Bruins

Marchand: Bruins ready to 'sacrifice' and 'suffer'

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Marchand: Bruins ready to 'sacrifice' and 'suffer'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA The Bruins have been through this exact scenario once before, and theyre hoping they are a little wiser for it the second time around. The Bs approached a Game 6 on the road against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs after fighting all the way back to take a 3-2 lead in that series, and things got out of control in that game. Officiating became a huge factor with refs Kevin Pollock and Chris Lee handing out 11 penalties at the Bell Centre and Milan Lucic getting booted from the game for a boarding call, and the Bs lost a 2-1 hockey game despite playing reasonably well.You can take all kinds of situations and use them to your benefit, and thats one of them, said Claude Julien. I think we felt ready, but obviously it didnt happen. There were some penalties. I think its a matter of learning from experience you get the experience from going through those situations.Its a chance to show weve grown from that, and that were a better team for it.There were times when the Bruins lost their poise just a bit amidst the rowdy, frothy Bell Centre crowd. The Bs took penalties for throwing pucks into the stands and absorbed a too many men on the ice infraction when Mike Cammalleri threw a puck at the Boston bench during a line change. The game sped up on the Bruins, the refs got a little caught up in the atmosphere and Lucic paid a price when he finally got physically involved in the Habs series after watching his step during the first five games -- and having little effect on the proceedings as a result.The Bruins obviously took down Game 7 in overtime against the Habs to advance in the playoffs, but they know a Game 7 is to be avoided against Tampa Bay -- or any other team for that matter -- when the Kevin Garnett factor comes into play at that time in the series: anything is possible.So the Bs veterans and even the fresh-faced first-timers now have an idea what it takes to finally put down a hockey team in an elimination game, and the Black and Gold simply need to take the lessons theyve learned, apply them and go ahead and get it done ahead of time.
Its going to take ice bags, band-aids, stitches and a whole lot of blood to get the fourth win against the Lightning, and theyre willing to pay the price.You can learn from that situation. Maybe we were looking forward to the next series a little bit, said Marchand. We have to be more prepared for that sixth game. Theyre going to come out hard. The biggest thing is how teams battle when theyre fighting for their lives. What theyre willing to sacrifice and put their bodies through we have to make sure we do that exact same thing.If were not willing to put our bodies through the same kind of suffering then theyre going to end up on top. Thats what we have to make sure we do. The way everyone is focused and determined: we know what we have to do and we know how hard its going to be to beat Tampa Bay in their own rink. Were willing to do whatever we need to do tonight.The bottom line: the Bruins know they need to jump out to a quick start, weather the storm from the Lightning and stay within their disciplined lane once things get a little bumpy in a hostile Florida environment. Marchands line has been getting the call to set the tone in nearly every game of the playoffs, and the Bs winger knows its up to him -- along with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi -- to start things off with a strong statement shift.We know theyre going to come out hard, but we have to make sure that were ready for the first shift, said Marchand. If we have a good shift with two or three opportunities and then the next three lines go we have to try to keep from letting them have any momentum in the first few shifts.I think maybe we can build a little emotion off that and give them a little counter-push. Its going to be a tough first five minutes and try to get through it. If we have a more aggressive start and were more determined, then its going to help us. The biggest factor in the first period is who comes out and scores that first. We have to make sure that its us.

Brad Marchand and the rest of his Bruins teammates know that the Vancouver Canucks are waiting for them in the Stanley Cup Finals set to start in the Pacific Northwest.But the Bs antagonist knows it could be a fatal mistake to start talking about the next series before finishing off the Lightning just as the Canucks finished off Jumbo Joe Thornton and the Sharks in double overtime.We dont know who Vancouver is going to be playing. If we start thinking its us then Tampa will come back and take control of the series, said Marchand. We have to make sure we dont worry about that. Were just worried about our game.This time out Eric Furlatt and Kelly Sutherland are the two refs for Game 6, and Guy Boucher pointed out Wednesday morning that theres a lopsided 24-9 margin of penalties against the Lightning in the last several Tampa games Furlatt worked this season. Should be interesting times for the diabolical coaching genius if things start going against the Lightning once the penalties come rolling in.Im aware of it. Very aware of it. Very, very aware of it. It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last game the last few games we did have that particular ref. It is lopsided, said Boucher. The one thing we can control is what we do on the ice and hope that things will be fair like it is with everybody else.Dwayne Roloson is 6-0 in elimination games throughout his career, and isnt the puck-handling goaltender that Mike Smith is behind the net. That will change Bostons attack slightly in terms of dumps and chips into the offensive zone, and allows the Bruins to play a little more of their dump and smash fore-check game.Scrappy forward Sean Bergenheim is a question mark for the Lightning, and coach Guy Boucher said hell be a game time decision for Tampa Bay. Dana Tyrell and Randy Jones stand as potential replacements for Bergenheim if hes unable to answer the bell for Game 6 after lightning things up throughout the playoffs with a team-high nine goals. Hes a huge loss for Tampa if he cant play.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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