|Bruins don’t hang their heads and get rewarded||11.02.11 at 10:35 am ET|
Tim Thomas is usually the center of attention whenever he plays and the Bruins win a game.
But this has hardly been a usual season so far and Tuesday was hardly a typical game.
“Yeah, I was waiting around my locker when you guys came in but no one came over,” he told reporters with a good-natured smile after Boston’s 5-3 win over Ottawa. “But I wasn’t the story tonight.”
Thomas – as is usually the case – was right on the money. The story Tuesday was the rediscovered tenacity of a Bruins team that rode its determined style to a Stanley Cup title four months earlier.
That tenacity was tested when the team fell behind 2-1 after one period to the Senators and blew a 3-2 lead early in the third period. That was hardly what the Bruins – losers of three straight and seven of 10 to start the season – needed for confidence.
But instead of hanging their heads, they found success in the form of two goals 37 seconds apart from Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille.
“I think we were trying to maintain that 60-minute focus in our game,” head coach Claude Julien said. “I thought maybe in the beginning of the third, after that power play, we seemed to get a little bit sloppy, and of course, they tied the game up. But I think everybody was on the same page tonight as far as, don’t hang your heads, let’s go out there, let’s get the next goal, and let’s find a way to win this game. Determination was a lot better tonight and positive, I guess, thoughts, more than hanging our head and saying, ‘Here we go again.’”
“I thought we had the momentum all night and it was one of those games where we felt confident we could do it and come back,” added Patrice Bergeron. “And playing like that, that’s how we come back in games and show character and stay consistent and keep going at them. And I thought tonight was the perfect example that when we put the puck in deep and work at it, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Say this much for Johnny Boychuk – his timing couldn’t be better.
He scored his first goal of the 2011-12 season Tuesday night with a slap shot from the right point, putting the Bruins ahead 4-3 midway through the third, as the Bruins earned a much-needed 5-3 win over the Senators at TD Garden.
Boychuk didn’t score his first goal last season until Jan. 18, his 36th game of the season. Boychuk only needed 11 games this time around. Was he relieved?
“Yeah,” Boychuk said. “There were a couple where I just barely missed the net and I finally got one through.
“Obviously it feels a lot better. Getting that first one by you and now you don’t have to worry about it. I think last year it took me until January, so I feel a little bit better.”
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|Milan Lucic agrees with Claude Julien: B’s took the game ‘way too lightly’||10.10.11 at 4:57 pm ET|
It was pretty apparent, even before Claude Julien called out his team before reporters in a post-game press conference, that the Bruins were fairly disgusted with their performance in a 1-0 loss to the Avalanche that wasted a brilliant performance by Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins managed 30 shots on Semyon Varlamov, but not enough sustained pressure. When they got great chances, including Lucic with just under six minutes to go in the game, they couldn’t finish.
“Well, they played well, you have to give them credit,” Lucic said. “But on our part, we took today’s game way too lightly. We lost most of the battles, they were first on pucks. Regardless of if we were the champs last year or not, the major areas on the ice, they wanted the puck more than us. And that’s why we weren’t able to generate enough to get that goal.
“We created some pretty good chances, just have to find a way to bear down on them.”
In their losses to the Flyers and Avalanche, the Bruins could not do two basic things essential to winning hockey and their Cup run of last spring: Control the puck and win physical battles.
“Yeah, it seemed like we were chasing a lot and they were just chipping past us and going,” Lucic said. “And we were a step late, a second late here a step late, a second late over there. And that’s basically what happens. I talked about being first to the puck and winning battles and we didn’t have enough of that. Good for four periods and need to work on the rest.”
|Tim Thomas gets ‘first win out of the way’ and looks great doing it||10.08.11 at 11:23 pm ET|
No it wasn’t a shutout for Tim Thomas on Saturday night but in stopping 25 of 26 shots from the Lightning, he certainly showed he has the capability of replicating his historic year of a season ago.
Thomas made all the big saves, especially when the game was in doubt helping the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Lightning team they edged in seven hard-fought games in last spring’s Eastern finals. And it served as a nice bounce back after dropping the season-opener on Thursday to the Flyers.
“You get the first win out of the way so kind of get the monkey off of our backs to get the season back in the direction we wanted to be going,” Thomas said.
“I felt just as comfortable the first night. Both teams we played during the playoffs so semi-familiar, even though there’s some new faces on both teams. Both general systems are the same and I felt comfortable right off the bat the other night and I felt good tonight. But the team had a good game in front of me tonight. We put a lot of shots on goal, found ways to get pucks in the net with a great penalty kill. A lot of good efforts out there all over the place.”
To Claude Julien, the performance of his goalie was solid when the game called for it and spectacular when needed.
