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Claude Julien has the back of Jaromir Jagr: ‘That was vintage Jagr’ 05.06.13 at 11:09 pm ET
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Everyone knew Jaromir Jagr was due to break out.

He picked a very good time to do exactly that as Claude Julien had his patience in the 41-year-old superstar rewarded in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3 of their first-round series at Air Canada Centre.

Heading into Game 3, the line of Jagr, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly hadn’t done much. They were struggling to find a rhythm in the first two games. Jagr was weakened heading into the playoffs by flu-like symptoms, cutting down on the amount of time he could spend generating any type of chemistry with teammates.

That changed 5:57 into the second period when he stripped the puck behind the Leafs net and found Peverley all alone in front of James Reimer for the goal that made it 2-0 Bruins.

“It’s my job to make the excuses, and I made the excuses for them because I felt it was right,” Julien said. “Jags hasn’t been feeling that great and he had to turn a corner here and, at the same time, he had new line mates that hadn’t played much together so it’s just a matter of giving him some time. Sometimes, you have to be patient and I’m more of a patient guy that I am someone who’s going to panic, and tonight it paid off because I thought they were a real good line for us.

“It speaks a lot to Jags. It doesn’t matter how old he is or how long he’s been in the league. It doesn’t matter how much he’s accomplished. He’s a real proud competitor and he takes everything at heart. And the fact that he hadn’t been doing as much as he would’ve like to because of circumstances, he was determined to be a difference-maker tonight and help our team. I thought he did a great job. And the other two guys were a lot more comfortable with him tonight. And again, talking and practicing together certainly helped. He’s strong on the puck, and I know every time he has it, they need one or two guys on him to take it away and that means somebody’s open. He does a great job of that and I thought he was on top of his game tonight.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Jaromir Jagr, Milan Lucic
Postgame notes from Bruins 5, Leafs 2 in Game 3 at 10:18 pm ET
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Courtesy Boston Bruins media relations, here are some postgame notes from the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Leafs in Game 3.

‘€¢ The Bruins now have an 18-16 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

‘€¢ The B’s Game 4 record when leading a best-of-seven series 2-1 is 12-15 and they are 19-8 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have led 2-1.

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs now have a 13-22 lifetime record in game threes of best-of-seven series in which they entered with the series tied at 1-1.

‘€¢ The Leafs’ Game 4 record when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-2 is 18-11 and they are 10-19 overall in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 1-2.

MILESTONES REACHED

Jaromir Jagr had an assist on Boston’€™s second goal which was his 190th career NHL playoff point. That ties him with Brett Hull for sixth place on the league’€™s all-time playoff points list. Adam McQuaid scored his first career NHL playoff goal with Monday night’€™s opening score. Toronto’€™s Jake Gardiner scored his first career NHL playoff goal.

THIS AND THAT

‘€¢ The Maple Leafs outshot the Bruins by a 48-38 margin. That was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a playoff game since Montreal had 51 on April 23, 2011, which was a 2-1 Boston win in double overtime. It was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in a non-overtime playoff game since April 11, 1975, when Chicago had 56 in a 6-4 Blackhawks win.

‘€¢ Monday night’€™s game was the first of this series in which the team that scored first also won the game.

‘€¢ There have been four goals scored in the first two minutes of a period in the three games of this series, with Toronto netting three and Boston one.

‘€¢ McQuaid’€™s goal was the fourth by a Boston defenseman of the 10 scored by the Bruins in this series.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Jaromir Jagr, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Claude Julien: Make no mistake, Tuukka Rask still is team’s No. 1 goalie 03.26.13 at 11:21 am ET
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There’s no goalie controversy with the Bruins – at least certainly not in the eyes of coach Claude Julien.

Tuukka Rask wore the honorary “Red Rooster” T-shirt after turning away 23-of-25 shots in a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Monday night at TD Garden. After allowing two goals on the first nine shots he faced, both of which he had little chance of stopping, Rask was spectacular down the stretch, making several key saves in the final two minutes of regulation and two late in overtime to allow the Bruins to escape with two points.

Eyebrows were raised last week when Rask’s backup Anton Khudobin started back-to-back games against Ottawa and Toronto after the Rask lost games to Pittsburgh and Winnipeg to start the road trip.

Despite Rask’s 15-4-3 record, a sparkling .928 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against (second-best in the NHL), there were some murmurs that the Bruins might be closer to a platoon situation in net than anyone expected. Julien put that to rest Monday night.

