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Yzerman reflects on first-year success

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff May 11, 2011 03:11 PM
Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman has concluded a conference call. Among other subjects, Yzerman noted the progress the Lightning have made in his first year at the wheel.

"We're thrilled in Year 1 to be where we are," Yzerman said. "I want to look back in a few years to see we've done a real good job, the team is where we want it to be, and the organization is where we want it to be. I'm enjoying this. But I recognize we've got a lot of work to do."

Among the moves Yzerman pulled off was signing depth forward Sean Bergenheim on Aug. 17. Bergenheim, the left wing on Tampa's checking line alongside Dominic Moore and Steve Downie, leads all playoff performers with seven goals.

"We had one spot: third-line left winger," Yzerman said. "Who would be best for that at a certain dollar amount? We identified Sean. We liked his competitiveness and work ethic."

* Yzerman selected Patrice Bergeron as a depth player for Team Canada's 2010 Olympic entry. Yzerman praised Bergeron for his faceoff acumen and his all-around game. "He does all the little things well," Yzerman said. "I think he's appreciated by the coaching staff and players who've played with him. He does so many little things well. There's a huge importance with faceoffs, particularly for a playoff team. He's one of the best in the league at that. He plays in all situations."

* Yzerman confirmed that Bruins killer Simon Gagne should be ready for Game 1. Yzerman said Pavel Kubina (head) has yet to practice but is considered day-to-day.

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Rest day for Bruins

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff May 11, 2011 12:06 PM
Most of the Bruins were given today off. Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer, and the rest of the Black Aces were the only players to skate today. The Bruins will resume practice tomorrow.

Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Tyler Seguin were present to fulfill media obligations.

Marchand noted that during the first two rounds, there have been numerous times when the coaches or teammates have reminded him to calm down. Marchand named Chris Kelly, Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, and Andrew Ference among the players who have pulled him aside.

"Once I get in the rhythm of it and get going, it's tough for me to sit back," Marchand said of his agitating ways. "I do need people to pull me back. Or else I won't really stop."

* Because Patrice Bergeron will be unavailable for Game 1, the Bruins will be without their best draw man and one of their go-to penalty-killers. Claude Julien said David Krejci will most likely get the nod to resume PK duties in place of Bergeron. Krejci had killed penalties alongside Blake Wheeler for approximately two-thirds of the season. But Julien had been resting Krejci during the penalty kill, then sending him out with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton upon the completion of nearly every PK.

Good news on Patrice Bergeron

Posted by Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Globe Staff May 10, 2011 02:15 PM

Bruins' center Patrice Bergeron wasn't available to the media today after practice at TD Garden but the good news was he was in the building. The forward, who has been the team's best two-way player up front in the postseason, is continuing his recovery from a mild concussion suffered in the third period of Game 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers last Friday.

Coach Claude Julien said he is improving.

"He's here and he's doing better,'' said the coach. "Given with the concussion symptoms and everything else and the protocol of it, he's here today because he's feeling better. So we're getting some positive feedback from him.''

**Defenseman Zdeno Chara didn't practice but Julien said it was an opportunity to give the big blueliner some extra time off.

**The team will not practice tomorrow, given that the series won't start until Saturday. Julien said it was the last chance for everyone to have a break.

Bruins-Lightning playoff schedule

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 10, 2011 12:36 PM

The Globe's Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports that the schedule has been set for the Bruins-Lightning series, beginning with Game 1 Saturday at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.

Game 1 at Boston: Saturday, May 14, 8 p.m.
Game 2 at Boston: Tuesday, May 17, 8 p.m.
Game 3 at Tampa Bay: Thursday, May 19, 8 p.m.
Game 4 at Tampa Bay: Saturday, May 21, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 at Boston: Monday, May 23, 8 p.m.
Game 6 at Tampa Bay, Wednesday, May 25, 8 p.m.
Game 7 at Boston, Friday, May 27, 8 p.m.

Bruins start practice for Lightning

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff May 9, 2011 10:12 AM
WILMINGTON -- Good morning from Ristuccia Arena, where the Bruins have started their first practice in preparation for the Eastern Conference final.

As expected, Chris Kelly has moved up to replace Patrice Bergeron on the second line. Although Kelly is a left-shot center, he is the best defensive approximation for Bergeron. The second line is sure to see shifts against Tampa's top six.

"It's something we think can be a good fit," Claude Julien said of Kelly for Bergeron. "He's had some pretty good numbers in the playoffs. But he's also very reliable at the other end of the ice as well. It's a starting point."

Rich Peverley is centering the third line. Tyler Seguin is riding shotgun with Peverley and Michael Ryder. This will be more of an offensive-minded line. Think of the Blake Wheeler-David Krejci-Ryder line from two years ago. Claude Julien will deploy the third line against Tampa's bottom-six forwards.

"Watching the playoffs, I guess it really does make you hungry. You hope he's hungry enough that he steps in there and showcases what he can," Julien said of Seguin. "He's a good player. He certainly has improved from Day 1 to now. Right now, it's crunch time. It's about winning. As I mentioned to him, it's not so much about being patient and seeing things. It's more about results right now. It's going to be important that he tries and gets us some results. Results for him would certainly be competing really hard in all areas and utilizing his skill assets to create some scoring chances and some goals."

