|Bruins-Capitals Game 7 preview: Seven stats, players to watch and keys to victory||04.25.12 at 12:08 am ET|
It’s all about seven as the Bruins host the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Here’s everything you need to know and more, with seven the central theme.
• According to some impressive research done by Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner, Jay Beagle has an incredible 61.6 success rate in the faceoff circle (53-for-86). Even more impressive is that he’s won 13-of-21 faceoffs against Patrice Bergeron, who led the league in faceoff wins during the regular season.
• Tim Thomas‘ 14 goals allowed through the first six games of the series equals the total he allowed in the first six games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season against the Canadiens. He faced only 12 more shots against the Habs through six than he has entering Wednesday’s Game 7.
• Alexander Ovechkin has two goals and two assists for four points and a minus-1 rating in four career Game 7s. He and the Capitals have gone 1-3 in those games.
This series, Ovechkin is tied with Rich Peverley with five points.
• Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic each have four career points in Game 7s to lead the Bruins. Lucic has three goals and an assist in six Game 7s while Marchand had two goals and two assists in three Game 7s last postseason.
• This series is the only one in NHL history to have the first six games decided by one goal. Both teams have scored 14 goals apiece with no empty-netters.
• Dennis Seidenberg has played in four Game 7s and won them all. He has four assists and plus-4 rating in those games, and has never had a negative rating in a Game 7.
• The Bruins have scored on the power play in just one of their six Game 7s since 2008. That game was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, a contest in which they scored two on the man advantage. Since 2008, the B’s are 2-for-13 on the power play in Game 7s.
|Tyler Seguin bears down and ‘finally’ gets one, and it was a big one||04.22.12 at 8:28 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin played the role of hero Sunday in Game 6 at the Verizon Center in Washington as he scored just over three minutes into overtime to give the Bruins a 4-3 win over the Capitals and force a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Wednesday night in Boston. Seguin came flying down the slot and took a feed from Milan Lucic. He held the puck long enough to make Caps goalie Braden Holtby commit before flipping the puck into the vacated net for his first career playoff overtime goal.
“I saw the goalie challenging and I just tried to make a quick move and luckily, it went in,” Seguin said. “I think this series we’ve had a lot of chances and opportunities and I haven’t been bearing down or finishing them off. It’s just really nice to get that feeling of finally getting one.
“When you’re a little kid, that’s your dream, get those big goals and keep your team alive. Looking back on my career so far, that’s probably one of the biggest goals I’ve got.”
Seguin was demoted to the third line in Game 5 after failing to score in the first four games. He admitted the lack of production from the top two lines was something on the mind of every Bruins player.
“We really though going into tonight’s game we needed to get production,” Seguin said. “I thought we’ve been playing well. The guys that were getting production in the season haven’t been getting too many good bounces so far in the series. To see it happen tonight and see guys finally get rewarded is definitely nice.
“It’s been a great series. Washington is a great team and we’ve been battling and for whatever reason, including last year, we never to seem to make it easy on ourselves. We always want to go the extra mile. Game 7 at the Garden, that’s what we’ve been working for, home-ice advantage, so hopefully we seize the opportunity.”
|Seguin says seven: Bruins stay alive||at 6:22 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins found their way to Game 7.
After blowing three separate one-goal leads, the Bruins were redeemed by a Tyler Seguin goal 3:17 into overtime to give them a 4-3 win Sunday and force a Game 7 with the Capitals, which will be played Wednesday at TD Garden.
The game was tied at 2 late, and with the Bruins driving to the net, Andrew Ference banged home a rebound off a Seguin shot to give the Bruins the lead shortly after the team had killed off a Benoit Pouliot penalty. The Capitals then tied it with less than five minutes remaining when Alexander Ovechkin beat Tim Thomas following a Nicklas Backstrom faceoff win in the Boston zone. That set up Seguin’s OT heroics.
The Bruins had initially taken the lead in the first period on a goal from Rich Peverley. Mike Green tied it later in the period, and David Krejci scored his first goal of the postseason to give the B’s a 2-1 lead after one. Jason Chimera tied it late in the second period before Ference eventually broke the tie.
