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Tired of talk, Milan Lucic says Bruins’ ‘actions are going to speak louder’ 05.27.11 at 11:35 am ET
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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.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 7, Milan Lucic,
Bruins-Lightning Game 7: 7 odds and ends at 1:43 am ET
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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.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 7, David Krejci, Milan Lucic
Looking back at Bruins’ Game 7 history over last decade 05.26.11 at 4:38 pm ET
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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 »

Read More: Chris Kelly, Claude Julien, Michael Ryder, Milan Lucic
NHL reveals Stanley Cup Finals schedule at 4:19 pm ET
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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.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Milan Lucic,
Mike Emrick on M&M: ‘Weird things can happen in a seventh game’ at 1:15 pm ET
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NBC and Versus play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick joined the Mut & Merloni show on Thursday to discuss the Lightning-Bruins series  and preview Friday night’s Game 7 at TD Garden.

“The whole series has been [unusual], nothing [predictable] about what we’ll get tomorrow based on what we’ve seen so far,” Emrick said. “We know they are both good defensive teams, but try proving it.”

Emrick noted that Games 7′s are entirely unpredictable.

“Weird things that can happen in a seventh game we remember more because they were seventh games and not Games 4, 5 or 6’s,” he said. “Anybody can beat anybody in a Game 7. You get the right penalty call at the right time, you get a fluky bounce. …. If you care who wins you go, ‘Shoot, this is torture.’”

To hear the entire interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Here are more highlights from the interview:

On the Bruins’ struggles on the power play: “It’s a very unusual squad because its only happened a couple of times in history. It’s never happened before that a team didn’t get one power play goal and won a series, which they did in seven games against Montreal.

“The power play did strike late [in Game 6] and that certainly helped, but overall it was as flawed on the night as Tampa Bay’s was strong. Special teams made a big difference in this game, and they tend to make a big difference in games, but when you have a Bruins team that has got this far without much of a power play you have to say, ‘Well the ultimate seventh game might it not mean anything.’”

On the Bruins adjustments, including Zdeno Chara to the front of the net on the power play: “I think that confused [Dwayne Roloson], [Chara] had a deflection once, he got tangled with him once. Some of the things they were doing didn’t work but [Claude Julien] is more of a status quo coach than [Guy] Boucher is, but the thing is they have both had success they way that they do.”

On the Tampa Bay power play: We talked earlier in the series about how  [David] Krejci, [Milan] Lucic and [Nathan] Horton had a lot of pressure because they weren’t producing well it was that same thing with the star power for Tampa Bay because [Vinny] Lecavalier and  [Steve] Stamkos haven’t aligned in recent games. They came to the floor last night.

“It may have been not so much the Bruins penalty kill, but the fact there was heat on these guys, the ultimate heat on these guys, that if they don’t perform last night they aren’t performing anymore till October. They rose to the occasion.”

On Tyler Seguin’s ice time: “I am not sure what kind of difference he would have made. You have to remember that  the game he had the four points in and tied a record, it wound up being a wacky wide open game that set up perfect for him.

“People say Seguin should get more time, and I understand that, but who will you take it away from? Maybe people would have people hand-picked to take time away from, but I can’t think of anyone. I know you mentioned [Mark] Recchi and thought he was out there too much, but there’s savvy and skill for a seventh game in particular that Mark Recchi has.”

On his Game 7 prediction: “This is going to be low scoring, and something bizarre will happen later on, but if I wake up two mornings from now and pick up the paper and realize the score was 7-6 I won’t be shocked.”

Read More: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton
It’s official: Everyone’s complaining about Eric Furlatt at 12:02 am ET
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TAMPA — Bruins coach Claude Julien said he “disagreed” with the officiating in Wednesday’s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. The Bruins had five power plays to the Lightning’s four, but players and the coach took issue with some of the calls. What made matters worse in Julien’s eyes were the fact that the calls came on the very day that Tampa coach Guy Boucher called referee Eric Furlatt “lopsided” in favor of the Bruins this postseason. Entering the game, Furlatt had called 24 penalties on the Lightning, as opposed to nine on the Bruins.

“What was more disappointing is probably the fact that I don’t know if I agree with those calls,” Julien said when asked about special teams. “Hopefully what was said today didn’t have any impact on that, because if it did, I’d be really disappointed. You look back at those, and you get an opportunity to look back at them, and it’s really, really tough to swallow.”

