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Bruins happy to see Patrice Bergeron getting credit he deserves 05.15.13 at 2:23 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron

When Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward last season, many folks it was overdue. He’d been considered one of the more underrated players in the game for quite some time, but his national exposure during the 2011 playoffs got people’s attention, and the next year he got his first Selke nomination and victory.

More so than other awards, the Selke fraternity is a kind of member-for-life type of club. Once you’ve won it, you’ll be considered every year as long as you’re healthy. Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time winner and a finalist again this season, is proof of that. Now that Bergeron is a member of the club, the Bruins are pleased to see he’s finally getting the recognition from the national media (the trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association).

“I can tell you right now, I would be extremely disappointed and would’ve been vocal about it had he not been [a finalist],” Claude Julien said. “This guy here is so good at both ends of the ice, and he keeps proving it year after year. There’s not too many guys in this league that can do what Patrice does. You saw him, as you mentioned, scoring those goals the other night. But you also see him every year, we talk about Zdeno [Chara] playing against top players on other teams, so does he for the most part. At the end of every year he’s always a plus player, so that tells you a lot about the utility and how valuable this guy is to our team.”

Bergeron led the NHL with a 62.1 success rate on faceoffs (549-for-884) and finished sixth in the league with a plus-24 rating during the regular season. The other two finalists for the award are Datsyuk and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews are the other finalists for the award.

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Pierre McGuire on M&M: With Bruins’ depth down middle, ‘I do think this is a team that can flip the switch’ at 12:11 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest of the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.

McGuire said “only in youth hockey” has he seen a comeback like the Bruins’ miracle against the Maple Leafs in Monday night’s Game 7.

“I’ve never seen anything like that with 12 minutes or less to go in an NHL game — in a playoff game, a deciding Game 7,” McGuire said. “Never seen that before.”

McGuire said the tide started to turn in the Bruins’ favor when Tuukka Rask stopped Matt Frattin on a breakaway with 3:35 left in the third period and Toronto leading 4-2.

“Boston got urgent. Boston really felt better after Frattin missed the breakaway. You could see there was a huge surge after the save was made by Tuuka on Matt Frattin’s breakaway. And you could see the better players for the Bruins every other shift were starting to take over momentum,” McGuire said.

“So, it was a combination of Frattin misses the breakaway, Boston starts to amp it up, their star players really start to amp it up and they get the feel. Then all of a sudden they put the lunar eclipse in front of James Reimer, that is Zdeno Chara, and [Patrice] Bergeron with a seeing-eye shot makes it all equal. Then they go into overtime and win.”

Looking at the Bruins’ inconsistency, McGuire said some of it can be traced to the post-Marathon fallout.

“The thing that’s impressed me the most about this Bruins team: I think that this team was emotionally hurt, like most of the city of Boston was, after the Marathon tragedy,” McGuire said. “I really mean that. I was there to do their game following the Marathon tragedy, and you could sense the emotion, you could sense how these guys felt terrible for the families, for the victims, for the entire city. It was a huge blow. It took time for these guys to rebound.

“If you remember, the first game after was against the Buffalo Sabres, and they didn’t win the game. You could sense that guys were ready to cry after the game; they felt like they had let the city down. So, I think there’s been a lot of emotion that’s gone into the season for the Bruins. Let’s remember, it was a 48-game schedule, there was a lockout, a lot of players were saying stuff they probably shouldn’t have said or didn’t want to say but it was out of character, but emotion got involved. And I think this has been an emotional roller coaster for this team all year.

“Do I think they can flip the switch? Absolutely. I respectfully disagree with Peter Chiarelli — I do think this is a team that can flip the switch because of their depth down the middle. When you look at it with [David] Krejci, with Bergeron, with [Chris] Kelly, with [Gregory] Campbell. I truly believe, when you have that kind of depth down the middle, you can flip a switch.”