Today's lineup:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Chris Kelly-Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder-Rich Peverley-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Jordan Caron-Trent Whitfield-Jamie Arniel

Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski-Shane Hnidy

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

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Bruins coaching staff preparing for Lightning

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff May 8, 2011 01:23 PM
WILMINGTON -- The Bruins were given the full weekend off. They will report to Ristuccia Arena tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. for their first practice prior to the Eastern Conference finals.

However, the coaching staff has kicked off its work to be ready for the Lightning, whenever the third round begins. Game 1 will be either Thursday or Saturday, depending on the outcomes of the Western Conference semifinals.

"The one thing they do well is they've good a compete level," said Claude Julien. "They come and play hard every game. They've got their own system they believe in. It's served them well. People talk a lot about the neutral zone. That's certainly one of their strengths. Not only do they play a certain way, but they alternate. You won't always see the 1-3-1. You might see the 1-2-2. They try and keep teams on their heels a little bit with that. The offensive zone, a lot of pucks are going to the net. They always have somebody going there. They're really a driven team. They made it hard on teams they've played in the playoffs so far. They've had success at it."

* Julien acknowledged that Claude Giroux's concussion-causing hit on Patrice Bergeron in Game 4 might have been late. Julien noted that such hits -- everyone in hockey speaks of finishing checks -- are ingrained in the game and would require significant attention to alter. "A lot of it is culture," Julien said. "At some point, you hope that everybody's going to get on the same page -- players, coaches, everybody involved in the game of hockey -- and say, 'We've got to change the culture here and try to minimize those things. But easier said than done."

* Adam McQuaid will most likely be ready for the start of the round, according to Julien. McQuaid was part of the Black Aces group that practiced under the watch of Bruce Cassidy today. Tyler Seguin was not part of the group.

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Confirmed: Bergeron sustains mild concussion

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff May 7, 2011 02:06 PM

WILMINGTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli late Saturday morning confirmed that veteran center Patrice Bergeron sustained a ''mild concussion'' early in the third period of Friday night's series-clinching win over Philadelphia and is not expected to suit up for the start of Boston's upcoming Eastern Conference Final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

According to Chiarelli, who spoke at a media briefing at the club's Ristuccia practice facility, rookie center/wing Tyler Seguin is targeted to take Bergeron's spot in the lineup vs. the Bolts. No telling, added Chiarelli, if Seguin will be slotted to play wing or center.

''When I spoke with him after the game,'' said Chiarelli, ''he was a little despondent, but he was quite lucid, to me. But he was despondent having suffered another concussion.''

The start of the ECF will be at the Garden on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, pending the outcome of ongoing playoff series in the Western Conference. If both the Vancouver-Nashville and Detroit-San Jose series are wrapped by Sunday evening, it's possible, though not guaranteed, that the Bruins-Bolts series would begin on Tuesday.

When asked if it were fair to assume that Bergeron would miss the first couple of games of the next series, Chiarelli said, ''I guess anything could happen, but that is the assumption I am operating under.''

Given that this is Bergeron's third documented concussion in a span of some 3 1/2 years, his absence from the lineup could be protracted.

Nailed by then Flyer defenseman Randy Jones in October 2007, Bergeron missed the remainder of the 2007-'08 regular season and the playoffs. He was also sidelined after being concussed again midway through the following season when felled by then Canes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, now one of Bergeron's Boston teammates.

The Bruins did not practice today and are not likely to workout on Sunday, especially if the Vancouver-Nashville series does not wrap up tonight. Vancouver holds a 3-1 edge in its series, likewise for the Sharks in their series vs. the Red Wings.

First confirmation of Bergeron's concussion was posted on Twitter earlier this morning by GlobeKPD, some 90 minutes prior to Chiarelli's media update.

Source: Patrice Bergeron has concussion

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 10:02 AM

This just in from the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont via Twitter moments ago: "Not from team, but top source has confirmed [Patrice] Bergeron concussion."

Bergeron was knocked out early in the third period against the Flyers last night when he was leveled by Philadelphia right wing Claude Giroux.

Looking woozy and glassy-eyed after getting smacked to the ice in the left circle in the Bruins� zone, the 25-year-old Bergeron gained his feet after a few seconds and skated slowly but deliberately to the bench.

Without stopping, the dogged center, by far the club�s MVP in the postseason, made his way straight to the dressing room � still under his own power � and was not seen for the rest of the night.

Bergeron lost virtually all of the 2007-08 season due to a severe concussion as the result of a hit from then-Flyers defenseman Randy Jones.

Rookie Tyler Seguin, who has yet to take the ice this postseason for the Bruins, may be called on to substitute for Bergeron.

We'll have more from the Globe reporters on this shortly. Follow Kevin Paul Dupont @GlobeKPD and Fluto Shinzawa @GlobeFluto on Twitter.

Material from today's On Hockey was used in this report.

