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Bruins up 3-1 again, look to apply lessons from 2013

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins won Game 4 in overtime and hold a 3-1 series lead.

No, this isn't the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's 2014. But the scenario seems awfully familiar.

It was just last year that Boston took a 3-1 lead in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals only to let the Toronto Maple Leafs extend the series to seven games. The Bruins will try to avoid the same fate when they host the Detroit Red Wings for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at TD Garden on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

"You get these opportunities, and sometimes it's more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge," said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who Friday was named one of the three Vezina Trophy finalists. "You kind of start thinking about the end score of the game before the game even starts, and you kind of feel and hope that you get to do that. But I think we've learned over the years that it doesn't help us. We just have to focus on our job and the game itself, and then the results will take care of themselves. I hope we learned from the past years and are ready for tomorrow."

The killer instinct didn't elude the 2013 Bruins in later rounds; they defeated the New York Rangers in five games in the conference semifinals then swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference final before losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bruins coach Claude Julien isn't ignoring the similarities between last year and this year. He also knows the importance of not giving a talented team like the Red Wings hope or a chance to find their game.

"We can learn a lot from last year. Obviously, you can look at it whichever way you want. It doesn't mean just because it's happened before it has to be the same thing," Julien said. "There are different situations all the time. We have yet to lose respect for that team we are playing against. They have added some good players to their lineup last game. A guy like [Henrik] Zetterberg can only get better. … So there's a respect factor there that we have to be really good [Saturday] if we want to end the series. If not, then we're going back to their building, and that's something we would prefer not to do."

Game 6 would be Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

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