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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
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Tony Amonte

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.”

Looking back at the closing minutes of Friday’s Game 5, Tyler Seguin was getting ice time over David Krejci on the power play despite failing to record a point in the series.

“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.”

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Claude Julien has the back of Jaromir Jagr: ‘That was vintage Jagr’ 05.06.13 at 11:09 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien showed Monday night that he had the backs of his players. (AP)

Everyone knew Jaromir Jagr was due to break out.

He picked a very good time to do exactly that as Claude Julien had his patience in the 41-year-old superstar rewarded in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3 of their first-round series at Air Canada Centre.

Heading into Game 3, the line of Jagr, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly hadn’t done much. They were struggling to find a rhythm in the first two games. Jagr was weakened heading into the playoffs by flu-like symptoms, cutting down on the amount of time he could spend generating any type of chemistry with teammates.

That changed 5:57 into the second period when he stripped the puck behind the Leafs net and found Peverley all alone in front of James Reimer for the goal that made it 2-0 Bruins.

“It’s my job to make the excuses, and I made the excuses for them because I felt it was right,” Julien said. “Jags hasn’t been feeling that great and he had to turn a corner here and, at the same time, he had new line mates that hadn’t played much together so it’s just a matter of giving him some time. Sometimes, you have to be patient and I’m more of a patient guy that I am someone who’s going to panic, and tonight it paid off because I thought they were a real good line for us.

“It speaks a lot to Jags. It doesn’t matter how old he is or how long he’s been in the league. It doesn’t matter how much he’s accomplished. He’s a real proud competitor and he takes everything at heart. And the fact that he hadn’t been doing as much as he would’ve like to because of circumstances, he was determined to be a difference-maker tonight and help our team. I thought he did a great job. And the other two guys were a lot more comfortable with him tonight. And again, talking and practicing together certainly helped. He’s strong on the puck, and I know every time he has it, they need one or two guys on him to take it away and that means somebody’s open. He does a great job of that and I thought he was on top of his game tonight.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Postgame notes from Bruins 5, Leafs 2 in Game 3 at 10:18 pm ET
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Jaromir Jagr got his team going Monday night in Game 3. (AP file)

Courtesy Boston Bruins media relations, here are some postgame notes from the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3.

• The Bruins now have an 18-16 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

• The B’s Game 4 record when leading a best-of-seven series 2-1 is 12-15 and they are 19-8 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have led 2-1.

• The Maple Leafs now have a 13-22 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

• The Leafs’ Game 4 record when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-2 is 18-11 and they are 10-19 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 1-2.

MILESTONES REACHED

Jaromir Jagr had an assist on Boston’s second goal which was his 190th career NHL playoff point. That ties him with Brett Hull for sixth place on the league’s all-time playoff points list. Adam McQuaid scored his first career NHL playoff goal with Monday night’s opening score. Toronto’s Jake Gardiner scored his first career NHL playoff goal.

THIS AND THAT

• The Maple Leafs outshot the Bruins by a 48-38 margin. That was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a playoff game since Montreal had 51 on April 23, 2011, which was a 2-1 Boston win in double overtime. It was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a non-overtime playoff game since April 11, 1975, when Chicago had 56 in a 6-4 Blackhawks win.

• Monday night’s game was the first of this series in which the team that scored first also won the game.

• There have been four goals scored in the first two minutes of a period in the three games of this series, with Toronto netting three and Boston one.

• McQuaid’s goal was the fourth by a Boston defenseman of the 10 scored by the Bruins in this series.

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Bruins need more out of Jaromir Jagr, third line at 1:34 pm ET
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Jaromir Jagr

TORONTO — Two years ago, the Bruins’ third line made a big difference in the Eastern Conference finals. After losing the first two games at home, the line of Chris Kelly between Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley made a big difference going forward and played a major role in the B’s getting out of the first round.

This season, the Bruins haven’t had the depth they had the past two years. Though most of the faces on offense have stayed the same, the lack of production from the third line has been glaring practically all season. The trio of Chris Kelly between Chris Bourque and Peverley didn’t work and then Kelly got hurt and missed 14 games in just the second game of the Jordan Caron-Kelly-Peverley experiment. Jaromir Jagr, Kaspars Daugavins, Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo have all seen time on what has been a constantly changing line.

