|Brad Marchand proves he still loves seeing Roberto Luongo between the pipes||11.05.14 at 1:52 am ET|
Marchand was the player who scored five goals against Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, four of which came against Luongo and the final one game on an empty net in Game 7 after he and the Bruins chased him from the game with under three minutes left.
On Tuesday, in a game much less significant, Marchand did it again to Luongo, this time at 3:27 of overtime on a spectacular goal to give the Bruins a 2-1 overtime win against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden. Marchand, who missed two great chances earlier in overtime, blew by defenseman Dylan Olsen, dragging the puck to Olsen’s left. On the other side, Marchand re-collected the puck and snapped one past Luongo’s blocker. Game over.
“Well he’s a big guy, and he fills a lot of the net,” Marchand said of Luongo. “He seems to battle hard, and cuts his angles down well. I mean he’s one of the top goalies in the league. He has been for a long time. It’s always tough when you play him.”
Asked specifically if he has more confidence against Luongo, Marchand didn’t dispute the obvious.
“Yeah, definitely. Anytime I go into a game and there’s a goalie that I score on more than others, I always feel confident in that situation,” Marchand admitted. “And tonight, I kind of felt the same way. You kind of hope at the same time that maybe luck will be on your side, but again, you want to try to be confident all the time, but it’s definitely something you can use to your advantage.”
|Tim Thomas gets a new teammate in Roberto Luongo and immediately ‘pumps his tires’||03.04.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
Tim Thomas couldn’t resist.
The opportunity to make a joke about the goaltender who was the butt of all Boston jokes in 2011 fell right in his lap when Roberto Luongo was traded from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday, hours before the Wednesday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas laughed.
Thomas, of course, was referring to an infamous comment Luongo made during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.
Asked about how Thomas was carrying the Bruins on his back during the Bruins’ Cup run, Luongo famously said, “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”
Thomas replied, “I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires.”
Now, the two goalies are teammates thanks to a surprising deal in which the Panthers acquired Luongo in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday afternoon. That wasn’t the only storyline of the trade as Luongo returns to the organization where he played from 2000-06.
For the record, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he intends on keeping both goalies in Florida and rebuilding the franchise around them.
“It’ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’m staying in Florida, it’ll be interesting,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”
Thomas insisted there are no hard feelings with Luongo.
“No, not at all,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t an enemy with him even [in 2011]. I was so focused on playing and doing my job and that’s the way I was looking at it. So, yeah, we’re both pros, both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on him, obviously, but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.
“Surprised, obviously, at first just like probably a lot of people who were caught off guard and didn’t see that one coming,” Thomas said. “But then I had to get ready to play the game against obviously a difficult team.”
Thomas, on a one-year deal with the Panthers, said he can get along with Luongo.
“Yeah, of course,” Thomas said. “He’s a good goalie and from everything I’ve heard about him he’s got good character. I don’t know what their plans are. I don’t really know anything at this point. I can’t say too much.”
While Tallon did say he plans on keeping both, that didn’t stop speculation that Florida would eventually trade Thomas before the deadline to a contender. Thomas was asked if he would like to be traded to a contender now that Luongo is in Florida.
“Yeah, but now I’ve got to see the situation and see what they’re thinking. I’d like to check in with Dale before I comment on anything,” Thomas said.
What does Claude Julien think of all of this from afar?
“We’ll see if that’s still the case [Wednesday},” Julien said with a wide grin. “Maybe I can comment on it [Wednesday] after the deadline. Fair enough? I know it’s a lot of tire pumping.”
According to Renaud Lavoie, the Canucks have traded Roberto Luongo to the Panthers.
‘ Renaud Lavoie (@LavoieRenaud) March 4, 2014
Luongo played five seasons in Florida before going to Vancouver, but the best storyline here is that it means he and Tim Thomas are now teammates. The showdown between the two became the central storyline in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, when the two combined for four shutouts in the seven-game series.
Luongo, who was overly complimentary of Thomas prior to the series, criticized Thomas’ style of play after Game 5 of the series. When his criticism made waves, Luongo famously said he had been pumping Thomas’ tires, while Thomas hadn’t complimented him.
“As far as Luongo goes, actually, all that did was give me confidence that his head was in the wrong place, because I was focused on stopping the puck and he was thinking about my style,” Thomas told WEEI.com the following season.
“I realized that I had an advantage over him,’ Thomas added. ‘’The challenge on my end was to keep that advantage.”
Goalie Jacob Markstrom is reportedly part of the package headed to Vancouver in the trade.
|Claude Julien says Team Canada has strong goaltending with Roberto Luongo, Carey Price||02.07.14 at 4:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien doesn’t like to talk too much about other teams’ players, so in a session with the media Friday that centered largely around the Olympics, the Team Canada Associate Coach was rather tight-lipped when asked to assess Tuukka Rask‘s chances with Team Finland.
“You’re asking me a question that has nothing to do with Team Canada, so I don’t comment on other teams,” Julien said with a smirk. “I’m happy that Finland has chosen Tuukka. He’s had a good year.”
