Tag:2011 NHL Playoffs
Posted on: May 18, 2011 12:57 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 3:48 am

Thomas' strong third period vital for Bruins

BOSTON – There’s not too many times a goalie who allowed five goals is lauded in the NHL, especially in a playoff game where low scores are rule not the exception like in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, however, isn’t the typical goalie. He does the unexpected, like when he tossed his body every which way to keep the Bruins on top en route to a 6-5 victory.

There seemed to be reason for concern after the Bruins’ three-goal lead after a dominant second period dwindled, although Thomas did everything he could to keep the puck out --- and even battled after his masked got knocked off. Thomas sustained a cut over his left eye in the scrum as Dominic Moore scored to make it one-goal game with seven minutes left in regulation.

“I haven't seen the replay,” Thomas said of the goal. “I've been told that the puck went off my head. But I didn't even realize it. At that point I was trying to find it, I think.”

Thomas made the next nine saves, including one when he used his head --- this time with his mask on --- to stop a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot after another scramble out front with 3:51 left. Thomas said afterward that he doesn’t look at the clock, not there was much time to do so as it ticked down.

“I can hear it when they call out it's the last minute of the game and that's the only reference point that I have,’ Thomas said. “It shouldn't matter whether there's 30 seconds or three seconds, you gotta have the same type of focus and try just as hard to stop the puck. So, I really wasn't focusing too much on that.”

Thomas, 37, admitted that he would have been a little flustered after a decent-sized lead shrunk to a one-goal margin when he was younger.

“With our big second period there, I knew we had a big lead going into the third period and the plan wasn't to let them get close at all,” Thomas said. “But when it gets 6-4, 6-5, when you're a younger goaltender, it might be hard for you to keep your focus. But I've been through enough situations similar to that. I was just trying to keep my focus and when it got 6-5 to do anything possible I could to keep it from getting 6-6.”

His counterpart, Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson, didn’t make it past the first two periods. Roloson, who allowed six goals on 27 shots, was yanked in favor or Mike Smith.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he’s not concerned about Roloson, who allowed a couple goals that one would call “soft.”

“He's resilient,” Boucher said. “He's somebody that's got tremendous concentration. And you know he always bounces back. So we're not expecting anything less than what he's given us throughout the year. So I'm not worried.”

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images 
Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 9:30 am

Flyers' Carcillo suspended over antics last round

Philadelphia Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo’s confrontation with officials between periods of Game 4 of the second round drew a two-game ban for the start of next season, the league announced on Tuesday.

"Between the first and second period, while off-ice and outside the officials' locker room, Mr. Carcillo engaged in aggressive behavior and inappropriate conduct directed at the officials," NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a statement. "While Mr. Carcillo acknowledged in the hearing that he regrets his actions outside of the officials' room, there can be no defense for his conduct.”

Carcillo had a hearing with NHL officials on Friday. The Flyers lost the game where he confronted officials --- the game was refereed by Steve Kozari and Stephen Walkom --- as the Boston Bruins completed a sweep with a 5-1 victory. Carcillo was called for cross checking in the first period and Boston's Milan Lucic scored on the ensuing power play for the game's first goal. 

Carcillo’s conduct before the start of the second period when he chastised linesman Brian Murphy was also reviewed.

“While the verbal abuse may have been worthy of a penalty, there is no evidence that Carcillo's actions merit supplemental discipline," Murphy said.

Carcillo was not penalized for that confrontation, although he drew another cross checking call in the second period.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 17, 2011 1:08 pm

Kubina struggles in recovery from concussion

BOSTON --- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina’s recovery from a concussion has been uneven, coach Guy Boucher said before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday.

“Every day when there seems to be a little progression, it kind of slips back a bit,” Boucher said. “So it's kind of an injury that you never know. You wake up the next day and everything's great or just keeps on going the same way so it's very hard to monitor what's going on with him.”

Kubina was driven hard into the boards on a check from Washington’s Jason Chimera in the first game of the second round on April 29. (Bolts center Simon Gagne suffered a concussion in the same game, but he is back in the lineup.) Chimera received a roughing minor, but was not suspended.

Kubina did not make the trip to Boston with the team.

“Obviously we're missing him,” Boucher said. “He's got size. He's got some offensive abilities on our second power play (line). He made a big difference on it. But right now we've adapted.”

Kubina was Tampa Bay’s second-leading scorer among defenseman in the regular season and is one of three players still on the Bolts from their 2004 Stanley Cup title-winning team; Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are the others.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 7:54 pm

Bergeron out for Game 2 of conference finals

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

Bergeron, the Bruins' top scorer this postseason, didn't make it out for warm-ups minutes before the Boston attempted to even the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rookie Tyler Seguin, who had a goal in Game 1, will again be turned to in Bergeron's absence.

