|Claude Julien loves the way his team ‘bounced back’ in Game 3||05.20.11 at 12:07 am ET|
TAMPA — After his team recorded its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the the 2-0 win was more like the defensive battle everyone was expecting between the Bruins and Lightning in the Eastern Conference final. He added that he was also happy his team came out on the right end.
“I think tonight’s game probably resembles a lot more of what I think everybody expected from this series, two teams that make it hard for you to score, and I thought our team tonight was very good in regards to that,” Julien said. “We made some stronger plays, some better decisions, and seemed a little bit more aware out there of what was going on. So comparing it to last game where I thought it was pretty sloppy, I thought we bounced back well tonight.”
Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Lightning shots but the Bruins defense was strong all night, clearing most loose pucks away and bolstered by the return of the team’s best two-way player Patrice Bergeron.
“I really liked the way he played,” Julien said. “Obviously, you see the difference he can make for our hockey club faceoff-wise, but also his responsibility at both ends of the ice. His line was definitely better. His linemates obviously felt comfortable because they’ve been with him all year. So there was some chemistry there. And that certainly helped us tonight. I liked the fact that we had our four lines that were pretty stable and pretty good for us and very reliable.”
|Don’t expect more ‘pond hockey’ between Bruins and Lightning for Game 3||05.19.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
TAMPA — Steven Stamkos may only be 21 years old but he certainly can articulate like a crafty and well-versed veteran in the ways of winning playoff hockey.
He also proved Thursday morning in the hours before Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum that he was playing close attention to what his coach was preaching and teaching during film analysis of the Game 2 loss to the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.
After the game Tuesday, Guy Boucher spoke of how his team got into pond hockey and lost the race. He told his players in film study that he didn’t want that to happen again, even if it means giving up some scoring chances that came from desperate hockey in the third period.
“I don’t think for us there is a fine line,” Stamkos said. “I think that line doesn’t exist. We don’t want to play that run-and-gun pond hockey. That’s not our structure. That’s not how we’ve won games this year. At the end of the day, we had a lot of scoring chances, probably moreso that any other game we’ve played, maybe all year, but we didn’t win the game. Read the rest of this entry »
|Team psychologist Tim Thomas bends but doesn’t break under pressure||05.18.11 at 11:15 am ET|
Tim Thomas had better games in these 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs than the one he played Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final at TD Garden.
He allowed five goals on 41 shots on goal. He gave up a goal in the game’s first 13 seconds and the last 6.5 seconds of the first period, allowing the Lightning to take a 2-1 lead to the dressing room in the first intermission. As a goalie, Thomas knows you have to be equal parts netminder and psychologist.
“Each time you get some odd goals like that, it can put you on your heels,” Thomas said. “The human tendency is to tell yourself, ‘Oh, just, it’s not going to be our night.’ The team didn’t do that, and they fought back. They fought back after the first goal. We had really, a pretty good first period. And then we had another, second goal there at the end of the first period, which could deflate you. But being in the locker room between periods, we were never deflated.
“We’re determined to stick with it and in the second period there, Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder stepped up and got big goals for us. I’ve said it before, we know we have character. We’re battle tested by now. But having said that, you have to keep stepping up every time you need to, and we found a way to do that.”
After Seguin and Ryder put on a scoring display in the five-goal second period, it was up to Thomas and the Bruins to make a three-goal cushion hold. Thomas was – as they say – huge when he needed to be and made several spectacular saves in the second and third periods, helping the Bruins escape with a series-stabilizing 6-5 win.
Thomas’ first huge save actually led to Seguin’s first goal as he stopped Martin St. Louis 21 seconds into the second period. Then, he used his face mask in stopping Ryan Malone on a breakaway later in the period and that led to Seguin’s second spectacular goal of the period just moments later as the Bruins took a 4-2 lead. Then, in the third period, with the Lightning on the verge of tying the game, Thomas used his right pad and skate to kick away a Vinny Lecavalier shot between the circles.
Ironically, it was a save that he didn’t make where he showed how tough he could be as Dominic Moore shot went off his face and into the net, after his own defenseman crashed into him, knocking his mask off.
“I didn’t know,” Thomas said. “Dominic Moore was the guy in front of the net. I think what made my mask come off was Adam McQuaid was trying to get across the crease and we kind of ran into each other. I haven’t seen the replay. I have been told the puck went off my head but I didn’t even realize it. At that point I was trying to find it I think.”
Thomas showed again Tuesday that you don’t have to save every shot to make big saves.
“I think experience helps in those situations,” Thomas said. “Just this year we were in a few games, I think we beat Philly 7-5 or something like that, and we had a similar game against Montreal. Experience helps you to learn that, each time a goal goes in, you’ve just got to put it behind you. You’ve got to start focusing on the next one. If you start thinking about the goals that just went in, it’s going to lead to other goals, and it’s not going to be helpful. With our big second period there, I knew we had a big lead going into the third period, and the plan wasn’t to let them get close at all.
“But when it gets 6-4 and 6-5, when you’re a younger goaltender, it might be hard for you to keep your focus. But I’ve been through enough situations similar to that. I was just trying to keep my focus, and when it got 6-5, do everything I possibly could to keep it from becoming 6-6.”
|Claude Julien: ‘Sloppy’ Bruins were ‘hanging on’||at 1:36 am ET|
While the Bruins were hanging on for dear life, coach Claude Julien admitted to feeling exactly was every Bruins fan was feeling watching the third period of Tuesday night’s Game 2 win over the Lightning at TD Garden. The Bruins were lucky to get away with a 6-5 regulation win to even the Eastern Conference final at one game apiece.