Now, the Peverley-Kelly-Jagr line is hoping to be the one that reverses the fortune of what’s been an unproductive area of Boston’s lineup. Peverley figures to stick on the left wing after being a healthy scratch in favor of Daugavins in Game 1. Through two games, the line has produced no points and eight shots on goal. Jagr is a minus-2, while Kelly is a minus-1 and Peverley has an even rating.

“Obviously it would be nice to have a little more in-zone time, but I think we have done a lot of good things in the first two games,” Kelly said after Monday’s morning skate. “Communication is extremely important, especially moving forward.”

Peverley’s addition was welcomed on Saturday, as he won 10 of 12 faceoffs after Kelly had gone 2-for-9 on draws in Game 1.

Jagr, meanwhile, could be an ace in the hole if he can get going for Boston. The veteran right wing missed the last two games of the season with the flu and said prior to the playoffs that he still wasn’t feeling well.

The 41-year-old was on the ice in Monday’s morning skate, though he spent a lot of time by the bench and was not made available to the media. Claude Julien said Sunday that Jagr still wasn’t at 100 percent, but Kelly still likes what he’s seen thus far from him.

“Jags has been good,” Kelly said. “He’s a big strong guy who makes things happen. I think we could support him a little bit better, especially in the offensive zone. Like I said, communication is key. Holding onto the puck and making the right plays out there will help us generate more offensive chances.”

The B’s can only hope that line generates more chances. The members of the third line scored five goals over Games 3 and 4 against Montreal two years ago, with Michael Ryder scoring the game-winner in overtime of Game 4 to tie the series.

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup because of their offensive depth (and a couple guys named Thomas and Chara), and they’ll need to have it again after going too long without it this season.

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Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr expected to play Game 1, though Jagr ‘feels like [expletive]‘ 04.30.13 at 1:35 pm ET
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Jaromir Jagr

Bruins forward Nathan Horton said he fully expects to play Wednesday night in Game 1 against the Maple Leafs. Horton missed the final five games of the regular season with an upper-body injury suffered in a fight against Penguins forward Jarome Iginla on April 20, but Tuesday marked the first time he practiced with his teammates after beginning skating last week.

Claude Julien said after player availability that Horton’s status would be determined Wednesday, but given that he skated on the first line and the fact that Horton said he expects to play, it would appear that the veteran right wing will indeed be in the lineup.

“I’m — I think I’m playing tomorrow,” Horton said. “Unless he says I’m not, I’m ready.”

That’s the good news for the B’s. The bad news is that Jaromir Jagr, who missed the last two games of the season with the flu, still isn’t feeling well.

“I feel like [expletive], man,” Jagr said after practicing on the third line with Chris Kelly and Kaspars Daugavins.

Jagr said that he didn’t feel well heading into last Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, but that he wanted to play against his former team. He then played against the Lightning on Thursday before being kept out of the lineup Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s the strongest flu I’ve ever had,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything.”

The 41-year-old said he wishes the the playoffs would begin on Thursday, but that he’s hoping to feel better by Wednesday night. He’s still expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Maple Leafs.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Brad Marchand breaks goal drought with help from Gregory Campbell, Jaromir Jagr 04.08.13 at 11:28 pm ET
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Brad Marchand had two goals against the Hurricanes Monday. (AP)

Brad Marchand scored two goals on Monday in a 6-2 Bruins win after scoring two over his previous 17 games. He was so grateful to his new linemates, Gregory Campbell and Jaromir Jagr, for making it happen that when he had chances to score a third, he went out of his way to try and set them up instead.

“I think I wanted to be a little unselfish there,” Marchand said. “One time I tried to give it to Jags when I had a pretty good shooting lane, and then that 2-on-1 where I tried to give it to [Campbell] – but I just wanted to return the favor on both of those goals they gave me.”

Both of Marchand’s goals came on second chances produced by his linemates’ shots. On the first, Campbell drove to the net and attempted a wraparound with Hurricane defenders hanging on him. While he couldn’t get enough on it, Marchand was ready to tap the rebound past Carolina goalie Justin Peters.

Then, with just under three minutes left in the first period, Jagr carried the puck behind the net and tried for a wraparound (all three first-period goals from the B’s involved wraparounds). His attempt slid through the slot and out to Marchand, who was in exactly the right spot to flick it past Dan Ellis, Peters’ replacement.

By the middle of the second period, the Bruins had a comfortable 5-0 lead, so Marchand seemed content to spread the wealth around. He broke free of the Carolina defense and cut down the left wing, but instead of accelerating and taking a shot, he sent a pass back to Campbell, who was entering the zone with a defender on him and couldn’t do much with the puck.