Video: Julien and Lucic postgame comments

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 07:57 AM
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Bruins coach Claude Julien and left wing Milan Lucic spoke at the podium following last night's Bruins victory over the Flyers in Game 4 of their playoff series. Here are excerpts of their comments.

Video: Shinzawa's analysis of Game 4

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 07:45 AM
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Globe Bruins reporter Fluto Shinzawa and Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer discuss the Bruins' 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Game 4 of their NHL playoff series.

Bruins announce Eastern Conference Finals ticket sale information

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 12:58 AM

The Bruins announced today that tickets for the team's first three home playoff games vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning will go on sale at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the TD Garden box office, on www.bostonbruins.com, and via phone by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

The schedule for the series has not yet been released. The Bruins-Lightning series won't begin until both western conference semifinal series have completed. Vancouver leads Nashville 3-1 and play Saturday night at 8 p.m. San Jose leads Detroit 3-1, and they next play Sunday at 8 p.m.

Claude Julien: 'It's time for hockey to step up' in Boston

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 12:44 AM

Tonight they're gonna party like it's 1992.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien was happy to see the black and gold advance to the third round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in 19 years.

"I think it�s a nice feeling and when you get past the second round and play the way we played through the series, it�s certainly fun to be in, as far as the situation," Julien said. "I thought our guys played well tonight. They tied the game up and we found a way again in the first period to get some important goals here and finish strong."

Julien said Bruins fans have been punished enough and it's time for the local hockey team to reach the heights that Boston's other pro teams have in recent years.

"I think the one thing that our team understands here is that where are some great fans here in Boston," Julien said from the postgame podium. "And I said in the first round, they have been punished enough. And they have had some tough years. Yet our building is filled right now and the fans are into it. For us, it�s rewarding to be able to give those fans what they have been waiting for for a long time.

"So you play for a city, you come from all over the place, but you are representing the city of Boston and the one thing you want to do is do them proud. And I think our guys have got that behind their minds here of continuing to do well here and hopefully bring in some pride to this city with this hockey club. We know that baseball, football and obviously basketball has done very well lately. And now it is time for hockey to step up and do the same thing."

More from Julien on the series clinching win:

On how rewarding it was to see Milan Lucic score two goals, his first of the playoffs� Well, you asked the question this morning and you got your answer, right? He scored two goals and he turned it around. So it was nice to see. Obviously he had a good time.

On if, going into the third period, he drew upon the fact that they had such strong third-period performances during the season�
Yeah, I think that�s one thing that the guys really have confidence in. They know that in the third period we�ve been a pretty strong team this year. So, going into the third, we�re a confident group and we believe in our ability to win hockey games and certainly that�s played a big role here in the playoffs, knowing that we can do that.

On Patrice Bergeron�s status�
I don�t know. I have no update for you guys right now. Basically, I can�t give you anything more than that.

On if he feels like the power play unit is coming together, given the back-to-back games with a power play goal�
Yeah, I think our power play, well, like I said we scored a couple of goals, has been pretty good overall. I thought in the second period we had one there that we didn�t do a very good job with our entries and consequently we didn�t get much of a power play out of it. But once we got control in the offensive zone, I thought we�d been doing a better job of moving the puck and creating some scoring chances, so hopefully that�s something that keeps getting better, because we all know we�re going to need it.

On the Montreal series and how the team responded to his �calming� influence as a coach�
Well, good. I think it�s important for our group to stay calm. It�s important for our group to stay poised. You�ve got to be careful not to get them up to the point where they go out there and we end up in the penalty box all night. So it�s about focus, it�s about poise, you know, making sure that we focus on our structure and how we play. No matter what the situation is in the game or in the series, I thought it was important for our group not to panic. Probably the biggest challenge was in that Montreal series, when we were down two games to nothing, going into a building that they had a lot of success in throughout their regular season. It wasn�t going to be an easy uphill climb, but we were able to get that first win and we seemed to build some confidence from there. So I thought that our message, or the message that I gave them after Game 2 here, and some of the players spoke from their past experiences, really helped us get through that. Right now I think we�re understanding the fact that if you�re calm, but you�re a focused group, it�s certainly going to help you win some hockey games.

On how well the defense played throughout the Philadelphia series�
Well I think the best example to use is Game 2 in Philadelphia when we didn�t respect that part of our game, you saw how hard they came at us. To be honest with you, we were lucky to come out of Game 2 with a win. They were dominant in the third period and obviously in a good portion of that overtime. All of that was because we weren�t respecting our game without the puck. I thought when we did a good job of it for the rest of the games, it obviously took away some of their strength, which was their offense. It certainly cut down on the scoring chances, but I also thought it gave us some good offense because when we turned the puck over, we were really good with our transition game and our offense stood out. So it�s a combination. They say, �Good defense creates good offense,� and I�m one of those believers.

On how Johnny Boychuk�s shooting from the point has been effective in creating offense�
Well obviously that was a big goal tonight. It certainly lifted the whole bench. Johnny�s got a good shot and we know the success that he�s had in the American League in the past on the power play, but for a good portion of the season here, he didn�t seem to be able to find that range or find those opportunities to use his shots so that kind of took away some of his opportunities on the power play. But we moved Patrice [Bergeron] up front and we certainly were looking for some plays down low and Patrice [Bergeron] is one of those guys that can create those, but at the same time, we wanted to have a good shot from the point, so Johnny [Boychuk] fit that mold pretty good and, you know, he seems to have found, again, the range, and found those openings for him to use his shots in the playoffs more than he had during the regular season.

