|1st Period Stanley Cup summary: Flyers-Hawks Gm 6||06.09.10 at 9:00 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Blackhawks played the opening 20 minutes like they wanted to end a 39-year championship drought.
The Chicagoans outshot the Flyers, 17-3, in the first 19 minutes and registered the first goal of the game on a very questionable high sticking call on Flyers defenseman and emotional leader Chris Pronger.
With Blair Betts on the ice with a broken stick, the Hawks took advantage of what essentially was a 5-on-3 when Dustin Byfuglien stuffed a shot past Michael Leighton at 16:49.
But it was evident the officials had some remorse for helping set up Chicago’s first goal as the Hawks were whistled for two penalties in the final three minutes of the period.
First, Brent Seabrook was called for elbowing with 3:01 left in the first. Then, just as the Hawks killed off that penalty, Brent Sopel was called for an interference penalty near his own blue line. Sensing the desperation, Danny Briere shot a puck from the left circle toward Scott Hartnell, who was just getting to his skates after getting shaken up. Hartnell collected the loose puck and put a backhander past Antti Niemi with just 26.5 seconds left in the period to tie the game.
The Flyers used the momentum to fire the last four shots of the period, getting outshot, 17-7, for the period.
|VIDEO: Savard comes ‘half-circle’||05.01.10 at 6:22 pm ET|
Marc Savard, playing his first game since the ‘Matt Cooke incident’ on March 7, may have scored the game-winner at 13:52 of overtime on Saturday but he wanted to make sure to thank Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for doing their part earlier in the game to make it possible.
“I felt bad for Bergy and Krech because I was doing all those half-circles and they ended up playing 25-26 minutes,” Savard said. “But they did a great job. They battled hard and they’ve been playing great all playoffs, so I just got a break tonight.”
Savard, who skated 23 shifts in his 15 minutes, 16 seconds of ice time, expected the Flyers to test his readiness and they didn’t disappoint.
“I think they played me hard and that’s part of the playoffs,” Savard said. “You don’t make too many friends out there. And that’s the way [Chris] Pronger plays against everybody. He just took me out hard a couple times. [Mike] Richards is a fierce competitor, but that’s part of the game. We had a couple words for each other, but that’s part of the game.
“So I’m sure it’s not going to get any easier. They’re a good hockey team out there, you got to give them credit. They were down all night and they kept battling back and put us in a tough spot. Tuukka [Rask] made some huge saves again when he had to, and I’m just proud of every guy. Every guy played hard again. It was a lot of guys keep their heads up high and just kept working.”
Now that Savard has his legs, he’s going to work on his focus.
“I mean it’s been a whirlwind for me,” Savard admitted. “Obviously I went through a lot of tough days and I don’t know what happened. I felt like when they tied it and we went in the room I felt like, ‘Geez, I think this is how it’s supposed to be right here.’ I mean, everybody played great tonight. I kept it as short as I could. Obviously I did a couple circles and then came back off. But when Wides [Dennis Wideman] pinched, Wides [Wideman] made a nice pinch there and kept it alive, I was just thinking, ‘As soon as this thing lands, I’m shooting it.’ And it found a way in.”
“I guess you can’t script it any better, if you ask anybody,” he added. “It’s only Game 1, you got to remember that. I’ll have a lot of time to enjoy it actually because it was an afternoon game, so that was nice. But, just get my rest, keep working through it, and hopefully get after Game 2.”
And maybe by then Savard will be skating full circles around the Flyers.
|Captain Z: We can’t lose focus like last year||04.27.10 at 1:00 am ET|
What a difference a year makes for Zdeno Chara following an opening-round win.
Last year, the Bruins dispatched of the Montreal Canadiens in four games, and then waited nine days for their second-round series to begin when Carolina came from behind to beat New Jersey in the closing five minutes of Game 7.
While the Bruins were long on rest, they were short on sharpness and, in the end, it cost them dearly as they dropped Game 2 at home and fell behind 3 games to 1 before rallying to force Game 7. They fell in heart-breaking fashion when Scott Walker scored the OT game-winner to end the Bruins season.
“We can’t lose the focus like maybe we did last year a little bit during that week off,” Chara said in the wake of Monday’s series-clinching win over Buffalo. “We have to stay on top of things and really get ready for our next opponent, which we don’t know who that’s going to be.”
The reason the Bruins don’t know who’s next is because Montreal has decided to learn from 2009 as well. They have not rolled over for Washington. Instead, following a 4-1 win over the Capitals on Monday, there will be a seventh game in America’s capital on Wednesday night.
If the Capitals survive, the Bruins open the second round in Pittsburgh against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. If the Canadiens pull off the shocker, the Bruins actually host Games 1 and 2 against Philadelphia beginning this weekend.
Chara said the team has earned one good day of rest but that’s all they need right now.
“Just maybe relax on [Tuesday], enjoy the day off, and then get back at it on Wednesday,” he said.
“Obviously it’s always a nice feeling, to be going to the second round. Buffalo was extremely playing well. They battled hard and it was a tough series.”
Another source of pride for Chara was the performance of the specialty teams. The Bruins killed off all 19 Buffalo power plays in the series while Boston scored five power play goals.
“I really thought that our specialty teams played extremely well,” Chara said. “We battled pretty much hard every game. We were almost into every game, besides Game 5.
