Bruins talk: Thomas, Bergeron soak it in

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Bruins talk: Thomas, Bergeron soak it in

By MaryPaoletti
CSNNE.com StaffReporter Follow@mary_paoletti
The Bruins react to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years . . .

TIM THOMAS

On if he's "proved" himself to career critics
For now. I know the game, and I know the way that it is, you know. Winning the Stanley Cup is huge. It's the biggest accomplishment of my career thus far. But everybody knows in this game that you have to continuously prove yourself. I'm sure if I were to, for example, start out the season bad next year that I probably, with the Cup, would have bought myself a little bit of leeway, but it won't last forever unless I turn my game around.

If he ever visualized himself winning the Cup while battling to get to the NHL
No. At that time I was probably just visualizing each game one at a time when I was in Finland. I didn't want to think about the NHL because it seemed like it was so far away. But having said that, I was happy playing where I was playing. I was playing in a very good league and I had a lot of good friends over there. I'm very happy that I made the decision to come back. It was a tough decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run in this case.

What went through his mind after Patrice Bergeron's goal
I was hoping someone else would score so I wouldnt have to shut 'em out. I was happy going into the game, talked about not getting too high. If we do score, you can't act like you've won the Stanley Cup because you will get an emotional high and it will end up showing on the ice. I was just trying to stay level. It was just one goal. It was a huge goal, the game-winning goal, but at that time, there was still a lot of game and a lot of work left to do.

A message to the fans who have waited 39 years
You've been waiting a long time, but you got it. You wanted it, you got it. We're bringing it home.

On if he lost confidence at all during the series
Yeah, to be completely honest with you, Game 6 at home. Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it. It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. .... So, yeah, I was scared. I won't lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Feeling to win the Conn Smythe trophy
It's quite an honor. The Stanley Cup is the biggest one. That's the one that you're shooting for. Conn Smythe is completely an honor. I just sat down here and started to read some of the names on it and it's an honor to be mentioned in the same Maple leaf. Patrick, Ron Hextall, Ken Dryden, those are the three goalies that I can see on this side facing me, it's amazing.

PATRICE BERGERON

On the "changing of the guard;"past, present and future of current team
Obviously, I talked to Recchi last night and I was feeling nervous and I asked him to give me some advice. He told me to relax and go out there and play the game and to do it for him. Obviously it could be his last game and I've learned so much from him on and off the ice, it's a great feeling that we've accomplished this as a team. You're right, the future looks bright with all the guys that we have, but to be honest with you, I'm worrying about the celebration right now.

On his first goal, first of the game
I'm not sure, but I was ready for it. And Recchi tried to shoot, and obviously it was perfect because I was ready as well behind him. We sort of surprised 'em. That first goal was huge.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

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Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari missed a month of game action with a lower body injury, so it would have been perfectly acceptable to show plenty of rust in his game upon returning to the Boston lineup.

But the former Providence College standout didn’t look rusty, a step behind or out of place in any way as he played the fourth line energy forward role to a perfect fit after missing the last 13 games. Acciari did get in one game with the Providence Bruins prior to suiting back up for the Black and Gold on Saturday, and perhaps that helped him manufacture a couple of shots on net to go along with three thumping hits against the Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old Acciari didn’t factor into the scoring at all for the Bruins, but that’s just as well given that his focus should be on killing penalties, being hard to play against and taking the body whenever the chance presents itself. Claude Julien reformed the B’s energy line that had so much success earlier in the season with Acciari, Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller, and didn’t hesitate tossing them back into the mix together while looking for energy and a spark for an offensively stunted team.

“It’s good to be back with my linemates, and you know, I think we kind of picked up where we left off, but there’s definitely things we need to work on. That’ll come with a couple more practices and games together,” said Acciari, who finished theSaturday loss with three registered hits packed into 11:35 of ice time. “Kind of getting back to our familiarity and kind of get back to where we were before I got injured.