“Well I don’€™t think Tuukka’€™s been bad at all,” Julien said. “I think you know, I hope people didn’€™t read into Khudobin playing two games, because I think Khudobin deserved to play two games. He’€™s played well all season long, he played well in Ottawa, and this was an opportunity to get him two games in a row and that’€™s all it was.

“You know, we’€™ve got a busy week this week and I needed Tuukka fresh and that’€™s all it was. So certainly had nothing to do with that. And Tuukka to me has been good and he’€™s never been bad, he’€™s been great and he’€™s been good. But you know, we’€™ve gotten some pretty good games out of him and I don’€™t think we can necessarily point the finger at him for losing any games for us this year.”

As a matter of fact, Rask didn’t even get that second game off as Khudobin was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots Saturday night in Toronto and Rask was sent in to try and salvage matters.

Rask and Khudobin have teamed to make a very effective combination this season, as the pair has combined for a 2.10 goals against, the second-best in the NHL this season. Khudobin gave Rask some advice on the final shootout save on Nikolai Kumelin, who beat him on a breakaway in the second period, the save that won the game.

“He made the same kind of move in that breakaway, and then Anton told me that’€™s the only move he’€™s got, so I kind of threw my blocker there and then just tried to stay with him and made my block,” Rask said.

Then came the kicker from the coach.

Asked whether Rask seemed to take the message of rest and being at full strength the right way, Julien said that’s up to each individual, pointing out that sometimes players – like Tim Thomas – can be quirky and hard to read.

“I don’€™t know, I think it’€™s one of those things that everybody reads it whichever way they can. And you know that from the goaltender last year,” Julien said.

Read More: Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins, NHL, Tim Thomas
Second thoughts: Claude Julien reverts to old lines, B’s beat Leafs in shootout 03.25.13 at 9:59 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scored while Tuukka Rask stopped Nikolai Kulemin in the third round of the shootout as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs, 3-2, in overtime Monday night at TD Garden. Rask stopped 23-of-25 shots on the night. The Bruins were without defenseman Johnny Boychuk, scratched earlier in the day with a foot injury.

The first period of action featuring the new lines produced numerous scoring opportunities but no goals. Daniel Paille, skating with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, had a point-blank chance midway through the period, firing from the left wing. The shot bounced off James Reimer and onto the stick of Bergeron but the backhander was also turned away.

The second line of David Krejci and Nathan Horton was energized by the addition of Brad Marchand, all of whom had scoring opportunities during the first 20 minutes. The Bruins outshot the Leafs, 9-6, in the scoreless period.

Toronto wasted little time taking advantage of a Bruins mistake in the opening moments of the second. Aaron Johnson hit Nazem Kadri in the neutral zone well after Kadri passed the puck, and Johnson was called for interference. Jake Gardiner fed Joffrey Lupul down low to the right of Rask and Lupul put the puck past Rask with 23 seconds left on the power play for a 1-0 Toronto lead.

The Leafs made it 2-0 when Kadri fed a perfect pass to a wide-open Nikolai Kulemin at center ice. Kulemin broke in all alone on Rask and beat the Bruins netminder up top for the two-goal margin. The Leafs had two goals on just nine shots to begin the game.

The Bruins got one goal back when Milan Lucic, moved to the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron for the first two periods, skated in on a rush from center ice and beat Reimer five-hole midway through the second. It was Lucic’s fifth goal of the season but his first since Feb. 24 at Florida, a span of 15 games.

The Bruins trailed 2-1 after two periods, despite outshooting the Leafs, 21-14. Looking for more punch, Claude Julien went back to his original lines with 13 minutes left in regulation, re-uniting Marchand with Bergeron and Seguin and putting Lucic back on the line with Nathan Horton and David Krejci.

That paid dividends several shifts later when Marchand fed Dougie Hamilton, who skated behind the Leafs net. Hamilton found Bergeron all alone in the slot and Bergeron beat Reimer for his ninth goal of the season that tied the game with 9:24 left.

Rask made a glove save on Kadri from the left circle with 2:18 left in regulation to preserve the tie. Just over a minute later, Rask stopped Lupul from almost the same spot on a drop pass from Kadri. The Bruins outhit the Leafs, 10-5, in the final 20 minutes as they worked for the equalizer. Rask came up big again on Lupul with 2:10 left in overtime, stopping the forward in close from the bottom of the left circle.

