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Bruins can’t have one bad period in Game 7 05.26.11 at 11:35 pm ET
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BEDFORD — When it comes to cliches, a Game 7 brings no shortage. From “do or die,” to “most important game of the year,” to “this is why you play hockey,” they’re all hit on.

Another one you’ll hear is players talking of giving a “60 minute effort.” With the way the Eastern Conference finals has gone, maybe the Bruins should consider breaking it down even further. After winning Game 2 and losing Games 4 and 6 in the second period, perhaps they should view it more as bringing three 20-minute efforts. One period has made the difference too often in the series, and the Bruins know it.

“That’s been our biggest challenge all year, is to put three solid periods together each and every game,” Gregory Campbell said Thursday. “Tomorrow night is going to be no different. We have to take the first period and play well in that. Whether we’re up or down, the game is not won in one period. We have to make sure that we’re playing well in all three periods.

“If it goes extra time, that’s fine. We have the confidence that we can win those games, and we’ll just have to make sure that we’re executing and competing and working as hard as we can.”

The Bruins held a 3-0 lead in Game 4 and a 2-1 lead in Game 6, both of which were held after one and were erased after two. If you take away the second period of Game 2 in which Tyler Seguin had four points in a five-goal Bruins’ second period, the B’s would have just two second-period goals this series. That isn’t to say that the B’s have been dominated in second periods, as it speaks more to a point that applies to both teams. Leads aren’t safe, despite the fact that this was billed as being such a big goaltender’s duel. Any team can steal a game with one strong period, and the B’s see playing three good periods as a starting point for success.

“I think you want to play a consistent 60 minutes,” Chris Kelly said, “and maybe that will be our focus for tomorrow night — coming out and playing all three periods.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin
Mike Emrick on M&M: ‘Weird things can happen in a seventh game’ at 1:15 pm ET
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NBC and Versus play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick joined the Mut & Merloni show on Thursday to discuss the Lightning-Bruins series  and preview Friday night’s Game 7 at TD Garden.

“The whole series has been [unusual], nothing [predictable] about what we’€™ll get tomorrow based on what we’€™ve seen so far,” Emrick said. “We know they are both good defensive teams, but try proving it.”

Emrick noted that Games 7’s are entirely unpredictable.

“Weird things that can happen in a seventh game we remember more because they were seventh games and not Games 4, 5 or 6’€™s,” he said. “Anybody can beat anybody in a Game 7. You get the right penalty call at the right time, you get a fluky bounce. ‘€¦. If you care who wins you go, ‘€˜Shoot, this is torture.'”

To hear the entire interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Here are more highlights from the interview:

On the Bruins’ struggles on the power play: “It’€™s a very unusual squad because its only happened a couple of times in history. It’s never happened before that a team didn’€™t get one power play goal and won a series, which they did in seven games against Montreal.

“The power play did strike late [in Game 6] and that certainly helped, but overall it was as flawed on the night as Tampa Bay’€™s was strong. Special teams made a big difference in this game, and they tend to make a big difference in games, but when you have a Bruins team that has got this far without much of a power play you have to say, ‘Well the ultimate seventh game might it not mean anything.'”

On the Bruins adjustments, including Zdeno Chara to the front of the net on the power play: “I think that confused [Dwayne Roloson], [Chara] had a deflection once, he got tangled with him once. Some of the things they were doing didn’€™t work but [Claude Julien] is more of a status quo coach than [Guy] Boucher is, but the thing is they have both had success they way that they do.”

On the Tampa Bay power play: We talked earlier in the series about how  [David] Krejci, [Milan] Lucic and [Nathan] Horton had a lot of pressure because they weren’€™t producing well it was that same thing with the star power for Tampa Bay because [Vinny] Lecavalier and  [Steve] Stamkos haven’€™t aligned in recent games. They came to the floor last night.

“It may have been not so much the Bruins penalty kill, but the fact there was heat on these guys, the ultimate heat on these guys, that if they don’€™t perform last night they aren’€™t performing anymore till October. They rose to the occasion.”

On Tyler Seguin’s ice time: “I am not sure what kind of difference he would have made. You have to remember that  the game he had the four points in and tied a record, it wound up being a wacky wide open game that set up perfect for him.

“People say Seguin should get more time, and I understand that, but who will you take it away from? Maybe people would have people hand-picked to take time away from, but I can’t think of anyone. I know you mentioned [Mark] Recchi and thought he was out there too much, but there’s savvy and skill for a seventh game in particular that Mark Recchi has.”

On his Game 7 prediction: “This is going to be low scoring, and something bizarre will happen later on, but if I wake up two mornings from now and pick up the paper and realize the score was 7-6 I won’t be shocked.”

Read More: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton
Bruins-Lightning Game 5 preview: Five things, stats and players 05.23.11 at 1:12 am ET
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The Bruins learned the hard way Saturday that they need more than a strong start and a big day from Patrice Bergeron to get their third victory of the Eastern Conference finals. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Saturday’€™s Game 4, the Bruins will be back at home Monday to take on the Lightning in Game 5.

FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

– Take advantage of playing at home/score the first goal. The Bruins don’t want to find themselves a loss away from elimination when the teams head back to Tampa for Game 6, so taking care of business in their own building will be key.

The B’€™s weren’€™t able to score the first goal in Games 1 and 2, though they were able to head to Tampa with the series tied at a game apiece. The first goal hasn’€™t been everything this series, as the team to strike first has gone 2-2 thus far.

– The B’€™s must get the type of production from David Krejci‘€™s line that made the second round such a walk in the park. Krejci was a minus-3 with zero shots on goal in Game 4, while Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic each had just one shot on goal in the loss.

