|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Gregory Campbell ‘a special kind of person’||06.06.13 at 10:08 am ET|
Following Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Penguins, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to offer his thoughts on the instant classic that ended with Patrice Bergeron‘s goal in double overtime.
“I wasn’t too involved,” Thornton joked, as he saw minimal action and was confined to the bench after linemate Gregory Campbell was injured in the second period. “On the edge of my seat the whole time. It was exciting.
“You can’t say enough about Bergy, the way he plays on both sides of the puck. For him to get that goal for us is huge. He’s been great for us this whole playoffs. It was very deserving that he was the one that potted it.
“It was back and forth; it could have went either way. We ended up pulling it out, and that’s all that matters.”
Thornton played just four minutes in the game, in part because of Campbell’s injury and also because of a flurry of penalties the Bruins had.
“Not for lack of playing well, I was told afterwards,” he said. “We kind of went down to like three lines. ‘¦ When we have everyone healthy its easy to roll four lines. But when not, it’s a little bit tougher.”
Campbell’s toughness in taking a slap shot off his leg — reportedly breaking a bone — but getting back up and doing all he could to help the B’s penalty kill provided a spark to the team.
“Myself, a couple of guys, we talked about it in between [periods]. Somebody lays down and puts himself on the line like that, let’s not let it be all for naught, I guess,” Thornton said. “That’s huge. It’s not easy to block shots. People from the outside look in, maybe think that, oh, that’s what you’re supposed to do. But there’s that split-second before you see that guy tee it up and you know it’s going to hurt like hell and you still have to lay down in front of it. Not everyone has that in him. That was huge of him. Who knows if that would have been the shot that was the difference for that game.
“We’re very happy to have him on our team. I’ve been blessed to play with him for three years. He does stuff like that all the time. He throws himself out there and puts his body on the line, whether it’s fighting somebody or laying down in front of shots or finishing his checks. He’s a warrior for us.”
Added Thornton: “How about the courage on him to stand up and play on that leg. He wasn’t going to let anything — I think he tried to block another one. That takes a special kind of person. ‘¦ It might look simple, but that’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve been there. Every hockey player at some point has flamingoed it at one point or another. It’s not easy to do that.”
The Bruins look to wrap up the series on Friday night.
“Closing out a series is always the toughest game, to get this fourth game. Their backs are against the wall,” Thornton said, adding: “They are going to give us their best, and we’re going to have to be a lot better than we were last night. Because I think that they were probably the better team for the majority of the game, to be honest.”
The Bruins fended off a much improved Penguins effort Wednesday night at TD Garden, getting a 2-1 double-overtime win thanks to Patrice Bergeron‘s latest game-winner and taking a 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
The win was Boston’s fourth overtime victory of the postseason. Bergeron, who scored the series-clincher in Game 7 against of the first round against the Maple Leafs, redirected a Brad Marchand pass past Tomas Vokoun with 4:41 left in the second overtime.
Game 4 will be played Friday at TD Garden, with the series shifting back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday if necessary.
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game for the third time in as many games series thanks to a David Krejci shot that went off Matt Niskanen‘s skate and past Vokoun for Krejci’s ninth goal of the postseason. The goal came just 1:42 into the game, and the score remained 1-0 until the Penguins finally got a goal out of their top six forwards when Chris Kunitz put them on the board in the second period.
The Bruins lost Gregory Campbell in the second period after he blocked an Evgeni Malkin slap shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Tuukka Rask was sensational at times on Wednesday, coming up big with saves on James Neal and Beau Bennett on the Penguins’ third power play of the night. But perhaps his biggest save of the night came on Kris Letang in front off a feed from Sidney Crosby behind the net in the opening minutes of the third period. He finished regulation with 38 saves. He also came up big with about five minutes to play in the fourth period with back to back saves on Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams.
— The B’s got the Penguins to take a couple of retaliatory penalties — Joe Vitale in the first and Kunitz in the third — to wipe out what would have been Pittsburgh power plays. On the other hand, Brad Marchand now has taken three dangerous penalties in three games — boarding James Neal in Game 1, tripping Crosby in Game 2 and kneeing Kunitz in Game 3.
