TORONTO -- There was plenty of “momentum” talk in the Bruins dressing room on Sunday morning -- as in the Bruins don’t believe in such a thing after watching the Maple Leafs fight off elimination in Game 5 to hike back up to Toronto for Game 6 in what’s sure to be a hostile environment at the Air Canada Centre.
“I don’t know if there is such a thing . . . honestly,” said Claude Julien. “When you get to the playoffs, whether you win or lose, you turn the page and get back to the next game. As a losing team you know you have to bounce back.
“As a winning team you’re trying to keep the momentum, but you know that there’s going to be some desperation from a losing team that wants to bounce back. I don’t think in any of the series you’ve seen a team totally dominate.”
Julien certainly has a point. There have been only two runaway wins in the series -- in Games 1 and 3 when the Bruins enjoyed victories by a three-goal margin.
But even if the casual hockey observer does believe in momentum, it’s hard to argue that Boston doesn’t have it after pouring it on in the third period of Game 5 while out-shooting the Leafs by a 19-4 margin.
It was the clock that finally ran out on the Bruins in the 2-1 loss as it took a spectacular save with the shaft of James Reimer’s stick on a Jaromir Jagr bid in front to stave off overtime.
The Bruins know if they come out of the starting gate with the urgency and desperation they showed in Game 5’s third period, then they’ll avoid the Game 7 scenario that is at the very bottom of Boston’s wish list.
“The team that plays desperate hockey for 60 minutes is the team that wins,” said Chris Kelly. “Momentum is something that’s thrown around a lot of the time, but it’s just a word. It’s whoever comes out and has that sense of desperation, and is willing to do the little things whether it’s Game 1 or Game 7.
“You don’t want to play Game 7’s. It’s anyone’s game when it gets to a Game 7. We want to come out, play hard and hopefully win tonight. If we come out with desperation from the start then we put ourselves in a pretty good spot. When you’re desperate, you’ll do whatever it takes to win. We need that right now.”
It will be readily apparent early in Game 6 if it’s the desperate Bruins team, or the same one that simply wasn’t ready to go Friday night in Boston, and that will make all the difference in the world.