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Pregame Notebook: Game 2 vs. MTL

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – Game 1 has come and gone and the Bruins are now immersed  in their latest quest for The Cup.

After falling 2-0 to a Canadiens team backed by 31 saves from Carey Price, Boston is looking to rebound tonight and even the series before the squads travel to Montreal for Games 3 and 4.

The Bruins spent yesterday morning practicing at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, while Montreal took the day off for off-ice preparations.

Boston is looking at tonight’s game as a must-win, while also understanding that the series is seven games long and they haven’t been eliminated yet.

Puck is set to drop at 7:12 p.m.

Marchand, Horton make playoff debuts
For Bruins Brad Marchand, Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, last night’s 1-0 Game 1 loss to the Canadiens marked their first NHL playoff game.

Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand, left, shoots as Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes the save in the first period of a first-round NHL hockey playoff game in Boston, Thursday, April 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
It was a night they’ll always remember and, despite the loss, it was filled with moments they’ll never forget.

“It was exciting. Right from the get-go, it was very exciting, very intense. But you don’t think about [it being your first playoff game] going into the game. You’re more worried about doing your job and doing what you have to do,” Marchand said.

The TD Garden was filled, The fans were loud and towels were waving everywhere. It’s an atmosphere reserved for postseason rivalries, and it’s an experience some franchises rarely -- if ever -- get to experience.

While Marchand made his postseason debut in his rookie season, Horton played six seasons for the Florida Panthers without ever getting a taste of playoff ice.

The excitement can be a lot to handle, but Horton said the experience of his first playoff game didn’t affect his performance on the ice. The right-winger finished the night a minus-1 with three shots on goal in 17:53 of ice time.

 “I think we played pretty hard and we had our chances. We just need to fix a few things. It’s going to be a long one and we all know that,” Horton said.  “They are a good team but it’s just game one.”

In terms of the actual hockey, both players noticed a difference.

“Well it’s really tight. You don’t get too much and you’re battling for that open space and that extra little bit. It’s definitely a different style and you have to work a little bit harder,” Horton said. 

Marchand didn’t think the game changed, but saw a saw an increase in tempo and conservative play.

“It was faster, a little more intense. I don’t think the game changed a whole lot. Guys just seemed to keep it a little more simple and tried to stay away from turnovers,” Marchand said.

“I think that was the biggest difference. In that way you can use more speed getting in the zone.”

Boston Traffic
The Bruins laid 31 shots on Montreal goaltender Carey Price Thursday night, but Price stood tall for his team, and stopped all 31 Boston attempts.

The problem the Bruins found was that Price’s vision was clear and most of their shots were hitting Price square in the chest.

“We just couldn’t find a way to score any goal on Price. He’s a good goalie, he’s big and we have to find ways to get pucks by him,” said B’s forward Michael Ryder. “If it’s more traffic or just generating more shots like that he seems to be in the zone right now making that first save and not giving up any rebounds.”

“I think that’s the main things. I think we did a lot of good things and I think we just have to build on that and maybe get a little better trying to find ways to score.”

At yesterday’s morning practice in Wilmington, the Bruins spent a portion working on their net front presence and getting traffic in front of Price.

“I think sometimes you just lose that instinct around the net and getting traffic, getting there a burying down and that’s what we worked on today,” Ryder said. “Make sure we got pucks and just trying to make sure we get traffic and get shots and try to find the back of the net and get some confidence.”

In order to beat Price, whose 72 regular season starts was most among goalies this season and set a club record, the Bruins need to block his vision and force him to move around the crease.

“We need to be a little bit better down low, and stronger on the puck,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.

“We know that we have to be a little bit more involved and some of the net front presence isn’t necessarily something you have to practice more than it’s a mindset.

“If we commit ourselves to going there, we’ll get there.”

Bruins: ‘It’s a seven game series’
No team looks to lose the opener of a seven game series, especially when the opener is at home, and loosing it steal away home ice-advantage. But the Bruins know that despite falling in Game 1, they have six possible contests to make up ground on Montreal.

The TD Garden was sold out to a capacity crowd of 17,565 on Thursday night and they all had the same expectations -- a Bruins victory.

While Boston fell in Game 1, the B's intend on making Game 2 a different story.

“I don’t think we need to panic right now,” Ryder said.  “It’s a seven game series and there is still a lot of hockey left. If we come out tomorrow and get off to a good start, and if we win it’s an even series. I think that’s what we have to look for.”

Puck drops on Game 2 tonight and the Bruins see the contest as a must-win situation.

Heading to Montreal down 2-0 compared to knotted up at 1-1, can make a huge difference in a series.

“I would say so,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said when asked if tonight’s game was a must-win. “You never want to lose the first game and lose home ice advantage. But I think we’re confident enough and strong enough to overcome that obstacle.”

Following Thursday’s game, the Bruins turned the page on Game 1 and yesterday were focused on preparing for tonight’s match-up.

“I think that’s why they are best out of seven here. It’s one loss here and it’s not the end of the world, but we have to understand that we can bounce back next game,” Julien said.

“It’s as simple as that. And in the playoffs, sometimes you have to have a short memory. You have to be able to turn the page quickly and bounce back and be ready to focus for the next game.”

Canadiens Prepare for Game 2
Winning Game 1 on the road and stealing home-ice advantage from Boston, is a good start for the Canadiens, but with six possible games remaining on the docket, Montreal knows they can’t rest now.

Montreal head coach Jacques Martin
“They have experience on their team. They know it’s just the one game, and same for us—just one game. We all expect a long series, so we have to be ready for the game and we know they will come out harder and better and we have to do the same thing,” said Montreal forward Tomas Plekanec.

“In the playoffs it doesn’t matter if you win or lose [Game 1]. It’s one game and it’s going to be a long series.”

In terms of the Bruins, Montreal knows that Boston won’t be shut down after falling in the first game. In fact, the Canadiens expect the B’s to be more determined and fighting for their postseason life.

“I’m sure they’re just going to try to throw more pucks at the net and go to the net and try to get more traffic in front of Carey. He did a great job in stopping even rebound shots. They didn’t score a goal, so they’re going to try to change something,” said defenseman James Wisniewski.

Forward David Desharnais is also counting on Boston playing a better all around game tonight and noted the intensity the Bruins will bring to the game.

“They’re going to adjust. We know what to expect from them,” he said.

“They’re going to come hard, they’re a good team. So for sure they are going to be better than what they’ve been, but we just have to keep playing and keep our game plan.”

Montreal took Game 1 by a score of 2-0, backed by two goals from Boston College product Brian Gionta and goaltender Carey Price’s 31 saves.

“I think we did lots of things right. We played smart and we didn’t take too many turnovers and changes against,” said Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.

“I think it was the kind of game where we wanted to go into it and we did a good job with it.”

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