|Milan Lucic misses morning skate, but will play Game 3 vs. Lightning||05.19.11 at 1:08 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins forward Milan Lucic was not on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate at St. Pete Times Forum, marking his second straight absence from a morning skate after getting hit on the right foot by a Tyler Seguin shot in Monday’s practice. Despite whatever discomfort Lucic may be feeling, coach Claude Julien confirmed after the skate that the team’s regular-season leader in goals will be in the lineup Thursday night vs. the Lightning.
“There’s no issues,” Julien said of Lucic. He’s going to be in tonight. “During the playoffs, there’s certain things you do, and you give guys time off for whatever reason. He’s going to be in there, and there won’t be any excuses to his game at all. … There’s very minor issues when it comes to that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Mixing it up: Bruins swap centers Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly||05.16.11 at 11:41 am ET|
The Bruins scored just once in the first 58 minutes of Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
On Monday morning, in the first full practice since, Claude Julien mixed up the lines a bit while Patrice Bergeron also returned.
The speedy Rich Peverley was moved up to the second line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand while Chris Kelly was dropped to the third line of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder.
Meanwhile, Milan Lucic had to take a momentary seat on the bench after taking a slap shot from Seguin on the right foot during pre-practice warmups.
|Lightning not getting worked up over Bruins’ punches in final minute||05.15.11 at 1:16 am ET|
It would be understandable if the Lightning were angered by the punches Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic landed on Dominic Moore and Victor Hedman, respectively, in the final minute of Saturday’s Game 1. It would even be understandable if they retaliated, either at the time or in the future.
Instead, the Lightning seem completely unperturbed by Lucic and Horton’s actions. They didn’t respond on the ice, and they didn’t have much of a response after the game, either.
“Well, there is not too much to say,” Hedman said of the incident. “That is part of the game, too. I have to expect that and there is nothing I can do about it. That’s what he did, and I wasn’t expecting it, so that is why it took me a little aback.”
Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher avoided commenting on Horton and Lucic and said he was just happy his team kept its composure.
“We only focus on our emotions, not the other team’s emotions,” Boucher said. “We were really calm and we stayed calm.”
Hedman said he doesn’t expect a carryover or anyone going out of their way to get revenge in Game 2 Tuesday night.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “It happens in games and it is something you have to expect. I don’t think there is going to be anything else going on.”
|Tim Thomas sent the right message to Bruins between periods||05.07.11 at 4:18 am ET|
The Bruins were able to break a 1-1 tie in the third period in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals thanks to a snapshot from Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic‘s second goal of the game, and a couple of empty net goals courtesy of Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille en rout to sweeping the Flyers Friday night.
The win was just the latest example of what has been a season-wide trend for the Bruins. The Bruins’ 94 third-period goals in the regular season ranked second in the NHL, while they had a league-best 57 goals against in the final 20 minutes. The biggest case in the regular season was their five-goal showing to come from behind in the third against the Penguins back in November, but the most recent, and now most important, one came Friday. Tim Thomas knew the B’s had it in them, so between the second and third period, he spoke up and said so.
“It was an actual comment that I made to the team, was ‘third periods are ours,’” Thomas recalled after the game. “I just said that to reinforce and to remind guys that that’s the way it had been all year and hopefully help their confidence.”
It sure looked like it helped their confidence. After the Flyers got momentum in the second period on Kris Versteeg‘s goal, the Bruins were able to come out and make it a 2-1 game 2:42 into the third on Boychuk’s blast.
“Well, the result was great,” Thomas said. “We played a really good third period, but you did see a little bit of the fatigue set in because we weren’t getting pucks deep there a few times at the far blue line. It was just a couple of mistakes that we don’t normally make and stuff, but I think guys battled through it and just made sure to be even safer.”
Friday night’s series-clinching win over the Flyers was special for everyone involved with the Bruins, but it was a little extra special for Milan Lucic. The team’s leading goal scorer during the regular season entered the game without a goal in the playoffs. In fact, he hadn’t scored in 20 games going back to the end of the regular season.
