|Claude Julien: ‘I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey’||05.09.14 at 12:37 am ET|
MONTREAL — It was a lot easier for Claude Julien to admit the obvious after a 1-0 overtime win in Game 4 than the alternative. His team still does not look like the squad that won 54 games and the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points.
If it weren’t for the efforts of a player just called up from Providence to bolster the third line, the Bruins could easily be looking at being down 3-1 heading into Game 5 Saturday night back at TD Garden.
But Matt Fraser saved the day and Julien was grateful, not only to the player who got 14 games under his belt this season but to his boss Peter Chiarelli, who called Fraser up in time for Game 4. What did Julien expect?
“The winning goal,” Julien quipped. “He’s been playing well lately in Providence and actually has been scoring some goals. He’s been playing some pretty good hockey and he showed that tonight. I liked his game, not because he scored but his whole game. He seemed to be strong on the puck, making some good decisions, wasn’t turning pucks over, seemed to be skating well. It was nice to see [goal] happen. The GM probably deserves the credit because he was the one who called him up. He’s a good player. We knew that. We had him for quite a while there this year. He can certainly shoot the puck and he has a knack to score some goals. In this series, we need that.”
Then Julien seemed to go back to reality, the reality that his top two lines seem stuck in the mud against Montreal’s system, giving them precious little room to maneuver in the offensive zone. David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron have been bottled up in this series. Things were so bad that Julien tried to loosen everyone up by completely breaking up the lines in the Thursday morning skate.
“A win was important obviously to get us back in this series,” Julien said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey. That’s not to downplay this win. We’ve played hard but I know I’ve seen our team play better. But you know it seems to be a process right now and we’re working through it. You hope that this win here helps us to get better anyways, and you go from there.
“There’s no doubt these guys are working hard, they care, they want to. Just because it doesn’t always go as smooth as we like it to be, what I like is we’re showing character and we’re battling through it and trying to find ways to win games.
|Matt Fraser on his Game 4 OT winner: ‘Words can’t even describe that feeling’||05.08.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Boston has a new humble hero and his name is Matt Fraser.
Just seven hours after joining the Bruins on a recall for Justin Florek, Fraser calmly stepped into the playoff fray between the B’s and the Canadiens, scoring the game-winning goal on a rebound from a Carl Soderberg shot just 79 seconds into overtime, giving the desperate Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 4 of the second-round series.
Trying to describe his emotions while recollecting the goal that pumped new life into the Bruins, Fraser sounded an extraordinarily genuine and humble tone.
“Words can’t even describe that feeling,” Fraser said. “I just watched the replay of it and, you know, I don’t even want to begin to try and explain that because that’s something I wish every kid could feel.”
What exactly does he remember about the game-winner?
“I wish I could remember,” he said. “It just happened in a blur. The puck got to the net and was bobbling around in front. I tried to sniff it out and knock it in.”
More specifically, it was Johnny Boychuk who fired a shot high off the stanchion behind the net. The puck ricocheted in front of Carey Price, who stopped all previous 34 shots. Soderberg collected the puck and put a shot on net in the low slot. Price couldn’t contain the rebound and Fraser was more than happy to jam at the puck, with some help from Canandiens defenseman Mike Weaver, and put it past Price to even the series, 2-2, heading back to Boston Saturday night for Game 5.
“As you can tell from my voice, it’s pretty exciting,” Fraser said. “I hardly slept today and I’m sure I’ll hardly sleep tonight. But at the same time, you have to keep it in perspective. This is one game. We’ve evened the series and now we have to go back to Boston and come with the same effort.
“I actually turned my phone off today. It’s just easier to focus on the game rather than talk to everyone. It’s most important that I talk to my parents. I always try to talk to them after the game. Hopefully, my dad was impressed with this one.”
MONTREAL — Brad Marchand and the Bruins have been through the Stanley Cup playoff wars over the last four years and a little 2-1 hole in the second round against the Canadiens isn’t going to faze them one bit. Even if the pivotal Game 4 is again on the very hostile ice of the Bell Centre.
“There’s no need to panic here,” Marchand said. “It’s 2-1. It’s not like it’s 3-0 [down] here right now. There’s no need to hit the panic button. We have a lot of really good leadership in here. We’ve been in a lot of situations before, and I think we just want to make sure we put our best game on the ice.
“We’re definitely not in the position we prefer to be in but we’re here and we want to definitely try to make the most of our opportunities. These guys are a huge challenge. They’re playing very well right now and we definitely have a big job to be prepared tonight.”
