BOSTON, MA - It's time to hit reset on this series, as it has become a best of three, with the Bruins holding home-ice advantage.
Each team has stolen a game in the opponent's arena, but the Black & Gold are hoping to get a boost from their home crowd at TD Garden on Saturday night for Game 5.
"It's back to even, we have home-ice advantage again which is huge, so we just have to take advantage of that," said Reilly Smith, following the team's optional morning skate.
The mentality in the Bruins' room has not surprisingly been more positive since Thursday's 1-0 overtime win that evened the series at 2-2.
"I think win or lose, we feel confident in this room," said Daniel Paille. "Obviously we're feeling good about ourselves…so I don't think anyone is struggling to focus."
"We try to keep pretty easy-going," said Smith. "Even when we were in Montreal, down 2-1. So it's good to come back and have home-ice advantage again, that's huge, we've just got to take care of business tonight, and work from that."
Jumping out to a lead at home would help that cause. With the last game scoreless until Matt Fraser's overtime-winner at 1:19 into extra time, the Bruins still have only led in the series for about 11 and a half minutes. A strong start, with a strong forecheck and sustained pressure, would get the Bruins going at the right pace early on.
BOSTON, MA - The series is tied at two games a piece, instead of the Bruins in a three games to one hole.
From the realm of Captain Obvious, that's a big difference.
"Simple mathematics, I guess. It's a lot better," Shawn Thornton said on Friday afternoon from the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden.
He, along with a dozen teammates, had hit the ice for an optional skate following their 1-0 overtime win in Montreal Thursday night. Most of the Bruins stayed off to rest.
"It's one game at a time either way, but we'd definitely rather be put in this position than down 3-1, for sure," acknowledged Thornton.
"That's a huge difference," said Torey Krug. "I think just understanding that situation, and I've said it time and time again, there isn't a situation that this room hasn't faced before, so I think it's a great challenge."
"It turns into a best of three and we have home ice advantage, and we want to make sure we take advantage of that."
Game 5 is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday evening at TD Garden.
"It's a little bit more positive, I guess, being tied 2-2, rather than down 3-1, but having said that, our mentality has to stay the same, as far as taking it one game at at a time," said Gregory Campbell.
MONTREAL - There was Matt Fraser, proudly wrapped in the Bruins' Player of the Game Jacket, with the tan leather sleeves, and black felt-like varsity jacket with the old school Spoked-B patch over his heart.
He had just made the media rounds on NBCSN and CBC and had made his way to an area outside the Bruins' visiting team locker room at the Bell Centre. The locker room would not fit the amount of reporters and cameras that would be packed into this media scrum.
These were postgame rounds fit for an overtime hero.
At 1:19 into extra time at the Bell Centre on Thursday night, Fraser forced a loose puck in behind Carey Price to give the Bruins the 1-0 victory and even the series with the Habs at 2-2. It was his first NHL playoff goal in his first NHL playoff game. The Bruins were headed back to Boston a happy bunch, and Fraser likely smiling the whole way.
"As you can tell in my voice, it’s pretty exciting," laughed Fraser, through a shaky, adrenaline-pumping, emotion-filled voice. "You know, I hardly slept today, and I’m sure I’ll hardly sleep tonight."
"I can’t put it into words," said Fraser. "The excitement — again, I’m still shaking with excitement, and again, it’s every kid’s dream to score an overtime goal like that and to contribute."
MONTREAL - There's a chance that Matt Fraser could make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, as the Bruins look to even the series in Game 4.
For the 23-year-old winger, called up from the Providence Bruins, he's just appreciating that chance.
"I don’t know if words can really explain it. I think as a kid you play for the Stanley Cup a thousand times on the street and at the outdoor rink and stuff, but not in this environment," said Fraser, after taking part in morning skate with the Bruins at the Bell Centre.
"It's exciting obviously, for sure. And I’m not trying to downplay that at all, but at the same time, once you get out there, you've got to find your groove and just play your game."
Fraser got 'the call' from Assistant Manager Don Sweeney Wednesday afternoon during lunch, packed his bags, and caught a flight to Montreal.
His P-Bruins teammates were set to practice this morning and catch a bus to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to start their second round Calder Cup Playoffs series against the Penguins on Friday night. Fraser helped them get there, with three goals and five points, as Providence defeated Springfield three games to two in Round 1.
MONTREAL, QC - On Thursday morning, with the Bruins focused on evening the series against Montreal, Head Coach Claude Julien decided to switch up his lines for pregame skate.
It was, well, mostly to give reporters something to write about, according to the bench boss.
