|Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens||04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
‘I’ve been with him for a while,’ Ryder said of Julien. ‘Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
‘You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’ Ryder said. ‘Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
‘I’m happy for Rydes,’ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.’
|Shawn Thornton doesn’t think Bruins should be feeling pressure||04.16.11 at 3:37 pm ET|
The Bruins certainly don’t want to fall down two games to the Canadiens as they hit the road for Montreal Sunday, but they still haven’t strayed from their calm, optimistic view on what they face. One would think they might be facing pressure, but Shawn Thornton doesn’t see it that way.
“I think pressure is five kids and no job,” he said. “This is just a game. This is fun.”
The Bruins were blanked by Carey Price in Game 1, as they got 20 shots blocked and saw their top line produce just one shot on goal through the first two periods.
“There’s always pressure,” Milan Lucic said. “Game 1 was a big game, and Game 2 is an even bigger game. They’re going about it the same way we are. It’s a big game for us. We want to get ourselves a split here at home, and we’re going to do everything we can to have the preparation and focus to get the result that we want.
“For myself, I obviously played just OK last game,” he later added. “For myself, I’m definitely going to do whatever I can to raise my game to another level and see what happens.”
|Bruins still not feeling intended effect following frustrating Game 1 loss to Canadiens||04.15.11 at 12:59 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After failing to score (or get many quality chances) on Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in a 2-0 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, there was very little, if any, frustration expressed by the Bruins at Ristuccia Arena Friday.
The B’s hit the ice for practice, while the Habs regulars were given the day off. Still, optimism filled the Bruins’ room. Never mind talk of how ineffective the top line was, or how they couldn’t get second or third chances on Price. The way the players see it, thinking about Game 2 is more important than thinking about Game 1.
“It’s one game, and we’re not going to dwell on it,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s tough when you run into a hot goalie, but that stuff happens. You’ve got to find a way around it. ‘¦ No one wins the Stanley Cup in the first game of the first series. We’re not frustrated at all. It’s one game, and we’ve got to put it behind us.”
Forward Shawn Thornton, who was given just 5:10 of ice time in the game, shared the same logic.
“It’s fine. We’re good. It’s one game,” Thornton said. “We’re aware that it’s a long series, and we know we can be better, so we’re going to be better tomorrow.”
Both of the Canadiens’ goals were scored by Brian Gionta following Bruins turnovers. Gionta’s first-period tally was set up by Scott Gomez after Tomas Kaberle put too much on a reverse, while Gionta’s third-period goal came following a Milan Lucic turnover in the Bruins’ zone.
“The game’s not perfect. There’s going to be turnovers every now and again,” Thornton said. “You try and limit them as much as possible, but when they happen, you hope that you can get back and bail each other out. That being said, you try and make the right plays at the right time.
“Give them credit, too. They’re a pretty good team. Defensively, they did a really good job of clogging up the neutral zone and clogging up the front of the not and blocking people out. You have to give them credit. They’re a pretty good team over there.”
The B’s will host the Habs for Game 2 at TD Garden on Saturday.
|Third and fourth lines come up big in Bruins win||04.09.11 at 5:11 pm ET|
The Bruins know that if they’re going to make a deep playoff run, they’re going to need scoring from the third and fourth lines. In Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 win over the Senators, they got just that.
The fourth line scored the game’s first goal 12:53 into the first when Shawn Thornton threw a shot on net from the right wing that led to a juicy rebound. Gregory Campbell collected the loose puck and backhanded a centering pass right to Daniel Paille‘s stick for an easy tap-in.
‘That first goal that line scored tonight was something that all the coaches love to see,’ coach Claude Julien said. ‘Thorny just throws a puck at the net, but Campbell is driving the net and there’s a loose puck and he gets to it first. And Paille is driving the net as well and they find him and it’s kind of a tic-tac-toe play. ‘¦ Those guys are working hard and they’re earning their goals and I think that’s what I like about that line.’
Paille said he and his linemates are just trying to work as hard as they can down low and hope it pays off with goals like his on Saturday.
‘What works for us is just keeping it simple and getting pucks in deep and winning the battles,’ he said. ‘That’s what we’re doing right now and it’s paying off.’
