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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 4:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien fires back

It appears that Boston coach Claude Julien has had enough of Guy Boucher's commentary on the Bruins.

The Lightning coach has spent the better part of two weeks now pumping up the Bruins in his public comments.

Already, Boucher has said he expects goalie Tim Thomas to perform miracles and has suggested that injured center Patrice Bergeron would play in each of the first two games of this series. Bergeron, out with a concussion for almost two weeks, may play in Game 3.

Thursday morning, Boucher spent part of his presser talking about the speed possessed by Boston rookie Tyler Seguin, who has 3 goals and 3 assists in the first two games of this series.

"I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed," Boucher said Thursday morning. "That's the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. And being a young guy, having success right away certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. For us, we know that he's going to be on the ice. We have to be able to keep on him."

Julien, speaking about an hour later, was apprised of Boucher's comments and decided he had just about enough of the Lightning coach trying to build the Bruins into world-beaters, the same tactic Boucher so successfully employed in the second-round sweep of top-seeded Washington.

"Well, Tampa has been very good at complimenting our team," Julien said, an edge seemingly in his voice. "They do a really good job of that. I think Tampa has got some pretty good speed themselves, (Marty) St. Louis and those kind of guys, Stamkos. They've got the same kind of players.

"So my answer to that would be I think they're pretty well served on their side. I don't think they're worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him, and we know that there are the mind games that teams play, and right now we're just focusing on what we have to do here. And, if anything, I would be more tempted to compliment my own players such as St. Louis and those guys that are just as good as Seguin when it comes to speed."
Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 12:53 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Lightning know Roloson will shake off loss

While the Tampa Bay Lightning have to play better defensively in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they are not worried about goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The 41-year-old goalie allowed six goals on 27 shots against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 before being replaced by Mike Smith for the third period. He yielded five of those goals on just nine shots in the second period.

"He was pulled but it wasn't because of his poor play," captain Vincent Lecavalier said. "He still made some big saves. The goals we gave them -- it is tough for a goalie. It is not just the first shot, it was the rebounds. They were beating us to pucks. He'll be back strong tonight -- we know that."

Roloson has been resilient for the Lightning since arriving in January via a trade from the New York Islanders. He's allowed five or more goals four times since the trade, and he's 4-0-0 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against average in his next start after those games.

The cliche in this sport is goalies need to have short memories. Roloson's teammates and coaches are confident in his.

"He's built some mental tools over the years that some young guys don't have," said Guy Boucher said. "For him it is all about a 12-hour thing. Beyond 12 hours -- you can't even talk to him about it because it doesn't exist. That's a great mental tool that takes a long time and takes a mature man to do that. That's where he is right now."

Added Roloson: "It is just being about to forget about it. You dwell on things and it affects your play, so it's just being able to forget about it and focus on what you've got to do to be ready to go the next night."

Injury update:
Forward Dana Tyrell skated this morning without a red no-contact jersey on and Boucher confirmed is available to play. Whether or not he actually does remains to be seen.

Tyrell had 6 goals and 15 points for the Lightning during the regular season but has been out since Game 5 of the first round because of a lower-body injury. Boucher said the decision of whether or not Tyrell will rejoin the lineup has yet to be made.

Defenseman Pavel Kubina did not participate in the morning skate. Boucher said there was chance Kubina could have practiced Wednesday but the team didn’t have one, but Thursday they decided to not have him skate as he attempts to return from a concussion.

Posted On Tuesday, 05.17.2011 / 8:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Savard in Boston for Game 2

The Bruins received a welcome visitor before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Injured center Marc Savard, sidelined since suffering a concussion in January, made the trip down to Boston for Game 2, according to the Bruins.

Savard suffered his season-ending concussion – the latest in a series of serious concussions – in Denver in a game against the Avalanche on Jan. 25. He returned home to Ontario and has not been around the Bruins since.

Well, that all changed Tuesday night as Boston prepared for Game 2, hoping to even this series at one game apiece before it heads to Tampa Bay for Thursday's Game 3.

Throughout the week, Boston coach Claude Julien has said Savard is welcome to visit any time he feels willing and able.

"He's part of our hockey club and he's always welcomed here," Julien said earlier this week. "He wants to come down and he's trying to get over a concussion that's really set him back. We've given him that space and being around family is a good thing to help yourself through that. We'll be happy to see him."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.17.2011 / 12:31 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Still no timetable for Kubina's return

Pavel Kubina does not appear to be any closer to returning to the Tampa Bay lineup as he attempts to recover from a concussion.

Kubina did not travel with the Lightning to Boston and coach Guy Boucher confirmed Tuesday morning that he hasn't joined the club during its stay here. He hasn't played since being hit behind the net by Washington's Jason Chimera in Game 1 of the second round.

"Yeah, he's not with us, not even here, so the update is not very good," Boucher said. "Every day when there seems to be a little progression it seems to slip back a bit. It is the kind of injury where you never know. You wake up one day and it is great or it just keeps going on the same way. It is very hard to monitor what's going on with him."

