Friday, April 15, 2011
Bruins to fans: It's only one game
By Joe McDonald
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- During the final regular-season game between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins rookie forward Brad Marchand gestured toward the opposition's bench with a mock golf swing, meaning, "Enjoy the warm weather, boys, because we're going to the Stanley Cup playoffs and you're not."
That did not go over well with Bruins coach Claude Julien and some of the veteran players on the team. Marchand caught an earful and he admitted later that it was immature and stupid.
With that said, the Bruins are not the type of players who give opponents bulletin-board material, especially during the playoffs.
The Bruins find themselves down 0-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, with Game 2 Saturday night at TD Garden. Still, Boston is a confident group and believes it can win the series. For that to happen, however, the Bruins need a split at home before heading to Montreal for Games 3 and 4.
"We want to win. We have to win. We will win," Bruins forward David Krejci said. "We don't want to go to Montreal with them having a 2-0 lead. That would be tough, but we have confidence in our team."
The Bruins knew it was going to be a tough series. They knew the high-flying Habs would be a challenge, and now Montreal has the confidence it can win the series after Thursday's 2-0 victory.
A year ago, the Buffalo Sabres beat the Bruins in Game 1 of the first round, but Boston eventually made the necessary adjustments and won the series in six games.
"Every time you go into the playoffs, you expect a seven-game series. We expect nothing less," Krejci said.
While the Canadiens were given the day off, Boston held a full practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday morning. The Bruins worked on creating a net-front presence, crashing the net and getting shots through from the point.
Those are the keys.
Montreal netminder Carey Price was solid in Game 1 and posted his third career playoff shutout. Ironically, all three have come against the Bruins. He made 31 saves on Thursday and had no trouble seeing the majority of the shots.
"If we change that, he's going to have a hard time stopping pucks, so we can get some rebounds," Krejci said.
The Bruins need to score first, as Thursday's game indicated, because the Canadiens are effective with the lead, shutting down an opponent's offense while locking down defensively.
"I think we did a lot of good things [Thursday]," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That was one of those anticipated tight games. Obviously, we're disappointed we weren't able to capitalize. That needs to get better, there's no doubt about that."
Because the Bruins tossed up a zero on the scoreboard, the focus was directed at the team's top line of Milan Lucic, Krejci and Nathan Horton. Julien, however wasn't about to point any fingers, saying everyone needs to be better for the remainder of the series.
"Although we played a decent game, we can all be a little better," Julien said. "As a team, we feel we can be a little better, and that's to a man."
Montreal capitalized on a pair of turnovers by the Bruins that resulted in goals.
"We certainly have to cut down on those mistakes," Julien said. "They made some of those and we weren't able to capitalize, and that was the big difference."
There hasn't been a winning environment in Boston of late. The Red Sox entered their game Friday with a 2-9 record to start the 2011 season, so with the Bruins beginning their postseason with a loss to the Canadiens, a few moronic fans decided it would be best to litter the ice with trash after Thursday's game.
Krejci had some advice for those salty fans: "It's a long series. It's only one game. It wasn't very nice that some of the fans threw stuff on the ice. We've got to know that they're behind us. It was disappointing. It's a long series, so you've got to stick with us, like we do. It's just one game."
It is only one game, and in the playoffs it's important to suffer from short-term memory loss whether you win or lose. The Bruins trail in the series and need a big win in Game 2 on Saturday.
"This is a passionate city about their sports teams. That's what makes this city great," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. "[Fans] are full of life, and we look forward to tomorrow night's game."
|Habs goaltender Carey Price made 31 saves Thursday and had no trouble seeing the Bruins' shots.
"If we change that, he's going to have a hard time stopping pucks," David Krejci said.
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.