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Shawn Thornton will have hearing, ‘feels awful’ for hit on Brooks Orpik 12.07.13 at 10:36 pm ET
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Nearing tears in front of his locker stall in the Bruins locker room after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Penguins, an emotionally shaken Shawn Thornton apologized for his first-period attack on Brooks Orpik in the first period that sent the Penguins defenseman to the hospital.

“Listen, I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention for that outcome,” Thornton said. “I know Brooksie. I’ve gotten to know him over the last several years here. I skated with him in the summer, over the lockout.”

Thornton said he sent Orpik multiple text messages to check on his condition after Thornton was ejected from the game for the hit.

“I’ve texted him a couple of times,” Thornton said. “I feel awful. It was definitely not what I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see.

“Obviously, I made a mistake. I’m aware of it. I’ve been told I’ll be having a hearing. It’s hard for me to say much more other than it was not my intention. I felt sick the whole game.”

Thornton was asked if he felt he was just protecting his teammates after Orpik took out Loui Eriksson and James Neal kneed Brad Marchand in the head earlier in the first period.

“That’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within in the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it but it’s true. I hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that.”

Will it change how he plays in the future?

“I really don’t know how to answer that to tell you the truth. I haven’t had enough time to think about it.

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Claude Julien on Torey Krug in OT: ‘He gets around’ 11.26.13 at 11:10 am ET
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Torey Krug was winning battles, big and small, Monday night. (AP)

Torey Krug was winning battles, big and small, Monday night. (AP)

There is a reason the Bruins were so high on Torey Krug going into the playoffs last spring.

They knew the 22-year-old had great puck-carrying ability, great speed and a laser of a shot. All three of those qualities were on display throughout the team’s run to the Stanley Cup finals. Turns out, Claude Julien is trying to unleash them more this season and overtime 4-on-4 play is perfectly suited to Krug’s skill set.

“Yeah, he gets around, he seems to find those gaps and everything else, those holes, and moves around really well,” Julien said after Krug unloaded a cannon past Marc-Andre Fleury Monday night just 34 seconds into overtime for the 4-3 game-winner. “So there’s no doubt it’s an area for him such as other players in the league; you look at guys like [Kris] Letang and other defensemen like that that love that kind of space because they move around so well. Tonight he was in the right place – Marchy [Brad Marchand] made a great pass there – but he picked that top corner; he knew where he was going with that shot.”

Krug knows in 4-on-4 hockey during overtime, he’s going to have more freedom, more space to maneuver.

“I love it,” Krug beamed. “A lot more room on the ice to skate and play with the puck, it’s more of a possession game, you’re not just chipping pucks up the wall and if you watch me play you understand I like to play with the puck so it’s a lot more fun for me for sure.”

He didn’t take long to take advantage Monday.

“It starts with the faceoff,” Krug said. “We had good puck pursuit, I don’t remember much of it but Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made an unbelievable play to me on the far side. Their forwards were cheating a little bit, and I just missed the shot wide on that one and then we recovered the puck and it was just calm composure with the puck, especially up high on the blueline – those are dangerous areas. Our guys were keeping track of the puck and we had really good plays.

“The key is to make sure you hit the net, because if you don’t, it’s ramming out the other way and they’re going to get a break on that. There were a few times when I missed the net; right before I scored there was a shot that, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made an unbelievable pass to the middle and I got down there and I missed the net and I rode up the boards so, your focus is just getting in on that.”

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Sidney Crosby: ‘I thought we deserved better’ 06.06.13 at 12:14 pm ET
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Sidney Crosby says the Penguins may be down but not out. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

At least the chances were there for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Game 3 Wednesday night.

And in the mind of the superstar, that’s a starting point for trying to get back in an Eastern Conference final series they trail 3-0 heading into Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.

“Unfortunately, we’re kind of comparing Game 2, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance, so we can’t get that one back,” Crosby said. “We gave that one to them so-to-speak. We did a lot better job tonight, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. We do a lot of these same things, and I think we all trust and believe we can get this back to Pittsburgh.

“I think we responded pretty well. Unfortunately, that Game 2 nobody really liked the way that turned out, and what happened there. I thought we responded well and did everything we could have besides get that last one.”

Crosby had three of Pittsburgh’s 54 shots on the night and was a plus-1 for the night. He best scoring chance might have been a shot when he wasn’t even facing the net.

Late in the first period, and with the Penguins down, 1-0, Crosby was spun around in front of Tuukka Rask and flipped a backhander on goal. The shot rang off the post as Rask was caught slightly out of position.

“I didn’t’ really know where the net was, but I heard it hit the post,” Crosby said. “Obviously it was kind of a scrambled play but it would have been nice for it to go in.”

Evgeni Malkin had 10 shots on goal but he and Crosby are still scoreless in the series through three games.

“I think if we play the same way we’re going to get our chances,” Crosby said. “I thought we generated more scoring chances than them, and I thought we deserved better.

“I think the whole game we felt really comfortable with our play. I think we felt like it was just a matter of time before we were going to get it. Unfortunately they didn’t, and hung around, and got the one at the end.”


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Bruins announce Gregory Campbell out for playoffs with broken right leg at 11:32 am ET
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The Bruins will have to replace center Gregory Campbell and his production as center on the team's fourth line. (AP)

Gregory Campbell is officially done for the playoffs.

Just 12 hours after Campbell blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin during a Bruins penalty kill, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Campbell will miss the remainder of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs due to a broken right fibula.

