|Milan Lucic: Bruins feared it was the end of this group||05.13.13 at 11:14 pm ET|
If you thought the Bruins were going to undergo some big changes following a series collapse and second consecutive first-round exit, you weren’t alone. Milan Lucic said after the Bruins’ 5-4 come-from-behind Game 7 overtime victory that when the Bruins trailed the Maple Leafs by three goals late in regulation that they were “real conscious” of the possibility that changes would be made if they lost.
“You’re looking at the clock wind down with half a period left at 4-1,” Lucic said. “You start thinking to yourself, ‘Is this the end of this group here?’ Because it probably would have been if we didn’t win this game.”
Lucic said that the team has been inconsistent since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, and that the team proved Claude Julien‘s Jekyll-and-Hyde comparison right in Game 7. The 24-year-old winger scored with 1:22 left in regulation to bring the B’s within one before Patrice Bergeron scored in the final minute and then in overtime to give the Bruins the win.
“It’s a special group and we don’t want it to change,” Lucic said. “Everyone has a lot of fun coming to the rink here and being around each other and playing for each other. I think we need to keep stepping it up and hopefully push for another good run here because the Rangers are going to be just as hard or even better.”
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|Bruins storm back to eliminate Maple Leafs in Game 7||at 10:06 pm ET|
The Bruins ended up having the comeback that mattered most, Boston came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 before advancing on an overtime goal from Patrice Bergeron.
With the Bruins trailing 4-1 in the third, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Bergeron scored to even the game. Both Bergeron and Lucic’s goals came in the final 1:22 with Tuukka Rask pulled for an extra skater. Bergeron added his second of the game on a rebound at 6:05 of overtime to give the B’s a 5-4 win.
The Bruins were hurting big-time on their backend, as Wade Redden was kept out of the lineup with Andrew Ference already out. The biggest shoe of all dropped when Dennis Seidenberg didn’t play after the first two minutes of the first period, forcing the Bruins to rely heavily on Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Matt Bartkowski.
Bartkowski did well with the responsibilities he was given, as he got the Bruins on the board in the first period with his first career NHL goal. Toronto answered back by getting a power-play goal from Cody Franson and another tally from Franson through a screen in the second period. The Leafs added to their lead in the third period with goals from Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri. Horton brought the Bruins within two with his fourth goal of the playoffs before the B’s tied it with a late flurry.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
• That was the second three-goal comeback in the third period this season for the B’s, as they accomplished the feat on Feb. 12 against the Rangers before losing in in a shootout.
• Bartkowski picked a first time for his first career NHL goal. Bartkowski, who had played 21 career NHL games without a goal entering Monday, stepped up big with Seidenberg out. His highest time on ice total in the NHL entering the game was 16:36 on April 11, and he easily surpassed that total with well over 22:43 in regulation alone.
• The Bruins got away with one late in the first period when Chris Kelly elbowed James van Riemsdyk in the face without getting called from it. JVR was leaking from the play.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
• Seidenberg played just 37 seconds of the game and did not play after the first two minutes. His second shift lasted just six seconds, and though he never headed down the tunnel to receive treatment, he didn’t play for the final 18:16 of the period before missing the second and third. He took a twirl during a TV timeout following Bartkowski’s goal but didn’t stay out for a shift and could be seen sitting and standing up for long periods of time on the bench while appearing to occasionally stretch his left leg. Seidenberg stayed on the bench in the second period.
• The Bruins went a span of 18:15 from the first to second period with just three shots on goal — two from Gregory Campbell and the other a point shot from Dougie Hamilton. Bergeron was given credit for a shot on goal in that span, though it didn’t reach the net and thus shouldn’t have been registered as such.
• The Bruins won 29-of-36 faceoffs through the first two periods and still didn’t manage to control the play. They had only 12 shots on goal through the first 40 minutes.
|Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic ready to tough it out in Game 5 for Bruins||05.10.13 at 2:37 pm ET|
A few little scrapes aren’t about to get in the way of a hockey player’s appointed Stanley Cup rounds.
Just ask Milan Lucic (right eye) and Chris Kelly (right cheek), both of whom took nasty shots in Game 4 and both of whom have the bruises and stitches to show for it. Both will be ready to go in Game 5 against Toronto.
“I’ve been icing it the last few days, but I probably have the worst eyesight on the team and I’m squinting all the time [normally], so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Lucic joked. “I feel good. I’m looking forward to tonight. Obviously I’ve got a little bit of a shiner on my right eye, but looking forward to tonight and there’s a lot on the line for both teams. After last game, we expect them to come out hard and bring their best because we know what they’re playing for and we need to come out with the same approach as the Leafs are.”
As for Kelly, he was injured when he took a high stick to the face from Toronto’s Nazem Kadri in the opening minute of the third period Wednesday. He received what he called “nine or 10 stitches” and returned.
“Just a little swollen, just a cut, it’s fine,” Kelly said Friday morning. “It was bleeding and the refs knew it was bleeding, so there’s no need for me to lay on the ice; skate off and get it done quickly.”