Finland is considered to be stacked at the goaltender position, as it features Rask, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Team Canada is considered to be loaded, though its perceived weakness — if it has one — is in net, where it has Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith. Price and Luongo both have a 2.36 goals-against average as of Friday, good for 14th and 16th in the NHL, respectively, while Smith is 37th in the league with a 2.85 clip.
“We’re fine. We’re fine,” Julien said. “I mean, we’ve got a goaltender in Luongo that won a gold medal. You’ve got a goaltender in Price that, to me, has probably been one of the steadiest goaltenders this year, has done a great job for Montreal, and then Smith has had a good year.
“Where people may be questioning that, I’m not. Right now, it’s just a matter of going out and showing that we have the right goaltending threesome to again compete for that gold.”
This marks the second time this week that Luongo has been defended by a member of the Bruins, as Milan Lucic went out of his way to speak to the character of the embattled Canucks netminder on Monday.
“I think too many people point the finger too much on Luongo,” Lucic said. “I think he’s a great goaltender, and I mean, he was still able to get [the Canucks] one win away from the ultimate goal. I think it shows the type of person that he is going through what he went through with how he was treated over there by everyone, and he still managed to keep his game at a high level, and he’s back on the Olympic team. He’s still one of the best goaltenders in the league, so as far as that goes, it shows a lot about his character and I wish him all the best in Sochi.”
On the subject of Steven Stamkos, who undoubtedly has a big fan in Julien (the Bruins coach visited Stamkos in the hospital after the young superstar broke his tibia in Boston in November), Julien said he felt bad that the Lightning center wouldn’t be headed to Sochi, but feels Martin St. Louis is a more than serviceable replacement.
“It is disappointing, because he’s one of the elite players,” Julien said. “I think everybody knows he was a shoo-in right from the get-go, but at the same time we keep talking about our depth and how Canada has enough players to make two teams. Well, we went and got another player that, in my mind, deserved to be on our team right from the start.
“When I say that, [I mean] we have to limit ourselves to a certain number, but there’s no doubt that he’s good enough to play — we’re talking about Marty St. Louis here — and there’s others on that list that could easily step into our lineup. You live with the situation, and I think if anything, they’re very smart at making the decision that’s for the well-being of Steven Stamkos. It’s unfortunate for us, but in the long run for the athlete and for the people that want to watch the guy play and be part of the NHL, it was the right decision, I guess.”
|Roberto Luongo on loss to Bruins: ‘This one’s 100 percent on me’||02.04.14 at 11:38 pm ET|
Milan Lucic said Monday that “people point the finger too much” at Roberto Luongo, but on Tuesday it was Luongo who pointed the finger at himself.
The Vancouver netminder played at TD Garden Tuesday for the first time since Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, and just like in that game, he lost.
Luongo made 29 saves on 32 shots, allowing three goals in a 3-1 Bruins win. Even though one of the Bruins goals came on a breakaway, Luongo said the loss was his fault after the game.
“I think this one’s 100 percent on me,” Luongo told reporters. “I wasn’t too good out there tonight. Wasn’t tracking well, my reads were off. … I didn’t skate this morning and I just didn’t feel like myself out there, so disappointing performance for me here. I thought the guys deserved better.”
Canucks coach John Tortorella disagreed that Luongo lost the team the game, though he did see him as part of a sequence that lost the team the game.
With the B’s holding a 1-0 lead in the second period, Daniel Sedin had a shorthanded breakaway on which he was stopped by Tuukka Rask. The B’s took it the other way and Jarome Iginla scored to make it a two-goal game. As Tortorella saw it, the Canucks needed either Sedin or Luongo to step up in that instance, and they didn’t.
“To me, the game changes. We need another big offensive play,” Tortorella said. “Danny has a chance to make that. I think we need another save from Louie. I don’t think one person determines winning or losing a game, but that to me is the game tonight. I think both teams are pretty much even in chances, we don’t get one or two more big offensive plays and we don’t get one of two saves, they do and that’s where were that. So I appreciate Louie saying that, but this is a team thing here that we’re going through and we’ll go through it together.”
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Though it didn’t mean as much as their last win over the Canucks, the Bruins beat Vancouver on Tuesday at TD Garden for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins picked up a 3-1 victory, good for their sixth win in their last seven games.
Vancouver native Milan Lucic made it 1-0 at 5:12 of the first period, with David Krejci passing it back to him while on a 2-on-2 with Jarome Iginla. Lucic finished off the play by beating Roberto Luongo stick side from the slot. Iginla added to the lead with a power-play goal off a feed from Zdeno Chara in the second.
Newly acquired Canucks defenseman Raphael Diaz beat Tuukka Rask with a slap shot on a waffling puck in the second at 11:28 of the second, but a Daniel Paille breakaway goal off a stretch pass from Johnny Boychuk increased the Bruins’ lead back to two.
The game was the third played between the B’s and Canucks since the 2011 Cup finals, with Luongo making his first start at TD Garden since Game 6 of the series. He was out dueled Tuesday by Rask, who made 27 saves.
