Notes: Horton makes surprise visit after game

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Notes: Horton makes surprise visit after game

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Following Wednesday nights Game 4 win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Bruins were dealt quite the surprise in the dressing room.

Injured forward Nathan Horton who is out for the rest of the series after suffering a concussion in Game 3 gave his team a surprise visit, and presented Rich Peverley with the teams player of the game jacket.

The jacket had been hanging in Hortons locker since he won it in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The team kept it hanging in his stall after Game 3, and they were prepared to keep it hanging there for the rest of the series.

But Horton insisted that Peverleys two-goal performance on Wednesday night was worthy.

No one was expecting to see him tonight, said Peverley. I think everyone was super excited, hes an integral part of this team and, you know, obviously one of the best players the whole playoffs. So you know everyone was really excited to see him.

I was very, very happy to see Nathan up and around in the locker room, said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. I wasnt exactly sure of his status. You know, Id heard that he was okay, but then I heard it was a severe concussion. I didnt know if okay meant hes going to live or . . .

When I personally got to see him in the locker room, you know, I was incredibly happy and it gave me a big boost, said Thomas. He was there to pass the jacket on. We didn't pass the jacket on the last game with him gone. I think the team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of this series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going that we'd started.

The chippy, post-whistle play continued in Game 4, and it reached its boiling point in the final minutes of the third when Thomas slashed Vancouver pest Alex Burrows, who then turned around and exchanged several punches with the Bruins goaltender.

But afterwards, it turned out that Thomas was fed up with the Canucks trying to knock his stick out of his hands, which Burrows tried to do moments before Thomas hacked him in the back of the legs.

They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period also, said Thomas. I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever.

So that's all that was. It was a typical battle.

Thomas finished the game with 38 saves and recorded his fourth career playoff shutout, and third of this postseason.

It's indicative of the way he's had to battle to get here, number one, said coach Claude Julien after the win. Anybody that knows the story of Tim Thomas, he's taken a real bumpy road to get to the NHL. He's had so many obstacles in front of him that he's overcome, it makes him a battler, it makes him the perfect goaltender for our organization because that's what we are, we're a blue-collar team that goes out and works hard and earns every inch of the ice that you can get.

Tim fits well in regards to that. Again, the way he battles, he never quits on any pucks, even to the point where he can let a bad goal in every once in a while or a couple in a game, and you know that when the game is on the line he's going to be standing on his head again because he battles through it.

Brad Machand scored the Bruins third goal of the night, putting a loose puck upstairs to give the Bs a 3-0 lead in the second period. It moved him into the NHLs postseason rookie scoring lead with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. The eight goals tie a Bruins club rookie record for goals in a playoffyear (set by Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and tied by Bobby Joycein 1988).

After sitting Game 3, Tyler Seguin was back in the Bruins lineup in Game 4, recording an assist on Michael Ryders goal that put the Bs up 2-0. He finished the game as a plus-one, but his call to duty came with mixed emotions, as the rookie realized he may have only been back in the lineup because one of their best forwards was injured.

Its a tough situation losing one of your best players and you get a tap on the shoulder, said Seguin. But I was prepared and ready. Anywhere I was playing I wanted to take advantage of it.

I just wanted to seize the opportunity. I wanted to show that I can face adversity and try to overcome it. I thought I was more involved tonight than I had been the first two Vancouver games. One of the most overlooked aspects of the Bruins throughout the Stanley Cup Final has been their fabulously effective work by the penalty kill on a Vancouver Canucks power play that had done major damage during the regular season and the playoffs. The Bs have done a commendable job frustrating the Sedin Twins and Ryan Kesler in all situations, and have held Vancouver to a 1-for-22 on the man advantage in the Cup Finals.That number is actually downright Bruins-ian and illustrated how large a focus has been placed on shutting down Vancouvers special-teams units with speedy, efficient penalty killing combined with warriors like Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara engaging in hand-to-hand combat in front of the net.We obviously tried to play our game and win a lot of the races and battles on the penalty kill, said Zdeno Chara. We did a pretty good job of that in Game Four.
Bruins scored eight goals with No. 8 Cam Neely as their honorary captain for Game Three, and four goals Wednesday night with No. 4 Bobby Orr night serving as the teams honorary captain. No telling who the Bruins might choose to be their honorary captain in a Game Six at TD Garden, but Bruins Nation is petitioning for a higher number.Bruins fans are once again invited to show their support for the team as it departs TD Garden on Thursday morning for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver. The going away party is set to happen at 11 a.m. in the parking lot adjacent to the Garden.Marchand said it wasnt just the Canucks who were paying a physical toll for the way both squads were throwing bodies into each other and playing with the reckless abandon that the Cup Finals is all about. The Bruins are also paying a price, and it will be a battle to see which team eventually wins out.It takes a toll on both teams, said Marchand. It just seems both teams are playing very physical right now, and there are a lot of guys with bumps and bruises that are being worn down. We just want to continue to use our bodies and keep pushing forward, and be willing to sacrifice our bodies. Hopefully it will wear their guys down a little more than us, but well see.Peter Chiarelli confirmed that there was no chance Horton would be traveling with the team to Vancouver on Thursday. The big right winger will continue recuperating at home.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was pulled from Game 4, just 3:39 into the third period, after Peverley scored his second goal of the night to put the Bruins up 4-0.

Luongo made only 20 saves on the night.

It was a tough one, said Luongo. I mean were obviously looking, if you look at the goals it went off something and in.Right now we are obviously not getting the breaks, its just a matter of staying focused.Obviously, we got home-ice advantage for a reason so we got to regroup here, make sure come Game 5 at home that we come out and play the type of game we want to be playing.

I would say they were probably the hungrier team the last two games . . . Usually in this game you make your own breaks.Obviously, we havent had many the last two games. Im sure after the first two games they were complaining they didnt get any breaks, so its playoff hockey, things are going to happen. I think the main thing is that its the way you respond. Obviously right now we are in a situation, were tied at two and heading home so its not time for us to put our head down, its time for us to make sure that we get doing the things they weve been doing that makes us successful.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

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

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.