|Guy Boucher goes back to Dwayne Roloson for Game 6||05.24.11 at 3:36 pm ET|
TAMPA — Maybe it’s because he didn’t like what he saw in Game 5. Or maybe it’s because he thinks Mike Smith is best coming off the bench. Or, maybe Guy Boucher wants the grizzled veteran in net for a do-or-die game with the team’s season on the line.
Whatever the real reason, Boucher announced Tuesday that he is going back to Dwayne Roloson as his starting goalie for the team’s do-or-die Game 6 against the Bruins Wednesday night at St. Pete Times Forum.
Boucher thought – with the series tied – it was time to give Roloson a blow and let him have the night off.
“He was the guy that took us here, and that’s how I felt before last game,” Boucher said Tuesday. “But like I said, I felt like it was time to give him a little breather. And at the same time I felt that Smitty played really well. So it’s a perfect situation to put Smitty in. If something were to go wrong in the previous game, put a new goaltender in for a do-or-die, I don’t think it would have been a good moment for anybody.
So this is a perfect situation. He’s going to be the only rested guy on the two teams.”
Boucher is convinced that Roloson – at the age of 41 – will come back refreshed on Wednesday night.
“He’s had tremendous stretches with us,’ Boucher said. “And I remember there was one time where it wasn’t going so well. We gave him two days off and he came back and he was outstanding after.
So he’s like everybody else. He puts — he’s one of the hardest working guys on our team. He puts in a lot of hours and a lot of time. And he’s like everybody else, at some point or another just needs to breathe a little bit.
“He needed a little break like everybody else. Whether you’re a goaltender, defenseman or forward, I know players on both sides are getting more tired as the series are evolving. And it’s normal. Everybody’s expecting that. And your most important player is your goaltender. So he’ll be rested.”
After relieving Roloson in goal in Games 2 and 4, Mike Smith made his first career playoff start and stopped 17 of 19 shots before Rich Peverley‘s empty-net goal with 12.1 seconds left sealed Monday’s Game 5 win for the Bruins.
Roloson entered the Eastern Conference finals against Boston with a playoff-leading 2.01 goals against average. That has skyrocketed to 2.52 as the Bruins beat him six times in Game 2 to tie the series and then chased him in Game 4 last Saturday. In Game 4, Roloson stopped just six of nine shots before being pulled with two minutes left in the first period when Patrice Bergeron scored shorthanded.
Smith entered the game and stopped all 21 shots he faced, allowing the Lightning to rally to a 5-3 win and even the series before Monday night’s 3-1 Bruins win.
Claude Julien is on the verge of taking his Bruins to a place no one has in 21 years. It’s a place he won’t mention by name by it starts with “Stanley” and ends with “Cup finals”.
And after Monday’s 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Eastern finals, he’s more than prepared for all the questions he’ll be hearing about it over the next two days.
“Well it’s going to take, and you’ve heard it before, it’s almost a clichÃ©, it’s going to take our best game. When a team’s got its back against a wall, it comes out with the best of efforts and this is where we have to make sure that next game, as I mentioned here earlier, we can’t be tight,” Julien said. “We’ve got to out there and play with a purpose and be ready to go out there and play hard.
“Maybe put them on their heels and maybe get them to play tight. But this is the position you want to be in obviously, up in the series. We’ve got two games here to win one. Our goal right now is not to play Game 7. And I know their goal is to create a Game 7. So, there’s a difference between the two teams.”
Julien doesn’t want to see his team feel the pressure in Game 6 the way they did in the first period Monday night.
“I just think we need to understand we’ve got the lead in this series. And we’ve got to go out there and play without playing on our heels. When you’ve got the lead like that you should go out and play on your toes, not your heels, and if you play well enough, maybe you put the other team on their heels. I didn’t say we are groining to put them on their heels, I said the goal is to play well and try to play as well as you can. And they’ve got their backs against the wall, so this is our opportunity here to come up with our best effort of the series.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Thomas: Bolts first goal actually made me ‘relax’||at 12:43 am ET|
It was the most sensational save of a sensational season for Tim Thomas.
With 10:40 left in the third period and the Bruins holding a 2-1 lead, an Eric Brewer missed shot off the boards from the point meant Steve Downie had an open net for a game-tying tap-in. Then Thomas and his stick appeared at the very last possible moment. Thanks to that brilliant save and 32 others, the Bruins won, 3-1, and are on the doorstep of their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1990.
And to think Thomas actually credits the spectacular save and phenomenal game – in part – to the only goal he allowed on the night. The score 69 seconds into the first by Simon Gagne – of course – might have made the crowd and Bruins fans everywhere really nervous. It had the opposite effect on Thomas.
