NEW YORK, NY - The Bruins held a pregame skate Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden prior to Game Four, as they look to close out the series against the New York Rangers.
Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden continued to skate with the team, as they progress in their recoveries, with Andrew Ference - still sidelined with his own injury - the only Bruins' defenseman absent from the ice.
As such, defense pairings saw no changes from Games 1-3, as Zdeno Chara was paired with Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski with Johnny Boychuk, and Torey Krug with Adam McQuaid. Seidenberg and Redden rounded out a fourth pairing.
"Our lineup will be on the ice in the warm-up tonight," said Coach Julien following the skate, when asked if Seidenberg or Redden would be ready tonight. "That's all I'm going to say about that."
NEW YORK, NY - Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is usually known for his rugged toughness.
He's the type of player that would dive in front of a Zdeno Chara 108 mile-an-hour blast if he had to.
When he was hurting after blocking a shot on a shift in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto, he powered through - essentially hunched over and with only one leg able to skate - thwarting another shot attempt, sliding to the boards, inching his way back in front of Tuukka Rask, before the puck finally got out of the zone.
"You try to just block anything and do anything. You’re not really doing any good if you’re lying down,” the blueliner had said.
Through 10 games of the postseason, Boychuk leads the league with 37 blocked shots. He blocked seven in that overtime win against Toronto alone, at least two coming on the warrior-like shift. He has blocked nine in the second round against New York.
NEW YORK, NY - The Bruins always preach about how confident and calm their steady goaltender Tuukka Rask is between the pipes. He’s always a "calming influence," they say. But it’s not just the confidence the B’s have in knowing he will stop the puck nearly every time he sees it. The netminder’s communication with his teammates, primarily the defensemen, goes a long way.
“He’s one of the guys that never stops talking out there, so he’s comforting. He’s always talking to you, letting you know your options,” said blueliner Torey Krug, following an optional skate Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden the day before Game Four. Krug has now appeared in three NHL playoff games for Boston.
“The game is a lot easier when your goaltender is talking to you.”
NEW YORK, NY - The Bruins held an optional practice at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday afternoon, in between their 2-1 win and Game Four tomorrow night, in which they could close out the series against the New York Rangers.
Dennis Seidenberg was among the group of six defensemen (with Krug, Johnson, Redden, Bartkowski and Hamilton) and seven forwards (Jagr, Seguin, Kelly, Campbell, Soderberg, Pandolfo, Daugavins) who opted to hit the ice, along with Anton Khudobin and goaltending coach Bob Essensa in full pads, as Tuukka Rask stayed off to rest.
Following the skate, Seidenberg said that he felt good out on the ice and that he's "getting better every day."
"There's a chance, for sure," said the blueliner, when asked by media if there was a chance he could play Thursday. "Again, you don't want to come back too early, so I think we'll see how it feels tomorrow and go from there."
NEW YORK, NY - Do you hear that record scratching?
This is going to sound like a broken record the entire way through.
The Merlot Line trio comprised of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton (don't dare call them the fourth line) came up big for the second straight game and propelled the Bruins to their 2-1 win over the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden - a place that hasn't been all too friendly to the Bruins, at that.
They got pucks in deep, forechecked, battled, utilized every inch of the ice time given to them. And led to both of the Bruins' goals in the victory. Paille earned the game-winner. It wasn't a "highlight-reel" tally, but it found the back of the net.
"Merlot for everyone, ay?" Thornton would have said.
BostonBruins.com - There are certain words that always come up when talking about Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask.
Head Coach Claude Julien touched on all of them Tuesday morning prior to Game Three.
"He's been steady," said Coach Julien, when speaking to media pregame. "Our team's played pretty well in front of him. He's calm, confident, and steady."
In Sunday's 5-2 win, Rask made 35 saves on 37 shots, including 15 of 16 in a second period where the Bruins admittedly had too many turnovers and gave up too many odd-man rushes. One of those miscues in the middle frame resulted in a Rick Nash partial breakaway goal. But Rask denied all others for the rest of the game, allowing his team to extend their lead.
NEW YORK, NY - When Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella addressed the media before Game Three at Madison Square Garden Tuesday morning, he gave a nod to Bruins' pesky winger Brad Marchand.
"Marchand's probably been the best player in the series so far," said the New York bench boss, when answering a question about how to contain Patrice Bergeron's line.
The 'Little Ball of Hate' went scoreless in the first round series against Toronto, before finding the back of the net twice in the first two games against the Blueshirts - one an overtime-winner in Game One and the next just 26 seconds into the final frame of a 5-2 Game Two win.
"His heart and effort is there," linemate at the time, Tyler Seguin, had said of his teammate. "We've been passionate, we've been working hard. It's just about being a bit smarter, being a bit more confident and calm with the puck."
BostonBruins.com - Bruins' Merlot Liner Shawn Thornton always has an honest, refreshing outlook on the game. Following Monday's practice before the team hit the road for New York (where they are now preparing for Game Three tonight), he answered a variety of questions from reporters, on tonight's expectations, his line chipping in, and the young guys showing poise on the back end, among others.
So, what's the mentality of the team right now, Shawn, with the 2-0 series lead?
"The feeling is they're probably going to be a desperate team in their own building for Game Three - we're going to have to be a lot better than we were last game," said Thornton. "We got the win, but we have some areas we can improve on, too. Tuukka's the reason we were in it going into the third period; it could've been a much different game if he didn't stand on his head."
What's it been like to watch Tuukka's playoff performance so far?
Thornton jokingly scoffed at the question, only because, he's never surprised by his netminder's play.
"I've been saying it for years. He's a very calming influence back there, he's always in control, he always makes the stops when we need them. He's been great and I'm sure he'll continue to be great."
BOSTON, MA - Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had been sidelined since Game Seven against Toronto a week ago, in which he only played 37 seconds. On Monday morning, he rejoined his teammates on the ice for practice before the B's headed to New York with their 2-0 series lead.
Seidenberg had been skating apart from the team with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides for the past three days, and again was out on the ice prior to practice on his own. After getting the go-ahead to stay on, as the rest of the Bruins filtered on for the skate, Seidenberg took part in most drills.
"First of all, Seidenberg, you saw him practice today. He’s getting closer. Whether it’s next game or not, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following the skate.
As far as Redden's health, the blueliner said after practice that it's still a "day-to-day thing."
"We'll just keep treating it that way. Tomorrow we've got a game, we've all got to decide if I'm ready and go from there."
BOSTON, MA - Before Sunday afternoon's 5-2 win over the New York Rangers, Merlot liner Shawn Thornton was feeling pretty good about his line's effort through the first round of the playoffs and Game One of the series.
Thornton, along with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, had put up a combined 26 shots in the postseason heading into Game Two. But besides Paille's shorthanded goal against Toronto, they hadn't found the back of the net as a line yet.
"We're pretty deep, I think, as far as the lines go. Still waiting for us to try and chip in. We've talked about it, we've been close, we've had a ton of chances, but we're not putting them in right now," said Thornton, as he spoke to media prior to the game.
"It would be nice if we could take the pressure off some of the big boys with a couple of goals from our line."
In a foreshadowing that Thornton will surely take credit for, just 2:24 into the second period, Campbell found the back of the net, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead.