|Simon Gagne puts talk of being a ‘Bruins killer’ on hold … for now||05.21.11 at 7:42 pm ET|
TAMPA — Well before scoring the go-ahead goal Saturday in Tampa Bay’s 5-3 win over the Bruins, Simon Gagne had a earned the reputation in Boston as a Bruins killer. Asked after the game if his third-period, go-ahead tally was just another example, Gagne said he’ll hold off on nicknames until the series is over.
‘Actually, that’s the first time I’ve heard it,” Gagne said. “It’s funny but like I said, whatever happened last year, personally that’s something I’m always going to remember. That’s for sure. But now this year it’s a different thing. I’m with a different team. I would like to do it again but it’s still not done. It’s 2-2. Whatever happened today even, getting the game winner, we didn’t win the series. It’s 2-2. We’ll focus on the next game first and we’ll talk about that nickname later.’
In Gagne’s first game back in the 2010 playoffs, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 4, keeping the Bruins from eliminating the Flyers. Of course, Gagne’s most crushing goal came in Game 7 of that same series with the Flyers, when he scored on the power play late in the third after the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice.
|Bruins drop Game 1 to Lightning||05.14.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
The Bruins put themselves in a familiar spot Saturday, as they dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Lightning at home, 5-2.
The B’s lost Game 1 of the first round to the Canadiens at TD Garden before dropping Game 2 but battling back to win the series in seven games. There’s plenty of hockey left to be played, and Boston will have to hope for different results and better handling of the puck going forward.
The Lightning got their scoring out of the way with one crushing wave in the middle of the first period. Sean Bergenheim continued his league-leading scoring pace, notching his eighth goal of the postseason at 11:15, with Brett Clark beating Tim Thomas on a backhander 19 seconds later. Teddy Purcell scored off an ugly Tomas Kaberle turnover at 12:40, making it three goals for Tampa Bay in a matter of 1:25. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored the Lightning’s fourth goal on the power play at 13:37 of the third period while Simon Gagne added an empty-netter.
Tyler Seguin, playing in his first postseason game, a nifty goal at 15:59 of the first period. Chris Kelly’s tally came with 1:01 left in a game the Bruins had already lost.
Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves for the Lightning in the victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Two of the the goals scored by the Lightning in a matter of 85 seconds came off bad turnovers by the Bruins. With a big mess in front of Tim Thomas’ net, a stick-less Dennis Seidenberg kicked the puck right onto the stick of Sean Bergenheim, who fired the puck in for his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Yet while Seidenberg’s play certainly came in a hectic moment, the sam could not be said for the third goal. Teddy Purcell skated right in and reached behind the net to mug Kaberle and tuck the puck past Thomas. Two unassisted goals against were not what the B’s were looking for.
– Foolish move by Milan Lucic late in the game, as the 22-year-old winger clocked Victor Hedman in the face with 36.7 left in the game. He was tossed from the game, and should he face further discipline, a Bruins team that’s already missing Patrice Bergeron could be in big trouble.
– Thomas has been great this postseason, but he would definitely like to have the Lightning’s second goal back. Brett Clark carried the puck through the neutral zone and down the right wing before beating Thomas stick-side with a fluttering backhander. Soft goals are always bad, but this one was even more devastating because it came just 19 seconds after Tampa’s first goal.
After the three goals, Thomas came up big for the B’s multiple times. He absolutely robbed Steve Downie with a little more than 5:30 left in the seconds to keep it a two-goal game.
– Seemingly in an effort to get some more life out of the Bruins’ offense, Claude Julien swapped Seguin and Mark Recchi in the third period. Seguin skated with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, while Recchi went to the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it yielded no results, and the lines reverted back to the way they began the game.
– It’s cliche at this point to list the power play as a wrong, but as long as it continues to do nothing, it’s going to be here. Normally when a team’s down by two goals, three power plays in a period would be exactly what it needs to get back in the game. Not for the Bruins, though. They didn’t even threaten on their three man advantages in the second, as they consistently struggled to enter the zone. When they did get the puck in deep, it often came right back out either due to losing puck battles or making bad passes. An example of this came when Seidenberg cycled the puck back to nobody and out of the zone. The B’s mustered only three shots in their three second-period power plays and finished the night 0-for-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It was only fitting that Seguin’s first career playoff goal be of highlight-reel variety. The rookie, who scored his first goal of the season in Prague on a Hail Mary pass from Ryder before crashing into the net, made the Garden crowd go nuts with his first-period goal. Seguin took a pass from Ryder in the neutral zone and proceeded to make Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin look foolish as the rookie used fancy stickwork to go through the defenseman before sliding it past Roloson.
