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Pregame in Montreal: Strong Start, Special Teams Key for B's in Game 3

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

MONTREAL - With two days off between games, the Bruins and Canadiens have rested and regrouped, as the teams get set to face off in Game 3 on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

With the series tied at 1-1, and the importance of the go-ahead game tonight is not lost on the Black & Gold.

They've had to play catch-up hockey the past two games, and they know that will be much tougher to do without the momentum-building spark from their home crowd.

The Bruins can draw positives from their third period efforts, though, having scored seven goals in the final frame through the first two games.

"Obviously, try to build up from what we did in that third period and try to bring that to tonight’s game for a full 60 minutes," Patrice Bergeron said pregame from the Bell Centre, of the team's mindset heading into Game 3.

"They’re a great team and we can’t just play for bits and pieces in games."

Boston tallied a four-goal third period in the 5-3 comeback win this past Saturday, but they had started the game with a 1-0 lead, outshooting the Canadiens 13-6 in the opening frame.

Before that, in Game 1, the Bruins found themselves in a 1-0 hole in the first period, but had come out firing.

"We know the building’s going to be loud, so we just need to have the same start as we have the last few games," said David Krejci. "We just need to go out there and put the puck in the net."

"We have to find a way and play with the lead. We’re a pretty good team when we have the lead, so we just have to go out there and get the first goal and go from there."

As Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media on Monday back in Boston, the Bruins are a team that doesn't 'get rattled.' They know they can find a way to overcome any challenge, even if they happen to find themselves in a hole in the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

Krejci didn't want to think in hypotheticals on Tuesday morning, though.

"Yeah, it could go badly, it could go good, so you just have to prepare yourself and focus on your game and like I said, have a strong start and go from there."

As far as the loudness of the 21,000-plus at the Bell Centre, Bergeron reiterated what the Bruins have all been saying the past few days - it's the playoffs, and every building has an amazing, loud atmosphere.

"It’s the emotions, it’s the fans, it’s the intensity of [the Canadiens] being excited and trying to build off of it. And for us, it’s about just trying to play our game and have a good start and try to shut that down right away," said Bergeron.

"Every building has some loud fans at this time of the year and they’re all passionate about their team so for us, it’s about just focusing, again, on what we need to do," said Julien. "Our fans are back home cheering us on and we have to know that in the back of our minds."

"And right here, it’s about dealing with the situations that are going to happen on the ice, and we’ve been able to do that in the past in the playoffs and we have to approach it the same way here today."

For those in the Spoked-B, the focus must be on themselves, and nothing else.

"It doesn’t matter what they do. It really matters what we do, and I think we’ve proved that in the last game in the third period when we just focused on what we needed to do, it didn’t matter what they had or what they didn’t have," said Julien.

Special Teams Focus

Going into this series, the Bruins knew special teams would be a factor - it usually is. They had entered the second round first on the power play and second on the penalty kill.

Through the first two games, they are 0-for-5 on the power play and just 5-for-9 on the penalty kill.

"We’ve definitely made some adjustments and we’ve talked about it. Bottom line, we’ve got to do a better job," said Bergeron, of the PK. "And be maybe more aggressive and just more in sync and be talking more on the ice. You know, we are definitely a good penalty kill group and we've just got to do a good job."

By being aggressive, also look for the Bruins to try and take away more of the point shots, especially from the arsenal of P.K. Subban.

"Blocking more shots. They’re doing a good job of getting pucks through but we just have to bear down and make clears," said Johnny Boychuk.

As the Black & Gold have spoken about at length the past few days (you can read more of their thoughts on shutting down the Habs' power play in the Bruins Blog), the first key will be discipline.

"The biggest thing is you turn around and you tell your players to turn the page and go out there and try to play the way they can," said Julien, of the entire team keeping their emotions in check.

"And that’s part of the message our team has to take from the last game, is when we focus on the things we can control, it’s a lot more beneficial for us than not."

"With what’s at stake, I think discipline’s been a big word and it’s been important for both teams, I think, and it is even more so for us," said Bergeron.

"They have a great power play and we have to do a better job on the PK but that being said, I think it’s about playing in between the whistles as hard as we can and go from there."

As for the Bruins' power play, they feel that the chances are coming, and that the execution is there.

"I think it’s just finishing," said Torey Krug. "We’re moving the puck well and have pretty solid movement and good looks at the net, it’s just we’ve got to find a way to get past Carey Price."

Pushing Aside the White Noise

There are storylines abound during a playoff series, with the 'war of words' going back and forth between what both teams are being asked, and how they're answering. It may not always be the most accurate representation of how the teams feel or what they think.

That's the nature of it, though, and the players are well aware.

"I haven’t been actually reading anything or watching the media so I couldn’t really tell you," said Boychuk, when asked about 'trash talking' going on. "I’ve seen a couple of blurbs but nothing really to be concerned about."

For an NHL playoffs first-timer like Reilly Smith, one might think it's an adjustment he'd have to make, trying to block out the increased amount of outside attention.

"I think it’s easier than people make it out to be," said Smith. "For us and especially this time of year, these two cities, they’re going to try to hype things up as much as they can and as a player you just try to stay away from it because there’s no real positives that can come out of it."

Boston Projected Lineup: Game 3

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Daniel Paille - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Andrej Meszaros - Johnny Boychuk

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Chad Johnson

Projected Scratches: Justin Florek, Matt Bartkowski

-Dennis Seidenberg skated with the group, but does not take contact. He practices and joins pregame skates at the eighth/ninth defenseman.
-Corey Potter was skating with the team for the first time since being injured during an optional skate at TD Garden on April 25.

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