BOSTON, MA – The Bruins are heading into New York with confidence, up 2-0 in a series that, last Monday night during Game Seven against the Maple Leafs, looked like it would never happen.
As the Black & Gold prepare for Game Three, they know they must keep the foot on the gas. They learned the hard way against Toronto in the first round, that not closing out a series as quickly as possible can be dangerous..
“It's about realizing that the series is not over until it is, until you win a fourth game,” said B’s alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. “We know that; we know that tomorrow's going to be a huge game. They're going to try and bounce back and we're expecting them to come out really hard. We need to make sure we match that.”
The Rangers fell behind, 2-0, in their first round series against the Washington Capitals and came back to win the series in seven games. As a result, the B’s expect a hungrier New York team on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
“The feeling is they're probably going to be a desperate team in their own building for Game Three,” said Shawn Thornton. “We're going to have to be a lot better than we were last game. We got the win, but we have some areas we can improve on, too.
“Tuukka [Rask] is the reason we were in it going into the third period; it could've been a much different game if he didn't stand on his head.”
Cleaning up turnovers will be the one of the areas of focus for the Bruins, which is something that plagued them during the first half of Game Two.
“Always,” said Thornton, when asked if the team would be looking to eliminate turnovers and giveaways. “I think we're a better team when we're north-south, not east-west. When we get pucks in, we usually do a pretty good job of trying to get them back. Giving teams opportunities from the far blue line to come wheeling back at our D is not ideal.”
“Maybe making the extra pass for no reason,” added Bergeron, when prompted about the ways to fix the turnovers. “Sometimes the shots weren't always the best plays, when you have an odd-man rush. It's about putting pucks on net and making sure it doesn't always have to be the safest play; you can make some plays on the ice, but it's about being smart.”
Everyone Stepping Up
The Bruins have had to dig deep into the depth chart during their second round series against the Rangers. With Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden, and Andrew Ference all having missed the first two games with injuries, the B’s have relied upon youngsters Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, and Matt Bartkowski on the back end.
In Game Two, not only did the blueliners step up, but the Merlot Line chipped in with a goal, when Gregory Campbell found the back of the net at 2:24 of the second period.
“It's great,” said Bergeron of the fourth line’s goal. “They've been doing that, pretty much since they've been together. It's great to have that from them. They give us a lift every time they step on the ice, not just by scoring goals, but just by getting momentum back. That goal [Sunday] afternoon was a huge goal for us.”
Prior to Game Two, Thornton talked about his line wanting to take some of the load of the shoulders of the goal scorers and that’s exactly what they were able to do.
“It helps. We want to try and take some pressure off the big lines,” said Thornton. “We can't rely on them all the time. At this time of year, your best players have to be your best players, but if we can chip in every now and again it helps out. We've been a little snakebitten, our line, too.
“We had some chances, they just weren't going in, so I was happy to see one go in for Soup last game.”