Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs


Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins know it how it feels. They realize what it takes.

As the defending Stanley Cup champs, the memory of hoisting hockey's most prized possession is ever so vivid. But the memory of how they got to that point of ultimate success also remains clear.

While preparing for Thursday night's playoff opener against the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals at the TD Garden, Bruins players echoed a similar reason for last year's success:

Don't live in the past, and don't look to the future.

"I think what we've learned the most is, we never looked too far ahead of what we had to do," said Bruins forward Milan Lucic after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "And that's our mindset right now. All our focus is focused on Game 1 and Game 1 only, and coming out hard, and making the most of our home-ice advantage."

It would have been easy for last year's Bruins to curl up into a ball and succumb to the pressures of falling behind 2-0 in both their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens, and again in the Stanley Cup Finals series to the Vancouver Canucks.

The B's lost the first two games of both rounds, but ended up winning both in seven games. And being able to put those early losses behind them was the main key to their success.

"It's huge, especially right now," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "If you lose a game or two, you can't dwell on it. You have to continue to worry about the next game, and what you have to do to win that one.

"You saw we did it a couple times last year against Montreal and Vancouver," added Marchand. "We got down by a couple games, and we didn't panic. We let it go. We built on the things that we were doing well. And it got us back in both series'. That's what you have to do. You have to let a loss go, let a bad game go, and worry about being better in the next one."

Bruins coach Claude Julien believes his team is ready to carry that same mentality into this year's playoff run.

"That's not going to change," said Julien. "We've done that in the past, and we're going to continue to do that. We're a team that lives in the present, and not in the future. We don't live in the past, and last year's last year."

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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