|Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean on Patrice Bergeron, Daniel Paille and Bruins in Stanley Cup playoffs||04.12.14 at 8:06 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the Stanley Cup playoff chances of the Bruins after they clinched the Presidents’ Trophy Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins won their 54th game of the season, giving them 117 points on the season but lost the services of Daniel Paille after a big hit by Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe. Patrice Bergeron also scored his 30th goal of the season but did not play the third period after a very minor injury, according to head coach Claude Julien. Bergeron is expected to be ready when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin this week.
The Bruins offered no update on winger Daniel Paille, who left Saturday’s game in the third period after taking a big hit from Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe.
Paille was slow to leave the ice and has already had two concussions this season. Patrice Bergeron also left the game, but he played the first two periods before missing the third, seemingly for the sake of rest. Bergeron sat Thursday in Minnesota, though the team said it wasn’t a healthy scratch.
“With Bergy it’s very minor,” Claude Julien said. “With Paisy I haven’t had a chance to talk yet with my trainers or to the doctors. I’ll probably see later on.”
The Bruins will finish their regular season schedule Sunday in New Jersey. Chris Kelly is not expected to play and Julien said that the team will likely call up multiple players from Providence to play.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins clinch Presidents’ Trophy, Patrice Bergeron scores 30th goal in win over Sabres||at 3:12 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron hit the 30-goal-mark and the Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Sabres.
The B’s, who sit at 117 points (54-18-9) with one game to play, will finish with the most points in the NHL for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
Bergeron got to 30 goals for the second time in his career when he took a pass from Brad Marchand and sent a one-timer past Matt Hackett to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead in the second period. Bergeron’s other 30-goal season came in 2005-06, when he had 31.
Bergeron left the game after the second period, though he played the first two periods and didn’t look hindered in any way. It’s possible the team was just resting him.
The big scare, however, came in the third period when Daniel Paille left the game in the this period on a big hit at the blue line from Jake McCabe. McCabe was given a game misconduct for the hit (despite it actually looking clean, though slightly high), while Paille — who has already had two concussions this season — was slow to get up.
Gregory Campbell scored his eighth goal of the season when he took a first-period feed from Jordan Caron and tipped it past Hackett to give the B’s a 1-0 lead. David Krejci followed by getting the rebound off a Zdeno Chara shot off the end boards and sending it in for his 24th goal.
The Sabres scored their only goal in the third period, when Cody Hodgson picked up his 20th of the season. Krejci made it 4-1 on a power play with a shot from the point that went off the end boards and hit Connor Knapp‘s skate on its way in.
The B’s will finish their regular-season schedule Sunday in New Jersey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Jarome Iginla’s 30-goal season is well impressive, but Bergeron hitting 30 goals is the most impressive individual achievement this season from any Bruin. The thirty goal mark is hard to hit in Claude Julien‘s system (Bergeron became the fourth player to do it since Julien came to town in 2007), and he made it tougher on himself by being a responsible player and not cutting any corners for the sake of goals.
An example of that came in the second period before his goal Saturday. About seven minutes into the period, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith went deep into the offensive zone, with Bergeron staying high. With the puck bouncing around in front moments later, Bergeron stayed high rather than jumping up and giving himself a chance at a goal at the risk of an odd-man rush.
A breakdown of Bergeron’s 30-goal season is as follows: 22 even-strength, seven on the power play, one shorthanded and three empty-net goals.
– Bergeron and Iginla also gave the Bruins their first pair of 30-goal scorers since Julien has been the coach. The last time the B’s had two 30-goal scorers was in the 2002-03, when they had three in Glenn Murray (44), Joe Thornton (36) and Mike Knuble (30).
– The win guaranteed that the Bruins will not lose two straight regulation games this season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– That would be pretty rough news if Paille were to have suffered a head injury on the hit from McCabe. Though a fourth-line player, Paille makes up one third of the best fourth line in the league and is a player who has been moved up when wings on other lines have been injured. He is also a plus penalty killer and was a very good performer last postseason (four goals and five assists for 13 points in 22 games).
– Another scary scene came in the third period when Torey Krug landed on Hackett, causing Hackett to remain down on the ice in pain for several minutes before leaving in a stretcher.
– The Bruins didn’t need to get into the whole John Scott thing, but it happened twice. Scott went after Lucic in the second period, leading to a scuffle in which Zdeno Chara intervened and cross-checked Scott in the face. Chara and Scott got into it again late in the third period and were given 10-minute misconducts.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I’m not that concerned’ about Bruins heading into postseason||04.04.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ mindset heading into the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Since the Bruins clinched a playoff spot on March 21, they have gone 4-3 with two consecutive losses to the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs this week.
