Bruins Focusing on Game 4, Nothing Else
NEW YORK, NY - Up 3-0, the Bruins can close out the series tonight against the Rangers in New York at Madison Square Garden.
They could draw on the experience of having been up 3-1 in their first round series against Toronto, only to see the Maple Leafs surge back to tie the series and nearly take Game Seven from the Bruins.
They could draw on the experience - for a good number of the Bruins - of having been up 3-0 over Philadelphia in 2010, only to see that series squandered away.
They could also draw on the experience of having swept the Flyers a year later, in 2011, en route to the Stanley Cup.
But, really, the Bruins are just focusing on this one game, tonight, and making sure it ends with a win.
"We were up 3-1 and we barely won that series," said center Chris Kelly, when asked prior to Game Four, if they could look to that series as a reason to get it closed out tonight. "We're in a good situation here, but it can quickly change, we know that. We're focusing on this game."
"The fourth one, I'm sure you've heard it before, is the hardest one to win. There's a reason for that. Teams are ready to play for their lives and play their hardest."
The first round series is in the past for the B's, and so is 2010.
"The biggest thing that keeps coming up is that Philadelphia series from three years ago," Coach Julien said on Tuesday night following the Game Three win, on closing out the series.
"We can talk about it all we want, but that's in the past. Situations and circumstances, we had a lot of injuries. We had to live with that, and we still have to live with that, but the Toronto series, as I mentioned, I didn't think our team was in the zone as it is right now."
"I anticipate, knowing my team, that we're going to come out the same way next game and certainly not be the Jekyll & Hyde team that we talked about in the first round."
It's difficult to ignore how similar this year's playoffs have been to 2011, in terms of how the first and second round series are playing out, but it's even tougher to try and compare the two, with different teams, players and circumstances.
"It's kind of too early to talk like that," Daniel Paille said before Game Four, on any comparison to 2011. "We're still in the second round here, trying to finish it. I'm more focused on trying to get that win tonight than what we've done in the past."
"I don't think we focus too much on sweeping; we focus more on today. Obviously, it's great to look at on paper, but there's a lot of effort that takes into that. Everyone is going to come with a positive attitude and we want to continue that."
Now that we've covered all of those past experiences, what about the first three games of this series, in which the Bruins have strung together three games with full 60-minute (and change) efforts?
"I thought our three games have gone well. We've been consistent throughout the course of the game," said Kelly. "I'm sure there's aspects of each game where we could be a little bit better, but on a whole our team is playing well, but that's kind of in the past."
"It's how we show up tonight."
"We haven't accomplished anything," he added, when speaking to media pregame. "We haven't done anything. We've put ourselves in a better situation than we were the game before, but that's all it is."
If the Bruins aren't focusing on the past, is any part of them thinking about the future, and the possible rest they could get with a sweep?
"Not really," said defenseman Adam McQuaid. "We're aware, obviously, of that, but our focus is on playing tonight and making sure we have our best effort."
"Obviously the mindset every day is we want to win. That's obviously our goal. But we know it's going to be the hardest win. We're going to have to have our best effort if we want to get that."
"We're here to win a hockey game tonight," said Coach Julien.
"We're going to do whatever it takes."