Sunday, June 5, 2011
Cup finals: B's lineup switch burned quickly
By Scott Burnside
The Bruins started overtime with a bit of a strange lineup as Zdeno Chara lined up along the blue line with Andrew Ference. Chara plays most of the time with Dennis Seidenberg, but coach Claude Julien said he mixed up the pairings because he didn't know who the Canucks were going to start.
Center Patrice Bergeron won the drawback to Ference, whose pass through the neutral zone went past Mark Recchi and was sent back the other way by Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler. Ference was caught at the Boston blue line as Alex Burrows burst around him, and Chara could not get back in time to prevent Burrows from circling the net and slipping the puck home with netminder Tim Thomas sprawled on the far side of the net.
Still, not about to criticize Julien, who coached his brains out in Game 2, routinely juggling his lines trying to get his slumbering offense going. He spelled Recchi for a time from his usual place alongside Bergeron and Brad Marchand. For a few shifts, he had Chara playing alongside Adam McQuaid and Seidenberg with McQuaid's usual partner Tomas Kaberle.
Thomas ready to return homeWe guess Thomas hasn't enjoyed his first-ever Stanley Cup finals experience. The Boston netminder seemed to think there was too much non-hockey stuff to deal with in Vancouver, where the Bruins have been since Monday.
"Routine's all out of whack from the whole Stanley Cup experience and being on the road," Thomas said.
"Other than the travel, it will be nice to be focusing more on hockey, rather than what time you got to be here and what time you've got to be there and what time's the bus leaving and it never leaves on time and stuff like that."
As for Thomas' penchant for coming far out of his crease to challenge shooters -- he seemed to lunge at Burrows as the Vancouver winger charged down the left side then circled the net to score the winner -- Julien said he wasn't about to start giving advice to his Vezina Trophy-nominated goaltender at this stage of the proceedings.
"Well, I think at the stage we're at right now, if I ask him to change his style, I'm not sure that's real good advice," Julien said.
Bruins players likewise supported Thomas' play.
"I think Timmy played great again tonight," Bergeron said. "He made some great saves on backdoor plays. That's just him. We need to do a better job in front of him."
Special-teams switch pays offAmazing, really, that the Bruins are down 2-0 in this final series and they've managed to saw off the Canucks on the special-teams front.
After both teams went 0-for-6 with the man advantage in the first game, both teams got a power-play goal in Game 2.
One noticeable difference for the much-maligned Bruins' power play was that Chara did not spend all of his power-play time in front of Roberto Luongo.
In fact, it was Milan Lucic parked in front of the net who banged home a rebound for the Bruins' first goal of the series.
"It's a lot of different things," Julien said." I think Zdeno has a lot of ice time. When you play a lot, certainly don't want him in front all the time. It's a very taxing position to be in.
"We thought that Lucic was bringing a pretty good physical presence tonight. He was capable of doing the job there for him. As I mentioned today, I said you're going to see [Chara] there at times, but it doesn't mean you're going to see him there all the time. Lucic did a great job and got ourselves a goal out of it."