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Bruins-Lightning Game 5 preview: Five things, stats and players 05.23.11 at 1:12 am ET
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The Bruins learned the hard way Saturday that they need more than a strong start and a big day from Patrice Bergeron to get their third victory of the Eastern Conference finals. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Saturday’€™s Game 4, the Bruins will be back at home Monday to take on the Lightning in Game 5.

FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

– Take advantage of playing at home/score the first goal. The Bruins don’t want to find themselves a loss away from elimination when the teams head back to Tampa for Game 6, so taking care of business in their own building will be key.

The B’€™s weren’€™t able to score the first goal in Games 1 and 2, though they were able to head to Tampa with the series tied at a game apiece. The first goal hasn’€™t been everything this series, as the team to strike first has gone 2-2 thus far.

– The B’€™s must get the type of production from David Krejci‘€™s line that made the second round such a walk in the park. Krejci was a minus-3 with zero shots on goal in Game 4, while Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic each had just one shot on goal in the loss.

– The Bruins’€™ second line probably would be a stinker as well if it weren’€™t for the redeeming qualities of Bergeron. If it weren’€™t for a Brad Marchand interference penalty in the second period, there would be minimal proof that the feisty rookie even played in Game 4. Marchand had no shots on goal for the second time this series. The B’€™s have lost both games in which the 23-year-old has failed to put a shot on net. Mark Recchi is a minus-4 this series and has just five shots on goal.

– Selective memory would probably serve the B’€™s best after their Game 4 collapse. Remember that it happened, but don’€™t think about just how much momentum the come-from-behind win could have given Tampa Bay.

– Not that they will, but the B’€™s should at least give consideration to playing Steven Kampfer. We said it last week, and Saturday’€™s soft showing behind the net on a costly turnover to Sean Bergenheim only confirms it: it’s worth seeing what Kampfer can do in place of Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle looked better in Games 2 and 3, but if you’€™re going to give him between 11 and 12 minutes a game and he still finds a way to make them costly minutes as he did Saturday, you’€™re better off easing Kampfer back in with an 11-or-12-minute night. Kampfer has as many goals this season against the Lightning (two) as Kaberle has had turnovers that resulted in Tampa goals this series.

FIVE CRAZY STATS

– Kaberle’€™s 11:35 of ice time in Game 4 isn’€™t just ridiculously low for someone the team invested so much in, but it’€™s the lowest total that Kaberle ‘€“ two injury games aside — has played in his entire career. While with the Maple Leafs, he left the team’€™s March 2, 2007 game vs. the Devils after being blindsided in the second period by Cam Janssen, and he left a Jan. 6, 2004 game with a shoulder injury in the first period. Back then, injuries were all that could keep Kaberle from playing less than 12 minutes. Now, it’€™s just poor play.

– That stuff about Michael Ryder turning it on in the playoffs is true. Ryder has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in his last five games. He never amassed more than five points in any five-game stretch during the regular season, and this five-game stretch ties for Ryder’s second-best as a member of the Bruins. He had nine points over the Bruins’ first five games of the 2009 playoffs.

Tim Thomas has allowed four goals four times this postseason, and the Bruins are 3-0 thus far in games that directly followed said performances. Thomas allowed one goal in 89 minutes in Game 5 of the first round after allowing four goals two nights earlier. He followed the team’€™s 5-2 loss in the conference finals opener by allowing five in Game 2, but the B’€™s came away with the win. It was after that contest that Thomas really bounced back, blanking the Lightning in Game 3.

– Neither the Bruins nor the Lightning have scored a power play goal since Game 2 of the series. This marks the first time this postseason that the Bruins and their opponent have put up a goose-egg on the man advantage in consecutive games.

Steven Stamkos is a minus-2 this series, and has only had a positive rating in one game this postseason. The lone positive rating came in Game 5 of the quarterfinals when he had two goals, an assist and was a plus-1.

FIVE KEY PLAYERS

– Whichever Lightning goalie starts. Dwayne Roloson has been chased from two of the series’€™ first four games, and Guy Boucher has yet to reveal whether Roloson will be a go for Game 5. If Boucher makes a change, it will be Mike Smith, who has stopped all 20 shots he’€™s seen from the B’€™s in 60:51 this series.

Simon Gagne: The veteran winger simply slays the Bruins, and he did it to the tune of three points and a plus-4 rating in Game 4.

– Ryder and Tyler Seguin: In the event that Lucic and Horton fail to step it up and Bergeron’€™s wingers continue to struggle, the B’€™s will need the magical Ryder/Seguin duo to light it up the way they did in Game 2. Seguin was on the ice for three of the Lightning’€™s five goals Saturday, but he’€™s been second to only Ryder this series as far as who the B’€™s best winger has been.

Dennis Seidenberg: One last opportunity to point out that the B’€™s minute-eating defenseman had seven blocked shots in Game 4. He and Kaberle were out there for Gagne’s game-winner.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg
Patrice Bergeron’s ‘perfect first period’ goes to waste in collapse 05.21.11 at 6:23 pm ET
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TAMPA — Patrice Bergeron scored twice in the first period, including a shorthanded tally with 2:02 left in the opening 20 minutes that put the Bruins up, 3-0. Then he watched as the Bruins lost all of their momentum in the second period and gave up five unanswered goals in a 5-3 loss to the Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at St. Pete Times Forum.

“It was perfect first period,” Bergeron said. “We stopped battling, we stopped being hard on the forecheck which is what gave us success in the first period. in the second, we sat back, they have too much speed and too much firepower up front to do that.”

Bergeron’s two goals came as the Bruins won nearly every aspect of the game in the first period.

