|Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens||04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien’s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
“I’ve been with him for a while,” Ryder said of Julien. “Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.”
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
“You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,” Ryder said. “Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.”
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly’s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
“I’m happy for Rydes,” Shawn Thornton said of the winger. “A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,” Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. “I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.”
|Chris Kelly will play Game 4 wearing cage||04.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins center Chris Kelly will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being cleared by team doctors. Kelly, who returned to Boston to be examined following a hit into Carey Price’s goal on Monday, wore a cage in morning skate and will do so Thursday night. He said there was no fracture after seeing the doctors.
“I’m good to play tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun.”
Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Kelly would play, saying the third-line center is “good to go” and that “he’s going to be in the lineup tonight.”
Kelly was shoved by Habs forward Scott Gomez while the Bruins were on a 3-on-1 in the first period. The B’s center said he took no issue with the hit, which caused him to slide head-first into the post and left him with a shiner below his right eye.
“I know Gomez. I played against him for a lot of years,” Kelly said. “He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”
As for wearing a cage for the first time since he was 14 years old, Kelly said that his comfort with it is “much better” than he expected it to be. Kelly even joked that if he were to play well with it, he could keep it on a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons, who kept a clear mask on as his signature look in the 2003-04 season.
“He kept it on,” Kelly joked. “Who knows?”
As for any lineup changes, it appears there won’t be any. Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice for the morning skate, though it’s likely the veteran was simply given the morning off. Rookie Tyler Seguin stayed out on the ice with the scratches following the skate.
|Tyler Seguin still waiting for his time||04.18.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Rookie forward Tyler Seguin wants “more than anything” to be in the Bruins lineup, but it appears that his time in the postseason has still yet to come. Seguin was sporting a black jersey (signifying either a defenseman or a scratch) in the team’s morning skate, and stayed out on the ice a little longer than the regulars.
Seguin was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The former OHL star is clearly champing at the bit to get in the lineup, but as long as he isn’t, he is saying the right things.
“Right now I’m just supporting the team, supporting whatever decisions are made if I’m not playing,” Seguin said almost robotically after Monday’s morning said. “If I’m playing, I’m going to be ready. If I’m not playing, I’ve got to do other things to help with the team, whether it’s getting the boys relaxed right now in the pre-game skate, just little things like that, and however I can contribute.”
Coach Claude Julien did not comment on whether there are any lineup changes for Game 3. For those dreaming of a Tuukka Rask start, Tim Thomas was first off the ice in the morning skate.
|Finally, Gregory Campbell gets a taste of NHL Playoffs||04.14.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
The anticipation for the playoffs has been great enough for the Bruins, but “anticipation” might not even be say it all when it comes to Gregory Campbell.
The Bruins’ fourth-line center/unsung hero has been dependable for the B’s since being acquired in the Nathan Horton deal last June, and now he will finally be rewarded with his first playoff appearance since being drafted as a second-round pick in 2002. Six seasons in Florida yielded no opportunities to chase the Stanley Cup, so it’s safe to say Campbell is happy to be where he is.
“When you first start out in the league, it’s just a pleasure to be here and play in the league, but as you go further on into your career, I feel like winning becomes more important, and there’s a lesser chance of that,” Campbell said Thursday. “I’m fortunate enough to be here in Boston and have this chance to play in the postseason.”
Campbell tied a career-high with 13 goals this season and was a rock for the Bruins over 80 games this season. He hopes to extend that success into the playoffs, and he doesn’t seem to mind all of the heightened expectations.
“Playing hockey is fun enough, but when the games really matter is in the playoffs, and that’s what I’m looking forward to most, is playing games that actually matter,” he said. “Already you can tell, it’s just a different feeling. It’s been a while since I’ve had this, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Campbell and Horton got head-starts on their playoff beards. The wait for the playoffs has been long enough for those two, as neither one has seen the postseason since their junior hockey days.
“It’s been six, seven, eight years since we’ve been able to grow one,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I’ve been champing at the bit. The last time I grew one, I was 19.”
For that reason, Campbell can actually identify with rookie Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old’s playoff beard isn’t nearly as noticeable as some of his teammates’, but Campbell knows what it’s like.
“I give him credit for trying,” he said with a smile.
|Bruins will pick ninth overall in NHL Draft||04.12.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
The Devils won the NHL Draft lottery Tuesday night, meaning they got to move up the maximum four spots from No. 8 to the fourth overall pick. Given that the team that won the lottery was already picking ahead of the Bruins, the B’s, who have Toronto’s first-round pick from the Phil Kessel deal, will remain at ninth overall.
For the second consecutive year, the Oilers will pick first overall. Edmonton selected Windsor (OHL) left wing Taylor Hall with the top pick last season. Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini had tried to swing a deal with Boston to get the second overall pick as well in order to secure both Hall and Plymouth (OHL) center Tyler Seguin, but the B’s kept the pick and selected Seguin.