Marchand was playing it cool when asked about being separated from his typical line mates of Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith for the morning skate. Head coach Claude Julien said he was just having some fun with reporters who were watching the morning skate seven hours before Game 4.
“Every time he’s switched it up before, that’s normally how we start so we’d have to expect the same thing,” Marchand said. “We really just want to focus on our individual jobs and how we have to play. If that’s the lineup, we’re going to play the exact same way we do every night and just make sure we work hard. It doesn’t happen a lot but I’m sure there’s a reason whenever he does and he’s the coach. He makes those decision and we just live by them.”
More than who plays on which lines, Marchand knows full well it won’t matter if the Bruins aren’t winning the puck battles and taking care of their assignments in their own zone, something they failed to do at critical times in Game 3 Tuesday night.
“You look at their goals last game, they were all missed assignments by us. We left guys alone and they capitalized on them,” Marchand said. “So we definitely have to be more aware and definitely be better on our details.”
The Bruins, when they have been successful in recent years in the playoffs have imposed their will in critical games like Thursday’s Game 4. Marchand said Thursday morning they definitely need more of that than they showed in Game 3.
“I think we definitely could do a little bit more. They’re a very skilled team and you want to be physical on guys like that but they’re playing physical, too. We’re trying to take the opportunities when they’re there but we don’t want to take penalties and be reckless so we definitely have to do it within the rules.
“We definitely want to play our game a little bit more, be a little more physical on them, try to battle a little more in the corners. We turned a few too many pucks over at the blue lines so we definitely want to try and clean that up.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We plan on it being a long series’||05.07.14 at 11:12 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss Boston’s 4-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins once again got off to a slow start in Game 3, as Boston trailed 3-0 before finally getting on the board with a little over two minutes remaining in the second period thanks to a goal from Patrice Bergeron.
“I think it’s just uncharacteristic,” Thornton said. “I know the one coming out of the power play, maybe you should be aware of the clock, but it looked like we were in control. Yelling from the bench, you actually can’t hear it, to be completely honest. That’s one of the home-ice advantages, I guess. It’s just a couple of plays that were maybe a little uncharacteristic of us and end up in the back of our net. Give them credit, they capitalized on the chances that we gave them.”
Bruins netminder Tukka Rask once again took the loss after stopping 21 of 24 shots on the night. Rask has allowed nine goals in three games during the series.
“He’ll be good. He’s done a good job. His whole career, he’s been a really good professional — just banking things, knowing it happened and then moving on to the next one,” Thornton said, adding: “He’s just one of the best team guys that I’ve seen as a goalie. He’ll be great today, he’ll be focused on tomorrow. It’s 2-1, it’s not the start we wanted, but we plan on it being a long series.”
Thornton said the team’s usual stout defense should once again be present on the ice in Game 4.
“It’s more about just playing our game. … We had some chances and we had some sustained pressure and all that, but we are very strong defensively and we don’t normally give up backdoor passes or two or three breakaways a game. That just doesn’t happen with us,” he said.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘much more disciplined on the road’||05.06.14 at 12:37 pm ET|
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to discuss the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Canadiens. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins evened up the series in dramatic fashion on Saturday, as the team rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory in Game 2 at TD Garden.
“It was like Game 2 of Detroit and Boston, too, exactly what Boston had to do,” McGuire said. “Sometimes it takes a little while to warm up to a series, and it took the Bruins a little while to warm up to the Detroit series and they clearly did that in Game 2 and never lost another game in the series. I thought that Boston really warmed up to this series after losing in double overtime in Game 1. It takes a little while.
“They’re into it, they’re fully engaged now, and they’ll have to be because that will be a raucous crowd in Montreal tonight and Thursday night won’t get any easier.”
The Bruins once again struggled with maintaining their composure in Game 2. The Canadiens made use of six power-play opportunities in the contest, with two goals coming on the man advantage.
“It’s easier to say and harder to do,” said McGuire, adding: “It’s really difficult to talk about it and you keep getting hit over the head all the time with it, and I think there was some frustration because they were getting chances. … It’s all difficult stuff, but I think they’ll find their way. The one thing I know about this team, when they’re home, it’s one thing, because they want to please their fans so badly. … But the other thing, when they go on the road, I find them to be much more disciplined on the road than they are at home.”
It was not just the Bruins skaters getting penalized by the referees in Game 2, as Bruins coach Claude Julien was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the final minutes of the second period.
