BOSTON, MA - The Bruins got it done their way.
They played their game. They played stingy. They were physical. They were emotional. The leaders did what they needed to do. Everyone stepped up.
"I’ve said that often…'let’s just play.' We all know how to play," said Head Coach Claude Julien, as he sat at the press conference podium following the Bruins' series-clinching 4-2 win over Detroit on Saturday at TD Garden.
They now await a date in the second round with Montreal.
"We all know what our system is all about. So sometimes, you've just got to go out there and just skate and make things happen."
The Bruins clinched their first round series against the Red Wings by playing the Black & Gold style that got them there.
"A lot of people were talking about what kind of pace this series was going to be, and I think the most important thing was that we were able to dictate that," said Milan Lucic, who finished the series with a team-leading three goals, including the clinching one.
"No. 1, I thought we played really well in this series, and we had to play really well to beat this team," said Julien, of a Red Wings team that didn't roll over, especially with their captain Henrik Zetterberg making an emotional return to the lineup in Game 4. "I think it was important for us to end this and not prolong it."
BOSTON, MA - Not much fazes Tuukka Rask.
"For me, I always try to be the last guy on the defense and give us a chance to win," the netminder said casually on Friday from TD Garden, after he was announced as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
He and his teammates were in the midst of preparing for Saturday's Game 5, with an opportunity to close out their first round series against Detroit.
When the nominations were announced on Friday, no one was surprised that Rask was in the mix. He's joined by Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop and Colorado's Semyon Varlamov.
"It’s a great honor to be nominated, obviously," said Rask. "It’s great recognition, but everybody knows were a team-first team and it’s something that comes after the biggest trophy."
"It’s something that comes after the Stanley Cup. That’s your main goal. If you get nominated, it’s great. If not, then it doesn’t matter. But I feel honored to be nominated."
"And happy to go to Vegas for the first time in my life," he added with a smile.
DETROIT, MI - The Bruins didn't start the way they wanted to, but they definitely found their finish.
Jarome Iginla would be the hero, scoring at 13:32 into overtime to complete the 3-2 comeback in Detroit. The Bruins scored three unanswered goals after falling down 2-0.
The veteran donned the Old-Time Hockey Player of the Game Jacket following the win, passed on from Dougie Hamilton, who happened to fire the shot that he tipped for the OT-winner.
"It's pretty self explanatory who gets it, and I thought he had a lot of chances all game," Hamilton said, from the visiting team locker room at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night. "That line was fun to play with as a defenseman tonight, so nice they got rewarded for it."
Krejci battled with Niklas Kronwall along the boards. Iginla joined in, battling with Drew Miller, came up with the puck, and sent a touch pass to Lucic posted up in the left circle. Lucic pushed the puck into Krejci's sphere, and the centerman found Hamilton cross-ice at the right point.
BostonBruins.com - For the third straight year, Patrice Bergeron has been named as a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, to the surprise of no one in Black & Gold.
"He makes you proud, because he's well-deserving of that. He has been for years now," Julien said on Thursday morning from Joe Louis Arena, where the Bruins were preparing for Game 4 against the Red Wings.
"Always up there in the plus-minus, always plays against top players, produces - he's got 30 goals this year and that's playing against top lines - so I can't find a better candidate than him, and certainly deserves the nomination. So from there, we’ll see where he goes, but in our regards, he’s been the best."
Bergeron shares the nomination with Chicago's Jonathan Toews and LA's Anze Kopitar.
"It's definitely a huge honor. I mean, it goes to the help of all of my teammates, definitely," said Bergeron. "There are no individual awards that don’t go without the help of all your teammates, so that's all I can really say."
The alternate captain paused for a second to smile, thinking to himself how minuscule it was to be talking about himself amidst a playoff run.
"I have other things on my mind right now, which is the playoffs."
DETROIT, MI - The puck drops on Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night, with the Bruins looking to extend their 2-1 series lead before heading back to Boston.
Through three games, the Black & Gold have allowed just two goals, picking up a 4-1 win in Boston before taking Game 3 with the 3-0 shutout on Tuesday.
They've done it by being stingy.
"You have to go into the next game and do the same things you’ve been doing the last couple games. You just have to try to play stingy D and take one game at a time and try to get that next win to go back home," said Johnny Boychuk.
On a morning when Patrice Bergeron was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the third straight year, the nomination placed emphasis on how the centerman's two-way game filters throughout the entire lineup.
"We've built our team a certain way and we want our players to be good two-way players, and players that can't play a good two-way game don't last very long with us, because that's a big part of our makeup here," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, after his team wrapped up their pregame skate at Joe Louis Arena in advance of Game 4.
DETROIT, MI - Daniel Paille was back on the ice with the Bruins for their optional practice on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, between Games 3 and 4, wearing the green no-contact jersey.
When asked about his status, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said he didn't know, "because he hasn't been cleared, to my knowledge."
