Canadiens say Bruins don't play dirty

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Canadiens say Bruins don't play dirty

The Vancouver Sun used an image of Brad Marchand as a rat in today's paper that can now be found on their website. It's clear how that part of North America feels about Marchand and the Bruins. But is that the sentiment in other cities?

Sure, the Bruins are tough and unmerciful when it comes to doling out physical punishment on the ice. But how does one determine then if the Bruins have stepped over the line between "physical" and "dirty" territory?

How about asking the Bruins sworn hockey enemies since the dawn of NHL history?

With the Montreal Canadiens in town, CSNNE.com asked a group of Habs players whether they felt that the Bruins were considered an honest and clean team, or if the accusations of dirty play were in fact accurate.

(Warning: The answers may shock and surprise you. Readers may actually find themselves growing to like Canadiens players.)

Canadiens defenseman and vocal leader Josh Gorges looked shocked when asked if he considered the Bruins a dirty team.

I dont think the Bruins are a team where you saw coming in 'Ive got to have my head up here because theyre going to do something dirty,' " said Gorges. Its a physical team. They play hard. They hit. Do they cross a line? I dont know. I think they play physical. Hockey is a physical game. Do they get suspensions? Of course they have, but you could say the same thing about 29 other teams in the league.

Take Marchand's speed bag" incident from last years Finals, when he repeatedly punched Vancouver's Daniel Sedin. Marchand was given penalties for the string of undefended punches to the Canucks superstar, but that isnt something Gorges finds dirty in his book of hockey.

If you get a punch in the face after a whistle I dont think thats being dirty. Thats part of hockey. Hes going to get a penalty and maybe you throw one back and get a penalty too. I dont think thats dirty hockey. I think its part of the aggression of playing hockey and thats what makes our sport great -- the physicality part of it. I love that part of the game.

Surely Bruins Public Enemy No. 1 P.K. Subban would be licking at his chops to throw both Marchand and the rest of the Bruins under the bus after the run-ins theyve had over the last two years.

Right . . . right?

The Habs defenseman said he respects the Bs for the way they play the game despite their frequent skirmishes during the season and postseason.

You dont ever want to see players get suspended. Marchand is a great player and a big part of their team, said Subban. We need to focus on whoever is in the lineup. Whether its Marchand or Benoit Pouliot on that first line we just need to be ready to play.

The Bruins are in your face. You know what I mean? Theyve had a lot of success over the years. Theyre Stanley Cup champions. Theyre playing some good hockey this year. Whatever theyre doing, theyre doing something right. Whenever you play them you know theyll get in your face, theyll finish their checks and theyre gonna work hard. For our team coming into this building its going to be the work ethic thats going to let us have success here, and nothing else.

Habs defenseman Hal Gill is in a unique position, having played for both Montreal and Boston. The veteran blueliner said the Bruins merely plays the kind of game they've played for 40 years without crossing the line that would be considered cheap or dirty.

Theyre a physical team and they like to intimidate and come in with force. Its not about who's tougher. Its about going to the dirty areas and getting the job done. The Bruins have always been a big and imposing team. Theyre big and theyre strong, said Gill. They toe that line. Thats part of their modus operandi.

Form their lips to Vancouver's ears. The Habs opinions prior to their Thursday clash with the Bruins speak volumes.

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

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Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.

Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

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Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

BROOKLYN, NY – Things didn’t go so well last season for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask suddenly wasn’t well enough to play in the last game of the season, so there was good reason for the B’s to be a little nervous when their No. 1 goalie again couldn’t answer the bell Saturday night vs. the Islanders.

Anton Khudobin had won four games in a row headed into Saturday night, of course, and in his previous start he’d helped snap a 10-game winning streak for the Calgary Flames. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when Khudobin stood tall for the Bruins making 18 saves in a tight, nervy 2-1 win over the Isles at the Barclays Center.

“You don’t have that many shots, but maybe 10 scoring chances…that can be tougher than seeing 30 shots and same amount of scoring chances,” said Khudobin. “But I’m glad got the job done, we got our points and we got the ‘W’.”

It wasn’t wall-to-wall action in a game where both teams combined for 37 shots on net, but it was still impressive that Khudobin and the B’s special teams killed off six Islander power plays in such a tight hockey game. After the B’s backup netminder was lauded for the way he battled in the crease and competed for pucks like his team’s very life was on the line in a pivotal game.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I loved his performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

One could spend days analyzing Cassidy's words and wondering much of that was deserved, appreciative praise for Khudobin, and how much of that might have been a veiled message to Boston's No. 1 goaltender sitting back home in Boston. 

The best save of the night probably won’t even count as a save for the Russian netminder. It was John Tavares, after having beaten Khudobin once in the first period, moving into the offensive zone with speed during a third period power play, and getting an open look at the net front in the high slot. Khudobin thought quickly and dropped into the unconventional double-stack pad save that seemed to throw Tavares off just a little, and the Isles sniper smoked the shot off the crossbar rather than tying up the game.

“I didn’t touch it. I didn’t really have time to get there, so the only thing I tried to do was the two-pad stack, old school Bob Essensa-style,” said Khudobin, who has now improved to 6-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against and an .899 save percentage this season. “Then he hit the crossbar. You need to get some luck in this league, and if you don’t get luck you’re going to lose games.”

A little luck and a little good, old-fashioned battling between the pipes was enough for Khudobin and the Bruins in Saturday night’s mammoth win. Now the questions become whether or not to go right back to Khudobin again on Tuesday at home against the Nashville Predators.