“They understand it,” McGuire said of the team’s focus heading into the postseason. “They’ve been to the finals in 2011 and had to win three Game 7s — they had to beat Montreal in Game 7, they had to beat Tampa in Game 7 and they had to beat Vancouver on the road in a Game 7. That takes a lot of focus and determination and good portions of that team are back, so they understand that commitment.
“They also lost a heartbreaking Game 6 last year — everybody in Boston, with about three minutes to go, everybody thought there was going to be a Game 7. Obviously there wasn’t because of the offensive explosion of the Blackhawks. I think Boston learned from that.”
The Bruins spent the majority of March on a 12-game winning streak.
“I don’t think there are a lot of hockey lessons that these guys have to learn,” McGuire said. “I’m not that concerned about them, and, again, I throw this out because of the experience I had — I went through this twice in Pittsburgh where we had real good teams and we clinched early — we never had a problem keeping our guys focused and taking them in and out of the lineup. I see Claude [Julien] doing that, and I think he’s doing some really good things with that group.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now’||04.02.14 at 12:32 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ final stretch of games in April before the playoffs begin. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With the season winding down, Claude Julien may change some of the lineups to see how different players play together and give rest to others.
“I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now,” Brickley said. “If I expect a few guys, like [Patrice] Bergeron or even a David Krejci, get a night off between now and the final game against Jersey, the regular season, then you’re going to be forced to have different combinations. And if you choose to break up some lines in order to see what something look likes, now is the time to do it.”
The Bruins went 15-0-2 in the month of March, playing in multiple back-to-backs on their way to securing a division title. According to Brickley, the third and fourth lines were a big reason they were able to do that.
“That third line along with the fourth line and their ability to play and handle significant minutes during that month when you’re playing 17 games really sets this Bruins team apart from the rank and file,” Brickley said.
Brickley sees two distinct views when it comes to projecting the first opponent of a team during the playoffs.
“Do you want to start out with a team that you know you can pretty much handle, and then you want to gradually increase that emotion and adrenaline to keep you getting in the postseason?” Brickley said. “Or do you want someone really meaningful right off the bat, get that emotion where it needs to be in the postseason? I’m of the school of thought that it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to beat three really good teams to get to the final. You’ve got to beat four unbelievable teams to win a Stanley Cup.”
|Patrice Bergeron named NHL Second Star of Week||03.31.14 at 7:57 pm ET|
Bergeron had five goals and one assist for six points in four games during the week. He is currently on a seven-game goal-scoring streak and has 27 goals and 29 assists this season for 56 points.
The honor marked the second consecutive week in which a Bruins player was one of three stars, as Jarome Iginla was the Third Star in the previous week.
Ottawa forward Kyle Turris was the First Star of the Week, while Blues forward T.J. Oshie was the Third Star.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Patrice Bergeron again showing he’s best two-way player in hockey||03.28.14 at 8:06 am ET|
The last time Patrice Bergeron scored 25 goals in a season, he was a 21-year-old sensation out of Quebec Junior hockey, with lots of speed, playing for a Bruins team out of the playoffs. It was the 2005-06 season and the Bruins under Mike Sullivan finished 29-37-16.
A lot has changed and evolved since.
After watching him put on a two-goal display Thursday night against the team he faced in the finals last season, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that he is in line to win another Selke Trophy this season. He finished second in the race last season and has finished in the top-5 in voting for the award in each of the last four seasons. This will be the fifth straight. As DJ Bean points out, it will be a race between Bergeron and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, who was a minus-1 in Thursday’s 3-0 Bruins win at TD Garden.
Not only did Bergeron score twice, he won 15 of 21 face-offs and helped lead a defense that shutout the highest-scoring team in the NHL for just the third time this season. He has an NHL-best plus-38, two better than when he won the Selke in 2012. The Bruins have given up just nine goals in their last nine games.
“It’s not something you really are always thinking about,” Bergeron said. “It is something that is part of our game as a team as a whole. We are a defense type of team and we get some offense with playing defensively sound and stuff like that. So I think we have to keep that going.”
Listen to Bergeron and you get a glimpse of what makes him so special – a two-way player who doesn’t take a shift off.
“Every shift is important,” he said. “You can’t really sit back or take a breather because obviously they’re going to turn it up against you. They’re a team that relies a lot on speed I think and their transition as well. I thought once we played a little tighter in the neutral zone and also in our fore check, it gave us some success.”
All of the above was great before but now he’s scoring at a Sidney Crosby pace, at least for the last five games, in which he has six goals, at least one goal in five straight.
“The puck’s going in I guess,” Bergeron said, showing his typical humility. “There’s not much to say about it. It’s just you get those chances sometimes during the year and it doesn’t go in and now it is. Obviously it’s great any time I can chip in offensively and keep my two way game, I’m happy with it.”