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Bear Essentials: Game Four

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
To paraphrase Field of Dreams, it's funny how one game can change the world.

The Boston Bruins OT win on Sunday certainly changed my world (meaning this wonderful town of ours and this building) overnight.

No doubt about it, Bruins fever has hit the Hub.

On Monday, there was Black & Gold everywhere, most noticably on WEEI where Marc Savard was a special guest and where the hosts consistently talked hockey for most of the day.

Much of the credit goes to Messer's Lucic and Savard and their goals in the B's OT win, but a lion's share of the praise should also go to the Bruins fans in the TD Banknorth Garden.

Those True Believers, most of whom wore their Black & Gold, realized that there was an inordinate number of Blue, White and Red jersey wearing fans in their midst, and they provided the home team with more noise than I have ever personally heard here in the building.

The din even reached Fenway Park and when Savard's goal was shown on the giant video screen, Boston fans gave a standing ovation to the Black & Gold during the Red Sox vs. Yankees game .

Yes, on Sunday, Boston's seventh man was the third star right next to Luch and Savvy and B's head coach Claude Julien was very pleased with his extra player.

Boston Bruins, including Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, celebrate a power play goal by Milan Lucic in the first period during Game 3 of the NHL hockey tournament Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens, Sunday, April 13, 2008, in Boston. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
"It was great, especially when you looked around at the beginning and saw a lot of Montreal fans, they tried to take it over," said Coach. "Our fans stood tall and wouldn’t let them. It was nice to see, obviously we let them know that this was our building, not theirs.

Monday, during his press conference, Julien praised the Hub of Hockey yet again.

"I thought our fans did a great job," said a smiling Julien. "Obviously, there were a lot of Montreal people here and they had a pretty big presence…but our fans did a pretty good job of pushing back.

"I like that -- it's what playoff hockey is all about.

"It should be exciting for everybody and I thought yesterday's atmosphere was great," he said.

After the game on Sunday, the players also praised the fans.

"Our crowd was sensational tonight," said Savard.  "Every time they got on “Z” (Zdeno Chara), the cheers out-did the boos there so it’s nice to see and hopefully they can continue to do this on Tuesday for us."

"That’s what hockey is all about," said Lucic. "That’s what makes hockey so fun is when the fans get really into it like this."

"Our fans responded," said Glen Metropolit on Monday morning. "It was an awesome atmosphere…[the best this year] by far.

"What I'll remember about that win -- when Savvy scored, and just the eruption."

1:43 p.m.
Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau listens to a question during a news conference during a team practice in Boston, Monday April 14, 2008. The Canadiens will face the Boston Bruins Tuesday evening in Game 4 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal hockey playoffs in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
When asked about possible lineup changes for this evening's game, Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau said, "I haven't decided yet…a game time decision."

"Come on," said a smiling Carbonneau when he was answered with a chorus of groans from the Montreal media. "I just want to let you guess, guys."

Keep 'em guessing.

That has been a decent catch phrase to describe the heretofore-unheralded Montreal Canadiens, who, like the Bruins were predicted to finish much lower than first in the Eastern Conference. Just like the Black & Gold, nobody could have guessed that le blue, blanc et rouge would have reached the heights they have achieved this year.

But, as a very wise man once said,  "To live is to adapt."

And just like the Boston Bruins, who have loaded their lineup with human battering rams like Vladimir Sobotka, Petteri Nokelainen, Jeremy Reich, Shawn Thornton and, of course, Milan Lucic in order to counteract Montreal's speed and skill, logic dictates that the Canadiens might have to make some changes, too.

We just won't see them until warm-ups, of course.

"I'm thinking about it, but it's not for sure, yet," said the Montreal head coach when pressed on the issue.

Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec (14), of the Czech Republic, works for the puck against Boston Bruins' Phil Kessel during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston on Thursday, March 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
And when speaking of his top line, centered by Tomas Plekanec, Carbonneau said, "I think he said it yesterday, that he is not happy with the way he's played lately, but they have been our best line all year.

"I have confidence that they can overcome whatever [they encounter].

