|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.”
|Patrice Bergeron named finalist for Selke Trophy||at 11:36 am ET|
Will this be the year for Patrice Bergeron?
The Bruins center was named one of the three finalists for this year’s Frank J. Selke Trophy Monday, awarded annually to the forward “who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” The other finalists are three-time winner Pavel Datsyuk and St. Louis’ David Backes.
During the regular season, Bergeron led the NHL in plus/minus (plus-36) and was second in faceoff percentage (59.3). He has never won the Selke in his career.
Only three players have won the award over the last six seasons: Rod Brind’Amour twice, Datsyuk in three straight seasons and Ryan Kesler last season.
Though the fraternity of Selke winners such a small and exclusive club, it seemed throughout the 2011 postseason and this regular season that Bergeron would finally begin to get the national recognition that has somehow eluded the quiet center throughout his career.
Bergeron matches up against the other teams’ top lines, so for him to post a plus-36 (and have linemate Tyler Seguin, an extremely gifted scorer whose defensive game is nothing to write home about, finish with a plus-34) is nothing short of outstanding.
Many writers from different markets seemed to jump on the Bergeron-for-Selke, trying to correct what has been somewhat of an injustice for the Bruins’ top forward. Bergeron finished the regular season with 64 points, which was second to Tyler Seguin.
|Healthy or not, here comes Patrice Bergeron||04.22.12 at 7:54 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Patrice Bergeron wasn’t 100 percent healthy on Sunday, and it was (we’ll go without the “painfully” pun) obvious.
The best faceoff man in the league during the regular season was unable to take draws on Sunday, and in his place, Rich Peverley handled faceoffs and most of the day at center while Bergeron played wing.
Bergeron was hurt in the third period of Game 5 on Saturday, as he left the game after three third-period shifts. The Bruins didn’t say what his injury was, and Bergeron didn’t prepare as if it would keep him out.
“Ah, no,” Bergeron said when asked whether he doubted he would be able to play on Sunday.
Added Bergeron: “I [knew] was playing yesterday.”
Though Bergeron was banged up and took two offensive zone penalties, he still came through with a big game for the B’s. He assisted on Peverley’s first-period goal and nearly ended the game in overtime before Tyler Seguin got the chance. Just 2:16 into overtime — 1:01 before Seguin’s goal — Bergeron redirected a shot that beat Braden Holtby but hit the crossbar.
Perhaps the defining moment of Bergeron’s game, though, came late in regulation. The Bruins iced the puck with 1:02 left in a 3-3 game. The faceoff was coming in the Bruins’ zone, and a Capitals goal — they had scored earlier in the period off a faceoff win — would have likely ended the series.
To Bergeron’s left? Brad Marchand. To his right? Brian Rolston. No Peverley, no other center out there to take the draw. Rather than trusting the most important faceoff of the season to a winger, Bergeron broke protocol and took the draw. He won.
“Well, I kind of had to right?” Bergeron said when asked if he made the call to take the faceoff. “It was on that side and Pevs was not on the ice.
Finally, he took credit.
“Yeah, I made the call,” he said.
Bergeron will have two days to rest up and get healthy for Game 7 Wednesday at the Garden.
|Patrice Bergeron and Joe Corvo will take warmups||at 2:08 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien did not indicate Sunday whether center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Joe Corvo will be in the team’s lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals, but he did say the two will take the ice for warmups.
Both players left Saturday’s 4-3 loss due to injury, as Corvo was hurt blocking a shot in the second period and Bergeron left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.
Both Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau will also take warmups for the B’s, as will blueliner Andrew Bodnarchuk.
|Patrice Bergeron arrives early for Game 6||at 12:21 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins’ best forward will at the very least be at Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Patrice Bergeron, who left Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals in the third period, was spotted by multiple reporters as he entered the Verizon Center by himself before noon. He could be early to undergo treatment or to be examined by team doctors.
Bergeron, who led the NHL with a plus-36 rating in the regular season, took only three shifts in the third period Saturday. After the game, coach Claude Julien did not indicate how Bergeron suffered the injury or what the injury was, but Bergeron could have been hurt on a third-period hit he took from Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin.
|Patrice Bergeron, Joe Corvo hurt in Game 5 loss||at 12:38 am ET|
The Bruins head into a do-or-die Game 6 in Washington Sunday and they do not know if they will have their top-line center with them and available.
Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Alexander Ovechkin and played just three shifts in the third period as the Bruins fell to the Capitals, 4-3.
“I’m not sure,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron’s status. “To be honest, I get into a game then I’m told that a guy is a little injured at that point and that’s all I know. I’m not quite sure whether it was that hit or whether it’s a hit that he had earlier that he kind of hit the glass, and that’s where I think it started, in my mind. So, I’m not 100 percent sure on that.”
Injury stoppage has infuriated Bruins coach Julien in the series. That continued in Saturday when Joe Corvo went down in the second period after blocking a shot from Marcus Johansson in the right leg. He stayed down momentarily before trying to get up. The officials didn’t blow the whistle and Alexander Semin scored the game’s first goal.
“Well that was probably the frustrating part for me,” Julien said. “We were in Washington last game and twice their players go down in their own end and we had full control of the puck and the whistle was blown right away with no hesitation and tonight we’re deciding we’re not. So, I guess I was a little perturbed ‘ is there two sets of rules or one? And I know they’re different referees but it’s still the same series so that was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that. Again, that was my frustration on that goal and it’s unfortunate that’s how it ended up. Those other two guys are being looked at as we speak right now so there’s no update on them.”
|Bruins respond to ‘ludicrous’ accusations from Dale Hunter||04.18.12 at 3:27 pm ET|
ARLINGTON, Va. — Responses are usually saved for the ice in hockey, but on Wednesday the Bruins had to answer to something pretty serious.
On Tuesday, Washington coach Dale Hunter suggested the Boston players had been targeting the head of Nicklas Backstrom, who missed 40 games during the regular season with a concussion.
Backstrom was suspended for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals for cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley in the face after the Bruins’ 4-3 victory in Game 3. Hunter said on Tuesday that because of how the Bruins had been playing against him, Backstrom had to “protect himself.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Wednesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head. It speaks for itself.”
Added Julien: “It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous. There’s always going to be emotions in games, and there’s things that are happening. Like I said [after Game 3], there was three cross-checks. They penalized one and they suspended one. We’re not whining about the refs and we need to win the series and what’s going on here. That’s where are focus is on. That’s what it should be.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has returned from two major concussions in his day, and last season missed two playoff games with a concussion. He said he hasn’t gotten a sense that players target the heads of players returning from head injuries, and certainly hopes that id doesn’t happen on any team.
“I think we’re just playing playoff hockey,” Bergeron said. “We’re not worrying about who’s out there. I certainly would be the last guy to do something like that. I’ve been through it, so I don’t really worry about that, to be honest with you.”
Shawn Thornton doesn’t pay attention to other teams, whether it be their place in the standings, the scores of their games or the words that they say. One thing Thornton is sure of, however, is that Hunter’s accusation had nothing to do with a mere fourth-liner.
“I’m not on the ice against that guy anyway,” Thornton said of Backstrom, who once had 101 points in a season, “so I really don’t have to worry about it.”