|Bruins-Canucks Game 6 preview: 6 keys, stats and players||06.13.11 at 4:03 am ET|
The Bruins are playing in either their last game or second to last game Monday. Either way, it will be the finale at the Garden as the B’s look to fend off elimination and force a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, which would be played back in British Columbia. Here’s the preview of Monday’s contest.
SIX THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Make it about quality, not quantity: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has faced 30 or more shots in each of his shutouts in the finals, and both of those blankings have been cakewalks. The Bruins need to establish a physical presence, create traffic and get in front to beat the Vezina finalist.
– Don’t let the Cup make an appearance: Everyone knows the Stanley Cup will be in the house Monday night, but the Bruins’ worst nightmare has to be watching Alexandre Burrows, Luongo and the rest of the perceived bad guys skate around with it on their ice.
– Remember their Game 6 experience: It’s as cliche as it gets to say that the last win is the hardest in a series, but the Bruins should know. Both the Canadiens and Lightning didn’t let the Bruins storm into their home and eliminate them, so the B’s will need the same desperation that beat them in those games.
– Remind everyone of Games 3 and 4: The Bruins were able to make things very difficult for the Vancouver defense and Luongo in the two games here, but Vancouver tightened back up defensively back at Rogers Arena, while the B’s stiffened up offensively.
– Give Tyler Seguin time on the power play: It’s the one place he won’t be afraid of getting hit and can focus just on using his talent. The B’s went 0-for-4 on the man advantage Friday in Vancouver, with Seguin getting only 12 seconds on the power play.
– Use Zdeno Chara in front on the power play: It may not have yielded results the last time around, but it’s worth using from time to time. If the Bruins can’t even get set up as it is, can it get much worse?
– The Bruins have won nine of their last 10 home games dating back to Game 5 of the quarterfinals.
– Dennis Seidenberg‘s only goal this postseason came in Game 6 of the quarterfinals, and it was Boston’s only goal in the 2-1 Canadiens win.
– Though David Krejci leads the NHL with 22 postseason points, he’s only registered points in a loss twice. His hat trick in Game 6 of the conference finals made for three of the four points in games the Bruins have dropped this postseason.
– Despite missing two games due to a concussion, Patrice Bergeron leads all Bruins with 62 shots on goal this postseason.
– Henrik Sedin has gone five straight games without a point for the first time since the 2007 postseason. He had two such stretches in 12 games in those playoffs. The last time he went six games without a point was from Nov. 29-Dec. 20, 2003.
– Daniel Sedin has gone three straight games without a point three times this season, including once in the playoffs. He has not going four games without a point since Feb. 4-11 of the 2009-10 season.
SIX PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Milan Lucic: After not showing up in Game 5, Lucic has to have the best game of his life Monday. If something is ailing him, then it’s commendable that he’s played through it, but the B’s need their best players to be the best players on the ice. Not having Nathan Horton is bad enough, and the B’s not be able to survive with another zero-shot performance like Friday’s.
Brad Marchand: The rookie needs to be the royal pain he’s been all season, and he also needs to come out flying the way he did when he dominated Game 4. It had seemed he was on a roll with goals in two straight games, but apparently Rogers Arena is where any positive Bruins trend goes to die. Marchand has three shots on goal over his last three games, though two have gone in.
Tim Thomas: It’s hard to ask any more of Thomas, who it seems will be getting the Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s allowed six goals in the finals and could conceivably lose the series having allowed just seven goals in seven games.
Alexandre Burrows: The refs shouldn’t look at any plays involving this guy based on his diving. It seems the refs looked the other way with Burrows got cross-checked by the net.
Raffi Torres: The third-liner has three shots on goal this series, but one of them went in to seal Game 1 for the Canucks. He has two assists in the last three games.
Roberto Luongo: The mechanic himself did not have success the last time he was at the Garden, and he might need to show up big after letting up 12 goals in Games 3 and 4. If Luongo were to clinch the Cup for the Canucks with a shutout Monday, that would be quite remarkable given that it would be his third this postseason.
|Alexandre Burrows has little to say about diving||06.12.11 at 2:22 pm ET|
Alexandre Burrows has been viewed as a villain in the Stanley Cup finals ever since he bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, and since then, he’s added to it by reinforcing his reputation as a “diver” — one who embellishes plays in an effort to draw penalties.
Burrows was penalized for diving as he tried to sell a slew foot from Milan Lucic late in the first period of Friday’s Game 5. In the third period, he took a cross-check that went uncalled, a potential sign that refs may be done participating in the game of did-he-or-didn’t-he when it comes to him diving.
Asked about his embellishing Sunday, Burrows had little to say.
“I don’t read you guys, so I could care less,” he said.
Asked whether he thinks he’s alone in trying to sell penalties or whether the Bruins do it as well (as they have at points), Burrows was just as quiet.
“I have nothing to say about that,” said Burrows.
Burrows chose not to comment directly on whether he feels referees are now ignoring him.
“The refs have a tough job to do already. It’s the Stanley Cup final,” Burrows said. “It’s not easy to make calls, and obviously my focus is if they call it, great. If they don’t call it, that’s their decision. I am supporting their decision. I’m going to forget about it and get ready for my next shift.”