Thomas made 35 saves on 38 shots in regulation, while Braden Holtby made 28 regulation saves for Washington.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins got a power-play goal for the second straight game when Krejci gave the B’s the 2-1 lead in the first period. With two goals on the man advantage this series, the 2011-12 Bruins scoff at last year’s 0-for-21 effort in seven games against the Canadiens. The Bruins finished the day 1-for-5.
– After a woefully quiet and frustrating first five games of the series, Krejci finally got one. Remember, he also went the entire first round last postseason against the Habs without a goal. That means Sunday’s second-period tally was Krejci’s first goal in the first round of the playoffs since April 26, 2010, against the Sabres, a span of 13 first-round games.
– After a poor showing in Game 5, Thomas was better for the B’s on Sunday. He came up especially big for the Bruins in the second period, when he made 14 saves in a period in which the B’s were outshot, 15-5. The best save of the day for Thomas came in the second period when he dove across his net to stop Marcus Johansson with the blade of his stick.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Greg Zanon has had a pretty rough go of it this postseason, and his bad fortune continued on Green’s first-period goal. With Gregory Campbell laying out to block a potential shot, Green waited until he had space before firing a shot from the left point at the bodies in front of the net. The puck went off Zanon and into the net, tying the game at 9:47 of the first period. The Zanon-Mike Mottau pairing did not play get another first-period shift following the play and got very few shifts afterward.
– Bergeron returned to the lineup, but he was clearly limited. He only took one faceoff in the game (which occurred in the final minute of regulation), instead deferring those duties to Rich Peverley. As far as Bergeron’s game went, he twice committed the no-no of an offensive-zone penalty. Bergeron went off at 10:01 of the first period for tripping Karl Alzner and returned to the box at 15:44 of the second for high-sticking Alexander Semin.
– The fourth line also was on the ice for Washington’s first goal. Perhaps because of Bergeron’s injury, Claude Julien played Jordan Caron in place of Shawn Thornton. A potential reason for the move may have been that because Bergeron was clearly limited, the team would need another top-six-caliber forward should he exit the game once again.
– The Capitals got the game-tying goal on an ugly play for the Bruins. By the looks of how he went down, it looked like Brad Marchand was elbowed by Chimera in the Capitals’ zone. While Chimera finished the play by scoring, the Bruins did not. Marchand went down to the ice, grabbing his head but getting no call. Replays showed that contact might not have been made, but Marchand did catch himself in the face with his stick when he spun.
– For the second straight game, Pouliot took an offensive-zone penalty in the third period of a tied game. Pouliot left his feet as he finished his check a little too late on Alzner at 8:50, resulting in a roughing call that gave the Caps a great opportunity. The B’s got through the two minutes safely, effectively killing off the penalty.
|Claude Julien: ‘Maybe in trouble, but we’re not dead’||at 10:50 am ET|
The Bruins know the refrain by now.
The series isn’t over till you win four games.
They repeated it over and over last year on their way to a sixth Stanley Cup title. And Claude Julien repeated it Saturday after a 4-3 gut-puncher at the hands of the Capitals at the Garden.
“Well there’s certainly lots of guys in that dressing room that have gone through that and there’s some others that are new to our hockey club that have to manage that as good as they can,” Julien said. “A guy like [Brian Rolston], he’s got some experience so our guys that we’ve gotten are experienced guys so I don’t see that as an issue. We’re down 3-2 in the series and most people will tell you, until they win four games, that’s when the series is over. So we’ve got an opportunity to get back into this series and create a Game 7 and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
There were positives from Saturday that the B’s will try to carry over to today in Washington, like Milan Lucic getting in front of the net time and time again in the third period. Lucic’s “jam” in the slot created a point-blank chance for Tyler Seguin with 10 minutes left. Only a superhuman effort by Braden Holtby kept the Bruins from a late lead in their own building.
