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Bruins' counter to Lightning's forecheck will be key

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Bruins' counter to Lightning's forecheck will be key
Tampa Bay was successful with its aggressive forecheck, which keyed its come-from-behind win in Game 4. How can the Bruins counter that attack?
BOSTON -- The Bruins have not been shy in admitting that the Lightning's aggressive, physical forecheck helped change the tide of Game 4.

So how do they blunt that forecheck, which will be emboldened in Game 5 on Monday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS) by the success it had in Game 4. Surely Tampa Bay can trace its forecheck as the primary cause in at least three of the goals it scored Saturday.

"I would prefer taking the responsibility on our team and saying what do we have to do better, more than look at them and what are they doing to us to cause those things," Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday. "I think it's really about our execution, and we've been able to handle that in the past. So I don't see why we can't handle it now."

In order to handle that forecheck, Boston will have to do things far differently than it did in the final 40 minutes of Game 4. Defensemen might have been directly to blame on several occasions -- a Zdeno Chara turnover behind the net led to Tampa Bay's first goal and a turnover by Tomas Kaberle led to the next one -- but the blame went deeper than the six defensemen in Saturday's game.

"I think the forwards have to come back and get in their positions. At the same time, we need to be good on the walls. I think a few times we turned the puck over on the walls and that is uncharacteristic of our team. If we are winning battles on the wall, that's going to help out the (defense)."
-- Rich Peverley

Boston's forwards were not much help in the defensive zone in Game 4, limiting the options for the defensemen as they tried to transition out of the zone.

"I think the forwards have to come back and get in their positions," forward Rich Peverley told NHL.com. "At the same time, we need to be good on the walls. I think a few times we turned the puck over on the walls, and that is uncharacteristic of our team. If we are winning battles on the wall, that's going to help out the (defense)."

How can Boston do that if Tampa Bay is constantly putting Boston's defenders under duress in the defensive zone?

"I don't think we moved our feet well enough the second part of that game and we looked like we were skating in mud, and they were going 100 miles per hour," forward Chris Kelly said.

The Bruins insisted that they have to do some preventative work before Tampa Bay can establish a foothold in the Boston end. The Bruins believe if they do a better job in the neutral zone -- chipping and chasing and limiting turnovers -- the Lightning will not be able to get rolling toward the Boston net.

"You know, both teams -- if they are at their best -- they're not going to give much in the neutral zone," Julien said. "I didn't think we spent enough time in the offensive zone like we had in previous games. We didn't seem to be as strong on the puck. And that happened from the second period on. We went in there, we didn't do a really good job of protecting (the puck), and then making the right decisions with it. Consequently, we turned pucks over and they were back in the rush."

Now the Bruins just have to put their words into action if they hope to avoid a repeat of Game 4's final two periods.
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