us,” Claude Julien said. “They’re still day-to-day [because we're] being cautious this time of year, so we’re just not pushing them. They’re coming on the trip. Is there a chance that they could play? Yes.”

Asked if Iginla and Miller would be in the lineup if the playoffs were to start that day, Julien said that there is “no doubt” that both players would be healthy enough to play.

Julien added that with four games left in the regular season, he will rest more players in the coming games.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I always want to be out there’ 04.02.14 at 12:27 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about the end of the regular season, the physical nature of the playoffs and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins have been on a hot streak lately, going 15-0-2 in the month of March. The run has secured a division title for the Bruins with seven games to go. It has come at a cost, however, as the players are a little sleep-deprived after all the traveling and back-to-backs.

“You get sore, you get tired,” Thornton said. “I think the change in time zones — last week or the week before we were in four different time zones in five days. It just screws up your sleep pattern.”

With Zdeno Chara now 37 years old, there has been speculation that the defenseman will be rested over the next few games.

“He’€™s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever met,” Thornton said. “He wants to win at the end of the day, though, and I think that’€™s the most important thing. I’€™m not sure what’€™s going to happen, whether he’€™s going to get some games off or some road trips off or what they’€™re going to do, but I’€™m sure it’ll be a civil conversation.’€

Thornton enjoyed the extra playing time in March due to all the back-to-backs. It was not only helpful for him, but for his line as well.

“I always want to play,” Thornton said. “The month of March, actually, with so many games is pretty good, too. Our line got a fair amount of ice time through the whole thing as well with all the back-to-back stuff. The more I can play, the happier I am. I always want to be out there.”

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Jarome Iginla named NHL’s First Star of the Month 04.01.14 at 1:37 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Jarome Iginla has been named the NHL‘s First Star of the Month for the month of March.

Iginla led the NHL with 13 goals in 17 games during the month, scoring on an absurd 31 percent of the 42 shots he took. He also had four assists to total 17 points in March. He was named the league’s third star of the week two weeks ago.

Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux were the second and third stars, respectively.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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