|Milan Lucic: ‘This is where players are remembered the most’||06.24.13 at 2:14 pm ET|
Bruins players spoke to a jam-packed room of reporters in comically large media scrums after what might have been their last morning skate of the season. They answered their questions, sounded optimistic, but Milan Lucic sounded tired of his own words. He looked, pretty obviously, like a guy who just wanted to get back on the ice for Game 6.
After all, the Bruins know their situation: Win and it’s Game 7. Lose and it’s over.
“When you’re in a moment like this, there’s definitely nothing to save it for. You don’t come this far to lose, right?” Lucic said. “It would have been easy to quit two months ago in that Game 7 in Toronto to get ourselves through that game. There’s no reason why we can’t dig deep and find a little bit extra to get us through this one.”
Added Lucic: “This is where players are remembered the most. You’ve got to find it within you to do whatever you can. You never know when you’re going to be back in this situation, and you’ve got to make the most of the opportunity that’s given to you. Right now you’ve got to view this as an opportunity and try to do everything you can to force a Game 7.”
The Bruins came back against Toronto in the most unfathomable way possible. If they’re trailing by three goals midway through the third on Monday (or maybe Wednesday), you can bet that they’ll be toast. Still, the lesson in Toronto’s collapse is that anything is possible. Both teams will have the rosters they’ve had throughout the series (Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews are in), so the Bruins don’t need to worry about anything but coming out of Game 6 with a win.
How might they do that? Getting better looks against Corey Crawford would be a start. The B’s outshot the Blackhawks in the early going of Game 5 (the Blackhawks held the overall edge at 32-25), but they didn’t pepper his glove side the way they did when they scored five against him in Game 4. Lucic says the B’s need to take whatever chances they can get.
In general the Bruins could stand to get more out of the top line of Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Though they produced a goal in Game 5, the members of the line have yet to score since Lucic’s two-goal performance in Game 1.
Consider the circumstances of their most promising period in a while. The Bruins had the Blachawks on their heels at points in the third period and saw the Krejci line produce a goal, but they were able to do that with Jonathan Toews not in the game. The Krejci line scored against the Bickell – Kruger – Kane line on a Zdeno Chara blast, but given that the Blackhawks were mixing and matching without this season’s Selke winner, the Krejci line played against the Kane line and also Dave Bolland‘s line in the third. Still, you’ll take results either way, and though Chicago got that goal back on a Bolland empty-netter and sealed up Game 5, Krejci was encouraged by his line’s third period.
“I think we had a great third period,” Krejci said. “Maybe the best in the whole finals. We’ve got to try to build on that and bring it to tonight’s game from the first minute to the end.”
Krejci still leads all playoff skaters in a landslide with 25 points (the next guys have 19), but he has yet to go off in the finals like he has in series past — most notably, they could use some production like he had in the first round. After having 13 points (five goals, eight assists) against the Maple Leafs, Krejci has put up four points in each of the last three series: four assists against the Rangers in five games, four goals against the Penguins in four games, and four assists against the Blackhawks through four games.
If the Bruins are to push this to seven, more offensive output from their top line would go a long way.
“We need to do more. We’ve definitely talked about being better,” Lucic said. “We’ve been playing well throughout the whole playoffs, and we’ve talked about [how] there’s no reason we can’t bring our best in situations like this.”
|Nathan Horton (shoulder) to play in Game 2||06.15.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Bruins right wing Nathan Horton will play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, Horton and Claude Julien said Saturday. Horton was on the ice for the team’s morning skate, marking his second straight day on the ice after leaving Game 1 with a shoulder subluxation.
Horton has been dealing with chronic left shoulder subluxation since injuring his shoulder in an April 20 fight against Jarome Iginla. He missed the final five games of the regular season due to the injury and has received shots to deal with the pain before every game this postseason. His shoulder has popped out of its socket throughout the playoffs, but Wednesday was the most painful occurrence.
Horton noted after the skate that he has been cleared by team doctors and will play, with Julien confirming it afterwards. Asked if he was concerned that Blackhawks players might target his shoulder, Horton said he isn’t worried, noting that “it’s the playoffs.”
Horton is second among all skaters with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) this postseason.
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|Claude Julien: Nathan Horton won’t be limited if he plays Game 2||06.14.13 at 4:07 pm ET|
“He’s day to day and that’s what he is,” Julien said. “‘¦ If he feels good tomorrow, he’s in the lineup.”
Horton left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals with chronic left shoulder subluxation, which he’s dealt with since injuring his shoulder in an April 20 against Jarome Iginla. He would not have been able to play had the Bruins had a game Thursday but is a possibility for Saturday. He was not limited in practice Friday, and Julien noted that if he’s in the lineup Saturday, it will be without limitations.
