The Boston Bruins had an optional skate on Friday afternoon at TD Garden after winning in dramatic fashion Thursday night in Montreal off the stick of Matt Fraser who was called up in the wee hours Thursday morning. The mood of the dressing room was animated in a good way and why wouldn’t it be? The Bruins tied the series at two and have two out of the next three games at home for a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins series.
Although the B’s have yet to play a full 60 minutes, they are grinding away as we saw last night at the Bell Centre. They’ve hit posts, cross bars and missed open nets, but it hasn’t stopped them from sticking to their system and game plan. The Black and Gold will play a pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden Saturday night.
The winner of Game 5 will have all the momentum heading into Game 6 Monday night where either team has a chance to close out the series. B’s enforcer Shawn Thornton knows how important it was to come back to Boston tied 2-2 instead of down 3-1, but lightened the mood with his response to the question.
“Simple mathematics I guess,” Thornton said with a laugh. “No, it’s a lot better. It’s one game at a time either way, but we’d rather be in this position then down 3-1 for sure.”
Notable players that did not participate in practice included: Patrice Bergeron, Jarome Iginla, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara, but it was simply for rest because Gregory Campbell – like his teammates – knows how important this next game is tomorrow at TD Garden.
“It’s a little more positive I guess being tied 2-2 rather than down 3-1, but having said that, our mentality has to stay the same,” Campbell said. “As far as taking it one game at a time, the good thing is tomorrow night’s game is at home so hopefully it will give us a boost of energy that we need, but like I said it’s the series it is-it’s back and forth and we expect another close game tomorrow.”
It’s amazing that the series is tied at 2-2 while the Black and Gold have only led for 12 minutes through the first four games where Game 1 went into double overtime and Game 4 went into a single overtime.
Head coach Claude Julien is happy with the way his team is playing, but understands they can be better from what he’s seen over the course of this season.
“Well we’ve been better and I think there is no doubt,” Julien said at his Monday afternoon presser. “I don’t think our team is playing badly at all. I just know that our team is still capable of playing a little bit better than what we have shown so far. But, that is not even close to say that we are not playing well, we are playing well. We just, I think, there is still some potential in our team to play even better.”
There would be no other time to start playing better than now as the B’s will host Game 5 and Game 7 if need be.
The Bruins are lucky to be in the position they are in after trailing by multiple goals in the first three games of this series. Sure, they’ve had some bad luck with capitalizing on scoring chances, but they forbid to make any excuses.
Come Saturday night, Julien and company hope to take control of the series in front of a sellout crowd at TD Garden.