RALEIGH, N.C. - Bruce Cassidy isn't planning any motivational speeches ahead of Thursday night's Game 4. With his team leading the Eastern Conference Final, 3-0, the Bruins know exactly what will be on the line when they take the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
"There's not a whole lot else. They know what's at stake," Cassidy said of what else he can say to his team before Game 4. "There's no rah-rah speeches here. We win a game, we advance, we understand that. We lose, we go home and play Game 5. That's pretty much where it's at for us."
A simple approach, no doubt, as Boston looks to lock up its first Stanley Cup Final berth since 2013 and the 20th in team history.
"They're fighting for their lives tonight and I feel like they want to bring a lot of energy, especially in this building," said Brandon Carlo. "Overall, we're gonna expect that push to start, but hopefully we can weather that storm a little bit better than we have and match that same intensity."
Video: Cassidy discusses chance to close series
Patrice Bergeron has seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to 3-0 leads in the postseason and is relying on those experiences heading into Game 4. In 2010, the Bruins lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games after holding a 3-0 series lead in the second round, while in 2013 Boston made quick work of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a sweep in the Eastern Conference Final.
"You learn from all the experiences, especially the ones that are not as fun…we have to take it a game at a time and not look ahead," said Bergeron, whose team has won six straight postseason games for the first time since 1978.
"We can't just sit on a 3-0 lead or 3-1 lead and think it's gonna be easy. There's gonna be that desperation from their side and also a nothing to lose attitude. We know it's gonna be there, so it's about making sure that we bear down and we play the right way and we play for the full 60."
Video: Bergeron talks experience ahead of Game 4
With the immense success of Tuukka Rask so far this postseason grabbing the headlines, the Bruins have made sure in recent days to appreciate the work of his backup, Jaroslav Halak. While Halak has not seen any time in the playoffs, his strong performance throughout the regular season allowed Rask the proper rest, which is clearly paying off.
With Halak suiting up for 40 games with a 2.34 goals against average and .922 save percentage, Rask played in just 46 contests, his lowest total since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign (36).
"We knew Tuukka would [play] less than in previous years…I think it's helped him," said Cassidy. "And that goes to Halak. He hasn't had a chance to get in there [in the playoffs] and that's probably a good thing, but he's a big reason why we're here, a big reason.
"He played excellent for us, picked us up a number of times this year. We were basically a two-headed monster in net…kudos to him."
Video: Carlo and DeBrusk talk Game 4 challenge
Thursday's Projected Lineup
With Chris Wagner sidelined after blocking a shot in Game 3, Noel Acciari will return to the lineup and slide into the fourth-line right wing spot.
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Backes
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton
Scratches: Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman, Zane McIntyre, and John Moore
Video: Brind'Amour, Hamilton, Svechnikov address media