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Bear Essentials: The Calm Before the Storm

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Friday Afternoon Report

Not much to report on the on-ice portion of practice.

Injured defenseman Aaron Ward was the first out of the locker room for the Bruins this morning, and he looked none-the-worse-for-wear. Before he even hit the ice, he dumped a bucket of pucks onto the ice and, once he got on, he looked very determined to show he can play on Saturday and fired wristers from the point.

Jeremy Reich was the second B on the pond. Patrice Bergeron was third. Coach Bob Essensa, Coach Doug Houda, Alex Auld and Manny Fernandez rounded out the small group.

Bergy continues to look very well.

The off-ice portion was more extensive and featured players and Coach Julien speaking about last night's game.

Forward, Glen Metropolit, on last night's game, the B's prospects for Saturday
"We've been playing hard here the whole series. We've been in every game and thought maybe the luck was on their side a little bit. Finally, our hard work paid off a little bit in this game…We've just got to bring it tomorrow night. That's it. Hopefully we can keep [the shots] going on Carey [Price] and hopefully get a couple of bounces…[Price] is a young goalie but he's so poised…he's such a great goalie, I am sure he will bounce back…I think we are all excited in here [about Saturday]. That is what we wanted, to come back here and get another chance. And what a night to do it -- Saturday night in Boston -- two Original Six teams going at it and with our backs against the wall. We have to come out with a big effort."

Metropolit, on his goal in the Thursday night victory
"[Schaefer] gave it to [Nokelainen] and I was going back door and we collided behind the net. The next thing I know I came back out and [Price] tried to give it to Lapierre. I happened to be right there and got a lucky bounce. I tried to keep it going from there and [eventually] scored. It was a good feeling."

Forward, Marc Savard, On the Win
"You know, we knew what we had to do. And I think in the third period we surpassed a lot off [obstacles] again. We stayed with it and it's a credit to the guys in here, but there is still a big job to be done and we all know that. They are a great team and they bounced back too, from a lot of stuff this year, too."

Savard, on the team's mentality
"We just go about our business like we have all year. Work as hard as we can. I think, to a man, we've done that every night and last night was a total team effort…we just played together as a unit and got the job done."

Savard, on Glen Metropolit's game-winner
Metro has been playing great for us, especially on the penalty kill, in these playoffs. It's nice to see him get rewarded for the work he's put in…It couldn't happen to a better guy."

And here is a transcript of Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien's post practice presser.

Julien, on getting distracted by emotion before Game 6…
"I don’t think so. I think you guys have covered our team pretty well all year and I don’t think we get caught up too much in a lot of things, because we know every night we have to grind it out. The rest of the stuff doesn’t really matter.  When I say it doesn’t matter you’re glad to have your own fans behind you, but it doesn’t matter what happens out there more than what happens on the ice. We’re well aware of that, we know that we’re up for a big battle tomorrow. You’ve got a team that’s going to come in, does not want a game seven. We’ve got a team here that wants to create a game seven, but tomorrow’s the day that you can make that happen."

On reconfiguring the power play lines to how they were earlier in the year…
"At times, everybody knows it wasn’t working well; we seemed nervous and weren’t executing well, so sometimes going back to the old way puts everybody in a more comfortable situation. We tried it.  It could have gone either way, it could have backfired, it could have worked, but doing nothing was not the right thing to do."

On having a young second line…
"No, but that’s the situation we’ve been in this year, obviously with so many injuries. The fact that we’ve had to use our young players and put them in position that maybe more than they could ever have expected at the beginning of the year, that’s the situation we’re in. The reason that we are capable of playing tomorrow is because they’ve responded, amongst others, they’ve responded well. You rely on your veterans to lead the way, but if you don’t have your young players pulling the load behind them it doesn’t amount to much. We’ve needed a combination of both and they are a big part of why we’ve got a game six tomorrow."

On Aaron Ward…
"As far as his availability for tomorrow, I’m going to say it’s going to be a game time decision. He’s skating right now. So, obviously it’s going in the right direction. We’ll see tomorrow morning, see how he is and make that decision then."

On Shane Hnidy…
"Just because he’s played that well, I think if anything he’s been as solid as we’ve seen him all year in the playoffs. We’ve liked his game, he’s moving the puck well, he’s playing pretty steady, and he’s a good physical presence.  We just felt he was the best guy to put in that spot with Aaron Ward out and I don’t think he disappointed."