It was predictable that Seguin wouldn’t get big minutes, but Claude Julien took it to a bit of an extreme, even despite the rookie’s goal. Seguin would have to wait 14:56 worth of hockey before he’d get back on the ice, as his next shift did not come until 11:55 into the second period. He had only two shifts in the second period, though he threw a nice hit on Lundin in the corner on of of them, providing a small sample of physical play, an area in which he’s rarely been engaged in his rookie year.
– Not that any of the ensuing power plays led to anything, but give David Krejci for drawing a pair of Lightning infractions. The first-line center drew two different tripping calls on Tampa Bay in the second period, as both Eric Brewer and Adam Hall went off for tripping Krejci.
|Bruins-killer Simon Gagne: ‘They’re on a mission’||at 12:57 pm ET|
Simon Gagne should be used to facing the Bruins in the playoffs by now. A season ago, he was arguably the man that sunk them in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With the Bruins holding a 3-0 series lead over Philadelphia, Gagne, then a Flyer, returned to the lineup for Game 4 after a broken toe suffered in the first round vs. the Devils kept him out of the beginning of the series. Gagne scored the game-winning goal in overtime to keep the Flyers alive in the series, and added a pair of goals three days later in a 4-0 Phialdelphia win in Game 5. His most crucial goal of the series would come in Game 7, when he notched the go-ahead tally in the third period following a costly too-many-ice penalty taken by the Bruins. The goal was the game-winner, and it capped the Flyers’ comeback from trailing, 3-0, in both the series and Game 7.
Now, Gagne is once again returning from a playoff absence (this time a head injury suffered in the second round) to face the Bruins, but it’s as a member of the Lightning following an offseason trade. Gagne watched the last series between his old mates and the Bruins, and he said Saturday that he sees a difference from a season ago.
“It’s a different team from last year,” Gagne said. “They got some new guys, Thomas is in net now, so it’s a different team than last year. It looks like this year, they’re on a mission, and that’s the way it felt when I saw them play against Philly. Philly’s a good team, and they beat them in four games. That means they’re a really good team.”
Including guys who played sparingly last year in rookies Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid, eight of the Bruins’ regulars as they enter Game 1 of the conference finals were newcomers to the lineup this year. Yet while the emergence of guys like Marchand and the addition of Nathan Horton have been massive for the B’s, the biggest change for them involves a guy who was around last year in Thomas. At least that’s the way Gagne sees it.
“Last year, Tuukka Rask was actually playing really, really good for them,” Gagne said of the youngster who started every game between the pipes for the Bruins last postseason. “Everybody thought that he was going to be the goalie for the future for Boston. I think he’s still their goalie of the future — I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere — but to see Thomas coming back after a tough season last year with injuries, to see him play like that surprised a lot of people, but at the same time, he was good before he got hurt. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see him playing that good.”
The Bruins and Thomas will hope to continue their “mission” Saturday night, while Gagne just hopes he can continue to feed his reputation of postseason Bruins-killer.
|How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning||05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.
After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.
But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘ two in garbage time ‘ in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”
“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”
Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.
|Gagne for Thomas? ‘No.’||06.25.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
Amidst rumors that the Flyers are looking to shed payroll in order to take on Tim Thomas‘ contract, a source close to the situation is saying talk that Simon Gagne could be swapped to the Bruins for the goaltender is bogus.
“This is not an accurate rumor at all,” the source said.
Salary-wise, it makes sense, as Gagne will carry a $5.25 million cap hit next season, the final year of his deal, while Thomas has three years remaining at $5 million per season. On the ice, however, such a move could upset Flyers fans. Gagne can be counted on for 30 goals a season and is just 30 years old, while Thomas, 36, lost his starting job last season to Tuukka Rask.
The left-winger made a major impression on the Bruins in the postseason this past postseason, scoring in overtime in Game 4, adding two goals in Game 5, and slipping the series-winning goal past Rask in the third period of Game 7.
Gagne was hampered by groin injuries throughout the season and was limited to 58 games. He scored 17 goals and had 23 assists for 40 points after having 34-40-74 totals a year prior.
|Simon the Bruins-killer||05.14.10 at 11:29 pm ET|
From the moment he took the ice in Game 4, Simon Gagne was the unquestionable difference in the series. The Flyers got their best sniper back in the lineup and it paid immediate dividends when he scored the biggest goal of the series, the overtime game-winner in Game 4 that gave the Flyers a flicker of hope.
