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Claude Julien knows ‘toughest games are yet to come’ as Bruins seek Lord Stanley 05.07.11 at 1:15 am ET
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Claude Julien has taken the Bruins farther than he's taken them before, but it isn't enough. (AP)

As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.

“Well, it’s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.

“I thought we played extremely well. It’s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”

The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.

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Claude Julien has ‘no update’ on Patrice Bergeron injury in Game 4 win over Flyers at 1:04 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron left Game 4 in the third period and did not return. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over Philadelphia. He did not return and his status for the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay is unknown at this point.

While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return.

“I don’t know. I have no update for you guys right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Basically, I can’t give you anything more than that.”

Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.

Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line duty to center the Marchand-Recchi line for the remainder of the third period Friday.

“We talked about this morning, somebody asked me about different scenarios, and Chris Kelly is a very reliable player, a lot like Bergeron,” Julien said. “And a great two-way player. He as put up some decent points and he has also been extremely reliable defensively. So it’s an easy fit there and even Soupy [Gregory] Campbell has been a good player for us as well.

“He competes hard and very reliable. So you are able to move guys around and know they are going to do the job. And we’ve talked about our fourth line being a good line for us. And they have been good enough, to move them up to spots when need be,” Julien said. “Dan Paille took a shift there too on one of those lines. You have to be able to move guys around and they did a great job of stepping in and filling in those voids.”

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Peter Laviolette points to Game 1 dud as the real reason for his team’s collapse at 12:44 am ET
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Peter Laviolette did not get the results this time around. (AP)

In sweeping the team that spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Bruins thoroughly frustrated the Flyers from the opening faceoff through all four games, ending with Friday night’s 5-1 win in Game 4 at TD Garden.

“Look at tonight’s game, it’s 1-1 halfway through the third,” Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The chances are relatively close. I would’ve liked to have generated more, offensively. I think in all the losses, we needed to generate more, we needed to spend more in the offensive zone. Defensively, even tonight, we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone trying to get through their trap and trying to get a sustained forecheck that could generate some offense and we weren’t able to do that, and in the losses, that seems to be one of the key things that factors in.

“The other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You’re in your building and we don’t play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn’t get a win. We didn’t get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity.”

The Bruins swept Philadelphia for the second time in playoff history, having disposed of them in four straight in 1977. The Bruins won seven of the eight meetings between the two teams this year and Tim Thomas improved to 10-0-0 lifetime against the Flyers, including regular season and the playoffs.

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An angry Brad Marchand admits he was ‘just running around trying to kill guys’ 05.05.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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With all the talk about being up 3-0 for the second straight year against the Flyers in the playoffs, “killer instinct” is one cliche that will be brought up over the next 24 hours.

And no one has had more of it than Brad Marchand this series against Philadelphia – even if it’s resulted in the occasional undisciplined penalty.

But Claude Julien and the Bruins will gladly take that if it means finally getting that fourth win against the Flyers Friday night and putting their nightmare of 2010 to rest.

“It was one of those games where I was angry the whole time, and my emotions kind of get the best of me, just trying to run around and kill guys,” Marchand admitted after Wednesday’s 5-1 butt-whipping of the Flyers. “So, it was just one of those games. It’s not like that every night but tonight was one of those nights.”

But the funny part is that Marchand didn’t take any penalties Wednesday night. He just crushed Flyer after Flyer, like everyone on the James van Riemsdyk line that nearly beat the Bruins in Game 2 Monday night. The Bruins didn’t want any player or line doing to them what JVR did in Game 2. They wanted someone to get under the Flyers collective skins and Marchand was just the guy.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Flyers owner Ed Snider still has faith, says his guys ‘will never quit’ at 12:17 am ET
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He acted like a man who wanted to believe what he was saying but deep down Ed Snider had the look of a beaten owner of his beloved Philadelphia Flyers.

There isn’t an owner in hockey who has seen more. He brought hockey to the City of Brotherly Love. He rejoiced in 1974 and 1975 when his Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.

He beamed with nearly as much pride last spring when his team made history by overcoming an 0-3 deficit to beat the Bruins. His team fell two wins short of one of the best Stanley Cup championship of all time.

Well, after being shelled 5-1 in Game 3 at TD Garden Wednesday night, his team is in that very same hole. But in the Flyers dressing room afterward, Snider wasn’t talking like a man who really believes he can catch lightning in a bottle twice.

“It’s a really difficult thing to do and they would be the first team in history to do it two years in a row,” Snider offered.

That’s one way of looking at it.

This is another.

