|Rich Peverley does his best Nathan Horton and the Bruins are grateful||06.09.11 at 1:09 am ET|
After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.
And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.
Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.
“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”
Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.
“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”
What the Canucks lack in goals against Tim Thomas, they make up for with talk about him. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault and his players have had plenty to say about the Boston netminder all series. It started out in Vancouver when Vigneault questioned whether or not Thomas was entitled to ice outside his crease, and whether or not he should be allowed to have a clear path back to the crease. Vigneault said the refs were being too lenient by letting Thomas set up outside his crease, despite the fact that the NHL rulebook says a goalie is allowed to do that.
Then after Game 3, several Canucks players questioned whether or not Thomas’ check on Henrik Sedin was legal. The complaints about Thomas wandering from his crease continued as well.
So it should come as no surprise that the Canucks once again chimed in on what Thomas can and can’t do after Wednesday’s Game 4. This time the grievances were the result of a scrum late in the third. Alexandre Burrows slashed Thomas’ stick and leg while the Canucks were on the power play, so Thomas slashed him back. Burrows responded with a cross-check on Thomas and a scrum ensued.
Henrik Sedin, however, either didn’t see Burrows’ initial slash or he simply chose to ignore it, because he said after the game that he fully expects the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ antics next game.
“I’m sure the referees are going to take a look at that and look for it next game,” Sedin said. “It’s not the first time it happened and it’s not going to be the last time. I think the referees are looking at the same tape that we are.
“They’re going to do that for sure. They’re going to look at those tapes and they’re going to see what goes on with [Zdeno] Chara and Thomas in front, and they’re going to have to call those. It’s not going to continue.”
When asked to respond to everything the Canucks are saying about him, Thomas said he’s not worried about what they’re saying.
“I don’t think it was ever an issue to begin with,” Thomas said. “I think it was made an issue by the people that were talking about it. But in reality, it was never an issue.”
As for his slash of Burrows Wednesday night, Thomas offered a drastically different account than that of Sedin. Thomas said it was the Canucks who were doing the agitating all night and not getting called for it.
“They’d been getting the butt end of my stick, actually,” Thomas said. “They did it a couple times on the power play in the first period, also. … That was like the third time that [Burrows] hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I’d give him a little love tap and let him know, ‘I know what you’re doing, but I’m not going to let you do it forever.’ “
|Alain Vigneault still unhappy with Tim Thomas, talks to league||06.08.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault expressed frustration with Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas Wednesday, saying that he has spoken to the NHL about the way Thomas plays outside the crease and initiates contact with players. He also had a problem with Thomas’ hit on Vancouver center Henrik Sedin in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a hit that occurred in the crease.
“We’ve asked the league, obviously,” Vigneault said. “Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, he’s set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that.
“If we’re behind him, then that’s our ice. We’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact, like he did on Hank, and they’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”
Vigneault had also complained about Thomas after Game 1, in which Thomas drew a tripping call on Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows.
“I’ve really watched him a lot and seen the way he’s reacted. Every time he’s tested, he seems to bounce back. He’s a much more resilient probably person and athlete than he was a couple of years ago. I think he’s able to handle adversity. All that being said ‘¦ it’s tough after the game, because first of all, you’re competitive so you’re not ‘ embarrassed is not the right word ‘ but you’re a little humiliated, you’re humbled, and you’ve got to find a way to go forward.”
Pang said the Bruins would do well to make sure not to have any let-up in their aggressive approach so that Luongo has to prove himself immediately.
“I’m really interested to see the first 5-10 minutes,” he said. “No. 1, to see how much pressure Boston puts on him. No. 2, how confident he is in the net. Where his balance is at. Where his positioning is at. I’ve always found that if Roberto Luongo is falling down on his stomach, then that’s the time to pounce on him. Because it’s all about balance for me when I watch Roberto Luongo.
