2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four

News and notes: Do-or-die time for Bruins

5 Comments

Game 6: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins, 8 p.m. ET (watch on NBC and live online) – Blackhawks lead series, 3-2

Tonight in Game 6 at TD Garden, the Blackhawks will try to win their fifth Stanley Cup title in their 87th NHL season, while the Bruins will try to avoid elimination and force a Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday evening.

Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with four goals this series and is tied for the team lead with David Krejci with nine goals this postseason, will likely be a game-time decision after suffering an undisclosed “body” injury in Game 5. Bergeron left the game after playing only 49 seconds in the second period and was taken to a local hospital for observation. He was released Saturday night and traveled home with the team Sunday morning. If Bergeron is unable to play in Game 6, head coach Claude Julien may have a difficult challenge putting together his forward lines. Carl Soderberg, who made his NHL postseason debut on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Game 5, could be slotted on the second line alongside Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr. Another leading candidate would be Tyler Seguin, who centered the line with Marchand and Jagr when Bergeron missed six games with a concussion in early April.

The Hawks also face a possible injury dilemma. Jonathan Toews, who edged Bergeron for the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward this season, missed the entire third period after absorbing a hard hit to the shoulder region – one of 53 hits registered by the Bruins in Game 5 – by defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the attacking zone. The team is optimistic that Toews’ “upper-body injury” will not force him out of Game 6, but if he is unable to play, former Junior Bruin and Boston College Eagle Ben Smith may be reinserted into the lineup. Smith replaced the injured Marian Hossa in Game 3, but had zero points in 10:23 of ice time.

The Blackhawks, who are 18-4 overall (8-2 on the road) in Games 5-7 under Joel Quenneville since he took over as the head coach during the 2007-08 season, clinched their two most-recent Stanley Cup titles – 1961 and 2010 – on the road. The Bruins, however, have recently been in this situation before in the Cup Final. The B’s were down three-games-to-two to the Canucks in 2011, won Game 6 at home (5-2), then captured the Cup in Vancouver two nights later.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE

  • The Blackhawks have won five straight postseason Game 6s on the road, including a 4-3 defeat of the Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinal series on May 27 (last loss: May 1995 at TOR).
  • The Bruins have won four straight postseason Game 6s at home (last loss: May 1998 vs. WSH).

DID YOU KNOW?

On Jan. 19, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their regular season with a 5-2 defeat of the Los Angeles Kings. With a win tonight or in Game 7, the Hawks could become only the second team since the NHL gained control of the Cup in 1927 to open their season against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, and finish it by raising the Cup themselves. The Detroit Red Wings began their 2007-08 season by defeating the reigning Cup champs, the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2 in a shootout. (It was the Ducks’ third game of the season.)

Note: The 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes began their winning campaign by knocking off the most recent (2004) Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2. However, the title was considered vacant due to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

LINKS

  • Injury to Patrice Bergeron hurts all of hockey [Boston Herald]
  • Bruins radar having trouble locating Blackhawks [National Post]
  • Blackhawks finding an answer for Zdeno Chara [New York Times]
  • Hawks know final victory will be toughest one to get [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • With or without Toews or Bergeron, it’s been an epic series [Globe & Mail]
  • Words take on special meaning at Stanley Cup Final [ESPN]

Bergeron misses Bruins’ morning skate

Patrice Bergeron
7 Comments

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron left Game 5 on Saturday to go to the hospital and while he has since been released, his availability for tonight’s game is in doubt.

Adding to that is the fact that Bergeron wasn’t present for Boston’s Monday morning skate, according to NHL.com writer Dan Rosen. Carl Soderberg has taken his place on a line with Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand.

It’s not clear what Bergeron is dealing with and Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t in the mood to provide information on the subject deep into the Stanley Cup Final.

“He’s day-to-day,” Julien said yesterday. “Isn’t that good enough? Day-to-day. [It’s] a body injury.”

It’s worth noting that Bergeron might still play tonight even after missing this practice.

To use a recent example, Chicago’s Marian Hossa has been skipping practices due to an upper-body injury, but he still played in the Blackhawks’ last two games.

Related:

Playoffs Tonight: Will ‘Hawks win the Cup tonight?

Bruins back in a hole, from which they’ve emerged before

Game 5
42 Comments

The last time the Boston Bruins fell behind 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final, it was no great shock for head coach Claude Julien, a man that had already seen his team fall behind and prevail before.

“We’ve been through this, I don’t know how many times,” Julien said on June 15, 2011, after a 1-0 loss in Vancouver. “We’re not a team that’s done anything the easy way, so in a way, it’s not a surprise we’re here.”

The Bruins, of course, would go on to win Games 6 and 7 to win their first NHL championship since 1972.

Now, two years later, they’re right back where they were, down 3-2 in the Cup final and going back home for Game 6.

And, once again, Julien is happy to give reporters a history lesson.

“It’s do or die,” he said Saturday following a 3-1 loss at the United Center. “We’ve been there before, and we’ve done well in that situation.”

Granted, there are notable differences from 2011.

First, it’s the Blackhawks, with a core of stars that’s shown it can get the job done — not the Canucks, with a core that hasn’t — that the Bruins are trailing.

On top of that, Boston’s best center, Patrice Bergeron, is hurt and questionable for Game 6, and its best defenseman, Zdeno Chara, has been on the ice for eight goals against in the last two games.

But if there’s a team that knows how to pull together when its backs are against the wall, the chips are down, and other assorted clichés, it’s these Boston Bruins. The Canucks learned that in 2011, as did the Montreal Canadiens. Most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had the B’s beaten, only to regret not finishing the job.

“There’s no panic,” said Julien. “You’re not going to push us away that easily. We’re a committed group, and we plan on bouncing back.”

Bruins’ Bergeron banged up in Game 5

bergerontoewsgetty
6 Comments

The Boston Bruins must feel like they’re in a perilous situation in Game 5 on Saturday. It’s bad enough that Patrick Kane has scored two goals to make it 2-0, but now it appears that regular Selke Trophy candidate Patrice Bergeron is banged up.

Bergeron missed some penalty kill shifts and was only able to take a brief 10-second shift after showing signs of injury in the second period.

Head coach Claude Julien was cryptic when asked about the 27-year-old’s status, saying only that the team “will give him some time.”

No doubt about it, Bergeron will be missed if this ends up being serious. As the playoffs have gone on, the hockey world has been clued in to his status as a top two-way player.

We’ll see if that means “limited shifts” or something more serious as the game (and series) progresses. Stay tuned for updates.

Here’s video that shows when he might have gotten hurt:

Update: Bergeron remained in the locker room to begin the third period.

Bruins insert Carl Soderberg for his playoff debut

soderberggetty
3 Comments

The debate is over: Carl Soderberg will take Kaspars Daugavins’ spot in the Boston Bruins lineup for Game 5 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

This marks the 26-year-old Swede’s playoff debut. He hasn’t played for Boston since the regular season finale against Ottawa (on April 28) and only has six NHL contests on his resume. He collected two assists in that time.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports that Soderberg skated with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during warm-ups, making them his likely linemates.