With all that’s been made of the way Roberto Luongo has spoken about Tim Thomas, the biggest question is why Luongo’s doing it. Is he playfully joking around (as he was — no matter what you hear anywhere else — when he made his pre-series comments about Thomas playing the way he did when he was five years old), or is he intentionally taking jabs at the man who seems a shoo-in to win the Vezina and a safe bet to win the Conn Smythe?
Luongo’s recent comments came as a surprise here to this scribe, as he spent the day before media gushing with praise for Thomas. The talk of him pumping Thomas’ tires is correct, but why then, would he make the punk move of saying he would have saved Maxim Lapierre’s game-winner?
He can’t plead ignorance or claim it as a misunderstanding, as he’s as well-spoken and well-intentioned a guy a media member will deal with. What he says, he means, and it’s hard to imagine Luongo “accidentally” dissing another player when it seems that clear — and especially amongst all the talk of Thomas’ positioning.
One man in the Bruins’ locker room has some perspective when it comes to Luongo’s intentions, and though he claims to have not heard Luongo’s comments, Gregory Campbell said Sunday he can’t imagine his former teammate in Florida talking a mess with any malicious intent.
“I don’t know him as that type of person. I played with him for a year. I’m sure he has a lot of pressure on him as well, and he’s had to face a lot of critics in these playoffs, especially the last couple of games of late. Knowing him, I don’t think that’s his personality, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t think Timmy cares either. It’s not going to affect our hockey club one way or the other.”
Campbell and Luongo played together in the 2005-06 season with the Panthers and briefly the year before, when Campbell played two games.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally got in on the fun Sunday, providing the media with the closest thing he’ll give to partcipation in a war of of words with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Thomas has allowed a minuscule six goals in five games of the Stanley Cup finals, yet its been Luongo’s opinion of his style that has made the most headlines. After saying he would have saved the Maxim Lapierre shot that won the game for the Canucks in Game 5, Luongo noted Saturday that he has praised Thomas without hearing anything back.
Said Luongo Saturday: ‘I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven’t heard any one nice thing he’s had to say about me, so that’s the way it is.’
Thomas responded to Luongo’s comments Sunday after the team’s practice, saying that he as a goaltender respects other netminders, though he had some fun with the way he went about it.
“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said with a grin. “I guess I have to apologize for that.
“I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.”
|Bruins hold one last practice||at 11:40 am ET|
Assuming the B’s would not skate on Tuesday should they win Game 6, the Bruins held what it is most likely their last practice of the season Sunday at TD Garden. All parties were present, with Jordan Caron the fourth man on the second line with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Rich Peverley skated with the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
All eight defensemen were there as well, including Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy.
|Bruins-Canucks live blog: Maxim Lapierre makes it 1-0||06.10.11 at 7:51 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Join DJ Bean and a cast of other from Vancouver for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. The B’s are looking for their first series lead.
Orr has enjoyed staying close with the city of Boston since retiring and being a small part of this championship run.
“There are a lot of guys that are responsible for making hockey what it is in Boston,” Orr said. “I’m happy to be part of that. To be there the other night, the atmosphere was incredible. To see how this team has come along, how they’ve put it together. All season long they’ve had their bumps, but they’ve always answered the bell.
“The fourth game, in my mind, they just dominated every part of the game. They didn’t make a mistake. They were so solid. I thought they were even better in the fourth game than the third game. I think guys like [Milan] Lucic and [Zdeno] Chara played their very best games in the fourth game. I was so happy to be part of it, to watch this team. It’s been a thrill.”
Orr said that he’s not surprised the Bruins are two games from winning the Cup.
“They’ve shown so much character,” Orr said. “It’s wonderful to watch. And if you look, they’re getting something from everybody. Horton gets hurt, [Rich] Peverley steps in. [Michael] Ryder gets one the other night. Tim Thomas has been a star all year. [Brad] Marchand, this kid is incredible. This kid has played so so well. They’re getting production from everybody. Am I surprised? No, I’m not surprised.”
Orr joked that coach Claude Julien wouldn’t appreciate his offensive-minded playing style as he doesn’t fit the coach’s reserved game plan.
“Coach wouldn’t like me,” Orr said. “I don’t think he would like me taking off all the time. I was lucky. I played with a team that let me do my thing. I was owned by them when I was 14. If they have wanted me to change my style [they would have]. That’s the way I was most effective.”
Chara might play the same position as Orr, but he is as different a defenseman as they come. Orr spoke about Chara’s defensive abilities, as well as his length.
“Moving guys out of the way,” Orr said. “His reach. Nobody’s going to beat him on a one-on-one. He can keep it so far away from them. You’re not going to get close enough to him to get around him.”
Added Orr: “What you have to do is pick up his stick. ‘¦ I have a difficult time lifting it.”
Regarding Nathan Horton, who suffered a severe concussion in Game 3, Orr said that he is progressing.
“He’s doing fine,” Orr said. “Obviously he has headaches. ‘¦ Hopefully he’ll play and all the rest, but longterm health is what we’re concerned with now.”
“Certainly it was a late hit,” Orr said. “It was a high hit. It was an illegal hit. Those are the kind of hits we must get rid of. ‘¦ They must get rid of those high hits. I don’t understand why the players can’t body check. … Any hits to the head, accidental or not, have to be a penalty.”