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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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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
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
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:

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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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
Shawn McEachern on D&C: Bruins ‘just don’t have another player’ with skill of Tyler Seguin at 8:24 am ET
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Former Bruin Shawn McEachern appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which the Bruins evened up with a 6-5 victory over the Lightning in Game 2 Tuesday night. McEachern, a Waltham native who went on to star at Boston University and win a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1992, now coaches the hockey team at The Rivers School in Weston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins held on Tuesday night in a high-scoring affair, a game in which no lead appeared to be safe. “This whole year in the playoffs, all around the league, nobody’s been able to hold a lead,” McEachern said. “It’s been great to watch. It looks like hockey back in the ’80s, when Wayne Gretzky was scoring 90 goals.”

McEachern didn’t predict a winner, but he said the series appears destined to last for a while. “I think it’s going to be a long series. I think it’s a six- or seven-game series,” he said. “I hope it’s high-scoring like last night, because it’s an awful lot of fun to watch.”

Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin exploded with two goals and two assists in Game 2 after scoring a goal in his postseason debut in Game 1. However, McEachern said he had no problem with coach Claude Julien sitting Seguin for the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“He’s a 19-year-old kid,” McEachern said. “Probably the biggest thing that helped Tyler Seguin was sitting upstairs and watching the first 11 games of the playoffs. The game really slows down for you. He probably really figured it out a little bit.

“The other side is there’s no expectations on him when he comes back into the lineup. He wasn’t going to be the game-breaker they needed. They were hoping they’d get something out of him, but he played only nine minutes in the first game.”

Added McEachern: “I think the thing with Seguin is that he brings something that the Bruins don’t have. That high-end speed and skill, they just don’t have another player like that.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Shawn McEachern, Tyler Seguin,
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