|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|
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 »
|Jimmy Howard admits Red Wings were ‘pretty lucky’ to beat Bruins||04.18.14 at 11:20 pm ET|
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.”
|Milan Lucic plans on covering himself – and the Bruins – in Old Time glory||04.07.14 at 8:05 pm ET|
In 2011, it was an old Bruins Starter jacket that the No. 1 star of the game wore after each Bruins playoff win.
Last year, Andrew Ference continued his own tradition by using an Army Rangers jacket to serve the same purpose, paying tribute to veterans of the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bruins can thank a legend from their past for the newest tradition, a heavily-worn “Old-Time Hockey” jacket.
“This is the new game jacket. It’s from Johnny Bucyk, so this is the new look from here on in after a win, and hopefully we can pass it along for a long time,” Milan Lucic said.
Perhaps the greatest significance of the latest tradition is honoring the past, specifically Bucyk and the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s, a team the current Bruins are trying to emulate with a second Stanley Cup title this spring.
“There’s a lot of respect for those guys, the past of this franchise and the people that have been here, and it’s Johnny Bucyk’s jacket — he gave it to Looch because he doesn’t fit it in anymore,” coach Claude Julien quipped over the weekend. “So otherwise, he probably would have had to buy it, right? So he’s been real good to us, and we felt that this was a great opportunity for him to continue to be a part of our group, which he is, and donate something that I think the players are finding really important right now.
“And again, it’s an homage to those guys that have been here and done so well, and I think our players, as I said, have a lot of respect for those guys and they want to continue the tradition. So they’re going to wear that jacket.”
Ference might be gone, but the tradition of honoring the player who symbolizes what it means to be a Bruin each game continues, thanks to captain Zdeno Chara.
“Being the captain, he stepped up and carried the tradition of a game jacket,” Lucic said.
|Milan Lucic calls Alexei Emelin a ‘chicken,’ denies spearing Canadiens defenseman||03.24.14 at 11:22 pm ET|
One of the biggest challenges the Bruins faced in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens Monday night was keeping their cool. After the game, Milan Lucic still hadn’t quite cooled down.
Lucic took a first-period hip check from Alexei Emelin in the first period of the game. The hit was clean, but Lucic asserted after the game that Emelin was trying to take out his knees. Zdeno Chara went after Emelin for the play, earning a roughing minor.
“Whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he would stand up and hit me and not go after my knees,” Lucic said. “It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down. It shows what kind of player he is, and on my end, you know you’ve got to keep your guard up at all times.”
That wasn’t the end of Lucic’s interactions with Emelin. In the third period (video here), Lucic skated past Emelin but stuck his stick between the player’s legs and lifted his stick, hitting him in what looked to be the rear end, though initial reactions around the web suggested he may have gotten Emelin in the — let’s say “groin.” Lucic denied the act after the game.
“Just skating by him and that’s all,” he said. “People are trying to say I speared him. I did not spear him, so that’s it.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We like the group we have’||03.05.14 at 11:01 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about the NHL trade deadline, his 100th fight and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
With the NHL trade deadline looming, Thornton said that there hasn’t been as much discussion in the locker room because of the Olympic break.
“We haven’t really talked about it much this year,” Thornton said. “I think because there hasn’t been a lot of chatter with the Olympics, it took a lot of focus away from the deadline. Usually there’s a two-week buildup to it, to be completely honest. This year you came out of the Olympics six days later. So there hasn’t been a lot of talk.”
Thornton likes the team and is fine with the way it is, but he knows there could be players traded by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.
“We’re a pretty good team, but I know that Peter [Chiarelli] is always looking to improve,” Thornton said. “And you can always get better, so we’ll see what happens by 3 today.”
Added Thornton: “We all really like each other, we like the group we have. We’re a pretty tight-knit group. We’re still winning some hockey games this year, so I’m OK with it.”
During Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Panthers, Thornton got into his 100th career fight. The fight with Krys Barch was initiated to spark the team and stick up for Milan Lucic, who fought Barch in the first period.
“We were kind of flat in the second period,” Thornton said. “Looch can handle himself, obviously, but I didn’t like that he went after Looch in the first shift. Krys Barch is a, he’s a really good guy. I played with him. … I actually kind of taught him how to fight 11 years ago in the minors.”
The Bruins’ top line of David Krejci, Jarome Iginla and Lucic performed very well on Tuesday with Krejci recording a hat trick and Iginla scoring the fourth goal. Thornton noted that the trio is unlike any other in the NHL.
“We rely heavily on those guys and they consistently perform,” Thornton said. “And it’s funny because if there’s one game where they don’t get a point it’s like the sky’s falling. Everyone’s chirping. They’ve been unbelievable for us all year. … They bring things to the table that other teams don’t have. You don’t have two power forwards that are that tough and score.”
|Bruins beat Canucks for first time since 2011 Stanley Cup finals||02.04.14 at 9:39 pm ET|
Though it didn’t mean as much as their last win over the Canucks, the Bruins beat Vancouver on Tuesday at TD Garden for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins picked up a 3-1 victory, good for their sixth win in their last seven games.
