The Boston Bruins face elimination on Sunday after falling to the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Saturday afternoon in TD Garden.
Although the club has faced the possible premature end of a season before, the Bruins know that just because they've staved off an early summer before, it's not automatic that they do it again.
"You've got to bring it and do it," said goaltener Tim Thomas
, who helped the B's win three Game 7's last spring en route to the Stanley Cup championship. "It’s not going to be for granted that we’re going to do it [again].
"It’s up to us in this room."
After struggling to generate much offense in Game 4, and having gone 0-for-the-series on the power play, the Bruins were pleased with there newfound offensive pop and their breakthrough on the PP Saturday.
But the defending NHL champions were displeased with how long it took for their desperation to take hold in a pivotal point of the series.
"We have to look at ourselves," said Dennis Seidenberg
when asked if the B's slow start could be attributed to Washington's stingy play.
"We have to come out harder, with more energy and get emotionally involved a bit quicker than we have the first few games," explained the veteran blueliner, who added. "I’m sure we’re going to do that different tomorrow."
But it stands to reason that the Capitals, and series standout Braden Holtby, will continue their progression, too.
"Again, [Holtby] played extremely well – he made that one stop and stretched out and got it with his toe.," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk
. "We did play well, but it wasn’t good enough.
"They scored more goals than us and [at] the end of the day we lost the game and...tomorrow we have to win."
And as the B's prepared to depart Boston, their focus had already shifted to Game 6 in Washington, DC.
"We obviously don’t want to be here, but we have been here before and the experience should help," said forward Shawn Thornton
, who has earned Cup rings with Anaheim and Boston. "We know we have to focus on one game, not the big picture so we’re looking forward to coming back here."
Across the locker room, Thomas agreed and reiterated that the B's simply can't expect success.
"Basically knowing that we’ve been in these types of situations and responded well in the past can help to build confidence as a group; that we have what it takes to come back and do what we’re going to need to do to win this series if we want to move on," said Thomas. "But having said that, it’s up to us to do it, not just to know that we’ve done it before.
"So don’t think it’s just going to happen. We’re going to have to reach down deep inside of ourselves and find a way."