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist at 11:39 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy Wednesday. The award, which Bergeron won last season, is awarded to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

Bergeron went 549-for-884 on faceoffs during the regular season, good for a league-best 62.1 success rate. He also finished sixth in the league with a plus-24 rating.

Other nominees for the award, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, are Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Milan Lucic: Bruins feared it was the end of this group 05.13.13 at 11:14 pm ET
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Milan Lucic

If you thought the Bruins were going to undergo some big changes following a series collapse and second consecutive first-round exit, you weren’t alone. Milan Lucic said after the Bruins’ 5-4 come-from-behind Game 7 overtime victory that when the Bruins trailed the Maple Leafs by three goals late in regulation that they were “real conscious” of the possibility that changes would be made if they lost.

“You’re looking at the clock wind down with half a period left at 4-1,” Lucic said. “You start thinking to yourself, ‘Is this the end of this group here?’ Because it probably would have been if we didn’t win this game.”

Lucic said that the team has been inconsistent since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, and that the team proved Claude Julien‘s Jekyll-and-Hyde comparison right in Game 7. The 24-year-old winger scored with 1:22 left in regulation to bring the B’s within one before Patrice Bergeron scored in the final minute and then in overtime to give the Bruins the win.

“It’s a special group and we don’t want it to change,” Lucic said. “Everyone has a lot of fun coming to the rink here and being around each other and playing for each other. I think we need to keep stepping it up and hopefully push for another good run here because the Rangers are going to be just as hard or even better.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins storm back to eliminate Maple Leafs in Game 7 at 10:06 pm ET
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The celebration is on for the Bruins after Patrice Bergeron (right) scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7. (AP)

The Bruins ended up having the comeback that mattered most, Boston came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 before advancing on an overtime goal from Patrice Bergeron.

With the Bruins trailing 4-1 in the third, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Bergeron scored to even the game. Both Bergeron and Lucic’s goals came in the final 1:22 with Tuukka Rask pulled for an extra skater. Bergeron added his second of the game on a rebound at 6:05 of overtime to give the B’s a 5-4 win.

The Bruins were hurting big-time on their backend, as Wade Redden was kept out of the lineup with Andrew Ference already out. The biggest shoe of all dropped when Dennis Seidenberg didn’t play after the first two minutes of the first period, forcing the Bruins to rely heavily on Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Matt Bartkowski.

Bartkowski did well with the responsibilities he was given, as he got the Bruins on the board in the first period with his first career NHL goal. Toronto answered back by getting a power-play goal from Cody Franson and another tally from Franson through a screen in the second period. The Leafs added to their lead in the third period with goals from Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri. Horton brought the Bruins within two with his fourth goal of the playoffs before the B’s tied it with a late flurry.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

• That was the second three-goal comeback in the third period this season for the B’s, as they accomplished the feat on Feb. 12 against the Rangers before losing in in a shootout.

• Bartkowski picked a first time for his first career NHL goal. Bartkowski, who had played 21 career NHL games without a goal entering Monday, stepped up big with Seidenberg out. His highest time on ice total in the NHL entering the game was 16:36 on April 11, and he easily surpassed that total with well over 22:43 in regulation alone.

• The Bruins got away with one late in the first period when Chris Kelly elbowed James van Riemsdyk in the face without getting called from it. JVR was leaking from the play.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

• Seidenberg played just 37 seconds of the game and did not play after the first two minutes. His second shift lasted just six seconds, and though he never headed down the tunnel to receive treatment, he didn’t play for the final 18:16 of the period before missing the second and third. He took a twirl during a TV timeout following Bartkowski’s goal but didn’t stay out for a shift and could be seen sitting and standing up for long periods of time on the bench while appearing to occasionally stretch his left leg. Seidenberg stayed on the bench in the second period.

• The Bruins went a span of 18:15 from the first to second period with just three shots on goal — two from Gregory Campbell and the other a point shot from Dougie Hamilton. Bergeron was given credit for a shot on goal in that span, though it didn’t reach the net and thus shouldn’t have been registered as such.