The injury occurred during the second period of Game 3 as the Bruins were killing off a penalty for too many men on the ice when Campbell went to the ice to get in the way of a Malkin shot. Campbell blocked the shot and stayed on the ice for 30 seconds until he could get off at the next whistle. He immediately went down the tunnel with assistance and did not return.

Campbell skated in all 15 playoff games this year with seven points on three goals and four assists, including one game-winning goal. The 29-year-old has appeared in 569 regular season games and recorded 54 goals and 89 assists with 526 penalty minutes. In 47 playoff games (all with Boston), he has tallied four goals and nine assists.

This postseason, Campbell had three goals and four assists in 15 games as the center of Boston’s Merlot Line with Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.

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Dan Bylsma: ‘We’re going to come back [to Pittsburgh] for Game 5′ at 3:20 am ET
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Dan Bylsma is confident his team will win Friday and force Game 5 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

It was not the result the Penguins desperately needed, but after losing their third straight to the Bruins to fall into an 0-3 hole, coach Dan Bylsma sees hope.

“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Bylsma said. “It was a very good response from our team. We did a lot of things to get opportunities to win the hockey game. We have to bounce back from a goal very early on in the game, and I thought we did that very well and stuck with it, got the goal to tie the game and really was a hard-fought game all over the ice. Again, we did everything but get the game-winning goal there.”

Asked if he and the team sensed frustration that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have yet to register a single point in the series, Bylsma went a step further than predicting they would come out of it. Bylsma made a prediction about Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.

“I don’t give goal-scoring tips to too many guys, but again, that’s the way we need to play. That’s the way we can play, and we pushed it and we pushed it hard, and we had opportunities. Those guys had great opportunities, five on five, Evgeni had a mini breakaway there, we had good chances on the power play, they all had good looks and we just have to keep playing that way, and that’s what we’re going to do. We know the situation being down 0-3 but we’re going to come back for Game 5 and we’re going to play exactly that same way and get a win in Game 4.”

Bylsma was reminded that his team led the East with 72 points in the regular season and is one game away from getting swept out by a No. 4 seeded team.

“We’re competing in the conference final for a chance to win and go to the Stanley Cup, and that’s where we’re going to be,” he said. “We’re down 3-0, we have lost the first three games, and we’re going to battle and lay it out there, and we threw it at them tonight and didn’t get the win, but we are going to — it’s a race to four, and they’re not there yet, and we’re going to come back in here, regroup and go after Game 4.”

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Tuukka Rask: ‘It was definitely a grind’ at 2:53 am ET
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Tuukka Rask was again on top of his game Wednesday night. (AP)

Of all the great performances Tuukka Rask has had in these 2013 playoffs, Wednesday night was certainly the most grueling.

He stopped 53 shots in 95 minutes and 19 seconds, allowing only a Chris Kunitz goal in the second period as the Bruins prevailed, 2-1, in double-overtime in Game 3 of the Eastern finals at TD Garden.

“Yeah, it was definitely a grind,” Rask said. “Both teams played pretty good. That second period was the worst one for us, but we battled and going into double overtime it’s anybody’s game.

“It’s five periods. So I imagine everybody gets tired. It’s more of a mental challenge I think. I wasn’t cramping up today or anything. So that was positive.”

Is he wiped out?

“Yeah, a little bit. I mean, it’s I don’t know 12:30 or something, five periods of hockey. Not the freshest feeling, but I think the win makes it a little easier,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think you feel that physical fatigue-ness at that point. It’s just trying to keep your head, and not thinking that you’re tired. It’s just a nice little challenge – you know if you think you’re tired you’re tired, and if you don’t you don’t.”

Tired or not, the numbers don’t lie. Rask is putting up even better stats to this point of the playoffs than Tim Thomas – the Conn Smythe winner – did in 2011 on the way to the Cup.

Thomas was 11-4 through 15 games with a goals against of 2.28. He had two shutouts, facing 521 shots with a save percentage of .931. Rask is also 11-4 through 15 games, with a 1.85 goals against, one shutout, facing 501 shots and a .940 save percentage.

“I feel good. I mean, I don’t feel any better than I’ve felt throughout the playoffs,” Rask said. “I think our team is helping me out a lot. Although obviously you let in two goals in three games you’re making some good saves too. But we’re blocking shots and taking care of those rebounds pretty well. So they’re helping my job a lot.”

Rask made several big saves and was helped out by a pair of posts, including a shot by Sidney Crosby in the first period. But the biggest save may have come from Gregory Campbell, who blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in the second period during a Penguins power play.

“I saw it, yeah. A guy had a lane and he sacrificed his body,” Rask said. “It was a great thing, just bad thing he got hurt. He blocks a lot of shots, he took one for the team there, and we really wanted to win this for him.”

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Gregory Campbell (right leg) knocked out of Game 3 06.05.13 at 10:51 pm ET
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Gregory Campbell

After going to the ice to block a powerful slap shot from Evgeni Malkin on a power play in the second period, Gregory Campbell, the center of the “Merlot” line will not be returning.

Campbell stayed on the ice for over 30 seconds of the penalty kill and hobbled off on his left leg while unable to put any pressure on his right leg. He was pushed slightly by an official, who helped him to the bench as the crowd chanted, “Campbell, Campbell, Campbell.”

The Bruins announced before overtime that Campbell would not be returning.

Campbell played just 10 shifts and 6:51 of Game 3 before taking the shot from Malkin. His line of Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille was on the ice to start the game.

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