|For Milan Lucic, Stanley Cup finals will be ‘extra special’||05.28.11 at 1:55 am ET|
You thought Milan Lucic playing in his hometown of Vancouver was special back in February? Well now he gets to go home and play in the Stanley Cup finals there.
“I mean, that makes it extra special,” Lucic said. “A lot of good things have happened to me in Vancouver.”
They sure have. Lucic, who was born and raised in Vancouver, got the chance to play junior hockey there for three seasons with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. He helped lead the Giants to a Memorial Cup title in 2007, and when the Bruins visited Vancouver earlier this season, the Giants held a “Milan Lucic Night” and inducted him into the club’s Ring of Honour. That trip was made even more memorable when Lucic scored what proved to be the game-winner in a 3-1 Bruins win.
Lucic said it will be great to play in front of friends and family in the finals, but that he might have some work to do when it comes to convincing them to root for his team.
“I know I am going to have to convert a lot of my, well my family is already converted, but a lot of my friends into Bruins fans,” Lucic said. “So that is going to be a little tough to do.”
While Dwayne Roloson was putting forth the performance of a lifetime – epic by even Stanley Cup playoff standards – it was fair to wonder if it just wasn’t meant to be for the Bruins in Game 7.
But for these Bruins, thankfully, that question never even entered their mind. That’s essentially why they were finally able to beat the apparently unbeatable 41-year-old goalie for one Nathan Horton tally with 7:33 left and make it stand in a Game 7 1-0 win for the ages that sends them to the Stanley Cup finals.
“We’ve had a few games like that, even in regular season,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “To have that performance in Game 7, it’s just nice to see. Everybody bought into it. It was really a strong mindset before the game, throughout the whole game. I was very impressed the way we played and never changed anything.”
Even when David Krejci pulled out all the tricks with point-blank shots and spin-o-ramas and Brad Marchand was firing shots on from great passes from Patrice Bergeron in the second period.
“We talked about it between periods, just stick with it, stick with it and eventually, it did happen,” Chara said. “It’s something you have to do that to be able to accomplish something. Everybody has to play the same way. It’s a team discipline.”
Chara and the Bruins were being denied time after time by Roloson, a goalie, who entering Game 7, was 7-0 in elimination games in his career, including four wins in these 2011 playoffs, alone. Read the rest of this entry »
|Regardless of age, Bruins know they might not get this opportunity again||05.27.11 at 2:01 pm ET|
At 19 years old, Tyler Seguin may be as close to the Stanley Cup as he’ll ever be.
“You know that that’s the case, but you’re going to do everything you can to seize the moment, seize the opportunity,” Seguin said after Friday’s morning skate in anticipation of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. “Obviously it’s a great opportunity, and it could be the only conference final Game 7 I ever play in, but who can predict that? Every year you just go out, work your hardest, stay focused and see what happens.”
Soon-to-be 23-year-old Milan Lucic is in a similar boat. He said after Game 6 that Friday’s game was the biggest of his and many of his teammates’ careers, and reiterated his point on Friday. In his case, there’s even more incentive to take down the Lightning at TD Garden, as a win at home would take him to his real home in Vancouver for the finals.
“You never know what can happen in the future. You look at myself, as young as I am even, you never even know if you’ll get another chance like this,” Lucic said Friday. “Especially for myself it’s a chance where if you win a game here, you get to play in your home town for the Stanley Cup. You’ve got to go out there and have fun with no regrets, and lay it all out on the line.”
In Seguin’s case, his rookie campaign has him somewhere where many of his veteran teammates have never been. He isn’t surprised by that, but he knows he and his teammates have to make the most of it.
“Obviously, coming into this year, I knew the Bruins were a Cup-contending team, and you never can predict or know what’s going to happen,” Seguin said. “You’ve just got to take advantage of everything you have, every opportunity you have. That’s what I’m doing and that’s what the team’s doing.”
The Bruins are able to appreciate that this isn’t just any opportunity. Regardless of age, it could be the only time (or the last time) they come this close to playing for a Stanley Cup. They have perhaps the best man for getting that message across to the youngsters.
“We’ve talked a lot about it. You just don’t get that opportunity all the time,” 43-year-old Mark Recchi said. “It’s tough to get to this point in this league. It’s a hard league, and there’s a lot of parity in the league. We have a chance to grab it and run with it. It’s just something you’ve really got to enjoy.”
None of the Bruins know whether they’ll ever come this far again in their careers. Their job now is to take it further.
