|Claude Julien: ‘We’re a very focused group right now’||05.22.13 at 12:06 am ET|
In the wake of a 2-1 win in Game 3 that leaves them one win from the Eastern Conference finals, Bruins coach Claude Julien says he can sense his team has found its groove.
'We're a very focused group right now, and the challenge is to stay there.' Julien said. 'After the second period, we're playing a good road period. I thought with a couple of breaks in the first period, we could've been ahead. We didn't care if we had to go to overtime, we just wanted to get that first goal.
'There's no doubt. I don't only see it on the ice, I feel it in the dressing room everywhere else. The Jekyll and Hyde thing I haven't seen since midway through the Toronto series.'
Since falling behind 4-1 with 11 minutes left in the third period of Game 7 against Toronto, the Bruins have outscored the competition 14-3 while winning four straight games.
The Bruins also handed New York its first home ice loss of the playoffs after the Rangers won Games 3, 4 and 6 on Madison Square Garden ice in the first round against Washington.
'You have to be proud of your team,' Julien said. '[Playing] a Rangers team that hadn't lost here in a long time, playing well here in the playoffs. We had to be better. We're playing well and eventually get that goal and it came.'
|Claude Julien on Game 3: ‘It’s what we expect from ourselves’ that matters||05.21.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien is convinced that the outcome of Game 3 won’t hinge on the desperation of the Rangers as much as it will from the execution of his own team.
The Rangers are in the same 0-2 hole heading into tonight’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden that they were in the first round against the Capitals, while the Bruins find themselves two wins away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
“Doesn't matter, I think it's what we expect from ourselves,” Julien said. “That's the thing, we always worry about the other team; we need to worry about ourselves. When we play well, we're a good team and we give ourselves a chance to win. It's more about our expectations right now, that has to be the important topic for us. We need to, obviously, understand they're going to be better; we also need to be better. We're on the road, we don't get the last change, so it will be a tougher situation.”
One thing the Bruins know they must cut down is the number of turnovers. They committed 16 on Sunday in Game 2, and two of them led to New York’s only two goals of the game. The Rangers committed just one, and still the Bruins dominated in a 5-2 win.
“Oh, I think it was us,” Julien said when asked if the turnovers were self-inflicted. “When you look at some of those turnovers, David Krejci, just inside the blue line, turns around and it's intercepted; you could see it coming from the bench. You could see the passes from our end on their sticks. A lot of that stuff was of our own doing. I think we can be better in that area, although we played a pretty game, I think most of those things came in the second period. We just have to be a little bit better. I thought our third period was much better in regards to puck management.”
“I thought our transition game has been better,” Julien said. “Obviously, the young guys have been doing that, but so have our veterans that were in our the lineup the last couple of games. That's been pretty consistent from our back end, so that's helped a lot. Those guys are part of that group; they seem to have enough poise to make the right plays, so it's helped our game a lot.”
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|Bruins’ little big man Torey Krug proving he belongs on big stage||05.20.13 at 9:49 am ET|
Every year, a player comes out of no where to become a big factor in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That man for the Bruins this year so far is 5-foot-9 Torey Krug.
He did it again on Sunday. He scored the game’s first goal in the first period, beating Henrik Lundqvist. He did it again on the second goal, pinching in from his perch on the left point and firing a shot on goal that led to a rebound that was put away by Gregory Campbell.
Krug has been instant offense at the blue line for the Bruins. For a 22-year-old rookie in his second NHL playoff game, Krug looks like a trusty veteran.
“Yeah, well I've said it time and time again, I come into this locker room, very comfortable, calm,” Krug said after Sunday’s 5-2 rout of the Rangers in Game 2. “I get to watch some of the best professionals in the world prepare for games like this, as if it's any other game. So, I have a lot of guys to lean on and they all give me confidence back. So, it's unbelievable.”
What is so very striking about Krug is his confidence with the puck. Much like Dougie Hamilton displayed early in the season, Krug looks like he wants the puck at every chance, either rushing up the ice or setting up on the power play. Why is that?
“Well I'm a player. I'm 5-9, I'm not very big, I have to play with the puck to be an impact player,” he answered. “So, for me, you've got to be confident with the puck. If I'm not making plays, I'm not going to be effective and guys are going to go out there and they're just going to find a 6-2 guy that can do the same thing without the puck. So, you just got to be confident and play with the puck.
