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Posted On Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 1:53 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Hossa provides boost in return to Hawks lineup

BOSTON -- Throughout the day Wednesday, heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden, the expectation was that forward Marian Hossa would return to the Chicago Blackhawks lineup, even when he skipped the morning skate after being a surprise scratch in Game 3 on Monday. Hossa, however, didn't make the decision he was good to go until moments before the puck dropped.

Regardless of when he got the green light to play, Hossa's return gave the Blackhawks a noticeable boost in a 6-5 overtime win against the Boston Bruins that evened the best-of-7 series at two games apiece. Perhaps just as important, it gave Chicago coach Joel Quenneville some much-needed flexibility with his lineup.

"I felt so-so, but the decision was for me to play and I'm glad I could help a little bit," Hossa said. "We have a couple of days off so it's nice, but we have to be ready for the next game [Saturday]."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.19.2013 / 1:32 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Seguin hot streak keyed by talk with Julien

BOSTON -- After opening the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with four points in his first 16 games, Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin is getting hot at the perfect time. Entering Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden with his Bruins leading the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1, Seguin is riding a three-game point streak, his longest such run in two months.

The 21-year-old also has set up Boston's two game-winning goals in that time, both of which were scored by Daniel Paille, the latest addition to a recently-formed line featuring Seguin and center Chris Kelly. By his own admission, Seguin is playing his best hockey of the postseason.

"It feels good. I feel like I'm working hard," Seguin said. "I feel like I just wanted to work a lot smarter in this series. Focus on little things. I think that my line has definitely raised their game in this series."

Seguin's improved play has been sparked in part by teaming with Paille, whose speed has complimented Seguin's game nicely. But it was a recent meeting with Bruins coach Claude Julien that helped Seguin understand exactly what the team needed from him. A meeting that a nervous Seguin initiated.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.18.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Hawks using confidence gained from rally vs. Wings

BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks haven't scored a goal in more than 120 minutes of game time and have lost two straight to trail the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final.

Most teams would be struggling with their confidence after a pair of humbling losses to a streaking Boston team that has won 11 of their last 13 games. But the Blackhawks are not most teams.

Most teams don't open the season with a 21-0-3 streak that was among the best starts to a season in NHL history. Most teams don't come back from a 3-1 series deficit against a Detroit Red Wings team poised to upset the top-seeded, Presidents' Trophy-winning Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semifinals. These Blackhawks have won big games before, and they have all the confidence in the world that they can do it again.

"It kind of gives you confidence. But to be honest with you, what happened in the regular season is a long time ago," forward Patrick Sharp said. "We certainly feel proud of what we accomplished, we feel like we deserve to be where we are and we can draw on past experience."


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Posted On Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 2:29 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Wild celebration caps Seguin's breakout performance

BOSTON -- Having already competed in 38 Stanley Cup Playoff games in just three NHL seasons, Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has had plenty of ups and downs in his young career. So you can't really blame him for his demonstrative celebration after setting up Daniel Paille's overtime winner in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

After Paille beat Corey Crawford to even up the best-of-7 series, Seguin swung his arm around emphatically before throwing himself into the wild Boston celebratory scrum. It's a new goal celebration that inspired laughter from one of his toughest critics.

"My little sister kind of made fun of me for it. At the time, you don't know what you're doing. I was just excited and did a windmill hand thing," said Seguin, who was wearing a microphone during the game and was caught using some salty language following the winning goal. "She just thought it was hilarious. Obviously, I told her I never swear."


