BOSTON, MA – The last two games – back-to-back victories in overtime thrillers – have been grueling ones for the Boston Bruins. As a result, the B’s used Friday to take a breather and participate in off-ice workouts and meetings; they did not hit the ice.
So far this postseason, the Black & Gold have won all three overtimes games they have played. The OT games also mark the B's past three wins.
In Game Four against Toronto, David Krejci netted the winner to put the Bruins up three games to one; Game Seven saw the B’s complete one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup playoff history, when Patrice Bergeron put one past the Leafs’ James Reimer; and Thursday night in Game One of the second round against the New York Rangers, Brad Marchand took a feed from Bergeron and guided it past Henrik Lundvist.
The Bruins were dominant Thursday during the extra session, outshooting New York 16-5.
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien, said there is no special message that he delivers to his team to prepare them for the extra period.
“No, I’m not going to stand here and say I’ve got miracle words because I don’t,” said Julien during media availability at TD Garden on Friday afternoon. “I tell them the same thing that probably every coach tells them to do, ‘Every shot is important, don’t pass up on them, and play to win. You’ve got to go out there and you can’t have that fear.’”
Momentum swung in the Bruins’ favor just 2:20 into OT when Rangers forward Derek Dorsett was sent to the box for interference. The Bruins did not score on the man-advantage, but kept possession in New York’s end for the entire two minutes, firing eights shots on goal.
“I thought that the power play we had created some chances and actually some pretty good scoring chances,” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara, who logged over 38 minutes of ice time. “They also did a really good job blocking some shots, made some saves and so we didn’t obviously score, but we did have some momentum.”
The Rangers, too, felt the energy shifting during and after the power play.
“It was a tough overtime period for us,” said New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “They came hard, and I thought their power play really gave them energy every time they got on the ice. They really built from every power play, it felt like.”
Having experience in overtime so far in the postseason helped to calm the Bruins’ nerves, as well, and created confidence that they could pull put another win.
“I think coming off a do-or-die situation last game helped us tremendously, as well as we had a situation in Game Four [against Toronto], too, where we had to win in overtime,” said Gregory Campbell. “I think, really, the approach in overtime is that you have to put your best foot forward right off the bat and you can't really sit back. You can't really wait to see what they're going to bring.
“The next goal's going to win, obviously. It is overtime. It's important to really go after them and not sit back. I think that, so far, we've done a good job with that. We saw it as an opportunity and we took it.”
On the other side of the ice, the Rangers are now 0-3 in OT this postseason.
“A loss, is a loss at this point,” said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. “Obviously, we felt like we were right there. But at the same time we’ve dealt with this before. It happened to us twice in the Washington series, we’ve got two days to regroup and we go right back at it.”
“I don’t think it’s playing with their head at all,” added Tortorella, of the OT losses, especially since the Rangers ended up pulling out the series win over the Capitals. “It would be nice to win one, but no, I don’t think it’s gotten that far.”
Julien said the key to winning in overtime is not just about getting the lucky bounce of a puck, but also not playing a timid game. To be successful in a sudden death situation, in the playoffs, everything has to be left out on the ice.
“I don’t know if it’s just the luck of the draw,” said Julien. “You play to win, and I think that’s what we’ve done. I don’t think I have an explanation, more than you need a little bit of luck, absolutely, but you also need the right attitude.
“I think we’ve just gone out there with no fear, and we’re willing to live with the consequences. If we go out there to win, we’ll live with the consequences; if we’re playing on our heals, then you have a lot of regrets at the end of the night.”