|Johnny Boychuk calls Game 6 in Montreal a ‘must-win’ for Bruins||05.10.14 at 11:36 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk remembers Game 7 of the 2011 first round run to the Stanley Cup championship very, very well. The Bruins led 3-2 late in Game 7 when the P.K. Subban tied the game late on a power play goal. The Bruins escaped when Nathan Horton scored in overtime as the Bruins won the first of three Game 7 showdowns that spring.
After winning Game 5 Saturday night, 4-2, the Bruins are in the same position they were in three years ago, leading 3-2 heading up to Montreal for a potential closeout in Game 6. He’d like to avoid that scenario repeating itself. But more than just the convenience and rest that comes with closing out a series before the limit, Boychuk feels the Bruins need to win Monday night to advance.
“I mean, it’s basically a must-win game,” Boychuk said Saturday night. “You can’t sugarcoat it. It’s going to be a tough game. We have to battle hard and they’re a great team. We have to be prepared for everything. They’re going to be putting everything on the line and we shouldn’t be expecting anything less because they are a good team and we better be prepared.”
It was Boychuk’s drive to the stanchion behind Carey Price in overtime of Game 4 that set up Carl Soderberg to put a shot on net. That shot wasn’t controlled and Matt Fraser scored the game-winner. As it stands now, that is the pivotal sequence of the series. And Boychuk knows the Bruins were fortunate to get that bounce that put them in the position to come back to Boston and take a series lead, which they accomplished Saturday night.
“It was 0-0 for the whole game,” Boychuk said of Game 4. “I mean nobody made too many mistakes and it was a lucky bounce and we had to play that way, because we didn’t want to come back obviously 3-1 to Boston instead now we are going to Montreal 3-2.
“They’re better chances, but you can’t count them out. We’ve been in situations before and we might of taken a team lightly, but you can never take this team lightly because they are a great team and you have to respect them.”
The Bruins lost Game 6 in 2011 by a 2-1 count before escaping in Game 7. Again, it is the memory of that series that was fresh in Boychuk’s mind after Saturday’s game.
“We have to keep going like that,” he said. “You can’t give them a chance to get into it and build momentum for them. They’re a good team and if you give them a chance they are going to burn you.”
What made Boychuk most pleased is that the Bruins came out and took it to the Canadiens from the opening puck drop.
“I mean we just played the way we should be playing,” Boychuk said. “Before we were trying to do things that were uncharacteristic and we knew that. We have to play our game in order for us to succeed or have a chance to win.”
“I mean that’s our game. I mean once we start trying to do things that we’re not used to doing it usually turns out bad. We know that and whenever we did today or any game it turns out bad and if we minimize those we have a better chance of winning.”
|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.”
|Brad Marchand ‘definitely’ feels like a marked man, knows he has to be on best behavior against Canadiens||04.30.14 at 10:28 pm ET|
Boston’s most notorious pest knows he had better be on good behavior in this series since the whole hockey world – especially officials – will be watching.
Brad Marchand accepts the reputation he has built for himself as the Bruins most tenacious bad boy. It may have contributed to a pair of roughing calls in the third period of Game 5 against the Red Wings that gave Detroit some life before the Bruins extinguished the Wings, 4-2, to advance to Round 2 against Montreal beginning Thursday night at TD Garden.
Does Marchand feel like a marked man in these playoffs by both the opponents and officials?
“Yeah definitely, especially that second one,” Marchand said of his second roughing call in Game 5 last Saturday. “It was a push and you don’t see too many penalties called like that, even in pee wee like that. It was a tough but that’s a reputation that I’ve built for myself and I have to play through that. I think the biggest thing is to walk away from things that I don’t need to be part of.
“I think in time you get to know where the line is and the refs do a pretty good job of filling you in along the way. I got a couple of penalties that last game that I thought were tough calls but other than that, I think everyone is really doing a great job of playing our game, playing physical and walking away at the right times.”
Marchand knows he, Milan Lucic and the Bruins better skate away at the right time because Montreal enters the series with a potent power play at 17.2 percent in the regular season. The Bruins did finish the regular season with the eighth-ranked penalty kill in the league, coming in at 83.6 percent.