On his goal, he managed to use his skates to control the puck, setting up the shot on his stick.
“That's a skill that sometimes you work on it after practice,” he said. “You don't have to work on it too much. It's just a couple of extra reps here or there at the end, picking up pucks with your feet. So, it's just something that I try to do, and I was lucky enough that it bounced my way.”
And his set-up of Campbell’s goal?
“It's the same thing,” he said. “All that comes with confidence and being calm. If you're freaking out, out there because the pucks not exactly where it is, you're going to get yourself in trouble.”
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|Henrik Lundqvist on Bruins Game 2 win: ‘We gave it to them’||05.19.13 at 10:24 pm ET|
In the eyes and mind of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Bruins didn’t take command of Game 2 and the series as much as the Rangers and their defense gave it to them.
“We gave it to them, we know,” Lundqvist said. “I thought we played great, we just, I didn't think they had to work really hard to get a couple of goals there. We just made it really tough on ourselves. We just have to correct a few things and go home and turn this around. It doesn't matter the score, it's a loss. Overtime or 5-2, it doesn't matter.”
Lundqvist was burned badly on yet another odd-man rush ending with Patrice Bergeron feeding Brad Marchand, just like the overtime game-winner in Game 1. This time, the Bruins used the Marchand goal 26 seconds into the third to take a 4-2 lead and all but seal their 2-0 lead, with the series shifting to New York for Game 3 Tuesday night.
“We did play well, we just made some mistakes,” Lundqvist said. “And like I said, it didn't feel like they had to work really hard to get a couple of goals. So we just have to talk it through and be a little bit sharper on a few things, but a lot of things we did well.”
“This game was about tracking down pucks, and it was tough. A lot of late guys coming in, dragging the puck through the slot with guys in front of me, you just have to try to work hard to find pucks. It was definitely a tough game to play, no question.”
Lundqvist is hurting, and not just his ego. He took a shot to the shoulder in the third period that left a mark.
“It’s my shoulder,” Lundqvist added. “We’ll see. We’ll take a look at it.”
Lundqvist was the man who led the Rangers out of the darkness when they faced an identical 0-2 hole in the first round against Washington. Can they do it again?
“We have to look at it that way; we've done it before,” Lundqvist said. “But I think we are playing a better team now, so it's going to be tough to do it. They're a solid team and you can't give them too much. They work hard and they pay attention to all the details in the game and that's why they have been so successful so far in these two games.”
“I thought I was in position, but a couple of screens and when you give up five goals you can't be satisfied, obviously. You have to look at the way they scored goals, too. It's about teamwork out there, and today it didn't really work for us. We just have to talk it through and I have to better and the guys in front of me have to step it up as well.”
What needs to change for the Rangers in Game 3?
“We'll see,” Lundqvist said. “A lot of things were good today. But if you lose 5-2 you can't be satisfied, that's the bottom line.
“I think playing the Bruins is about paying attention to details in the game and I think they have been the better team in that department. All the details in the game, they play a solid team game and so do we, but when you lack that little bit it's a tough game. But I'm confident and I'm going to go home and try to play a strong game in the next one.”
There were no FCC violations during his postgame presser. There were no explosions. There was a little agitation with one reporter’s question, but other than that, John Tortorella demonstrated good behavior after his team was dismantled 5-2 in Game 2 Sunday at TD Garden. The loss puts his Rangers in a 2-0 series hole, but it’s a familiar spot for Tortorella’s Rangers, who were down 2-0 to the Capitals before Henrik Lundqvist got hot and the Rangers won four of the next five to save their season.
“Listen, we don't want to lose two games here,” the Rangers taskmaster said. “No one does. But there's no give in the team. There will be no give in this team. Again, we need to go win a game. Not look anywhere else, just try to win our first home game this series.”
What gave Torts hope that his team can rebound in Game 3 Tuesday night in New York?
“If you're talking about the latter part of the first, second period, I think that's the way we have to play. And I think we can. I think we can sustain that,” Tortorella said.
The Rangers outshot the Bruins 16-9 in the second period and had three shots on a power play that now is 2-for-34 in the playoffs. But then the Rangers allowed a goal from Johnny Boychuk on a wrister to the left of Lundqvist and a two-on-one breakdown goal to Brad Marchand 26 seconds into the third that left Tortorella shaking his head.