“It was a good start tonight, but we definitely just weren’t clicking like we used to, but that’ll come. I think that will come. Like I said, a couple practices and just kind of getting some games in [are good things]. I thought we were pretty good tonight, but, you know, should get more pucks to score [goals].”

Clearly there is room for improvement for everybody including Acciari, but it was encouraging to see the fearless competitor again flying around on the TD Garden ice playing high intensity hockey for a fourth line that could use every little bit of that. 

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

BOSTON -- This may not come as a surprise, but the Boston Bruins are having some trouble putting the puck in the net.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by an 11-2 margin in the first period and outshooting them by a 32-21 margin over the balance of the 60 minute game, the Bruins scratched for just a single goal in a frustrating, constipated 4-1 loss to Toronto at TD Garden. Clearly some of the offensive difficulty was caused by a solid Frederik Andersen, who improved to 6-0-0 in a career against Boston that’s beginning to take on Bruins Killer proportions.

But a great deal of the B’s struggles to finish scoring chances on Saturday night is a malady that’s dogged the Bruins all season, and marked the 20th time in 29 games this year that Boston has scored two goals or less. In most of these games the Bruins have dominated puck possession and outshot their opponents, but still have come away mostly empty handed in the goals scored department while dropping deep in the bottom third of NHL offenses this season.

“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games,” said Claude Julien. “Because of that we criticize everything else in our game, but our game isn’t that bad.

“If we were scoring goals people would love our game right now, but that’s the biggest part. There’s not much more I can say here except for the fact that if we don’t score goals it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”

But the Bruins aren’t scoring goals consistently, their power play is below average while trending in the wrong direction and the team has been forced to watch steady offensive players like Patrice Bergeron suddenly slump in a concerning way. Clearly David Pastrnak is doing his part with 18 goals scored this season in 24 games, and others like Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore have also performed above, or beyond, their acceptable level of play.

But there are other players failing with the chance to make an offensive dent: Austin Czarnik has been on the roster for nearly two months, and has zero goals and two points in his last 15 games as the offense is again dried up on the third line. He missed wide on a shorthanded chance in the third period after a Moore centering pass set up him all alone in front, and was critiquing himself for fanning on a perfect dish to him in the slot.

Moments later the Leafs had an insurance score from James van Riemsdyk to make it a 3-1 game, and it was all over for the Black and Gold at that point.

Czarnik is an easy target because he’s young and inexperienced, but there is more than enough struggle and frustration to go around with a bunch of offensive players that can’t seem to get out of their own way. David Backes admitted it’s reached a point where the Bruins are frustrated when they can’t score enough to beat a team like Toronto, and that it falls squarely on the lead guys in the Black and Gold dressing room that are underperforming.

“I think offensive frustration is warranted at this point; we just haven’t done a good enough job scoring goals. We played a heck of a first period. We limited them to two shots and we had an opportunity to have a team that’s coming in here that’s a younger team, to really put them behind the eight ball,” said Backes. “Instead, they think they got a second lease on life and they were able to capitalize. All of the sudden, they were up 2-0 and we’re fighting an uphill battle again rather than -- we have that opportunity to play a heck of a first period and we don’t find a way – it’s easy to talk about, but it’s going out there and doing the job and putting it past or through the goalie, or however it needs to happen. “You’ve seen our goals; you want to do a study on it unless you’re Pasta [David Pastrnak] with the one-timer on the side, it’s been ugly, it’s been rebounds, it’s been greasy goals and that’s our equation and we need more of it, and we didn’t do it. They did a good job of being in front of their net and boxing out, eliminating those second chances. But, we’ve got good players in here that need to create more and find those second chances and win those battles, find those loose pucks, and throw them in the net.”

The Bruins have been talking seemingly all season about the need to get to the “dirty areas in the offensive zone”, and for players to jump all over the second and third chance opportunities currently going by the board unchallenged on goalie rebounds.

Now it’s about speaking with action for the B’s, and more specifically speaking volumes with goals and offensive finish instead of “chances” that aren’t doing much of anything if they’re not being snapped into the back of the net.