Tuesday, May 6, 2014
W2W4: Bruins-Canadiens, Game 3
By Joe McDonald
MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins are 14-1 in Game 3s under coach Claude Julien in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and they would like that streak to continue Tuesday night at Bell Centre against the Canadiens. With this second-round series tied at a game apiece, the Bruins will need to have success in a hostile environment.
But they've done it before.
During the regular season, Boston won only one of the four meetings between the teams, and it came 4-1 at Bell Centre on March 12. Plus, the Bruins won in this building twice during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.
They know what to expect.
“I’m sure it’s going to be very similar [to] what we experienced before, very loud, very exciting. It’s always hard to play these kinds of games,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
Here’s what to watch for in Game 3:
BEATING PRICE: Canadiens goalie Carey Price has been outstanding in this series. He has made 78 saves in two games, but the Bruins gave themselves a boost with a dramatic comeback 5-3 win in Game 2. Creating more net-front presence and traffic in front of Price has been a key for them.
After the morning skate, Julien spoke highly of both Price and Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
“I don’t think there are any secrets,” Julien said. “It’s that Carey Price, I had him for several weeks with Team Canada, he’s one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League. I don’t think we’re here talking about weaknesses or things like that. It’s pretty obvious that thanks to him, his team is very good at the moment, he’s been playing some great hockey from the start.”
Rask has been good, too. Despite struggling a bit in Game 1, the Vezina Trophy finalist rebounded with a strong Game 2.
START ME UP: As elementary as it sounds, the Bruins need a strong start in Game 3. Yes, they're very good at staging dramatic comebacks, but getting ahead early will be important to silence the crowd.
“It’s about being better in the first two periods, that’s for sure," Chara said. "It can’t be, like I said after the last game, we can’t be waiting, seeing what’s happening the first half of the game. We’ve got to be ready to play our game from the first drop of the puck.”
Rask has had success staying calm at Bell Centre. His first-period performance on March 12 kept the game scoreless until the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period en route to a 4-1 win.
His team needs to help him and score early on Price.
“Last game it was good to get that first goal of the game and hopefully we can do that again and build from it,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said.
DISCIPLINE: Instead of complaining about the officiating, the Bruins can do themselves a favor and stay out of the penalty box. Boston is at its best when playing with emotion, but that will need to be kept in check in Montreal.
“You never know. It’s just a game sometimes you get more calls, sometimes less. We will see what it’s going to be like tonight. We can’t be just blaming or relying on power plays or penalty killing all the time,” Chara said.
The Canadiens have capitalized on their power play in this series, going 4-for-9.