Bruins Set to Play with Edge, Urgency for Game 6 in Montreal
MONTREAL - The Bruins will be playing their final game at the Bell Centre this postseason, when the puck drops on Game 6 Monday night.
It's up to them whether they'll have happy travels back to Boston, or have to prepare for a Game 7.
With two straight wins - a 1-0 overtime win at the Bell Centre in Game 4 and a 4-2 commanding victory at TD Garden in Game 5 - the Bruins have set themselves up with a 3-2 series lead.
The majority of those in the Spoked-B have been in this situation before. Back in 2011, they led Montreal three games to two, with the opportunity to close out the series at the Bell Centre. Their effort fell short, and they needed overtime in Game 7 to continue on.
Does Head Coach Claude Julien remember that Game 6, three years ago?
"I don't. Short-term memory," he responded, bringing out laughs from reporters gathered at the Bell Centre for the Bruins' pregame skate on Monday morning.
What the Black & Gold learned that year, is nothing new from what they've learned throughout all of their playoff series.
"I think going through this in the past, you just realize that a team’s not going to give up," Daniel Paille said following the team's skate. "And I don’t think back then we thought far ahead, but this group right now — I know we’re definitely focused on tonight and that’s the most important thing."
The Canadiens will certainly come out strong, playing with the backing of their home crowd.
We've heard the Bruins say it before every game here: they must have a strong start, and take that X factor out of it. They have to find a way to make that happen.
"I was watching the games yesterday, and it’s 19-1 now with the second-round first goal scorers," said Dougie Hamilton, when asked about a strong start. "So obviously it’s important."
"We understand they use their crowd to their advantage here," said Torey Krug. "They come out very fast and when you can handle that, it bodes well for your team. So we’re just going to come in, make sure we focus on the first 10 minutes and after that, we’ll see what happens."
A sharp start from Tuukka Rask would help as well, along with a strong defensive effort in front of him. Rask has allowed just three goals in the past two games, as the Bruins have also been better at eliminating the breakaways that plagued them early in the series.
Their 4-2 win in Game 5 was the first game where they looked in control this series. But they'll need an even stronger effort to best the desperate Habs fighting for their playoff lives.
"You've got to play your best game," said Julien. "I keep saying that — you've got to play your best game of the series to close out any series, because you’re going to get the best of the other team."
Urgency vs. Desperation
The word "desperate" can be thrown around quite often.
On Monday night, the Canadiens will be desperate - a loss would eliminate any hope. The Bruins, on the other hand, will be "urgent," if we take a nod from the Gregory Campbell dictionary.
"Desperation, urgency, it's a little different," Campbell has said. "Desperation is kind of panicking a little bit. I think urgency is maybe a better term."
Having urgency means being persistent, and reacting earnestly in a pressing situation. The Bruins don't want a Game 7. They feel the pressure of not wanting to let that happen, but they must still play with the composure that has put them in this situation.
"It’s a big thing that we talk about, is playing with that urgency to make sure we have that edge in our game, whether it’s physically or mentally," said Krug. "We want to make sure that we're still on top of things, and we don’t let them slip away."
"Yeah, just go out there and play with emotions, play on the edge," said David Krejci. "When we’ve done it in the past, we’ve been successful. So just don’t take stupid penalties, stay disciplined, but play on the edge. That’s how we have to play."
Playing with Edge
What exactly does it mean to play on the edge?
Krejci noted emotions. That 'edge' is about playing physical, winning the battles all over the ice, and doing whatever it takes.
"Everybody talks about the big Bruins — well, I think since we're big, we might as well win battles, right? That’s the bottom line," said Julien.
"We’re not talking about our team with electrifying speed. We’re talking about our team as being big, physical, so you've got to win battles. I don’t think that’s a real big secret."
That Bruins raised that part of their play in Game 5. They'll have to find an even higher level to get the win in Game 6.
"From our side of it, I think it’s important that we are physical but it’s also important that we stay out of the box," said Julien. "We’ve seen where the goals are coming from — their power play’s been good in this series. So I think it’s important that we still play within our identity — which is being big, strong, physical — but at that same time, you've got to play between the whistles and try to stay out of the box."