BOSTON, MA – “One of those guys is a real good playmaker, and the other guy’s a pretty dangerous player one-on-one and an explosive player.”
That’s how Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien describes Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
The work is cut out for the Bruins, who will try to extend their season and eliminate the Capitals in Game 7 at the TD Garden.
But with Backstrom and Ovechkin on the other end of the ice trying to do the same thing for their team, it won’t be easy.
Thus far, the Capitals top two forwards have combined for three goals and six assists as Dennis Seidenberg and captain Zdeno Chara have exceeded the task of shutting them down.
“They’ve done a good job – they’ve really done a good job right from the get go,” Julien said of his top defensive pair. “ You do the best you can against some of the other teams better players, and just because they score once in a while doesn’t mean that they don’t do a good job. It’s in different situations, so I think personally that those two guys have done a marvelous job against their top players.”
The Bruins need one more top-notch effort from everybody as they try to advance to the next round.
The last six games – all of which have been decided by one goal – have proved the two teams nearly equal, and the playoff seedings defunct.
“Once you get to the playoffs you’ve got that closeness between two teams and now you’re looking at whose playing their best hockey at that time of the year,” Julien said. “So, if the first place team isn’t at their best, but the eight-place team is – now you’re on even terms. So, that’s what parity has done to this game and that’s why I’ve never let our players get over confident with anything that’s happening out there.
“You don’t take things for granted and you earn what you have to earn. You got to respect your opponents during the players, because they deserve to be there and we’ve seen lots of those examples this year. Hopefully we can learn from that and hopefully that helps us prepare for [tonight].