— The Bruins stopped the Penguins on six power plays (including two in overtime), making Pittsburgh 0-for-12 on the series. Prior to the series, the Penguins had scored at least one power play goal in eight of 11 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Penguins began dominating on faceoffs (37 of 56 in regulation), and it paid off for them when Crosby beat Bergeron on a second period offensive-zone draw for the Penguins that led to Kunitz’ goal. Through regulation, no Bruin was above the 50 percent mark on faceoffs, with Bergeron winning eight of 22 faceoffs and Chris Kelly winning three of 13.
— David Krejci missed a shift in the third period after taking a forearm to the head from Deryk Engelland. The play went unpenalized but could be looked at by the league.
— The Bruins were positively abhorrent on a pair of third-period power plays on which they could have regained the lead. With Douglas Murray slashing Rich Peverley and Dupuis going off later for tripping Johnny Boychuk at the point, the Bruins mustered barely any offensive-zone time and totaled just one shot on goal (which came at the very beginning of the Murray penalty) between the two power plays. That’s a textbook case of a bad power play being costly.
— Dan Bylsma clearly made the right call in sticking with Vokoun. After letting in a goal off a deflection early on, Vokoun was consistently sound. Remember, he didn’t necessarily play bad in the first two games, but the Penguins had to do something in that first period of Game 2 with the Bruins exposing Pittsburgh’s defense.
— Campbell was in serious pain after laying out to block a Malkin shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play in the second period. After blocking the shot, Campbell stayed down on a knee before slowly getting up. The play continued as he got back on his feet, but he could barely move. Given that the play was still going on, he contributed as best as he could, softly getting his stick on a Penguins pass and knocking it back to Malkin. As fans took note of what was going on, the crowd began to chant “Camp-bell” and did so again as he headed off the ice and down the tunnel in pain.
— Kelly’s career-worst stretch of games without a goal now has reached 19 games. He was very good on the Penguins’ first power play, but he struggled on faceoffs (see above) and aside from a second-period two-on-one and the rebound of Jarmoir Jagr bid in double overtime Wednesday just hasn’t gotten significant scoring chances. This has been a disappointing season for Kelly, and that hasn’t changed in the playoffs.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke||06.03.13 at 10:44 am ET|
With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.
‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,’ Thornton said. ‘You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.
‘This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.’
Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.
‘Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.
“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.’
One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.
‘His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,’ Thornton said. ‘You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.’
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins need to goad Penguins ‘into a street fight’||05.31.13 at 12:09 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Saturday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
McGuire agreed with a suggestion from studio guest Lyndon Byers that the Bruins should try to take the Penguins out of their game by being physical.
“Absolutely, if I were Boston that’s all I’d be talking about, it turning it into a street fight early,” McGuire said. “I would take a page out of what Philadelphia did to Pittsburgh last year. They didn’t play nice with Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh decided that they didn’t want to play nice and it got them out of their offense and their free flow and their attack game. It got them thinking more about retribution than about scoring goals.
“If I were Boston, that’s exactly what I’d try to do. Because that’s the one thing they have — Boston, that is — that a lot of teams in the league don’t have. They have four lines that can play. They have four lines that can bring some physical dimension. And they have four lines that can contribute offensively. But the one through four physical part is huge.”
Added McGuire: “If Boston can play a nasty game without taking penalties and goad Pittsburgh into getting off their game, that’s huge. And if Pittsburgh doesn’t retaliate and Boston gets a lot of penalties called against them and their power play is as good as we’ve seen, Boston’s going to be trouble.”
“If I were betting money, I’d say Bergeron against Crosby,” McGuire said. “They’re real good friends. It goes back to the ’05 World Junior. Crosby played on a line with Corey Perry and Patrice Bergeron. It goes back to the World Championships; they played together. They played in the Quebec Major Junior League against one another.
“A lot of people don’t know this: These guys are so close, they went on snowmobiling trips together in the winter during All-Star breaks when they weren’t playing in the All-Star Game, or during the lockout. Just so you have an idea how close these guys are. They’re extremely, extremely close.”
|Bruins not feeling cocky with 3-0 series lead||05.22.13 at 12:10 am ET|
NEW YORK — With the Bruins a win away from the Eastern Conference finals, they hope to have a better focus than they did the last time they got their third win. The B’s let the Maple Leafs come back from a 3-1 deficit last round to nearly eliminate them, so they weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves after their 2-1 Game 3 win.