“Against Montreal, they have a really good power play for one [reason], and two, they do a really good job of drawing penalties,” Marchand said. “I think our biggest thing is we can’t get frustrated. We have to make sure that even when we do get a penalty called against us, we don’t let it bother us, and go out and kill it and continue to try and push our game on them. We want to try and be physical and play the way we did last series and hopefully, we’ll be able to draw a couple of penalties on them.”
Marchand did give a little insight as to what the Bruins might try to do to get under the skin of another emotional player, Canadiens goalie Carey Price, a goalie they beat in overtime of Game 7 of the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
“I think the biggest thing is he’s a really good goalie, he’s definitely emotional and all good goalies are,” Marchand said. “They compete and we’re going to have to find a way to try and get in front of him and it’s very tough to beat him straight up so we’re going to have to try and do some of that stuff.”
But running the goalie to intimidate certainly will not be an option, as goalie interference has been called throughout the NHL with regularity in the first round.
“I think in past years, in playoffs, they let a lot more go,” Marchand said. “It doesn’t seem to be that way this year. They call it just like regular season so you have to try to play intense and play within the ref’s rules.
“I think you have to continue to go to the net hard but stay out of the blue paint. I think that’s when calls are easily made when you get inside the paint and you hit the goalie. But if you go as hard as you can and you stop outside and you battle outside, we have to continue to do our job and get some ugly goals on this guy. We can’t shy away just because the refs call penalties.”
Forget all the talk about keeping the emotions in check for a moment.
Understand that the essence of the rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens is – at its core – about despising the opponent. It’s just like the Red Sox and Yankees, only the Red Sox and Yankees haven’t met 32 previous times in the playoffs.
Milan Lucic understands this. He will be a marked man in Boston by anyone wear blu, blanc et rouge. And it’s not just because of his hits on defenseman Alexei Emelin in the regular season. The Canadiens know that if they’re to keep Boston’s top line in check, it starts with putting a body on Lucic before he does the same to you.
Does Lucic hate the Canadiens?
“I do, and if you ask them the same question I’m sure they’d give you the same answer about if they hate us,” he said Wednesday after the team’s final full practice before Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden. “It’s just natural for me, being here for seven years now, just being a part of this organization, you just naturally learn to hate the Montreal Canadiens, and the battles we’ve had with them over the last couple of years have definitely made you hate them.
“I think this being the first time meeting them outside the first round I think it’s definitely going to go up another level.”
Former Canadiens and Bruins forward Chris Nilan joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming playoff series between Montreal and Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Canadiens and Bruins met four times during the regular season, with Montreal winning three and Boston winning one. Despite that, the Bruins finished with the best record in the NHL and are considered not only the best team in the Eastern Conference but the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Nilan sees Boston as having the slight advantage because of its tough, hard-nosed approach.
“If anybody has an edge in any way in this series, it’s Boston, and I think it’s the edge physically and size-wise,” Nilan said. “Montreal, I think they’re a better skating team, but if Boston takes that away from them, and they’ve done it before, then the Canadiens will be less effective. If Montreal can get their skating game going, and they have good support in all the areas of the ice, and they’re willing to pay the price, they’re willing to go the areas that are difficult to go to, then they can have success.”
Nilan, a Boston native who played for the Canadiens for 10 years and the Bruins for two years, has seen the rivalry from both sides.
“When you’re in it and you’re involved in it, you quickly realize how difficult it is to play against — I mean when you’re on either side,” Nilan said. “I was on both sides, I was in Montreal, and being in Montreal playing against the Bruins back in the day was extremely difficult. You’re always in for a tough game. You had to fight, you had to take the hit. You had to do some things that were very uncomfortable.
“It was the same for the Bruins when I was there. The same thing. Both teams come on at each other. Both teams dislike each other. And it doesn’t matter back in ‘53 or what happened in ‘79, but it all builds and it all lends credence to the tradition of such a great rivalry.”
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