“The third and fourth goals are defendable,” Tortorella said. “We made coverage mistakes. Our second period is where we want to be. We can't put it in the net. We had multiple chances. We felt really good going into the third, and to have that type of goal go in on just a two-on-two, it hurts you. And then they're just going to fill the middle and they're just going to jam you, so we couldn't generate much more.”
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|Claude Julien on heavy minutes for Zdeno Chara: ‘Right now, we don’t have a choice’||05.17.13 at 3:47 pm ET|
One of the by-products of having three regular defensemen out of the lineup and injured is putting a heavy burden on others.
No where has the burden fallen more heavily than on the shoulders of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Claude Julien admitted as much on Friday, a much-needed day of rest for Chara, who logged 38 minutes of ice time in the Game 1 overtime win, three days after skating nearly 36 minutes in a Game 7 win against the Leafs.
Is Julien concerned?
“Well, he's done it twice in a row now, when you look back at Game 7 and [Thursday],” Julien said. “We're including overtime in that session, as well. He's in great shape, he's got a couple of days here to recover, so I don't see that being an issue. To be honest with you, right now we don't have a choice. You deal with it the best way you can.”
In addition to scoring the first goal of the game, Chara’s poke check in the Bruins zone set Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand off on the game-winning rush in overtime Thursday. Those two feats, combined with the 38 minutes on the ice earned him the Army Captain’s Bruins jacket for hero of the game.
“I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can and whatever coach feel comfortable putting out there, I'm fine with that,” Chara said.
Chara has been instrumental in helping rookies, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski in their first NHL playoff experience. He started the game Thursday paired with Hamilton. There is the chance that some combination of Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden return for Game 2 Sunday but until then, Chara and the Bruins will have no choice but to be prepared.
“You try to obviously try to talk to them on the ice as much as you can,” Chara said. “[The] coaches [are] doing their part so, and also you've got to let them play, the way they naturally like to play. So, that's the biggest thing, but like I said it's something that's never easy for any player to come in and all of a sudden be put in a spot like this and you got to make sure that as a unit of five we all play a certain way to make it easier on certain situations.”
For the second straight year, Henrik Lunqvist is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goaltender. As a matter of fact, Lundqvist is making a very strong case as one of the greatest goalies ever to play the game. Before winning the Vezina Trophy in 2012, he was nominated in each of his first three seasons, and is the only goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons.
And, for a second straight year, he has led his team into the second round of the playoffs by standing on his head. He came into Thursday’s Game 1 with back-to-back shutouts of the Capitals in Games 6 and 7 to lead the Rangers to victory. He extended that streak to 152 minutes, 23 seconds before Zdeno Chara beat him midway through the second period.
He stopped 45 of the first 47 shots he faced Thursday night, including the first 15 of overtime before Brad Marchand finally beat him in overtime for a 3-2 Bruins win in Game 1.
Lundqvist was searching for answers after Game 1, while hinting that he can only do so much if his offense doesn’t do anything to help take the pressure off. The Rangers were outshot, 16-5, in the extra period.
“I don't know,” Lundqvist said when asked to describe the Marchand goal. “There was a two-on-one I guess, and I thought I made a bad decision. I mean it's a tough play, but I could play it better. That was a tough overtime for us. We didn't really get going, and they came out with a lot of energy and created a lot of chances. I thought we played a pretty good game. We did, but special teams were the difference, the one at one-nothing and then, I mean that's going to be the case these playoffs. I talked about it in the first round and we've got to get it done. We didn't.”
As is the case with most highly competitive athletes, he was looking for ways he could’ve done more to stop the game-winning goal, set up by a brilliant pass from Patrice Bergeron on a 2-on-1 rush up the center and right wing. Lundqvist stayed with Bergeron a bit too long, allowing Marchand the chance to get open in front.
“I've got to see the guy in the middle,” Lundqvist said. “I was too focused on the puck. I kind of knew he [Brad Marchand] was coming in the middle, but I just was too locked in on the puck, and that's why I made a stretch move instead of coming with my pads together. It's a technical thing and it happened fast. Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you're going to make a mistake. It's not a mistake I'm going to sleep less over. I thought we played a solid game, but we just came up short here, in overtime again.”
What did his coach John Tortorella think of Lundqvist being so hard on himself? Read the rest of this entry »
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