|Bruins-Canucks preview: Three keys, stats, and players to watch||06.06.11 at 1:54 am ET|
The Bruins have a tall task ahead of them as they look to overcome an 0-2 hole and turn the Stanley Cup finals into an actual series. Both games have been determined by just one goal thus far, and though the Bruins have played poorly from the most part, the first two games have shown the B’s can hang with the Canucks, even if they haven’t totally shown up yet. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Monday’s Game 3.
THREE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Get better looks vs. Roberto Luongo and establish a net-front presence. We’ll say it until it changes, and it didn’t change enough in Game 2. The Canucks have been able to box the Bruins out so far in the series, but look at how the B’s scored their goals in Game 2. Milan Lucic buried a rebound from in front, and Mark Recchi redirected a shot in front of Luongo. When the Bruins were able to set up shop and do things from close range, the puck went in. It seems trying it any other way is an exercise in futility.
– Keep moving Zdeno Chara around on the power play. Recchi’s goal came as a result of Claude Julien moving Chara back to the point, but Julien should keep mixing it up when it comes to the Bruins’ mammoth captain. He still appeared to be a nuisance in front of Luongo in Game 1, so Julien should have enough confidence in Chara’s abilities in both areas to play him in different spots from power play to power play.
– Use the home crowd to their advantage. Whether or not they want to admit it, Rogers Arena was absolutely electric and had to have been a tough place to play. If the Garden can turn down the music and let the fans create an authentic atmosphere, maybe the Canucks can truly feel like they’re at an opponent’s home and not a wrestling match.
– Both the Bruins and Canucks have seen four of their last five games be determined by one goal. The Bruins are 2-3 in that span, while the Canucks are 4-1.
– The four goals Tim Thomas has allowed over the last three games ties this stretch with his best of the postseason. Thomas let in four goals over Games 2 through 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers, though the difference is that the Bruins won all three of those games and have lost two of the three games in this stretch.
- Brad Marchand has gone four games without scoring. In the other two instances this postseason in which he went four straight without a goal, he scored the following game.
THREE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
– Tim Thomas: He plays aggressive ‘ the sky is falling! As bad as the game-wining goal he allowed in overtime Saturday looked, the reaction by some suggest nobody has actually watched Thomas before. He’s all over the place, and he plays farther out of his net than most. It will be interesting to see how be performs in Game 3 given all the heat he’s been under for his style this series.
– Alexandre Burrows: The Bruins have every reason to be furious that Burrows wasn’t suspended for Game 2, though they’re not showing it. At any rate, their No. 1 concern should be finding away to stop the guy who showed Saturday that his offensive ability (2 G, A in Game 2) is just as sharp as his teeth.
– Rich Peverley: Where to play the speedy winger? Peverley has seen time on the second line, third line and fourth line (and the first if you want to count him taking one of Nathan Horton‘s shifts in Game 7 of the conference finals when Horton was banged up) in recent games. Peverley could continue to take some of Mark Recchi‘s shifts on the second line, or he could skate with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder, as he did from late in the second period Saturday to the end of the contest. If and when Julien makes a move to get Shawn Thornton in the lineup at the expense of Tyler Seguin this series, the line of Kelly centering Peverley and Ryder would make sense.
Also, don’t rule out Peverley having a target on his back in Game 3. His two-handed slash to the back of Kevin Bieksa‘s knee didn’t go over well with Bieksa, his teammates or his coaches. Given the nature of the play, it shouldn’t have. Peverley really got away with one, and had he scored on his shot that followed the non-penalized slash, it would have looked even worse.
|Claude Julien doesn’t appear ready to sit Tyler Seguin||06.04.11 at 4:48 pm ET|
Seguin played 6:21 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, and including that contest, his two lowest career time-on-ice totals have come against the Canucks. The rookie has also been held with out the point the last six games, but when asked about Shawn Thornton Saturday, Julien didn’t give off the impression that the fourth-line enforcer would be in the lineup.
“Every game is about making decisions here… We’re in a position where we have to make decisions based on our needs, what has to happen,” Julien said. “We’ve at points envisioned a guy like Tyler, the way he played [early in the Eastern Conference finals], we had to keep him in the lineup.
“As games go on, we make decisions. What I’m saying today might be different tomorrow, so on, so forth.”
Seguin exploded with six points in the first two games of the conference finals, which were his first two career playoff games. It took a Patrice Bergeron concussion suffered in Game 4 vs. the Flyers for Seguin to even get his chance to play, and he doesn’t want to go back to the press box.
“I’m taking advantage of all opportunities I’ve been given,” Seguin said. “I don’t want to go back to the feeling of almost waiting for an
injury for you to get a chance to play. That’s not the emotional state I want to be in. I’m trying to stay away from that.”
|Mike Emrick on The Big Show: ‘I thought there was adequate evidence’ to suspend Alex Burrows||06.03.11 at 3:23 pm ET|
Announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, who is calling the Stanley Cup finals for NBC and Versus, joined The Big Show Friday afternoon to offer his insight into the Bruins-Canucks series while watching injured Canucks forward Manny Malhotra practice with his team in Vancouver. To hear the interview, go the The Big Show audio on demand page.
