Haggerty: Bruins believe going into Game 6

191545.jpg

Haggerty: Bruins believe going into Game 6

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Tyler Seguin tweeted out a single word after last weekends frustrating 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5. It was a one word reaction to the game that placed the Bruins right on the brink of elimination in the Stanley Cup Final.

He tweeted whats become the mantra for the Bruins from the time they fell down 0-2 to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round: Believe.

Seguin didnt have a premonition of any kind. The puck prodigy is certainly no slap-shooting soothsayer, but he was still moved to repeat the motto thats pushed Boston all the way to within sniffing distance of the Cup.

I dont know. Its a do-or-die coming back home and I know a lot of fans follow me on twitter, said Seguin. I thought that was the right thing. Thats been the message word around this town with the B in Boston Bruins and the believe. I was in that mood for whatever it was, and Im still in that mood now.

Since choking away a 3-0 lead against the Flyers last spring, the Bruins have picked up a bandwagon full of believers and Johnny-Boychuk-come-lately type followers ready to experience their first Stanley Cup championship. For many, it would be their closest link to the hockey nirvana that invaded Boston with Bobby Orr in the golden age of the 1970s.

The Bruins face a difficult road littered with challenges, to be sure, but they sit only two wins away from getting their names etched on Lord Stanleys hockey hardware forever.

Despite their backs being against the wall, there wasnt a lot of stress or strain in the Bruins' dressing room leading up to Monday nights Game 6. In fact, Tim Thomas was so loose, he walked up to the podium for his press conference and was playful with the media. Smiling, he asked if anybody else could smell "popcorn cooking."

It seems that a 37-year-old fretting about his brush with hockey immortality wouldnt be ready with the jokes at the microphone. But then again, Thomas isnt even close to your garden variety hockey player.

Likewise, Patrice Bergeron sees what are essentially two Game 7s in a unique light. He does not look at Game 6 (or a potential Game 7) as a pressure-packed threat. For him it's an opportunity. An opportunity to add to his already stacked trophy case with Olympic and World Junior gold medals.

This chance to win a Stanley Cup is a childhood dream and you have to enjoy the moment, said Bergeron, who has three assists and a plus-1 along with 17 shots on net in five finals games. Its a great challenge. But its something we can do. Tomorrow its up to us in front of our fans to take all that energy and emotion thats going to be in the building and carry that out on the ice.

There really is nothing to lose at home for the Black and Gold in this series after punishing the Canucks in Boston to the tune of a 12-1 combined score. They played so well at home in Game 4 that they chased Roberto Luongo with all kinds of pressure and body traffic in front of the net.

Third periods on the road have been a struggle for the Bruins, but before they worry about that, they know they need to take care of business at home in a make-or-break situation -- the kind of situation thats brought out the best in Boston all season long.

I look at our resolve that was there during the season and different times when we have to come up large whether its Game 7 in the playoffs or sometime during the season when we needed certain wins, said Claude Julien. Our guys have always responded well and I have a lot of confidence in our team. The reason were here is because those guys have delivered. I dont expect that to change.

Its quite a story that the Bruins have come so far in people's eyes that they are expected to dominate Game 6 and get to Game 7 in Vancouver where absolutely anything can happen.

They've proven that the B on their sweaters stands for more than "Boston" or "Bruins," now its up to them to make it happen.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

MORE:

It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.