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 12:19 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Governors place friendly wager on Cup Final

For Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, there will be a little more than bragging rights on the line when the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins drop the puck Wednesday for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

In a show of friendly competition, the governors placed a well-intentioned wager on the outcome of the series. Under terms of the bet, the losing team's state governor will spend a day volunteering at a food bank of the winning governor's choice. If the Bruins win, Quinn will work at the Greater Boston Food Bank. If the Blackhawks win, Patrick will volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"Gov. Patrick is skating on thin ice by betting against the mighty Chicago Blackhawks," Quinn said in a statement. "But the Greater Chicago Food Depository can always use extra help, so after he works a shift there, I'm happy to take Gov. Patrick to the United Center to see the Stanley Cup return home."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins have turned around play in third period and OT

NEW YORK -- In a regular season that saw the Boston Bruins demonstrate a variety of strengths, third-period scoring wasn't exactly one of them. Boston's 39 third-period goals during the season ranked them 19th in the League and they posted an even third-period goal differential. They also posted a 15-4-4 record when leading after two periods, good for a .652 win percentage that ranked 29th.

That alarming trend continued in their opening-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Boston was outscored 6-5 in the third period and overtime through the series' first six games. But that suddenly changed with the Bruins facing elimination in Game 7, as they scored three times in the third and again in overtime to win it. Since that memorable run, the team has since outscored its opposition 10-3 in the third and overtime.

"I think the biggest criticism for our team was we weren't getting a lot of goals in the third period late in the season," forward Daniel Paille said. "We really wanted to try to fix that. We've done a good job of that in this series, but every game is different."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:14 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Now opponents, Paille and Girardi have deep bonds

NEW YORK -- After he scored the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Boston Bruins' Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, it's fair to say that Daniel Paille's friends and family were thrilled for the forward's big moment on the biggest of stages. But one of Paille's closest friends wasn't so thrilled about the game's final score.

That would be Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, whose team now faces a steep 3-0 series deficit heading into Thursday's Game 4 at Madison Square Garden. The pair grew up in Welland, Ontario and started playing hockey together as eight-year-olds. They were also junior hockey teammates with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League and even served as the best man at each other's weddings, along with friend and former Ranger Andre Deveaux.

With all that history, Paille doesn't see his recent success at Girardi's expense putting a strain on their relationship.

"I'll see after the series," Paille told NHL.com. "I'm sure when this series is done we'll have a good talk and see how things were during the series. For now we both know it's all about business."


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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 12:53 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins expecting to face a desperate opponent

NEW YORK -- Shortly after a brief morning practice heading into Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins were expecting a desperate effort from an opponent looking to avoid a series sweep.

Hearing about the Rangers' announcement that forward Brad Richards would be scratched and Arron Asham could be out as well in favor of bigger players Kris Newbury and Micheal Haley did nothing to change that.

"Doesn't matter to me," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked about the Rangers' lineup changes. "We're here to win the hockey game tonight. We're going to do whatever it takes."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 5:03 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' fourth line can provide more than just energy

NEW YORK -- On a team known for its remarkable consistency, the Boston Bruins benefited in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers from a trio not known for filling the net.

In a 2-1 win Tuesday, Boston's fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille accounted for both goals in an unexpected show of offensive flair. Thornton's two assists in the game doubled his career point total accumulated over 76 previous Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Even if offensive outbursts like the one they had in Game 3 aren't an every-game occurrence, the Bruins' fourth line has been known to set the tone for the rest of their team, thanks mostly to their contagious energy and physicality.

"When those guys come up large for us, it really ignites our dressing room. Guys are really happy for them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "In a team sport, sometimes you have players that have more attention than others. These guys don't get the attention they probably deserve on a lot of occasions. So when they get that opportunity, everyone kind of rallies around them."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 4:14 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Julien encouraged by progress of Seidenberg, Redden

NEW YORK -- After contending with a depleted defensive unit for the entirety of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien could be getting some help in the near future.

Veteran defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, neither of whom has dressed for the series against New York, participated in an optional skate Wednesday. Julien sounded encouraged by their performance in practice.

"Every day they're better. That's progress," said Julien, who gave no word on whether either player would be available for Game 4 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; CNBC. RDS, TSN). "That decision will be made [Thursday]. I like the direction both those guys are going in now, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season