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Brad Marchand on M&M: Open-ice style ‘nerve-racking’ 05.20.11 at 12:32 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

Rookie winger Brad Marchand joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning, hours after the Bruins took a 2-1 series lead over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals with a 2-0 Game 3 win. To hear the interview go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Following the 6-5 win in Game 2, the Bruins delivered a dominating defensive effort Thursday night.

“We weren’t very happy with how we were playing defensively. We wanted to clean it up a bit,” Marchand said. “Obviously, Timmy [Thomas] helped that a bunch. He played a great game and really kept us in it there when they had any opportunities. We really played tight defensively. We were really happy with how we played last game.”

Marchand said the open-ice style is not good for his mental state. “It’s so nerve-racking when you play that style,” he said of Game 2. “We were up by three goals, I think it was, and then they started to come back. I’ve never so nervous in a game the last few minutes there. We’re not very good at playing that way. We always get in trouble when we do. We’re more comfortable playing the relaxed, defensive style. … I’m a lot more calm in that way. it’s tough to play like that, especially with a team with so much skill, you can’t really keep up with them in that style.”

The return of center Patrice Bergeron was a huge boost to the B’s.

“I think someone was telling me at one point in the game his faceoffs were 18-6. That’s outrageous,” Marchand said. “It just shows how important he is on the faceoff dot. When you have a guy that’s winning draws like that, you get so many more opportunities offensively and you’re not chasing the puck as much and you’re starting with it all the time. It makes it really easy to play out there. That’s why he’s so important to our team.”

Rookie Tyler Seguin has made a huge impact in this series. Marchand said he’s not surprised, based on what he’s seen from the teenager on non-game days.

“He’s playing unbelievable,” Marchand said. “I remember even thinking to myself before the series started, when we knew he was going to play, he was one of our best players in practice every day. He was dominating in practice. I was really excited to see him play. It’s obviously showed. He’s played unbelievable the last three games. He’s a big part of our team right now.”

Marchand said Seguin has been handling his sudden fame well, although there was at least one incident when the youngster proudly soaked it all in.

Said Marchand: “Me and him and [Gregory] Campbell and [Dennis] Seidenberg went out to dinner and there was like five different TV ons, all on different stations, and at one point they were all talking about Segs at the same time. It was hilarious. Segs was loving it. He was laughing and pointing at the TVs.

“Everyone’s chirping him pretty hard about it. They’re trying to keep him calm. Obviously, it’s a very exciting time for him. And we want him to enjoy it. But at the same time, we need to make sure he’s focused for every game. But he’s doing a good job with that. He knows he’s got to get ready for each and every game. And he was last night. He played another great game last night. So, he did a good job following that game up.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Confident Patrice Bergeron: ‘It was time for me to be back out there’ at 1:32 am ET
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TAMPA — When doctors gave Patrice Bergeron the go-ahead, he was 100 percent confident that he would be 100 percent when he stepped on the ice Thursday night for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.

“I was confident that I was ready, and the doctors and trainers were in the same boat as me,” Bergeron said. “So, it was time for me to be out there.”

Most importantly, there was zero hesitation from his coach.

“Not at all, as far as the hit was concerned,” Claude Julien said. “If that would have been a concern, I don’t think we would have dressed him tonight. When we decided to dress him, he was 100 percent. And we felt confident about that.

So that hit certainly wasn’t a concern, and when I spoke to Patrice today, when he was cleared, my first question to him was, ‘Are you comfortable coming back?’ And there was no doubt in his mind. He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m ready to go.’ And that was something that was important, I guess, for everybody.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Juien, NHL
A relieved Tim Thomas happy to see B’s play ‘way I’m used to’ at 12:36 am ET
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TAMPA — Tim Thomas recorded his first shutout of the playoffs Thursday night as the Bruins beat the Lightning, 2-0, Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Afterward, Thomas credited the result on a return to the defensive system the team has played all season.

“It was kind of a product of the way the game goes in front of me,” Thomas explained. “So I was able to play more under control tonight, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that we played the way that I’m used to. So I felt comfortable in a game like that.”

Thomas turned away all 31 shots in posting his second career playoff shutout. Thomas said David Krejci‘s goal just 69 seconds into the game helped him and the whole team relax and settle into a defensive mindset.

“I think getting the first quick goal definitely helped the whole team,” Thomas added. “And then not just sitting back in the third but going out and getting that second goal made us able to stay relaxed and calm throughout the whole game.”