“It’s an awful lot to expect and Boston is playing very well and we’re going to have to step up our game in order to compete with them,” added Snider, who began to finally see the neon writing on the wall. And it’s starts with goaltending and continues with defense. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Tim Thomas vs. James van Riemsdyk is the best show in this series 05.04.11 at 11:15 am ET
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One player nearly evened the series by himself. The other put on perhaps the best pressure goaltending performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs.

James van Riemsdyk had to settle for scoring twice and watching his Flyers fall into another 2-0 hole against the Bruins while dominating every shift he was on the ice.

Tim Thomas saved 52 of 54 shots, including all 10 in overtime, as he single-handedly made sure van Riemsdyk and the Flyers came to Boston in another desperate situation.

Tonight, the two of them will be asked by their teammates to keep it up in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Looking back at Game 2, there were several moments that could have put an entirely different perspective on Game 3 tonight. If JVR beats Thomas with six minutes remaining in regulation on a break in on net, the Flyers win. If JVR beats Thomas on a phenomenal shot off a faceoff with just over four seconds remaining in regulation, the Flyers win. If Thomas doesn’t make a save on Philly’s No. 21 on a clean look from the left circle 10 minutes into OT, the Flyers win.

Thomas was ready for every possible scenario on Monday, including that dramatic end of regulation, which also saw Danny Briere miss by a hair of putting Thomas’ save on van Riemsdyk into the net for the game-winner.

“This is one of the most dangerous faceoff teams in the offensive zone or our defensive zone that we play against,” Thomas said. “They have a lot of different things that they do. They actually already scored once this series in the first game on a play. So I knew even with a few seconds left that the faceoff could be dangerous.

“The way it worked out it came off the faceoff and for just a second there it went behind a screen for me and I found it just as the guy was throwing the first shot to the net but I saw it so late that I couldn’t control the rebound. I saw the rebound go over to Danny Briere’s feet and in that one hundredth of a second I thought it might be over because he’s one of those guys that gets them and you know. He fumbled it for just a second, just long enough for Seidenberg to dive over and block one. I was still waiting for that buzzer and I don’t know if by the time it hit me if the buzzer had gone off or not but it was relief when the buzzer happened.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tim Thomas and the Bruins know ‘It’s better to be on this end’ at 6:57 am ET
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The Bruins and Flyers are back in Boston for Game 3 tonight at TD Garden (7 p.m.) and there’s no extended wait between Games 2 and 3 like there is with the Celtics and Heat. And that’s probably a good thing on many levels for the Bruins.

There’s little time to think about being up two games in the series, having dominated the Flyers in pretty much every aspect of the game – except the power play, of course. There’s little time to answer questions about what it’s like being on the flip side of the 2-0 equation just one series after wiping out the deficit and beating the Canadiens in seven games.

These Bruins aren’t about to complain about being up two games despite losing to the Flyers in a similar position last year and overcoming the 0-2 hole in the last round.

“Well it’s good to be on the other side this round,” Game 2 hero David Krejci said. “We can control our own things and bring it back to our building. We are going to use our fans as our seventh player and just go out there and take it game by game. Hopefully we can win the third one and go from there.”

“Like Dave said, it’s better to be on this end,” added Tim Thomas, who stopped 52 of 54 shots Monday, including all 10 in OT. “We do know from the way that we were able to come back last series though that a 2-0 lead in a series doesn’t mean that the series is over. We still have a lot of work in front of us. As long as we take the same approach one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time I think that’s the right approach. So that’s the way we will approach it going forward.”

2010 met 2011 in the post-game following Game 2 when a reporter asked Bruins coach Claude Julien if he realizes how tenuous a two-game lead can be. Sure, it’s a great spot to be in heading home but the Bruins know what the Canadiens did.

“Well, you know, it is a nice position to be in, especially when you win the first two on the road,” Julien said. “There is no doubt that it is the perfect scenario for the first two games on the road, but we are not thinking about that. We are thinking about this year. Probably half the players were not even here last year, so we can bring up whatever we want. Our goal here is to focus on what is happening this year. What happened last year is last year, so it hasn’t really been on our minds. We have absolutely learned from that. We are using those kinds of things as a learning tool.

“They took a two to nothing lead and we never gave up. I believe teams that make is this far are teams that have a lot of character. We know they are not going to give up, and we know has what happened with this team. They are capable of bouncing back just as they did in the last round, so we have to be ready for them. We need to understand that the second half of tonight’s game was not good enough for this hockey club. We hold ourselves responsible for higher standards, and we are going to have to be better.”

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