Kubina had 4 goals and 23 points for the Lightning this season after signing as a free agent in the offseason. He had 2 goals and an assist in the first round against Pittsburgh, including a pair of power-play goals.

"Obviously we're missing him," Boucher said. "He's got size and some offensive abilities. Our second power play -- he made a big difference on it, but right now we've adapted. (Marc-Andre) Bergeron has kind of taken the lead on that power play with (Teddy) Purcell. We've had to adapt because he was doing very well for us."

Posted On Monday, 05.16.2011 / 4:06 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Bolts' third line continues to impress

Sean Bergenheim, Dominic Moore and Steve Downie have combined for 12 goals and 30 points in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They haven't been just the most productive third line in this postseason -- they're one of the top lines period. The Sedin twins and Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver's top line, also have combined for 12 goals and 30 points -- though they've had two more games to do so.

San Jose's most-frequent trio at even strength has been Ryan Clowe, Logan Couture and Dany Heatley. They have combined for 13 goals and 33 points, but again in two more games than Tampa Bay has played.

One of Boston's top two lines -- Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi -- has combined for 9 goals and 30 points. The other, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton has 12 goals and 25 points.

Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher mixes and matches with his lines so much that none of them have stayed together for as much ice time as the top lines from the other three semifinalists, but he's found a dynamic trio in Moore, Bergenheim and Downie.

So the question moving forward is this -- do the Lightning now expect this consistent offensive production from what is a supposed to be a defense-first unit?

"You have to watch out because you don't want to expect it," Boucher said. "Their role is always hustling and great defensive play. I did talk to them about it already and not just today but in previous days. I think it is important for players to understand that you need to play within our strengths as a team and as individuals too. If you lose your strengths, eventually whatever else you are doing well is going to fade away."

Added Moore: "I don't think it is a case where we are worried about that. We've played our game from the first game and we'll continue to play our game -- whether it is producing point-wise or not. I think we make contributions regardless."

Bergeheim leads all NHL players in this postseason with 8 goals. There are only seven players with more points than Downie's 12 and only one with a better plus-minus rating than his plus-9.

Then there is Moore, who Boucher called "the ghost" on that line because he does a lot of the work and the other two have ended up getting a lot of the credit. Part of the reason why they have become such a dangerous trio is they haven't tried to change the way they play despite the explosion of offensive success.
"It is important for the Bergenheims and the Moores and Downies to understand that hustling, not being a liability defensively, being first on pucks, the way they battle and bulldoze around the net is key to our team -- not just because they score goals but because they inspire the rest of the team also," Boucher said. "They could not score for the next four games and still do their jobs, just like [Steven] Stamkos last game blocking some shots. He didn't get a goal, but he filled his role as a guy who's trying to win. I think that's more important."
Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 5:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Despite success, Seguin sees no Game 1 PP time

Sunday, Claude Julien reaffirmed that rookie Tyler Seguin was one of the best players on the ice for Boston in Saturday's Game 1 loss.

Seguin had a goal and an assist in the 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and displayed his world-class skills on the first-period goal. He used an absolutely sick move to beat Tampa defenseman Mike Lundin and then used a quick shot to beat Dwayne Roloson to the far post.

Sounds like just the type of skill set that could help out a Boston power play that finished 0-for-4 in Game 1 and is now just 2-for-41 in the postseason, doesn't it?

Well, Julien said he had no real inclination Saturday night to include Seguin on either man-advantage unit, not even after Boston failed to gain the offensive zone on the first power-play opportunity of the night.
Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 3:19 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Julien admits Kaberle feeling pressure to perform

Sunday, Claude Julien admitted what has been painfully obvious to most observers of the Bruins this postseason: Defenseman Tomas Kaberle is struggling.

Kaberle, obtained from Toronto near this year's trade deadline to help Boston with its power play and its transition game, has done precious little of either this postseason.

Boston's power play is historically bad, going just 2-for-41 in the first dozen games of this postseason. Kaberle has been a huge part of that downfall, making some questionable decisions at the point and often refusing to shoot when the opportunity presents itself. Saturday night, in the game 1 loss, he did take two shots from the point on the power play and each was well wide.

Earlier in the game, Kaberle made an egregious turnover behind his own net which led to Teddy Purcell's goal, the last in a game-changing run of three goals in 85 seconds by the Lightning.

After the game, Kaberle insisted he was not gripping his stick extra hard or feeling the pressure of being expected to perform better. But, on Sunday, Julien suggested otherwise about the veteran defenseman.

"There is no doubt he is pressing a little bit," Julien said. "I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about him; he knows all that stuff. At one point, you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job, and we have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better, because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games."
Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 3:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Marchand vows to avoid selfish behavior in future

The Boston Bruins were clearly frustrated by Tampa Bay's ability to shackle their offense Saturday in the 5-2 loss in game 1 of the eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.

Nobody, however, wore his anger more openly than the always combustible Brad Marchand.

In the second period, Marchand exploded in rage for everyone to see. In the midst of a frustrating evening that would see him finish with no shots and a minus-2 rating, Marchand shattered his stick, taking to healthy whacks to make the stick finally crack.

