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Bear Essentials: Game Two

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Friday, 4:45 p.m.

In terms of hard and fast news, there was not much to offer on Friday afternoon, other than to say that the B's dressed at the Bell Centre and hopped a bus to Verdun, where they had a swift moving practice minus Dennis Wideman -- the lone Boston no show.

"We're anticipating his being in [the lineup] tomorrow," said Coach Julien after the team returned to the Bell Centre. "It was just one of those days where he needed to take the day off in order to be ready to play tomorrow.

When asked what his lineup would look like tomorrow, particularly in reference to Andrew Alberts, Coach said, "Every healthy player is a possibility."

Patrice Bergeron took a break from speaking to the press today, and there was no change in his status.

"Nothing's changed from yesterday," said Julien. "So that's...the situation we're in with him."

Bergeron and Marc Savard were both back on the ice today, and showed no signs of anything bothering them.

"Yesterday was a good test for him and I thought he got better as the game went on," said Coach. "He got just enough ice time so that he should be fresh again for tomorrow night."

Saturday, 8:02 a.m.
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.
And we're baaaaaaaaaaaack.

It's a very gloomy Saturday morning here in Canada and Montreal is waking up, presumably, from celebrating their series win over the Bruins. Yes, I said series, as most of the fans and pundits seem convinced that there is no way that Boston will be able to make the first round last more than four games. And there are even less people who think that the B's can take the quarterfinals.

Hey, don't shoot the messenger -- I am laying down the truth.

Boston does face an uphill batte, for sure. They are down a game to one of the best teams in the NHL. However, the consensus in the B's locker room is that the club did not play their best, or anywhwere near their best on Thursday.

"It's pretty obvious...what's happened here," said the B's Coach Julien. "The team, for some reason, does not play their best games against the Montreal Canadiens.

"And I think if we are all honest here, and I've watched the Montreal Canadiens play a lot this year...they seem to play their best games against us.

"That's the scenario that we have right now," he said.

How about a solution, Coach.

"It's not a matter of getting madder or being more intense or getting mad and doing something, because when we did that we took a lot of bad penalties," he said. "That didn't help us, it made it worse.

"It's...finding that middle ground that gives you [an edge, while] being under control

"I think after watching our team play [on Thursday], we didn't play a very good game, we know we can play better and we need to play better," Julien said, before adding, "It's as simple as that."

12:29 p.m.
Boston had an optional practice today, but there is no word on what the Bruins lineup tonight will look like.

"[There are] a lot of question marks, " said Julien during his press briefing. "And I am being honest here, [they're] more question marks that we will figure out this afternoon.

"This is the time of year that you are going to try and get your players in at 100%...and we need to figure out where we stand in that area."

Savard and Bergeron were on the ice, and while Savard seems to be a lock, Coach Julien told the French media (loosely translated) that "Right now, his status has not changed." That led at least a couple of the local reporters to speculate, but Bergeron was one of the last players off the ice -- which generally signifies that he will not be playing.

If you are a Boston fan going to the game tonight, get ready for constant reminders about your team's underdog status. For instance, the signs around the Bell Centre (and the text on the website) had previously stated, "16 for 25." Meaning, 16 wins for the CH's 25th Stanley Cup.

Now those signs read, "16 15 for 25."

Don't you even dare to think that was missed by the B's players.

2:19 p.m.
I've got a few snippets from Coach Julien's French presser, today. The hightlights:

Claude Julien, when asked about  getting traffic in front of Carey Price…
"We were dominated along the boards and in the foot races to get to the puck. We were not able to create this situation enough."

On the players getting over their nervousness…
"You can prepare your team all you want, but up until you actually live the moment, you have no idea what to expect. I hope the players have been able to adapt to what happened the other night."

On  the status of Patrice Bergeron. Will he play tonight?
"For now, no. As we speak, he is not part of our lineup."

On the team spending time together in Montreal...
"Our team has always had good team chemistry...I think it’s one of the reasons why we were able to have such success that allowed us to be here this year. Without that chemistry, I don’t think we would have had enough to get here. I think the key element was our players playing for one another, sacrificing themselves for one another."

3:46 p.m.
I just finished packing for home and will have to hit the bus in a few. Everyone is very anxious to get back into the groove tonight and a good practice yesterday in Verdun will surely help. But it sure was a sight to see the guys on the bus in all of their gear.

Of course, I have pictures. Click here for a slide show!

5:23 p.m.
I had the unique opportunity to speak with Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Allen as the last game progressed. The veteran blueliner tried to explain the feelings and stresses that were going through the guys as they listened to the crowd before they took the ice.

Bob said that the opening few minutes of Game One were "the loudest he's ever heard in a building before the start of the game.

"I am sure the guys can here that in the room.

"But at the start of the playoffs, you're nervous anyways. If you are not nervous when you hear that roar when you come on to the ice, then you are probably not human," he said.

Allen and the other injured Bruins watched from a corner spot in the hanging press gondola that circles the rink in the Bell Centre.

"I think the guys battled back (after the start) and they got it under control," said the former BC Eagle after the first period on Thursday. "To get that goal and make it 2-1 is huge.

"That was something to build on."