On how Tim Thomas has played the entire postseason�
Yeah I think from Game Two on, I thought and even Game Three when we started that game in Montreal, a couple of tough goals went in on him. But in that third period when he made those big saves to help us win in Montreal, he has just taken off from there. What I like about Tim [Thomas] right now is he is very confident. He seems very calm as well, not overly busy in his net. But when he is busy it�s because he is making a big save. So I mean he�s given our whole team a lot of confidence. When you know you have that kind of goaltending it just makes your team that much more confident. And then certainly the guys are feeding off that.

On how Brad Marchand has played in the postseason�
Well he�s had a great year. Obviously as a rookie when you come in and score twenty goals, I think he had twenty-one, is certainly a great start. And for whatever reason he doesn�t seem intimidated by the playoffs, and he�s not nervous about it. And certainly he�s been a good player for us. When a player like him is being targeted by the other team it means he is doing something pretty good. And I think for him right now is just to stay poised and make sure he doesn�t get sucked into those penalties, retaliation or get short-tempered with that kind of stuff. And he�s done a good job. It�s been a challenge for him, but he�s done a great job. And I think throughout the playoffs he has been one of our most consistent players. He kills penalties, once in a while plays a power play, but five-on-five he�s been a real good contributer, especially on that [Patrice] Bergeron line.

On how rewarding it is to sweep Philadelphia�
Well it�s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year. Ever though we tried to turn the page we were reminded everyday in this series. And it�s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series. I thought we played extremely well. It�s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it�s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.

Johnny Boychuk on the game winner: 'We needed that'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 12:31 AM

Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk's second goal of the playoffs turned out the be the game winner tonight. The Bruins defenseman picked up the puck after a faceoff and fired a shot past the glove of Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

"I didn�t really see him go off but after that it was kind of just, as soon as we scored, everybody, we just started to go again," Boychuk said after the series clinching win. "We needed that...

"The puck came back to me and it was kind of rolling and I just tried to put it on net, and it went in. That�s about it... The puck came back to me. It was kind of rolling, and just shot it towards the net and I think it probably dipped a little bit or curved, did something."

More from Boychuk:

On his several shots on net that were similar to his goal� Yeah, you just want to try to get it past that first guy and he saw couple of them and he did a good job. But on that one it was kind of knuckling and it might have moved a little bit on him maybe.

On the defense contributing goals this series�
Just trying to read the play, pinching when we had our third man high, and making sure to keep it deep. And our forwards did a good job backing us up and giving us time to pinch and keep the play alive. And that�s how we join offensively.

On the defense giving up seven goals in four games�
Try to just get in deep and play in their zone and try to eliminate turnovers, and you just keep it in their zone. And it�s an easier game when you�re playing on offense.

On ending the series tonight and having a couple of days off�
Oh it�s great. We were up three-nothing and we want to make sure that when we have that chance to close it off, we wanted to close it off and we did. We had everybody going tonight and Timmy [Thomas] played excellent again for us obviously. And we got offense as well.

On the locker room in between the second and third periods�
Just calm more or less. And we were just talking amongst ourselves just to keep doing the same thing and we did and we finally got opportunities. And we buried.

On the Flyers play tonight�
Well they were swinging guys low and coming with speed. As defense we have to gap up and it�s hard when they�re swinging really deep and there�s a stretch guy, and we have to make sure to pay attention to him. We don�t want to give a breakaway. And we just tried to take away their speed and our forwards did a good job doing that.

On how important it was to stay disciplined�
Well we just didn�t want to give them any life by taking penalties. And we wanted to stay out of the box because we know that they have a good power play and we wanted them to take the penalties and let us go on the power plays.

On face-off wins in this series playing an important role�
Yeah, our centermen have been doing a good job throughout the whole series and we�re going to need that in the next series as well. Winning face-offs, you start with the puck, which is really important, and you have most of the control of the play.

On if he thinks they wore the Flyers down�
We just tried to get it in deep and work them down low, tire them out, and that�s what we did. We just wanted to get pucks deep. We didn�t want a turnover at the blue lines, the red lines. We wanted to make sure to get it in deep and go after them. And we did.

On how enjoyable that last few games have been�
Well obviously I just want to try to get shots through. And it�s been enjoyable getting out there and playing the power play and trying to get those shots through.

On how disappointed they were last year and if this takes any of that away�
It was devastating last year, how it ended. I think everybody in the room knew that. And for us to come out and close series off it four was huge.

On how much they thought about last year throughout the series�
We didn�t really think about it too much to be honest with you. We just wanted to learn from it and just put it behind us and to make sure to just take one game at a time and we did that. I didn�t really think about it too much. You know it happened, you learn from it, and it�s in the past.

On if the momentum from this series will transfer to the next one�
Yeah, well it�s zero-zero. They�re a good team and we just want to make sure to keep playing the way we are.