The goal was Paille’s third in his last four games and fourth in his last eight. He had just two goals in 34 games prior to March 19, but he has come on strong in the last couple weeks and appears to have earned a spot in the lineup — at least to start the playoffs — after not being a regular until the last month or so.
‘It’s just something I’ve been waiting for all year,’ Paille said of the playing time. ‘I’m glad that it’s paying off at this point in the season. It’s something that I’ve thought I can do all season, so I’m just glad that it’s working right now.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien on motivating his team for playoffs: ‘I’m only a coach’||04.07.11 at 11:58 am ET|
This is a very, very difficult time of the year for NHL coaches who know their teams are already in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They have to balance fighting for playoff position with fighting complacency.
Sometimes, the task can become quite frustrating, if not overwhelming, to manage.
Just ask Claude Julien. With his team already assured of home ice in the first round by virtue of their Northeast Division crown, Julien watched on Monday night as his team blew a 3-0 lead to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in an ugly 5-3 loss.
Then on Wednesday, at home to the lowly Islanders, he watched his top two lines go through the motions, only to get great games from his “energy line” in a 3-2 escape at TD Garden. Shawn Thornton had a goal in his return and Gregory Campbell had a goal and an assist.
Afterward, a reporter at Julien’s press conference opened by asking if that’s the kind of effort he was looking for after the Monday meltdown in New York.
“Are you serious with that question?” Julien chirped. “No, certainly not the kind of game you want to see from your team and I think the execution wasn’t very good tonight. We weren’t very sharp. Our best players certainly didn’t make a difference and who made a difference was our fourth line and the Campbell line was very good for us tonight and the goaltender made some good saves for us.
“But, it’s one of those games where you try and motivate your team to play hard and play well and I think there’s a challenge there. You know, you can say what you want and you can preach what you want, but there’s a lot of players I think that are looking forward to the next season and so those are the challenges that we have at this time of year.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Shawn Thornton shows again why he’s not just the toughest Bruin, he’s their funniest, too||04.06.11 at 11:24 pm ET|
Forget the fact that he is regarded by many as their toughest player, if everyone on the Bruins had Shawn Thornton‘s energy, the team would never be accused of taking nights off. Thornton is trying to make sure that the Bruins are fired up for the playoffs that start next week.
His goal at the latest possible moment (19:59.9) of the first period got the Bruins going in his first game back and helped the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Islanders at TD Garden. The Bruins have 101 points now but to Thornton, the more important mission in the final two games is to keep focus.
“Just keeping that rhythm I think,” Thornton said. “Keeping our confidence. Keeping the fun going into the playoffs. This is the best time of the year. The weather is getting nice. You have to want to come to the rink this time of year. For me that’s the biggest thing: to stay upbeat, confident and play our game.
As their coach Claude Julien pointed out afterward, the Bruins did not look sharp in the win as there were defensive breakdowns that allowed the Islanders back in the game, two days after blowing a 3-0 lead to the Rangers in New York.
“I mean there were some lapses,” Thornton said. “We just have to play our game and not worry who we’re playing against. When we’re playing our style of game we’re a really, really good team. When we get away from that, we’ve seen it through the years what happens there. As long as we continue to play our game plan we’ll be a pretty good team.”
As for who they’ll be playing in the first round, Thornton said it doesn’t matter to him since he’s not even paying attention to the standing right now.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy,” Thornton said. “I don’t ever pay attention to the standings. No I don’t know what is going on. Maybe the other guys are different, but I just kind of focus on what’s going on today and don’t worry about the rest.”
After scoring his 10th goal of the season in his first game back since a nasty injury to his forehead, Thornton was also quick to give credit to his assistant coaches and back-up goalie Tuukka Rask after Wednesday’s win. Read the rest of this entry »
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period, and all it took was 19:59.9 for them to grab it.
The Bruins’ energy line carried the load in the period, with Shawn Thornton capping the period with his 10th goal of the season. The B’s went on a two-man advantage at 7:03 thanks to penalties drawn by Daniel Paille and Thornton. Paille, who got the primary helper on Thornton’s goal, has had a couple of great chances, though former BU goalie Rick DiPietro has come up big for the Islanders.