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Bruins prepare for Lightning strikes without Patrice Bergeron 05.12.11 at 1:35 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron was again absent from Bruins practice on Thursday as he continues to recover from a mild concussion suffered in the Game 4 series-clinching win last Friday against the Flyers.

“All I can say is he keeps progressing on a daily basis,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Bruins practice Thursday. “He hasn’t been on the ice or done any of that stuff yet so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that thing will be clear and more optimistic as we move forward.”

Bergeron, who has yet to take part in any physical on-ice or off-ice activity, sustained a concussion when Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux finished a check in the Bruins defensive zone early in third period. Bergeron had a difficult time get up from the ice and making his way to the bench. It was the third concussion he’s had in his career in Boston, the second since his most severe concussion when he was checked into the board’s by then-Flyers defenseman Randy Jones in Oct. 2007.

The Bruins are preparing to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at TD Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals without Bergeron available, as Chris Kelly has taken Bergeron’s spot with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi on the team’s second line.

Tyler Seguin is also preparing for his first taste ever of NHL playoff action as he has been placed on the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Giroux, Claude Julien
Bruins-Lightning open up Saturday night at TD Garden 05.10.11 at 1:20 pm ET
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The NHL announced Tuesday that the Bruins will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.

Both teams will be well-rested since they swept their respective conference semifinal series. The Bruins beat the Flyers in four straight, concluding their sweep last Friday night. They will have had seven days off before playing Saturday. The Lightning will be playing on even more rest, eliminating the Capitals on May 4 in four straight, a span of nine days between games.

Game 2 will also be in Boston Tuesday night at 8 p.m. before the series shifts to St. Petersburg for Games 3 and 4. The Lightning host the Bruins Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET and Saturday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET at the St. Pete Times Forum.

If necessary, Game 5 is set for Monday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET in Boston, while Game 6 will be back in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, May 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and Game 7 will be played in Boston on Friday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Bruins have also released a limited number of tickets for Games 1, 2 and 5.

Tickets are available for purchase at the TD Garden Box Office, on www.bostonbruins.com or via phone by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. The Bruins say a limited number of tickets will likely be released from various NHL and team holds between now and the start of each game.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning
How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning 05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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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.

There was nothing from Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolay Zherdev, an injury-slowed Jeff Carter, a nicked-up Chris Pronger and Scott Hartnell. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Danny Briere
Claude Julien knows ‘toughest games are yet to come’ as Bruins seek Lord Stanley at 1:15 am ET
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As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.

“Well, it’€™s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’€™s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.

“I thought we played extremely well. It’€™s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’€™s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”

The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Milan Lucic plays hero in win over Lightning 03.03.11 at 9:28 pm ET
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Milan Lucic kept up his recent hot streak and improved the Bruins’ win streak to seven games by scoring the game-winning goal at 16:18 of the third in a 2-1 victory over the Lightning at TD Garden.

Lucic, who had eight points over the B’s recent six-game road trip, fired a wrist shot past both a mess of bodies and Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at an odd angle to give him his 28th goal of the season and the Bruins a big victory. With the win, the Bruins now lead the Lightning by two points for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Eric Brewer opened the scoring in the game, beating Tim Thomas at 4:04 of the second for his ninth goal of the season. Steven Kampfer responded with his his fifth of the season at 6:06. Kampfer would later take a big hit in the corner from Mattias Ritola and not return to the game.

Thomas made 27 saves and picked up the victory, improving to 29-8-6 on the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Kampfer did a good job of both redeeming himself and scoring his first goal in quite a while. After his turnover in the Bruins’ zone led to Brewer’s goal, he responded in short order by beating Smith with a snapshot from the point to tie the score at one. It was Kampfer’s fifth goal of the season, and first since Jan. 13. His status after leaving the game, however, is unclear.

– It was a good home debut for Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, both of whom have been able to strike up good chemistry on their line with Michael Ryder. Both Kelly and Peverley, donning home sweaters for the first time at TD Garden, were credited with a helper on Kampfer’s goal and were a plus-1 on the night.

Johnny Boychuk was crushing people. He laid a huge hip check on Nate Thompson in the third and followed it up with a big hit in the corner on Blair Jones.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– When things get chippy between the Bruins and their opponents, the obvious way to settle it is by dropping the gloves. The Lightning aren’t that kind of team (they’re 27th in the league in major penalties while the B’s are 4th), and it seemed the only way the B’s could find a fight was to wind up shorthanded. That was the case in the second period, when a Nathan Horton trip and Lucic roughing penalty resulted in Lucic dropping the gloves with Brewer. The B’s wound up having to kill a 5-on-3, but they did so successfully.

