|Patrice Bergeron and Bruins powerless to stop Caps when it mattered most||04.26.12 at 11:52 am ET|
It was as if the hockey gods were sending a message to the Bruins.
Jason Chimera hugged Johnny Boychuk ever so briefly, as the two went to the ice in the Bruins defensive zone. Chimera was called for a highly suspect and questionable holding penalty with 2:26 left in regulation of a 1-1 contest in Game 7.
If the Bruins could muster simply one power play goal, they almost certainly would be headed on to the second round and have escaped a first-round scare like they did in 2011.
But all the Bruins could muster was a harmless shot from the high slot from Brian Rolston as the power play dwindled to a precious few seconds. As was the case for most of the series, the Bruins could even get the puck on the sticks of the playmakers to organize a threat.
One shot on the season’s most important power play chance. Scoreless in three chances in Game 7. Two goals in 23 power play chances in the series.
Even when the hockey gods tempted, the Bruins could not control their own fate.
No one felt the pain more than Patrice Bergeron, who was playing with an arm/shoulder injury so bad he couldn’t take faceoffs in Games 6 and 7.
“It’s obvious that we had to better on the power play and we didn’t do that and at least create some momentum out of it and I don’t think we did that,” Bergeron said. “But, more than that I think it’s about especially Game 7, you have to find ways.”
The Bruins were very, very lucky last year to win the Stanley Cup with an inept power play for three rounds. This year, it would be why they are eliminated after one round.
“When you talk about [the game], that’s probably the most frustrating part of our game, was that power play that could have ended the series and the game,” added Bruins coach Claude Julien. “But, I guess, when you look at the whole picture, I think it was more than that. At the end of the series, you look at their team, and you look at ours, and they were the better team. They had more guys going than we did, and they played us tough. It was unfortunate that we’ve got to look at this one incident because it did play a big role in, but a lot of the damage had been done before that as well.”
It was Bergeron who had the series-winning shot on his stick 40 seconds into overtime, only to have Karl Alzner come over and interrupt glory, knocking Bergeron and the puck off target.
“It kind of exploded ‘ just rolled on my stick and the puck was bouncing I just tried to go quick because obviously there wasn’t a lot of time and the puck wouldn’t settle,” Bergeron said.
“You look at all the overtime goals in this series, it’s always like that. It’s a tough break or a lucky bounce and the other team doesn’t get that and I think that’s what it is. It’s overtime, it’s one shot so yeah.”
Bergeron is captain material.
All you have to do is listen to him not address the seriousness of his arm injury following the toughest loss of the year to appreciate his leadership.
“I don’t want to use that [excuse],” Bergeron said. “I’ll let [media] know, I don’t want to talk about it right now if you guys don’t mind. Obviously on the checkout day so I’ll let you guys know.
“It’s there, it was a little better but not much better but like I said I don’t want to use that as an excuse right now. It’s a tough one to swallow and I really don’t want to put that on an injury. I’m not the only one that goes through that stuff.”
|Quick notes from morning skate: No faceoffs for Patrice Bergeron||04.25.12 at 12:15 pm ET|
The Bruins held what may have been their last morning skate of the season Wednesday, and everyone (except the injured Adam McQuaid) was present for it.
Patrice Bergeron skated Wednesday after taking Tuesday off, but he was a notable nonparticipant during faceoff drills. That means you can expect Rich Peverley to handle those duties again after doing so in Game 6.
With Bergeron skating on the second line, Jordan Caron took turns skating with the Merlot Line. It’s unknown whether Caron or Shawn Thornton will be the healthy scratch in Game 7 Wednesday night against the Capitals.
After the skate, Julien reiterated for a third time that Bergeron is in the lineup. In fact, he opened his press conference by asking, “Anybody want to know if Bergeron’s playing?”
For the Capitals, it appears Jeff Schultz will indeed go back into the lineup in place of John Erskine.
Here are the Bruins’ lines:
Greg Zanon ‘ Mike Mottau
It’s all about seven as the Bruins host the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Here’s everything you need to know and more, with seven the central theme.
