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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘a very, very difficult team to play against’ 06.18.13 at 1:14 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to dissect the Bruins’ 2-0 victory in Monday’s Game 3.

The B’s frustrated the Blackhawks by limiting Chicago’s scoring opportunities.

“First of all, [the Bruins] were really doing a good job controlling the puck and controlling the neutral zone and dictating the terms of the game, that’s No. 1 and 2,” McGuire said. “I think the third thing they did, obviously, is they were able to get last change, so they had the matchups they wanted. Not having Marian Hossa in the lineup for Chicago really hurt them in terms of manufacturing offense. … That’s a big loss for Chicago; that’s not Boston’s fault.

“And then for both teams, the ice conditions. Tuukka Rask alluded to it when I interviewed him, and Dennis Seidenberg and I talked about it after the game. The ice conditions were not good. I could tell in the morning they weren’t going to be good because of the humidity in the city of Boston yesterday. There’s not a building in the league that would have had good ice yesterday, just because of the humidity. You’ve got to hope it cools off.

“But Boston’s doing exactly what they did to Pittsburgh: They’re killing the stars. Look at the hits on Jonathan Toews. They’re just crushing him. Hey, that’s all fair game in hockey. That’s part of the sport.”

McGuire also praised the Bruins defense and noted: “You add in the Patrice Bergeron factor and the faceoff-winning factor for the Bruins, and they’re a very, very difficult team to play against.”

McGuire noted that the Blackhawks’ comeback in Game 1 might have come at a cost.

“The one thing I’ll you that I don’t think is getting talked about enough: The wear and tear of Game 1, the three overtimes, I think it took a lot more out of Chicago, even though they won, compared to what it took out of Boston. I really do,” he said.

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What they’re saying in the Windy City: Tuukka Rask is really good, Bruins are outhitting Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews needs to step it up 06.17.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask continues to be stellar in the Boston goal. (AP)

Chicago sportswriters realized over the weekend what Bruins fans have known for quite some time: Tuukka Rask is really, really good.

Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes that Rask has been the Bruins’ “saving grace,” his 1.73 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in the playoffs a huge reason the Bruins have gotten this far. She credits Rask, who collected 33 saves Saturday’s Game 2 overtime win, with preventing the game from “spinning wildly out of the Bruins’ control.”

Count Tyler Seguin among those appreciative of the netminder’s performance.

“He shows on a consistent basis why we have so much confidence in him, but he also gives us more motivation to do it for him sometimes,” Seguin said. “Especially if you look at [Saturday's] game, it could have been 4-0 or 5-0 after the first. We weren’t ready. We were on our heels, and they were playing great. He kept us in the game.”

Kane quotes Rask, however, as staying his usual, humble — albeit tired after not sleeping much Saturday night — self.

“I don’t try to prove anything to anybody else but for myself and my teammates,” Rask said. “I always feel like I’m in a zone. … It’s nothing different. It’s just another game.”

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Bruins lines remain the same in anticipation of Game 3 at 10:53 am ET
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The Bruins sported the same lines in Monday’s morning skate as they did in the second half of Saturday’s Game 2 win against the Blackhawks.

The third line remains Chris Kelly between Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin, while the team’s fourth line of Rich Peverley between Kaspars Daugavins and Shawn Thornton likely won’t be used much. Though the B’s are a team that rolled four lines throughout the regular season, expect more of a three-line rotation for the majority of this series.

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Daugavins – Peverley – Thornton

Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid

Rask

Thornton, who played just 4:56 in Saturday’s overtime win, was on D&C (with M) Monday and had a great quote about the lines.

“When I’m with Paille and Kells it’s the fourth line,” Thornton said. “When Segs is with them it’s the third line. I don’t understand how that works.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: No excuse for Bruins’ slow start in Game 2, ‘can’t let it happen again’ at 9:50 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup finals leading into Monday night’s Game 3 at TD Garden.

The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the first period of Saturday night’s Game 2, but some inspiring words in the locker room got the B’s motivated and they responded with a 2-1 overtime win. Thornton wouldn’t reveal which players led the talk, but he said the feeling in the room was mutual.

“We knew we were not good enough,” he said. “But we also brought up the fact that even though we were terrible, that was probably as good as they were going to be be, and maybe as bad as we were going to be, that Tuukka [Rask] gave us a chance to only be down 1-0. If we could regroup, then we could get things going.”

Thornton said while the Bruins started slow, the Blackhawks deserve some credit for dominating the opening 20 minutes.

“I don’t have a reasoning for [the slow start]. All I can say is it wasn’t good enough, and we can’t let it happen again,” Thornton said. “Give them credit, though. They came out flying. They were ready from the drop of the puck. They really pushed the pace. We’re fortunate to have [Rask] in there backstopping. If it wasn’t for him, it would have been a lot different.”

Pressed as to why the Bruins came out so flat, Thornton said: “I have no idea. My only thought is maybe it took 20 minutes for guys to get their legs underneath them after the long game [Wednesday]. But I don’t want to sound like excuses, because there isn’t. I have no idea why everyone wasn’t ready to go right from the drop of the puck. There’s no excuse for it.”

Thornton said he expects a stronger start in Game 3.

“It better be,” he said. “We’re at home, we should be able to feed off our crowd and be ready to go for the drop of the puck. The good news is it’s an 8 o’clock game [the first two games started at 7 p.m. Chicago time]. Last time we didn’t show up ’til 8.”