Vancouver native Milan Lucic made it 1-0 at 5:12 of the first period, with David Krejci passing it back to him while on a 2-on-2 with Jarome Iginla. Lucic finished off the play by beating Roberto Luongo stick side from the slot. Iginla added to the lead with a power-play goal off a feed from Zdeno Chara in the second.
Newly acquired Canucks defenseman Raphael Diaz beat Tuukka Rask with a slap shot on a waffling puck in the second at 11:28 of the second, but a Daniel Paille breakaway goal off a stretch pass from Johnny Boychuk increased the Bruins’ lead back to two.
The game was the third played between the B’s and Canucks since the 2011 Cup finals, with Luongo making his first start at TD Garden since Game 6 of the series. He was out dueled Tuesday by Rask, who made 27 saves.
Tuesday marked Chara’s last game with the team before he leaves for Sochi to be Slovakia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics Friday. The B’s have two games left before the break, as they’ll play in St. Louis on Thursday and host the Senators Saturday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Boychuk was a beast, starting the play that gave Paille his goal and providing a bruising presence. Boychuk found Paille coming onto the ice with the B’s stuck in their zone and sent a pass from the hashmarks of Boston’s zone to Paille at the Canucks blue line. Paille took it from there, beating Luongo low with a stick-side backhander.
That wasn’t all Boychuk did, as he used his body well on Canucks forwards, most notably crushing David Booth multiple times, including a massive hit along the wall in the Vancouver zone late in the second period.
The Bruins will need a couple more performances like that from Boychuk before the Olympic break, as the 30-year-old will be the elder statesman of Boston’s blue line for the next two games without Chara.
— Speaking of Chara, it was good for B’s to get two points in his last game with them before the break. The next two won’t be easy, as the B’s, who are already without Dennis Seidenberg, will be down their best two defensemen. David Warsofsky will play the next two games after being recalled Monday and sitting Tuesday.
— Though his line didn’t have the prettiest night, Paille continued to contribute. The tripping penalty he drew in the first period was the fourth penalty he’s drawn in the last four games, while he continues to use his speed (or, as was the case Tuesday, a fortunate line change) to create chances. Paille has eight goals through 48 games this season after registering 10 in 46 contests last season.
— Iginla has points in five of his last six games, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points over that span. His assist on Lucic’s goal was the 600th helper of his career.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Brad Marchand missed out on a couple of goals in the second period. What appeared to be the Bruins’ third goal was waved off after it was determined Torey Krug obstructed Luongo. Krug was in front of the net and fell into Luongo as Reilly Smith took the puck behind the net and fed Marchand, with Marchand having half the net open with Luongo down. Luongo immediately argued that the goal should be disallowed, which it was.
Later in the period, Marchand hit the post on a backhand bid in front.
— Statistically speaking, Patrice Bergeron‘s line has cooled off since its torrid stretch in mid-to-late January. The trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Smith now has gone four games without producing a goal.
|Seahawks fan Milan Lucic compares P.K. Subban to Richard Sherman, Broncos to 2007 Patriots||02.03.14 at 1:20 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The best sports analyst during Bruins’ media availability on any given day isn’t a member of the media, but rather Milan Lucic, so he was happy to discuss his hometown-ish Seahawks‘ Super Bowl victory when chatting with reporters following Monday’s practice.
Lucic, who grew up in Vancouver and has “converted” to being a Patriots fan, spent the earlier years of his life rooting for the nearby Seahawks and continues to pull for them as his “NFC team.”
It was in a conversation about the Seahawks Monday that loud and proud Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman came up, and whether there is a player like Sherman — among the best at what they do, and happy to let you know — in the NHL. Though Brad Marchand would seem to be a candidate, Lucic said the closest comparison would be Canadiens defenseman and reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban.
“As far as cockiness? Well I mean there are a lot of guys who are definitely overconfident and stuff like that,” Lucic said. “I mean, Boston, you can almost kind of look at a guy like Subban. Everyone loves to hate him, but he’s still good at what he does, as far as being a defenseman. He won the Norris last year. As far as we go in Boston, I guess you could say he’s kind of a comparison.”
As for the game itself, Lucic said he was in awe of Seattle’s defense, which took the ball away four times and limited Peyton Manning‘s offense to just eight points in a blowout win. He compared the Broncos‘ high-powered offense missing out on the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots in 2007-08, as it too set records but failed to reach its ultimate goal.
“Yes. Yes,” Lucic said when asked if he was surprised to see Seattle handle Denver the way it did. “Especially a safety off the first play, and it kept going downward for the Broncos after that, but you know what? It was pretty impressive to see Seattle’s defense and what they can do. They kind of just bull-rushed the Broncos offense and [Denver] didn’t have really any answer for it. It still amazes me how in most sports, the best defense usually comes [out] on top over the best offense.
“I guess from the Broncos standpoint, you could kind of compare it to the ’07-’08 Pats, having all that success and all those touchdowns and points, but they lose the big game. I felt that here my rookie year, so I’m sure they’re really disappointed, but like I said, it’s great to see that defense does win championships.”