Cam Neely: 'Everybody was settled down'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 12:25 AM

Bruins president Cam Neely talked about what changed for Boston after being down two games to none against the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round playoff series before turning things around.

"I think everybody was settled down," Neely said after Game 4. "I think the coaching staff did a good job of settling everybody down. I know everyone was excited about the playoffs starting; the coaching staff did a really good job at settling everybody down. I think that when we play the way we are capable of playing we have good results. I have said that for a long time. It showed. It showed that as the Montreal series progressed and then this series."

Neely said the Bruins are gaining valuable playoff experience with this current postseason run.

"I think guys are gaining some experience from some of those series from years past that they carried into this year," he said. "It showed that you go down 2-0 in the first series and come back and win that. Similar situations this year that we did last year, guys learn from last year. History is great if you can learn from it."

Brad Marchand: 'I had to bounce back'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2011 12:12 AM
Not everything went right for Brad Marchand tonight.

The Bruins forward coughed up the puck in his own end during the second period and it led to the tying goal from the Flyers' winger Kris Versteeg, who went in alone to beat Boston goaltender Tim Thomas.

But the Bruins broke the tie in the third period, banging in four more goals (two empty-netters) to run away from Philadelphia, with Marchand getting his fifth goal of the playoffs on an empty net score.

"It was tough, I was very frustrated," Marchand said. "I had to bounce back and not worry about it. There was another period to play in and we needed to get the lead and get back in and get the win. If I let that bother me then it could have ruined the whole game for me. I just wanted to let it go."

More from Marchand:

On wanting to wrap up the series tonight� We really didn�t want to go back to Philly. If they were to steal tonight, we got back to Philly and anything can happen. It is not a place we want to go. It was nice in front of our home crowd and they were right with us.

On having his passed picked off to tie the game�
It was tough, I was very frustrated. I had to bounce back and not worry about it. There was another period to play in and we needed to get the lead and get back in and get the win. If I let that bother me then it could have ruined the whole game for me. I just wanted to let it go.

On scoring an empty netter�
It didn�t mean a ton but it was nice to put one in there.

On how it felt to score�
It�s always nice to score in front of your home crowd. It was really nice to get it after a bad turnover by me. [Rich] Peverley made a great play to get it to me. If you miss an open net like that you are always pretty frustrated. It was nice to get it.

On playing with different lines due to the Bergeron injury�
It felt pretty good. Guys stepped up and played different roles throughout the night. Soupy was playing the wing there for a bit. It was great to see the depth that we have. Guys step up and prevail.

Milan Lucic: 'Nice to step up and score big goals'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 6, 2011 11:50 PM

Bruins forward Milan Lucic wasn't on top of his game throughout much of the Bruins playoff run, but the big forward came up big when it really counted, netting two goals in the series clinching win over the Flyers tonight at TD Garden.

"Feels good. It�s been kind of frustrating, the last twenty games, not being able to put the puck in the back of the net," Lucic said from the podium postgame. "But tonight I was able to get open, and when I got those opportunities, both great plays by [Nathan] Horton to set me up, and when I got the opportunities it was nice to step up and score big goals."

More from Lucic:

On getting the jacket for the second time� Yeah, feels good. Last time I wore this jacket was a big win for us against the Devils when I got my 30th [goal]. This win, regardless of the two goals, this win is a huge win for our hockey club and our organization. I think it�s been since 1992, since the Bruins have made the third round here. The last three years, we�ve been looking for this eighth win in the playoffs, to get into the third round, and we were happy to get the job done tonight.

On the support of his teammates during his scoring drought�
It�s great. My teammates, especially my linemates with [David] Krejci and [Nathan] Horton, we�ve been able to create so much chemistry here. They always have my back, and even for them, times were tough this year. I had to lift them up, and just tell them to relax, and that was the same sort of thing. They had my back, and they just told me, �It�s gonna come. Just keep sticking with it.� And I tried my hardest not to get frustrated. There was a time there when I was really frustrated, but right now, obviously it feels good to step up and help the team win a big game. And moving forward, you want to keep pushing for more.

On the emotions he felt when he scored his first goal�
Yeah, it was great, especially, you know it was our first five-on-four goal of the playoffs here. So it�s nice that the power play was able to score a goal for us there. And right there was a great feeling once I scored that goal, just to get the monkey off the back and get that lead. But for us, I think that�s why we�ve been so good these last nine games after losing the two to Montreal. We always had a good start, and we were able to establish that lead again.

On how it looked like emotion was pouring out of him when he scored�
Yeah, it was obviously exciting. It was the second round of the playoffs with a chance to close them out. Obviously, like I said, it�s a monkey off my back for me. And also, it�s a goal to come one step closer to moving to that next round.

On if he stopped trying too hard and just tried to have fun�
Yeah, I mean, definitely. I don�t know, I�m sure you guys noticed, it almost seemed like it wasn�t fun for me these last couple games. And that�s where it comes to my teammates having my back and telling me to just stick with it. I started having fun again, I just relaxed and got into those areas where I scored a lot of goals this year. It was a lot of fun, it was fun to be a part of this game tonight, and obviously to score those goals at home and win this series at home makes it even better. And I�m sure our fans really appreciate it.