• The Bruins won 29-of-36 faceoffs through the first two periods and still didn’t manage to control the play. They had only 12 shots on goal through the first 40 minutes.

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Bruins try to stay positive after blowing series lead vs. Maple Leafs at 12:33 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron

TORONTO — Here comes Game 7.

With all the things that can be said about this Bruins team after blowing a 3-1 lead — that this is typical of a team that lost nine games that it led in the third period in the regular season, that the B’s are pulling a 2010, etc. — the Bruins are trying to think about none of them. If they’re going to be embarrassed that they let the Leafs come back in this series, they can do it later. First they have a game to win.

“Being frustrated right now is not going to help,” Patrice Bergeron said after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 win in Game 6. “It’s about being determined, finding ways to put it in. It’s all about [Game 7] now.”

The Maple Leafs have momentum, and while both teams have goalies who have played exceptional, the Bruins have made more mistakes and the Maple Leafs have made them pay. Claude Julien summed it up pretty well in his five-question postgame press conference Sunday.

“We are the team that should have prevailed in this series in everybody’s eyes, but they’ve played well and we haven’t played well enough,” he said. “It’s as simple as that, and that’s why it’s a 3-3 series right now.”

The Bruins put on their best “We’re not frustrated” faces after Game 6, but they should be frustrated. This should have been a five-game series, but the B’s came out flat and lost Game 5 and then had to play without Andrew Ference in a Game 6 that they shouldn’t have had to play. Now, they have one game to save their season.

“We’ve always said they were a good team. We never said it was going to be an easy series, so here we are now,” Bergeron said. “It’s all about one game, and whatever happened in the first six games doesn’t really matter. It’s about us showing up.”

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Patrice Bergeron on Game 5 loss: ‘We’re not looking into the past’ 05.11.13 at 12:20 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron

The Bruins spoke nearly consistently over the 48 hours before Game 5 about coming out with energy because they knew they would have to match the urgency of the Leafs.

Yet, they couldn’t do it.

They were outworked and outmuscled for most of the first 40 minutes before a last period push fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs Friday night at TD Garden.

“Yeah, we’re expecting them to come out hard,” Patrice Bergeron said. “They did and we didn’t match it. Yeah, it is disappointing, but at the same time it’s a series so we got to think about the next game now and make sure we’re ready.

“We didn’t come out the way that we should have come out in order to win the game, in order to get some momentum and we knew they were going to come out hard and we didn’t match it and we were kind of scrambling after that. But, I thought we got to play like we did in the third and now look forward to Game 6, but it’s going to be a tough one so we need to make sure we’re ready for a big game.”

The next game will be Sunday night and somehow the Bruins will have to find a way to win all three games in Toronto if they are to avoid a Game 7 winner-take-all Monday night back at TD Garden.

The Bruins did show signs of life in the third, and the hope is that will carry over to Sunday night. But right now, it’s only hope.

“That’s the way we had to play in order to get the result,” Bergeron said of the Bruins’ third period, in which they scored the only goal and outshot Toronto, 19-4.

“They’re a good team, and we thought that the third period was much better and the chances were there to show for them,” Bergeron said. “I thought we didn’t get the start we wanted obviously, and they have some good forwards, so you got to make sure you do the job with the puck, in the critical situation of the bluelines, and some breakdowns in our zone that we got to be better also. So, like you said, it is a game of mistakes, but we got to make sure we avoid them as much as possible.”

As far as thinking about the what-if of losing Game 6, Bergeron said the Bruins can’t afford to think about past failures in close-out situations. They are now 4-7 in their last 10 such games.

“Well, obviously we’re not looking in the past,” Bergeron said. “We’re thinking about this year and tonight it wasn’t the start that we needed in order to do close that game and that series. So, now we have to look ahead at Game 6.”


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