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Game Day: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, Game 5

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
7:35 p.m.

Join us over at the Live Blog...

7:08 p.m.

I think the Bruins lines look like this...

Ference, Wheeler

6:58 p.m. projects Carolina's lines...

6:15 p.m.
Press Box Notes

The starting goaltenders tonight are expected to be Tim Thomas for Boston and Cam Ward for Carolina. Ward and Thomas rank first and second, respectively in Goals Against Average this postseason (Ward 1.98, Thomas 2.00). Ward ranks second to Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller in save percentage (.936 to Hiller’s .946) while Thomas ranks third (.932).

This is the 21st time the Bruins have fallen behind 1-3 in a best-of-seven series and they are 0-20 in the previous series. 15 of those series were decided in five games, four were decided in six games and one was extended to seven. The series that was extended to seven games was last year’s Conference Quarterfinal Series against the Canadiens.

2009 Playoffs Special Team Ranks (out of 16 teams)
Power Play:
Boston, 7th (17.9%)
Carolina, 11th (13.2%)

Penalty Kill:
Carolina, 2nd (89.7%)
Boston, 6th (82.4%)

The Hurricanes converted three-of-seven opportunities with a man advantage during games three and four.

For Carolina, forward Eric Staal has a three game goal/point streak in progress with 4-1=5 totals in that span. The Hurricanes have never lost a postseason game in which Staal has scored, as they have a 7-0 record. Staal’s nine goals this postseason rank second in the league, one off the pace set by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin who has 10.

Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen leads all skaters this postseason with three gamewinning goals.

Bruins fans have now raised more than $80,000 for the Boston Bruins Foundation through the team's playoff Beard-A-Thon program. Ken Casey, lead singer of the Boston-based band Dropkick Murphys, now leads all growers having raised $16,596.77. On Friday, Casey received a $10,001.00 donation from the Greg 'Chickenman' Riley Foundation. Riley, a lifelong Bruins fan and friend of Casey, passed away in 2004 after being involved in a tragic motorcycle accident.

5:00 p.m.
If anyone knows this series isn’t over, it’s Michael Ryder.

The ex-Canadien was on the other side of the coin just a year ago, and he watched the Bruins come back from a 3-1 deficit and force a seventh game. Prior to that, he was on the Habs club (with Claude Julien as coach) that came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Boston.

“We know what we have to do, and it’s just about tonight right now,” Ryder said.  “We have to come out hard, and we have to se the tone.”

Like the entire B’s locker room and coaching staff has been saying, it’s about getting through one game at a time.  It’s how the Bruins found themselves in games five, six and seven last season, and it’s how the Bruins can beat the ‘Canes now.

“When you’re up 3-1, you kind of have the big advantage,” Ryder said.  “[For the other team], it just comes down to one game, but right now we’re…just trying to concentrate on tonight, and we can just look forward after that.”

4:57 p.m.
And another thing...
Bruins fans have now raised more than $80,000 for the Boston Bruins Foundation through the team's playoff Beard-A-Thon program.

Ken Casey, lead singer of the Boston-based band Dropkick Murphys, now leads all growers having raised $16,596.77.

On Friday, Casey received a $10,001.00 donation from the Greg 'Chickenman' Riley Foundation.  Riley, a lifelong Bruins fan and friend of Casey, passed away in 2004 after being involved in a tragic motorcycle accident. 

4:43 p.m.
So in the good karma department, I added some pictures from Bruins Spirit Day at Marblehead Village and Veterans Schools.

"Bruins Spirit Day at Marblehead Village and Veterans Schools blossomed into a huge event for grades 4 through 8," said teacher Danielle Masterson. "Bruins jerseys and T-shirts were worn throughout the school by students and staff.

"Even if someone didn't have a Bruins jersey, they wore Black & Gold. It was fantastic!"

This year, the kids in Danielle's team wished Zdeno Chara "Happy Birthday" in Slovac (back on March 18th).

Click here to see the video.

2:22 p.m.
No quit in Krejci
When I asked David Krejci some questions as he sat in his stall in the B's locker room he wore a smile that said, "I know something you don't."

What followed was a pretty upbeat synopsis of the B's plan going into tonight's game.

“We’ve just got to play like  [there's no tomorrow].

"This is it.  All season we’ve worked hard, and this is it.  We’re playing in our building, with our own fans, and we’ve just got to go out there and leave everything on the ice, play like it’s a game seven.

“We feel good.  We had a good practice yesterday and a good practice today, so we’re ready to go," he said.

Well then -- a light in the darkness!

12:55 p.m.
While the Bruins roared through much of the regular season – and even the first round of the playoffs – on a seemingly endless win streak, it was a different story for the Carolina Hurricanes.

“Every game was huge,” said ‘Canes head coach Paul Maurice, whose team was just battling to make the top eight.  “We only lost a lead in Atlanta one night and lost the game, and mentally you have to go through picking yourself back off the ground because at that point you’re thinking…that will be the two points that will keep you out of the playoffs.

