MONTREAL – It’s all about getting off to a good start for the Bruins in a pivotal Game 4 Thursday night against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
They’ve been outscored 3-1 in the first period and haven’t spent even a solitary second with a lead in the second period of the three games in the series.
So, it goes without saying that the Bruins are looking for a healthy lead early in their Montreal rematch.
“There’s no need to hit the panic button,” said Brad Marchand. “We just want to make sure we focus on putting our best game on the ice. We’re just focusing on our individual jobs, and how we all have to play.”
Some of it has been the fault of the penalty kill. In Game 3 it was a series of mental breakdowns made by a group of young defensemen steadying their bearings at the loud, intimidating Bell Centre. Don’t expect a repeat of that from players such as Dougie Hamilton and Kevan Miller in Game 4 now that they have some Montreal/Boston playoff experience under their belts.
You can also expect Tuukka Rask and the Bruins bench to be heavily involved in the game and let everybody know when a Habs player is sneakily jumping out of the penalty box.
That can’t happen again in the series and the early deficit was part of the reason Boston didn’t have the physicality one would expect in a Habs/Bruins game.
“We need to get back to our game tonight, get the first goal and change the momentum,” said Hamilton. “We need to put the pressure on them to come back. We’ve done okay so far not having the opportunity [to be frontrunners], but obviously it’s different when we can force them to open up and come back...rather than us opening up and trying to come back. So it’s just about us playing hard at the start, and kind of taking their momentum away.”
The whole key is getting control in the early going and taking the lively, animated Montreal crowd out of the game. It would help the Bruins to gain a lead headed into the latter moments, since they’ve outscored the Habs by an 8-3 margin in the third period in the first three games.
Instead of singing “Ole” as they do in the third period – and as they did Tuesday night in Game 3 -- when the Habs are pulling away, the Bruins players want Canadiens fans sitting on their hands.