The rest of the top five sees Colorado picking second, followed by the Panthers, Devils and New York Islanders.
|Peter Chiarelli ‘relatively satisfied’ with Tyler Seguin’s development||04.11.11 at 3:53 pm ET|
Rookie Tyler Seguin was among the topics discussed in Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media on Monday. Seguin played in 73 games as a rookie, totaling 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. He was a healthy scratch eight times, but Chiarelli noted that having him spend the year back in Plymouth (OHL) would not have helped anyone.
“I’m relatively satisfied with the development,” Chiarelli said. “You have to put it in the context of his age and put it in the context of he’s an individual who I think has seen that he has to grow in certain areas on and off the ice. He’s a real good kid.”
Daniel Paille‘s four goals over his last games has made it safe to assume Seguin will be a healthy scratch when the playoffs begin Thursday, but Chiarelli didn’t rule out the idea of the 19-year-old finding his way into the lineup before all is said and done.
“My guess is that he won’t start in the lineup for the playoffs. I hope that he finds his way into it. The play is going to ramp up in the playoffs,” Chiarelli said. “Had he gone back to juniors, the areas where he had to get better would have been left dormant and so he had to play this year and face those areas head on. A terrifically talented kid with speed, he has to learn to make these plays that he can do and we’ve seen these plays all the time. So I’m relatively satisfied. Tyler is a good kid and he’s going to get better.”
Chiarelli admitting that Seguin is unlikely to be in the lineup Thursday shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as the combination of Paille’s impressive play to close out the season and Seguin’s inconsistencies made things pretty predictable.
Though Seguin did get to play in 73 games, his leash was clearly shorter than it would have been had he played for a non-playoff team. As a result, the combination of his raw talents, struggles with physical play and limited ice time left him 22nd in scoring amongst rookies this season.
The more interesting point is Chiarelli pointing out that sending Seguin back to juniors would not have benefitted the youngster. It makes sense, as Seguin’s dominant play for Plymouth in his draft year (48+58=106), suggests that he probably wouldn’t have taken it upon himself to become a more physical player, as he could get results without it.
Just how Seguin could end up finding his way into the lineup remains to be seen. At face value, it seems it would take an injury to a forward or detrimental play from Paille.
|Bruins beat Senators, Tim Thomas breaks save percentage record||04.09.11 at 3:37 pm ET|
The Bruins held fan appreciation day at the Garden Saturday and made sure they delivered a win to the home crowd, beating the Senators, 3-1.
Daniel Paille, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley, provided the goals for the B’s, though it was the goaltender who may ultimately end up being the biggest story.
Claude Julien said following the game that Tuukka Rask would play in the regular-season finale Sunday, meaning Tim Thomas has set the NHL record for save percentage in a single season. By finishing the game with a .9381 mark, he surpassed Dominik Hasek’s .9366 save percentage in 1998-99. The stat first began being recorded in the 1982-83 season.
Marlborough native Bobby Butler scored the Senators’ only goal, beating Thomas at 18:27 of the first period.
With the win Saturday, the B’s are still alive to potentially take the second seed in the Eastern Conference, though they will need a combination of one or two points Sunday vs. the Devils and for the Penguins and Flyers to lose their final games in regulation or in overtime/shootout fashion.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Thomas’ performance this season has been nothing short of magnificent, so it’s fitting that he be remembered for it in the record books. It was just months ago that Tuukka Rask was the obvious choice to begin the season as the B’s starter. Ever since Thomas was given the second start of the season in Prague, he’s taken the opportunity and run to what should be his second Vezina Trophy.
- By playing in Saturday’s game, Mark Recchi moved past Chris Chelios for fourth all-time. He has played in 1652, and it could take nearly another full season for him to catch Ron Francis’ 1731.
- Paille once again submitted a strong case to be in the lineup next week. His tally on Saturday was his fourth goal in the last eight games. Considering he had just two goals on the season prior to that stretch, it’s a good sign.
- Shawn Thornton can hold his head high knowing he produced an even 20-point season offensively for the Bruins. His apple on Paille’s goal gave him 10 on the season to match his total of goals. This season has now produced career-highs in goals, assists and points. Thornton had never scored more than six goals in a season, though he did have nine helpers a year ago.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- While everyone was glad to see Horton score his 26th goal of the season, there was reason for concern when he left the ice following his second-period fight with Zack Smith. He would end up returning to the ice, but the last thing the Bruins would want would be for the hot-scoring Horton (six goals over his last nine games) to go down with an injury before the playoffs.
- While Paille may have cemented his suspected playing status for the beginning of the playoffs, Tyler Seguin did not do anything to help his case. The rookie was placed in the lineup Saturday in place of Patrice Bergeron, but the game provided more cases of the 19-year-old shying away from contact. Seguin was a minus-1 on the day.
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