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Don Cherry on D&C: Bruins will win Cup; Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin ‘a loser’ at 9:26 am ET
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Don Cherry

Don Cherry joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and the CBC Hockey Night in Canada analyst said he is sticking with his pick of the Bruins to win it all against the Blackhawks.

“They are going to win the Cup,” Cherry said point-blank. “I picked Boston all the way through.”

“It’s funny how the Bruins can turn it on like that,” he added, referencing the Bruins seemingly flipping a switch in the middle of Game 2 Saturday night. “It was like how it was against Toronto [in Game 7]. ‘Oh, 4-1? We’re going to turn it on for about 15 minutes.’ And that’s what they did in the overtime. If Chicago plays like they did in the overtime, it’s not going to go long.”

Part of that, the former Bruins coach said, was the result of the B’s consistently physical play, particularly after the first period.

“A few [Blackhawks] guys are hearing footsteps … and the defense gets rid of the puck early,” Cherry said. “Instead of taking their time a little, they know guys like [Milan] Lucic are coming, that little shot’s coming, and they get rid of the puck early.”

Cherry acknowledged that both goalies, Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, have been playing superbly, and he doesn’t expect any blowouts in either direction.

Cherry heaped praise on Rask in particular, even giving him the edge over Tim Thomas’ performance during the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run.

“Timmy Thomas did play great — I’m not putting him down — but Rask is unbelievable,” Cherry said. “He is in a zone right now.”

Cherry also spoke highly of Tyler Seguin, saying he fully expects the young forward to start producing more soon. The key is giving Seguin, in the form of ice time and confidence, the opportunity to succeed. Now that that is starting to happen again, the puck should start to fall.

“When you don’t play, you’re not going to be anything,” Cherry said. “He was taken off the line when [Jaromir] Jagr came. How would I handle him? I’d play him to death. And when you play him to death, he’d come through for you.”

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Claude Julien on Tyler Seguin: ‘As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him’ 06.16.13 at 3:05 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin set up the Bruins' winning goal last night, highlighting a Game 2 performance that Claude Julien praised. (AP)

Given the speed and skill that allow him to take over a hockey game at his best, it’s easy to forget that Tyler Seguin is still younger than most college seniors. While Seguin hasn’t often played the game he’s capable of in these playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien, impressed with his young forward’s effort in Game 2 on Saturday, reminded reporters of Seguin’s relative inexperience on Sunday.

“He’s only a 21-year-old kid – this is his third year,” Julien said. “Sometimes patience doesn’t mean just for one year. Patience means a little more than a year. As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him.”

Despite receiving a rogue fourth-place vote for the Selke trophy as the league’s best defensive forward this year, defense has not been a hallmark of Seguin’s game through the first three years of his career. In Game 2, though, he made a few plays of which Patrice Bergeron might have been proud, forcing turnovers and breaking up Blackhawks plays.

More notably, Seguin was alert enough to take advantage of a failed breakout pass in overtime on Sunday, setting Daniel Paille up with all kinds of space to score the game-winner. Seguin was skating with Paille and Chris Kelly, a line that accounted for both of the Bruins’ Game 2 goals, making perhaps his biggest contribution of the postseason in a bottom-six role.

“Yeah, very easy to play with,” Seguin said of Paille. “I think we’ve both got some good speed and we use each other. Obviously, I think [Kelly] is a very responsible centerman – definitely does the extra work. I think us three as a line worked out well.”

True, one game won’t change the perception that Seguin doesn’t quite meet his potential in the playoffs. This year, he has one goal and five assists through 18 games. That’s in line with his numbers from 2011, when he saw limited time: three goals and four assists through 13 games.

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Morning skate notes: Andrew Shaw throws fit and we should all dwell on the fact that somebody gave Tyler Seguin a Selke vote 06.15.13 at 2:08 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin

CHICAGO — The big news of Saturday’s morning skate was the fact that Nathan Horton is in the lineup for Game 2, but here are a few other notes from the morning:

- It was tough to tell what the lines will be given that Jaromir Jagr was not on the ice, as he commonly abstains from morning skate. Because Jagr wasn’t out there, Tyler Seguin skated in Jagr’s place on Patrice Bergeron‘s line. That’s interesting because when Jagr has missed skates in the past, the team has put a healthy scratch, such as Carl Soderberg, in his place and kept the other lines the same. Perhaps Claude Julien saw enough in Seguin in Game 1 to put him back in the top six mix. Seguin has just one goal this postseason.

- Speaking of Seguin, No. 19 was amused by the fact that he received a fourth-place vote for the Selke trophy. The Selke is given to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” which Seguin, um, is not. Seguin is known for his elite offensive skill and skating, but he is one of the Bruins’ worst defensive players. He was surprised to see that somebody voted for him (it’s decided by the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association), and with three points, he was second among Bruins players in Selke voting (Bergeron had 1250). That means Seguin had more points than friend and actual good two-way forward Brad Marchand, which Seguin found entertaining.

- Andrew Shaw had an uncomfortable temper tantrum during the Blackhawks’ media availability. Because Patrick Kane‘s stall is next to his in the Blackhawks’ dressing room, Shaw had difficulty to access his stall given the media crowd. That prompted Shaw to kick a trash barrel across the room. Blackhawks PR calmed Shaw down in the corner away from the area.

- A reporter who may have been unfamiliar with Jagr’s tendency to miss morning skates asked Julien if Jagr was alright, to which Julien responded, “he’s 100 percent. He’s 41.”

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