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Posted On Monday, 06.24.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' focus: defensive awareness, more physicality

BOSTON -- With nine goals allowed in the past two games, eight with a goaltender in the crease, the Boston Bruins defense has been much leakier than it had been previously in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So as they try to avoid elimination Monday in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), the Bruins are going to have to do a better job of containing some of the Chicago Blackhawks' best players, including Patrick Kane.

Kane has scored three goals in the past two games.

"Well, it takes an extreme amount of awareness of everybody on the ice," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said after his team's morning skate. "Our defensive game relies on a five-man unit picking up their assignments and just being ultra-aware of positioning and where the threats are. So like I said, you're not asking anybody to do anything that they've never done before. Everybody knows what it takes. We've played against some pretty amazing offensive players and teams, and I think you're asking everybody to play defensively to the potential that they've shown."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 1:43 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins might use Soderberg, reconfigure fourth line

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien used his team's practice at TD Garden on Friday to test out a new fourth line.

Rookie Carl Soderberg wore a merlot-colored sweater along with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during the 35-minute session in preparation for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. EST, NBC, CBC, RDS). The rest of the Bruins lines remained the same from Game 4.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"Just trying something else here," Julien said before boarding the bus in front of a throng of fans outside the Garden. "Again, I'll make that decision [Saturday]. But just get a different look at what that would look like, that's all."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 2:52 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Kelly, Marchand talk missed opportunities

BOSTON -- In a 6-5 game, there were obviously plenty of offensive chances players cashed in during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at TD Garden.

However, two Boston Bruins forwards missed great opportunities to turn the game in their club's favor. Instead the Bruins fell to the Chicago Blackhawks and now the teams head to the Windy City for Game 5 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at United Center with the best-of-7 series tied 2-2.

Boston's Chris Kelly hit the left post with enough room in the net to fit a St. Bernard in the closing minute of the second period with the Bruins trailing 4-3. Rich Peverley had just threaded a cross-ice pass to his linemate.

The goal horn sounded, but play continued.

"No, I knew I didn't score. But the horn kind of threw me," Kelly said Thursday on his team's off day at the Garden. "I thought the period was over. And then I looked up and I think there was 40 seconds left. But no, it didn't throw me off to think I had scored. I knew I didn't score."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.19.2013 / 12:31 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins again ratcheting up defensive play

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are doing it again.

With their relentless team defense, the Bruins are shutting down another of the League's elite offensive teams.

After a bit of a blip in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in triple overtime, the Bruins have allowed one goal in their last two games to take the series lead heading into Game 4 Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.

The Bruins' suffocating defense mostly has carried over from the Eastern Conference Final, when Boston limited the Pittsburgh Penguins to just two goals in four games. The Penguins had been averaging more than four goals per game entering that series.

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Posted On Monday, 06.17.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins get lift from having Campbell around again

BOSTON -- The lanky, athletic figure came around the corner just seconds after you heard the final clanks of the bottom of his crutches hitting the waxed floor.

Once Gregory Campbell, with his surgically repaired right leg elevated and half protected by a plastic brace, made it to the front of the TD Garden elevators Monday morning, those waiting to go up just a couple floors were reminded what real toughness is.

Most then decided to walk up the steps while the Boston Bruins center waited. After all, everyone looks like a wimp when standing next to the guy famous for playing more than 50 seconds of a penalty kill with a broken leg.

Campbell has been out of the lineup with a broken right fibula ever since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last Monday he underwent surgery for the damage Evgeni Malkin's slap shot caused in that dramatic Bruins win.

As they prepared for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks with the series tied 1-1, the Bruins were visited by Campbell for the first time since his surgery.


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Posted On Monday, 06.17.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Horton's presence allows Julien to keep top six intact

BOSTON -- While Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien had to do some juggling with his bottom-six forwards during his teams Game 2 overtime win Saturday in Chicago, at least he was able to keep his top-two lines together in their usual alignment.