Unfortunately, the stronger the B's got, the stronger the CH got and after the second period Bobby said, "[Montreal has] been creating a lot of pressure all night in front of Timmy and getting second chances.

"It's tough -- Timmy can't save everything."

Although, thanks to his competitive nature, he often tries.

"I think the guys played pretty hard (in the second) and we have to keep finishing our checks," added Allen. "I think that's important.

"It's a long series and any chance you have to finish…it's good for the rest of the series, too.

"I like how the guys are playing and hopefully we'll come out and have a good third," he said.

Again, the B's did have a decent third period, but ended up on the wrong side of the 4-1 score.

"You have to look at positive things and you have to go forward," said Allen after the game. "We played a physical game and I think we have to bring a little more physicality.

"And the guys will come out harder in the next game…when you are in another team's building a good start is key.

"In the end, the guys worked extremely hard and I am sure that they are going to carry it over into the next game," he said.

Only an hour and a half to go until the next game.

6:27 p.m.
I have NO IDEA what our lineup is going to look like tonight. None. So bear with me.

Timmy just led the group out -- minus Dennis Wideman and Phil Kessel. No official word as of yet.

This is my guess on what it'll look like:

Brutal warmup for Thomas, who stopped the usual number, but whose name was chanted consistently. The B's players who scored on him were cheered.

Quite something to watch the end of warmups. While Wardo and Auldie did their usual tip in drill, will Auld in front of the net, the arena erupted with white Habs towels waving. Strange.

Kessel is a healthy scratch. Wideman is out with a lower torso injury.

The opening is starting and the crowd is already nuts. NUTS.

Refs are on. Bruins coaching staff and finally the Black & Gold to a resounding boooooo.

Cheers for the Habs and the entire place is waving their towels. Think Morgan Magic back in the day.

First Period
0:00 Don't feel like jinxing anything. Go Bruins!

1:31 Nice first minute and then some...

3:16 "Thomas, Thomas, Thomas"

4:02 Nice pile up. No penalties. Lapierre and Latendresse always seem to be in the middle of that stuff.

5:52 Oustanding hustle by two lines forces Montreal to take a penalty.

8:00 The B's are playing as if every second were their last. There were more good scoring chances in that PP than in the entire game on Thursday.

10:08 HUGE save by Timmy. Point blank from the slot. Begin?

11:00 B's back on the PP. Streit for holding.

14:03 B's on the PK for the first time this eveing. A very, very big test.

15:23 Another big save for Tim. Right on the doorstep.

18:30 A breakdown in the neutral zone let Hamrlik get into the zone unabated and shoot, with another Hab in front, through a block attempt and into the Bruins goal. 1-0, Montreal. The B's had really had Big Mo on their side for most of the game.

20:00 A nice turn of events at the end. The Bruins checking line is CLEARLY in the heads of the Habs, and the normally Lady Byngish Higgins got into it with Stuart, which led to some jawing between Mssers Sobotka, Reich and Thornton with some of the, um, shall we say less than pugilistic Canadiens skaters. Reich took Higgins off for the first two minutes of the second.

Second Period
0:00 Another clean start would be clutch.

1:50 A breakdown in front of the B's net put Thomas in a bad position on a pair of shots. The second one, by Sergei Kostitsyn, bounced off a leg in fron and went in. 2-0, Montreal.

3:26 The B's look a little rattled.

4:07 B's on the PK. Ugh.

5:33 "Thomas, Thomas, Thomas"

6:56 By the way. It's 2-0, not 3-0 as says.

7:28 B's on the PP. Streit in the box.

10:36 Boston has regained composure and have kept the Habs on their toes!

11:46 Hamrlik in the box. B's on a very important Power Play.

14:03 Tempers are beginning to flare. I expect something to happen soon.

14:31 Habs hit the post. Remember it.

15:14 Funny moment. Brisebois starts skating toward Thornton. Price hooks Brisebois in a gesture that said, "Don't get a penalty." Brisebois angrily shook off the hook.

17:07 Thomas stops Andrei Kostitsyn on the breakaway.

18:20 Habs on the PP.

20:00 Timmy was strong in the strech that period. Thank goodness.

Third Period
0:00 Are we looking at the most pivotal period of the season? Maybe.

3:48 Hard work puts the B's on the board. Schaefer gets the puck out to Nokelainen, who drives the zone and fires, Schaefer follows and puts it home. 2-1, Montreal.

7:45 B's on the PP.

9:34 David Krejci ties the game on a 5-on-3! 2-2.

12:50 MTL on the PP.

14:17 Habs go on their own 5-on-3.

17:43 MTL on the PP, again. This time it's a four minute double minor. Ouch.

20:00 Boston just dodged a major bullet. Literally. Playoff OT. A break and then a full sudden-death period.

Overtime #1
0:00 The longer this goes, the more it favors the Habs. Boston has to take advantage of their momentum, kill the remaining seconds on the CH's PP and just press, press, press.

1:31 Another PP for the Habs. 5-on-3.

1:55 Huge save by TIm. Going right to left in a split.

2:30 Kovalev scores. 3-2 win by Montreal. They lead the series 2-0.
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