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Game Six Preview: Do-or-Die for Bruins

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins – The Bruins have been in this position before. Two years ago, they returned to TD Garden for Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final, trailing the Vancouver Canucks, three games to two. The Black & Gold came out firing in that game and took down the Canucks, 5-2, forcing a seventh game back in Vancouver, in which they won, 4-0, to take home their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

Tonight, the Bruins will be trying to conjure up some of that magic once again and force a seventh game at United Center in Chicago on Wednesday night.

“We could all take some experience from that and realize that, to win this game, we’ve got to make sure we leave everything on the ice, we play our best," said Brad Marchand, who scored en route to the Game Six win in 2011. "That’s what we did last time so hopefully we can do the same tomorrow."

“It’s a different team, different situation but we’ve been here before. I think we have a bit of confidence but, at the same time, they’re a very resilient team. They’ve played great so far. They played good last time they were in our building so we’ve got to make sure we realize that and we don’t take it for granted.”

Nathan Horton, who was knocked out of the 2011 Cup Final in Game Three after taking a vicious hit from Aaron Rome, did not have the chance to play in the do-or-die scenario two years ago. But he knows the Bruins must take things one game at a time.

“Not give them too much, but I think the big picture is just win two games,” said Horton on the team’s mindset heading into Game Six. “We concentrate on one at a time. Like everyone says, we are at home. It’s obviously a must-win and we all know that the fourth game is the hardest to get and we are going to make it as hard as we can.

“We are not done yet. Like I said, only two more games. We’ve got to win two games. That’s what we are looking at.”

Over the years, the Bruins have seemingly played their best hockey when pushed to the brink. This postseason has been no different. In their lone elimination game, Game Seven of the first round against Toronto, the B’s pulled off the greatest third period comeback in history, by scoring three goals in the final 12 minutes to tie the game and eventually win, 5-4, in overtime.

Horton had no explanation for why the Bruins play so well in the most desperate of times.

“It just kind of happens that way,” said Horton. “Obviously, we would have wanted to win [Saturday] night. That’s the kind of character we have in our room. When our backs are against the wall, we show up. Like I said, we play for the guy next to you and we all know what we have to do now. We can’t lose and we’ve got to come to play.”

SPECIAL TEAMS: For the second time this postseason, and for the first time since Game 3 against the New York Rangers, the Bruins did not have a power play opportunity in Game Five. They are 11-for-59 on the power play this postseason (18.6%).

The Bruins killed off both of Chicago power plays in the game and they are now 61-for-69 on the penalty kill during the playoffs (88.4%).

The Blackhawks are 8-for-68 on the power play (11.8%).

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Both Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford rebounded from a Game 4 shootout and played well in Game 5. Rask made 29 saves and still leads the NHL this postseason with a 1.83 GAA and a .941 save percentage. Crawford recorded 24 saves in Game 5.

TRAILING/LEADING: The Bruins are 1-3 lifetime when trailing in a Stanley Cup Final series 2-3 with the win coming in their 2011 championship vs. Vancouver...They are 3-18 lifetime when trailing in a best-of-seven series 3-2 and are 10-11 lifetime in Game Sixes when trailing in a best-of-seven series 3-2...The Blackhawks are 17-3 lifetime when leading in a best-of-seven series 3-2 and they are 13-7 lifetime in Game Sixes when leading in a best-of-seven series 3-2...Chicago is also 2-1 lifetime when leading a Stanley Cup Finals series 3-2 with their loss coming in the 1971 final vs. Montreal...The Bruins trailed by two-goal margins in both Games Four and Five of this series. It is the first time they have trailed by two-or-more goals in consecutive games since Games Six and Seven of the firs round against Toronto (2-1 loss in Game Six and 5-4 overtime win in Game Seven).

MILESTONES: David Krejci recorded an assist in Game Five, increasing his playoff point total to 25 points. That is the NHL’s highest playoff point total since 2010 when Danny Briere of the Flyers had 30 points and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks had 29 and 28 points respectively...Jaromir Jagr is one point shy of his 200th NHL playoff point...Carl Soderberg played his first NHL playoff game in Game Five. He became the second Bruin in team history to play his first career playoff game in a Stanley Cup Final (Richie Leduc, 1974 vs. Philadelphia).

INJURIES: Patrice Bergeron is the only injury in question for the Bruins heading into Game Six and is considered "day-to-day" with a "body injury" (undisclosed). Bergeron played only two shifts in the second period Saturday night and left the game during the intermission. He was transported to a local hospital by amublance for observation, but did travel back to Boston with the team Sunday morning.

“He's a guy that's day-to-day, and day-to-day is really good news to me anyways,” Julien told the media on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

For the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews was questionable after he did not play in the third period of Game Five, but Head Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters Sunday that he was "optimistic" his Captain would be in the lineup come Monday night.

---Caryn Switaj and John Morton contributed to this report

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