"It wasn't good enough the first time I did it, so I had to do it again," he said of his stick-swinging exploits. "I had a lot of frustration built up. I wanted to be a factor out there and it wasn't happen and it just got to me."

That, however, can't happen at this stage of the playoffs. You can't give another team the satisfaction of seeing frustration take hold. It is a sight that will merely embolden the opponent to do more of the same, knowing that it has tangible results.

According to coach Claude Julien, the outburst has already been addressed.

"That's something we don't like to see and we don't want to see; but he is a first-year player, he is a rookie and he is certainly learning," Julien said. He is going to be the first one to tell you that he is learning as he goes along here. And you can't allow yourself to get frustrated; you have to battle through things. We just showed a little bit of frustration and I'm sure you are not going to see that again.

Julien was not the only one delivering that message. Many of Boston's vets were doing the same, talking to some of the younger Bruins during and after the game.

"It's pretty early to be frustrated," Boston defenseman Andrew Ference said Sunday. "It's just wasted energy. It's addressed right away by whoever is sitting beside them, definitely in the lockerroom afterwards. It's not about showing emotion. You can have emotion, have fire and be mad about things; but in the playoffs – especially this far in – you have to know how to direct your energy and use it wisely. If you are yelling at Refs or slapping things around, you're not using your resources wisely."

Marchand, for one says he got the message loud and clear.

"I was a little frustrated there, and I reacted in a way that I shouldn't have," Marchand said Sunday "It was selfish and it brought a lot of negative energy to the team at the wrong point. (Claude) recognized that. He's upset about that because he knows I'm better than that. He knows that I can control my emotions better than that. I can't be getting off my game. I need to be getting teams off their games."
Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 1:51 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Bolts opponents repeating history

"We didn't score goals, but I think we had chances. You can see when we got the puck deep and finished our check, we created some chances."

"We had good energy. Then we made a couple bad plays. Then you're playing catch-up to a team that's very good defensively and very frustrating to the offensive team."

"I don't think they had better chances or that they played better than us. I think we were all over them. Just some bad breaks, you know."

"I thought that we had a good start and created some chances and some pressure. But then we had some breakdowns, and that's when they got some momentum."

Those four quotes are offered here without attribution for a reason. All four came after Game 1 losses against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Two were by members of the Washington Capitals. Two were by members of the Boston Bruins. Not sure which quotes are from which team? That's the point.

To end the suspense, the first quote is from Alex Ovechkin and the second from Bruce Boudreau. The final two are from David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, respectively.

The point of this exercise is to show how similar the reactions were to a Game 1 home loss by guys from each team, and obviously to point out that the Bruins need to adjust and/or play better in order to avoid the same fate as the Capitals.

If it weren't for a few brilliant saves by Tim Thomas, Game 1 on Saturday night at TD Garden could have been even worse than the final 5-2 score line indicated. Thomas gave up four goals -- and also had to make the four or five best saves of the game to keep the Bruins in it when the outcome was still in doubt.

The Bruins thought they had a lot of good chances, but they really didn't. Boston had 33 shots on net in Game 1 -- 12 of them came from 50 feet or beyond and 23 from more than 40 feet away, according to the official play-by-play.

Those perimeter shots are OK if there is traffic in front of the goaltender or rebound chances created. Boston had three shots on net in a seven-second span in the second period, including one that was definitely a rebound attempt from Mark Recchi. Other than that one sequence, Tampa Bay goaltender didn't face two shots in a span of shorter than 12 seconds -- and the second shot in that sequence was from 43 feet away.

Now the Bruins have two days to regroup and figure out a better way to attack the Lightning. They probably need to learn from their own mistakes and from the shortcomings of the Capitals if they want to not suffer the same outcome.
Posted On Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 12:53 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Bruins don't rattle Lightning in Game 1

The Tampa Bay Lightning were minutes away from finishing off an emphatic Game 1 victory against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden when the home team tried to build some momentum for Game 2 with some physical play.

If the plan was rattle the Lightning with some rough stuff, it didn't appear to work. Boston took three penalties in the final eight minutes, all roughing minors, but the Lightning did not retaliate on any of them.

"That's the way it goes," Dominic Moore said. "Both teams are competing for every square inch of the ice out there, and there are no surprises at any point in the game. They are competing and that's what you have to try to do. We're just going to have to maintain our focus as well."

Boston was expected to have the physical edge in this series, but the Bruins weren't able to apply a lot of physical pressure after a couple of big hits early in this contest. Johnny Boychuk landed a big check on Simon Gagne in open ice, but Vincent Lecavalier then went over to the Bruins defenseman, who punched him and drew a penalty.

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored on the ensuing power play to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead and end any doubt in the outcome of this contest.

"We're focused on what we're doing," Bergeron said. "Stuff happens. We don't care about that."

Top-line wings Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton combined for seven shots on goal but no points for the Bruins, but both collected 12 minutes in penalties in the final minute. Both were assessed roughing minors and 10-minute misconducts for their part in a scrum with 37 seconds left.

"We only focus on our emotions, not the other team's emotions," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "We were really calm and we stayed calm."

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