That drought finally came to an end when Lucic one-timed home a centering pass from Nathan Horton for a power-play goal 12:02 into the game.
“It was great,” Lucic said when asked how he felt after the goal. “It was a great feeling once I scored that goal just to get that monkey off my back and get that lead.”
Lucic wasn’t done, either. He gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 4:57 remaining in the game when he beat Sergei Brobovsky five-hole on a breakaway for his second goal of the night. That was the backbreaker for the Flyers, who had turned up the pressure after the Bruins made it 2-1 earlier in the third.
“That’s what it was all about here. We had to weather that storm,” coach Claude Julien said. “When you are desperate and you need to score to stay in the series, you know they are going to give it their best shot. … We did a great job until we got that third goal, which was a big goal. Certainly it relieved a lot of pressure.”
Lucic admitted that he got frustrated at times during the slump, but he credited his teammates for supporting him and helping him get through it.
“My teammates, especially my linemates with [David] Krejci and Horton, we’ve been able to create so much chemistry here,” Lucic said. “They had my back and they just told me, ‘It’s going to come. Just keep sticking with it.’ I tried my hardest not to get frustrated. There was a time there when I was really frustrated. But right now, obviously it feels good to step up and help the team win a big game.”
Assistant captain Mark Recchi said that sort of team unity is one of the biggest reasons the Bruins are where they are right now.
“That’s what good teams do,” Recchi said. “When you haven’t scored for a while, you tend to get tight. He’s a young kid and hopefully now he’s found a really good time to start getting hot. He’s been a great teammate to everybody else this year. When guys are struggling or they’re fighting to score goals, what good teams do is find ways to help him and take that pressure off of him.”
|Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it awaits: Bruins sweep Flyers||05.06.11 at 10:42 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins finished off the Flyers with a 5-1 win, sweeping the Eastern Conference semifinals in four games and advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1992. The Bruins will next face the Lightning, who also swept their semifinals series vs. the Capitals.
Johnny Boychuk sent a blast from the point over the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky at 2:42 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie. It was Boychuk’s second goal of the playoffs, both of which have come in series-clinching games this postseason.
Milan Lucic had two goals for Boston in the win. With Daniel Carcillo in the box for cross-checking, Lucic put the Bruins on the board at 12:02, scoring his first goal of the playoffs and giving Boston its first 5-on-4 goal this postseason. The Flyers would apply minimal pressure throughout the rest of the first period, but got on the board thanks to a goal from deadline acquisition Kris Versteeg. Lucic added his second of the night on a breakaway in the third period. Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille added empty netters.
Tim Thomas made 22 saves in the winning effort. It was the second straight game in which he allowed just one goal.
The Bruins will host the Lightning in Games 1 of 2 of the conference finals. The schedule of the series is currently unknown, though it may depend on when the Western Conference finals are set. San Jose and Vancouver hold 3-1 series leads over the Red Wings and Predators, respectively.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Lucic finally broke out of what was statistically a postseason-long scoring slump by picking up his first goal since March 22. He had played much better in this series than in a pedestrian first-round vs. the Canadiens, so it was fitting that he be rewarded with a big goal on the score sheet before the second round was over. Going forward, the B’s will need more like that from their 30-goal-scorer.
- The Bruins could let out the smallest of sighs of relief after their 5-on-3 goal in Game 3, but getting their first 5-on-4 goal didn’t come until Lucic killed two birds with one stone. Nathan Horton hit Lucic with a pass on the doorstep to end the 5-on-4 drought and give Boston its second power play goal in the last two games (and of the playoffs).
- The Flyers turned up the pressure once the Bruins took a 2-1 lead, but the B’s responded to the challenge by getting in shooting lanes and preventing Philly from getting pucks to the front of the net. The Flyers tried to get shots from the point with traffic in front, but the Boston forwards did an excellent job of getting right on top of the Philly defensemen and not giving them anything to shoot at. Chris Kelly led the effort with with three blocks.
- Another game vs. Philadelphia, another point for David Krejci. Boston’s first-line center has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) over his last 13 games vs. Philadelphia. Krejci picked up a helper on Lucic’s first-period goal.