“There are some good things – I don’t think now’s the time to start collaborating all those things with players,” Julien said. “Sometimes you’ve got to feel that sting a little bit in order to get yourself ready the next day and we’ll address that tomorrow certainly before the game. Still a lot of good things that we did tonight and you look at some of the missed opportunities – Seguin is one, he had grease tonight and those opportunities were there for him, so that’s a positive. You wish he would have put some of those in and it’s a different outcome. But building on the positives, and as I said, we’re maybe in trouble but we’re not dead and we’re certainly going to make tomorrow a game that’s going to create a Game 7 for us.”
Johnny Boychuk finally blew a cannon past Holtby to tie the game on the power play to tie the game, 3-3. He sees a lot of hope.
“I thought we came out really well,” he said. “Again, [Holtby] played extremely well – he made that one stop and stretched out and got it with his toe. We did play well, but it wasn’t good enough. They scored more goals than us and that’s the end of the day. We lost the game and [today], we have to win.”
|Thoughts on the Bruins’ new lines||04.20.12 at 11:03 pm ET|
Claude Julien has changed his lines an uncharacteristic number of times this postseason, but his latest work is more drastic than perhaps any of the tinkering he’s done this season.
Out of the top six are Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. Seguin skated with the third line in Friday’s practice, while Brad Marchand was back to the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
Marchand began last season on the fourth line before moving up to Patrice Bergeron‘s line mid-season and never looking back. After finishing second on the Bruins with 28 goals in the regular season, he’s been among the many B’s who have opened the postseason with rather uninspired play.
Here are what the lines were in Friday’s practice, according to reports:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille – Patrice Bergeron – Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin/Jordan Caron
Brad Marchand – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
“Making line changes, that’s a part of trying to find solutions and it’s as simple as that,” Julien told reporters after Friday’s practice. “You’ve got to mix up guys who are not getting the results that we’d like to, so you’re trying to make changes that will maybe spark that part of our game.”
Here are some thoughts on the new lines for the Bruins:
- Not one line is the same as it was when the postseason began. The most radically changed trio is Bergeron’s, as Rich Peverley played only parts of the last two games with Bergeron, while Daniel Paille makes the jump from the fourth line.
- Julien obviously did this hoping that he can wake up some of his snoozing superstars. The top two lines in each game have gone scoreless thus far this series, as the team has had to rely on bottom-six forwards primarily for their scoring.
- While Seguin has been one of the Bruins’ worst players this postseason, taking him away from Bergeron is a risk. Seguin has underachieved in the past when playing on lower lines, but perhaps Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot — two of Boston’s better forwards this series — can get him going.
- The Bruins are deep enough that they can be tied in a series through four games despite the fact that their best forwards have been kept off the score sheet, but the Bruins really need to get something out of David Krejci. If Krejci repeats his first-round performance from last postseason (one assist), the B’s could be in trouble. Remember, he was having difficulty generating points against Carey Price in the first round a year ago. This is Braden Holtby, and the Bruins still haven’t consistently tested him for three periods.
- The Bruins should try to get Jordan Caron into the lineup, but for whom? As bad as Seguin was in the first three games before looking a little better on Thursday, scratching your regular-season leader in points should be out of the question. Caron brings a strong two-way game and had a stretch of eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games in March.
|Are expectations high enough for Tyler Seguin?||04.17.12 at 12:10 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Last year, the first round was a time for Tyler Seguin apologists to bash Claude Julien for not putting him in the lineup.
This year, the game sheet says that Seguin is in the lineup, but little else has.
Seguin, who is still just 20 years of age, has struggled to produce thus far in the postseason after leading the B’s with 29 goals and 67 points. He hasn’t been the only Bruins star forward to start the playoffs quietly, but after a dominant regular season, expectations to continue that means more pressure when the points aren’t coming.
While Seguin was very good in the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals (his Game 3 performance, though it featured no points, was perhaps the most complete game as a rookie), it isn’t a complete shock that he’s failed to match his regular-season success early on in the playoffs. He’s getting the minutes as a top-six forward, but two of the areas in which he isn’t particularly strong — battling for pucks and play in his own end — are ones that are often exploited in the postseason.
Julien was asked at Tuesday’s media availability what the team needs to do to get their young scorer going.
“I think we’ve got to, kind of, in a way leave him alone,” Julien said. “When I say leave him alone, we’re helping him through it, but to put too much pressure on a young player like that, I don’t think is the right approach, for me anyway.
