Morning Skate 418: Pressure could shift to Habs

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Morning Skate 418: Pressure could shift to Habs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
MONTREAL All it could take is one win for things to really, truly turn around for the Bruins.It seems extremely far-fetched given the fact Boston is down 2-0 in the series and entering the Belly of Le Beast at the Bell Centre in Montreal for Games 3 and 4. It seems even more of a Black and Gold pipe dream with the way Boston's offense is struggling to do anything with consistency and all the while really missing the speed and danger factorof a natural born sniper that they hope Tyler Seguin can one day become.But just like the third goal is the most important score in a hockey games momentum and ultimatewinnability, so is Game Three of a seven game series the most important single game to win in the Stanley Cupplayoffs.
If the Habs let up off the Bruins and allow Boston to steal one at the Bell Centre whether its because Tim Thomas stepped up his postseason game or because Milan Lucic and David Krejci finally awakened out of their series-long funk then the momentum begins to shift in the entireseries.Don't think the the members of Les Habitants aren't aware of this.I dont know if its so much pressure, but theres no doubt about the importance of the game tonight, said Habs forward Mike Cammalleri, who has been very good with two points in the two games played thus far. Its almost all for naught if you dont keep going. You might look back and it seems like you put in some work and accomplished some things by winning a couple of games, but things can change really quickly.It is what it is. It can go two ways. You try and build confidence and momentum off it and play even better hockey while making it harder on the other team. Thats our goal. But theres another way it can go too.Cammalleri stopped his words right in their tracks when he mentioned another way it can go as the Habs know full well they havent received Bostons best playoff punch by a long shot. That roundhouse right could be coming at the Bell Centre, or it could be ultimate collapse for everything that's been built over the last four years.With a win the pressure eases off under-fire Claude Julien and instead crests over the entire Montreal Canadiens roster with a lot of hockey to still be played between the two teams. The Bruins have been frustrated by Montreals shot-blocking ability and world class speed along with their opportunistic skill at pouncing on each of Bostons mistakes, but that can change if the Bruins find their mojo and then escape to Lake Placid for a couple of days recovering and recharging.The Bruins know each of the five goals scored in the series have been self-inflicted gunshot wounds through sloppy turnovers, horrendous rebounds and scrambling coverage in front of the net. Its not about anger or strong emotion; its about focus for Patrice Bergeron and the rest of the Bruins. Its something Bergeron has been throughout the series as Bostons best forwardat both ends of the ice, and their de facto Captain with Zdeno Chara battling his own issues.The Bs are 0-26 when dropping the first two games of a playoff series, but theyve proven before that they can make history in spectacular fashion.We obviously need to have starts, but we also have to make sure were loose on the ice while getting results. We cant be squeezing the sticks out on the ice when we need goals, said Bergeron. Its the playoffs. We need results. Things can be fixed. Those goals were because of us. Thats one thing that weve realized.Were all aware we didnt play our best games. Its a long series. Were focused. We believe and were confident. But at the same time we know we can be better, and weve got to be better.Shawn Thornton joked that hes so focused when hes on the ice that hes like Billy Chapel out there when the Bell Centre crowd is razzing his team a reference to the Kevin Costner flick For the Love of the Game and his Clear the Mechanism concentration phrase once the game starts.The Bruins start Clearing the Mechanism tonight at the Bell Centre against the Canadiens, and will know much about their playoff lives once the 60 minutes of intense hockey has concluded.On to the links:Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray believes the Ducks have to start diving in order to match whats happening with the Nashville Predators. I guess it doesnt just happen when Boston plays Montreal. Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau sounds like he wants a stick of dynamite to blow up Madison Square Garden. At least thats his story to ESPNNewYork.com, and Im inclined to agree with him.Elliotte Friedman has his 30 thoughts on CBC.ca and has some interesting things to say about Zdeno Chara and Phil Kessel. Friedman is dead on about the Chara stuff concerning Ryan Callahan, and the broken leg he suffered just weeks after the Max Pacioretty incident. Chara felt extremely guilty that his slap shot injured Callahan, and was very concerned about the New York Rangers forward given the respect level he holds for him. Sounds like theres an emotional component to the health issues plaguing Chara at this point in the postseason after hes been harangued by the Montreal fans and media.Globe and Mail writer James Mirtle wonders whether NHL fans are watching the Coyotes final days in Phoenix as Winnipeg gets ready for a team with lawyers, pucks and money.Steven Brundt also has a few thoughts on the Winnipeg area getting back their NHL team, and says its going to take a lot less than perfection for a relocation to take place at this point. I still think it will be Atlanta moving up to Winnipeg, but perhaps thats just me.Mike Milbury talked up the Washington Capitals on NBC, and says that Alex Ovechkins team looks like theyre finally hitting their potential at Stanley Cup playoff time.Sean Avery is caught leaning on his stick, and Deadspin.com loves every minute of it.Bruce Boudreau believes that the New York Rangers are targeting Caps defenseman Mike Green with vicious hits. Not sure this is any different than any other playoff season for the Caps.NHL.coms Dave Lozo wonders if Dan Girardi is the most underrated player in the NHL today.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.