|Morning skate report: Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg together, Andrew Ference hopes to return||06.01.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — The Bruins will play a hockey game for the first time in a week when they finally open the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. From the looks of it, there will be no changes to their lineup, although Andrew Ference could be a possibility to return.
Both Ference and Matt Bartkowski took rushes with Johnny Boychuk on Boston’s second pairing in the morning skate, with Bartkowski taking the majority of them. After the skate, Claude Julien declined to tip his hand regarding Ference’s status for the game, with Ference saying he wants to play but that the decision is up to the coaches.
Another notable takeaway from the morning skate was that it appears the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing will be kept together, presumably to play against the Penguins’ top line of Evgeni Malkin between James Neal and Jarome Iginla.
The Bruins’ lineup looked as follows in the morning skate:
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski/Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
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|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Virtually impossible play’ for Dougie Hamilton on game-ending goal||05.24.13 at 2:01 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to offer his take on the Bruins’ mistake-prone 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 4.
McGuire said that despite Thursday’s loss, the Bruins have no reason to be overly concerned.
“The Rangers can talk about coming back and getting back in this series. It’s still 3-1. You’re going back to Boston for Game 5. And the Rangers should have lost that game last night,” McGuire said. “The Boston Bruins were full of self-inflicted wounds. … Whether it’s Tuukka Rask falling down, Tuukka and Zdeno Chara not communicating properly, Chara being lackadaisical with the puck. But also give credit where credit’s due: Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal, especially in overtime.
“So, stuff’s going to happen in a playoff series. You can’t overreact to it. You move along, you play Game 5 and you do a good job in front of your fan base.”
McGuire said he was impressed with how the Bruins started Thursday’s game, and surprised at the Rangers’ performance.
“The Rangers had nothing going on,” he said. “The first period I was shocked. The shots were 12-4 and I was absolutely shocked at how the Rangers were playing. Jaromir Jagr in particular really had a sense of urgency to start that game. You could see the Bruins were jumping. They were good. They were ready to play.”
Added McGuire: “I’m telling you guys straight up: People are underplaying how deep Boston is and how good Boston is. And the Rangers don’t match up particularly well with Boston. That’s just the reality because they don’t have the same kind of offensive depth, especially down the middle, as they have in Boston. That’s a big problem. You compound that with the Chara factor and with the [Johnny] Boychuk factor in terms of size. You’ve got some very big defensemen. Whatever offensive press you might have if you’re New York, it gets shut down pretty quick.”
Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton was beaten on the game-winning goal when Chris Kreider redirected a pass from Rick Nash past Rask in overtime. McGuire said Hamilton was in a tough spot.
“That play, by the way, you’ve got numbers back, you’re in a good position,” McGuire said. “I will say this, and I’m not trying to be overly defensive of the young player: You tell me, in this new NHL, what Hamilton’s supposed to do against a player that’s 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and can skate as fast as almost anybody in the league. That is a virtually impossible play. It’s a beautiful pass by Nash. And the only thing Hamilton could have done — and if he’s a little bit older, maybe he does do — he takes a penalty. … Because that is an unbelievably difficult play to defend. Because of the size of the man attacking the net, because of the speed of the man attacking the net, and because of the precision of the pass made by Rick Nash. That’s an unbelievable pass by Nash and a great finish by Kreider. This is something he’ll learn over time. In that situation you may just take a penalty. Just tackle the guy as he goes to the net.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: ‘The Bruins are going to need a lot more intensity from their leaders’||at 10:20 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to examine the B’s mistake-prone effort that cost them Game 4 vs. the Rangers.
Tuukka Rask had the most glaring error when he fell and let the Rangers break through with a cheap goal that cut the B’s lead to 2-1 in the second period.
“It’s one thing to give up a goal and kind of keep momentum. But the way that goal went in, with Tuukka falling flat on his butt and the puck going in, in one of the softer goals we’ve seen, that kind of started to change momentum,” Pederson said. “And then once [Zdeno] Chara gave up the other one it was as if kind of the floodgates opened up a little bit.
“But the Rangers still didn’t show me a lot last night. '¦ It’s up to the Bruins. The Bruins are going to need a lot more intensity from their leaders. It wasn’t only Tuukka that I thought lost his concentration — because of probably lack of action — but also I didn’t think Chara, [Milan] Lucic and [David] Krejci, the three leaders that they’ve had so far this playoffs, I didn’t think they were nearly as intense as they had been. And that’s what makes it hard to win four games in a row. It’s not only the team that you’re playing is usually a little bit more desperate and playing with pride. It’s also the fact that you kind of let up a little bit.”