“You’ve got to guide him along and you know he’s going to find his game. He’s not playing badly. But again, there’s a lot of expectations on some of these young players and sometimes it is maybe not always fair. And that’s why you’ve got guys like [Brian] Rolston and [Chris] Kelly and those kind of guys producing for us, because they’re veterans and they’ve been through these situations before.”
To be fair to Seguin, he isn’t the only big name forward that needs to get going offensively for the B’s. Milan Lucic still doesn’t have a point, though he had a much better game on Monday. David Krejci, who led the NHL with 12 goals and 23 points last postseason, also does not have a point through the first three games.
The top two lines still have not scored a goal this postseason. Though Rich Peverley scored in the second period Monday, it came on 4-on-4 while he was on the ice with Kelly. The Bruins’ bottom-six forwards have scored four of the team’s six goals this postseason, a sign that the B’s need more from their top two lines. That means that the pressure is on their leading scorer from the regular season. Julien doesn’t think that pressure’s fair.
“Tyler last year was in and out of the lineup during the playoffs so for us to expect that he’s just going to take over because he led our team in scoring, to me it’s not reality,” Julien said. “He’s going to find his way because he’s a smart player, he’s a good player, and we’re going to allow him the time to do that without putting undue pressure on him.”
That doesn’t exactly sound like the biggest vote of confidence from Julien. The team should expect Seguin to take over games. He’s one of the most talented players in the league, even if he doesn’t play as physical a game as is required in the postseason. Seguin can dominate games, as the Bruins have seen before. They don’t need to make excuses for him, they just need him to start producing.
|Claude Julien on Tyler Seguin: ‘He knows everybody on his team has his back’||04.10.12 at 2:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Moments after captain Zdeno Chara was pointing with his stick and barking at Tyler Seguin Tuesday morning on a power play drill, coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Doug Jarvis came over and had a heart-to-heart with the Bruins’ leading goal scorer this season.
They were simply reminding him to play hard on the power play and play with a “heavy stick” – Julien’s way of saying scoring on the power play and scoring in general, requires more will power in the playoffs than in the regular season.
“Playoffs, a lot of times, it’s all about little details and that’s why we’re going over video,” Seguin said Tuesday. “Even on the ice, obviously, coaches see stuff that they want you to improve on or little details they want you to fix and sometimes, as a player, you see something different. You just compare notes without crossing the line and just get prepared.”
Julien knows that Seguin – with his 29 goals – will be a marked man by Dale Hunter‘s Washington Capitals much more than he was at the start of the Stanley Cup championship run 12 months ago. Julien and Chara just want Seguin to be ready for that hunt beginning Thursday night in Game 1 at the Garden.
“I think he knows everybody on his team has his back, and all he has to do is go out there and compete and be ready to face that kind of challenge,” Julien said. “If we want him to be a better player, he has to be able to face those kind of challenges and face them with a positive result. He has to be able to work his way through and we expect him to be able to do that.”
For his part, Seguin downplayed being a focal point of Washington’s defensive game plan.
“I don’t really know about that. If you look at our team, there wasn’t exactly much gap between [players],” Seguin said. “We’re pretty close. We had [six] 20-goal scorers. That’s what makes our team pretty dangerous.”
“I don’t think he’s been bad at that this year whenever things were a little tough,” Julien added. “We’ve always kept a close eye on him. He’s a young prospect that we want to make sure that he continues to go in the right direction so we’ve taken time to bring him in and talk to him. Players have done the same thing. When it comes to a situation where you haven’t scored in a while or you’re a little frustrated, you go back to basics, and you stop looking at the big picture and just take a step back and keep your game maybe a little simpler but more efficient, and eventually, things come back.
“We’ve done a good job with him as far as the whole coaching staff, the players, to help him through those things. And he likes his teammates, he likes our coaching staff, he has a lot of trust in all of us where he’s not afraid to come up and say, ‘Listen, this is what’s happening here.’ Or whenever we suggest something, it’s nice to see a guy with that much talent and skill be so open to suggestions and help, as well.”
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