– Once again, the power play looked very good despite the fact that it didn’t get results. Still, sooner or later, results are how that facet must be judged. The B’s were 0-for-3 on the man advantage Thursday, and they’re now 1-for-16 since acquiring Tomas Kaberle, who looked good in keeping the puck in during Brewer’s high sticking penalty but also sent the puck out with a blind pass. Still, the unit appeared to be vastly improved, and it’s hard to imagine results not coming in the near future.

– Smith entered the game with a 3.20 goals against average, but he sure didn’t play like it. The Lightning netminder came up with huge saves throughout the night, robbing Patrice Bergeron in the first, Horton on a breakaway in the second and Brad Marchand in the slot in the third.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic, Rich Peverley
Bruins hold off Lighting for third straight 02.11.10 at 10:16 pm ET
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Summary — The Bruins scored four first period goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the streaking Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay on Thursday. Michael Ryder had two goals and an assist in the first and Milan Lucic added to tip-in goals to pace the Bruins attack. Tuukka Rask won his third straight game for Boston with 30 saves and now has earned points in five straight. The Lightning came back on Boston with two second period goals and another in two in the third before the Bruins were able to put the game away.

Antero Niittymaki let in the four first period goals on 21 shots before being pulled for Mike Smith to start the second.

Ryder almost had a natural hat trick in the first. He got an assist on Lucic’s first goal with a shot from the point that the big forward deflected on its way passed Niitymaki. Ryder scored twice later in the period with the first coming courtesy of a give-and-go on the rush with Blake Wheeler and then another on the power play off a shot from Marc Savard to make it 4-0.

Lucic was credited for his second of the game in the second period when the Bruins made it 5-0. Lucic tipped a shot off a turn-and-blast from Zdeno Chara in the high slot that found its way through Smith’s pads.

The Lightning came back late in the second on the power play when Martin St. Louis picked up two goals in the final four minutes as the Bruins picked up a couple questionable penalties. Steve Downie scored the third and fourth goals for Tampa Bay in the third period.

Three Stars

Michael Ryder — The Bruins winger had his 15th career three-point game and has eight goals in nine career games against Niittymaki. His two goals give him 15 on the season.

Milan Lucic — The big bodied Bruin got credit for two goals on the night with deflections in front of the Lightning net. Lucic now has five goals on the year.

Martin St. Louis — Tampa Bay’s veteran forward had two second period goals and now has seven in the Lightnings’ last six games.

Turning Point

Boston’s third goal of the game was one of the best of the year for the Bruins. Ryder tipped a backhand tip pass to Wheeler who immediately gave it back to catch Niitymaki completely out of position. Ryder rammed the puck home and followed it with a trip/dive into the net to give the Bruins the 3-0 lead. Boston had taken 2-0 leads in its past four games but this was the first time in a long time that the Bruins were able to take a three-goal advantage in the first period.

Key Play

Lucic scored his second of the game on a tip in the second period to make it 5-0. The goal become important as the Lighting would score four straight through the end of the second period into the third to make it a one-goal game with 8:51 left before the Bruins were able to put it away.

Read More: Martin St. Louis, Michael Ryder, Milan Lucic, Steve Downie
Bruins up three after two at 9:22 pm ET
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Most everything is going right for the Bruins.

Boston made it 5-0 at 4:53 in the second when Zdeno Chara whipped a turn-and-blast shot from the high slot that was tipped by Daniel Paille and Milan Lucic on its way passed Mike Smith. Lucic got the credit for the goal, his second of the game and fifth on the year. The two-goal game is the fourth of his career. Smith replaced Antero Niittymaki to start the period after the top line goaltender let in four goals on 17 shots in the first period.

Chara would get a little nasty with Steve Downie later in the period when Downie tried to get in the captain’s face. Downie had been an instigator in the first period when he got a roughing major for trying to pick a fight with Miroslav Satan (the penalty would lead to Boston’s fourth goal). When Downie tried the same thing with Satan’s country mate (both hail from Slovakia) Chara let him know that he will not tolerate people messing with his teammates. Satan did not return to the ice for the second period.

Things started to unravel a little bit late in the period. Martin St. Louis got the Lightning on the board at 16:10 when he beat Tuukka Rask to break up the shutout on the power play. In the last minute of  Bruins took a couple of penalties (Michael Ryder and David Krejci) along with one from the Lightning (Todd Fedoruk) to set up a 4-0n-3 that Tampa took advantage of with another goal from St. Louis at the 19:03 mark.

End of second period. 5-2 Bruins.

Shots through second (total):

Boston — 5 (26)

Tampa Bay — 9 (22)

Read More: Martin St. Louis, Mike Smith, Steve Downie, Tampa Bay Lightning
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