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Pregame Notebook: Bruins Look to Take Care of Business at Home

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - It's time to hit reset on this series, as it has become a best of three, with the Bruins holding home-ice advantage.

Each team has stolen a game in the opponent's arena, but the Black & Gold are hoping to get a boost from their home crowd at TD Garden on Saturday night for Game 5.

"It's back to even, we have home-ice advantage again which is huge, so we just have to take advantage of that," said Reilly Smith, following the team's optional morning skate.

The mentality in the Bruins' room has not surprisingly been more positive since Thursday's 1-0 overtime win that evened the series at 2-2.

"I think win or lose, we feel confident all the time," said Daniel Paille. "Obviously we're feeling good about ourselves…so I don't think anyone is struggling to focus."

"We try to keep pretty easy-going," said Smith. "Even when we were in Montreal, down 2-1. So it's good to come back and have home-ice advantage again, that's huge, we've just got to take care of business tonight, and then work from that."

Jumping out to a lead at home would help that cause. With the last game scoreless until Matt Fraser's overtime-winner at 1:19 into extra time, the Bruins still have only led in the series for about 11 and a half minutes. A strong start, with a strong forecheck and sustained pressure, would get the Bruins going at the right pace early on.

"We know that we have a deep team and we know we need everyone going, and when we have everyone going, we're pretty tough to stop," said Dougie Hamilton. "So hopefully we can get all four lines going and producing at the same time."

If Carey Price and Tuukka Rask play anywhere close to how they did in Game 4, offense will be tough to come by at both ends.

"It's a tight series, every game could go either way, and we've got to try to force it to come our way," said Hamilton.

In Game 4, it looked like everyone was focusing on defense first and not trying to make a mistake.

"Everyone kind of transitioned into that game, and it's definitely something we want to improve on, because we know we can produce a little bit more," said Paille. "But just like us, they play a good defensive game.

"You take what you can from Game 4, and use that to your advantage," said Fraser. "But at the same time, I said it before, win or lose the game, it's only one game. Tonight's a whole different animal and you know, we're ready to go."

Getting Physical

It's playoff hockey, and both sides are playing it tight, but the Bruins believe they can still try to impose their style of play more.

"We can probably be a little more physical still," said Smith. "You know, get pucks deep and make sure their defense are looking over their shoulders before they make a play, and I think we did a pretty good job last game. Just build on that momentum, and keep that style of play."

That physicality would help the Bruins sustain their forecheck longer and keep bringing the pressure from shift to shift.

"I don't think anyone likes to get hit, especially not by someone who's 6-9," said Hamilton, referencing his 'D' partner. "So I think we've got to keep doing it, and keep wearing them down."

"We've still got to be physical and get on them, so we can't take that away."

Letting Them Play

In Game 4, there were only three penalties called, including just one on the Bruins. In Game 3, only two were called.

For the most part, the officials have been letting the teams decide the game for themselves.

"That's how the playoffs are supposed to be played. You're not supposed to let playoffs played in the box the whole game, you're supposed to let a lot go," said Brad Marchand. "That's how it's always been, and that's what makes it so challenging, when you're battling it out five-on-five, and that's where you really decide who's the better team."

"When you're in the box the whole game and there's marginal calls being made, then that's not what playoff hockey is supposed to be about, I think they've done a really good job of allowing us to play."

"In this series, I think they’ve done a wonderful job of letting both teams play," echoed Head Coach Claude Julien. "So at the end of the night, for the most part, the better team has won."

Things Can Change Quickly

The Habs have shown that being opportunistic can turn the game in your favor, even if you're not the team who's in control at the time.

Just one turnover, one play, one chance, one goal can be the difference, especially with two sharp goaltenders stopping nearly every puck they see.

"Last game, we turned the puck over a little too many times in the neutral zone, gave them odd-man rushes, so if we can clean that up, that will be huge for our game tonight," said Smith.

The Bruins also saw that turn in their favor, with Fraser's OT-winner.

"You look at the goal, it was the only type of goal that was going to go in, the way both goalies were playing," said Paille. "Everyone's kind of focusing on getting the win the defensive way."

"We're just calm, and we know in any situation, as long as we prepare the right way, anything can happen," said Marchand. "Luckily, we got that break."

'Merlot' Reunion

The 'Merlot Line' of Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton was reunited in Game 4 for the first time all postseason, and really, for the first time since the end of the regular season.

Fraser's addition to the lineup helped make that happen.

"During the second period, we started feeling more like ourselves," said Paille. "First period, I don't think we had too much flow, felt like we were chasing a little bit, but as the game went on, I felt like we were getting more comfortable with each other."

"It was the first time I had played with them in over a month, and even practice, so it was good to kind of see us back together, playing the way we need to towards the end."

"We've had a couple of days here to reassess and talk to each other and just try to get things back to normal."

Paille's speed is the X factor on that line. Their familiarity and support on the ice has always allowed them to match up well against the opponent's top lines, if need be. The coaching staff has full trust in them.

Look for the trio to help better sustain the Bruins' four-line attack in Game 5.

"Just those three together, they’ve been together forever, so there is obviously chemistry there," said Julien. "There’s better knowledge of each other so that’s certainly a plus. That’s just, I guess, a natural thing as far as that line is concerned. There’s no doubt when Dan is on that line, they are a better line."

Optional Pregame Skate

The Bruins held a well-attended optional pregame skate Saturday morning before Game 5, as most players had stayed off the ice the day prior.

Milan Lucic was the only player not on the ice, opting to stay off for his pregame preparation. Lucic was one of the only top minute-loggers to practice on Wednesday.

Boston Projected Lineup: Game 4

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeorn - Reilly Smith

Matt Fraser - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Johnny Boychuk

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Chad Johnson

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