After falling behind, 5-3, more than halfway through the third period of Game 6, the Bruins and their first line ramped up the pressure put on Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson in what would eventually be a 5-4 loss. First-line left wing Milan Lucic, who had a first-period goal and assisted the third goal of David Krejci‘s hat trick, hopes that the Bruins’ late surge in Game 6 can extend throughout Friday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“It would be nice to start off the game the way we finished [Game 6]. I think we applied a lot of pressure, we saw an opportunity and we started to play with that confidence that we need in order to succeed,” Lucic said. “That’s what it’s all going to come down to tonight: which team is more confident, which team is more determined and which team is more willing to go out there and pay the price to win this game.”
While Lucic was able to list what needed to be done, he noted that simply knowing what to do won’t be enough with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals in his hometown of Vancouver on the line.
“I can give you every cliche in the book, but in the end, what I say, words don’t mean nothing right now,” Lucic said. “Our actions are going to speak louder than anything right now.”
|Bruins-Lightning Game 7: 7 odds and ends||at 1:43 am ET|
With Game 7 just hours away, we’re getting carried away with the number seven. Here are seven stats/tidbits entering the game:
- Tampa has scored in the first 69 seconds of three different games this series, and have won only one of those contests. The B’s have gone on to take the lead in all three games.
- After scoring in the first period of Game 6, Milan Lucic now has six goals in the last six games in which the B’s could eliminate an opponent. In fact, all three of his goals this postseason have come in such games. He had two in Game 4 vs. the Flyers in the second round.
- The Bruins are 10-10 all-time in Game 7’s.
- Friday’s Game 7 will be Boston’s 100th game of the season.
- Tomas Kaberle has four points over the last two games, which ties him with Krejci for most among the B’s in Game 5 and 6. Kaberle’s eight points this postseason put him in a tie with Dennis Seidenberg for most among Bruins defensemen.
- The Bruins have outshot their opponent just once in their last 11 games.
- The only Bruins player with a multi-point game in the team’s Game 7 against the Canadiens this postseason was Andrew Ference, who had two assists.
|Looking back at Bruins’ Game 7 history over last decade||05.26.11 at 4:38 pm ET|
The Bruins will be fighting for their playoff lives when they take the ice for yet another decisive Game 7.
How many times have B’s fans heard that phrase in the last 10 years? Well, Friday night’s Game 7 against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals will be the sixth time in the last decade that the men in black and gold have played in the most-pressure packed game in professional hockey. In fact, Boston has played in a Game 7 in five of the seven seasons that it qualified for the playoffs over that span.
But that Game 7 history hasn’t been necessarily a good one. The Bruins are a horrid 1-4 in Game 7’s since 2001, with the lone win finally coming this season in the opening round against the rival Canadiens.
Here’s a look back at how the B’s fared in each of their Game 7’s of the past decade.
2004 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, 2-0 L vs. Canadiens
As the second seed in the Eastern Conference, this series against the seventh-seeded Habs should’ve been an easy one on paper. After the first four games of the series, it looked like that would certainly be the case as Boston jumped out to a 3-1 lead. But this was still the NHL playoffs, arguably the least predictable of all the professional North American postseason tournaments, and the Habs stormed back to score five goals in both Game 5 and Game 6 to tie the series.
In Game 7, it was Montreal goalie Jose Theodore’s time to take over. The netminder stoned all 32 shots from the Bruins while Richard Zednik potted both goals in the third period, one on an empty net in the waning seconds, to give the Habs the series win. The Game 7 win marked the first time Montreal had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. If there’s any silver lining for the Boston fans looking back on this loss, it’s that current Bruins bench boss Claude Julien was actually calling the shots for the Canadiens at the time. (Julien is 2-3 in Game 7’s for his career.) Read the rest of this entry »
|NHL reveals Stanley Cup Finals schedule||at 4:19 pm ET|
The NHL made the Stanley Cup finals schedule official Thursday, and it will open in Vancouver on Wednesday, with two days off between Games 1 and 2. The series will follow the 2-2-1-1-1 format rather than the 2-3-2 (none of this is to be confused with the 1-3-1, of course). Here it is, per the league.
2011 Stanley Cup Final Schedule
Game 1 Wed., June 1 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Game 2 Sat., June 4 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Game 3 Mon., June 6 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 4 Wed., June 8 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Game 5 Fri., June 10 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
*Game 6 Mon., June 13 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Game 7 Wed., June 15 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC, RDS
Sorry folks, this means Milan Lucic could not win the Stanley Cup in his hometown on his birthday.