Added Pederson: “The Bruins just weren’t as intense and as focused as they need to be as a team. '¦ You had the opportunity, you just let it slip through your fingers.”
Pederson said he was surprised at the effort — or lack thereof — from the Rangers.
“I didn’t see much at all from the Rangers last night that tells me, Oh, boy, this offensive juggernaut now all of a sudden is going to click; here they go. I thought it was a situation where the Bruins totally dominated the first part of that hockey game. I was shocked again at the end of the first period at how bad the New York Rangers looked. And then once the Bruins took that 2-0 lead I kind of felt like it was over and that the Bruins had complete control of this because the Rangers hadn’t showed us anything up to that point.
“So, the Bruins have to come home and be ready Saturday night right from the open, give the Rangers a reason to not show up. They have to bring that intensity level that they showed earlier on. I’m kind of counting on that, I think.”
|Bruins not feeling cocky with 3-0 series lead||05.22.13 at 12:10 am ET|
NEW YORK — With the Bruins a win away from the Eastern Conference finals, they hope to have a better focus than they did the last time they got their third win. The B’s let the Maple Leafs come back from a 3-1 deficit last round to nearly eliminate them, so they weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves after their 2-1 Game 3 win.
“We’ve had the experience, but we’ve also had a tough time closing out teams and we know they’re going to be tough to play against in Game 4,” Shawn Thornton said. “Their backs are against the wall, so that’s usually when you see the most desperate of teams. I think we’re going to have to be ready for that again.”
Though the Bruins have a 3-0 series lead, Games 1 and 3 could have gone either way. If a few bounces went the Rangers’ way, this series could be much closer, and the B’s aren’t forgetting it.
“Every game is a tough game,” Zdeno Chara said. “Sometimes the scores aren’t always showing how close the games are.”
Game 4 will be played Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
“We know it’s going to be a tough one,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s always a tough win to get, is the last one. We have one day to regroup and we need to make sure we’re ready for Game 4. We know the Rangers are a team that’s not going to give up, so it’s about making sure we’re ready for that game.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien on heavy minutes for Zdeno Chara: ‘Right now, we don’t have a choice’||05.17.13 at 3:47 pm ET|
One of the by-products of having three regular defensemen out of the lineup and injured is putting a heavy burden on others.
No where has the burden fallen more heavily than on the shoulders of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Claude Julien admitted as much on Friday, a much-needed day of rest for Chara, who logged 38 minutes of ice time in the Game 1 overtime win, three days after skating nearly 36 minutes in a Game 7 win against the Leafs.
Is Julien concerned?
“Well, he's done it twice in a row now, when you look back at Game 7 and [Thursday],” Julien said. “We're including overtime in that session, as well. He's in great shape, he's got a couple of days here to recover, so I don't see that being an issue. To be honest with you, right now we don't have a choice. You deal with it the best way you can.”
In addition to scoring the first goal of the game, Chara’s poke check in the Bruins zone set Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand off on the game-winning rush in overtime Thursday. Those two feats, combined with the 38 minutes on the ice earned him the Army Captain’s Bruins jacket for hero of the game.
“I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can and whatever coach feel comfortable putting out there, I'm fine with that,” Chara said.
Chara has been instrumental in helping rookies, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski in their first NHL playoff experience. He started the game Thursday paired with Hamilton. There is the chance that some combination of Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden return for Game 2 Sunday but until then, Chara and the Bruins will have no choice but to be prepared.
“You try to obviously try to talk to them on the ice as much as you can,” Chara said. “[The] coaches [are] doing their part so, and also you've got to let them play, the way they naturally like to play. So, that's the biggest thing, but like I said it's something that's never easy for any player to come in and all of a sudden be put in a spot like this and you got to make sure that as a unit of five we all play a certain way to make it easier on certain situations.”
|Brad Marchand the OT hero this time as Bruins take Game 1||05.16.13 at 10:48 pm ET|
Overtime once again was the Bruins’ friend as Brad Marchand scored the game-winner to give the B’s a 3-2 win over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. The goal was Marchand’s first of the playoffs, and the Bruins now have won two straight overtime games and all three overtime contests this postseason.
