BostonBruins.com - Alright, so the Bruins are up 2-0 in the series. What do you they need to do to make it a commanding 3-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at TD Garden?
Following the Bruins' pregame skate this morning, Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly gave their thoughts and the team's mindset heading into the matchup.
Let's piece them into five "keys" to the game...
1) Not Getting Ahead
The veteran center Chris Kelly always gives a no-bones-about-it pregame interview. By the time you get out a question involving any past game - even if it involves a 6-1 rout of the Penguins - he's already started telling you he's focused on the night's game, and that game only.
"We played well in the first two games, but that’s all it is, is two games," Kelly told a group of gathered reporters pregame, back in the confines of their home locker room. "It’s not about what we’ve done in the past. It’s about looking forward to the next game and we’ll see how we play tonight."
Milan Lucic feels the same way.
"Their focus is just on winning one game, and I think for us we have to have that same type of focus and same type of mentality," said the bruising forward, who hasn't found the back of the net in five games, but has had a commanding presence on the ice in every on of them.
"With everything that’s happened in the last two games it’s obviously great what we were able to accomplish, but in the playoffs especially you try to turn the page and focus on what’s ahead and not dwell on what happened too much, so that’s probably what’s going through their mind."
"They’re not focusing on what happened in Game 1 and 2 and neither are we. We’re just focusing on having a good Game 3."
2) Respect the Opponent
The Bruins may have outscored the Pittsburgh Penguins 9-1 in the first two games, but they're not letting any sense of comfort creep in. They know the damage the 4.27 goals-per-game offense can do when they get their potent offense going.
"We expect their best. We expected their best in Game 1. We expected their best in Game 2 and we definitely expect their best in Game 3," said Lucic. "So they’re a team with a lot of pride, and like I said, they’re got a lot of character and they’re going to bring their best tonight."
"We haven’t really achieved anything, to be honest. We’ve won two games. That’s about it," added Kelly. "There’s still lots of work to do, and we’re looking forward to the next game."
3) Strong Start
The Bruins have scored first in both games. Brad Marchand's tally in Game Two came only 28 seconds in. A quick start on the road takes the opposing crowd out of it; more importantly, a quick start at home gets the crowd into it.
"In any game, the first goal is always a good one to get and it kind of builds momentum and builds confidence," said Lucic. "But the series is still early and fortunately we were able to get the first two goals in both games and I think it’s going to be a big one whoever gets it tonight."
4) Focusing on Themselves
The Penguins will be desperate. We've seen this before, from Toronto and New York this year, and so on, and so forth…
The team down 0-2 has to play desperate hockey. And the team that's up 2-0 can circumvent any disappointment by playing with that same desperation.
"Yeah we’ve been in this position before, so we know how they’re going to respond," said Kelly. "We know that they’re going to come out and play extremely well, and like I said in the past, right now we’re focusing on ourselves."
"We can’t really worry about what they’re going to come out and do. All we can think about is how we’re going to play."
One of the Bruins' best assets in the first two games was their ability to stick to their structure, and stay patient, relying on the system and their teammates. When you play responsible, the opponent is forced to make mistakes.
"I think for every team I think it’s a big part of their game," said Lucic, on playing with patience. "If you’re not patient and you get frustrated that’s when things start to go bad for you and go wrong and we’ve been through a lot in our experience over the last couple years in the playoffs and we’ve realized that you kind of have to be patient in what you do on the ice."
"And you can’t get too high and you can’t get low and you can’t get overconfident and you can’t take anything for granted, so patience in our game and patience in our attitude has helped us get to this point and we’re going to need that in order to keep moving forward."
5) Defense Creates Offense
The Bruins have a defensive system, with the five-man unit, and all players not only chipping in, but fully committing to supporting each other on the ice. That goes for both ends.
"I think we have people that can score goals and play in the offensive zone but I think in order to be successful in our system you’re got to be able to play in your own end, and everyone shows that they can do that," said Kelly, as he has said many times before.
"I think we’re a team that can defend well but also can score. I think that it’s simple as that."
"It’s a big part of our game is being responsible in the defensive zone and being responsible in the neutral zone," added Lucic. "And that’s how it’s always been here, so it shouldn’t change going into today’s game."