‘¢ According to some impressive research done by Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner, Jay Beagle has an incredible 61.6 success rate in the faceoff circle (53-for-86). Even more impressive is that he’s won 13-of-21 faceoffs against Patrice Bergeron, who led the league in faceoff wins during the regular season.
‘¢ Tim Thomas‘ 14 goals allowed through the first six games of the series equals the total he allowed in the first six games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season against the Canadiens. He faced only 12 more shots against the Habs through six than he has entering Wednesday’s Game 7.
‘¢ Alexander Ovechkin has two goals and two assists for four points and a minus-1 rating in four career Game 7s. He and the Capitals have gone 1-3 in those games.
This series, Ovechkin is tied with Rich Peverley with five points.
‘¢ Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic each have four career points in Game 7s to lead the Bruins. Lucic has three goals and an assist in six Game 7s while Marchand had two goals and two assists in three Game 7s last postseason.
‘¢ This series is the only one in NHL history to have the first six games decided by one goal. Both teams have scored 14 goals apiece with no empty-netters.
‘¢ Dennis Seidenberg has played in four Game 7s and won them all. He has four assists and plus-4 rating in those games, and has never had a negative rating in a Game 7.
‘¢ The Bruins have scored on the power play in just one of their six Game 7s since 2008. That game was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, a contest in which they scored two on the man advantage. Since 2008, the B’s are 2-for-13 on the power play in Game 7s.
|Claude Julien can’t stress enough that Patrice Bergeron will play in Game 7||04.24.12 at 1:04 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After Patrice Bergeron missed the Bruins’ practice at Ristuccia Arena, B’s coach Claude Julien was adamant that the banged-up center will be in the lineup in Wednesday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals.
“None at all,” Julien said when asked if there was any doubt that Bergeron would play.
Added Julien: “He’s playing next game. ‘¦ I don’t know how much clearer I can get. He’s in.”
Bergeron suffered an injury in the third period of Saturday’s Game 5 loss. He played in Game 6, but was unable to take faceoffs, as the only draw he took came late in the third period.
|Patrice Bergeron absent from Bruins practice||at 11:47 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday for what may be their last practice of the season. All players were present with the exception 0f Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid, the latter of whom remains out after not practicing yet this postseason. The B’s will host the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
With Bergeron not on the ice, Jordan Caron wore a gold sweater and skated on the second line. Joe Corvo (lower-body) skated after missing Sunday’s Game 6, but didn’t appear to be among the Bruins’ top six defensemen in practice. The lines were as follows:
Greg Zanon – Mike Mottau
(Andrew Bodnarchuk – Joe Corvo)
After taking a high stick from Alex Ovechkin in the second period of Sunday’s win over the Capitals, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara resembles Frankenstein with a series of stitches right across the bridge of his nose. It could’ve been worse, and Chara knows it. Now, he can look ahead to Game 7 Wednesday night at 7:30 at TD Garden.
“I feel good,” Chara said. “Obviously, it’s been tough to have back-to-back games, both afternoon games but again, it’s the schedule, and we all have to get through it and now we have two days to recover and get ready for Game 7.
“You always hear that teams play for that advantage, to have Game 7 at home but at the same time, we just have to be ready to play our way, the full 60, and even more if it needs to be. It doesn’t mean just because we’re at home we’re going to have an easy game. We still have to win the game on the ice.”
Chara and the Bruins have been pushed to the limit in more ways than one against the No. 7 seed Caps. Every game has been decided by one goal, the first time in Stanley Cup history that the first six games of a seven-game series have been so close. Now, the Bruins are back in familiar territory, a Game 7. But don’t think for a minute that Chara and the Bruins necessarily drew it up that way.
“No, I don’t think that’s the way we meant it,” Chara said. “Those games are always tough to win. Everything can go right and everything can go wrong in those games. You just have to make sure everything you do is maximized to almost perfection because obviously that’s the game that decides if you play for another day or you’re done.
“It’s very close, very tight series. Every game decided by one goal just tells you it’s really been close.”
