MONTREAL - In the visiting team locker room at the Bell Centre, surrounded by reporters and cameras, Tuukka Rask had a message for the Boston faithful.
"Just be ready to cheer us on, and we'll get it done," he said.
They were parting words that satisfied the crowd of media around him, who all dispersed to the next Bruin nearby who echoed the same sentiment.
The Black & Gold had just dropped a 4-0 loss to Montreal in Game 6, an end result that forced a Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday night.
From Bruin to Bruin throughout the room, they all methodically and calmly answers the questions posed.
One might have expected a frustrated group, after giving up a 1-0 lead just 2:11 into the game when a puck was mishandled on a breakout and ended up in behind Rask.
Or after having nearly two straight minutes of offensive zone time in the second period when it was still only a one-goal game.
Or after a bouncing, rolling puck somehow ended up going off Loui Eriksson's glove, up over Dougie Hamilton, and onto Max Pacioretty's stick for a partial breakaway goal that came right after that hard work to sustain time in the zone.
Or after Rask made the initial save fighting off a point shot on the Habs' power play, to only see the ensuing scramble in front of him turn into a 3-0 lead late in the second period.
The Bruins had their chances. Lucic misfired off a two-on-one with Krejci in the opening minute, and then saw another opportunity go right through the crease. Eriksson hit a crossbar, Brad Marchand's chance went over the crossbar, Patrice Bergeron's tip went just high.
With 8:55 left in third, it even looked like the Bruins made it a two-goal game, when Zdeno Chara's drive popped up and over Price, and danced on the goal line before David Desharnais somehow gloved it out of danger. "The call on the ice stands - no goal."
The 4-0 dagger came when Rask started to skate off for an extra attacker, but a Bruins' turnover saw the Habs score the empty-netter before he could even make it to the bench.
"I didn't like the way they got their goals tonight, and we could have been better in regards to that," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
"From our end, we had some more lines going tonight than we had all series, had some more zone time and had some chances, but again, if you hit posts, hit open nets, you've got to bury those chances and tonight they came back to haunt us."
So, yes, the Bruins could have been frustrated and lamenting the loss. You could see the disappointment in their faces, but you could also tell that as a group, they had already decided to put this one in the past.
What good would it do to focus on the negatives? They know what they need to do in Game 7 - get the exactly opposite outcome that they got on Monday night.
"I mean, it’s the playoff mentality - it's about always the next game," said Patrice Bergeron. "And you have to make sure that’s all you can worry about."
"It’s about finishing the job, and we've got to be a lot better."
"We had a lot of zone time and chances around the net and even shots from the point, tip-in and stuff like that, and you know, we've got to bear down and finish the job."
"We’re not frustrated with what happened here," said Milan Lucic. "We were able to establish some pretty good zone time, and like I said, not more to talk about than looking forward to a Game 7."
"We kept pushing. We tried to get ourselves back in it, but like I said, there’s nothing more to talk about than to look forward to Game 7, and that’s where our focus is."
As back-and-forth as this series has been, the Bruins haven't made it easy on themselves, with turnovers, allowing breakaways, and not cashing in on prime opportunities.
"It's a matter of you've got to find a way to finish, simple as that," said Julien. "Whether it's a little bit of puck luck, whether it's us not burying our chances and having to bear down, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, you've got to find a way."
But why dwell on that now?
"You just have to realize the fact of what happens. At the end of the day, we thought we played a pretty solid game and gave them some gifts, and that’s it," said Rask. "You've just got to clean it up and move on."
"You know, we can talk about their game, our game. Let’s put everything in the past and just focus on Game 7," said Krejci.
"Yeah, we had some chances out there didn’t go in for us but you know, we’re going to stay positive in here. We’re going to believe in ourselves, and we've got a job to do in two days and we’re going to have to win."
The Bruins fought for home-ice advantage all season long, and they'll be embracing that come Wednesday night at TD Garden.
"Go home, and get the job done," said Bergeron. "We have to — it’s about using [the fans] to our advantage in Game 7. That’s why you work for the home ice. You've got to go home and be ready."
For the core of the team, they'll be playing their fifth Game 7 in their last nine series. It marks the 10th in the last 17 series. Lucic has been part of all of them.
"We’re confident. We’ve been a confident group all year long," said Lucic. "We’ve played well in big games and this is the biggest one so far throughout this year, so we better bring our best when we need it the most, and that’s the most important thing."
"Yeah, we’ve been here before many times, against Montreal as well," said Krejci. "So just go out there, leave your heart out."
"You've got to play best game of the season, and have no regrets."
Now that the focus is officially shifted to Game 7, what does Julien expect?
"I expect us to win."
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