When the team filtered onto the ice at the Bell Centre, the team's rushes look like this:
Carl Soderberg was not on the ice for skate, and Julien said the center "took his option" and would be available Thursday night for Game 4.
BROSSARD, QC - After falling down 2-1 in the series on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Bruins used Wednesday to regroup.
Most of them didn't hit the ice, with only eight Bruins skating at the Canadiens' practice facility outside the city in Brossard. Included in that group was the 'Merlot Line' with Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron.
For Thornton, his "midnight rule" was in full effect - lament the 4-2 loss until heading to bed, and then turn the page the next day.
"Yeah, we just came to the rink today, got a little sweat, guys getting their rest, and I’m sure we’ll have some video and then just focus on tomorrow," said Thornton.
As the Bruins skated, Head Coach Claude Julien spoke with reporters gathered at the practice rink.
What's the sense he gets from his group right now?
"Well I think it's pretty obvious. You know, we're a group that's confident but we also have guys that right now are a little frustrated at themselves, and they know they have to be better, and they're going to be better tomorrow - and that's the confidence we have in our group," said Julien.
"That's the way we've been in the past and you've got to rely on those guys to come up tomorrow and play the kind of game that they can. It's a 2-1 series, it's not the end of the world here. We've just got to battle back."
MONTREAL - Shawn Thornton has a rule, win or lose.
"I've said it a million times. We'll think about this till midnight," Thornton said, as he stood in front of his stall in the Bruins' visiting team locker room at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
It was roughly 10:10 p.m., so the forward had just under two hours to lament his team's 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3.
"We'll go over some things tomorrow and then we'll get ready for Thursday's game," he continued.
But first, the lamenting.
On Tuesday night, the Bruins found themselves in at least a two-goal hole for the third straight game.
In Game 1, they fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to double overtime, ultimately falling 4-3. In Game 2, they were in a 3-1 hole early in the third, and stormed back to win 5-3.
In Game 3, they found themselves down 2-0 after the first, and trailing 3-0 past the midpoint of the second period in the eventual 4-2 defeat.
MONTREAL - With two days off between games, the Bruins and Canadiens have rested and regrouped, as the teams get set to face off in Game 3 on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
With the series tied at 1-1, and the importance of the go-ahead game tonight is not lost on the Black & Gold.
They've had to play catch-up hockey the past two games, and they know that will be much tougher to do without the momentum-building spark from their home crowd.
The Bruins can draw positives from their third period efforts, though, having scored seven goals in the final frame through the first two games.
"Obviously, try to build up from what we did in that third period and try to bring that to tonight’s game for a full 60 minutes," Patrice Bergeron said pregame from the Bell Centre, of the team's mindset heading into Game 3.
"They’re a great team and we can’t just play for bits and pieces in games."
BostonBruins.com - It's the playoffs, and players throw their weight around. They crash and bang, and battle for every inch. They get emotional, and fired up.
We don't see as many fights as we do during the regular season, but we still see a physical Bruins squad.
"It’s been good for us to be able to keep playing physical," said Dougie Hamilton.
"Just as long as we keeping playing physical and keep hitting, I think it’s still the same Bruin way."
Naturally, that will sometimes gets the best of them.
The Bruins have taken 13 penalties through the first two games of their second round series against Montreal. Four of them have been matching minors, and the Canadiens have taken advantage of their nine power plays, scoring four times.
P.K. Subban has factored into all four goals. His lethal point shot led to both the first goal of Game 1 and the double-overtime winner.
What can the Bruins do to slow down Subban and the Habs' power play?
BOSTON, MA - After a day off on Sunday following their come-from-behind win in Game 2, the Bruins were back on the ice at TD Garden Monday for a full practice before jetting off to Montreal for the ensuing two games. Games 3 and 4 are set for Tuesday and Thursday.
From the confines of home, the Black & Gold will be bringing their confidence from the comeback victory with them to the hostile Bell Centre.
For many, it's a difficult place to play, with 21,000-plus fans showering their Habs with praise, and their opponent with boos.
"Being tied 1-1, we're definitely a confident group going in there, but it's going to be a different challenge going into Montreal, playing in the atmosphere there and the intensity that the crowd will bring," Daniel Paille said following Monday's practice at TD Garden.
For the Bruins, though, it's nothing too different than what they've experienced before. It's the playoffs, and every building is loud. It's about embracing that, whether at home, or on the road.
"I mean, that's how you get into the game. Our crowd is just as loud when we get going, and we just feed off of it," said Paille. "So as the road team, you just kind of tend to enjoy it and have a good time with it."