"So, he can skate right now. As you know with these things, there’s a protocol, so in the playoffs, I tell my trainers, when they’re ready to come back, let me know. Other than that, they belong to those guys."
"So I’ve had no news about Dan as far as him coming back in the lineup. So that’s all I can tell you right now."
Paille took part in the optional skate on Monday at TD Garden before the team traveled to Detroit, but was not on the ice for their pregame skate on Tuesday prior to Game 3.
Jordan Caron has been slotting in on the "Merlot Line" with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton in his absence. Justin Florek has been helping pick up Paille's penalty killing duties, forming a tandem with Campbell.
DETROIT, MI - On Tuesday night, following the Bruins' 3-0 blanking of the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena that gave them a 2-1 series lead, Shawn Thornton jokingly told Tuukka Rask he should keep the team's "Player of the Game" Jacket.
The netminder had received the "Old-Time Hockey" varsity-style jacket from David Krejci following the team's 4-1 win over Detroit in Game 2, in which he made 34 saves on 35 shots.
Implemented towards the tail end of the regular season, in advance of the 2014 playoffs, the jacket represents the history and tradition behind the Spoked-B, which is celebrating its 90th year. It used to belong to Johnny "Chief" Bucyk.
Whomever receives the jacket, must pass it on after the next win.
Tuukka gladly passed it on to Dougie Hamilton Tuesday night at The Joe.
Hamilton's end-to-end rush on a power play in the first period ended with him drawing in three Red Wings, and lasering the puck past Jimmy Howard from the top of the right circle. It marked his first career NHL playoff goal, and served as the eventual game-winner.
"It’s just nice to get one," Hamilton would later tell reporters. "Everyone was playing good, so we just needed to keep pressuring them and that’s what I was trying to do."
DETROIT, MI - Following the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Red Wings that tied the series at 1-1, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had a simple message for his team.
"I think it’s important for us to really grasp what we did tonight and really bottle that up and know that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team," Julien said on Sunday, following Game 2.
"They’re labeled an eight seed, but let’s not kid ourselves - if they’re a healthy team this year, they’re not an eight seed."
"It’s going to be important for us to have that kind of intensity and that kind of determination to beat this team because it’s not an eighth-seeded team, and it’s a really good hockey club, and they’re well-coached, and they play well, and they’re quick, and they’re certainly capable of doing damage if you’re not ready."
The Bruins were ready on Sunday, and they'll plan on being ready when the puck drops for Game 3 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, as the series shifts to Detroit.
"It’s about not taking a shift off," said Patrice Bergeron. "I think that’s going to be the key for the rest of the series, and it’s going to be no different, definitely in Detroit. So they’re going to try to bounce back and we’re going to have to make sure we match that."
DETROIT, MI - The Bruins hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday morning for a pregame skate, before facing off against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Daniel Paille did not skate with the team. The Bruins' lineup up front for Game 3 is expected to be the same as Games 1 and 2.
Matt Bartkowski joined the team for pregame skate, and Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said he will be taking warmups tonight. Bartkowski didn't play in either of the first two games, as he was still recovering from the flu virus that hit the team hard last week.
With only twelve forwards available, Marquette, Michigan native Justin Florek will continue his role on a line with Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg. The game will mark his first at Joe Louis Arena in the Spoked-B, fresh off scoring his first NHL playoff goal in the Bruins' 4-1 win in Game 2 at TD Garden.
"Mom and Dad are here, they're flying back from Boston so they'll get to see this game as well. I heard there were a couple tears shed up in the stands, so it's pretty special to hear that and just know that it's so meaningful to them," Florek said from the visiting team room at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday morning.
BOSTON, MA - Daniel Paille participated in the Bruins' optional skate at TD Garden on Monday before the team traveled to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, with the series tied at 1-1.
The forward hasn't been in the lineup since the Bruins' second to last regular season game against Buffalo on April 12. His first time back on the ice since that game was Friday morning at TD Garden, before Game 1, when he skated apart from the team.
"It’s a day-to-day process," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters Monday at TD Garden, while his team hit the ice for an optional. "I’m just waiting to hear when those guys — Dan Paille’s out there right now skating, so that’s the right direction, but we’ll have to go about our injuries just like we normally would: in a safe and proper manner."
There has been no further update on Chris Kelly (back), who has been out since April 8 against the Wild in Minnesota.
As is the usual protocol, any player out of the lineup would normally participate in full practices with the team before getting back into game action.
"Absolutely. I think there’s, again, a certain route you have to take," said Julien, of the process. "And it’s no different than — we talked about Matt Bartkowski being out for that long and being sick. We have to allow him to skate a little bit and get himself back into, I guess, into the groove of things before you throw him into a game. So I don’t see those guys [Paille, Kelly] being much, much different."
The flu bug originally hit the Bruins around the final weekend of regular season games. It forced Kevan Miller to miss Game 1 and Bartkowski has now missed the first two games of the series as he recovers.