BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have won eight best-of-7 series in three of the past four Stanley Cup Playoffs, including their five-game win against the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Conference First Round this season.
Some series have been short, some have been long. The Bruins have been in all sorts of permutations in terms of leads and deficits.
It'd be easy to focus on the negative experiences and point out that since 2010 the Bruins have failed to close a series with a 3-2 lead on the road four times. But the Bruins, who hold that 3-2 lead heading on the road for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), would rather focus on their positive experiences.
Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton was part of the Bruins' loss in Game 6 and victory in Game 7 last year in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I don't even remember that [Game 6] last year. I just remember that we lost and I remember everything after that," Hamilton said about the conclusion of the Toronto series. "And then obviously Game 7, anything can happen, like we saw with that. So it's important for us to really get a good start and we know how desperate they're going to be. So we have to match that and really play desperate. Not just say it, but play it. We realize how much it means to us."
The Bruins, who scored three late third-period goals then in overtime to eliminate the Maple Leafs in Game 7, also were forced to Game 7 by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round in 2010, and by the Canadiens in the first round and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final in 2011.
Picking out the experiences to learn from or to ignore is a difficult business. You might learn more from a loss or get overconfident thinking about a win. Or a win might teach you how to duplicate a positive effort. The core of these Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and came up short in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. What matters most is what they can now get done against the Canadiens.
"It's a fine line of learning from those experiences but also turning the page, but also it's a new year," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. "We were up in a situation last round where we were up 3-1 and there were comparisons to the Toronto series. So it's something that we have to take as a new opportunity and be prepared as a team. Everybody always says that the fourth game is the hardest to win, but it's a game where we want to play our best."