"They've got to raise their level a bit," he said.

Coach Carbonneau's prescription for that "level-raising" in the Plekanec line might indicate the changes he would implement this evening.

"A little bit more grit," he said. "Be a little stronger with the puck. I think we've been strong in that area and I think if we get better at it we'll spend more time with the puck in their zone and that creates scoring chances."

One possibility, in terms of a roster change, might be to add defenseman Ryan O'Byrne (6'6, 228 lbs) to his "D" corps and when asked about O'Byrne, Carbonneau praised the young man.

"Ryan has been like Sergei [Kostitsyn], Max [Lapierre] and those guys," said the Montreal head coach. "They had a really good coach in Hamilton last year. They went through a lot last year.

"When we called him up he wasn't supposed to stay here…but he played so well, and his development was ahead of what we thought.

"We decided to keep him [with the Canadiens] for the experience and he's been really playing well," he said.

In any case, Carbonneau also implied that whatever moves he does or doesn't make would not come from a sense of panic.

"[Boston] won the last game," said Coach Carbonneau. "They feel that they have the momentum. I'm happy for them.

"But, you know, they won one game out of the last 14 games, so I think we feel pretty confident also.

"We know we haven't played our best game," he added.

3:17 p.m.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, left, uses a hockey stick to illustrate a point to the team. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
Coach Julien was queried about his own lineup for Game Four this morning.

"As we speak, right now, no [lineup changes]," said the coach. "I always say [right now] because a lot of things can happen in the afternoon, it just takes one call.

"And I didn't mean Bergeron by that, the one call could be someone sick."

No, Bergeron joined Andrew Alberts, Alex Auld and Phil Kessel as the players who were last off of the ice this morning.

Asked about Kessel's absence from the lineup, Coach Julien gave a lengthy explanation.

"It's not really about Phil Kessel being able," he said. "Phil Kessel is a good player and will be a good player. He is a 20-year old player…who has gotten much better than he was as a 19-year old.

"Right now it's about putting a team on the ice that can compete against the type of competition we've go and we needed more grit.

"I really don't think it's going to hurt his development  -- he made huge strides this year," added Julien.

The Bruins head coach was clear in his praise of Kessel and compared him to another young player who missed quite a few games as a healthy scratch in the playoffs.

"I've used the example of…[Tomas] Vanek," explained Julien. "Two years ago [he] scored 25 goals and had [48] points and sat out…playoff games.

"He comes back the year after and scored 43.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, right, takes a hard check from teammate Phil Kessel during a morning practice at the team's training facility in Wilmington, Mass., Monday April 14, 2008. The Bruins will face the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday evening in Game 4 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal hockey playoffs in Boston.
"It's just part of the evolution, the development, of a young player," he said.

Obviously Coach Julien does not think that spending a few games in the press box will harm Kessel's career.

"He's going to be fine," said Coach. "I've talked to him, obviously it's a character builder as well. Is he disappointed? Absolutely. If he wasn't I would be disappointed. He's got the right attitude, the right approach; we just have to help him along.

Coach also added an addendum.

"That doesn't mean you won't see him again either," he said. "I [want to] clarify that as well."

4:30 p.m.
Congrats to Steve!
This just in from The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today the acquisition of the historic hockey photo collection of Steve Babineau, team photographer for the Boston Bruins. Babineau’s collection, which chronicles more than three decades of hockey history, coupled with Getty Images’ diverse NHL digital photo library, enriches the photographic imagery available through NHL Images.

Babineau’s collection of more than 225,000 images dates back to 1973 and records the careers of legendary current and former players, including Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis, Bobby Clarke, Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Martin Brodeur.  He has shot more than 1,700 NHL games in 35 years.

He officially joined the Bruins as the team photographer in 1977, a position he now shares with his son, Brian

Impressive stuff! And a good time to thank Steve and Brian for all the great Shots!

6:01 p.m.
Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey're here! The fans are filing in and there are lots of shouts already...this could be very interesting.

Tonight, however, there is a big, big group of Black & Gold clad fans surrounding the portal to the B's locker room.

