The word killer instinct has been used around the Bruins a lot lately, especially after the Bruins failed to close out their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Games 5 and 6 after jumping out to a three games to one lead.
For the first two periods of Game 2 it looked like the Bruins would once again lack that killer instinct and have difficulty extending their series lead over the New York Rangers, but thankfully for the Bruins they found the killer instinct they needed in the third period.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to Torey Krug’s second playoff goal in as many games, but the lead wouldn’t last long as Ryan Callahan would tie things up less than three minutes later.
The Bruins would bounce back just 2:24 into the second stanza thanks to some hard work by Gregory Campbell, but once again the Bruins would give it right back, this time 56 seconds later thanks to Rick Nash’s first playoff goal of the season.
Johnny Boychuk’s wrister from the high slot gave the Bruins their third lead of the night, but this time the Bruins killer instinct would kick in, and the Black and Gold would never look back after carrying a 3-2 lead into the third period.
The Bruins extended their lead to two, and then three thanks to third period goals by Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic as the Bruins did a great job putting the Rangers away when they needed to.
“Well you know we talked about it before we went out there in the third period, and we just had to make sure that we played to win” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
“I didn’t want our guys playing on their heels, and you hear me say that a lot. I don’t like our team when we play on our heels and we’re just trying to protect a one goal lead. We’ve got to extend the lead and extend it even more before we even think about protecting it.”
The Bruins had trouble all season long getting that next goal as they were famous in the regular season for blowing third period leads. So obviously getting two in the third was a welcoming sight for Marchand and the Bruins.
“It’s always good to get a couple-goal lead early in the third there” Marchand said.
“The regular season is a completely different game. They always say you can’t turn the switch on in the playoffs, but guys care a lot more in playoff time. They really bear down and try harder in the playoffs. I think that’s just what’s happening right now. Guys are really trying to stay focused on doing their job in the third period” added Marchand.
The Rangers had some big chances in the second and third to tie the game or cut into the Bruins lead and pull some momentum in their favor, but Tuukka Rask did a great job shutting the door on the Rangers.
“Yeah, that’s what you have to do sometimes. We were not at our best in the second period. We gave up a lot of odd man opportunities and a lot of turnovers and stuff” said Rask who made 25 saves in the second and third periods.
Against a team like the Rangers getting that next goal to extend your lead is never easy to do as the Bruins saw early in the game, but thanks to killer instinct in the third period on this night it was indeed easy.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in New York.