Friday, April 22, 2011
Updated: April 23, 10:00 AM ET
Five keys for Bruins in Game 5
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- The Bruins are back home for Game 5 after tying the series with two wins at the Bell Centre, the last a dramatic, comeback 5-4 victory in overtime that would seem to be a momentum shifter in this best-of-seven series. But if the Bruins want to seize that momentum and run with it, they need to follow these five keys to victory for Game 5.
1. Stay even-keeled. While the Bruins definitely need to maintain the confidence they gained from taking two games in Montreal after dropping two games at home, they can't get cocky.
"It's just one game and now we're tied. It's best of three and we need to focus on the next game," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said.
As this series has already proven, if a team gets overconfident or complacent, it will lose its grip on the game and the series. That's why the Bruins must continue to isolate each game and not worry about the effect on the series score. That's what helped them tie the series at 2.
2. First line needs to step up. Prior to Game 4, Bruins center David Krejci said that while Milan Lucic is struggling in the playoffs, his teammates need to pick up the slack. Well, Krejci and linemate Nathan Horton need to get their game going, as well. If they could click at the same time, maybe it would result in Lucic finding his stride and finally looking like the guy who not only scored 30 goals this past regular season but also had 20 points in 30 playoff games heading into this series.
3. Win on home ice. Neither team in this series has won on home ice yet, and if the Bruins want to win this series they will need to win at least one at home -- and Game 5 would be a good start. The Bruins need to come out and ride the excitement that will be buzzing around TD Garden when they take to the ice and use it to their advantage.
4. Get the power play going. While the power play wasn't really a major factor in Game 4, with the Bruins getting only one opportunity, the Bruins are 0-for-12 in the series. If they can finally score on the man advantage in Game 5, it could go a long way to determining if they head back to Montreal with a 3-2 lead in the series or trailing 3-2. With the way the first four games have gone, special teams will once again be crucial and the Bruins need to start executing on the power play.
5. Eliminate turnovers. If not for the performance of Tim Thomas in the first period of Game 4, when the Bruins were outshot 15-8 and handled the puck as if it were a hot potato, the Bruins would not have had a chance to get one of the most dramatic playoff wins in recent memory. Boston continually rimmed the puck around the boards or cleared it up mid-ice and in front of their own net blindly in that opening frame, leaving Thomas scrambling to bail out his teammates. But it wasn't the only game in which the Bruins committed costly errors and turnovers. The majority of Montreal's five goals in Games 1 and 2 were the result of Boston turnovers. This can't happen in Game 5.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Ask a question for his next Bruins mailbag here.