Tuesday marked Chara’s last game with the team before he leaves for Sochi to be Slovakia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics Friday. The B’s have two games left before the break, as they’ll play in St. Louis on Thursday and host the Senators Saturday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Boychuk was a beast, starting the play that gave Paille his goal and providing a bruising presence. Boychuk found Paille coming onto the ice with the B’s stuck in their zone and sent a pass from the hashmarks of Boston’s zone to Paille at the Canucks blue line. Paille took it from there, beating Luongo low with a stick-side backhander.
That wasn’t all Boychuk did, as he used his body well on Canucks forwards, most notably crushing David Booth multiple times, including a massive hit along the wall in the Vancouver zone late in the second period.
The Bruins will need a couple more performances like that from Boychuk before the Olympic break, as the 30-year-old will be the elder statesman of Boston’s blue line for the next two games without Chara.
— Speaking of Chara, it was good for B’s to get two points in his last game with them before the break. The next two won’t be easy, as the B’s, who are already without Dennis Seidenberg, will be down their best two defensemen. David Warsofsky will play the next two games after being recalled Monday and sitting Tuesday.
— Though his line didn’t have the prettiest night, Paille continued to contribute. The tripping penalty he drew in the first period was the fourth penalty he’s drawn in the last four games, while he continues to use his speed (or, as was the case Tuesday, a fortunate line change) to create chances. Paille has eight goals through 48 games this season after registering 10 in 46 contests last season.
— Iginla has points in five of his last six games, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points over that span. His assist on Lucic’s goal was the 600th helper of his career.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Brad Marchand missed out on a couple of goals in the second period. What appeared to be the Bruins’ third goal was waved off after it was determined Torey Krug obstructed Luongo. Krug was in front of the net and fell into Luongo as Reilly Smith took the puck behind the net and fed Marchand, with Marchand having half the net open with Luongo down. Luongo immediately argued that the goal should be disallowed, which it was.
Later in the period, Marchand hit the post on a backhand bid in front.
— Statistically speaking, Patrice Bergeron‘s line has cooled off since its torrid stretch in mid-to-late January. The trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Smith now has gone four games without producing a goal.
|Unwelcome back: Canucks hand Bruins lopsided loss in Vancouver||12.15.13 at 12:44 am ET|
The Bruins found Rogers Arena to be much different from how they’d left it back in June of 2011, as the Canucks welcomed the B’s back to Vancouver by handing them a 6-2 loss Saturday night.
Tuukka Rask was pulled for the first time since Feb. 8, 2012 in a performance that saw him allow four goals on 23 shots. Chad Johnson allowed two of the first three shots he faced past him, but one was a Canucks shorthanded goal.
Though the game ended up being rather high-scoring for Vancouver, the only goal of the first period came in the form of a Jannik Hansen goal. The play was a doozy, as Hansen’s slapshot from center ice went off Zdeno Chara‘s stick and fooled Rask as it flew past him. Though Reilly Smith tied it in the second, the Canucks took a 3-1 lead into the third period thanks to goals from David Booth and Chris Higgins before adding three more in the third. Smith scored his second of the game after Vancouver had taken a 6-1 lead with goals from Yannick Weber, Henrik Sedin and Chris Tanev.
Roberto Luongo made 39 saves on 41 shots as the Canucks won their seventh game in a row.
The loss concluded a four-game Canadian road trip for the Bruins in which they went 3-1-0. They will host the Flames Tuesday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Torey Krug was on the ice for the Canucks’ first three goals and was a minus-3 on the night. There was obviously nothing he could have done about Hansen’s goal, but he gave Booth too much space on the second goal and couldn’t get the puck out in front on Higgins’ goal. Krug, who leads Bruins defensemen with nine goals this season, has just one goal over his last nine games.
– Brad Marchand had a whale of a time trolling the Canucks, but it’s a tough sell when you’re losing a game by multiple goals. Both gestures he pulled were funny and typical Marchand — kissing his ring finger in the second period and raising an imaginary Stanley Cup in the third — but when you’re losing the way the Bruins were Saturday it just comes off as the linebacker of a losing team celebrating a sack in the fourth quarter.
Then again, Marchand got suspended for a low-bridge hit the last time the Bruins played the Canucks, so at least he didn’t pull anything that really cost the Bruins. Baby steps.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– They did not lose Jarome Iginla to a finger injury, which sure looked to be the case after a still frame of Iginla after a first-period fight with Ryan Kesler showed Iginla’s left ring finger bent in all sorts of crazy ways. Iginla missed the final 13 minutes of the first period but returned for the second and played the rest of the game.
– Smith missed the morning skate with the flu, but he was plenty healthy to take a puck off a neutral zone turnover, fly into the Vancouver zone and cut in to beat Luongo with a backhander. Smith now now has four goals and two assists for six points over his last five games.
– Kevan Miller saved Rask’s bacon early on in the first period. With the Canucks on a 3-on-2, a Booth shot trickled through the Bruins’ goaltender and was headed into the net before Miller knocked it out of the crease. Miller has handled the minutes that have been thrown his way just fine this season.