“It started early on in the game and I can tell you, he was really upset with [official] Scott Cherrey on an offside that he thought wasn’t an offside,” McGuire said. “Then it carried over to the second period, he didn’t like some of the calls going against his team, but it was nothing out of this world. It was nothing crazy. Trust me, I hear it all. It wasn’t anything nuts. And then, I don’t know what happened.”
Added McGuire: “I did not hear him say anything derogatory. I thought it was something that happened on the ice. I don’t know how [official] Dave Jackson heard anything from where he was standing from the Bruins bench, because it was definitely loud at that point in the game and when you’re on the ice, you’re down low. Unless you’re really scrutinizing, there’s no possible way you can hear anything.”
|Carey Price thinks Bruins ‘got pretty lucky’ in their comeback win in Game 2, and Patrice Bergeron agrees (sort of)||05.03.14 at 5:33 pm ET|
Call it sour grapes. Call it the frustration that comes with letting in a highly questionable goal that tied the game. Or just call it Carey Price answering a question the way he saw it.
However you characterize the Canadiens goalie’s response to letting in three goals in a span of 5:32 of the third period Saturday, you can’t help but read the frustration in his words after the Bruins came from behind and beat Montreal, 5-3, to even the best-of-seven second-round series at 1-1.
“Well, they poured it on at the end of the game,” Price said. “They got pretty lucky, I thought. They were playing desperate at the end of the game, and they found a way to put it in the net. We’ve just got to regroup, realize the situation were in, we’re in a good spot, and move forward.”
But still, a closer look shows what the Bruins might be trying to do the rest of the series to be successful. For the better part of five periods, the Bruins had point-blank range shots on Price, including several by David Krejci in Game 1, and Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla in the first 40 minutes Saturday.
But then, with the B’s trailing 3-1 and facing the prospects of heading to Montreal down 0-2, Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the center point that made its way through two Bruins parked in front of Price. That goal gave the Bruins desperately needed momentum. Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron fired a shot from the sharp angle along the boards that went off defenseman Francis Boullion and past a screened Price to tie the game. Then, with the Canadiens unable to control the puck in front and Price racing around to his right, Reilly Smith fired a puck past P.K. Subban and into an empty net for the go-ahead goal.
Create mayhem in front of Price and live by the adage, “You can’t stop what you can’t see.” That is what got the Bruins back in the game in the third period and turned the game and series around heading to Montreal for Game 3 Tuesday night.
“That’s playoff hockey,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. Right now, they’re throwing pucks at the net and they’re finding a way through. So, we’re going to have to do the same on their end. I thought we’ve played well so far. You’ve got to give that team a lot of credit. They didn’t quit, and in that third period they found a way to come back.”
Price thought the Bruins got “pretty lucky.” Bergeron didn’t argue that point.
“I was just trying to find the net,” Bergeron said. “Sometimes, you never know. I can’t say that I meant to do it, but I got lucky and I’ll take the bounce.”
|Matt Bartkowski on his penalty: ‘I just threw him down’||05.02.14 at 3:18 am ET|
Tuukka Rask might have been willing to take the fall for Thursday’s 4-3 loss in double overtime, but Matt Bartkowski knows better.
Just seven seconds after Bartkowski hauled down Dale Weise in front of the Boston net, P.K. Subban scored his second power-play goal 4:17 into the the second overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden.
What did the defenseman have to say for himself after?
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m not going to comment on whether or not it was a penalty,” he said. “The result sucks, afterwards. So, I think it could have been prevented before the call was made.”
Later, pressed on what kind of chance he was trying to limit in front of Rask, Bartkowski acknowledged that he felt he had no choice but to not let Weise get in prime scoring position.
“[Brandon] Prust shot it in front, and I’m just trying to get positioned so he can’t get to the puck,” Bartkowski said. “I couldn’t get it so I just threw him down.”
Seven seconds later, the Bruins were behind in their second-round series. Bartkowski didn’t need to be asked how frustrating the loss was afterward.
“That’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “We got it going there a little bit, in the first overtime I thought we played pretty well. It thought we took it to them pretty good and then I don’t know, we kind of came out flat, or whatever you want to call it. It just, it sucks.
“We turned it on at the end of the third, got a few big goals from Kruger [Torey Krug] and Johnny [Boychuk] there. If we bring that intensity the whole game then it’s a different story.”
Now, for the second straight series, the Bruins are in the position of having to win after losing Game 1 at home.
“You can take some good from that, but it’s a different series, a different team,” Bartkowski said. “We just, like I said, we’ve got to — the parts that we did play well and we did play our game, we really have to focus on that and focus on bringing that for 60 minutes.”