“Boston deserves a lot of credit. I thought they did an excellent job of finally getting inside. They finally put a little pressure on him. They screened him, they fired pucks high, they made it difficult for him. The first two games he was excellent, but I don’t think Boston put enough traffic or pressure in front of Roberto Luongo.”
The Bruins, coming off an 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, have a chance to tie the series up Wednesday in Boston. Thus far in the playoffs, the Bruins have followed up their first win of a series with another one the next day. Here is a preview of Game 4:
FOUR THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Figure out life after Nathan Horton, and fast: At the very least, David Krejci and Milan Lucic will be playing with someone they haven’t played with much this season, so they’ll need to click fast. Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley seem to be the best options.
– Beat them physically, but watch out: The refs are going to be on extra lookout for extra curricular stuff. The Canucks might want to entice the Bruins, but the B’s have to keep in mind that the other guys aren’t interested in fighting as much as they are in drawing penalties. As for the finger stuff, there probably aren’t many players who want to be the one that ends up costing his team a goal because he stuck his fingers in another players’ mouth.
– Keep the pedal to the metal on the power play: The Bruins have now scored power play goals in back-to-back games for just he second time this postseason. The other time occurred in Games 3 and 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.
– Treat it as a must-win: The Bruins can either tie the series or end up going to Vancouver down three games to one. It would be hard to imagine the B’s overcoming such a deficit, so the level of desperation has to be high on Wednesday night.
– The Canucks outshot the Bruins, 41-38, in Game 3. The B’s are now 10-4 in games in which they’ve been outshot. They had a 6-0 mark in such games through the first two rounds, and have gone 4-4 when being outshot the last two rounds.
– Tim Thomas allowed five goals in the team’s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. Since then, he’s allowed five goals over four games.
– Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts has had a negative rating in four of the five games he’s played this postseason. The 16:28 he played in Game 3 made for a postseason high. Part of that is a result of the team having five defensemen for all but five minutes of the game.
– Chris Kelly‘s goal in Game 3 was his first since removing the full cage from his helmet. Kelly had four goals while wearing the cage, but had gone 11 straight games without a goal, nine of which were cageless. Now, the curse of the cageless Kelly can be laid to rest.
FOUR PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
– Tyler Seguin: The rookie hasn’t registered a point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, and he hasn’t played particularly well since Game 3 of that series. Now his scoring ability is more of a need for the Bruins than a luxury with Horton out.
– Roberto Luongo: Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault didn’t want to pull Luongo, and Luongo didn’t want his coach to pull him on a night in which the floodgates opened wide. Now it’s a matter of how he bounces back. There’s no history to guide this one, as he had never allowed eight goals before, and the only time in which he allowed seven was Game 6 against the Blackhawks last year in the second round, a contest in which Vancouver was eliminated.
– Henrik and Daniel Sedin: It has to have dawned on the Sedin twins that they haven’t been their dominant selves this series. Aside from a two-point performance in Game 2 from Daniel, the Sedin twins have been kept off the scoring sheet. Daniel has an even rating this series, while Henrik has only a minus-1 rating and a big hit from Thomas in Game 3 to show for himself.
|Ray Ferraro on M&M: Alex Burrows should have been suspended||06.06.11 at 2:29 pm ET|
Former longtime NHL player Ray Ferraro, who now has a radio show in Vancouver and provides game analysis for Canadian television, joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday and offered a small dose of optimism for Bruins fans. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I think the Bruins can get back in the series tonight,” said Ferraro, who retired in 2002 after 18 NHL seasons and 898 points (408 goals). “I think if you played 100 games, I think the Canucks would win more. I really do. I think the Canucks are a deeper, better team. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to win this series. What it means is tonight is absolutely imperative to the Bruins. They lose, they don’t have a chance. They win, then they’ve got a chance. They give themselves a chance in Game 4 to even this series.
“I think the Bruins can win tonight. But they’d better be letter perfect, because the Canucks are a good road team.”