“It was more execution,” Bergeron said. “We weren’t executing at all. The good thing about this is we [can] put it behind us and go back home and worry about that fifth game. That being said, we have to be a lot better.

“They’re a good a team but we were on our heels and we didn’t find a way to get back to what was giving us success. Once we did that, we had some good shifts that’s because we were first on the puck. Tonight was just a matter of we stopped playing. I don’t think it was anything else than that. We let them come back in the game. They’re a good team and if we do that, they will score.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, NHL, Patrice Bergeron
Brad Marchand on M&M: Open-ice style ‘nerve-racking’ 05.20.11 at 12:32 pm ET
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Rookie winger Brad Marchand joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning, hours after the Bruins took a 2-1 series lead over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals with a 2-0 Game 3 win. To hear the interview go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Following the 6-5 win in Game 2, the Bruins delivered a dominating defensive effort Thursday night.

“We weren’t very happy with how we were playing defensively. We wanted to clean it up a bit,” Marchand said. “Obviously, Timmy [Thomas] helped that a bunch. He played a great game and really kept us in it there when they had any opportunities. We really played tight defensively. We were really happy with how we played last game.”

Marchand said the open-ice style is not good for his mental state. “It’s so nerve-racking when you play that style,” he said of Game 2. “We were up by three goals, I think it was, and then they started to come back. I’ve never so nervous in a game the last few minutes there. We’re not very good at playing that way. We always get in trouble when we do. We’re more comfortable playing the relaxed, defensive style. ‘€¦ I’m a lot more calm in that way. it’s tough to play like that, especially with a team with so much skill, you can’t really keep up with them in that style.”

The return of center Patrice Bergeron was a huge boost to the B’s.

“I think someone was telling me at one point in the game his faceoffs were 18-6. That’s outrageous,” Marchand said. “It just shows how important he is on the faceoff dot. When you have a guy that’s winning draws like that, you get so many more opportunities offensively and you’re not chasing the puck as much and you’re starting with it all the time. It makes it really easy to play out there. That’s why he’s so important to our team.”

Rookie Tyler Seguin has made a huge impact in this series. Marchand said he’s not surprised, based on what he’s seen from the teenager on non-game days.

“He’s playing unbelievable,” Marchand said. “I remember even thinking to myself before the series started, when we knew he was going to play, he was one of our best players in practice every day. He was dominating in practice. I was really excited to see him play. It’s obviously showed. He’s played unbelievable the last three games. He’s a big part of our team right now.”

Marchand said Seguin has been handling his sudden fame well, although there was at least one incident when the youngster proudly soaked it all in.

Said Marchand: “Me and him and [Gregory] Campbell and [Dennis] Seidenberg went out to dinner and there was like five different TV ons, all on different stations, and at one point they were all talking about Segs at the same time. It was hilarious. Segs was loving it. He was laughing and pointing at the TVs.

“Everyone’s chirping him pretty hard about it. They’re trying to keep him calm. Obviously, it’s a very exciting time for him. And we want him to enjoy it. But at the same time, we need to make sure he’s focused for every game. But he’s doing a good job with that. He knows he’s got to get ready for each and every game. And he was last night. He played another great game last night. So, he did a good job following that game up.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Confident Patrice Bergeron: ‘It was time for me to be back out there’ at 1:32 am ET
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TAMPA — When doctors gave Patrice Bergeron the go-ahead, he was 100 percent confident that he would be 100 percent when he stepped on the ice Thursday night for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.

“I was confident that I was ready, and the doctors and trainers were in the same boat as me,” Bergeron said. “So, it was time for me to be out there.”

Most importantly, there was zero hesitation from his coach.

“Not at all, as far as the hit was concerned,” Claude Julien said. “If that would have been a concern, I don’t think we would have dressed him tonight. When we decided to dress him, he was 100 percent. And we felt confident about that.

So that hit certainly wasn’t a concern, and when I spoke to Patrice today, when he was cleared, my first question to him was, ‘Are you comfortable coming back?’ And there was no doubt in his mind. He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m ready to go.’ And that was something that was important, I guess, for everybody.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Juien, NHL
David Krejci feeling ‘pretty good’ after hit from Marc-Andre Bergeron at 12:09 am ET
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TAMPA — The Bruins had what looked like another trip to the quiet room on their hands in the first period of Thursday’s 2-0 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. This time, it was David Krejci, who was rocked in the neutral zone by Marc-Andre Bergeron after receiving a pass.

Luckily for the B’s, Claude Julien won’t need to read the same “protocol” line to the media that he used the last couple of weeks to describe Patrice Bergeron. Krejci did not play for the remaining minute and a half of the period, but he remained on the bench and played his line’s first shift of the second period.

‘€œI was a little sore, but I feel pretty good,” Krejci said following the game.

Krejci didn’t take issue with the hit, which earned Bergeron an elbowing penalty, and his teammates seemed to feel the same way. The first-line center did not see a replay of the hit, but said he doesn’t need to.

‘€œI’€™m fine,” Krejci said. “I don’€™t think I have to look at it. I’€™m sure I’€™m going to see it. The guys told me that the guy just came off the bench. I didn’€™t even see him. They gave me a little heads up, so I got a little ready for it. If they didn’€™t give me a heads up on the bench, then I would get hit and in a relaxed body and it’€™d be maybe way worse. But I feel fine.”

Krejci scored his team-leading seventh goal of the postseason earlier in the first, and it proved to be the game-winner.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, David Krejci, Marc-Andre Bergeron
Claude Julien loves the way his team ‘bounced back’ in Game 3 at 12:07 am ET
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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.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Brad Marchand hoping to see Patrice Bergeron play, preparing for end of the world 05.19.11 at 1:54 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron,
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