On Philly turning up the pressure in the third period before the Bruins third goal�
We knew they were going to fight for their lives, and they were going to throw the kitchen sink at us there. So they were going to press and press, and we were just talking on the bench saying keep cool, keep making plays, just make good hard smart plays. And we were able to make those plays and get pucks out of our own zone and on my goal there, we were able to cause a turnover there. Johnny [Boychuk] just, I think it was Johnny there, that got it up to Horty [Nathan Horton] and Horty was real patient, he just waited for me to go there. He caught the D men there, deer in the headlights. We were able to, like you said, weather that storm. It feels good because when it comes down to it, we might have to go through the same situation. It was a good learning experience that we were able to handle something like that.

On the fans towards the end of the game.
Yeah definitely. You could feel it when Johnny [Boychuk] got that second goal. You could just feel it in the crowd. Even more so when I got my goal to get the two-goal lead. And obviously, as an organization, there hasn�t been much success in the playoffs, getting past the second round. Like I said, I think it�s been since �92 since they�ve been in the third round, and like I said, it�s a big deal for our organization. And obviously we�re happy with what we�ve done so far, but we want to enjoy what we�ve done, but come tomorrow, we�ve got to get right back to work and focus on the task with a great team in the Lightning, that are playing real well right now.

On moving past what happened last year�
It feels great. It�s nice that we�re not going to have to answer any more of those questions and we can put that behind us. I think we learned a lot from last year, that experience, and I think it made us a more determined hockey club. I think you could see it in us. In that first round, when we got down two-nothing to Montreal, to get ourselves back into it. And also in this, we were feeling good coming into this series. We went right after them, and you look at Game 2, when they came right after us in that third period and Timmy [Thomas] stole the game for us, and we were able to get one there in overtime. After that, I don�t think we looked back, we just went after them. We�ve definitely put everything behind us with what happened last year, so it�s a real good feeling.

On how Claude Julien has guided the team in the playoffs thus far�
It almost seemed like those first two games against Montreal we came out real tense. He just said, just relax. Go out there and play our game. Play with poise and play with confidence. After we were able to take a step back and start playing with confidence, having a positive attitude, which I think has been a big thing for us that Claude [Julien] has been doing well. Keeping that attitude in the dressing room there, that positive attitude. Like I said, we�re a determined hockey club right now, we�re playing real sharp. We want to continue playing the way we are.

On if he was emphasizing doing the little things right during his slump�
Yeah, I think it�s not always about scoring. Especially in the playoffs here, it all comes down to winning and losing, and it�s those little plays, like I said, getting the puck out of the defensive zone, getting a good chip and a good forecheck. For myself, when I wasn�t scoring, other guys stepped up and were able to score. I think we�ve done a good job, different guys stepping up at different times. But for myself, it all starts with making strong plays, especially on our breakout, being a guy on the winger and trying to be a reliable guy. And when I get the puck, just like I said, make a strong play and move forward, and try to chip in any way I can.

Tim Thomas hopes the team 'exorcised some demons' tonight

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 6, 2011 11:47 PM

Red-hot Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas talked about the victory that launched the Bruins into the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992 and said he's glad to put all the talk of last year's playoff collapse behind him.

"As a player you hear all the talk about what happened last year and you have to ignore it to be able to do what we just did, winning this series," Thomas said. "But to be honest I�m glad that it�s over, I�m glad that it�s done with. Because the longer that series would have went the more talk about last year. So I�m glad that is put behind us as a team, as an organization and the fans. I am glad the fans can put it behind them too. And I�ll say it, hopefully exorcised some demons."

More from Thomas from the locker room:

On how good it is to see how the team is playing� We�ve, all year long you are building for these moments. But it�s a long regular season and actually towards the end of the season we weren�t playing exactly our best hockey. And then we started out that first series two-zero, but since that time we have really pulled together as a team and as a group started doing what we needed to do to get success and get the wins.... I was listening to [Tampa Coach Guy Boucher] yesterday and he was talking about his team and he said everybody on his team contributes and that is exactly what is happening with us right now. I thought that applied, when I heard him say it, I thought that applied exactly to us. So I think that�s some of the reason we are having success right now is everybody is contributing.

On if he is thinking about playing Tampa yet�
We are going to have lots of time. Generally my rule is until midnight, but because it was an eight o-clock game I am going to give it until one before I starting thinking about Tampa.

On if they ever thought they would sweep�
You can hope and envision, but you have to be prepared for it not to work out that way. Actually, there was no plan like that. I mean the reason that we had success was playing one game at a time. One game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time. And that�s how we were breaking it down. And win or lose tonight that�s what the keys would have been. If we had lost tonight we would have been ready for next game. So I think sometimes especially as a player it�s not helpful to look at the big picture. You have a big picture, a big end goal, which can be the Stanley Cup, but you can�t learn an hour in advance how you are going to get there, how you are going to accomplish that. You have to play the games and look at it on the smaller scale of things.

