|Claude Julien loves the way his team ‘bounced back’ in Game 3||05.20.11 at 12:07 am ET|
TAMPA — After his team recorded its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the the 2-0 win was more like the defensive battle everyone was expecting between the Bruins and Lightning in the Eastern Conference final. He added that he was also happy his team came out on the right end.
“I think tonight’s game probably resembles a lot more of what I think everybody expected from this series, two teams that make it hard for you to score, and I thought our team tonight was very good in regards to that,” Julien said. “We made some stronger plays, some better decisions, and seemed a little bit more aware out there of what was going on. So comparing it to last game where I thought it was pretty sloppy, I thought we bounced back well tonight.”
Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Lightning shots but the Bruins defense was strong all night, clearing most loose pucks away and bolstered by the return of the team’s best two-way player Patrice Bergeron.
“I really liked the way he played,” Julien said. “Obviously, you see the difference he can make for our hockey club faceoff-wise, but also his responsibility at both ends of the ice. His line was definitely better. His linemates obviously felt comfortable because they’ve been with him all year. So there was some chemistry there. And that certainly helped us tonight. I liked the fact that we had our four lines that were pretty stable and pretty good for us and very reliable.”
|Brad Marchand hoping to see Patrice Bergeron play, preparing for end of the world||05.19.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
TAMPA — While there’s been no official word on whether Patrice Bergeron will be in Thursday’s lineup, but one player who would benefit from the concussed center’s return would be rookie winger Brad Marchand. Skating on a line centered by Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley in Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals, respectively, Marchand has had subpar showings (a minus-3 rating this series and just one shot on goal) and would like to turn it around.
“It’s always different when you play with different guys. We’ve had a different centerman the last two games,” Marchand said after Thursday’s morning skate. “It’s a little tougher getting used to chemistry and where the guys are on the ice.”
During the Montreal series, Marchand spoke about how inspiring his linemate in Mark Recchi was for him. Given that the rookie plays on a line with two assistant captains, Bergeron has had a similar influence. Marchand said Thursday he can recall the first time he realized how great a presence Bergeron is for him.
“It was a long time ago. I remember we had a training camp or development camp one time. It was right after his concussion, and he came out and I was battling with him in the corner,” Marchand said. “I just realized how strong he was on the puck, and how difficult it was to take the puck from him. From that point forward, I was like, ‘I want to be like that — play the same way, work on that and add that element to my game.’ I remember that very clearly, and from that point forward, I wanted to play more like him.”
Kudos to Herald columnist/Sports Sunday host/old-time baseball aficionado Steve Buckley for bringing up the end of the world around Marchand. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, some nutbars are claiming that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Marchand was the perfect player to mention it to, as it caused a really funny couple of minutes with reporters and the rookie wise-guy.
“It’s been nice knowing you guys,” a surprised and disappointed Marchand said when told of the news.
Given that the Bruins are playing a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, the world could end (according to this theory) while the B’s are playing. Talk about getting off to a good start in the game — the B’s will at least want to be winning when the world ends.
“It would be a great way to kind of end the world on a high note and with a lead,” Marchand said. “Maybe get the win tonight, and we’ll be able to die happy people.”
And if they’re losing?
“If we fall behind, it won’t matter anyways,” he said. “I’d much rather die with a lead though.”
|P.J. Stock on D&C: Let’s see how Tyler Seguin reacts on road||at 10:57 am ET|
TSN and Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former Bruin P.J. Stock joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to preview Game 3 of the Bruins-Lightning Eastern Conference finals series. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
When asked if he thought coach Claude Julien waited too long to insert 19 year-old Tyler Seguin into the lineup, Stock said he did not have a problem with the coach’s decision. “No, not at all, and you know what? He probably wouldn’t be in there without [Patrice] Bergeron being injured,” Stock said. “I watched him play a lot during the year, and many times I thought he wasn’t ready.
“A lot of people are excited about his last two games, but 30 games ago were people saying the same thing? He was a frustrating player that was learning a lot of things. … I didn’t know if he was ready.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Barry Melrose on M&M: Shawn Thornton deserves to be in lineup||05.18.11 at 4:12 pm ET|
ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Melrose was quick to compliment the play of Bruins rookie center Tyler Seguin, who tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in Game 2.
“He certainly rode over the horizon at the right time on his white horse because Boston needed a spark and Seguin, in the last two games, has given Boston a spark,” Melrose said.
Seguin, who scored only 11 goals in the regular season, patiently waited for his opportunity and took full advantage of it in crunch time.
“He’s done everything right,” Melrose said. The kid’s kept his mouth shut. He’s never complained. He’s never gotten his agent involved. He’s never gone to the press. And when he got a chance to play in Game 1, bang, he was great. And then in Game 2, when they put him on the power play, bang, he scored.
