BOSTON - The Bruins remember well the position they were in two weeks ago.
Returning to Boston with their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs tied at two games apiece, the Bruins had an opportunity to grab command in front of their home crowd.
Instead, Boston put forth what was, perhaps, its worst performance of the opening round. The Bruins, however, rebounded with back-to-back victories in Games 6 and 7 to advance to a second-round matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, against whom they find themselves in a familiar position.
With the series knotted at 2, the Bruins are aiming to apply those lessons learned when they hit the ice at TD Garden on Saturday night.
"I think that was our worst performance of the series," David Backes said of Games 5 against Toronto. "Having that jump, making sure that we're not letting any opportunities pass us by and have to play make-up later, certainly an unnecessary lesson to have learned last series, and apply it directly a couple weeks later."
Video: Backes ready to go after injury scare
One way to accomplish that is to feed off of what is sure to be an energetic crowd of 17,565.
"I think our fans are great, especially in the playoffs," said David Krejci. "They bring it to another level. I expect it to be loud again. Some people say other things, but I expect our fans to be pretty loud."
The Bruins will also be looking to build off of their performance in Game 4, during which they were able to extend a lead for the first time in the series and improve their play on special teams with two power-play goals and a perfect 4-for-4 night on the penalty kill.
"It's back to an even series and we've got home ice, so I think we're excited to be where we're at," said Backes, who will be back alongside Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the Bruins' second line. "That being said, when the game starts it's 0-0 and we've got to build our game and earn every inch of ice, the way it's been the whole series. Three one-goal games and we were able to extend the lead for the first time last game. We liked our recipe.
"Obviously the special teams, we won that battle 2-0 and that helps you win a game by a couple goals rather than just a one-goal margin."
Video: Cassidy talks Game 5, power play and top line
Noel Acciari did not take part in Saturday's pregame skate and is a game-time decision, per coach Bruce Cassidy. If Acciari is unable to go, Chris Wagner will return to the lineup for the first time since Game 2 of the series.
"It would be unfortunate for Noel not to play, he's been playing great," said Wagner. "But you've got to take it as an opportunity to help the team. We're all working towards one goal here. Next man up, like we say. Just gonna contribute positively in whatever way I can."
Cassidy believes that having Wagner - who played with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson earlier in the series - back with Sean Kuraly in a fourth-line role will help the winger get back to a more consistent style of play.
"[Karson] Kuhlman brought more pace," said Cassidy. "I think they've played their best hockey with a [Sean] Kuraly, [Joakim Nordstrom] kind of look. Now that they're all healthy, they all can't play on the same line, obviously. We inserted Backs the other night, did a good job, got more involved as the game went on, lot of penalty kills, so he had to sit for a bit.
"Wagner, we expect to go out…and he's always physical, so he's going to compete on pucks, secondary penalty kill. Haven't seen a lot of offense out of him. He got hot in the regular season, we hope he can pitch in there, be a little bit harder on pucks in the O-zone.
"I think, with that line, that's his comfort level with those guys. Sean's very good at that, so he's good at finding the front of the net, so hopefully that kind of comfort and chemistry he's had will help him out."
Video: Wagner potentially back in lineup
Saturday's Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Backes
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton
Scratches: Noel Acciari, Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman, and John Moore.
Video: Bergeron readies for all important Game 5