“To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know,” Julien said. “He looked calm, and he looked comfortable in net, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, that’s as close to last year as I’ve seen Timmy. He certainly played a solid game for us.”
But, without question, the save he made on Teddy Purcell from the low slot on a one-timer was the save of the game. The Bruins were leading 2-1 early in the third when Purcell had a clean look and appeared to have an open side to Thomas’ right. Thomas slid over before falling to the ice and making the big save just 1:44 into the third.
“The [puck] was passed through the slot and whoever it was did a good job of tipping it over to Purcell,” Thomas said. “So, I was actually originally just on the first pass and I had to scramble to get over to the second pass, which is why I sort of made the save while I was falling down.”
Just over a minute later, David Krejci scored at the other end. Bruins up, 3-1. Game, set, match.
“I think any goaltender, in those key situations, that makes those kinds of saves is certainly going to give your team a boost, and Tim has done that for us on numerous occasions throughout his time here,” Julien said. “I’m not saying we’re used to it but we like it.”
“I’m not thinking of one big save,” Thomas said. “I’m thinking I have to make some saves, basically, [because] you never want to give the other team a sniff. We’ve learned our lessons over the years. I remember a game where we were up three goals with three minutes left against St. Louis and they tied it up and won in overtime. So, that was quite a few years ago now but that happened to us last year a few times where teams came back on us late. You’ve got to play the full 60 minutes That’s what we learned last year.”
And last year turned out pretty well thanks, in large part to Thomas and the lessons learned.
|Claude Julien knows it’s time to put champagne bottles down||10.07.11 at 2:02 pm ET|
Now, Claude Julien can simply get back to coaching his team and getting them ready for a regular season Saturday night game in October.
He – and every Bruins player – admitted following Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to the Flyers that the season-opener was anything but regular or ordinary.
Now, with Steven Stamkos and the Lightning coming to town for a battle Saturday at TD Garden, it’s time to treat the game like 1-of-82.
“We’re basically all looking forward to it,” Julien said. “As you know, if you go to a party and you stay until four or for two, three days, after a while, you get tired of it, right? The bottles of champagne are empty, so it’s time to go home. I think that’s how we feel right now. We’ve had a great time with it this summer, we’ve had some great experiences, but right now, we basically would like to re-do this, and we know there’s a lot of work and a lot of things that have to come into play before that happens. We need to turn the page.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins get their banner night||10.06.11 at 9:48 pm ET|
With a sellout crowd roaring, the Bruins capped a 25-minute pregame ceremony on opening night by raising the sixth Stanley Cup championship banner in franchise history.
Current players who played on the 2011 Stanley Cup title team last June along with members of the last Bruins team to win the Cup in 1972 brought the banner from center ice – where it hung during the ceremony alongside the Stanley Cup – to its final resting place alongside the 1972 banner high above TD Garden ice.
The Bruins held the ceremony prior to the season opener against the new-look Flyers.
Milan Lucic is a hockey player of the people.
He has met plenty of ecstatic Bruins fans this summer and he has listened to them.
What’s been the overriding theme from them about opening night against the Flyers tonight?
I’ve heard from a lot of fans, just walking around the street and getting some feedback from them. They’re all saying this might be the biggest game in 40 years and people haven’t looked forward to a game more than this.
After getting their diamond-studded rings on Tuesday night as their personal reward for giving Boston its sixth Stanley Cup title on June 15 in Vancouver, the Bruins tonight will share their joy with 17,565 of their closest friends inside TD Garden as the 2011 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the rafters at TD Garden, their first in 39 years.
“Obviously, I’ve thought about it and it’s something you think about, that first game and getting to see that banner go up and just take it all in and enjoy the stuff that happening before the game,” Lucic said. “It’s great that people are so appreciative of what we accomplished last year and looking forward to what we can accomplish this year.”
Every player knows what’s next: The challenge of putting the emotions of the banner-raising behind them for 2 1/2 good hours and trying to beat one of the teams they dispatched on their way to the Cup.
They start the 2011-12 season with the new-look Philadelphia Flyers, who will be in their dressing room while the banner is raised, hearing the roars of the crowd in the same building their season ended in last May. That’ll be followed up on Saturday night with the next team they beat, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a good test, getting two great teams right off the bat, and obviously, they’re teams we beat last year in the playoffs and that’s something that always sticks with you,” Lucic said.
It certainly did for the Bruins last November, when they beat the Flyers, 3-0, in Philadelphia and they had to listen to all the jokes about actually holding on to a three-goal lead, five months after letting it get away in Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern semifinals.
Said Lucic, “I remember the team that knocks you out, you always want to get back to them and beat them in that first game when you play them first in the season. It’ll be a good test playing two elite teams early in the season and there’s probably no better way to get the season off than that.”
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