Count on the Bruins bouncing-back in Game 2

By Mark Marino

If there’s one thing you can bank on is a Boston bounce-back performance in Game 2 tomorrow night in Vancouver.

It’s not that the Bruins played poorly in Game 1 Wednesday night, no-no-no. They out-played the Canucks in vurtually every category. The B’s out-hit Vancouver 31-30, outshot them 36-34, blocked 19 shots to the Canucks’ 12, and won 36-of-64 face-offs (56%).

So a bad game? Negative.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about these B’s this post season is their resiliency and ability to overcome defeat in the following contest. One player in particular is the team’s Conn Smythe frontrunner, goaltender Tim Thomas.

Rewind seven weeks to the start of the 2010-11 NHL playoffs (which has flown by) and the Black and Gold quickly fell into a 2-0 hole to the Montreal Canadiens — losing 2-0 and 3-1 in Games 1 & 2, respectively.

After allowing five goals on 46 shots in the first two games against the Habs, Thomas rebounded with three-straight victories — facing 119 shots and allowing seven goals-against for a .941 save-percentage. The B’s took four of the next five, outscored the Canadiens 16-12, and moved on to Round 2.
What was thought to be their fiercest foes of the post season, Thomas was on-point against the Flyers while being barraged with 149 shots-against — including 52-of-54, stealing Game 2 — while allowing just six to cross the goal-line. No. 30 posted a whopping a .960 save-percentage in the four-game series-sweep, while the offense in front of him lit the lamp 20 times in those four games.
“Obviously you never want to be down in the series,” said the Vezina Trophy finalist yesterday. “We know we can bounce back. We came out on the winning side in both those series [Montreal, Tampa Bay]. We have to stay positive and confident that we can do it. At the same time we have to find a way, like I said, of getting back in the series.
“I think it’s important for us to get this next win,” Thomas added. “The most successful trip would have been if we were up 2-0 leaving Vancouver. That’s not a possibility now, so we just have to deal with the reality of that and get ready to find some way to win on Saturday.”

Thomas has been the most active goalie this post season. He has faced a total 639 shots-against (33.6 per game) — and considering he is just one of a handful of goaltenders not to get pulled from a playoff game (even as far back as teams in the first round. Roloson was the other until Game 2 vs. Boston) he has played over two periods more of on-ice hockey than the next netminder — Roberto Luongo.

One player on the team who knows how to bounce-back is center Patrice Bergeron.

Out of the lineup for Games 1 & 2 last series after sustaining a mild concussion, the 25-year-old has jumped back into game-action without missing a beat.

“I think we’ve showed throughout the season and during these playoffs,” said Bergeron on the team’s character and no-quit attitude. “We really want to win. To do that, if you have setbacks, you have to bounce back. That’s what we’ve been doing.”

“We know how important that loss becomes,” head coach Claude Julien said the other day of the Game 1 defeat. “But right now what’s more important is not [yesterdsay’s] loss but how we’re going to react to it on Saturday.”

Conn Smythe sleeper finalist for the Bruins is defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. With nearly 540 minutes of ice time, Seidenberg is far-and-away the NHL leader — as his 59 blocked shots. The 6-foot-1 Germany native also ranks third among all NHL defensemen this post season in shots on goal (48) and sixth with 43 hits through 19 games.

“I think every game you start, you want to have a good start, you want to come out flying, you want to get momentum,” he said. “It’s not going to change again tomorrow. In the past we’ve given up a few early goals. But we always seem to recover quick, come back from those early deficits.”


Posted on June 3, 2011, in Boston Bruins, NHL Playoffs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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