Discussing the Bruins’ struggling power play, Emrick said: “I’m not sure that there’s a solution to this problem, or the Bruins would have had it by now. So, maybe they’re just going to have to win the way they know how to win, which I thought was the way they played in Game 1.”
Added Emrick: “This is kind of like a team in the NFL winning key games with a negative rushing yardage. You just don’t see it. But then again, this has been an exceptional team that has played really well, done a lot of things just like this. There’s nothing that says if you can win a seventh game in overtime against Montreal and not score a power-play goal in any of the seven games ‘ including overtime, when you had a power play ‘ then maybe you’re a team of destiny. We’ll know a little more after the second game.”
Touching on the controversy involving Alex Burrows‘ alleged bite of Patrice Bergeron‘s finger, Emrick questioned the league’s decision not to suspend Burrows.
“I was surprised, because I thought there was ‘ at least to the layman ‘ I thought there was adequate evidence,” he said. “And I think the thing that meant more to me than actually watching the video ‘¦ was to talk to players who were not affiliated with either Boston or Vancouver and who were retired, who know the players’ mentality. And this may seem naive, but I approached it in this way: Does he know what he’s about to do, and does he know what he’s doing when he does it? And the clear answer was yes, he does. So then, if you add that together with the video evidence, you have to say that’s suspendable.”
|Shawn Thornton advises teammates on how to deal with time change||05.30.11 at 2:25 pm ET|
One advantage the Canucks could have over the Bruins is that they’re more comfortable traveling through time zones. Given that the entire Eastern Conference is located in the Eastern time zone, the Bruins rarely have to deal with changing time zones. The Canucks, meanwhile, are one of just four teams located in the Pacific time zone, so they do it on a weekly basis. In fact, the Canucks have already played two opponents in the Central time zone (a two-hour difference) in these playoffs — Chicago and Nashville.
The biggest adjustment for the Bruins will be getting on their normal sleep schedules while losing three hours during the flight to Vancouver. Shawn Thornton, who played on the West Coast with the Ducks in 2006-07, said he gave his teammates some advice on how to deal with that change.
“You’re going to be tired, but you try and force yourself to stay up the first night,” Thornton said. “In my experience, it’s stay up until midnight if you can, then go to bed, and hopefully you’ll wake up around 7 in the morning. If you go to bed too early, you’re going to stay on the same schedule. I’ve seen so many people come out to visit me when I was in Anaheim that would make that mistake. They’d be exhausted by 9:30, go to bed, and be up by 4 in the morning, twiddling their thumbs until everyone else was up. I think you have to try and stay up and that should get you back on schedule.”
Thornton didn’t dress for the last five games of the Eastern Conference finals, but his veteran leadership continues to be a valuable asset for the Bruins. He is one of just two Bruins (along with Mark Recchi) who has won a Stanley Cup, having done so with Anaheim in 2007.
“Embrace it. Enjoy it,” Thornton said when asked what he told his teammates about being on this stage. “You got to take the positive out of everything that’s going on. Just sit back and enjoy it, drink it in.”
Claude Julien said it’s important to have that sort of experience in the locker room.
“Those guys are always valuable in the dressing room,” Julien said of Recchi and Thornton. “They’ve been through it. They’ve seen what’s happened. They can tell a player, ‘Listen, if you thought there was a lot of pressure, there’s going to be even more in the finals, and the intensity just goes up another notch.’ So they’re just giving guys words of wisdom.
“And we also have a coach in Doug Jarvis who’s won as a player, who’s won as a coach. He’s also been a valuable influence on a lot of young players who have talked to him about that stuff. So it’s good to have those people around. They become really important elements of your team at this time of year and we’re happy to have them.”
|Bruins players: Canucks are only ones in Stanley Cup finals so far||05.25.11 at 1:43 pm ET|
TAMPA — In case you haven’t heard, one team is in the Stanley Cup finals. After tying it with 14 seconds left in regulation and getting the game-winner in overtime from Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks have moved past the Sharks and into the the finals.
“I watched the tying goal and I was like ‘I’m going to bed,'” Dennis Seidenberg said Wednesday. “I went to bed, and this morning I watched the goal and was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s a tough one to lose on.'”
Of course, now the Bruins know that they have a team waiting for them. All they need is one more win vs. the Lightning before it becomes all about Vancouver and the Cup. They can close it out in Game 6 Wednesday night and send Boston into a frenzy. They were quick to note on the morning of the game that while they know that one team is in, they don’t know who else is.
“Obviously, you know that whoever goes through this series is going to play Vancouver, but at the same time, we don’t know who’s going through,” rookie forward Brad Marchand said. “If we start thinking that it’s us, then Tampa’s going to come back and take over control of the series. We have to make sure we don’t worry about that and just worry about our game.”
Shawn Thornton has been in this situation before. In fact, for the man who won a Cup with the Ducks in 2007 after sinking the Red Wings in the west for a spot in the finals, it’s comically similar.