After a scoreless first period, Zdeno Chara got a slap shot through from the point that trickled past Henrik Lundqvist, ending the goalie’s shutout streak at 152:23. Ryan McDonagh scored on a laser from the left point that Tuukka Rask didn’t see with bodies in front of him. The goal came with 1.3 seconds left in the second, and Derek Stepan scored 14 seconds into the third to give the Rangers the lead on two goals in a span of 15.3 seconds. It was Torey Krug, playing in his first career NHL playoff game after playing only one regular-season game for Boston this season, who tied it with a slap shot on the power play.
Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton were called upon Monday, as Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden were out of action due to various undisclosed injuries. Game 2 will be played Sunday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
'¢ The Rangers might regret not taking advantage of this one later in the series if those defensemen are back. On the other hand, give guys like Krug and Hamilton credit for making the most of their responsibilities. Hamilton showed some of that much-talked-about poise on his pass to Krug on the power play to set up Boston’s second goal.
'¢ David Krejci picked up the primary assist on Chara’s goal, which means he now has an NHL-best 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through eight games this postseason.
'¢ Though they didn’t score on it, the Bruins turned in a very strong power play following a Derek Dorsett interference penalty in overtime. The B’s managed six shots on goal during the man advantage — three from Chara and one apiece from Seguin, Hamilton and Jaromir Jagr.
'¢ Once again, the back end was a source of offense for the Bruins. After the B’s got six goals from their defensemen against the Maple Leafs, they got two more Thursday from Chara and Krug.
'¢ Speaking of the Bruins’ D, Bartkowski is just oodles more confident these days than he had been in the past with the Bruins. The same kid who was once too afraid of messing up is skating with the puck, hitting guys and doing everything in between. After losing his stick in the neutral zone, Bartkowski lit up Rick Nash, much to the delight of the crowd. Bartkowski was on the ice for both New York goals, but he’s been a very important part of this team’s defense since stepping in. He was third on the Bruins in time-on-ice in regulation, skating 21:55.
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Milan Lucic ‘took that team on his back’||05.14.13 at 11:36 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, hours after the B’s completed an incredible comeback with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 at TD Garden.
Pederson passed around the praise, beginning with Milan Lucic.
“Lucic took that team on his back going down the stretch with his physical presence, intimidation and going to the front of the net,” Pederson said. “I thought he really turned things around.
“But it got scary there that first shift of the hockey game when [Dennis] Seidenberg goes down 37 seconds into the game. All of a sudden no Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference and no [Wade] Redden. And boy, [Matt] Bartkowski stepped it up, then the other young guys on the right side, [Johnny] Boychuk, [Adam] McQuaid and [Dougie] Hamilton, brought their game up. And it’s not easy with Toronto’s speed.
“Then you’ve got to talk about the captain [Zdeno Chara], with 35 minutes of ice time that he had to log. He’ll be one tired guy. Then you’ve got to give [Tuukka] Rask a lot of credit, too. Here’s a kid that [when] it was 4-1, he didn’t quit. He made some big saves down the stretch — that breakaway on [Matt] Frattin and then on [Joffrey] Lupul in overtime. It was a total team effort.”
While the Bruins came up big in the third period and overtime, the Maple Leafs are looking back at a stunning collapse.
“The other part of the story, of course, is as they’re coming on, a young Toronto team, who had never been through this war before and never experienced it, totally collapsed in the sense that they quit making plays, they’re back on their heels. they’re getting the puck and instead of going tape to tape and trying to create some offense, they’re just banging it off the boards,” Pederson said. “For [James] Reimer, who played so well for them in Game 5 and 6 to get them there, he just had no chance with so many bodies around him. He wasn’t controlling his rebounds and then the Bruins were just pouncing.”
While the Bruins have faced criticism for their inconsistency, Pederson said it’s been a league-wide problem during the lockout-shortened season. That said, Pederson noted that the B’s turnover problems need to be remedied in a hurry if they’re going to advance any further.
“One of the hallmarks of Claude Julien‘s teams and one of the things that I’ve enjoyed watching was the defensive responsibility and the way they protect the puck and the way they don’t beat themselves with turnovers,” Pederson said. “But boy, down the stretch of the regular season and at various times throughout these playoffs, that was not what we saw from this team. This was a team that was self-destructing by turnovers, not getting the puck deep, not protecting the puck. So for the Bruins to get to that next level and get away from that Jekyll and Hyde, as Claude calls it, they’re going to have to protect the puck better and be mentally tougher. Because again, the competition gets that much more difficult against the New York Rangers.”
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