|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.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: With Bruins’ depth down middle, ‘I do think this is a team that can flip the switch’||at 12:11 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest of the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.
McGuire said “only in youth hockey” has he seen a comeback like the Bruins’ miracle against the Maple Leafs in Monday night’s Game 7.
“I’ve never seen anything like that with 12 minutes or less to go in an NHL game — in a playoff game, a deciding Game 7,” McGuire said. “Never seen that before.”
McGuire said the tide started to turn in the Bruins’ favor when Tuukka Rask stopped Matt Frattin on a breakaway with 3:35 left in the third period and Toronto leading 4-2.
“Boston got urgent. Boston really felt better after Frattin missed the breakaway. You could see there was a huge surge after the save was made by Tuuka on Matt Frattin’s breakaway. And you could see the better players for the Bruins every other shift were starting to take over momentum,” McGuire said.
“So, it was a combination of Frattin misses the breakaway, Boston starts to amp it up, their star players really start to amp it up and they get the feel. Then all of a sudden they put the lunar eclipse in front of James Reimer, that is Zdeno Chara, and [Patrice] Bergeron with a seeing-eye shot makes it all equal. Then they go into overtime and win.”
Looking at the Bruins’ inconsistency, McGuire said some of it can be traced to the post-Marathon fallout.
“The thing that’s impressed me the most about this Bruins team: I think that this team was emotionally hurt, like most of the city of Boston was, after the Marathon tragedy,” McGuire said. “I really mean that. I was there to do their game following the Marathon tragedy, and you could sense the emotion, you could sense how these guys felt terrible for the families, for the victims, for the entire city. It was a huge blow. It took time for these guys to rebound.
“If you remember, the first game after was against the Buffalo Sabres, and they didn’t win the game. You could sense that guys were ready to cry after the game; they felt like they had let the city down. So, I think there’s been a lot of emotion that’s gone into the season for the Bruins. Let’s remember, it was a 48-game schedule, there was a lockout, a lot of players were saying stuff they probably shouldn’t have said or didn’t want to say but it was out of character, but emotion got involved. And I think this has been an emotional roller coaster for this team all year.
“Do I think they can flip the switch? Absolutely. I respectfully disagree with Peter Chiarelli — I do think this is a team that can flip the switch because of their depth down the middle. When you look at it with [David] Krejci, with Bergeron, with [Chris] Kelly, with [Gregory] Campbell. I truly believe, when you have that kind of depth down the middle, you can flip a switch.”
|Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist||at 11:39 am ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy Wednesday. The award, which Bergeron won last season, is awarded to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.’
Bergeron went 549-for-884 on faceoffs during the regular season, good for a league-best 62.1 success rate. He also finished sixth in the league with a plus-24 rating.
Other nominees for the award, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, are Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Milan Lucic: Bruins feared it was the end of this group||05.13.13 at 11:14 pm ET|
If you thought the Bruins were going to undergo some big changes following a series collapse and second consecutive first-round exit, you weren’t alone. Milan Lucic said after the Bruins’ 5-4 come-from-behind Game 7 overtime victory that when the Bruins trailed the Maple Leafs by three goals late in regulation that they were “real conscious” of the possibility that changes would be made if they lost.
“You’re looking at the clock wind down with half a period left at 4-1,” Lucic said. “You start thinking to yourself, ‘Is this the end of this group here?’ Because it probably would have been if we didn’t win this game.”
Lucic said that the team has been inconsistent since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, and that the team proved Claude Julien‘s Jekyll-and-Hyde comparison right in Game 7. The 24-year-old winger scored with 1:22 left in regulation to bring the B’s within one before Patrice Bergeron scored in the final minute and then in overtime to give the Bruins the win.
“It’s a special group and we don’t want it to change,” Lucic said. “Everyone has a lot of fun coming to the rink here and being around each other and playing for each other. I think we need to keep stepping it up and hopefully push for another good run here because the Rangers are going to be just as hard or even better.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.