|Captain Z: We can’t lose focus like last year||04.27.10 at 1:00 am ET|
What a difference a year makes for Zdeno Chara following an opening-round win.
Last year, the Bruins dispatched of the Montreal Canadiens in four games, and then waited nine days for their second-round series to begin when Carolina came from behind to beat New Jersey in the closing five minutes of Game 7.
While the Bruins were long on rest, they were short on sharpness and, in the end, it cost them dearly as they dropped Game 2 at home and fell behind 3 games to 1 before rallying to force Game 7. They fell in heart-breaking fashion when Scott Walker scored the OT game-winner to end the Bruins season.
“We can’t lose the focus like maybe we did last year a little bit during that week off,” Chara said in the wake of Monday’s series-clinching win over Buffalo. “We have to stay on top of things and really get ready for our next opponent, which we don’t know who that’s going to be.”
The reason the Bruins don’t know who’s next is because Montreal has decided to learn from 2009 as well. They have not rolled over for Washington. Instead, following a 4-1 win over the Capitals on Monday, there will be a seventh game in America’s capital on Wednesday night.
If the Capitals survive, the Bruins open the second round in Pittsburgh against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. If the Canadiens pull off the shocker, the Bruins actually host Games 1 and 2 against Philadelphia beginning this weekend.
Chara said the team has earned one good day of rest but that’s all they need right now.
“Just maybe relax on [Tuesday], enjoy the day off, and then get back at it on Wednesday,” he said.
“Obviously it’s always a nice feeling, to be going to the second round. Buffalo was extremely playing well. They battled hard and it was a tough series.”
Another source of pride for Chara was the performance of the specialty teams. The Bruins killed off all 19 Buffalo power plays in the series while Boston scored five power play goals.
“I really thought that our specialty teams played extremely well,” Chara said. “We battled pretty much hard every game. We were almost into every game, besides Game 5.
“We take a lot of pride in our PK. We try to, you know, we’re obviously aggressive, but at the same time well-positioned and like I said, the people we have on the ice, those are the workers and we try to always outwork the opposite power play.”
|2nd period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 6||04.26.10 at 8:46 pm ET|
The Bruins are 20 minutes away from heading to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight year as they lead Buffalo, 2-1, after two periods.
It seemed the Bruins would come out regretting the roughing penalty taken by captain Zdeno Chara at the 20-minute mark of the first period that wiped out a power play to open the second.
Then apparently Buffalo’s Tim Connolly felt bad for Chara and the Bruins as he took an equally puzzling and terribly-timed undisciplined penalty of his own.
Connolly’s cross-checking penalty penalty just 16 seconds in led to a pretty power play goal for the Bruins as David Krejci found Mark Recchi down low to the left of Ryan Miller. Recchi wasted no time with the one-timer that beat Miller for a 2-0 Boston lead just 61 seconds into the second.
With the gold towels going crazy the Bruins seemed to be on the verge of putting away the Sabres.
But after Boston killed its 18th straight penalty in the series, Dennis Wideman turned the puck over in the defensive zone and the Sabres found some new life when Patrick Kaleta scored with just over 13 minutes left in the period to make it 2-1.
The Bruins killed off yet another penalty near the end of the period for too many men on the ice and now are a perfect 19-for-19 in the series.
|1st period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 6||at 7:49 pm ET|
David Krejci’s redirect of a Mark Recchi centering pass from the right circle beat Ryan Miller on the power play to put the Bruins up, 1-0, after one period.
The Bruins, who struggled all season finding the back of the net on the man-advantage, scored for the 5th time in 18 power play chances this series.
The assist was Recchi’s 75th career in the playoffs, by far more than any active player in the playoffs.
With the Bruins looking for an early strike in Game 6, it was the Sabres who got the game’s first big break.
Steve Begin was whistled for a cross-checking penalty at 2:32 of the first period.
But as it has been all season and in this season, the Bruins penalty kill came up huge.
Not only did they remain perfect in 17 kill chances this series, the Bruins were the ones who created the best scoring chances.
Patrice Bergeron collected a loose puck in the neutral zone on sloppy play by Buffalo and skated in on Miller. He lost control near the top of the right circle but Marco Sturm was there to gather it and fired point blank. The shot deflected off the crossbar keeping the game scoreless.
Daniel Paille had another clean shot on net on Buffalo’s power play from the left point but Miller made a nice pad save.
Buffalo’s best chance came with just over eight minutes left in the period on a re-direct when Nathan Gerbe got his stick on a puck in front of Rask but the Bruins netminder made the clean save with no rebound.
And the Bruins appeared certain to start the second on the power play thanks to a Henrik Tallinder, who flipped the puck out of play with 5.6 seconds to go for a delay-of-game call. But Zdeno Chara was called for an undisciplined roughing call in a scrum at 20 minutes to nullify the advantage.
