|Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) celebrates with teammates after he scored on Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) as Canadiens Ryan White, left, look on during the first period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series, Monday, April 18, 2011, in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz) |
But even before the B's hit the ice for Wednesday's practice, and despite the majority of the team getting to enjoy a day off on Tuesday, the players focus remained on their tough task on Thursday night in the Bell Centre.
"We played at times the way we wanted to play," said Nathan Horton
"You can tell when we’re playing good and playing with confidence and playing relaxed.
"It’s about putting the puck in the right places and at the beginning we did that...and that’s how we want to play and we want to continue to play like that," he said.
His linemate Milan Lucic
agreed and talked about the contribitions made by their trio (including center David Krejci
) on Monday night.
"Well you definitely want to do whatever you can to contribute and you do put a little more pressure on yourself," said Lucic. "But for myself, I think the first two games I put almost too much pressure on myself to go out there and score.
"If I just simplify it, just go out there and play and just focus on straight lines and getting pucks in deep, everything tends to take care of itself."
Rookie forward Brad Marchand
said that the B's had been pressing.
"I think that’s the biggest thing, it’s tough sometimes we get a little uptight and we’re a little heavy on our sticks," he said. "So if we clam down and relax a little bit, it’s a little easier to play our game."
A more relaxed attitude and a simplified approach worked wonders as the B's took the lead early and never looked back.
"We’re getting back to our basics and we’re just playing simple," said Marchand. "Before we were trying to go on the offensive a little too much, and we were getting caught out of position.
"Everyone is coming back hard now and really focused on doing their job.
"It’s big, they have a really good power play, they can do a lot of damage, we have to make sure we continue with that," he said.Power Play Practice
On Wednesday, the B's returned to practice with a vengence and focused heavily on their power play as they prepared for Game 4.
"It hasn’t scored, and again we need to get this thing going a little better," said Head Coach Claude Julien of the B's play with a man advantage. "But also understand that in the playoffs, PKs seem to be trumping the power plays. And that’s in most of the playoff games that we’ve seen as well and we’ve done a pretty good job against Montreal.
"So when you play a team over and over again, you find out their tendencies, so it’s a little better than just playing one game and moving on to the net team in the regular season."
Asked what exactly might be ailing the B's power play, Julien said, "I think it’s a lot of everything.
"Again, we just have to move the puck a it better. We can’t be so predicable. I say that all the time, if we’re standing around, we’re easy to defend against.
"Our guys have to be moving a little bit more and create a little bit more of an insecurity for the [Canadiens] PK and right now we haven’t been able to do that well enough," he said.
As such, there'll be a different look to the B's power play on Thursday.
"I think if we don’t do anything we’re not trying to improve it," said Julien. "If we’re changing things around a little bit you’re trying to improve it. And we’ve been trying to do that all year.
"For the most part, you think you got the payers for it, on the other end, they need to execute and they need to use their creativity.
"The biggest thing is they have to be moving here. A lot of times we’re too predictable, we don’t move enough...and I don’t know if it’s the pressure of the power play not working all year long and it creeps in, but no matter what it is you have to find a solution."Lake Placid Lived up to its Name
The Bruins solution to five days on the microscope in Montreal worked out beautifully and although the Bruins will return to the hustle and bustle of metro Montreal on Thursday evening, they certainly enjoyed their stay in picturesque Lake Placid.
"Yeah, I think what we wanted to accomplish was get a little bit of rest here and come here and have a quality practice which we did today, then head back to Montreal," said Julien. "The guys had a chance to walk around yesterday, and I thought they seemed really relaxed and that’s the best way to keep yourselves fresh for playoffs.
"They enjoyed the few days that we spent here, so to me it was a positive trip."
"It’s been nice," said Patrice Bergeron
. "I thought it was a beautiful town and it was fun to get together, and getting out of Montreal
"And having said that, we had a good practice today and yesterday was also a good day to...relax and make sure we’re ready for tomorrow's game."
"It was nice to get away to kind of a neutral site," added Gregory Campbell
. "That was the game plan.
"It’s so high-pressure in the playoffs that basically all you’re thinking of, focusing on, is playing and what you need to do.
"So coming here gave us an opportunity to kind of step back and regroup and refocus."
But, according to Campbell, that doesn't mean the B's have lost their intensity going into Game 4.
"Obviously, we know that you can’t let your guard down this time of year," he said. "But at the same time, it’s too much and sometimes you have to step back." Kelly Down but not Out
Forward Chris Kelly
, who tumbled hard into the Canadiens net as the Habs' Scott Gomez earned an interference call on Monday, was not at practice today.
"Yeah, he just went back to Boston today to see our doctors to make sure everything is okay and we expect him to come back to Montreal with us tonight," said Coach Julien.
"I think everything is all right according to what we know.
"There might be a fracture, but it’s nothing that would prevent him from playing," he said.