-- Bruins coach Claude Julien
called out his team after a 4-1 loss in Game 4 put them down 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with Carolina. The Bruins had lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 28-March 5 and just couldn't find their game.
"I think our team has probably picked the worst time of the year to play their worst hockey," Julien said. "When you look at the whole team right now, there isn't anybody that's played up to their potential. Obviously, out of sync. Our passes are not crisp. We're not in sync. You can see the frustration on the players right now. It's certainly getting worse."
The Bruins responded and won the last two games playing what they feel is their brand of hockey, forcing a Game 7 Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS).
"I think we played very well the last two games," forward Patrice Bergeron
said. "We're back to playing simple and playing our game."
But as Bergeron said, the key will be to play their game one more time and to not let the momentum they have built serve as a deterrent.
"We still have one more game and we need to do it all over again," Bergeron said. "This is still a great team over there and they showed they can win a Game 7 on the road with New Jersey. We're psyched to be home and can't wait to get out there in front of our fans, but Carolina has proven they can win in that environment."
As Tim Thomas
pointed out, the Bruins need to just keep their game simple and hope to ride the wave.
"There's been so many momentum swings in this series and even in each game; probably more than I've ever been around in my career," Thomas said. "We just have to harness it right now and yet at the same time move on from the last game. It's a fine balance. You want to keep that momentum going but at the same time you need to start from scratch."
Last spring, the Bruins accomplished this feat in the first round when they came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Canadiens, but lost Game 7 in Montreal. When asked to reflect on that experience, Thomas drew some similarities, but also pointed out that the Bruins were a much more physically and emotionally drained team heading into their Game 7 last year.
"That helped here because we knew that it was possible and getting it to 3-2 in the series would give us that momentum swing," Thomas said. "But we also knew that going into Game 7, just momentum isn't enough to carry it over. We drew on that, but you can't draw too much because we lost last year.
"But at that point last year we were so tired. It was a lot longer season than it was this year. We were battling for a playoff spot for the last 40 games and then battled back from that 3-1 deficit, so we were really tired mentally and physically. This year we're a lot fresher and I hope that pays off for us come tomorrow night."