The Garden is giving out noisemakers tonight (think Thundersticks) and they are already in use.

The control room has rock and roll kicking on the PA and the atmosphere is taking shape.

6:29 p.m.
Here come the Bruins, led by Tim Thomas, to a chorus of cheers (and more than a smattering of boos). Both teams are on the ice.

I see no changes:

Andrew Alberts took warmups, however I think he is a scratch, as is Phil Kessel.

6:58 p.m.
The opening montage is playing. The stands are abuzz, it's time to drop the puck.

NESN just showed the pregame scene from the movie Miracle intercut with the Bruins in the locker room.

"This is YOUR time," says Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks. "Their time is OVER."

Pretty cool.

It is incredibly loud in here. Surpassing Sunday already. Just amazing.

First Period
0:00 As I have said all through the first three games. A good start is paramount.

0:01 Savvy won the faceoff.

0:44 Timmy's first save.

1:26 Price's first save.

3:00 Nonstop action.

6:11 Fairly impossible to describe how hard both teams are playing. Excellent hockey thus far.

7:48 B's PP. Komisarek came low on Luch.

8:22 The refs evened it up. Montreal will end up with a short man advantage. Four-on-four for now.

10:05 What a turn of events. Price came out to play the puck and Sturm ended up with the puck very low and wide and couldn't make the net. The Habs came back down and ended up drawing a hooking call. Habs PP.

11:27 On another breakaway, this time shorthanded, Sturm made a great individual play to bring the puck into the Montreal zone. He dished last second to Krejci who went just wide.

13:21 Elbow call on one of the Kostitsyn's. Boston PP. It's Sergei.

16:48 Very nice save by price. Still 0-0. "Shipping up to Boston. Way-ay-ooooooh."

17:46 I guess Mr. Komisarek does not want anything to do with Mr. Lucic. Milan asked for a go and the Canadien declined.

20:00 A very, very entertaining period of hockey. Bravo to both teams. Lots of fun.

Second Period
0:00 The B's really couldn't play harder. I am wondering what Coach said to them in the locker room.

0:01 Savvy won the first faceoff.

3:18 A little bit of back and forth, but it looks like the B's have, smartly, taken their foot off the gas.

6:48 A little slower period, perhaps purposefully, but Tim has seen a few shots already.

10:55 The action has gotten more frequent. Price just made a 10-bell save on Muzz.

14:22 The last few minutes have resembled a Black & Blue hockey montage. Hits being thrown by both sides with an edge to Boston. Shots are tied, however, 17-17.

15:42 Timmy has been doing his level best to slow the pace in the B's zone.

17:58 Komisarek just got in Zee's way on the big man's way to the bench. Zee just laughed.

18:12 Montreal on the PP. I don't want to talk about it.

19:18 A tough call, leads to a tough goal.

Patrice Brisebois scores on Tim through a screen. 1-0, Habs.

20:00 A tripping call at the final buzzer will give Boston a power play.

Besides the final penalty, the last minute witnessed a heartbreaking turn of events.

The game has been so even, and so exciting, for the CHC to get a power play, on a tough call, in such an amazing contest, is truly unfortunate. Hopefully, the final score is not 1-0, Habs.

Third Period
0:00 Understatement of the century: Boston needs a goal.

4:21 Boston had several chances on the power play and just after, but was unable to score. We've fallen into a very regular back-and-forth patern.

6:23 Canadiens now leading in shots 24-22 and seem to be carrying the play just a little bit more than the B's.

9:00 Both teams very close to scoring. I wish I had nails left to bite.

12:31 It is getting to crunch time. Montage from Any Given Sunday is up. Pacino is doing his best to fire up the crowd. They are responding.

14:30 Boston is doing their best to bottle the Habs up in their zone. But they can't get anything solid on Price.

Now, a Rocky Balboa scene. The crowd is responding, again. Nice job, fans!

16:00 Shots are 26 -26.

20:00 I can't tell you how hard the B's played in those last four minutes folks. It makes it that much more upsetting. B's fall, 1-0. Boston trails the series, 3-1.
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