BOSTON, MA – Everything starts with defense for the Boston Bruins. That commitment to the defense-first mentality set forth by Head Coach Claude Julien has the B’s two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup.
In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh – the league’s highest scoring team – the Bruins held the high-powered Penguins to just two goals in a four-game sweep. Penguins’ stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Jarome Iginla were all held without a point.
The lockdown defense has carried over to the Stanley Cup Final. In Game One, the Bruins got away from their system, surrendering a pair of two-goal leads in an eventual 4-3 triple overtime loss to the Blackhawks. And in the first period of Game Two they allowed Chicago to outshoot them, 19-4. If it were not for a stellar showing from Tuukka Rask, they may have been down more than just 1-0.
BostonBruins.com – This Boston Bruins team has shown that it is a resilient one all season long. And in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was no different. The B’s came back to win, 2-1, in overtime, a feat that seemed almost impossible when they were outshot 19-4 by the Hawks in the first period.
The Bruins knew they needed a major turn around in order to get themselves back in the series.
“We have a collective group of guys,” said Torey Krug. “The leadership’s amazing in the room. It’s never quiet in there. There is always someone talking and letting you know what’s going on. The overall message was that we got to come out better prepared for the next period and ready to go.”
Now the Bruins will be looking to carry over their momentum into Game Three back at TD Garden tonight. But despite stealing away home-ice advantage from the Hawks, the Bruins aren’t getting too high.
“I don’t think we should be too comfortable, but we should be confident with our game right now,” said Daniel Paille, who potted the winning goal in Game Two. “We know we got a good goaltender helping us out there, and I think we all have faith and trust in our game.”
BOSTON, MA – For the second time in three years, the Boston Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup Final. The B’s tasted the glory of winning the Cup in 2011, and ever since, they have been on a mission to do it again.
“The excitement is there,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien. “You’ve heard people say, ‘Once you’ve been there, you want to go back.’ It’s true, we really want to go back; we made it happen. We’re excited about it and we also know what kind of challenge lies ahead for us. It’s about acknowledging that and being ready for it.”
The challenge before the Black & Gold is the Western Conference champion Chicago Blackhawks, who won the President’s Trophy with the most points during the regular season. The Final pits two of the last three Cup winners against each other (the Blackhawks took home the prize in 2010). And for the first time since 1979 (Montreal vs. New York Rangers), it will be an all Original Six Final. It also marks the first time these two teams have ever met in the Final.
BostonBruins.com – For the second straight series, the Bruins hold a three-games-to-none lead. Last round against the New York Rangers, the B’s dropped Game Four at Madison Square Garden, before finishing off the Blueshirts in Game Five. The B’s don’t want a repeat performance; they want to end things tonight and move on to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years.
“We've been through it with the Rangers, we were up 3-0 and we know how hard that last game was to win,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien during his media availability at TD Garden on Thursday, as his team stayed off the ice to rest following the 2-1 double overtime win that crept into the morning.
“That has to continue to be our belief, and the one thing we do know is we've got to play a better game than we did [Wednesday] night. We might have won the game, but we're certainly not pleased with the way we played. We know they played better but I don't think we did, and we've got to make sure we're at the top of our game [tonight].”
The Black & Gold also had a 3-1 lead against Toronto in the first round and were forced to a seventh game, in which they had to make a historic third period comeback to advance. The B’s hope to use their experiences from both prior series this postseason as they try to close out the Penguins.
BOSTON, MA – With the amount of talent that the Penguins possess, the Bruins are aware that Pittsburgh can break out at any time. But as much as they need to be cognizant of Pittsburgh’s potential for an offensive breakthrough, the Bruins will be focused on their own game tonight and making sure they don’t take a step back when the two teams meet at TD Garden for Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I think our guys are mature enough to understand that whatever we went through, whatever the situation is right now, we have to be a good team in order to win at
this stage of the season,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien, following the team’s pre-game skate this morning.
