Notes: Bruins turn around their overtime luck

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Notes: Bruins turn around their overtime luck

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA The Bruins were an horrendous overtime and shootout team during the regular season, but its amazing what happens in the playoffs when the extra session moves from four-on-four to five-on-five play.

The Bruins have now won four overtime games during their current playoff run, and are showing the kind of mettle, poise and willingness to win that many accused them of lacking after last years postseason collapse to the Flyers.

The overtime game-winner by Michael Ryder kicked things off at the Bell Centre in Game 4 of the first round, and Nathan Horton scored the other two OT game-winners against the Habs. Then, on Monday night against the Flyers, it was David Krejcis turn with a one-timer from the high slot off a Horton pass a play that means Horton, the playoff newbie, now has had a hand in three of Bostons four OT winners during the postseason.

The Bs were 0-5 in games decided in the overtime session during the regular season, and were 1-6 in shootouts during the season, with rookie Tyler Seguin as their only legitimate shootout weapon. But their 4-0 overtime record thus far in the playoffs is building a growing belief that the Black and Gold will simply find a way to win when they get to that point.

When you get the first couple of overtime wins, it helps, said Mark Recchi. We know what to do and we know how to play . . .

Were in our little bubble right now and thats where our focus is. Whatever is going on on the outside is stuff were not paying attention to. We all believe in each other and we all trust in each other, and weve worked really hard to get to this point. Weve worked at hard at believing and trusting each other and weve been rewarded because of it. A lot of people doubted we could come back from being down 2-0 to Montreal, but we always believed that we could. And we did it.

One of the biggest reasons for the overtime dominance, aside from Bostons real strength playing five-on-five: the goaltending from Tim Thomas.

Were obviously resilient. In a win like tonight we were outplayed in the latter portion of the game, said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. We looked tired, but all of the guys focused when they were tired. Four overtime wins isnt an accident. I know theres some luck involved, but theres also a lot of poise and composure.

Thomas is a perfect 8-0-0 against the Flyers in Philadelphia and now holds a 12-2-2 career mark against the Broad Street Bullies.

The Flyers hadn't lost a Game 2 at home since 2001-02, when they were beaten by Ottawa.

Patrice Bergeron notched an assist on Brad Marchand's first-period goal with a great individual shift that included physically overpowering Scott Hartnell for a loose puck in front of the Boston net and then starting the break, eventually leading to Marchand's score. The assist leaves Bergeron with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in nine playoff games this season, and a legit chance at a Conn Smythe level award if he and the Bruins can continue their postseason roll.

After Monday night's loss, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was doing everything he could to take pressure off his team, which is sitting in an 0-2 hole and facing two games at TD Garden. The Philly coach said the pressure is squarely on the Bruins heading into their home games, and he all but guaranteed a Philadelphia victory in Game 3.

"I think we're going to go into Boston, we're going to play a strong hockey game and we're going to win the game, said Laviolette, a Massachusetts native who is a former Bruins assistant and one-time head coach of the Providence Bruins.

The Flyers made their fifth in-game goaltending change in nine playoff games, though this one was due to injury. Laviolette pulled Brian Boucher when it appeared hed hurt his right hand on a Johnny Boychuk shot. But Boucher returned to action despite Sergei Bobrovskys solid play in the second period.

Being a relief goaltender certainly has a bit more activity to it when youre cashing NHL checks with a team like the Flyers.

The juiced-up Philly crowd was into the game from the opening puck drop, and got whipped up into a patriotic frenzy with the pregame rendition of "God Bless America," live by Lauren Hart sung in tandem with a video of the late Kate Smith. Flyers fans were decked out in orange T-shirts and chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" after lineups were introduced.

The chanting and reverence continued after Hart had completed her nightly song, displaying the national pride that swelled after news that Osama bin Laden had been killed on Sunday.

The Flyers' James Van Riemsdyk, an American native, finished with a pair of goals along with a couple of very near misses and said that the backdrop of a spirited, patriotic crowd was everything he could have hoped for.

"That was pretty cool, as an American," van Riemsdyk said. "And the fans are pretty passionate about sports and our country. That was pretty cool to be a part of."

The Flyers set a team record for shots in a period in a home playoff game with 22 in the third. The overall record is 28 set in 1997 against Pittsburgh.

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

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.