The Boston Bruins, trailing the Montreal Canadiens two-games-to-one, will look to even things up in Game 4 of their second-round series at the Bell Centre Thursday night.
The Canadiens successfully removed Boston from their comfort zone in Game 3 and dictated play. If the Bruins want to draw this series even, they’ll need to re-establish their winning identity. It all starts with an improved showing from Tuukka Rask in net.
Rask has been far from his superior self thus far against Montreal and he’s openly admitted it. Carey Price has played with confidence, making numerous big saves. Boston would certainly benefit from a few highlight reel stops in order to fuel a much needed victory.
Though goaltending is far from all that Boston must improve upon. Claude Julien‘s team cannot afford another slow start. The Canadiens have led the Bruins by two goals in each of the three prior games. Constantly playing from behind is not conducive to winning. Whether it be a few minor lineup tweaks or just improved mental focus, the Bruins have little room for error with a two-game deficit staring them down.
And then there’s the physical aspect of the Bruins game, or lack there of. In Game 2, the Bruins brought it hard, though they often found themselves in the penalty box. Perhaps the fear of the whistle in Game 3 gave way to a more laid back approach, allowing the Canadiens to impose their will and comfortably play their style.
If the Bruins worry about extraneous factors dictating the outcome of Game 4, such as the referees, they’ll surely fall short. Penalties are an inevitable part of the game. Boston needs to amp up the intensity, finish checks and get in the face of the Canadiens. Boston is second to no one with their backs against the wall. Julien will have his troops ready to rock and roll.
P.K. Subban has had his way with the Bruins. He has scored three goals and has tallied three assists in the series, including a breakaway goal in Game 3. Boston needs to be aware of him at all times and man up on him through matching his intensity.
Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla have in large part been rendered ineffective. They’ve generated chances, but have struggled to finish. They’re the line that makes the Bruins tick. A big game out of that trio could go a long way toward success.