“As far as Bergeron is concerned, I think if he’s in you’re going to see him in warm-up tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. 
Bergeron skated in his second full practice --- and the fourth time overall since his concussion on May 6 --- on Tuesday at TD Garden. He got dressed in a separate room to avoid reporters and Bruins coach Claude Julien again didn’t give guidance on when Bergeron would be back in the lineup.

Teams are not mandated to disclose injuries, outside of a player get hurt during the game. Even then, the league only requires vague descriptions -- hence the upper-body, lower-body designations -- and the likelihood of return.

Julien refused to say whether he’s ruled Bergeron out.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who said he expected Bergeron to play, said whether Bergeron goes or not won’t change his team's approach.

“Every time we play, we are planning for the other team to have their best players on the ice,” Boucher said. “We are not surprised or disappointed.”

Boucher, who had dealt with questions last around about two concussed players (Pavel Kubina and Simon Gagne), said he takes slightly more open tact to injury disclosures.

“When we can say they they’re not playing (due to injury), we’ll say they’re not playing,” Boucher said. “If it’s day-to-day or minute-to-minute, sometimes you have wait until the warm-up.”

Bruins forward Milan Lucic didn’t participate in the morning skate and was seen with a noticeable limp as headed to the pregame meal. Lucic was hit in the right foot by a blast during Monday’s practice.

Lucic, however, took part in warm-ups and is expected to play.

“There’s no issues there at all,” Julien said.

On top of getting their top playoff scorer back, Bergeron would also be a boost both in the faceoff circle and the team’s power play. The Bruins won only 39 percent of their faceoffs and went scoreless on their four power-play opportunities in Game 1.

“It’s a matter of everybody being better,” Julien said of his team’s struggles in the faceoff circle. “Your centermen have to be better (and) you can’t lose it clean. You have to make sure your other guys on the ice have to be ready to jump on those loose pucks. They were quicker than we were.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 16, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 1:50 pm

Bruins' Bergeron takes part in full practice

BOSTON --- Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron took part in his first full practice since his latest concussion, another indication that may be nearing a return to game action.

Wearing a white jersey, Bergeron was one of the first players on the ice on Monday. He was out there about an hour as the Bruins prepared for Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at TD Garden and left about 10 minutes before the practice concluded as the drills became a little more physical. Bergeron was not made available to reporters.

“It would be nice to have him back as soon as possible,” Bruins forward Nathan Horton said. “You don’t want to rush that. You have to wait until you’re 100 percent. He looked god out there today. I’ll be nice to get him back.”

The Bruins have been mum on Bergeron’s progress since he suffered the third concussion of his NHL career in Game 4 of the second-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on May 6. Boston coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron is still going through the league-mandated concussion protocol and he couldn't offer up any timeline. 

"It's the protocol that we're going through and the process that he has to go through," Julien said. "We don't have anything else more to report because there's nothing else to report in regards to him. 

Asked if he was ruling Bergeron out for Game 2, Julien replied, "no comment."

Bergeron --- the Bruins’ top playoff scorer with 12 points --- returned to the ice on Saturday, a day after he missed Game 1 as the Tampa Bay Lightning earned a 5-2 victory. He also skated on his own Sunday and went through some drills with an assistant coach.

“He looked good,” Boston forward Rich Peverley said. “He looked lie himself. Hopefully he’s back soon.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 16, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 2:56 am

Torres sells elbow, keys Canucks' Game 1 win

Raffi Torres sold it better than (enter the name of a has-been actor here) pushes reverse mortgages on your grandparents.

The Vancouver Canucks forward -- who plays on and often over the line -- acted as if the elbow of Sharks forward Dany Heatley was encased in concrete as the two battled along the boards in the third period of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday night. Torres flailed to make sure the referee didn’t miss it, which he didn’t as an elbowing minor was called.

Henrik Sedin scored on the ensuing power play as the Canucks came away with a 3-2 victory at Rogers Arena. Torres wasn’t on the ice for Sedin’s second goal of the playoffs, but give him an assist anyway.

Here’s a link to the collision, which can be found 2:56 in.

You wouldn’t think Torres would get the benefit of many of those sorts of calls. He was suspended the final two games of the regular season and the first two contests of the playoffs for a hit to the head of Edmonton Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle. Torres' collision with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in the first round was also looked at by the league, but NHL officials decided not to suspend him.

Torres wasn’t called for a dive on Sunday, but teammate Maxim Lapierre -- who is no stranger to flopping -- took the minor. He went off for two minutes as he embellished a hold by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who also went to the box.

In total, the Canucks got four power-play opportunities to the Sharks’ one. Maybe it was a good indication of how the night would go for the Sharks in the call department as captain Joe Thornton was tossed out of the circle on the opening faceoff.

The Detroit Red Wings had complained that Thornton was jumping the faceoffs in their second-round series. Apparently, the Canucks were the beneficiary of those gripes.

-- A. J. Perez

Posted on: May 15, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 4:11 pm

Lightning rolling with the Bruins' punches

BOSTON --- Victor Hedman doesn’t want to have to pick himself off the ice again, even if the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman drew another needless Boston Bruins penalty and wasn't injured on the play. 