Prior to the second game of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, it looked like Julien might've had to start the game with a new top six because of Nathan Horton's injury status. Not only did Horton play, he performed well enough to stay in his usual spot on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Horton logged 21:29 of ice time.

Horton, Krejci and Lucic figure to again be together when the Bruins host Game 3 of the Cup Final Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.


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Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 3:23 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Getting waived best thing for Daugavins

BOSTON -- In late March, Kaspars Daugavins barely could crack the Ottawa Senators' lineup and eventually was waived.

Now, the left wing not only is heading to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Boston Bruins, he seemingly is part of their top 12 forwards in the aftermath of Gregory Campbell's broken fibula sustained in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 24-year-old said he feels blessed he was plucked off the waiver wire by Boston on March 27.

"Well, obviously I was lucky to get out of there [Ottawa] and come to a great organization, and I wasn't thinking this far," Daugavins said after the Bruins practiced at TD Garden on Monday. "Like at the time, I was just hoping to get some ice time and play and prove that I can be in this League. And we picked up in the playoffs, so it's awesome. It's like a big bonus right now."

With Campbell out for the remainder of the postseason, it's likely Daugavins will continue to fill Campbell's spot when the Cup Final begins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Campbell injury hurts Bruins' penatly-kill

BOSTON -- After a slow start to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' penalty kill has been nearly airtight from the second round on.

Heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Bruins have killed off 26 of 28 power plays since the start of their second-round series against the New York Rangers.

Now the penalty kill will have a challenge almost as great as trying to stop Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of Pittsburgh's star-studded power play.

Center Gregory Campbell is done for the rest of the postseason with a broken fibula. He usually combines with fourth-line partner Daniel Paille to form one of Boston's three main pairs on their penalty kill, which ranked fourth in the NHL during the regular season.

"It's tough. He plays such a hard game," forward Brad Marchand said of losing Campbell. "He's such a big part of our team. You saw the last couple of rounds, he's been very big. He's not really a guy you can really replace, but everybody has to step up a little bit and hopefully, collectively we can fill that void."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 12:22 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Rask none the worse for wear after ding in practice

BOSTON -- Everyone took the ice Wednesday for the Boston Bruins' morning skate, which featured one minor scare.

During one drill, goaltender Tuukka Rask took a teammate's shot off his shoulder, and he reacted by skating toward the bench and slamming his stick against the TD Garden boards. It took less than a minute for Rask to return to his crease and get back to work.

Julien said after the skate there were no issues in terms of Rask getting the start in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 3:38 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins surging since Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs

BEDFORD, Mass. -- It still runs the risk of becoming the Boston Bruins' version of Carlton Fisk's extra-inning home run for the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series or the Boston Celtics' comeback from 21 points down in the 2002 conference finals.

Both of those great Boston postseason sports accomplishments of the past ultimately failed to pay off in a championship.

So as we wait to see how the Bruins' run through the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs ends, their comeback after trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 13 can only be classified as the wake-up call that sparked the Bruins to a deep postseason run.

The Bruins' improved quality of play from that night has continued forward into the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Including their wins in the first two games of this series, the Bruins have won seven of eight games and outscored their opponents 29-11 since they were behind the Maple Leafs 4-1.

Game 3 is Wednesday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It seems like it. It seems like we have to have a bad experience in order to get going," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the team arrived at Hanscom Field from Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning. "Like two years ago (when the Bruins rallied from two games down against Montreal), we came out on top again. Once that happens, it seems like everybody starts playing better and rolling, and the whole team starts to fire."

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Quote of the Day

You've got to focus on playing good hockey. When we do that we give ourselves a chance to win games. Win games and then maybe we''ll have a chance at the end. You can't worry about something like (the division title) when we're not playing our best hockey down the stretch. We'll figure things out together the way we always do and get back on the right page.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after loss to Flyers on Wednesday left them five points out of first place in Central Division
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