Marchand did the same later with a pass to Jagr, who picked up two assists on the night but didn’t score. Campbell also had two assists, his sixth and seventh of the year.

“I probably should have shot on both of them, but they’re quick, second decisions, and that’s how the game goes,” Marchand said.

The line finished with eight of the Bruins’ 36 shots (four for Marchand, two each for Jagr and Campbell) in their first game together. Bruins coach Claude Julien said he thinks Campbell’s work ethic fit well with the two more offensively-oriented wingers, even though Campbell hasn’t seen much time as a top-six center in Boston.

“He’s a very versatile player that you can move up and down,” Julien said. “His style is not fancy. It’s straightforward. It’s about hard work. It’s about getting pucks to the net and getting your nose dirty in all the areas, and he was a decent centerman for those guys who like to move the puck around. He made room for those guys and he opened up some passing lanes.”

Passing up shots didn’t hurt the Bruins Monday as they got plenty of offense from unlikely sources, including Jordan Caron and Andrew Ference. However, Julien said he hopes Marchand’s line will take the shots they have as they settle into playing together.

“Tonight it was more Jags trying to feed [Marchand], forcing a pass, trying to get him his hat trick,” Julien said. “Eventually those guys will get used to playing with each other and they’re going to encourage each other to take the shot when it’s there. I know I will.”

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Jaromir Jagr wanted to sign with Canadiens in offseason 04.05.13 at 1:29 pm ET
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Jaromir Jagr

WILMINGTON — Jaromir Jagr is a Bruin, but if he had it his way over the summer, he would be a Canadien.

The 41-year-old has been all smiles since being traded from Dallas to Boston this week, but the 12-time All-Star actually wanted to sign with Montreal in the offseason. The Habs were Jagr’s top choice after his one-year contract with the Flyers expired, but when the Canadiens didn’t reciprocate the interest, he took a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Stars.

“I had never played in Canada, so I would like to try it,” Jagr said after Friday’s practice. “The [Canadiens] went in a different direction, so that’s OK. I feel like Canada lives more for hockey, so I wanted to try it at the end of my career, how it is to play in Canada.”

Jagr’s path has instead brought him to Boston, where he finds himself on the other side of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. He’ll get his first taste of it Saturday night in Montreal, where he figures to get a different reception than the ovation he got on his first shift Thursday. Canadiens fans, who are perhaps the most passionate in hockey, routinely boo other team’s star players, but Jagr said that at his age he shouldn’t even qualify for the type of treatment Zdeno Chara, among others, gets.

“Hey, I’m not a star anymore, so I don’t really care,” Jagr said with a laugh. “Zee is the best defenseman. He’s a star. It’s going to be a lot worse in Pittsburgh, trust me.”

The Bruins don’t play in Pittsburgh again this season, so the only way Jagr could revisit his old stomping grounds, which he eventually spurned when he signed with the Flyers upon returning to the NHL in 2011, is in the playoffs. He ties in quite interestingly to a budding rivalry between two of the East’s top teams, as the failed acquisition of Jarome Iginla in Boston (Iginla wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause for Boston, forcing the Flames to trade him to Pittsburgh) led to the Bruins swinging a deal for Jagr.

“I was reading it like everybody else,” Jagr said of the Iginla-to-Boston fiasco. “I went on the Internet and I saw the first headline was Iginla going to Boston. I didn’t follow it after that. The next day, I find out it didn’t [happen]. Sometimes, that’s what happens. Hey, you cannot trust anybody in this business. You never know. I learned that.”

For now, Jagr doesn’t need to worry about the Penguins — at least until April 19, when the B’s host Iginla’s squad at TD Garden. Even with experience on both sides of a great rivalry between the Penguins and Flyers, Jagr says he doesn’t know what to expect on being a part of the Boston-Montreal rivalry. What he does know is that the Bruins can take over first place in the Northeast Division with a win over the Habs, as Montreal has 53 points to Boston’s 52 with one more game played.

Jagr noted the intensity of Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Devils, as the Devils are pushing for a spot in the playoff picture. If he thought that was impressive, he should be floored by what he sees Saturday in Montreal.

“Every game is going to be like a playoff game. We found that out yesterday. Every point is so important, and it’s even more important for the teams who are fighting for the playoffs, for the eighth or seventh spot,” he said. “For us, we want to be in first place. It’s going to be a huge game, and you want to get ready for the playoffs with games like that.”

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