At least Lucic and Kelly are playing. The same can’t be said for Toronto defenseman Mark Fraser. He had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone in the forehead after being hit with a puck shot by Lucic in the third period.
“He’s back home resting comfortably,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said Friday. “It is tough when you lose players, and lose players to that type of injury.”
|Happy Milan Lucic Appreciation Day||05.08.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
TORONTO — Wednesday morning was Milan Lucic Appreciation Day at Air Canada Centre, with the power forward’s resurgence a big topic among the media (for those keeping track, Tuesday was Jaromir Jagr is Still Getting It Done At His Age Day). Here’s a gem from Shawn Thornton when asked what Lucic has that he wish he did:
“Everything. He skates better than me, he’s got a better shot than me, hits better than me, he’s a lot younger than me,” Thornton said. “He’s definitely a combination you don’t see too often, but that’s why he’s getting six sheets next year. It’s not like you can find those guys everywhere. He gets paid accordingly.”
The “six sheets” line refers to the $6 million Lucic will average over the next three seasons, when the $18 million extension he inked prior to the lockout will begin. Lucic had just seven goals and 20 assists during the regular season, but he’s stepped it up in the playoffs. His six points (all assists) through three games are more points than he had over his final 12 games of the regular season.
As a former 30-goal-scorer, Lucic is there to put pucks in the net. Though he still hasn’t scored this postseason, the fact that he’s been able to contribute as much as he has (Claude Julien said Wednesday that Lucic has been arguably Boston’s best forward this postseason) speaks to what David Krejci says is an under-appreciated ability to make plays.
“Definitely I would say his passing ability is underrated,” David Krejci said. “I’ve been playing with him for a long time, a few years now, so I know what he can bring to the table. He’s not only about hitting the guys and putting the puck in the net and fighting. He can do more things and he’s shown it in the playoffs so far, with three games and six assists that he can help the team in the other part of the game, too.”
|Claude Julien has the back of Jaromir Jagr: ‘That was vintage Jagr’||05.06.13 at 11:09 pm ET|
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 »
TORONTO — The Air Canada Centre crowd didn’t have as much energy as was expected Monday night — and neither did the Maple Leafs — as the B’s beat Toronto, 5-2, in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Adam McQuaid got the Bruins on the board at 13:42 of the first period with a slap shot from the point, giving the Bruins four goals from defensemen this series. The Bruins expanded their lead when Rich Peverley scored the third line’s first goal of the series in the second to make it 2-0 after a nice steal by Jaromir Jagr, but a Jake Gardiner power-play goal following a Tyler Seguin tripping penalty brought the Leafs to within one.
Nathan Horton scored his third goal in as many games, and Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 4-1. Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the postseason to make it a two-goal game, but Tuukka Rask kept the door closed from there, with David Krejci tallying an empty-netter to finish it off.
The B’s and Leafs will play Game 4 on Wednesday night, with the series returning to Boston on Friday for Game 5.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
• For a line that rightfully was surrounded by questions heading into the postseason, the Bruins’ top line has been very good for the B’s thus far. Krejci’s goal was the seventh goal this series the Krejci line has been on the ice for, and how about this for a stat: Milan Lucic has more points (six) in three postseason games this year than he had over his final 12 games of the regular season.
• Speaking of that line, Horton now has a goal in each game this postseason. In 24 career playoff games, Horton has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. It’s safe to say he’s a playoff performer, and safer to say that he’s helping his cause as he nears free agency.
• If the NHL kept track of shorthanded scoring opportunities, you’d probably see Paille’s name near the top of the list. Paille’s smarts and speed make him a huge asset on the penalty kill, and it showed again when he picked off Kessel’s pass and turned it into a breakaway. The issue with Paille has always been finishing, but he finished beautifully with a backhander to beat James Reimer.
|Dougie Hamilton wins Bruins’ Seventh Player Award||04.25.13 at 7:45 pm ET|
In what could be the first of many individual honors, Dougie Hamilton received his first Thursday night.
The Bruins announced that the 19-year-old defenseman is the winner of the NESN Seventh Player Award. Voted on by Bruins fans, the Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.
Ironically, Hamilton was a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Lightning as the team gives him a rest before the start of the playoffs next week.
In his first season with the Bruins, Hamilton has notched five goals and 11 assists in 42 games with a plus-6 rating. The rookie ranks second among Bruins defensemen in points (16) and goals (5).
Hamilton is tied for third in the NHL among rookie blueliners in points (16), third in assists (11) and tied for third in goals (5).
Hamilton started the season with the Niagra IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League), skating in 32 games, notching eight goals and 33 assists for 41 points. Last year, he was named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year.
The 6-foot-5, 199-pound native of Toronto was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (9th overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.
In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Hamilton will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.
Recent recipients include Tyler Seguin (2012), Brad Marchand (2011), Tuukka Rask (2010), David Krejci (2009) and Milan Lucic (2008).
The Seventh Player Award sweepstakes winner was Scott Martioski of Orange, Mass. Martioski wins a three-year lease on a 2014 Kia Sorento courtesy of Central Auto Team of Norwood and Raynham.