The Bruins enter Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) in possession of a 2-0 series lead after taking care of business on home ice with back-to-back wins. But with the series shifting to Madison Square Garden for the next two contests, the Bruins know they can't take their foot off the gas if they intend to move forward this postseason.
The Rangers dropped the first two games and also trailed 3-2 in their quarterfinal-round series against the Washington Capitals, only to rally to win in seven. The Bruins let a 3-1 series lead slip away against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and nearly lost altogether, saved only by a miraculous rally in the third period of Game 7, which they eventually won in overtime.
"We try to learn from our situation," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who has two goals and five assists in nine games this postseason. "Being up [3-1] against Toronto, we realize we let them back in it. We didn't have that killer instinct and we want to make sure that whether it's a power play, penalty kill, whatever it is, we want to make sure that we step up and do the job. We did that last game and we want to make sure we bring our best game [in Game 3], because they're going to come out extremely hard. If we're not prepared, they're going to roll over us."
Boston may have to weather the storm early in Game 3, considering the Rangers haven't lost in regulation at home since March 21, a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. New York is 9-0-1 since, including three straight wins against the Capitals in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I just think we have to be better as a team," Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday morning. "To win one on the road, you know you have to be better because the home team always has the crowd behind them and there's some desperation on the other team. But I think we have to realize that we have to be even better and the lull in our games that we have … in Game 2, I'm talking about some of those in the second period, we just can't afford to have here [in Game 3].”
Looking to tighten up even more defensively, there's a good chance Rangers coach John Tortorella could reunite Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi on the blue line. The two spent a lot of time together on the ice during the regular season and became a shut-down pair against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals’ top line in Round 1.
Should McDonagh and Girardi skate together, they'll likely spend the majority of their ice time against Boston's top trio of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. If that's the case, it could create more offensive chances for a deep Bruins team that also features Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Jaromir Jagr and Patrice Bergeron.
"I think right now they might be spread out because we have a couple of good lines that can score goals and they want to try and shut both down," Marchand said. "Hopefully if they do play together, they'll play against [Lucic's] line and we won't have to deal with it. But they're obviously some good defensemen and they did a phenomenal job last series against Washington. We know if they're together that it's going to be a battle every time we're on the ice against them."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
|Back to top|