“And then we went on a real good run against some really good teams because we never went to the rink the next day [after a win] and said, ‘You know, this is going to be easy because we just won our last two games.’

“I don’t think there’s anybody in our locker room that thinks, by any means, this is going to be easy, because it never has been,” Maurice said of his team, who he said was kept from being over-confident by their battle for a playoff spot.  “It’s always been a grind for us.”

And it’s going to continue to be a grind.

“The mistakes that were made [in] last night [’s playoff games and the games in every series] are the exact same mistakes that are going to be made tonight in this game,” Maurice said.  “Both teams are going to come prepared, but they’re all good teams left, and the team that stays in the fight the longest wins.”

As in coach Julien’s press conference, the topic of Carolina’s defense came up as a reason for the Hurricanes success in that final regular-season stretch and so far in the playoffs.

“But…it’s all revisionist because we’re looking at the final score and saying our d-zone coverage is good,” Maurice was quick to point out.  “If the [shots that went off] the two posts go in, then we’re saying, ‘Where’s our d-zone coverage?  What’s going on here?’

“Our d-zone coverage has been good enough.”

12:11 p.m.
The Bruins may be down 3-1, but head coach Claude Julien was able to find positives in Friday night’s game four.

“We spent more time in our end,” he said of the game’s second period, when the Bruins scored their lone goal.  “That’s been a big challenge for us.”

It’s the way the Hurricanes position their players that has made it difficult for the B’s to have much luck getting to the net.

“They’ve got three guys waiting for us between the red and the blue line, and they’ve got a D back in deep that just retrieves the puck whenever we chip it in,” Julien said.  “They’re just right on top of us, so it’s not an easy thing to defend against, and they’ve done it well.

“It’s the trap game that they’ve chosen, and it’s made it harder on us, and somehow we have to manage to get pucks behind and also put them in areas where we can retrieve them.

“If we don’t, then their D just goes back, and [the puck] just comes right back out,” he said.

And right now, when the situation is (to use that phrase once more) “do-or-die,” the focus is on doing one thing right at a time – like winning the game tonight.

“We always say the big picture can be scary; the smaller picture is a lot more realistic,” Julien said.  “It’s about winning this game tonight and creating another one.

“You don’t get to game seven without winning game five, and after you win game five, you’ve got to win game six, and we know we have to win game seven, but we can’t win it tonight.

“It’s actually not a bad thing, because you only have to worry about one game, not three, right now,” he said.

11:53 a.m.
It is a VERY loose Carolina Hurricanes team taking pregame skate. Lots of laughter and noise.

11:37 a.m.
"We're going to have have an extra forward tonight [in warmups]," said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who declined to say who the extra forward will be...


11:29 a.m.
Andrew Ference was the only missing player from practice. Mark Recchi skated with the rest of the team while Marco Sturm and Matt Hunwick skated with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides.

9:58  a.m.
P-Bruins get angry...
Providence's 1-0 loss to Worcester got a little chippy, yesterday.

The game became more evenly played in the second period, with Providence enjoying a slight (11-10) edge in shots. But neither team scored, and it remained 1-0 heading into the third period.

The second period was also marked by another multiplayer altercation between the teams in a series that has become increasingly edgy with each passing game. This one featured a fight between Providence's Vladimir Sobotka and Worcester’s Jamie McGinn, along with roughing penalties to Brad Marchand of the P-Bruins and Dan DaSilva and Brett Westgarth of the Sharks. Westgarth and Providence’s Adam McQuaid were also hit with misconducts ...more.

9:31 a.m.
Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic, bottom, celebrates his goal as Carolina Hurricanes' Tim Gleason (6) looks on during the first period of Game 3 of and NHL hockey Eastern Conference semifinal series in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, May 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Milan Lucic stood in front of his stall in the B's locker room and spoke confidently about the B's prospects on Sunday.

But the grounded young man clearly understands the predicament that the B's are in going into a "do-or-die" Game 5 with Carolina.

"We knew they were going to come out hard," said Lucic of the series. "We knew they were a different team than what we faced in the regular season, so, you have to give them credit.

"They've played hard these first four games.

"We've put ourselves in this position, so we are going to have to work hard to get ourselves out," he said.

Is it possible to put the Hurricane's 3-1 series lead in the background as the B's attempt to prolong the series?

"Obviously, you have to realize what has happened over the last three games, but you can't let it get to you," said Lucic. "You have to still remain positive and try and find that confidence that we've had all year.

"We did finish in first place...for a reason and now we just have to go out there and show it."

Like Boston head coach Claude Julien, Lucic had ideas about how to turn the second round around.

"I think we have to get...back to playing our game," said Lucic. "I think that's where we can be more confident.