“That’s what he has to do. He’s letting his actions speak for himself, and now Claude [Julien] has to play him. And the kid doesn’t hurt you defensively, he competes. Is he going to win the Selke award? No. But the guy who wins the Selke isn’t going to make the plays that Seguin is making either.”
|Claude Julien won’t say whether Patrice Bergeron is in, says Milan Lucic is fine||05.17.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
The Bruins had only two absences for their morning skate Tuesday, with forwards Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic the only players to miss the skate. Recchi does not take part in postseason morning skates, while Lucic could have been given the morning off due to a shot off the foot he took from Tyler Seguin on Monday.
Coach Claude Julien noted after practice that there was nothing to worry about with Lucic, and offered very little on the status of Patrice Bergeron, who was on the ice Tuesday morning but will reportedly miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals due to the concussion from which he is still recovering.
“As far as Bergeron is concerned, I think if he’s in, you’re going to see him in the warmups,” Julien said. “With Lucic, there is no issues there are all.”
Bergeron has two goals and 10 assists this postseason for a team-leading 12 points in 11 games. Lucic, who led the team with 30 goals in the regular season, has two goals and three assists for five points.
|Report: Patrice Bergeron out for Game 2||at 10:23 am ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning Tuesday night, according to the Boston Globe. Bergeron has been out with a concussion since leaving Game 4 of the conference semifinals following a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux.
Bergeron began skating on Sunday, and has skated each day since. He has not been cleared for contact yet, which was made evident by his leaving Monday’s practice (his first with the team since suffering the concussion) early.
|Bruins-Lightning Game 2 preview||at 2:07 am ET|
Twos are wild as the Bruins take on the Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. The B’s are looking to knot the series at one game apiece before it moves to Tampa for Games 3 and 4, and they’ll need to correct some costly mistakes that doomed them in Game 1.
With the number two in mind, here’s a preview of the contest:
Two things the Bruins need to do:
- Go back to winning 5-on-5. The excuse for the Bruins amidst their power play’s horrid 2-for-41 playoff showing is that they were playing dominant 5-on-5 hockey to make up for it. It was an argument that was clearly backed up by their ability to advance through two rounds, but the B’s gave Game 1 away with both teams at even strength, letting the Lightning score three goals – two of which were unassisted – in a matter of 1:25. The Lightning did score a power play goal in the third period, but it was the ugly first period that lost the Bruins the game.
The Bruins have clearly been the best 5-on-5 team throughout the playoffs. Their 33 goals for lead all remaining teams, while the 16 goals they have allowed is the lowest total among the last four teams. They just cam’t let those numbers take hit like they did Saturday, because for a team whose power play is a non-factor, they have to make sure they do all the damage they can at even strength.
- Know which Tomas Kaberle shows up, and adjust accordingly. Yes, this is coming from the same person who noted Kaberle’s skills could help them in this series, and while they still can, the 33-year-old proved to be nothing but a liability (again) in Game 1. The Bruins limited his minutes significantly (13:20 and 13:15, respectively; the his lowest totals of the last five seasons) in Gmaes 3 and 4 of the Philadelphia series and were still able to win, so 17:29 for a guy who committed as bad a turnover as one could in Game 1 Saturday was excessive. Putting Kaberle on a tighter leash means more minutes for other guys, but they were able to pull it off twice last series. If Kaberle is going to cost them, he can’t be out there as much.
Two crazy numbers:
- Steven Stamkos led the Lightning with 297 shots on goal in the regular season, yet Game 1 was the second game this postseason in which he failed to put a puck on net. The Lightning went 4-3-0 in the regular season when Stamkos didn’t register a shot on goal, while they lost the other playoff game in which he put up a goose egg.
The playoff leader in shots on goal remains James van Riemsdyk, and it will likely be at least a couple games before he is surpassed. With 70 through two rounds, he leads the field by nine shots.
- Mark Recchi’s 20:02 of ice time made Saturday the first time in a while that he led Bruins forwards in time on ice. He did not do so at all during the regular season, and you would have to go back to Jan. 19, 2010 to find the last time he did. He led B’s forwards in ice time on three occasions that season, including the first time Winter Classic.
Two key players:
- Patrice Bergeron: Guy Boucher keeps saying he’s expecting the concussed center to be in the Bruins’ lineup Tuesday, and if the Lightning coach is proven right, the Bruins will win the “best media deception” award. From what we’ve seen, he’s skated only three times and he hasn’t taken contact. Unless he’s doing something we’re not seeing, it’s hard to imagine the B’s rushing him back.
- Sean Bergenheim: Nobody planned on having to account for Bergenheim in the playoffs, but so far, nobody has been able to stop him. After scoring just 14 regular-season goals, the third-line winger added to his league leading playoff total Saturday with his eighth goal of the postseason.
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