“We take a lot of pride in our PK. We try to, you know, we’re obviously aggressive, but at the same time well-positioned and like I said, the people we have on the ice, those are the workers and we try to always outwork the opposite power play.”
|Bruins save their best for last||04.10.10 at 5:29 pm ET|
Every fan inside TD Garden on Saturday was pretty safe thinking they had seen it all when the Bruins set a new NHL record by scoring three short-handed goals in one minor penalty. After all, it had never happened in the history of the league.
Then Blake Wheeler tried to find Michael Ryder in the offensive zone and missed. No problem, except for the fact the puck banked off the boards at center ice and carmoned down the ice toward Boston’s vacated net after Tuukka Rask headed off for an extra skater on a delayed power play.
“I was trying to find a second speed somehow and talk to that puck to slow down because it was going pretty fast.” Bergeron said.
He got his stick on it just before it crossed the line and emotional disaster was averted. Instead of the Bruins getting tied up, 3-3, on the flukiest of goals, they maintained their 3-2 advantage and held on a 4-2 playoff-clinching win.
“I had to keep going, the puck actually took some speed I think,” Bergeron said. “It was going pretty fast there and as soon as I turned around I realized it was probably going to go in. It was going right for the net so I started going as fast as I could.”
And now Bergeron and the Bruins can finally think about the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s a big relief,” Bergeron said. “We always knew we could do it and you wait 81 games just to get there and it means a lot to us, obviously. We can look forward now. We know that anything can happen in the playoffs as long as you get in. After that, it’s up in the air and you just have to be ready and play your game.”
Blake Wheeler expressed his relief afterward and gratitude toward Bergeron.
|Julien: ‘We’re not there yet’||at 1:29 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien was cautioning against counting any playoff berths before they’re clinched prior to Saturday afternoon’s matinee with the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. With a win, the Bruins clinch a playoff spot and no worse than a No. 7 seed in the East and avoid the Washington Capitals in the first round.
[Click here to listen to Julien’s pregame comments.]
“We’re not there yet,” Julien said. “This is an opportunity for us to control our own destiny. For me, we need to take care of business today. It’s as simple as that. We need to be ready to go. And hopefully we are.”
Meanwhile, Julien said defenseman Mark Stuart is still more than a few days away from returning to action after surgery to treat a finger infection. Tuukka Rask starts in net for the Bruins. Should the Bruins not clinch today, they finish up the season on Sunday afternoon in Washington against the Capitals.
|Wideman, Bruins can smell the playoffs||04.09.10 at 1:08 am ET|
So it has come down to this. Thanks to a win over the Northeast Division champion Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins could clinch a playoff berth on Friday while enjoying a meal.
“We’ve been right there,” Wideman said of the charge toward the playoffs. “You don’t want to be looking too far ahead. We still have two more games that we want to try and win and not make it come down to the last game so we have to make sure we’re ready to play Carolina on Saturday. Carolina always plays us tough so we have to make sure that we are up to the task.”
That is why the Bruins were rightfully feeling proud of their win on Thursday and none moreso than Dennis Wideman who has seen more ups and downs than anyone in Bruins black and gold this season.
It was Wideman’s turnover that led to Buffalo’s goal by Derek Roy in the first period. The Bruins were down 1-0 after 20 minutes and tied, 1-1, after 40.
But it was Wideman’s shot from the high slot in the third that proved to be the game-winner in Boston’s 3-1 victory.
“Yeah, that was a real big win for us,” Wideman said. “We struggled a bit early. We weren’t quite up to where we wanted to play, but I think we stuck with it and came through with the win.
“That’s one thing that you can’t do when you get into situations like that and you start panicking you start gripping your stick a bit too tight and then things just go downhill from there. It was good that we didn’t panic and we responded and we came back and back and ended up winning the game.”
Wideman fired a shot through Blake Wheeler‘s screen for the goal in the third period.
“Blake did a great job on that goal,” Wideman said. “I think he turned the puck over in the neutral zone, then he kicked it out to Vlad [Vladimir Sobotka] and then Vlad drove it down wide there and showed great patience by not just throwing it at the net into a crowd of people and he pulled back and he found me in the slot and all I had to do was make sure I hit a hole in the net because Blake had a great screen on him.”
The crowd booed Wideman every time he touched the puck after his turnover in the first. But they cheered him when he became the hero in the third.
“I didn’t hear the cheering, no,” he said, before offering, “I don’t know what to say about that actually. Obviously, it’s not easy. It’s a little harder when you’re trying to make a play or trying to be patient with the puck when that is going on, but that is part of the game.
“[Fans] can do whatever they want,” Wideman added. “They pay to come to the game. Obviously at the start of the year and most of the year, things didn’t go as well as I would like or as well as it has in the past. I just have to prove to them that I can still play and I still want to win.”
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||04.08.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Despite their continuing ineptitude on the power play, the Bruins managed to get themselves back on level ice with Sabres after 40 minutes.
Miroslav Satan collected a loose rebound in front of Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime and slid a backhand five-hole to tie the game just 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the second period. For Satan, it was his ninth of the season and his third in his last three games. He has three of Boston’s last five goals, overall.
And the Bruins have killed off both Sabres power plays tonight. They have killed 13-of-last-14 opponents’ power plays.
That’s the good news.
The bad… they had another two power play chances and missed on both, making them 0-for-5 on the night and an incredible 0-for-17 in their last six games.
Tuukka Rask continues to look sharp in goal, as he turned away all 14 Buffalo shots in the second while the Bruins had 11 on Lalime.
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