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For Bruins, It's About Staying Relentless

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

DETROIT, MI - Following the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Red Wings that tied the series at 1-1, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had a simple message for his team.

"I think it’s important for us to really grasp what we did tonight and really bottle that up and know that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team," Julien said on Sunday, following Game 2.

"They’re labeled an eight seed, but let’s not kid ourselves - if they’re a healthy team this year, they’re not an eight seed."

"It’s going to be important for us to have that kind of intensity and that kind of determination to beat this team because it’s not an eighth-seeded team, and it’s a really good hockey club, and they’re well-coached, and they play well, and they’re quick, and they’re certainly capable of doing damage if you’re not ready."

The Bruins were ready on Sunday, and they'll plan on being ready when the puck drops for Game 3 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, as the series shifts to Detroit.

"It’s about not taking a shift off," said Patrice Bergeron. "I think that’s going to be the key for the rest of the series, and it’s going to be no different, definitely in Detroit. So they’re going to try to bounce back and we’re going to have to make sure we match that."

Game 1 could have gone either way, but Pavel Datsyuk found the back of the net to help give Jimmy Howard the 1-0 shutout. In Game 2, the Bruins were able to create more space for themselves by moving their feet, getting their skating game going, and sustaining pressure with their forecheck from shift to shift.

Much talk was made after Game 2 about Boston's physicality and emotional engagement.

"The controlled emotion," as Torey Krug labeled it, is what needs to be there for the Bruins to have success, from the drop of the puck.

"When you see guys like [Kevan] Miller’s first couple shifts, he’s out there blowing guys up and [David] Krejci is playing the body, that’s when he is at his best in the playoffs. Our whole team – it spreads through our team like fire and it’s important."

When the Bruins are playing well, they are playing with an edge. It's often bred from within. But when a team reacts to their physical play, whether it's between the whistles or not, it no doubt feeds into their game.

Even before Game 2 and the "after-the-whistle scrums" heated up, Shawn Thornton was asked if his squad needed to breed animosity towards a team in order to find a higher level of engagement.

"You don't need that," he said sharply. "Everyone talks about it, because of the way we're built, that we play better when we're a little [ticked] off, but it's playoff hockey."

"If you can't get yourself going, there's something wrong. So you shouldn't need a ton of animosity to motivate yourself at this time of year."

In fact, that type of play can often go against the Bruins' favor, if they don't stay disciplined and play with that controlled emotion. Case in point: their loss to Montreal towards the end of the regular season.

"I think we had a pretty good start the last game but in the second period, we got away from that. We got some penalties, so we have to play a little more disciplined and play with the same edge as we did the last game," said David Krejci.

The penalty kill has done its job so far, going 6-for-6 through the first two games, but the Black & Gold would not like to tempt fate, especially knowing that the Wings will make adjustments to get better results on their man-advantage.

"You don’t want to play shorthanded all the time and we have been playing a lot the last couple of games," said Krejci. "We have to play with an edge but we have to find the line within the rules and play hard, but play smart."

When the Bruins are playing 'their game,' everybody feeds off of each other. They play without hesitation, finish their hits, create room for each other to make more plays, and as a result, wear down the opponent.

There was physicality in Game 1, but certainly not as much as in Game 2.

"The fact that it was lacking in the first game, maybe we didn’t have our legs underneath us after a week of skating, I am not sure, or a week off in between games," said Thornton. "This time of year, we should always have that physical presence going."

The way the Bruins play is hard to sustain throughout the course of an 82-game season, night in and night out. In the playoffs, it has to be there every night.

Playoff hockey feeds into the way they're built.

"It’s really not [about] trying to get them off their game," said Dougie Hamilton. "It’s really just trying to play hard and be physical and trying to play our game. So, not really worried about their game; it’s more just play our game and work hard and move our feet - that’s how we play our best."

"It's more just taking away their time and space and get on them hard make them make mistakes. So I think that’s what we’re trying to do, more than get under their skin."

In Game 2, it earned the Bruins the win.

"I thought our effort was a lot better the last game," said Hamilton. "Guys were working harder and moving our feet more and being more physical."

"We’re really going to have to do that again and keep working hard, and stay relentless."

As the Black & Gold prepare for Game 3, Julien knows it's imperative that they play with the same high intensity.

"We just have to go out there and play our game," said the bench boss. "We’re - I’d like to consider us a pretty good skating team, too. We didn’t score that many goals [during the regular season] and didn’t allow a bad amount of goals because we weren’t a skating team."

"So tonight is just a game of will — whoever’s going to have the will to play their game the best, and that’s all we’ve got to think about, is going out there."

"We’re big, we’re physical, that’s the way we’ve built our team, and we shouldn’t apologize for it -- because Bruins fans and the city of Boston love us for that."

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