“I was actually in the exact same position. I was in the press box watching Games 5 and 6,” Thornton, a healthy scratch since Game 3 this round, said Wednesday morning. “I remember. It was against Detroit, and it was the same type of thing. ‘¦ Two good teams, and a tough series.”
Now that he’s once again one win from going back, the last thing he wants to talk about is the finals. In fact, he politely declined talking about the next round.
“I can’t speak for everybody, but my mentality is I never look past what’s going on here. If you start looking [ahead] and then you forget about what you’re [doing]. That’s not even in our heads. It shouldn’t be, anyways,” Thornton said. “We have to focus on Game 6 tonight, and that should be our only focus.”
One more win, and a very realistic possibility becomes even more real. The players aren’t trying to let the fact that a team and Cup awaits them, even if it’s a finals matchup some saw coming.
“I think the whole playoffs, we’ve kind of seen who could be possible opponents, and for me at the beginning, I thought it was Vancouver,” Seidenberg said. “They were one of the strongest teams, but at the end, it doesn’t really matter who it is. Right now, our main focus is on tonight and focusing on our game and making sure we’re gonna win tonight.”
|P.J. Stock on D&C: Let’s see how Tyler Seguin reacts on road||05.19.11 at 10:57 am ET|
TSN and Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former Bruin P.J. Stock joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to preview Game 3 of the Bruins-Lightning Eastern Conference finals series. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
When asked if he thought coach Claude Julien waited too long to insert 19 year-old Tyler Seguin into the lineup, Stock said he did not have a problem with the coach’s decision. “No, not at all, and you know what? He probably wouldn’t be in there without [Patrice] Bergeron being injured,” Stock said. “I watched him play a lot during the year, and many times I thought he wasn’t ready.
“A lot of people are excited about his last two games, but 30 games ago were people saying the same thing? He was a frustrating player that was learning a lot of things. … I didn’t know if he was ready.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins use their own comeback vs. Canadiens to keep perspective vs. Flyers||05.04.11 at 1:20 pm ET|
A 2-0 series lead is a good thing, but not the thing that a team ultimately wants. It’s a case of a team having desired results so far, but still not having the desired result. One game can change everything, and with the Bruins holding a 2-0 lead on the Flyers entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night, the Bruins know that. They should have as good a perspective on that as anyone else.
No, this isn’t about the players who were on last year’s team thinking back to the blown 3-0 series lead in 2010. Instead, the B’s can simply think back to the last series. With the Canadiens winning the first two games of the quarterfinals, the Bruins took Games 3 and 4 in Montreal and eventually won the series in seven games. It all started with that 4-2 Game 3 win, and they know it.
“[We were thinking] that if we got the third game, the series would completely turn around, and that the pressure would be on them, and we’d be right back in it,” Brad Marchand recalled Wednesday. “Anything could happen from that point forward, so the third game is a huge turning point. We knew that, and that’s what we want to focus on. They’re definitely doing that [in the Flyers’ room] right now.”
The similarities are there for the Bruins in the first round and the Flyers in the second round. Both teams lost the first two games at home, the second of which they had to play without their key defenseman. If the two teams are to share another thing in common, it could come in the form of a win on the road for the Flyers in Game 3.
“We want to make sure that we’re ready and not waiting. We’re prepared for that. We know that we were down 2-0, and we came back,” Marchand said Wednesday. “You kind of use that to put ourselves in this situation here and make sure that we don’t give them any opportunity to get back in this series.”
While some players are using their first-round triumph to give themselves perspective on how possible a Flyers’ comeback is, others are blocking everything out altogether. For Shawn Thornton, it’s as simple as winning a game.
“We’re not really talking about last series. We know that this is Game 3. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It’s Game 3, either way. I haven’t really put too much thought into anything except for preparing for tonight’s game as best as possible.”
The idea of not thinking about the score of the series is one shared by Thornton’s linemate in Daniel Paille. The fourth-liner remembers the feeling of having to “prove a point” after Game 2 of the last series, but doesn’t want to even consider the fact that the B’s could potentially have a stranglehold on the series with a win Wednesday. The way he sees it, they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“[Leading] 2-0 doesn’t mean much. The way we look at it, it’s still 0-0 right now because if start thinking ahead of ourselves, we get in trouble. When we start doing that, it’s just not good a team, so we try to do everything we can to stay focused and avoid all of those types of situations.”
The Bruins are in the right situation entering Wednesday, but they know as well as anyone that it could be a completely different story when the game is concluded.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Brad Marchand's Hot Streak a Big Reason for the Boston Bruins' Recent...
- Prospect Depth Allows BOS to Not Rush Pastrnak
- Seth Griffith Fitting in on the First Line with the Boston Bruins
- Bruins' Depleted Defense Returns to Reality in Loss to Wild
- Bruins' Patrice Bergeron Records 500th Career Point
- Bruins Players Dress Up as 'Frozen' Characters
- Looking at Bruins Defensive Pairings Without Chara