“If he’s in tomorrow it’s about him playing,” Julien said. “If he can’t play and I just can use him once in a while, I might as well put somebody [in] that can play the minutes. If he’s in, he’s in where he belongs. I’ll be very straightforward with you guys on that. If he’s in, he’s going to be in his position where he plays.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Nathan Horton practices as Bruins prepare for Game 2||at 2:35 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Nathan Horton was on the ice as the Bruins practiced Friday at United Center. Horton is dealing with chronic left shoulder subluxation where his shoulder continues to pop out of its socket and has had to receive shots to deal with the pain prior to every game this postseason. He left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday due to the injury and would not have been able to play had the B’s played Thursday. The Bruins consider him day-to-day and he is a possibility for Saturday’s Game 2.
Lucic – Krejci – Seguin/Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Soderberg – Peverley
Daugavins – Kelly – Thornton
Torey Krug, who had a costly turnover in the third period of Game 1 to lead to a Dave Bolland goal, remained on the third pairing with Adam McQuaid. The Bruins’ D pairings were as follows:
Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, checking in the day before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago. The Bruins forward stuck up for Torey Krug and was mum on the status of the injured Nathan Horton, saying he didn’t talk to the first-line winger Thursday.
‘I didn’t see him yesterday, so I don’t know the extent of it. I hope he’s in,’ Thornton said. ‘He’s such a good player for us. I’m sure if he’s in, he’s ready to go, so I’m not too worried about him. He’s a big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be. He can take care of himself.”
Although the Bruins officially call it an upper-body injury, Horton reportedly is suffering from a chronic shoulder injury, aggravated most recently during the B’s Game 1 loss. Nonetheless, Thornton wasn’t worried about the Blackhawks targeting the shoulder, should Horton be in the lineup.
‘It’s playoffs, so people are finishing their checks anyway,’ Thornton said.
When questioned on Krug’s momentum-changing, third-period turnover Wednesday, Thornton was careful not to speculate too much or make any lineup assumptions, admitting he doesn’t know what coach Claude Julien‘s thought process is when it comes to benching players.
Thornton did, however, give the defenseman a vote of confidence. Krug has been strong for much of the playoffs.
‘For the majority of the game last game, he was really good for us on the power play, he was really good for us getting up the ice and supporting the play. One mistake ‘¦ is not indicative of how he played,’ Thornton said. ‘Whoever is in or out of the lineup, it won’t be because of anything that happened ‘ I don’t think ‘ in the game previous. If an adjustment is made, it’s because he figures it gives us a better chance to match up in different situations on the other side and give us a better chance of winning.
‘I doubt anything’s going to happen, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.’
Thornton also hasn’t talked to Krug ‘ the players had Thursday off ‘ but anticipated the rookie being just fine mentally.
‘He’s a pretty special player, and a couple of breaks went the other way. It happens to the best of us,’ Thornton said. ‘It’s the same as the dynamic, thought process of the team: You can’t worry about what happened last game. Move on and get ready for Saturday.”
The hosts noted that the Bruins ‘ or Bruins fans ‘ don’t quite have a public enemy No. 1 for the finals as they did in series past. As far as Thornton is concerned, that’s OK. There are more important things going on.
‘When you don’t play all year, it’s tough to have that guy, that animosity with a non-rival,’ Thornton said. ‘I’m not sure if it’s necessary. We have to focus on winning games, not taking somebody’s head off. I hear what you’re saying ‘ sometimes it’s motivating when you dislike a certain individual, but this time of year you shouldn’t need an extra motivation.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’||06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.
Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.
‘Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,’ McGuire said. ‘I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.’
What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron‘s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci‘s unit with Michal Handzus.
Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.
McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.
‘He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,’ McGuire said. ‘For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”
McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford ‘superhuman’ in the first overtime,’ and said while Torey Krug‘s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.
‘It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,’ McGuire said. ‘It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.
‘But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”
CHICAGO — According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Nathan Horton has been dealing with chronic left shoulder subluxation, which caused him to leave Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals during the first overtime. The injury was originally suffered when Horton fought Penguins forward Jarome Iginla on April 20, with Horton missing the final five games of the regular season before returning for the playoffs.
Horton has received shots prior to each game to deal with the pain, and though his shoulder has popped out of its socket at points during the playoffs, Wednesday’s occurrence, when he bumped into Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the Chicago net on a Bruins power play, was the most painful thus far. His shoulder was popped back in after he left the ice, but he was in too much pain to return to the game.
The injury will not require surgery until the offseason, when he is likely to receive a procedure to tighten the socket so the shoulder stops popping out. It is unknown whether Horton will play in Game 2 on Saturday, with the team labeling him “day-to-day,” though he would not have been able to play had the Bruins had a game on Thursday.
Horton is second among all skaters with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) this postseason and will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. His agent offered no comment on the situation.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.