|Kevan Miller returns with a vengeance and sets tone for Bruins Game 2 win||04.21.14 at 9:10 am ET|
It took exactly 72 seconds for Kevan Miller to make his presence felt in Sunday’s series-evening win over the Red Wings at TD Garden.
The hit set the tempo and immediately got the Garden crowd into a game the Bruins desperately needed on Easter Sunday.
“Happy to be able to be out there so I was excited,” Miller said. “I think as a team we kind of wanted to do that, come out early, come out on our toes. It’s always good to try and get a hit to get going early.”
Of course, Miller was just happy to be on his skates himself after the last week when a virulent stomach bug made its way through the Bruins room, also hitting fellow D-man Matt Bartkowski.
“It was tough, started earlier in the week and kind of persisted,” Miller said. “I know it was the same for a number of guys. Me and Bart seemed to have it pretty bad. Just getting fluid back in me, trying to do my best there.
“It was tough. After practice is when things really went south. Just kind of unfortunate.”
The Bruins clearly missed Miller’s physical presence in a 1-0 Game 1 loss. But after the hit on Drew Miller, Miller and the Bruins were most definitely into the flow of the game. Miller didn’t let up there.
In his next shift four minutes later, Miller took out Daniel Alfredsson. Miller had two loud, energizing hits before the Bruins even had a shot on goal.
A minute and a half later, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard decided to play a gamble and throw a puck off the side boards. It backfired when Justin Florek collected the puck, spun and fired a shot under the pads of the scrambling goalie for a 1-0 Bruins lead.
“He stepped up for us huge this year with the absence of some key D-men that we lost throughout the year, and to see him step up like he did here, and how he’s been playing throughout the year, has been great to see,” Milan Lucic said. “He’s a physical guy, he’s a real competitor, and you saw that here tonight, like you said, especially in the first five minutes.”
“Millsy, right from the start, I thought he helped set the tone with a couple of big hits, and I think they were within the first five minutes. I mean, he looks like he’s about to get hit and he still hits the other way, so he reverses and he brings a lot of energy, but he still moves the puck well and he’s a tough guy to beat but he’s just ‘ he’s a very strong competitor and it was great to have him back on the lineup and set that tone early,” added Jarome Iginla.
But perhaps no one appreciated having Miller back than captain Zdeno Chara, who was busy keeping Reilly Smith’s brother out of his face. With Miller back, Chara doesn’t have to carry the whole burden of enforcing the physical style that the Bruins needed so badly in Game 2.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Chara said. “It probably wasn’t fun for him the last few days, but I thought he handled it really well and he played a strong game.”
|Jimmy Howard says Red Wings don’t need to ‘prove manhood’ against Bruins||04.20.14 at 7:06 pm ET|
After giving up four goals on 29 shots Sunday, including a bizarre momentum-generating tally on Boston’s first goal, Jimmy Howard still feels confident going against the Bruins — that is, if the Red Wings can do one thing.
“I think we’ve got to stay out of the BS out there and just play whistle to whistle, and not worry about getting into the scrums or anything like that, and proving your manhood out there,” Howard said after the Bruins captured Game 2 Sunday, 4-1, at TD Garden.
The last part might be a word of friendly advice to teammate Brendan Smith, who got into it with Zdeno Chara at the end of the first period.
“We just have to skate, play our hockey, don’t get into their motive and get into their scrap, playing real physical,” said Howard. “We just have to get back to playing our game. We knew this was going to be a long series and they played a real solid game today.”
As for Bruins forward Reilly Smith, the brother of Brendan, he perhaps had the best perspective.
“He wouldn’t be the first guy I’d choose in the NHL to go against,” Reilly said of his brother wanting to drop the gloves with Boston’s beast. “He should probably think twice next time.”
Reilly Smith was asked if he could see the laugh and smile on Chara’s face as he prepared to square off.
“Yeah, and I don’t think Chara is too worried,” Smith said. “It’s a moot point in the entire series and the whole outcome of the game.”
Was Reilly worried about his brother’s safety?
“No, not too much,” he said. “That’s the least of my worries right now.”
|Jimmy Howard admits Red Wings were ‘pretty lucky’ to beat Bruins||04.18.14 at 11:20 pm ET|
It was the key moment of Game 1.
Jarome Iginla fired a centering pass from the right side boards to Milan Lucic with just over three minutes left in regulation. Lucic got a clean piece of the puck for a redirect on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It appeared to be the perfect pass and perfect chance in a game that had precious few of each.
But instead of the puck finding it’s way past Howard, the Detroit goalie got just enough to flick the puck wide of the goal mouth and out of harm’s way.
“It was a fortunate save,” Howard said. “It was pretty lucky. [Lucic] stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it sort of just spun off my glove and I was able to get just enough on it. I was pretty lucky.”
The momentum swing didn’t end there. The pendulum, as it often does in a game like Friday night, swung completely the other way leading to a Red Wings rush up the ice. Wings veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk came across the Bruins blue line and, using the collision of Justin Abdelkader and Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a screen, fired a shot that beat Tuukka Rask on the far side for the game’s only goal and a 1-0 Detroit win.
“He was by himself there so I’m just thinking a shot there and then he drags it across and releases from our D’s legs so you just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said of Datsyuk’s shot. “It squeaked by me. Usually he tries to make a pass but I thought he was by himself there. I just couldn’t see it.
“It still went through me so I thought I should have it. But I didn’t see it.”
Every Stanley Cup playoff series got a head start on the Bruins and Red Wings. Now, on Friday night, Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins get their chance to show how ready they are after a league-best 117 points in the regular season.