“I don’t think anybody in that dressing room is extremely happy with our game because we got sloppy at times,” Julien said of his team’s defense after building a 6-3 lead heading into the final period. “And we turned pucks over and weren’t strong on in the third period. But there’s no doubt we were hanging on. And thank God time was on our side and we came up with the win. So we need to regroup here, take the win for what it is in the playoffs, and know that we got to get better.
“When two teams start the series and they are two of the best defensive teams in the playoffs and then you see a game like this, I don’t think anybody’s happy. We want to score goals, there’s no doubt there. But the way we’ve been giving up goals is not something that we’re proud of right now. And we need to be better in regards to that.”
Julien also hinted that the play of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder could coincide with the return of Patrice Bergeron in Game 3. Bergeron missed the first two games of the series with a mild concussion. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tyler Seguin is on the right end of the learning curve||at 12:53 am ET|
Following one of the most stunning playoff performances by a rookie in Bruins history, 19-year-old Tyler Seguin took it all in stride. Seguin, playing in just his second playoff game after the concussion to Patrice Bergeron at the end of the second round, took over and amazed the TD Garden crowd with a second period performance for the ages.
“It’s definitely tough watching from above,” Seguin said of his vantage point as a healthy scratch from the press box in the first two rounds. “I try to take everything in and learn as much as I can, but it’s hard sitting there and not being able to help the boys. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity I got.”
After scoring a goal and an assist his first playoff opportunity in Game 1 Saturday night, Seguin took over in the second period with the Bruins down, 2-1. He scored the first of his two second-period goals 48 seconds in to tie the game. He would add another goal while setting up both of Michael Ryder‘s second-period tallies.
“I think it’s just the learning curve,” Seguin said. “It’s been a whole learning curve all year. As the year went on, I’ve felt more confident and more poised. In big games, I always want to step up. Tonight, I had some lucky bounces, but I was trying to take advantage of all the opportunities and they were going in tonight.”
And to think he was snubbed by the mighty Canadian World Junior team in 2010, presumably because the coaching and development staff didn’t think he was ready to put his talent all together on the world stage. Read the rest of this entry »
|Nathan Horton on Patrice Bergeron: ‘We obviously need him’||05.16.11 at 6:05 pm ET|
Nathan Horton wasn’t pulling any punches about the need for discipline in Game 2 Tuesday night or the need for a healthy Patrice Bergeron in the Bruins lineup.
The first of those goals is completely under the Bruins’ control. The second, not so much. And Horton and the Bruins know that.
“That’s not our question [to answer],” Horton said Monday of whether he and the Bruins are expecting No. 37 to return healthy from a mild concussion in time for Tuesday. “It’s nothing to do with us. It’s how he feels. He was out there today but I don’t think anyone knows exactly how he feels. Hopefully, he comes back sooner. We obviously need him. He’s a great player and it’s definitely nice for everyone to see him out there skating again.
“We had two days off and it’s hard to come back just after that and get back in it. He hasn’t skated or done too much for a while but he looked great out there today. As you can tell, he stays in really good shape. He’s so fit and eats well and that’s why he was so good coming back on the ice.”
As for the discipline, Horton knows he can’t be wasting time letting checking line tough guy Dominik Moore frustrate him. Horton and Milan Lucic were tossed with 37 seconds to go Saturday night when they got into it with Moore and his linemates.
“He’s not under my skin at all,” Horton insisted Monday. “I just was trying to play physical and it just kind of happened. You try not to get frustrated but obviously, you see, some guys were frustrated on our team and that’s not what we want. We want to stay away from that. When we play our game, play the way we want to play, that gets under the other team’s skin and that’s how we need to play from here on out.”
Tyler Seguin sounded a more optimistic – even positive – tone about Bergeron after watching him skate with the white sweater on during Monday’s practice.
“It’s very nice. Everyone feels good that he’s making great strides and he looked pretty good out there to me so it’s going to be great to have him back soon,” said Seguin, who still believes he can help the team in the playoffs, even if Bergeron returns to active duty.
“Definitely, I want to stay in the lineup and contribute but I’m getting ready for anything. I’m staying prepared and try not to think about it too much. I want to focus on my game because whenever the opportunity arises, I want to be right there to capitalize on it.”
Rich Peverley, who filled Bergeron’s role on the No. 2 line Monday in practice, agreed with Seguin’s assessment of Bergeron.
“He looked good,” Peverley said. “He looked like himself. Hopefully, he’s back soon.”
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas offered some perspective on losing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Lightning on Saturday night. On Monday, following the team’s first full practice since falling behind in the series.
“You think about it but it’s on the outside of your thinking,” Thomas said when asked if he were nervous about Game 2 drawing closer on Tuesday night. “As the game draws closer, you think about it more. We had two days off so naturally, you’re going to be thinking about the game more tonight than [Sunday].
“I think you should get mentally prepared. It can get all-consuming but I don’t think really that’s the right way to go. These hockey games are important, they’re important to us, they’re important to the city but to be realistic, it is just a game. You look around at what’s going on in the world right now, Israel was attacked on numerous fronts yesterday. It can really make you put it in perspective.”
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