BostonBruins.com - As Brad Marchand and the Bruins opened up the third period of Game Two, they were clinging to a one-goal lead.
With 20 minutes standing between the B’s and a 2-0 series lead, the Bruins had two options: Play a conservative period and defend in their own zone, or continue to build on what the team had done right for the first 40 minutes.
When Marchand tallied just 26 seconds after the puck dropped on the final period, it was clear Boston wasn’t content sitting on its lead, as the Bruins scored twice in the last period of play to put away the Rangers, 5-2, and head to New York City up two games to none.
“Guys are really trying to stay focused on doing their job in the third period,” said Marchand postgame from the Bruins' locker room. “We know how important [third periods] are, especially after what we went through being down by a few goals.
“We know that it’s possible for any team to come back from any score, so we want to make sure we don’t let up.”
Having been on the victorious end of a miraculous third period comeback just six days earlier in the same building, the Bruins have seen firsthand just how quickly leads can be extinguished. So in the final period of Sunday afternoon’s Game Two, Boston looked just as hungry as ever.
“You can’t take anything for granted right now. It’s playoffs,” said Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who scored what ended up being the game-winning goal midway through the second period. “We’ve been just doing the simple things.
“Limiting the turnovers is a key because they’re a good team offensively, and we know that they can score, and if you limit the turnovers and play more time in their zone you [have a] better chance to win.”
The Bruins protected their lead in the third by getting the puck deep in the Rangers zone and forcing New York to go the full 200 feet to mount any attack.
Playing the full 60 was something the Bruins knew would be key entering Sunday’s tilt, with Boston expecting a more intense Rangers side looking to avoid a 2-0 series hole.
“The experience we had in the last round, we should know that they're going to be better, they're going to come out harder, so we're going to have to match that, if not take it a notch above that,” Shawn Thornton said before the game.
As the Bruins played with the lead and kept the Rangers at bay, Head Coach Claude Julien continued to roll all four lines, keeping his players fresh, and making things difficult for New York.
For their efforts, Boston will travel to New York and Madison Square Garden up two games, a building that the Rangers have yet to lose in during the playoffs.
“Anything can happen, and sometimes a team can play better in front of their hometown and we don’t expect them to lay down,” Boychuk said. “We expect it to be a very physical and demanding game next game, and we know that they’re going to be ready.”
But like Games One and Two, the Bruins know it will take another complete effort to take a game in New York, much like the Bruins have displayed in the early part of this series.
“They were down 2-0 in their last series and we know we can’t take them lightly,” Marchand said. “We got to make sure we go to New York being very hungry and ready to go out hard.”