“It was great to have those games and get in the mode of playoff hockey and watching it all helps to get a focus,” Bergeron said Friday morning after participating in a light optional skate before Friday’s Game 1 at TD Garden. “I was getting antsy just watching, for sure. You want to get out there, you want to get going. It’s nice that it’s finally tonight.
“I’m not rooting for anyone except us right now, so I’m just watching games and, like I said, it helps me getting focused just by watching it and being ready for tonight.”
The biggest break for the Bruins and the Red Wings is that they’ve had a full four days off since the regular season ended on Sunday.
“I think it’s good for everyone, just with the schedule we’ve had after the [Olympic] break,” Bergeron said. “It was pretty crazy so it was good everyone to get ready and now we’re looking forward to it.”
|Claude Julien on Marathon bombings a year later: Way city came together is what I’m trying to remember most||04.15.14 at 3:46 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara spoke for an entire organization when he responded to the question Tuesday of what the one year anniversary of the most painful day in Boston history meant to him.
“I’m not born and raised but I feel a part of the city,” the Bruins captain from Slovakia said with pride. “I’m always going to call myself a Bostonian. It’s just one of those things that it feels like a home. You try to respect the city and what it represents.”
The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, getting ready for their playoff opener on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. But after practice, coach Claude Julien, Chara and Jarome Iginla all recalled what they were feeling one year ago to the day when Boston was terrorized and attacked by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the weeklong manhunt that nearly shut down the city.
“Anybody who doesn’t know this is the anniversary isn’t paying attention,” Julien said. “But it’s got some good and it’s got some bad obviously. It’s sad what happened but for us, I look at how the city just came together and how everybody helped each other and did everything they could to help one another so that’s what kind of sticks in my mind.
“But at the same time it was a tough few days from the lockdowns and everything else, those are the things that are coming to mind and some games that were postponed, rightfully so. So some of it isn’t great memories but some of it ‘ certainly the way the city came together is what I’m trying to remember it the most for.
Julien and Chara were getting ready to play Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, April 19 at TD Garden when a manhunt for the two bombers centered in Watertown shut down the entire city. The game between the Bruins and Penguins was eventually called off on that Friday night and rescheduled for the next day.
The Bruins had two games rescheduled due to the bombings and the manhunt. On April 15, the Bruins postponed their game against the Ottawa Senators to the last day of the season.
On Tuesday, the Bruins reflected on that day in 2013, and how sports and the Bruins helped the city heal.
|Jake McCabe explains his hit on Daniel Paille: ‘I wasn’t trying to be dirty at all’||04.12.14 at 4:07 pm ET|
Early in the third period of Saturday’s game between the Bruins and Sabres, Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe laid out Bruins winger Daniel Paille with a shoulder hit to Paille’s chest in front of the Sabres’ bench that knocked Paille out of the game. Paille immediately went to the ice and then wobbled as he tried to get back up on his skates. McCabe said afterward he was just trying to execute a shoulder-to-chest hit.
“My intentions were shoulder to the chest,” McCabe said. “I don’t think I raised my elbow at all. That was my thought as soon as it happened.
“I got called for interference. I don’t think it was too late. He tried to go through me. I kept my hands down. It was just kind of an unfortunate play. His head was down. It’s too bad.”
McCabe was hit with a five-minute interference call and a game misconduct, and was immediately escorted to the Sabres dressing room.
“I saw him drop,” McCabe said. “I knew right away that it probably didn’t look good that he dropped like that. I hope the guy is OK. I think the guy has a concussion history in the past. A couple of guys were telling me. Best wishes for that but I wasn’t trying to be dirty at all. I was trying to play hard.
“This is the first time I’ve experienced it here. I experience it in college and you have those big hits and more often times than not you’re going to get called for something, whether it be an elbow, apparently an interference tonight. Whatever it may be, you have to keep your hands down as best as possible and just try to play smart.”
|Milan Lucic plans on covering himself – and the Bruins – in Old Time glory||04.07.14 at 8:05 pm ET|
In 2011, it was an old Bruins Starter jacket that the No. 1 star of the game wore after each Bruins playoff win.
Last year, Andrew Ference continued his own tradition by using an Army Rangers jacket to serve the same purpose, paying tribute to veterans of the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bruins can thank a legend from their past for the newest tradition, a heavily-worn “Old-Time Hockey” jacket.
“This is the new game jacket. It’s from Johnny Bucyk, so this is the new look from here on in after a win, and hopefully we can pass it along for a long time,” Milan Lucic said.
Perhaps the greatest significance of the latest tradition is honoring the past, specifically Bucyk and the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s, a team the current Bruins are trying to emulate with a second Stanley Cup title this spring.
“There’s a lot of respect for those guys, the past of this franchise and the people that have been here, and it’s Johnny Bucyk’s jacket — he gave it to Looch because he doesn’t fit it in anymore,” coach Claude Julien quipped over the weekend. “So otherwise, he probably would have had to buy it, right? So he’s been real good to us, and we felt that this was a great opportunity for him to continue to be a part of our group, which he is, and donate something that I think the players are finding really important right now.
“And again, it’s an homage to those guys that have been here and done so well, and I think our players, as I said, have a lot of respect for those guys and they want to continue the tradition. So they’re going to wear that jacket.”
Ference might be gone, but the tradition of honoring the player who symbolizes what it means to be a Bruin each game continues, thanks to captain Zdeno Chara.
“Being the captain, he stepped up and carried the tradition of a game jacket,” Lucic said.
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