"I think just making plays and getting shots on net -- we had under 20 shots on [Friday] and we had under 20 shots in regulation during Game 3.

"So we've got to do a better job there and prepare to create some more scoring chances for ourselves."

8:23 a.m.
Well, we are back in the Garden, preparing for Game 5. The B's are scheduled to hit the ice for pregame skate at 10:30.

Angela Stefano contributed to today's blog.

May 9th
1:27 p.m.
Recchi and Ference are the missing faces for the on-ice portion of the day.

1:17 p.m.
Byron Bitz brings the bucket of pucks onto the ice. And away we go.

12:51 p.m.
Solutions on Saturday?
Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien, standing center, reacts during the closing moments of the third period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, May 8, 2009. Carolina won 4-1. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Claude Julien is pretty straightforward. And after his club's 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, a defeat that left the B's in a 3-1 series hole, the B's head coach spoke his mind.

"We're certainly not making it hard on [Carolina]...with the way we are playing," said the B's head coach.

Julien gave the Hurricanes their due credit, but added, "Our team has probably picked the worst time of the year to play their worst hockey.

"That's what's happening right now.

"There isn't anyone who has played up to their potential," he said.

So what are the symptoms?

"Obviously, we're out of sync," he said. "You can see the frustration on the players right now and [it's] certainly getting worse.

"This is something that has to be resolved before next game and we don't have much time to do that."

And the solutions will have to come from everywhere.

"It's got to come from coaches and it's got to come from players," said Julien in a somber tone. "What we have to do here is win a hockey game.

"And whatever it takes, you've got to do it."

12:24 p.m.
Providence falls to Worcester: P-Bruins Leads series 2-1

Jeremy Reich Providence Bruins
From The Providence Bruins fell to the Worcester Sharks 5-3 Friday evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.  The P-Bruins got their goals from Brad Marchand, Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen.  The P-Bruins lead the best of seven series 2 game to 1.  The P-Bruins return to the Dunkin' Donuts Center Monday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m. for Game 5 of the Atlantic Division Finals.

The Sharks took a 1-0 advantage at the 14:10 mark of the opening period, while on the power play.  Patrick Traverse netted his third goal of the post-season, with Derek Joslin and Ryan Vesce recording the assists.  Worcester grabbed a 2-0 lead at the 19:01 mark.  T.J. Fox tallied his third goal of the playoffs, while Brad Staubitz had the lone assists.  The Sharks went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

The P-Bruins pulled within a goal ten seconds into the second period.  Vladimir Sobotka held the puck halfway up the left boards and passed the puck to Penner at the left point.  He took a shot and Marchand redirected the puck into the net for his fourth goal of the post-season.  Worcester scored to make it 3-1 at the 4:40 mark.  Andrew Desjardins tallied his third goal of the playoffs unassisted.  Providence scored once again at the 7:55 mark, this time on the power play.  Sobotka controlled the puck behind the net and passed it up the boards to Martin St. Pierre.  He found Penner backdoor, who tipped the puck in for his first goal of the post-season.   Worcester led 3-2 heading into the second intermission.

Worcester went ahead 4-2 at the 11:39 mark of the third period. Jamie McGinn scored his third goal of the playoffs with Vesce and Lukas Kaspar getting the assists.  With the goalie pulled and the P-Bruins on the power play they cut the lead to one at the 19:05 mark.  Zach Hamill won the face off and sent the puck to Marchand who took a shot on net.  The rebound went to Lehtonen and he tallied his first goal of the playoffs.  Worcester added an empty net goal at the 19:25 mark, from Riley Armstrong.  It was his second goal of the post-season and was unassisted.  The Sharks went on to the 5-3 victory.

Tuukka Rask stopped 26 of 30 shots for the P-Bruins, while Thomas Greiss made 26 saves for the Sharks.  The P-Bruins were 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The P-Bruins return to action Saturday, May 9 for Game 4 at the DCU Center at 7:05 p.m.

12:13 p.m.
Hunwick hits the ice
Just like he has for the past several days in Carolina and Wilmington, Matt Hunwick is on the ice skating, wearing a red non-contact jersey.

Strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides is skating with him.

11:56 a.m.

Marco Sturm celebrates after scoring against the Canadiens during the third period of Game 5 in an NHL hockey first-round playoff series in Montreal, Thursday, April 17, 2008. (AP)
Well, we've been here before.

Last season the B's faced a 3-1 deficit to the Canadiens and forced Game 7 in Montreal.

It was pretty bleak then and it is pretty bleak now, particularly in light of Carolina's two-for-two record with a 3-1 series lead and the B's scary docket when down 3-1 (and no, you don't want to know).

However, it looks as if the B's are making every effort to power through the historical adversity -- they are in the Ristuccia locker room now, scheduled for an hour's worth of off-ice activities (video, meetings?) and then they are scheduled to hit the ice at 1:00 p.m.

The length of the on-ice session has not been released.
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