The Bruins are off Tuesday before hosting Montreal Wednesday night at TD Garden. For more from DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia from the Garden, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Boston Bruins, James Reimer, Milan Lucic, NHL
Brad Marchand says Tyler Seguin is ‘pressure’ free now, and it shows 03.08.13 at 1:18 pm ET
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Forget the pressure of playing against his hometown Leafs on Thursday. After all, Tyler Seguin has proven that’s not really pressure at all. It’s inspiration.

The true pressure test came early in the season in the form of expectations for the budding superstar of the Bruins.

On Sept. 11, he signed a six-year, $34.5 million contract extension with the Bruins, when he was still 20 years of age. He then lit it up in Switzerland during the four-month NHL lockout, just to stay sharp. Stay sharp he did with 25 goals and 15 assists in 29 games with Biel.

He started relatively slowly with three goals and seven assists in his first 17 games. But since the calendar turned to March he’s been on fire. He has four goals in two assists in four games in March and has turned the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand line into the most productive on the team.

“I think there’€™s a lot of pressure on him coming into the year with his new contract and with how well he did over in Switzerland,” Marchand said after Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Leafs in which he had two goals and an assist. “I think he was feeling pressure a bit because a lot of people were saying a lot of things about him, and it seems like right now he’€™s just very calm and confident, and he’€™s not really worried about anything else. He’€™s just focused on playing, and when he does that he’€™s a great player, and you see it night in and night out right now. He’€™s making a difference.”

Funny, it’s the assist he got that impressed everyone the most. After Marchand fought for a loose puck near the Toronto bench, he picked it up and made like a missile for the Leafs goal in the final minute of the first period. He was stopped but the rebound was left for Bergeron to tap home for a 1-0 lead.

“When Segs is on his game that’€™s the kind of things he does,” Marchand marveled. “He takes the puck to the net hard, and he uses speed and skill, and you saw that in the first goal, you saw it in the second goal, and I guess again on the third one. His speed, that’€™s how he has to play.”

In 14 career games against his hometown Leafs (actually, he grew up in nearby Brampton, Ont.), he has 10 goals and six assists. Any extra bounce for the player who is the reason for the “Thank you, Kessel” chants at TD Garden?

“I’€™d like to say no,” Seguin said with a smile. “I mean I try to prepare for every game but [Thursday] I thought we did a good job, I think all of our goals our line scored so it was a total line effort whether it was winning battles or making nice passes.

Is there is a little more relief now that these pucks are hitting the back of the net?

“Yeah, you could say that,” Seguin said. “I think every guy in here likes to score and I’€™m no exception so definitely feels good.

“I think the last couple weeks I’€™ve just been playing good in my D-Zone and competing a lot more than I think I was in the start of the season. Over in Europe I think I was circling a bit more and didn’€™t really have to battle, I don’€™t even know if I got hit over there for the few months I was there but I had to find that game again with me, and I think it’€™s coming around now.”

The fire everyone always wanted to see from Seguin has been lit. How long will it burn?

“I mean I think it just comes with not producing and just getting more determined and getting back to focusing on the little things more than the big picture or the statistics, I’€™m starting with that and things are rolling from there,” he said. “I mean it feels good. I think again, like I was saying, as a whole, as a line, I think we’€™re playing really well, we’€™re moving the puck well and winning battles and I think with our experience with each other over the last two years those two the last three, it’€™s really clicking right now.”

Seguin couldn’t help but get a little friendly jab in at Marchand when reminded that he’s scoring all the goals that Marchand was getting from his assists early in the season.

“I just gave it to March [early in the season],” Seguin said. “What else are you going to do, look at the stats?

Well, that’s not a bad place now for No. 19.

Read More: Biel hockey, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, NHL
Claude Julien admits: ‘We’re certainly not perfect right now’ at 12:26 am ET
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The Bruins got the bounce back win they were looking for in a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night at TD Garden. But by Claude Julien‘s own admission after the game, it was far from perfect.

The Bruins had to battle with a Toronto team that, despite playing on the road the night before, came into Boston and gave the Bruins a game before wilting under the persistent pressure of Boston’s top line of Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Still the Bruins are 15-3-3 right now, good for 33 points and a spot near the top of the Eastern Conference with Montreal Canadiens.

“We’€™re certainly not perfect right now,” Julien said. “We’€™re certainly not firing on all cylinders. I think right now, we’€™re laboring through it. But, the work ethic was there tonight. The peaks and valleys of a season are pretty obvious that watching us play, nothing is real easy right now. The fact that we’€™re working through it ‘€“ if we keep working like that it will come back.”

