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.
The two defensemen usually take to the ice on their own with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides before the team practices.
Both have been working through their own recovery processes. Seidenberg suffered his ACL/MCL tear back on December 27, underwent surgery and is nearly four months into his rehab. McQuaid has been dealing with a nagging groin injury and last saw game action on January 19.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli is not counting on Seidenberg being back for the playoffs, and said the team is being careful with McQuaid because of his setbacks. The defense has stepped up as a whole, and a fallen into place in their absences.
"We’ve been doing okay with the D we have so we want to be cautious with it," the GM has said.
On Monday, though, as the Bruins held an optional skate at TD Garden before heading to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 with the first round series knotted at 1-1, McQuaid and Seidenberg were given an opportunity to skate with their teammates for the first time.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are heading to Detroit with the series tied at 1-1, after powering to a 4-1 win over the Red Wings in Game 2 on Sunday at TD Garden.
Justin Florek got Boston on the board with his first NHL postseason goal and the Bruins' first goal of the 2014 playoffs.
It came after the Black & Gold finally got some puck luck against Detroit. When netminder Jimmy Howard attempted to clear the puck to defenseman Brendan Smith, it bounced right to Florek on the forecheck, and he quickly zipped the puck around and into the net before Howard could retreat.
The 1-0 lead came 7:28 into the first, and lit up the crowd.
"I think getting that first one was huge, especially after not being able to get one past them last game," said Milan Lucic. "Sometimes all it takes is a lucky bounce like that to kind of turn the tide and get some confidence and momentum in the goal-scoring department."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are set to face off against the Wings in Game 2 at TD Garden today at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Thornton was up first for player availability, entertainingly firing back and forth, as usual, with the reporters gathered in advance of the game.
"We're excited to get going here," said Thornton, of the mood in the room the past two days. "It was a close one last game - I think we could have been better, everyone knows that. So today's the day. We've kind of left the last one behind, and now we're just focusing on three o'clock today."
"Or 3:05, or 3:10, whenever the puck's dropping," he smiled. Puck drop is set for 3:20 p.m., with the game nationally televised on NBC.
The Bruins' are an experienced group, and Thornton brings 90 career playoff games into Sunday's game.
BOSTON, MA - It appears that the Bruins are on the mend, and finally getting over the flu bug that began to hit the team last weekend around the final two games of the regular season.
When the Black & Gold hit the ice for practice on Saturday at TD Garden, between Games 1 and 2 against Detroit, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller rejoined the group. Boston was without both blueliners for Game 1.
The practice marked Bartkowski's first time back skating with the team since the regular season finale on April 13. Miller had come back for practice on Thursday, but was absent for the team's optional pregame skate on Friday and did not suit up in Game 1 that night.
Does Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien expect that they will be available for Game 2?
"I don't know yet," he told reporters following the team's Saturday practice at the Garden. "Bartkowski, this is his first day of practicing this week, and Miller, this is his second, so it will depend on how they feel tomorrow [Sunday]. We've got contingency plans here, whether they play or not. So, confirmation - I can't give that to you today."
BOSTON, MA - If Game 1 is any indication, the Bruins and Red Wings could be in for a long, hard-fought series.
"Yeah, we were expecting that," said Patrice Bergeron, postgame from the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden, after Boston fell 1-0 to Detroit on Thursday night. "I mean, we were ready for a tough and long series, and we're in for that, so we're fine with it."
"We're used to to playing tight games, and we've been there before."
Neither team had an overwhelming amount of scoring chances. The tight-checking game ended with a slight 25-24 shots advantage for Boston, but it ultimately didn't matter.
Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Howard came up with acrobatic stops between the pipes at both ends. Only Pavel Datsyuk and his magic could get past the Bruins, with just 3:01 left in regulation, when he made a slick move in neutral ice, and fired a shot through Milan Lucic.
The Bruins played with an extra attacker for the final minute, but couldn't muster another shot on Howard.
"I don’t think there were any secrets in tonight’s game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Both teams played really tight defense and that’s why there weren't that many scoring chances in the game."
BOSTON, MA - Walking into the Bruins' locker room on Friday morning, there was a sense of calm confidence among the group, a composed intensity about their demeanor.
They knew what they had to do that morning, and this afternoon, and tonight, when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub). And it shouldn't be all that different from what they've done all season; the stakes are just much, much higher.
Captain Zdeno Chara sat in his locker stall, surrounding by reporters. On the other side, Patrice Bergeron soon answered questions, with other Bruins sprinkled throughout the room, all expressing excitement of getting the series going.
A few stalls down from 'Big Zee,' Johnny Boychuk had his usual, carefree nature on display, with a red #StrikeOutALS ball cap on backwards.