Chara also took time Monday to thank a teammate that has finally been recognized by the league for his ability to play both ways on the ice. Patrice Bergeron was one of three finalists named for the Selke Award, given annually to the best defensive forward in the game.
“I’ve been saying that for years,” Chara said. “He should’ve been nominated way before this year. He’s such a reliable guy to have on the ice. He plays all the situations. You can really count on him when he’s on the ice that he’s going to get the job done. It’s just a pleasure to have a teammate like that. He’s such a tremendous person and hard worker, and obviously a leader, there’s no question in my mind he should be the winner.”
Like Chara, Bergy knows what it’s like to play through pain and he appreciates that Bergeron is doing it again this year, suffering an upper body injury in Saturday’s Game 5 that limited him to one faceoff draw in Game 6.
“That’s the way it is at this time of year, everybody sacrifices and does whatever he can to help the team,” Chara said. “That’s just the way it is.He’s been doing that for years. He’s always playing against top lines. Whatever job or task you ask from him, he’s going to do that. Explain all the situations, it’s always huge to have someone willing to play defense first before the offense. Not too many guys take as much pride in it as Bergy does.”
|Claude Julien on Game 7: ‘We don’t make things easy’||04.23.12 at 5:04 pm ET|
After watching six one-goal games between the two teams, no one should be surprised that the Capitals and Bruins are headed for a winner-take-all Game 7 to decide their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
As a matter of fact, listening to Bruins coach Claude Julien a day after his team survived a 4-3 overtime thriller in Game 6 in Washington, it’s almost expected. Are the Bruins approaching this Game 7 the way they did in their three Game 7s of 2011, when they became the first team ever to win three Game 7s and win the Stanley Cup?
“Well I guess that’ll be probably answered after Game 7,” Julien said Monday at TD Garden, site of the showdown game Wednesday. “We don’t make things easy, we didn’t last year, but we got through it and we haven’t gotten through it this year. So I think that’s probably the difference right now is we need to get through Game 7 before we can look at it the same way.”
What was racing through his head when Tyler Seguin scored three minutes into OT Sunday?
“Well although I’m excited, I try to look calm,” Julien said. “I think that’s the main thing here is, you know, you kind of regroup, go into the room and you do. For me, it’s ‘ how do I keep our team focused and enjoying what they just accomplished but not let it slip to the point where you lose focus of what you have to do next. All we did last night, or yesterday afternoon, was tie the series. We didn’t win it. There’s still another game to be played; before we can be happy with this we’ve got to make sure we take care of Game 7. So, it’s exciting because it was either that or we’d be here today packing our bags and going home and I don’t think anybody’s ready for that right now.”
If the Bruins get the same kind of production from their top two lines as they did in Game 6, there’s good reason to think they’ll be moving on to the second round.
“I think if you look at the last two games, it’s true ‘ it’s not just [Sunday], it’s the day before, some of those guys started producing and helping us out,” Julien said. “So our secondary scoring has kept us in this series and allowed us to move forward. And now it’s up to those guys to take over, and they have. [Tyler] Seguin‘s big goal, [David] Krejci‘s big goal, [Milan] Lucic‘plays he’s made, Patrice, [Rich] Peverley, those kinds of guys have all been ‘ [Brad] Marchand. Our top two line guys have really stepped up and that’s made a big difference.”
In other news and notes from Monday’s media availability, the team did not practice on Monday, taking the day to rest instead, though several Bruins reported to the Garden to work out, get treatment and be available to the media. The team will practice on Tuesday in Wilmington at 11 a.m. … Julien said there was no update on injured defensemen Adam McQuaid and Joe Corvo.
McQuaid has been out the whole series since taking a hit into the boards late in the regular season from Washington’s Jason Chimera. Meanwhile, Corvo was injured in the right leg blocking a shot of Marcus Johansson on Saturday in Game 5. “As far as Joe is concerned I think he’s going to be fine,” Julien said. “Adam McQuaid is still at the same spot he was before we left on the road.”