On what he thought when Johnny Boychuk scored�
I was very happy. But at that point, there was still a lot of time in the period and it only made it two to one. And still in those circumstances, I am trying not to let myself get too high because I don�t want to have an exhilaration crash afterwards. I was very happy and especially happy that Johnny Boychuk scored. He has been great for me all year, I love playing with him. And at the time I was just trying to get refocused because I knew there was a lot of hockey left. Now when Looch [Milan Lucic] scored the goal with five minutes left I let myself just a little bit start to, not celebrate, but start to think �hey this could be it, we could win this game.

Zdeno Chara on Bruins fans: 'They deserve it'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 6, 2011 11:14 PM

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara shared some thoughts after the Bruins swept the Flyers with a Game 4 win at TD Garden tonight. The big defenseman said the series clinching victory meant a lot to this team.

"Well I think that it�s, in some way it�s obviously a nice goal to reach, but at the same time I think that we are excited but we know that next round is going to be again a tough one," Chara said from the locker room after the Game 4. "And we know who we are going to face. So we just have to get some rest and prepare for next round. But right now we are going to enjoy today�s victory."

More from Chara:

On how this series speaks to the character of the team� Yeah well I feel like we didn�t have the greatest start of going into the playoffs. But we found a way to battle ourselves out of it. Everybody really stepped it up and started to play playoff hockey and obviously we�re playing extremely hard and for each other. What else can I say? I mean Philadelphia is just a great team. They threw everything at us in different variations and obviously we saw tonight they battled extremely hard for their lives. Then eventually we got that go ahead goal and then another one and then from that point I guess we controlled the game. We�re really focusing on the defensive part of it but we have to give them a lot of credit. We know that we won four straight, but they had a hell of a season. They were basically dominating the whole Eastern Conference for most of the regular season. There was a part towards the end they had a little bit, they slowed down. But I thought that they were probably the best team during the regular season.

On whether what happened last year was brought up a lot�
No, I really thought this year we were just really focusing on playing our game and our style. And nobody was really, to be honest with you nobody we even talking about last year. We were just really trying to stay focused and taking it one game at a time and do our best. Like I said, some games were much closer than the score was showing, but we just find a way to win and grinded it out.

On making it this far for the fans who were waiting for 19 years�
Well I think they deserve it. Obviously it�s a huge motivation for them. It�s a big motivation for us. We know how they can get excited and they were obviously showing it throughout the whole first and second round. And I�m sure it�s going to be even more now. But they deserve it. They�ve been waiting for quite a while and now they just can enjoy a few more games and another round.

On why they were able to be so dominant in this series�
Well we stick with a system and play hard and for each other. And really you have to pay attention to the details and stay focused.

Final: Bruins 5, Flyers 1

Posted by Barbara Matson May 6, 2011 09:30 PM

Third Period

Bruins eliminate Flyers in four straight, winning Game 4, 5-1. It's on to Tampa Bay for the conference finals!

3d Period - 19:32 - Boston 5, Flyers 1 - Gregory Campbell gets another empty netter for the B's, after Shawn Thornton got two swipes at it but the puck was twice deflected.

3d period - 18:04 - Boston 4, Philadelphia 1 - Brad Marchand seals the deal with an empty netter from Mark Recchi and Rich Peverley. Marchand's fifth goal of the playoffs.

3d period 15:03 - Boston 3, Philadelphia 1 - And there's the bounce. Or rather the shovel pass. Nathan Horton picks the puck off the sidewall in the neutral zone and shovels a backhand pass to Lucic, who is charging for the net and gets it on his stick with no defenders in sight. Lucic sends his second goal of the game past Bobrovsky.

Still a one-bounce game with 6:12 in the third.

Thomas takes a shot in the chest from James Van Riemsdyk and holds on with 7:29 left in the third.

With Bergeron out, the Bruins are scrambling lines to nail this thing down. Flyers are in desperation mode.

Nice defensive stick work from Daniel Paille and then Michael Ryder on the same shift, with the Flyers trying to get something going in the Bruins zone with 14 minutes to play in the third.

3d Period - 2:42 - Boston 2, Philadelphia 1 - Bruins snatch the lead on Johnny Boychuk's scorcher from the right point. Boychuk's shot flies over Bobrovsky's glove and Boychuk gets down on his knee and pumps his fist again and again. I believe they call that a celly, and the crowd goes wild.

Claude Giroux knocks down Bergeron with slamming check in Bruins zone. Bergeron gets up slowly and goes off, going down tunnel to locker room at 2:38.

Bruins get set up on power play but only pass puck around, don't find an open shot.

Second Period
Through with two. Bruins and Flyers get seven shots apiece, but Flyers get the only goal, a breakaway from Kris Versteeg. All tied at one.

Marchand and Chris Kelly break into Flyer zone, with Briere all over Kelly. He is called for holding at 19:36. Bruins will still have 1:37 on their fifth power play when the third period begins.

Ville Leino serving penalty for Daniel Carcillo, called for cross check on Marchand at 16:55 so Bruins get power play. Meanwhile, Carcillo has limped off to the dressing room. He fell to the ice in the B's zone after blocking Kaberle shot but got no whistle, got up to try to help defend, and didn't leave until play was stopped for the call.