“You have to be ready for the first punch,” Hedman said after practice at TD Garden on Sunday. “That’s part of the game. You have to be ready when you get into the scrum. You just can’t take the risk. I’ll be more careful.”

Hedman stood up for teammate Dominic Moore in the closing seconds of the Lightning’s 5-2 victory over the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday. Moore had just been punched by Bruins’ forward Nathan Horton, which drew the first two-minute rouging minor and a game misconduct. Hedman was then punched and crumpled to the ice when he took a left jab on the chin from Milan Lucic, a blow that also resulted in another roughing penalty and a game misconduct.

“It’s nothing any of the guys in here hasn’t seen before,” Bolts forward Ryan Malone sad. “It’s hockey. We are not worried about if they are trying (to send a message).”

The Bruins, however, lost their composure earlier in the contest. Rookie forward Brad Marchand broke his stick in frustration as he headed to the bench late in the second period, sending the blade sliding down the ice.

“That’s always something that I’ve had to work on and kind of keep in check,” Marchand said. “It’s one of those things where it kind of got the best of me. Those are things I can’t be doing. It brings a bad vibe to the team. I need to learn how to control my emotions a little better and we’ll be all set.”

That outburst didn’t rise to the level of penalty, but Johnny Boychuk’s jab at Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier wasn’t missed by the refs eight minutes into the third period. A roughing minor was called on the play and the Marc-Andre Bergeron scored on the ensuing power play.

“We want to stay disciplined,” Lecavalier said. “We know things like that happen. We were up in the game and we were happy the way things went yesterday. Obviously, we want to stay out of that stuff. . . . After I saw the referee calling the penalty, I stopped. I knew we were getting a power play and we ended up scoring. We try to control our emotions as best as we can. It’s tough.”

Marchand said it’s not like the Lightning were on their best behavior at all times. For instance, he said Lecavalier doesn’t mind to talk a little trash.

“He kind of talks back,” Marchand said. “He’s such a good player for them and he’s one of the guys you want to try to get off his game a bit.”

Boston coach Claude Julien admitted his Bruins unraveled some, but he added that the replays may not have caught the full picture of what went on.

“I think it’s part of frustration sometimes in games an liberties taken,” he said. “Same thing as usual. It’s always easy to look at the punch, just like that penalty Boychuk took. How we end up shorthanded is tough to see when Lecavalier jumps him after a clean hit. Those are things that happen in the game. We can whine and cry about things, but) we take care of our own business.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 15, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 2:09 pm

Bergeron skates again, status remains uncertain

BOSTON --- Patrice Bergeron went through some individual drills with a Boston Bruins assistant coach at TD Garden on Sunday as he took the ice for the second time since his latest concussion.

Boston coach Claude Julien, however, reiterated that Bergeron will not be back until all the symptoms from his third reported career concussion -- suffered in Game 4 of the second round on May 6 -- have been resolved. The fact the Bruins, who fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, in Game 1, 5-2, on Saturday, are in the conference finals doesn’t change Bergeron’s timetable.

“If he’s not 100 percent, he will never play,” Julien told reporters on Sunday. “Whether it’s regular season or playoffs -- even before they tightened up the rules on that --  there is no way we would ever do that to a player. That is too important to his personal lifestyle and the life he is going to lead after hockey. That will always come before the game. And it’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it should be.”

Besides Bergeron, Bruins forward Marc Savard has suffered through a series of concussions. The last one, the second in 10 months, occurred in January and the Bruins shut him down for the rest of the season.

The NHL implemented new concussion protocols in March after several high-profile injuries, including on to Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. The new standard requires a multiple-step process where doctors test a player’s cognitive and physical status before he’s allowed to resume activity.

The Bruins have not said where exactly Bergeron  -- the Bruins’ leading scorer of the playoffs  -- is in his comeback from what was called a “minor” concussion, but players took it as a good sign that he’s returned to the ice.

“Honestly, you’re happy for him,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. “You wish him the best, but you can’t get excited or frustrated if he has a setback. He’s out right now. Its kind of the end to it. It’s not really discussed anymore. It’s not like we’re pining for the moment he comes back. We know guys can fill in.”

Rookie Tyler Seguin made his first start of the playoffs in place of Bergeron in Game 1. While he did score a goal and had an assist, Seguin played only nine minutes, 38 seconds. That’s about half the ice time Bergeron usually sees when he’s in the lineup.

Seguin also wasn’t used in the Bruins’ listless power play, which went scoreless for the 10th time in 12 playoffs games.

“I think it’s a situation here where you’ve got to understand this is a 19-year-old that hasn’t played in 11 games,” Julien said. “He comes back in and you want to give him some small chunks to bite on and certainly work his way up. . . . Our power play’s been good the last couple of games, and just because you struggle on the first couple of ones, you (can’t) explode it again and try something new.”

-- A.J. Perez
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