On Zdeno Chara being matched up with Montreal’s top line…
"I think there’s not much more we can say that hasn’t been said. That’s what Zdeno has done for us all year, we’ve always had him playing against top players and that’s one of the reasons he’s as valuable as he is, is because he’s capable of doing that. Besides that, he scores us a big goal yesterday; he’s done that for us a lot this year, as well. So, not only defensively, but offensively, he’s been great for us. I think the biggest thing we wanted to do with him this year was to do less, but be better at what he does very well and he’s responded extremely well. That’s been his identity, not just in the playoffs, but most of the year."

On David Krejci and Marco Sturm…
"Everyone once in awhile you put players together and, somehow, chemistry happens. Chemistry is built and they just seem to read off each other pretty well. I like them when they got put together, especially when Savvy [Marc Savard] went down and we moved them [together]. Right away, I sensed that there was something there and we’ve kept them together ever since, not only five on five, but even on the penalty kill. Marco scored yesterday, but they also had great chances in other games too. They’ve been a threat, not only five on five, but even four on five they’ve managed some good scoring chances together. I think they do a good job, when Montreal is in their own end with control of the puck, they do a great job at collapsing at the box, keeping it tight and that’s what I mean about chemistry. Marco sees something, he sees David get the puck, David seems to know basically where he’s going and fed him with a great pass yesterday. So, it’s chemistry, not only that but those guys talk, they are on the bench, the game is going on, and I see our guys talking to each other. They are talking about situations on the ice and that’s so important. You don’t just play a shift, come back to the bench, sit there, catch your wind, and go back out. The more you talk, the more you learn about each other, and about dealing with situations and that’s what those guys have done."

On Phil Kessel…
"I think he played well last night. I think it’s pretty obvious that we saw Phil Kessel determined to get back in the line up and make a difference. I think everybody who has seen him play all year, that was one of his best games along the boards, being strong on the puck, all those things we’ve been working with him to get better at. What he’s shown us is that he’s capable of doing it. Couldn’t have had better timing than last night. Was I pleased with his game? Absolutely. Do we need more of that? Certainly do."

On playing desperate hockey…
"You hope you can create some other situations down the road where you don’t have to be having to play desperate hockey, but you’re right. I think if anything, we’ve had to do that a lot this year, so it’s not uncharted territory. It’s not something we haven’t been through. It’s something the guys, if anything, the guys believe that if they stick to it they can always come back. Obviously, down one nothing yesterday they never gave up. I remember game two, being down two nothing; we tied it up in the third and pushed overtime. That’s just the playoffs; it has nothing to do with the regular season. I think we’ve done a tremendous job that way and it’s certainly built a lot of character amongst our players."

On Carey Price’s off night giving the Bruins confidence…
"I think we needed that confidence. I think it was important for us to score some goals and realize that if we shot more pucks and went to those areas, again, he made a mistake on that second goal by dropping the puck, but we also had two guys there to pounce on it. That’s something we kept stressing, we need guys around the net for rebounds, for tip ins, for screens, that’s not a secret, that’s something that every team wants. We did that. I mentioned it yesterday, he’s a great goaltender and you have to give credit where credit is due and he’s a very good goaltender. You have to find ways to get pucks past good goaltenders."

On if this feels like déjà vu comparing it to the 2004 Bruins/Canadiens series …
"It’s actually weird, people keeping asking me about that, it’ll only be déjà vu if we make it happen, other than that, it’s not."

On if they are proving the doubters wrong…
"That depends on what point we are trying to prove here. I don’t know that proving a point, even when those predictions were made, it really, for us, it wasn’t lets go prove them wrong. When you believe in your team, you really take those predictions, those comments, you push them aside and you just go out and do the job. That’s what we’ve really tried to do. A lot of people are saying “they must be rallying around some of the comments that are made.” It really hasn’t been about that, it really has been about “you know what guys, it doesn’t matter what’s being said out there. Let’s just believe in ourselves. Lets go out there and play the game we know we can and let the chips fall where they may.” That’s the approach we’ve taken more than about trying to find inspiration outside of our dressing room. It really has been about what’s in our dressing room and that’s they way they’ve been all year."

On having pride…
"No doubt. You just have to walk about that dressing room. You guys see it; I think as coaches we see the same things. I’m one of those firm believers and I said that at the beginning of the year to our players and to everybody else, that chemistry is just as important as anything else in this game. You can have the best system put together, you can have the best players in that dressing room, but if there’s no chemistry those things don’t have the same effect. You can maybe have a little less in other areas, but if you have good chemistry it just allows you to take that extra step. We’ve had that, we’ve really had good team chemistry, and we’re a group of guys that really enjoy being together. You can see just by the way they hang around when we’re on the road, how they are on the plane, and anywhere else around the dressing room, they genuinely like each other and really want to play for each other."
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