- The Bruins drew three penalties in the first by just moving their feet and attacking on offense. James van Riemsdyk went off for a hook when he couldn’t catch up to Lucic, who was driving hard to the net in search of a centering pass. Then Gregory Campbell forced his way to the front of the net from below the goal line and drew a cross check on Daniel Carcillo. A few minutes later, Claude Giroux went to the box for a trip after Tomas Kaberle cut inside him on an aggressive entry into the offensive zone. The power play resulting from Carcillo’s infraction ended with the Bruins’ second power-play goal in as many games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The B’s had an injury scare for just one of th least guys they could stand to lose. A hit from Claude Giroux in the third period sent Patrice Bergeron downb the tunnel for the B’s, and he would not return to the game. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points this postseason.
- Bad turnover by Brad Marchand in the Flyers’ zone to create a 2-on-0 for the Flyers, and it cost the B’s. Kris Versteeg beat Tim Thomas for his first goal of the playoffs. Versteeg was once property of the B’s, but was traded for Brandon Bochenski in 2007.
-The Bruins obviously want and need Zdeno Chara to be physical, but with eight seconds left in the first, he took it a little too far. When Scott Hartnell took exception to Chara trying to clear out the front of the Boston net, Chara responded by dropping his gloves and then dropping Hartnell with one punch. Unfortunately for Chara, Hartnell never dropped his gloves and Chara got a double minor to put the Flyers on the power play. Two minutes without Hartnell in exchange for four minutes without Chara is a deal the Flyers will take 11 times out of 10.
|Powerless: B’s aren’t about to complain about officiating on the eve of Game 7||04.27.11 at 12:15 am ET|
After getting what many observers clearly felt was the raw end of the deal from the men in striped shirts Tuesday night, the Bruins still were not about to take a page out of the book of Mike Gillis.
He is the Vancouver Canucks general manager who lambasted the NHL and its officiating crew on Monday, just about 24 hours before its Game 7 Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks Tuesday night.
Yes, the Bruins were put on not one but TWO 5-on-3 disadvantages and the Canadiens scored both times in a 2-1 win to force Game 7 less than 24 hours later in Boston. Yes, the major penalty to Milan Lucic for boarding seemed harsh, even if Jaroslav Spacek was bleeding from the head. And yes, the Bruins can’t really complain about the power play since they yet to convert a single one of 19 chances in the series.
But these Bruins know they still have Game 7 ahead. They figure that eventually the breaks have to even out – with the whistles and on the scoresheet, right?
But still it was a crushing blow to lose your top scorer with more than half the game remaining in a 1-1 contest in Game 6. But that’s what happened when Lucic was shown the gate when Spacek showed the officials blood from the hit just under five minutes into the second period – and just moments after the Bruins had tied it.
“Well, I’m not going to comment on it, and simply not for not getting any information, but I haven’t had any chance to really look at it closely,” Julien said cleverly. “And you see quick replays here and there but it’s something that I need to see here before I’m able to comment on that.”
“I can’t comment because I heard it but haven’t seen a replay at all,” added Mark Recchi. “Strange game and a lot of strange things happened out there but it’s part of it. I think 5-on-5 we were a very good hockey team tonight and we have to take that positive and go home and have our home crowd. We’ve been in this before. We have to stay focused, stay relaxed, stay positive and go from there.
“I’m not going to focus too much on what happened. It’s over now. We have to worry about [Wednesday] and can’t dwell on it and have to embrace what’s coming up [in Game 7].”
Added Patrice Bergeron, “I didn’t get a good look at it so I can’t comment on it but obviously, losing Looch, he means a lot.”
Then there was this from Tim Thomas that summed up the Bruins’ frustration.
“It was no harder than any other game,” Thomas said with a wry smile. “Obviously, when it’s 5-on-3, it’s harder to keep the puck out of the net. I’m not a forward. I don’t make or take those type of hits. I’ve already heard from some of the guys on their take on it but I don’t have one. I’m just a goalie.”
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