TAMPA The Bruins have been through this exact scenario once before, and theyre hoping they are a little wiser for it the second time around. The Bs approached a Game 6 on the road against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs after fighting all the way back to take a 3-2 lead in that series, and things got out of control in that game. Officiating became a huge factor with refs Kevin Pollock and Chris Lee handing out 11 penalties at the Bell Centre and Milan Lucic getting booted from the game for a boarding call, and the Bs lost a 2-1 hockey game despite playing reasonably well.You can take all kinds of situations and use them to your benefit, and thats one of them, said Claude Julien. I think we felt ready, but obviously it didnt happen. There were some penalties. I think its a matter of learning from experience you get the experience from going through those situations.Its a chance to show weve grown from that, and that were a better team for it.There were times when the Bruins lost their poise just a bit amidst the rowdy, frothy Bell Centre crowd. The Bs took penalties for throwing pucks into the stands and absorbed a too many men on the ice infraction when Mike Cammalleri threw a puck at the Boston bench during a line change. The game sped up on the Bruins, the refs got a little caught up in the atmosphere and Lucic paid a price when he finally got physically involved in the Habs series after watching his step during the first five games -- and having little effect on the proceedings as a result.The Bruins obviously took down Game 7 in overtime against the Habs to advance in the playoffs, but they know a Game 7 is to be avoided against Tampa Bay -- or any other team for that matter -- when the Kevin Garnett factor comes into play at that time in the series: anything is possible.So the Bs veterans and even the fresh-faced first-timers now have an idea what it takes to finally put down a hockey team in an elimination game, and the Black and Gold simply need to take the lessons theyve learned, apply them and go ahead and get it done ahead of time.
Its going to take ice bags, band-aids, stitches and a whole lot of blood to get the fourth win against the Lightning, and theyre willing to pay the price.You can learn from that situation. Maybe we were looking forward to the next series a little bit, said Marchand. We have to be more prepared for that sixth game. Theyre going to come out hard. The biggest thing is how teams battle when theyre fighting for their lives. What theyre willing to sacrifice and put their bodies through we have to make sure we do that exact same thing.If were not willing to put our bodies through the same kind of suffering then theyre going to end up on top. Thats what we have to make sure we do. The way everyone is focused and determined: we know what we have to do and we know how hard its going to be to beat Tampa Bay in their own rink. Were willing to do whatever we need to do tonight.The bottom line: the Bruins know they need to jump out to a quick start, weather the storm from the Lightning and stay within their disciplined lane once things get a little bumpy in a hostile Florida environment. Marchands line has been getting the call to set the tone in nearly every game of the playoffs, and the Bs winger knows its up to him -- along with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi -- to start things off with a strong statement shift.We know theyre going to come out hard, but we have to make sure that were ready for the first shift, said Marchand. If we have a good shift with two or three opportunities and then the next three lines go we have to try to keep from letting them have any momentum in the first few shifts.I think maybe we can build a little emotion off that and give them a little counter-push. Its going to be a tough first five minutes and try to get through it. If we have a more aggressive start and were more determined, then its going to help us. The biggest factor in the first period is who comes out and scores that first. We have to make sure that its us.
Brad Marchand and the rest of his Bruins teammates know that the Vancouver Canucks are waiting for them in the Stanley Cup Finals set to start in the Pacific Northwest.But the Bs antagonist knows it could be a fatal mistake to start talking about the next series before finishing off the Lightning just as the Canucks finished off Jumbo Joe Thornton and the Sharks in double overtime.We dont know who Vancouver is going to be playing. If we start thinking its us then Tampa will come back and take control of the series, said Marchand. We have to make sure we dont worry about that. Were just worried about our game.This time out Eric Furlatt and Kelly Sutherland are the two refs for Game 6, and Guy Boucher pointed out Wednesday morning that theres a lopsided 24-9 margin of penalties against the Lightning in the last several Tampa games Furlatt worked this season. Should be interesting times for the diabolical coaching genius if things start going against the Lightning once the penalties come rolling in.Im aware of it. Very aware of it. Very, very aware of it. It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last game the last few games we did have that particular ref. It is lopsided, said Boucher. The one thing we can control is what we do on the ice and hope that things will be fair like it is with everybody else.Dwayne Roloson is 6-0 in elimination games throughout his career, and isnt the puck-handling goaltender that Mike Smith is behind the net. That will change Bostons attack slightly in terms of dumps and chips into the offensive zone, and allows the Bruins to play a little more of their dump and smash fore-check game.Scrappy forward Sean Bergenheim is a question mark for the Lightning, and coach Guy Boucher said hell be a game time decision for Tampa Bay. Dana Tyrell and Randy Jones stand as potential replacements for Bergenheim if hes unable to answer the bell for Game 6 after lightning things up throughout the playoffs with a team-high nine goals. Hes a huge loss for Tampa if he cant play.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs