Notes: Bruins' power play clicks with Chara back

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Notes: Bruins' power play clicks with Chara back

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Zdeno Chara wasnt himself against the Montreal Canadiens, but it really wasnt his fault. The Bruins' captain lost 10 pounds in a 24-hour span while battling a virus that caused severe dehydration. He spent most of the seven-game series against the Habs regaining his energy and simply catching his breath.

One thing that had been missing all that time against the Canadiens: his blistering slap shot (clocked at 105.9 mph) that sparks the Boston power play. Chara finished the season tied with Michael Ryder for the most power-play goals on the Bruins with eight, but it looked like the 6-foot-9 defenseman simply didnt have enough juice and energy to shoot.

Its no coincidence that the Boston power play went through an 0-for-30 stretch to start the postseason when Chara wasnt at his full power capacity.

But Charas lethal one-timer finally reappeared in Game 3, and he scored on a pair of bombs to help his team earn a 5-1 victory.

Those guys have been so strong for us, not only as a pair, but also as individuals. As you saw, Zdeno's shot is one that certainly goaltenders dont like to see, said coach Claude Julien. Hes got that ability and tonight I thought he used it well.

The Bruins went 0-for-2 on the power play until both Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn got sent to the penalty box in the closing moments of the game, and that allowed Boston to finally do some damage 5-on-3.

This was definitely an opportunity for us to at least get one power-play goal and our guys did that, said Julien. I thought that was important for our team at that time to get that confidence.

I thought our power play was actually very good tonight. We hit a post, we had some good scoring chances, and as far as I was concerned, if we work our power play the way we worked it tonight, were going to be okay.

During one of the previous power plays, both Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron hit posts.

The Bruins PP unit was far, far better than it had been through the entire postseason. And it makes sense, since Chara is back to being the defenseman the Bruins have always needed him to be.

It is great to see him get that offense going. He has that potential. Hes got an amazing shot, said David Krejci. Ask the opposing goalies that are facing it. It is no fun to see that guy winding up on you. He gets himself in the right spots and getting those goals. It makes it easier on the whole team.It was a big second period goal that extended Boston's lead , but it was also a significant postseason play for both Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell when the duo broke out with a nice first pass from Johnny Boychuk. Campbell managed to set a perfect pass for the speedy Paille rushing into the offensive zone, and Paille fired a bullet over the shoulder of Brian Boucher that the Philly goaltender didn't have a prayer of stopping. That it came with the Mike Richards' line on the ice for the Flyers and pushed Boston's lead to 3-0 was sweet enough, but it was also the first career playoff goal for Paille along with Campbell's first career playoff point on the assist.Bruins head coach Claude Julien is sometimes roundly criticized for going with the fourth line too often, but they came up large for him in Game Three after some really dicey moments in overtime during Game Two in Philadelphia. "Piesy Daniel Paille did a great job getting up the ice. Hes got pretty good speed and it was a good shot by him. But yeah Im just trying to get to the net, and hopefully thatll open up a play for Campbellto shoot or give it to me or do what he did," said fellow fourth-liner Shawn Thornton, who drove the net to clear out space for his linemates. "It worked out. So it was a great pass by Soupy but even a better shot by Piesy."The Bruins crushed the Flyers in just about every category imaginable, and that included the face-off circle throughout the night of Game Three. Between Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Boston's top two centers won 25 out of 27 draws on the TD Garden ice, and fellow pivot Gregory Campbell also won 11 out of 12 face-offs in an embarassing performance for the men down Philly's middle. "No doubt faceoffs are important and we obviously had the advantage of putting our sticks down last, thats the home-ice advantage that becomes very important when it comes to that part of the game. Our guys did a great job. You start with the puck, its a lot easier than chasing it down," said ClaudeJulien. "Our guys did a great job of that tonight and I thought it was important, especially against that team. Theyve got some good faceoff plays in the offensive zone and they can become very dangerous. Our centermen did a great job and even the other guys, recovering those loose pucks in the battles."Tim Thomas had a string of 68 consecutive saves running between Games Two and Three snapped when he surrendered a goal to Andrej Meszaros in the third period. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced that Yury Alexandrov, Zach Hamill, Michael Hutchinson and Kirk MacDonald will no longer train in Providence and will return to their respective hometowns for the summer.

The Bruins signed defenseman Ryan Button, who played a handful of games for the Providence Bruins at the end of the AHL season, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday.

The Bruins scored the first two goals of Game 3 just 33 seconds apart in the first period. The club record for the fastest two goals in Bruins playoff franchise history is seven seconds (Cam Neely and Michael Thelven in the second period against Montreal on April 23, 1989).

The two goals allowed in the first 63 seconds of the game were the fastest two goals allowed at the start of a playoff game in Flyers history.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

May 1, 2016: With NHL draft order set, time to deal?

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May 1, 2016: With NHL draft order set, time to deal?

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after thinking Barack Obama gave Jeffrey Ross a run for his money as the Roast-master In Chief at last night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

*The man behind the music at American Airlines Arena for the Dallas Stars’ games comes into the spotlight for a story.

 

*Don Cherry sings the praises of Joel Ward, wears a Toronto Marlies suit and said “it was time to go” for Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim.

 

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Penguins coach Mike Sullivan taking major issue with the head shot Brooks Orpik laid on Olli Maatta.

 

*The Maple Leafs secure the No. 1 overall pick in last night’s NHL Draft lottery, which will no doubt lead them to Auston Matthews.

 

*Now that the Edmonton Oilers have the No. 4 pick, Peter Chiarelli is open to trade options for those teams wanting to move up.

 

*Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is once again thriving in Ontario just a year after a major health scare.

 

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz on the unique journey for Brent Burns that culminated in his Norris Trophy finalist honor this week.

 

*Spector has the roundup of rumors including plenty of speculation on Kevin Shattenkirk once the Blues are done in the playoffs.

 

*For something completely different: a couple of reporters actually got into an actual fight at the White House Correspondent’s after-party. It sounds like they both kind of deserved a punch in the face, to be honest.

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for second time

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Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for second time

Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.

Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”

The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

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Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.

Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.

This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.

The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.