- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins know they’re facing a hockey team with its back against the wall in Monday night’s Game 6.
“There’s one team that’s desperate tonight, and rightfully so,” said coach Claude Julien, whose Bruins are up 3-2 on the Canadiens. “There’s a team, on the other side, that has to be just as desperate because you don’t want a Game 7. That’s my approach. You’ve got to play your best game of the series to win and close out any series, because you’re going to get the best of the other team.”
Julien doesn’t want a Game 7 on Wednesday in Boston, but history is not on his side: The Bruins are 0-4 on the road in Game 6 closeout situations.
Here’s what to watch for Monday night at the Bell Centre.
A MOTIVATED KREJCI: Bruins top-line center David Krejci is normally a cliché machine when answering questions, but Monday morning he was genuine when asked about his playoff goal-scoring drought. He stated that he “owed it to his teammates” to score goals and he plans on accomplishing that Monday night. In 10 playoff games this spring, he has no goals and just three assists. He hasn’t played poorly, but the point production has been non-existent. That will change in Game 6.
GOALTENDING: The Canadiens’ Carey Price was dominant at the start of the series, and Tuukka Rask was just OK. That shifted in Game 5 as Rask and the Bruins finally played their style of game and dominated. Rask needs to continue that in Game 6.
THIRD LINE: When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, the team’s third line of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder dominated during the playoffs. Their success allowed Julien to roll four lines. This spring it’s much of the same. While Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson have been mainstays, there have been a couple of different wingers on the left side. Either way, that line has been productive. Currently, Matt Fraser is playing with Soderberg and Eriksson. In the two games Fraser has played since being called up from Providence, he’s scored a game-winning goal in overtime of Game 4 and had an assist in Game 5.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Because Game 6 is an elimination game, emotions will be high and there could be plenty of penalties called. The Bruins need to remain disciplined because Montreal’s power play has been effective in this series.