Though not perfect, Bruins playing their best hockey of series with chance to close out Habs
|05.11.14 at 11:10 pm ET|
It isn’t just because the Bruins have a 3-2 lead in the series, but they have plenty reason to be confident in themselves right now.
With two chances to close out the Habs, the B’s are playing their best hockey of the series. The first two games of the series saw them have to rely on third-period comebacks to allow them to split the games at the Garden, while Game 3 saw them make far too many mistakes in a 4-2 loss. Yet the last two games have seen them turn a corner of playing sound defensive hockey while managing to get offense both on the power play and an increasingly strong third line.
‘I like the way we’ve gotten better as a team. I like that we’ve progressively improved our game,’ Gregory Campbell said Sunday. ‘We’ve been fairly strong mentally. Montreal’s a tough place to play and we were down 2-1, but we fought our way back and put ourselves in a good position.’
Bruins players seemed to be in agreement that Saturday’s 4-2 victory in Game 5 was their best game of the series. That game saw their power play break through with a pair of goals, while the fact that they got on the board early and built a 3-0 lead allowed them to play all but the first 13:19 with a lead.
“We had a solid game last game,” Matt Bartkowski said. “We had a good start and had the lead for once, which was nice. I think we played a pretty complete game. I said that before the game, if we play a full 60 minutes, we don’t really give them much and we’re fine.”
The Bruins didn’t give the Habs much in Game 5. After shutting out Montreal in Game 4 to even the series, the B’s kept the Habs quiet in five-on-five play, with Montreal’s only goals coming in the form of power play tallies, the second of which was a six-on-four goal with Carey Price pulled with 2:29 remaining.
Whether Game 6 sees as few penalties as the first two in Montreal did (the B’s took two penalties) remains to be seen, but if the refs lay off the whistles it will be advantageous to the Bruins. Boston is the better five-on-five team anyway, but the way the B’s have silenced Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais (thanks largely to Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron) has made up for the lack of offense out of David Krejci‘s line and left Montreal looking for answers.
With the Bruins having found their way and the Canadiens struggling to find a way to beat Tuukka Rask, the best thing the Canadiens have going for them in Game 6 is the fact that it’s at the Bell Centre. Remember, the last time the Bruins had a 3-2 series lead and the opportunity to end the series in Montreal, they couldn’t do it. The roster is plenty different from that 2011 team, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that closing out the Habs at the Bell Centre won’t come easy.
“Our biggest focus right now is to close out the series as fast as we can,” Reilly Smith said. “You don’t want to give a team like Montreal time to linger around because anything can happen in games and their goalie’s been pretty hot. If you give them a chance to shut you out, he’ll definitely do that. We’re going into the Bell Centre trying to [win]. That’s definitely our main focus.”