Turco comes to the 'end of the line' with Bruins

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Turco comes to the 'end of the line' with Bruins

Marty Turco called Tuesday night's game the end of the line as far as his time with the Bruins goes.

Turco wasnt at his best while giving up five goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night including a pair of goals allowed to Sidney Crosby.

The 36-year-old goalie was clearly disappointed he didnt go out on a winning note, but theres also little denying the veteran jumped in and helped stabilize the team over the last month.

After the loss to the Pens, Turco seemed to be kicking himself just a little bit for opportunities lost.

I think by the end of the night with the chances, the amount of chances, that we had you feel like you deserve to win a hockey game. Those power play goals really ended up costing us . . . with those calls. But theres a lot to be taken from this game, said Turco.

For me, its the end of the line as far as the regular season goes and these guys, you know, they battle to be down twice like that and even though we went down 5-2 in the third, there was no give up in this bunch.

I think thats a huge thing for these guys to build on. Theyve been a tremendous third period team, everyone knows that real well. But to see them pour it on at the end and give us a chance was also a good sign, too. But at the end of the day its disappointing to lose anytime, never mind against a team like that.

Turco finished the season with a 2-2 record along with a 3.28 goals against average and .865 save percentage. None of those numbers scream success, but Turco helped stabilize things and gave Tim Thomas a few games of rest at a key point in the season.

Turco said he still hoped to play hockey after this point and wasnt sure whether hed be with the team during their playoff run but the Bruins were appreciative for the emergency help he provided when Tuukka Rask went down with a groin injury.

The start against the Penguins probably could have gone to Anton Khudobin to get him ready for a potential job backing up Tim Thomas if Rask isnt ready to start the playoffs. But the Bruins wanted to give Turco a chance to start a game in front of the home crowd in Boston before giving Khudobin the start against the Ottawa Senators Thursday night and then sharpening Thomas with the regular season finale against the Buffalo Sabres this weekend.

It was a gesture Turco appreciated.

This building has always been pretty special to me. I have fond memories from the Frozen Four of 98, my first shutout here and anytime you play this group theyre always going to battle. So it was fun coming in here, said Turco. I never started in that end, so I had to rethink that a little bit. But it was special. This is really unique franchise, not just what they did last year.

But being an Original Six team and the tradition that they have and not many teams have this. Their fan base has been unreal over the years and particularly strong this year. To just to feel that energy inside the arena and get a chance to play, period, never mind at home. I do owe a big debt of gratitude. And even though losing, 5-3, I think tomorrow Ill wake up and realize that the majority of it was pretty fun.

Turco has made fast friends with a lot of his teammates, and it was pretty clear the impression he left behind even if hes now retiring the electric yellow Kool-Aid pads for the rest of the season.

It was unfortunate to see Tuukka Rask go down but it gives a chance for Marty to step in and give Timmy Thomas some much-needed rest. Hes obviously a veteran guy that has been around for a long time and a good team guy that has seen a lot, as well, said Milan Lucic. Weve been happy with what hes brought to this hockey team and this organization. He definitely played well for us.

While the numbers werent all that compelling, Turcos ability to come in and spell Thomas during the month of March will be one of the key factors if the soon-to-be 38-year-old Thomas is able to go on another strong playoff run.

Blakely: Game 4 loss shows just how much Celtics miss Isaiah

Blakely: Game 4 loss shows just how much Celtics miss Isaiah

CLEVELAND --  Down the stretch in Game 4, the Celtics were desperate for someone, anyone, who could slow down Kyrie Irving.
 
But short of that, Boston could have used an offensive closer, too. You know, someone like Isaiah Thomas.

GAME 4: CAVS 112, CELTICS 99

 

The Celtics have relied on the two-time All-Star to carry much of the offensive burden this season, but he was almost always at his best in the fourth quarter.
 
A right hip injury knocked him out of this series after 1 1/2 games. Still, Boston managed to win Game 3 without him and, for large chunks of Tuesday night, seemed poised to beat the Cavs again on their home floor.
 
But as much as Game 4 was a reminder of just how special a talent Irving is (42 points, 21 in the third quarter when the game’s momentum swung in Cleveland's favor), it also provided a clue to the clueless who thought the Celtics were actually better without Isaiah Thomas.
 
Defensively?
 
Absolutely.
 
It’s no secret that teams go to great lengths to try and use his 5-foot-9 stature against him. And as we have seen, the deeper we get into the postseason the more trouble he and the Celtics seem to encounter from a defensive standpoint.
 
But just as we praise Irving for being such a special talent, Thomas has shown that he, too, has offensive gifts that, throughout this season, have left many fans, media and defenders befuddled as to how “the little fella” keeps coming up with one big play, one big shot after another.
 
But as we have learned, he has been dealing with a sore right hip injury for several weeks. The pain and discomfort eventually became too much to bear and so the Celtics did the right thing and shut him down.
 
Without him, the C's are still a good team that on any given night can knock off anyone, even the defending champs.
 
But as Game 4 reminded us, they need Thomas in order to be their best.
 
When Irving torched Boston’s entire defense with jumpers, ankle-breaking crossovers, Euro-step lay-ups and free throws, the Celtics had no one to turn to who could maybe, just maybe, go back at Irving at the other end of the floor.
 
That's what Thomas does that makes him such a special, unique talent in this league.
 
He can score in a variety of ways, with the best in the NBA.
 
We saw that this past season, when he led all players in the Eastern Conference in scoring with a 28.9 points-per-game average.
 
Boston’s excellent ball movement and high assist numbers are certainly important to the team’s success. But to make a deep and meaningful playoff run, you need one or two guys who can just go get buckets regardless of what the opponent does defensively.
 
That’s not Avery Bradley.
 
That’s not Al Horford.
 
That’s not Kelly Olynyk.
 
You can search, poke and prod this roster all you want, and you'll come up empty when it comes to finding a player like that . . . other than Isaiah Thomas.
 
The fact the Celtics were able to avoid getting swept is a victory of sorts in itself. Boston’s coaching staff, as well as the front office, has repeatedly said that as talented as their team is, they aren’t on the same level of the defending champion Cavaliers.
 
And yet here we are four games into this series and the Celtics are basically a bad half of basketball away from being tied, 2-2.
 
It says a lot about their mental toughness, their ability to handle and navigate past adversity to give themselves a chance to be competitive against any team -- including the Cavs.
 
But their success this season has always been about the collective group, regardless of how many late-game shots Isaiah Thomas knocks down.
 
And while he has his shortcomings defensively, not having him available is going to hurt them in those late-game moments when they need a closer. It’s not a coincidence the Celtics were just 2-4 when he didn’t play during the regular season.
 
So as cool as it was for them to win Game 3 without Thomas, he’s still the straw that stirs the Celtics emotionally, bringing them to levels few think they're capable of reaching.
 
They were able to get by for one night without him, but remember this: It took Marcus Smart having an Isaiah Thomas-like game of 27 points and seven made 3’s, for them to win.
 
No one did anything remotely close to that Tuesday night.
 
They looked like the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics, which is a look they don’t need this time of year.
 
Because that look is so not about winning.