Thomas led the NHL in goals against (2.00) while setting a new NHL record for save percentage at .938.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, David Krejci, NHL
Claude Julien loves the way his team ‘bounced back’ in Game 3 at 12:07 am ET
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TAMPA — After his team recorded its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the the 2-0 win was more like the defensive battle everyone was expecting between the Bruins and Lightning in the Eastern Conference final. He added that he was also happy his team came out on the right end.

“I think tonight’s game probably resembles a lot more of what I think everybody expected from this series, two teams that make it hard for you to score, and I thought our team tonight was very good in regards to that,” Julien said. “We made some stronger plays, some better decisions, and seemed a little bit more aware out there of what was going on. So comparing it to last game where I thought it was pretty sloppy, I thought we bounced back well tonight.”

Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Lightning shots but the Bruins defense was strong all night, clearing most loose pucks away and bolstered by the return of the team’s best two-way player Patrice Bergeron.

“I really liked the way he played,” Julien said. “Obviously, you see the difference he can make for our hockey club faceoff-wise, but also his responsibility at both ends of the ice. His line was definitely better. His linemates obviously felt comfortable because they’ve been with him all year. So there was some chemistry there. And that certainly helped us tonight. I liked the fact that we had our four lines that were pretty stable and pretty good for us and very reliable.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Tim Thomas blanks Lightning, Bruins take 2-1 series lead 05.19.11 at 10:43 pm ET
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TAMPA — Tim Thomas blanked the Lightning in a 2-0 Bruins win at St. Pete Times Forum, giving the Bruins a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Lightning gave the Bruins’ netminder a run for his money in heavily outshooting the B’s in the third period, but Thomas and the Bruins held on for the 37-year-old’s first shutout of the postseason.

David Krejci opened the scoring for the Bruins, taking a feed from Milan Lucic and having all day to deke Dwayne Roloson in front to make it 1-0. The B’s scored again in the second period on a goal from Andrew Ference.

Both the B’s and Lightning went 0-for-3 on the power play, marking the first time this series that a special teams goal was not scored by either team.

The teams will square off for Game 4 in a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday before returning to Boston for Monday’s Game 5.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Krejci now has goals in back-to-back games, his second such streak of the postseason. The first-line center had goals in three straight games (four total goals) to kick off the second round. With seven playoff goals, Krejci now leads the team in the postseason and through 14 games has more than half the tallies he amassed a 13-goal regular season (75 games).

- After allowing 10 goals (one of which was an empty-netter) over the first two games of the series, the Bruins buckled down defensively. Dennis Seidenberg had a huge blocked shot when Thomas kicked a rebound off a Vincent Lecavalier shot right onto the stick of Martin St. Louis in front. Seidenberg got in the way to break up a golden opportunity, and it wasn’t the only case of a Bruins’ defenseman coming up big. A little more than six minutes into the game, a long pass through the neutral zone set up a 2-on-1 for Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. Zdeno Chara intercepted St. Louis’ pass to Lecavalier. Lucic had a big block in the third period when the game was 1-0 to keep the Bruins ahead.

- Another strong showing from unsung hero Ference, who fired the shot from the point on the goal that was somehow initially credited to Seguin. The puck slowly trickled through the pads of Roloson, though many in the press box were scratching their heads as to how Seguin factored into the scoring, as Chris Kelly was in front. Either way, it was created by a Ference shot that served as the latest reminder that it’s too bad that No. 21′s season has only gotten recognition as a result of gestures and comments about Daniel Paille.

- Kind of hard to believe it took this long given how solid he was late in the Montreal series and throughout the second round, but Thomas has his first shutout of the postseason. As WEEI’s Dale Arnold astutely pointed out on twitter, Thomas’ play this series is reminiscent of the first round when a couple of merely human games were followed by the Thomas people around Boston got used to in the regular season. It was Thomas’ first postseason shutout since May 10, 2010 when the B’s blanked the Hurricanes, 4-0, in Game 5 of the conference semifinals.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Scary moment for the B’s with about two and a half minutes to go in the first period. Krejci took a pass in the neutral zone and was absolutely leveled by Marc-Andre Bergeron. Krejci remained on the ice for a bit but went back to the bench rather than the quiet room. He did not play the rest of the period, while Bergeron went off for an elbow. Luckily for the B’s the center was out there for his line’s first shift in the second period.