– The Bruins’€™ second line probably would be a stinker as well if it weren’€™t for the redeeming qualities of Bergeron. If it weren’€™t for a Brad Marchand interference penalty in the second period, there would be minimal proof that the feisty rookie even played in Game 4. Marchand had no shots on goal for the second time this series. The B’€™s have lost both games in which the 23-year-old has failed to put a shot on net. Mark Recchi is a minus-4 this series and has just five shots on goal.

– Selective memory would probably serve the B’€™s best after their Game 4 collapse. Remember that it happened, but don’€™t think about just how much momentum the come-from-behind win could have given Tampa Bay.

– Not that they will, but the B’€™s should at least give consideration to playing Steven Kampfer. We said it last week, and Saturday’€™s soft showing behind the net on a costly turnover to Sean Bergenheim only confirms it: it’s worth seeing what Kampfer can do in place of Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle looked better in Games 2 and 3, but if you’€™re going to give him between 11 and 12 minutes a game and he still finds a way to make them costly minutes as he did Saturday, you’€™re better off easing Kampfer back in with an 11-or-12-minute night. Kampfer has as many goals this season against the Lightning (two) as Kaberle has had turnovers that resulted in Tampa goals this series.

FIVE CRAZY STATS

– Kaberle’€™s 11:35 of ice time in Game 4 isn’€™t just ridiculously low for someone the team invested so much in, but it’€™s the lowest total that Kaberle ‘€“ two injury games aside — has played in his entire career. While with the Maple Leafs, he left the team’€™s March 2, 2007 game vs. the Devils after being blindsided in the second period by Cam Janssen, and he left a Jan. 6, 2004 game with a shoulder injury in the first period. Back then, injuries were all that could keep Kaberle from playing less than 12 minutes. Now, it’€™s just poor play.

– That stuff about Michael Ryder turning it on in the playoffs is true. Ryder has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in his last five games. He never amassed more than five points in any five-game stretch during the regular season, and this five-game stretch ties for Ryder’s second-best as a member of the Bruins. He had nine points over the Bruins’ first five games of the 2009 playoffs.

Tim Thomas has allowed four goals four times this postseason, and the Bruins are 3-0 thus far in games that directly followed said performances. Thomas allowed one goal in 89 minutes in Game 5 of the first round after allowing four goals two nights earlier. He followed the team’€™s 5-2 loss in the conference finals opener by allowing five in Game 2, but the B’€™s came away with the win. It was after that contest that Thomas really bounced back, blanking the Lightning in Game 3.

– Neither the Bruins nor the Lightning have scored a power play goal since Game 2 of the series. This marks the first time this postseason that the Bruins and their opponent have put up a goose-egg on the man advantage in consecutive games.

Steven Stamkos is a minus-2 this series, and has only had a positive rating in one game this postseason. The lone positive rating came in Game 5 of the quarterfinals when he had two goals, an assist and was a plus-1.

FIVE KEY PLAYERS

– Whichever Lightning goalie starts. Dwayne Roloson has been chased from two of the series’€™ first four games, and Guy Boucher has yet to reveal whether Roloson will be a go for Game 5. If Boucher makes a change, it will be Mike Smith, who has stopped all 20 shots he’€™s seen from the B’€™s in 60:51 this series.

Simon Gagne: The veteran winger simply slays the Bruins, and he did it to the tune of three points and a plus-4 rating in Game 4.

– Ryder and Tyler Seguin: In the event that Lucic and Horton fail to step it up and Bergeron’€™s wingers continue to struggle, the B’€™s will need the magical Ryder/Seguin duo to light it up the way they did in Game 2. Seguin was on the ice for three of the Lightning’€™s five goals Saturday, but he’€™s been second to only Ryder this series as far as who the B’€™s best winger has been.

Dennis Seidenberg: One last opportunity to point out that the B’€™s minute-eating defenseman had seven blocked shots in Game 4. He and Kaberle were out there for Gagne’s game-winner.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg
Brad Marchand on M&M: Open-ice style ‘nerve-racking’ 05.20.11 at 12:32 pm ET
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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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
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
Lightning trying to ‘stop’ Tyler Seguin, Claude Julien wishes they’d stop ‘flattering’ Bruins at 1:31 pm ET
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TAMPA — Nobody — even the biggest “play Seguin at all costs” crybabies — could have expected what Tyler Seguin has done in the Eastern Conference finals.

Since making his playoff debut in Game 1 of the conference finals, Seguin has had six points (3 G, 3 A) and has gone from an injury replacement to a big problem for the Lightning in a matter of six periods.

‘€œThe first two games, it’s clear the players and everybody underestimated his speed,” Tampa coach Guy Boucher said of Seguin. “That’€™s the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and his team. Being a young guy and having success right away, it certainly takes a lot of the nervousness away, and for us we know he’€™s going to be on the ice and we have to be able to keep up with his speed.’€

The praise from the Lightning wasn’t limited to Boucher, as one player who knows Seguin’s style better than most said the team needs to find a way to prevent the rookie from taking over another game like he did in Game 2 (2 G, 2 A). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin
P.J. Stock on D&C: Let’s see how Tyler Seguin reacts on road at 10:57 am ET
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TSN and Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former Bruin P.J. Stock joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to preview Game 3 of the Bruins-Lightning Eastern Conference finals series. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

When asked if he thought coach Claude Julien waited too long to insert 19 year-old Tyler Seguin into the lineup, Stock said he did not have a problem with the coach’s decision. “No, not at all, and you know what? He probably wouldn’€™t be in there without [Patrice] Bergeron being injured,” Stock said. “I watched him play a lot during the year, and many times I thought he wasn’€™t ready.

“A lot of people are excited about his last two games, but 30 games ago were people saying the same thing? He was a frustrating player that was learning a lot of things. … I didn’t know if he was ready.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron, PJ Stock, Shawn Thornton
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