Ferraro said it’s important for the B’s to get off to a good start, and physical play from Shawn Thornton ‘ who has not dressed the first two games ‘ might help in that regard.
“I would make that move,” Ferraro said, adding: “If the Bruins are going to get back in the series — and really, without poo-pooing a 2-0 deficit, they haven’t really haven’t lost anything. They haven’t lost at home. At some point, they’ve got to win a game in Vancouver to win the series. Now, they’ve got to take care of their business here at home.
“They’re looking for an aggressive start. Well, Dan Paille is playing four minutes a game. So, if Shawn Thornton goes into the lineup in his place, the opportunity Thornton plays those four, five, six minutes ‘ and he had a good season for the Bruins ‘ he’ll give you some physical play. If I’m coaching, I’m really thinking about it. The only concern I would have is if the pace of the game is too fast for Thornton. You’ve got to make sure that he can keep up with the pace of play, because right now it is a track meet out on the ice. It is extremely fast.”
Canucks forward Alex Burrows had two goals and an assist in Game 2 after apparently taking a bite of Patrice Bergeron‘s finger in Game 1. Ferraro said he felt it was a suspendable offense.
“I do,” Ferraro said. “I’m on the radio in Vancouver and it wasn’t a real popular position. I’m not a fan of ‘ let me put it this way: I know there’s different standards for playoffs and regular-season games. I thought Nathan Horton should have been suspended for Game 7 [of the Bruins-Lightning series] for squirting a fan with a water bottle, because you get suspended in the regular season for that. And I thought Burrows should have been suspended for Game 2.
“The other thing, too, guys, is like, OK, so they decide not to suspend him. But for them to say there’s no conclusive evidence of him biting Bergeron ‘ I said on our show, if that’s the case then I want to rob a bank in the city of the NHL, because I’ll never get caught. How much more evidence do you need than that? He shouldn’t have been in the game. And then you’re right, it is the NHL’s worst scenario, that a player that shouldn’t be in the game goes and has such a direct impact on the outcome of the next game.”
NESN Bruins analyst and former defenseman Gord Kluzak called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Kluzak said that the Bruins could have won either of the first two games had they played slightly better.
‘I think they have had breakdowns at times that have really hurt,’ Kluzak said. ‘I think if they get back to what they can do ‘ and the model is Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay ‘ this thing is very winnable. I’m much more optimistic than I hear you guys were this morning.
“I don’t think Vancouver is as good as advertised. I’ve never been overly impressed with the Sedins. I think [Ryan] Kessler may be hurt, the way that [Johnny] Boychuk hit happened early on in Game 2. I didn’t think Kessler was the same player, and I think if you’re the Bruins you’re trying to be as physical as you can with him because he is the key, in my opinion. I think this is still very winnable. The Bruins obviously have to play near-perfect hockey, but I think they can do that.’
‘Chara up front in the power play is just a waste of energy and time,’ Kluzak said. ‘Look at the way Milan [Lucic] scored his goal. It was a rebound in front. Well, that’s what the power play is all about. That’s why you need him out there, and it doesn’t help you to have the guy that you rely on the most in your own zone up front of the net on the power play when you have a guy that’s probably better at it and would be more suited to it.’
Kluzak said he thought that Peverley’s speed ‘would open the ice up a little bit more for Bergeron.’
Kluzak said he did not think fatigue is an issue for Chara. ‘This is a guy who rides 110 miles on a bike through the mountains every summer day,’ Kluzak said. ‘This guy is the best-conditioned athlete I think I’ve ever seen.’
Despite Shawn Thornton‘s physicality, Kluzak said more playing time for the enforcer is not the answer for the Bruins.
‘The guy you would have to take out of the lineup is [Daniel] Paille, and Paille is an outstanding penalty-killer,’ Kluzak said. ‘He’s executed that, and I think you really need that skill set. You don’t want to use your better offensive players in that penalty-killing situation.’