- The Bruins got their big power play showing in Game 2, but Thursday night’s results did not mirror those of Tuesday’s two-goal showing. The B’s went 0-for-3 on the night and followed the postseason-long trend of getting progressively better. The B’s had just one shot on the power play that followed the Krejci hit, while a second-period man advantage thanks to a too-many-men call was cut short when Patrice Bergeron interfered with Adam Hall at the blue line to prevent the Tampa winger from having a shorthanded breakaway. The unit did look good the third time around, as a rocket from Seidenberg was among the three shots for the B’s.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, David Krejci, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Bruins-Lightning Game 3 preview at 2:10 am ET
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TAMPA – The Bruins can pick up their third straight road win and first series lead of the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 3 win Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum. The B’s might have momentum on their side, as they took a high-scoring contest Tuesday in defeating Tampa, 6-5. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Thursday’s game:

Michael Ryder had two goals Tuesday. (AP)

Three things the Bruins need to do:

- Keep Ryding the hot duo: Whether or not Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup, any shakeup should not include a separation of Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. The two have totaled five goals thus far in the series, and their chemistry is evident. The Lightning will try to be more physical to knock the rookie off his game, but Seguin simply needs to show that these games have given him more confidence. Expect him to stay with Ryder and Chris Kelly in Game 3.

- Extend the power play success: Who said this team stunk on the man advantage? Two goals in Game 2 (one of which came with one second remaining after the team failed to score on a 5-on-3) matched their postseason production on the power play entering the night, and there are certainly encouraging nights. Tomas Kaberle played better on the man advantage Tuesday, while Seguin was finally given the opportunity to contribute on special teams and did.

- Tighten it up: As much as Bruins fans can get on board with watching Tim Thomas come up big on multiple breakaway bids, the B’s would just rather they not happen at all. The Bruins could have had a much better defensive effort on Tuesday, and correcting it will lower the number of quality opportunities for the Lightning.

Three crazy stats:

- By scoring three goals on Dwayne Roloson Tuesday, the Bruins bumped the Lightning netminder out of the top spot in postseason goals against average and save percentage. The leader in both those categories now? Carey Price, who posted a 2.11 GAA and .934 in the first round against the B’s.

- The Bruins are 0-2 in games this postseason in which Nathan Horton fails to register a shot on goal. They’re 9-2 when he has at least one. Horton leads the B’s with 13 points, and his 34 shots on goal are second to Bergeron among forwards.

- Only two Bruins players have a minus-3 rating over the last three games. Those two players would be Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. Think they’d like to get Bergeron back?

Three key players:

- Patrice Bergeron: As fun as the Seguin Show was to watch on Tuesday, the Bruins aren’t kidding themselves here. They need Bergeron back, and after taking contact he could return to the lineup for one of the games in Tampa. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

- Dwayne Roloson: The Tampa goaltender was not as bad as the numbers were on Tuesday, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to being chased for the first time this postseason.

- Johnny Boychuk: The 27-year-old has goals in two of his last three games, but he was positively wretched in Game 2. Boychuk’s sloppiness resulted in a minus-3 rating that would have been worse had the puck he accidentally banked off the skate of Kaberle in front of the net gone in. He ended up playing only 16:06, his lowest time on ice total this postseason.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Dwayne Roloson, Johnny Boychuk
Barry Melrose on M&M: Shawn Thornton deserves to be in lineup 05.18.11 at 4:12 pm ET
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Barry Melrose

ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Melrose was quick to compliment the play of Bruins rookie center Tyler Seguin, who tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in Game 2.

“He certainly rode over the horizon at the right time on his white horse because Boston needed a spark and Seguin, in the last two games, has given Boston a spark,” Melrose said.

Seguin, who scored only 11 goals in the regular season, patiently waited for his opportunity and took full advantage of it in crunch time.

“He’s done everything right,” Melrose said. The kid’s kept his mouth shut. He’s never complained. He’s never gotten his agent involved. He’s never gone to the press. And when he got a chance to play in Game 1, bang, he was great. And then in Game 2, when they put him on the power play, bang, he scored.

“That’s what he has to do. He’s letting his actions speak for himself, and now Claude [Julien] has to play him. And the kid doesn’t hurt you defensively, he competes. Is he going to win the Selke award? No. But the guy who wins the Selke isn’t going to make the plays that Seguin is making either.”

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Middleton
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