By the time he scored the go-ahead power play goal on Friday night in Game 7, the Bruins’ Stanley Cup dreams were completely up in smoke.
Gagne came back from an injured toe and collect four goals and an assist in four games, the final four of the series as the Flyers made history.
Gagne, the hero of Game 7 and of the series for the Flyers, said after Philadelphia’s 4-3 win in Game 7 that nerves may have played a role in the too many men on the ice penalty that led to the series-deciding goal.
‘We expected them to come very hard and they did,” Gagne said of Boston’s 3-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes of the game. “Our mistake was maybe taking bad penalties early on, two goals on the power play. It’s not the start you want. After that third goal, we had a timeout and said, ‘Let’s just play one goal at a time and focus on scoring the first goal.’
‘After that we were sure they would start questioning themselves a little bit and then we went for the second one and then were able to tie the game. I’m sure at that point they started to get nervous on their side and you know what, sometimes you’re nervous and you make mistakes and then they had too many men on the ice and that might be our chance to win the game and we did,’ Gagne said.
The Flyers open the Eastern Conference finals Sunday in Philadelphia against the Canadiens.
|Flyers help Bruins make dubious history||at 9:33 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers became just the third team in the history of the National Hockey League to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win a seven-game series, in the process coming back from a 3-0 first-period hole to score four straight goals to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden on Friday night.
Tuukka Rask was the loser for Boston, allowing the four Flyers goals on 27 shots. Michael Leighton overcame a shaky first period to put the clamps down on the Bruins season with 25 saves. Simon Gagne scored the game-winner at 12:52 in the third period on the power play after the B’s were whistled for too many men on the ice.
The Bruins struck first (and, for that matter, second and third), jumping to an early lead eight seconds into a power play after Scott Hartnell went to the box for a high sticking call on Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone at 5:18 in the first period. Boston wasted no time, controlling the puck on the face off and getting a couple attempts on Leighton. The second — of the stick of Zdeno Chara — rebounded down to the right dot, where Michael Ryder sent it right back on the crease past a hopping Mark Recchi and the Bruins were off and running at 5:27.
Boston made it 2-0, again on the power play, at 9:02 when a broken rush through the neutral zone ended up in a reset by Dennis Wideman, who decided to take it all the way down the right wing into the corner and send it back towards the crease where Milan Lucic timed his crash perfectly to bang it past Leighton for the two-goal advantage before the first period was halfway over.
Leighton would let in a third straight Boston goal at at 14:10 as Lucic struck again when he turned a giveaway into a lamplighter when he rushed all the way down the right wing and let off a snap shot by the right faceoff dot that went five-hole and made TD Garden erupt.
But the Flyers, remarkably, refused to concede defeat. James Van Riemsdyk fought hard to the right of Rask, leveling Wideman and getting a broken-play dribbler under the net minder’s left pad for a soft goal that made it 3-1 at 17:12 in the first. It was Van Riemsdyk’s first career playoff goal in his second professional season (first in the NHL) coming out of the University of New Hampshire.
The Flyers made it a one-goal game early in the second period on an even strength play where Danny Briere was able to penetrate the Rask’s crease after Ville Leino put the puck deep. Briere did a spin-o-rama and put the puck across the crease, where Andrew Ference could not put a stick on it at the goal line and Scott Hartnell flipped it back over Rask at 2:49.
The comeback was complete when Briere struck on his own, this time with the assist from Hartnell at 8:39 of the second period. Briere came back down around the net and did a wrap-around on Rask that rattled through the net and back out the other side to tie the game at three. The play was reviewed but it was conclusive that Briere had put the puck in the net and Boston had relinquished another 3-0 lead in the series.
Simon Gagne — His Game 4 return from a broken toe made all the difference for the Flyers in this series as he scored his second game-winner of the series to complete the series comeback.
Danny Briere — Perpetual thorn in the Bruins side was instrumental in getting the Flyers back in the game as his goal and assist in the second period were the answer Philadelphia was looking for after it went down 3-0 in the first.
Milan Lucic — Two first period goals got TD Garden pumping as the Boston forward set the stage for the excitement that was to come.
Turning Point – When Briere and Hartnell teamed up to take over in the second period. The pair was able to bring the Flyers back from the brink as the Bruins went soft in front of Rask. The wily center and his large wingman were able to get deep into the crease twice to tie the game and give the Flyers a chance to win it in the third period.
Key Play — The Bruins took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at 11:10 of the third period, which set the Flyers up to score the go-ahead goal by Gagne when he found the puck on the right dot in front of Rask for the wrist shot top shelf to bury Boston and its Stanley Cup dreams once and for all.
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