|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.
|Nathan Horton on Patrice Bergeron: ‘We obviously need him’||05.16.11 at 6:05 pm ET|
The first of those goals is completely under the Bruins’ control. The second, not so much. And Horton and the Bruins know that.
‘That’s not our question [to answer],” Horton said Monday of whether he and the Bruins are expecting No. 37 to return healthy from a mild concussion in time for Tuesday. “It’s nothing to do with us. It’s how he feels. He was out there today but I don’t think anyone knows exactly how he feels. Hopefully, he comes back sooner. We obviously need him. He’s a great player and it’s definitely nice for everyone to see him out there skating again.
‘We had two days off and it’s hard to come back just after that and get back in it. He hasn’t skated or done too much for a while but he looked great out there today. As you can tell, he stays in really good shape. He’s so fit and eats well and that’s why he was so good coming back on the ice.’
As for the discipline, Horton knows he can’t be wasting time letting checking line tough guy Dominik Moore frustrate him. Horton and Milan Lucic were tossed with 37 seconds to go Saturday night when they got into it with Moore and his linemates.
“He’s not under my skin at all,” Horton insisted Monday. “I just was trying to play physical and it just kind of happened. You try not to get frustrated but obviously, you see, some guys were frustrated on our team and that’s not what we want. We want to stay away from that. When we play our game, play the way we want to play, that gets under the other team’s skin and that’s how we need to play from here on out.’
Tyler Seguin sounded a more optimistic – even positive – tone about Bergeron after watching him skate with the white sweater on during Monday’s practice.
‘It’s very nice. Everyone feels good that he’s making great strides and he looked pretty good out there to me so it’s going to be great to have him back soon,’ said Seguin, who still believes he can help the team in the playoffs, even if Bergeron returns to active duty.
‘Definitely, I want to stay in the lineup and contribute but I’m getting ready for anything. I’m staying prepared and try not to think about it too much. I want to focus on my game because whenever the opportunity arises, I want to be right there to capitalize on it.’
Rich Peverley, who filled Bergeron’s role on the No. 2 line Monday in practice, agreed with Seguin’s assessment of Bergeron.
‘He looked good,” Peverley said. “He looked like himself. Hopefully, he’s back soon.’
It’s hard to know what to expect for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals given the uncertainty that surrounds Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center has skated the last three days and participated in Monday’s practice, but coach Claude Julien still isn’t saying when the center will be back for the B’s. Amidst the fog that clouds Bergeron’s status, the Lightning have an easy strategy: assume the Bruins’ points leader this postseason will play.
This isn’t the first time the Lightning have been through this, after all. Tampa Bay faced the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins in the first round, but kept the mindset going into each game that Crosby would return to the lineup. They’re taking the same approach with the Bruins and Bergeron.
“We prepared for him playing for the first game, so we’re preparing for him just like we did with Pittsburgh,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Monday. “We told the players Sidney was going to play every game, and that’s the way we approach it.”
Bergeron has been out for the B’s since leaving Game 4 of the conference finals in the third period following a hit from Claude Giroux. He leads Boston with 12 points in the playoffs, and has arguably been the team’s best player this postseason. As a result, when the Lightning prepare as though he’ll play, they have a lot to prepare for.
“We know how important he is to the team,” Boucher said of the 25-year-old. “He’s a great player. He’s a great individual. And that usually has a tendency to uplift your team in terms of confidence, and we know the impact he’s got on the faceoff. So obviously his team’s going to start with the puck a lot more often.
“It changes a lot of things in terms of the way the game is going to develop. So we’re expecting him to be there for the opening faceoff, and if he’s not, which I highly doubt, I think he’s going to be there. It just makes it way harder.”
Julien clearly isn’t willing to venture to guess as to when the B’s will have Bergeron back, but if Boucher’s guess is correct, the Bruins coach will be happiest of all.
Bruins coach Claude Julien made the decision to mix up the second and third lines in Monday’s practice, but speaking after the skate, he hardly sounded like a man who had his Game 2 lineup set in stone.
Rich Peverley made the jump to the second line in the practice after playing Game 1 between Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Peverley skated Monday with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Chris Kelly took his spot on the third line with. Center Patrice Bergeron rotated in with the second line during line drills, centering Marchand and Recchi (his usual trio), as well as Marchand and Peverley.
Julien said he doesn’t know whether he will have Bergeron for Game 2, and that Monday’s lines were put in place to give him more options should he feel a change is in order.
“Just moving guys around a little bit,” Julien said following the practice. “I think it’s important that if we’re going to [mix up lines], that they get used to playing with each other. Kelly has an opportunity to play with that line and has gotten used to them a little bit. Now Peverley [has skated with Recchi and Marchand] and I’ve got some options. Just giving some thought to maybe different combinations if need be, and tomorrow we’ll decide which one we want to go with.”
Mixing up the second and third lines would be nothing new for Julien this series. He moved Seguin up to the second line with Kelly and Marchand in the third period of the team’s Game 1 loss, with Recchi moving down to the third line with Peverley and Ryder.
‘I think me and Kells [Chris Kelly] might do some switching off,” Peverley said. “I think it’s just to give an option down the middle there. I’m just going to try and play my game. I’m not going to try and be Bergy. He’s a tremendous player. I’ll just try and use my speed.
‘Usually, you try and prepare to play with anybody. And you want to be able to play with anybody. I don’t think it’s going to be any different at all.’
As for what needs to change, Peverley broke out a time-tested but very appropriate hockey cliche.
‘We played well but we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Peverley said. “Obviously, you make mistakes at this time of year, they end up in the back of your net. Some costly mistakes, a little bit of a lull there and within a minute-25 seconds, we’re down 3-0. We can’t let that happen and we have to be fully prepared.’