Bruins not afraid of Bell Centre magic entering Game 6
|05.12.14 at 2:19 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Monday’s Game 6 marks the Bruins’ last game at the Bell Centre this season. It’s up to them to decide whether the same goes for the Canadiens.
There’s no home-ice advantage like the Bell Centre. Look up home and away records and it will tell you otherwise, but there is no crowd like the Montreal crowd — both in decibel level and in influence.
The Bruins actually had a much better home record (31-7-3) than the Canadiens (23-13-5) this season, which makes sense because the Bruins were the best team in the NHL. The Bruins already have a victory at Centre Bell this series, and they can fondly recall the days of winning Games 3 and 4 in Montreal in 2011. Yet as the teams prepare for Monday’s Game 6, the idea of eliminating the Canadiens in their own building is daunting. The B’s couldn’t do it when they had the chance in 2011, as it took a seventh game and Nathan Horton overtime heroics to close out that series.
Should the Canadiens take Game 6, as they did in that classic 2011 series, they’ll have a full head of momentum headed into Boston for a winner-take-all seventh game. It’s do-or-golf time for the Habs, and they wouldn’t rather face it anywhere else.
“We understand they use their crowd to their advantage here,” Torey Krug said after Monday’s morning skate. “They come out very fast. When you can handle that, it does well for your team. We’re just going to come in and make sure we focus on the first 10 minutes and then after that we’ll see what happens and let it take care of itself.”
The Bruins aren’t going to psych themselves out, however. They know the building and they’ve won in the building. As intimidating as it may be to sit in the dressing room and hear all the madness going on during Montreal’s epic — and it is epic — pregame ceremony, they’re smart enough to try to avoid it. That especially goes for the younger guys.
“You try to focus on yourself. The biggest thing is you know they’re going to have their game plan and we’re going to have ours,” Matt Fraser said. “I think for us, we want to dictate the pace of play and dictate how things out there. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to stick to our game plan.”
Fraser handled his first real experience in the Bell Centre (he’d played a preseason game there back in September) extremely well, as he was given a career-high 14:44 of ice time and scored the game’s only goal on his first shift in overtime of Game 4.
The 23-year-old showed he can handle the postseason Bell Centre experience, and he hopes to do the same with the stakes even higher.
“Once you get out there and you get your feet wet and the game starts, you kind of just focus on what’s going on inside the glass,” Fraser said. “Obviously the Bell Centre was rocking and it’s pretty cool to be a part of that, but you’ve got to find a way to calm your nerves and you’ve got to find a way to play to your strengths.”
There were only two penalties called against the Bruins in Games 3 and 4, which is atypical of the Bell Centre. They think they were able to strike the right balance between physical and smart, but they’re prepared to kill penalties when needed.
Same goes for the power play, which hopes to carry some success in Game 5, when they scored their first two power-play goals of the series, to Montreal.
“You want to keep things going. We scored a couple of goals there on the power play after a little bit of a dry spell,” Krug said. “They have a great PK, so when they kill penalties in this building they get more momentum, and the crowd gets into it, so you when you do get an opportunity, you want to take advantage of it.”