Julien did like one particular aspect of his team – the fact that they didn’t panic when the Leafs cut the lead to one, 3-2, with just over five minutes left in regulation. The Bruins were up, 3-2, against the Canadiens Sunday night and lost, 4-3. They blew a 3-0 lead in Washington Tuesday night and lost 4-3 in overtime. The Bruins were determined not to have it happen again.

“I think their whole attitude was, ‘€˜listen, we’€™re here to win, let’€™s not play on our heels. Let’€™s go get the next one,'” Julien said. “We had a couple good scoring chances after they made it 3-2. Like I said before, we even scored that empty netter. At least we didn’€™t sit back,we didn’€™t panic. Our guys responded well, we looked more like the team of before, when they made it 3-2, than we did the last couple games.”

The Bruins got a big boost from Anton Khudobin, who stopped 25 of 27 shots in the win.

“I don’€™t know if it was to find out more, but I think that it’€™s the confidence we had in him that we could put him in against real good team,” Julien said. “The Leafs played a really good game for a team that played last night and they played hard and gave us all that we could handle. But he deserved to be in that game and we knew he could give us that and again it’€™s about the schedule and making sure that we rotate our goal tenders and make sure that we keep our goal tenders as fresh as possible because there are guys that on a lot of nights that will make a difference in a game. So it wasn’€™t so much about what can he do more we have the confidence that he can do it.

For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Top guns: Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron lead Bruins to win over Leafs 03.07.13 at 9:38 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin set up the game’s first goal with a powerful offensive rush and scored the go-ahead tally as the Bruins avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season with a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night at TD Garden. Anton Khudobin got the start in net and stopped 25-of-27 shots for the Bruins (15-3-3), who also managed to stay ahead of the surprising Maple Leafs (15-10-0) in the Northeast Division. Boston has 33 points while the Leafs have 30, with the Bruins enjoying four games in hand on Toronto.

Seguin added his second goal of the night on an empty-net tally with 14.8 seconds left to provide the final score.

Before getting on the board first, the Bruins had several chances in close on Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens. Chris Kelly was denied on a backhander in front. The puck bounced out to Rich Peverley, who couldn’t control the loose puck to put it into the open net. Jay Pandolfo also had a chance on the same shift but was stopped by Scrivens.

It was Pandolfo’s first game filling in on the third line, as Chris Bourque was placed on waivers earlier in the day. The Bruins and Leafs appeared to be headed for a scoreless first period when Seguin picked up a loose puck in front of the Toronto bench and split two defenders. He skated in on Scrivens, who made the initial stop but couldn’t contain the rebound. Patrice Bergeron was there to put in the rebound between the legs on a backhander to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 52.3 seconds left in the first.

The Bruins led after 20 minutes, extending their shutout streak over the Leafs to 146 minutes, 47 seconds, which spanned a pair of shutout wins last season and on Feb. 2. The Leafs finally broke through when David Krejci lost a puck in the offensive zone, leading to an odd-man break on a 4-on-4 situation. Nazem Kadri finished off the rush with his 11th goal of the season at 2:32 of the second, ending the shutout streak at 149 minutes, 19 seconds.

But the rest of the second period belonged to the Bruins. Bergeron took control of the puck in the neutral zone and fed Brad Marchand down the left wing. Marchand found Seguin rushing down the right wing and fed him with a circle-to-circle pass. Seguin beat Scrivens for a 2-1 lead at 7:11 for the go-ahead tally. Over the last nine games, the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points, with 15 of those points coming in last three games.

Khudobin was big several times in the first and second period, including pad saves on Tyler Bozak in each period.

The Bruins made it 3-1 when the Krejci line finally broke through. Andrew Ference fired a shot from the high slot. Scrivens couldn’t contain the rebound and Krejci was there with the backhander into the open net for a two-goal lead after 40 minutes.

The Leafs made it a one-goal game when Mikhail Grabovski skated to the middle of the left circle and fired a shot through a screen that Khudobin never saw until it was past him and in the net with 5:08 left in regulation. The Bruins had a great chance in the final two minutes to restore their two-goal lead but Scrivens stopped a Bergeron slap shot in close before Seguin’s second goal of the night.

The Bruins helped their cause by killing off all three Toronto power plays, including a brief 5-on-3 in the first period. The Bruins have killed off 79-of-86 penalties this season, good for an NHL-best 91.8 percent rate.

The Bruins are off Friday before hosting the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. For more from DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and the WEEI.com team at the Garden, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Anton Khudobin, Ben Scrivens, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand
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