BostonBruins.com – It's time for the "fourth win is the toughest" remarks to fill the airwaves.
The Bruins have the 3-0 series lead on the New York Rangers, but they - more than any other NHL team right now - know just how elusive that last win can be.
Andrew Ference's pragmatic mind would say, "every win in tough, not just the fourth" and especially in this series, that would prove true, despite the B's on the verge of a possible sweep.
But the Bruins also have the first round difficulty closing out Toronto fresh in their minds.
Up 3-1 against the Leafs in the opening round, the B’s allowed them back into the series with wins in Games Five and Six and needed a historic three-goal third period comeback to come out victorious in overtime of Game Seven.
Now, after a 2-1 win in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bruins hold the commanding 3-0 series lead. Which means, they will not escape comparisons to the 2010 blown three games to none lead over Philadelphia in the second round that saw the Flyers become just the third team in NHL history to overcome such a deficit.
As such, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien wanted everyone to know after the Game Three win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, that not only is this Black & Gold team different from the one three years ago, but he also believes this is a different team from the one that nearly bowed out in round one.
“The biggest thing that keeps coming up is that Philadelphia series from three years ago,” said Julien. “We can talk about it all we want, but that's in the past. Situations and circumstances, we had a lot of injuries. We had to live with that, and we still have to live with that.
“But the Toronto series, as I mentioned, I didn't think our team was in the zone as it is right now. I anticipate, knowing my team, that we're going to come out the same way next game and certainly not be the Jekyll and Hyde team that we talked about in the first round.”
The Bruins are feeling good about the way they have played against the Rangers, but they aren’t ready to take a step back just yet.
“I think, obviously, we were confident going in for the series, but it's not over,” said Daniel Paille, who scored the winning goal and assisted on the tying tally in Game Three, his Merlot Line along with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell factoring into both goals.
“We've been in this situation before. For us, we're going to have to have that instinct to play as hard as we did tonight because they're going to be a team that does not want to lose that way, so we have to play really hard.”
Going home to Boston is not something the Bruins want to do after Game Four, unless it means they are heading back to get some rest in preparation for a new opponent.
“It won't be easy,” said Thornton, who notched assists on both of the Bruins’ goals. “We've had a tough time closing teams out of late. Hopefully we can come with that experience and get it done."
"We definitely don't want to go back home. If we could close it out before, we'd love to. I'm sure, again, they're going to bring everything they have. It's not going to be easy at all.”
“Three to nothing is, I guess, a good position, but having said that, it's going to take an effort like tonight going forward,” said Campbell. “I'll say it, the fourth game's always the toughest to win. We were in this position before, where we've had an opportunity to end a series, so it's really about winning another game.”
Ending things on Thursday night in Game Four would maybe put to rest questions surrounding Boston's "killer instinct" that has been a topic of discussion since the first round. Especially, since it appears that their hunger won't be going away anytime soon.
"We're trying to be in the moment, even though - today was a good example - we're down by one goal, but we still thought we were doing some good things. Instead of going on our heels and sitting bit, we kept going at them and kept pushing, kept believing that we were going to get it," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron.
"That's goes a long way, especially in the playoffs."
And they're looking to carry over that mentality to Thursday night at MSG.
“Hopefully we learned our lesson,” said Johnny Boychuk, who’s goal at 3:10 of the third period tied the score at one. “That fourth game is going to be the toughest one. Out of any team in the NHL, we should probably know that the best.”