|Claude Julien: ‘We can’t be tight’ if we want to reach Stanley Cup finals||05.24.11 at 1:26 am ET|
Claude Julien is on the verge of taking his Bruins to a place no one has in 21 years. It’s a place he won’t mention by name by it starts with “Stanley” and ends with “Cup finals”.
And after Monday’s 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Eastern finals, he’s more than prepared for all the questions he’ll be hearing about it over the next two days.
“Well it’s going to take, and you’ve heard it before, it’s almost a cliché, it’s going to take our best game. When a team’s got its back against a wall, it comes out with the best of efforts and this is where we have to make sure that next game, as I mentioned here earlier, we can’t be tight,” Julien said. “We’ve got to out there and play with a purpose and be ready to go out there and play hard.
“Maybe put them on their heels and maybe get them to play tight. But this is the position you want to be in obviously, up in the series. We’ve got two games here to win one. Our goal right now is not to play Game 7. And I know their goal is to create a Game 7. So, there’s a difference between the two teams.”
Julien doesn’t want to see his team feel the pressure in Game 6 the way they did in the first period Monday night.
“I just think we need to understand we’ve got the lead in this series. And we’ve got to go out there and play without playing on our heels. When you’ve got the lead like that you should go out and play on your toes, not your heels, and if you play well enough, maybe you put the other team on their heels. I didn’t say we are groining to put them on their heels, I said the goal is to play well and try to play as well as you can. And they’ve got their backs against the wall, so this is our opportunity here to come up with our best effort of the series.”
Julien said the Bruins were feeling it in the first period Monday night and it showed in a 1-0 deficit after the opening 20 minutes.
“I think it’s kind of a normal situation right now,” Julien said. “Everybody understands the expectations, the pressure. It’s a 2-2 series and our guys want to do well. I think they were prepared, I think they were mentally ready for the game, but sometimes the pressure slows you down a little bit. And we kind of loosened up in the second period. We talked about it and we knew we couldn’t win the hockey game playing that way. So we had to loosen up and our guys did a great job, starting with the penalty kill again in the second period and then we took off from there.”
The Bruins were outshot, 14-4, in the first period but found a way to tie the game after his penalty-killing unit killed off back-to-back interference penalties by Nathan Horton to end the first period and open the second. It was in the first intermission, Julien delivered his message to Horton and the rest of the team.
“I think we just had to go out there and play hockey,” Julien said. “We made some other adjustments, but the one thing I said is that we look at little slow out there, our legs look a little heavy, and that’s just based on not tiredness, but more probably feeling the pressure.”