BOSTON, MA – There are 14 players on the Boston Bruins roster that were part of the team’s 3-0 collapse to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and they all learned a valuable lesson – nothing is certain in the NHL.
“Being up like that, you’re always going to remember it,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “Just to learn from it.
"If you think you got it – you better make sure you have it instead.”
It was a tough lesson learned, but the results have been prosperous.
The B’s possess a one-game at a time mentality, one that cultivated last season and translated into a Stanley Cup title and has even spilled over into the 2011-12 season.
“We weren’t doing our best [early in the season], but as soon as we figured things out we learned from it and took it one game at a time," said Boychuk. "If we won that night we’d celebrate, but the next game we’d forget about it and learn what we had to do the next game.”
The Bruins battled Vancouver in a tension-filled contest Saturday, and will face the Montreal Canadiens tonight. But sandwiched in between the two rivalries was a contest with the Winnipeg Jets.
Some would call that a trap game, but the B’s stay focused and pulled out a 5-3 victory with three goals scored in the third period.
“They’re all important games at this point,” goaltender Tim Thomas said. “It was an important game against Winnipeg – and it’s an important game against Montreal, and it’s two points.
"They’re trying to judge their team based on how they play against us, so I’d prefer to continue doing well so we feel like we have the upper hand.”
The Bruins have cruised through their first-half schedule, using a stellar November and December to establish a 27-11-1 record, just three points behind the conference-leading New York Rangers (58).
There’s 43 games left in the regular season, but right now only one is important. Tonight, the team will face off with Montreal. Then, they can turn the page to tomorrow and a four-game road trip.
“[We have] that workman like attitude,” Thomas said. “You prepare beforehand and do the best job you can that day without looking at the big picture – but looking at the small picture and breaking it down to one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time.”
That attitude will be key to succeeding against the Canadiens, as Head Coach Claude Julien expects his team to be tested with a challenge tonight.
“They always play well against us,” Julien said. “They know they can and they enter with a lot of confidence and they give us tough games. Whenever we play them, we have to play really good hockey.”
--- Anthony Gulizia