“Well, two things happen,” Thomas explained. “One, the thought crosses your mind that, oh, I got to bear down even if it’s another two-on-one I got to find a way to make the save because we can’t afford to get down 2-0. The teams are too tight and the games are too tight for that to happen, so that thought is in there.
“The second thing that happens is actually in a funny way to start to relax a little bit and I don’t know how it works but it kind of works that way for me. I don’t want to let in an early goal, obviously, but I’ve had experience with it in the past and for some reason, sometimes it can relax me and that’s kind of the effect it had tonight. It was just kind of like I’m going to have to work hard and do the best I can to not let them get any further way and to give us a chance to win.” Read the rest of this entry »
|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.
TAMPA — Despite coming on and stopping all 21 shots he face to help his team come back from an early 3-0 hole, Lightning goalie Mike Smith doesn’t think he’ll get the call to start Game 5 Monday night in Boston. Smith came on with 2:02 left in the first period after Dwayne Roloson allowed a shorthanded goal to Patrice Bergeron, the third against him in nine shots.
“No, I don’t think so,” Smith said when asked directly if he thinks he’ll start Game 5. “It’s one game. Rollie has got us this far and he’s played outstanding in the playoffs. I don’t doubt that he comes back and plays really well for us. I have no doubt in my mind that he rebounds from a game like this.”
Smith’s coach, Guy Boucher, was far less definitive while hinting that he’s leaning toward starting Roloson in Game 5 since he’s still the Lightning’s No. 1 goalie.
“We just finished this game,” Boucher said. “We’re happy we just beat a terrific team and we’re just happy that we were a lot harder to play against today. And Smitty was part of it, and Roloson is. It doesn’t change the status.”
That answer followed a much longer and complicated response to the same question moments earlier.
“We have a our No. 1 goaltender. He’s taken us to this place right now,” Boucher said. “And that’s the reason why we’re here. And we have our [backup]. Smitty has been terrific. He’s had a [save percentage] average of over .940 since Dec. 15. And the fact that Rollie came in certainly helped him with pressure and poise and all that. And whenever he was asked to play since Roloson has been here, he’s been terrific. I mean, he’s just been terrific.
This was the second time in three games in the series that Mike Smith came on with the Lightning down three goals. He started the third period in Game 2, with the Lightning down, 6-3. Tampa Bay scored twice in the third and nearly pulled off the comeback.
Saturday, he came in with 2:02 left in the first and was around as the Lightning did complete the comeback.
“So, whenever it’s time for him to help the team and try to change momentum around, I don’t hesitate. It was the same in Boston,” Boucher said. “We put him in. He didn’t get scored against in the third period. We were trying to come back. He played well again. So, I don’t remember the last bad game he’s played. So obviously, when there’s an opportunity to help the team try and turn things around, we’re not afraid to use him. He did a good job today.”
And, presumably, he’ll be available out of the Lightning bullpen on Monday night at TD Garden.
TAMPA — Patrice Bergeron scored twice in the first period, including a shorthanded tally with 2:02 left in the opening 20 minutes that put the Bruins up, 3-0. Then he watched as the Bruins lost all of their momentum in the second period and gave up five unanswered goals in a 5-3 loss to the Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at St. Pete Times Forum.
“It was perfect first period,” Bergeron said. “We stopped battling, we stopped being hard on the forecheck which is what gave us success in the first period. in the second, we sat back, they have too much speed and too much firepower up front to do that.”
Bergeron’s two goals came as the Bruins won nearly every aspect of the game in the first period.
“It was more execution,” Bergeron said. “We weren’t executing at all. The good thing about this is we [can] put it behind us and go back home and worry about that fifth game. That being said, we have to be a lot better.
“They’re a good a team but we were on our heels and we didn’t find a way to get back to what was giving us success. Once we did that, we had some good shifts that’s because we were first on the puck. Tonight was just a matter of we stopped playing. I don’t think it was anything else than that. We let them come back in the game. They’re a good team and if we do that, they will score.”
|Tim Thomas: Bolts ‘took over and outplayed us’||at 5:39 pm ET|
TAMPA — After blowing a 3-0 lead to the Lightning in a 5-3 loss in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, Tim Thomas said the Bruins were simply a victim of their own mistakes and lack of hustle.
“We got outworked,” Thomas said. “They took over, they outplayed us, they started getting scoring chances and we stopped getting scoring chances.”
Midway through the second, Thomas had a 3-0 lead and stopped the first 14 shots he faced before the Lightning scored on three of their next five shots in the period to tie it. Thomas said it won’t do the Bruins any good to look back on the Game 4 collapse but rather focus on Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.
“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “It’s 2-2. I don’t know what the use of worrying about that would be but I think the focus should be oin winning the next game.”
Game 6 is scheduled for Wednesday back in Tampa.
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