Boucher fired back in a unique way, actually picking up the game sheet to present his counter-argument when asked about Julien’s words.

“Well, first of all, I was asked that,” he said. “I didn’t bring it up myself. I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me. Those were the facts and the numbers. If you’re asking me,” Boucher said as he took out the box score and began reading off it, “the power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I don’t know, who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.”

The Lightning went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1-for-5. Tampa was called more often, but Bruins players felt the calls against them may not have been legitimate.

“Well, I mean, it seemed like some of them were just makeup calls because we had a bunch of [power plays],” a frustrated Milan Lucic said. “You’d hope it’s not the time of year where there’s makeup calls like that. You can’t let the refs get to you. You don’t want them to be difference, and you want to do whatever you can to work past that. We don’t want to make excuses because of referees, but then again, we have to do whatever we can to not take penalties.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Guy Boucher, Milan Lucic
Bruins can’t close out Lightning despite David Krejci hat trick 05.25.11 at 10:46 pm ET
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TAMPA — The Bruins and Lightning are heading back to Boston to decide the Eastern Conference finals, as a hat trick from David Krejci was not enough to propel the B’s into the Stanley Cup Finals — instead, it was a 5-4 loss in Game 6 Wednesday night.

After the Bruins erased an early 1-0 Bolts lead with goals from Milan Lucic and Krejci. Tampa would come back with three unanswered goals before a back-and-forth third period left the B’s down by one following Krejci’s third goal.

Teddy Purcell did most of the Lightning’s damage to Tim Thomas, opening the scoring just 36 into the contest and giving Tampa a 3-2 lead 13:35 into the second period. Purcell now has six goals this postseason, three of which have come this round.

Thomas made 21 saves for the Bruins, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 15 of the Bruins’ 19 shots.

Game 7 will be played at TD Garden on Friday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS

- Another goal allowed very early for the Bruins. Krejci was set to take the face-off against Vincent Lecavalier and was tossed from the dot, allowing Lecavalier to go against Chris Kelly. The Tampa center won it cleanly, allowing for Purcell to blast one past Thomas. It was the Lightning’s second goal in the first minute of a game this series, and third goal in the first 1:09. Amazingly, it was the only game in the aforementioned three that the Lightning won.

- Yes, Eric Furlatt was officiating and the Lightning were penalized more than the B’s, but it was Tampa that won out when it came to actually capitalizing. The Bruins’ power play looked improved with Zdeno Chara in front, and Krejci scored his second of the game with the B’s on the man advantage in the third, but the Lightning went 3-for-4 as opposed to Boston’s 1-for-5.

- Once again, the Bruins simply couldn’t build momentum at St. Pete Times Forum. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 4, the B’s blew a 2-1 lead in the second and got no boost from Krejci’s goal that brought them within one in the third. Martin St. Louis scored 29 seconds after Krejci’s tally.

- Taking an interference penalty with 13:02 remaining in a game in which your team is trying to make a two-goal comeback probably isn’t what you want to do if you’re Tomas Kaberle. The polarizing defenseman did just that in the corner on a play that left Ryan Malone bloodied. Kaberle actually had a good night defensively, but the penalty won’t help his reputation around Boston as a bust of an acquisition.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Krejci’s hat trick gives him five goals in six Eastern Conference finals games. The dominance from the second round hasn’t been there, but the numbers have been.

- Say what you want about Lucic disappearing this postseason, but he always smells blood when his team has a chance of ending a series. Lucic had a pair of tallies in Game 4 against the Flyers in the second round last year, and had three goals in Games 6 and 7 combined against Philly last year. Taking Games 6 and 7 against the Habs this year into consideration, Lucic now has 6 goals in the last six games in which the Bruins could eliminate an opponent.

- Dennis Seidenberg had a big play for the Bruins on a play in which the Lightning could have made it 4-2 late in the second. A Marc-Andre Bergeron shot yielded a rebound that Steven Stamkos tapped toward the net with Thomas out of position. Seidenberg literally put his foot down, stepping in front of the puck before it could hurt the B’s and starting a circus that landed Andrew Ference in the box for cross-checking Stamkos. The Lightning would score on the power play early in the second period on a goal from Stamkos, thus making the transaction a wash.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly, David Krejci
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