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Bruins Clinch Series by Playing Their Way

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - The Bruins got it done their way.

They played their game. They played stingy. They were physical. They were emotional. The leaders did what they needed to do. Everyone stepped up.

"I’ve said that often…'let’s just play.' We all know how to play," said Head Coach Claude Julien, as he sat at the press conference podium following the Bruins' series-clinching 4-2 win over Detroit on Saturday at TD Garden.

They now await a date in the second round with Montreal.

"We all know what our system is all about. So sometimes, you've just got to go out there and just skate and make things happen."

The Bruins clinched their first round series against the Red Wings by playing the Black & Gold style that got them there.

"A lot of people were talking about what kind of pace this series was going to be, and I think the most important thing was that we were able to dictate that," said Milan Lucic, who finished the series with a team-leading three goals, including the clinching one.

"No. 1, I thought we played really well in this series, and we had to play really well to beat this team," said Julien, of a Red Wings team that didn't roll over, especially with their captain Henrik Zetterberg making an emotional return to the lineup in Game 4. "I think it was important for us to end this and not prolong it."

"That was the talk, about making sure that we were not going back over there, and putting everything on the line this afternoon," said Patrice Bergeron.

The Bruins did that by getting out to a slamming start, when Loui Eriksson scored a power-play goal, backhanding the puck past Jonas Gustavsson just 3:27 into the first to put them up 1-0.

It lit up the crowd, and the bench.

Following the victory, he was wearing the Bruins' Player of the Game Jacket, passed on from Jarome Iginla. It was his first goal of the playoffs, and marked one of the Bruins' six power-play goals of the series.

"We’ve won before without having a successful power play, but when you’ve got that arsenal, it certainly makes it a lot easier," said Julien.

The Black & Gold have a lot in their arsenal, and it doesn't just come on the man-advantage, or the penalty kill, which went 18-for-20 in the series.

It comes from all areas, in all three zones of the ice. It begins with Tuukka Rask, as the last line of defense, and works its way out, through Big Zee, the Bruins' stingy defense corps, and four lines of forwards that keep the waves coming.

"Everyone was going," said Shawn Thornton. "A lot of guys chipped in and helped out. That was one of the keys to us having success in this series from the back end up."

"That’s why it has been so great the whole year," said Eriksson."The whole team has been unbelievable and it’s pretty good to see that."

The series began with players like Justin Florek, Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Dougie Hamilton all netting their first career playoff goals, and ended with Loui Eriksson, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla all scoring timely, emotional goals in the Bruins' 4-2 clinching win.

Eriksson's score gave them the start they needed, and Iginla finished it off with the all-important empty-netter.

The two goals sandwiched in between came from big-time leaders on the Bruins finding a way to get it done.

Pavel Datsyuk had tied the game at 1-1 towards the end of the second on the power play, but the Bruins were given a 4-on-3 opportunity late in the period.

Leave it to Bergeron, to find an open Chara at the top of the right circle, who blasted it in with just 3.8 left on the clock. He let out his piercing yell, wearing all of his emotion out on the ice for the 17,565 in the stands to see, as his teammates skated to him, their arms raised.

"You could see that [the Wings] had a sense of believing, so we had to right away get that next goal," said Julien.

"A big time player. A big moment in the game, a momentum shift," said Torey Krug.

"I was emotional. It was a big game and a big goal. So, I’m not afraid to show it," said Chara.

Neither is Lucic, who let out his own yell and pounded his chest at 4:27 into the third period, when he gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead, after banging in Krug's pass from the top of the crease for the eventual game-winner. Iginla wrapped his arms around him in celebration.

"You know, we’re a very close group, and guys have been through it before, but a very hungry, very competitive group," said Iginla.

"I think starting with Zee, Bergy, Tuukks, Soup [Gregory Campbell], you name it, there’s a whole group of guys – Thorty – it just goes on and on – that love to compete and battle – Looch – literally, you could just keep naming guys."

"You know, one guy goes out and leads the way, and the next guy keeps going and going. We take a lot of pride in trying to work and compete and just battle."

After an 82-game season, and five games of postseason work, it's the type of mindset that the Bruins will be looking to build on heading into the next round.

But first, they'll take a breath.

"We get to enjoy this for the next few days," said Lucic. "But we know it only gets tougher as we move on."

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