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||04.08.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Despite their continuing ineptitude on the power play, the Bruins managed to get themselves back on level ice with Sabres after 40 minutes.
Miroslav Satan collected a loose rebound in front of Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime and slid a backhand five-hole to tie the game just 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the second period. For Satan, it was his ninth of the season and his third in his last three games. He has three of Boston’s last five goals, overall.
And the Bruins have killed off both Sabres power plays tonight. They have killed 13-of-last-14 opponents’ power plays.
That’s the good news.
The bad… they had another two power play chances and missed on both, making them 0-for-5 on the night and an incredible 0-for-17 in their last six games.
Tuukka Rask continues to look sharp in goal, as he turned away all 14 Buffalo shots in the second while the Bruins had 11 on Lalime.
|First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||at 7:49 pm ET|
Again the Bruins came out with energy in the first period.
And again they had several chances to capitalize on the power play.
And once again, they head to the dressing room scratching their collective heads as to why they’re down, 1-0, after 20 minutes.
The last time they played, Dennis Wideman took a high sticking penalty in the first 24 seconds of overtime and it led to the game-winner in overtime for Washington.
Tonight, he mishandles a puck at the left point, leading to a turnover and a Derek Roy goal at 11:00. Roy skated in on Tuukka Rask and beat him blocker side, up top for the game’s only score.
The Bruins had three power plays, and in keeping with recent trends, could do nothing with them. They have now gone six games without a power play – an 0-for-15 stretch. They have scored just three man-advantage goals in their last 16 games, going 3-for-41, or 7.3 percent. Not exactly the stuff of playoff hockey teams.
All three of those goals came against Calgary on March 27 at TD Garden.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres, 10-6, in the first period.
|Miller on Thomas: ‘It’s unfortunate’||03.30.10 at 1:45 am ET|
Don’t for a second think that Ryan Miller wasn’t happy when Tim Kennedy’s flukey wrist shot floated and fluttered past Tim Thomas at 6:08 of the second period to put the Sabres up, 3-1 against the Bruins.
But that doesn’t mean Miller couldn’t have at least a little compassion for a fellow goalie, with whom he came within an eyelash of winning a gold medal against Team Canada in Vancouver.
Tim Thomas was the goalie to allow that Kennedy score and it was Thomas who had to listen to the boos of fans as he skated off the ice, past the Bruins bench and down the hallway to take out his frustration on the cement walls on either side with his goalie stick which was betraying him on this night.
“I think it is unfortunate,” Miller said of the boos Thomas received. “It has been a tough season and fans in this town are tough. It’s the same as it is in Buffalo. We have had some tough seasons and I have left the ice under duress a few times. It is part of being a goaltender. You are not always going to have things go your way. You have to hang with it and be a good teammate. I know Timmy is doing the right stuff. He is a battler and it is just not going the way he wants it to right now.”
It was the sixth time this season and the sixth time in 28 starts that Thomas has been replaced in the middle of a game, which is one of the loneliest feelings any athlete in any sport can experience.
“You don’t like to see it,” Miller added. “We are competitive to a certain degree. I know he is a little frustrated but I don’t know if there was a whole lot he could do on at least two of those goals. I think if you asked him about the second one he would want to control the rebound differently.”
The first goal Thomas allowed – by Tyler Myers – was through a heavy screen, and he didn’t see the puck until it changed direction through Dennis Wideman and went past him for the tying goal. The second goal was the result of a bad rebound that Wideman failed to clear, which was picked up by Paul Gaustad and backhanded past Thomas to give the Sabres the lead for good.
“Again I think that was Tyler making a hard shot cross body. Tyler has a hard shot; he’s a big kid. Knocking down one of his wrist shots is all about you can do.”
The last straw came at 6:08 of the second when Tim Kennedy collected a loose puck to the left of Thomas and flicked it toward the net. Thomas appeared to get fooled by the lack of strength behind the shot, overplayed it and allowed it to flutter past him for a 3-1 Sabres lead.
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres||03.29.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
One game after recording his fifth shutout of the season and his 17th career, Tim Thomas was pulled after allowing his third goal on just 14 shots. It was the sixth time this season he has been lifted from a game.
The off night for Thomas has put the Bruins in a 3-1 hole after two periods.
Thomas allowed a soft wrister from Tim Kennedy at 6:08 and he came off the ice, made his way down the tunnel, swinging his goalie stick in frustration. He remained away from the bench for about five minutes before returning.
In fairness to Thomas, he was again let down by his defense who had trouble clearing bodies. Tuukka Rask was tested late in the period as breakdowns continued to thwart the B’s.
Jason Pominville had a short-handed breakaway with just 63 seconds left in the second period as the Bruins, desperate for some energy from their power play, pinched early and left Pominville alone in the neutral zone.
Boos rained down on the Bruins, who will begin the final period with 13 seconds of power play.
Each team had 14 shots on net in the second, with Boston holding a 28-25 advantage after 40 minutes.
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