“We’ve had the experience, but we’ve also had a tough time closing out teams and we know they’re going to be tough to play against in Game 4,” Shawn Thornton said. “Their backs are against the wall, so that’s usually when you see the most desperate of teams. I think we’re going to have to be ready for that again.”
Though the Bruins have a 3-0 series lead, Games 1 and 3 could have gone either way. If a few bounces went the Rangers’ way, this series could be much closer, and the B’s aren’t forgetting it.
“Every game is a tough game,” Zdeno Chara said. “Sometimes the scores aren’t always showing how close the games are.”
Game 4 will be played Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
“We know it’s going to be a tough one,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s always a tough win to get, is the last one. We have one day to regroup and we need to make sure we’re ready for Game 4. We know the Rangers are a team that’s not going to give up, so it’s about making sure we’re ready for that game.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Patrice Bergeron: ‘It’s not bad to win in regulation’||05.19.13 at 1:43 pm ET|
The Bruins are hoping to keep up their one-goal magic in Game 2 against the Rangers.
The Bruins can take a 2-0 lead against the Rangers with a win at TD Garden before the series shifts to New York for Games 3 and 4.
“The last two games were good,” Shawn Thornton said. “I don’t have a ton of confidence in overtime. I’m on the edge of my seat the whole time. But the experience we’ve had in the last few years, the core group here, helps in the extra frame. We’re not jumpy, we’re not edgy. We’re trying to control pucks and play our game. That’s helped. These are two teams pretty evenly matched. There are going to be a lot of close games. Let’s hope we can continue to feed off that experience.”
Thornton would like his fourth line to finally put one in the net after coming so close in the last two games.
“We’re pretty deep as far as the lines go,” Thornton said. “I’m still waiting for us to chip in. We’ve talked about it. Listen, we’ve been close. We’ve had a ton of chances. We’re not putting them in right now. It’d be nice if we could take the pressure off some of the big boys with a couple of goals from our line.
“With three different guys [scoring in overtime so far], it’s kind of been the thing for our team the last few years. When we’re successful, we have everyone chipping at different times. That needs to continue for us to have success.”
Daniel Paille, another member of the Merlot line with Thornton, was asked about what a 2-0 series lead would do for the Bruins.
“If the situation like that were to come today, we’d feel pretty good about ourselves but we try not to jump too far ahead,” Paille said. “New York was down 2-0 in [last series] and they fought back to win the series and won two games at home right away. Obviously, we want to put ourselves in that position but we have to do the little things first.”
“I think every second, every shift is important and it’s about making sure you’re ready for that one shift,” Patrice Bergeron said when asked about the overtime magic. “It goes with experience, also. We’ve been through it so many times, we know what to expect. We know that we have to keep putting pressure to keep going at to get some results. It’s not bad either to win in regulation, also. If you do have to go into overtime, you have to keep your poise but still keep attacking.”
|Bruins happy to see Patrice Bergeron getting credit he deserves||05.15.13 at 2:23 pm ET|
When Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward last season, many folks it was overdue. He’d been considered one of the more underrated players in the game for quite some time, but his national exposure during the 2011 playoffs got people’s attention, and the next year he got his first Selke nomination and victory.
More so than other awards, the Selke fraternity is a kind of member-for-life type of club. Once you’ve won it, you’ll be considered every year as long as you’re healthy. Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time winner and a finalist again this season, is proof of that. Now that Bergeron is a member of the club, the Bruins are pleased to see he’s finally getting the recognition from the national media (the trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association).
“I can tell you right now, I would be extremely disappointed and would’ve been vocal about it had he not been [a finalist],” Claude Julien said. “This guy here is so good at both ends of the ice, and he keeps proving it year after year. There’s not too many guys in this league that can do what Patrice does. You saw him, as you mentioned, scoring those goals the other night. But you also see him every year, we talk about Zdeno [Chara] playing against top players on other teams, so does he for the most part. At the end of every year he’s always a plus player, so that tells you a lot about the utility and how valuable this guy is to our team.”
Bergeron led the NHL with a 62.1 success rate on faceoffs (549-for-884) and finished sixth in the league with a plus-24 rating during the regular season. The other two finalists for the award are Datsyuk and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews are the other finalists for the award.