Thomas makes a stop on James Van Riemsdyk to finish off a successful kill.

Horton called for holding on Danny Briere at 13:54, Flyers on the PP again.

2d period - 14:22 - Boston 1, Philadelphia 1 - Kris Versteeg gets his first goal of the playoffs on a breakaway, sprung by a Mike Richards' lead pass after the Flyer captain picks off a Brad Marchand pass in the Bruins zone. Versteeg, cruising in alone, pulled the puck left onto his backhand and tucked it behind Thomas.

Hartnell slams into David Krejci alongside the Bruins bench and Lucic jumps up to push him away at 11:39. Matching minors to Hartnell for charging and Lucic for cross-checking.

Bruins storming Bobrovsky again. A wrister by Chara from the left point gets through a screen but the Flyer goalie gets his stick flat on the ice for the save. Rich Peverley then gets a couple of cracks at the puck by the left post, but Bobrovsky and his defense scramble to keep it out, the last shot going off the goalie's behind and skidding wide.

Another good save by Thomas, this time on Danny Briere coming out of the left corner toward the post.

Flyers get first shot of second period, first shot in a long, long time, and it's a 20-footer by Mike Richards on the rush. Thomas makes the stop at 4:22.

Bruins swarming Bobrovsky. Paille scoops up a loose puck and has an open shot, but Bobrovsky deflects. Marck Recchi gets a crack at the rebound.

Flyers have 1:53 of power play, with Chara in the box. Bruins' PK holds them without a shot.

First period

Done with one. Bruins dominate in shots, 13-6, and get a power-play goal. But Flyers still look very dangerous now and then.

With 7 seconds on the clock in the first, Scott Hartnell jabs the butt end of his stick into Chara's gut in front of Thomas, and the big defenseman responds with a cross-check. Hartnell takes a swing, Chara comes back with one, but officials jump in before something dangerous gets going. At 19:52, Hartnell gets a penalty for roughing and Chara gets double minor for roughing so Flyers are on the power play.

No goal, but Rich Peverley gets a dangerous shot on Bobrovsky from the right circle as the penalty expires. Bruins are outshooting Flyers, 12-5.

Can they do it again? Claude Giroux called for tripping at 15:03 and Bruins get their third man-advantage of the game.

1st period - 12:02 - Boston 1, Philadelphia 0 - Bruins score their second power play goal of the playoffs and this time it's a real one, not the 5-on-3 gift they got at the end of Game 3. And it breaks a drought for Milan Lucic, too, who scores his first of the playoffs to finish off a move it!-move it!-move it! sequence. Tomas Kaberle sent the puck down the left wall from the point, where David Krejci fielded it, moved to to Nathan Horton in the left circle. Horton kept the cycle going to Lucic, who popped in a shot from about 5 feet. A long group hug by the Bruins to celebrate.

Gregory Campbell tires to stuff in a wraparound just as the penalties expires and gets cracked beside his eye by Daniel Carcillo, who is called for cross-checking. Bruins on second power play.

Kris Versteeg called for interference at 9:28 and Brad Marchand for unsportsmanlike. 4 on 4.

Bobrovsky deflects a Zdeno Chara shot from the right point with his blocker. Milan Lucic in front of the net with a chance but he tips the puck over the net. PP ends with one shot.

Bruins get a power play chance when James Van Riemsdyk is called for hooking at 5:44.

Thomas challenged again with a wrister from in close by Coburn, with a rebound into a knot of players in front. Thomas falls on the puck for a whistle.

Thomas makes a good save on Jeff Carter's hard chest-high shot.

Kimmo Timmonen's slapper from the right point goes right through the Bruins zone, miissing the net and all Timmonen's teammates by a wide margin, then skips out of the zone. Chris Kelly picks it up for a shorthanded shot at Sergei Bobrovsky.

First power play for Flyers when Shane Hnidy is called for slashing at 3:10.

Braydon Coburn gets a good chance for the Flyers with a clear 15-foot shot, but Tim Thomas turns him aside.

Puck down at 8:10.

Stan Jonathan fires up the Garden before Game 4

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 6, 2011 07:56 PM
Will John Wensink be showing up for the Stanley Cup Finals?

It was a packed house at TD Garden long before the puck dropped for Game 4, but former Bruins tough guy Stan Jonathan made sure the place was loud and loaded for bear before the black and gold took the ice.

Widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in Bruins history, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Jonathan is remembered for one brawl more than any other: A beating administered to the Canadiens' Pierre Bouchard on May 21, 1978. Despite Bouchard's size advantage -- he was 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds -- Jonathan withstood an early flurry of punches, then dropped Bouchard with a rapid-fire sequence of lefts that left the Canadien with a broken nose and cheekbone. It probably goes without saying that Jonathan, who spend nearly six full seasons in Boston, was a tremendously popular player.

In the video above, Jonathan is introduced to the fans as the honorary captain for tonight's game and the pregame atmosphere immediately turned electric with Audioslave's Cochise blaring off the bricks.

We close the video out with Rene Rancourt belting out the national anthem before the action got underway.

(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
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