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Pregame Notebook: Game 2 at Vancouver

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins -- After dropping a heartbreaking Game 1 by a close 1-0 score, the Boston Bruins are looking to even their Stanley Cup Final series before heading back to Boston.

Tonight’s Game 2 marks the third time this postseason the Bruins were down early in a series.

Down 1-0 in a series, the B’s have a 1-1 record in Game 2, 2-0 deficit isn’t something the Bruins can’t overcome (they did in against Montreal in the first round), but it’s a situation they would rather not find themselves in.

The B’s have enjoyed two days off in Vancouver to prepare for tonight’s Game 2 and Boston will lay everything on the ice to avoid the deficit.

Bruins emphasize a strong start
It’s not that the Bruins didn’t come out strong in Game 1, but had they scored an early goal, they may be looking at a different scenario heading into Game 2.

Vancouver had the momentum early in Game 1, as would be expected of the home team in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final, but Boston was able to battle quickly back and take over much of the energy the Canucks had gained.

“I think they skated pretty well. I think we did a good job of skating for the most part but if we're not skating we're not a danger, and I think if we're skating at the same time on the backcheck, maybe that'll slow them a little bit down,” Bruins forward Rich Peverley said.

A better start is something Boston is keyed in on coming out of the gates in Game 2. The B’s know if they can quiet the Rogers Arena crowd, they can take a lot of the wind out of the Canucks’ sails.

“The games that we've won we've had a good start and we haven't let them score right away, you know I think it's key for any game we play in, you want to get a good start and play the way you're going to play for the rest of the game,” Peverley said.

Scoring an early goal is only half the battle. The Bruins will also have to come out strong defensively and keep the scoring-heavy Canucks off the board.

“I think now in this league, every team's going to pick up a lead, you know, you have to go out, you have to get a good start and try to do whatever you can to get a goal, and if you get that goal, you're creating chances, you're going to give yourself a better chance,” said Peverley.

The solid start doesn’t begin the moment the puck drops, but rather hours, maybe even days before. The teams have had two days to erase the Wednesday’s game from their minds and mentally prepare for tonight’s Game 2.

“It’s being sharp mentally, it's being sharp physically also, and faceoffs are the big thing,” said Peverley. “And if you start with the clock you're going to give yourself a better chance.

Julien pleased with Seguin’s development
It’s been a long road from No. 2 draft pick to the Stanley Cup Final for Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin. The 18-tunred-19-year-old has had his fair share of ups and downs, including four point period’s and stints as a healthy scratch. But at just a possible six games away from the end of his rookie season, Seguin is leaps and bounds from where he began just a short year ago.

Seguin looks on during an optional team hockey practice, Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Bruins and Vancouver Canucks play Game 2 of the NHL's Stanley Cup final game series on Saturday in Vancouver. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
The Bruins have taken a slow and steady pace to Seguin’s development, not exposing him to too much too early, and allotting him the time and patience it takes for the youngster to improve his game.

“But what I liked and admired about Tyler is that he wanted to be part of a winning team. He was certainly willing to pay the price and learn throughout the season. His attitude has been great. He’s definitely bought into what we’re trying to do with him to make him a real great hockey player in the future,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.

“And from our end of it there’s no doubt this guy is going to be outstanding. His skill level is so good and right now the experience is what he’s gaining and which will make him a better player.”

Coming straight from the junior ranks to the NHL was a big leap for Seguin. A star with the Plymouth Whalers, Seguin was far and above the best player on the ice in most circumstances. Rarely did he have to battle along the boards or make space for himself on the ice. His elevated skill level allowed him to create plays with his speed and dekes as he made a name for himself in juniors.

But the NHL was a different story and Seguin quickly learned the plot line. Battle, play physical and work hard. Seguin did all that and more.

“Obviously being eighteen when he first came to us and being nineteen now, when you go from playing junior hockey to straight to the NHL, the one thing that you realize pretty quickly is that guys are pretty strong and sturdy and he had to make that adjustment to that,” Julien said.

“But he’s been really good.”

Seguin sat out the first two rounds of the Bruins playoff run, as Julien elected to go with the more experience line-up. But an injury to center Patrice Bergeron in the decisive Game 4 of Boston’s second round series with Philadelphia allotted Seguin the opportunity to get in a game.

Seguin has been in the line-up ever since.

“We started the playoffs with a lineup that we thought was the best lineup at the time and when the occasion came for him to step in, he did a really great job. And although he hasn’t put up a ton of points since his first two games, he’s still done a lot of good things,” said Julien.

Vigneault stresses importance of tonight’s Game 2
Although they already find themselves up 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final series, Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault is stressing the importance of tonight’s Game 2 to his team.

Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault watches team drills from center ice during practice for the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Friday, June 3, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canucks host the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the best-of-seven games series on Saturday. The Canucks lead 1-0. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Vancouver took away the Game 1 victory with a slim 1-0 win. Raffi Torres scored the game’s lone goal with just 18.5 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Canucks went 0-6 on the power play—an area they typically excel in.

If they wish to keep their home-ice advantage, earned via having the best regular season record in the NHL, Vancouver has to come out with a win tonight.

“I think for both teams obviously it's a very important game. For them, without a doubt, they're thinking about coming in here and getting at least a split. We're thinking about keeping home-ice advantage,” Vigneault said.

Although the importance of getting a win tonight isn’t lost on his team, Vigneault is still taking everything one game at a time—no matter if it’s the Stanley Cup Final or not.

It’s something that many teams have trouble with, not making changes just because it’s the playoffs. Sticking with what got you here is a key component to a deep playoff run and something that Vigneault, and Bruins head coach Claude Julien, has done well.

“I've said this a thousand times: we're playing every game, we're getting ready for every game one at a time. We put a plan out for the players,” said Vigneault. “We expect them to go out and execute. After we've played that game, we analyze it, make the adjustments we need, and move on.”

Wednesday’s game ended with a ‘W’ for Vancouver, but they didn’t feel they played their strongest. In addition to their power plays woes, Boston was able to maintain possession in the offensive zone for long periods of time and Vancouver wasn’t able to get set up behind the B’s defensemen.

“I thought the first game was a very good game as far as us getting better in the game. We had our best period in the third. We had been off for eight days. I thought in the third period we were playing faster. We showed more speed on the ice.

“I expect that to continue here in Game 2.”
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