“We can’t afford to let our guard down, whether it’s the respect for a team you’re playing, and the ability of that team to take advantage of you if you’re not ready, or whether it’s just from within our group to want to be a good team every night.
“That’s what’s important right now, that we stay focused on the present and don’t live in the past, don’t look in the future. I’ve said that before, we’ve been good when we’ve kept our eye on what’s going on right now. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
BostonBruins.com – The Bruins know what it’s like to overcome a two-games-to-none deficit. They also know what it’s like to blow series leads. So it is for that reason that the Black & Gold aren’t ready to write off their Eastern Conference finals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The B’s may have won the first two games of the series by a combined score of 9-1 – both on the road – but they aren’t getting too excited.
“Any time you can come back from a road trip like that, having won both games, it’s encouraging,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien, while speaking to reporters at Hanscom Field after the team arrived back home on Tuesday.
“Our team is really playing good hockey right now, without a doubt the best we’ve had this year. That has to continue to beat these guys. Like I said [Monday] night, we were in the same position as Pittsburgh a few years ago and we worked our way back into it. I think we understand the situation here.
“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here. We need to understand that these next games are crucial for us, just as much as it is for them.”
BostonBruins.com – Claude Julien remembers the teenage Patrice Bergeron. Julien was the Head Coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 2003-04, but even then, he noticed the 18-year-old Bergeron making an impact as a rookie for the Boston Bruins.
Now, all these years later, Julien has a front row seat to witness all that Bergeron brings to the Black & Gold, game in and game out.
“As an 18-year-old, I was extremely impressed with his maturity level as a person, but also as a player on the ice. He really impressed me,” said Julien following B’s practice earlier this week at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
“To me, at the time, this kid came out of nowhere. He just played one year of junior before he got drafted and made that jump. It was pretty impressive. And having the chance to coach him over the years, you can understand why he was what he was. He’s mature beyond his years.”
Throughout his six years at the helm of the Bruins, Julien has seen firsthand how much Bergeron has grown as a player.
The line of Seguin, Kelly and Rich Peverley has had trouble getting on the board during the postseason, combining for just two goals and three assists. But Seguin’s tally in Game Four against the New York Rangers and a strong performance by the entire line in Game Five has everybody feeling much better about the state of the trio heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Julien thinks that Seguin heating up and skating alongside Kelly and Peverley could rekindle some of the magic those two had with goal-scorer Michael Ryder during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup two years ago.
“I think Richard can, offensively, have better numbers-there’s no doubt there-and so can Kells. They’ve shown that in the past,” said the B’s Head Coach, following his team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday morning.
BostonBruins.com – It was just one game. That’s the Bruins’ mentality after their 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Black & Gold are moving on, shifting their focus to closing out the series in Game Five this afternoon at TD Garden.
“We have to,” said David Krejci, the league’s leading scorer in the playoffs, when asked if the team staying positive. “We have to stay the same way if we win or lose. The playoffs are a really short kind of season. You've got to live in the moment and always get ready for the next game, no matter what happened the game before.
“[Today] is another game, it's a new day. We're up 3-1, we have a chance to get another win at home [today]. We're going to try to do everything we can to get a win.”
For the first time in the series it seemed the bounces were going against the Bruins. They were not free of mistakes, but Boston didn't feel they got outworked in Game Four and, by cleaning up that part of their game, feels it is in good position for Game Five.
BostonBruins.com - The last time the Bruins swept a postseason series was during their 2011 Stanley Cup run. They took down the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round that season, just a year after the Flyers completed a historic comeback against Boston.
There is no revenge on the line tonight when the Bruins take on the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but there is motivation for the B’s to end things quickly. It was less than two weeks ago that Toronto surged back, after Boston had held the 3-1 series lead.
They want to put to bed the idea any sort of idea they have trouble closing out series and do not want to return to Boston after the game, unless it is to prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals.
“It would be nice [to close out the series],” said Bruins center David Krejci prior to Game Four. “But we know, we learned that the last one is the hardest in past years and even in the last series. Just got to get ready for [tonight] and play just like it's a Game One.”