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BOSTON (CBS) – Claude Julien didn’t have much to say to the media on Thursday ahead of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semis against the New York Rangers, but his message was clear.
“We’re here to win a hockey game tonight, and we’re going to do whatever it takes,” the Bruins head coach said. “We want to play a 60-minute game, and that shows the character of our guys – playing right to the end.”
Julien talked for just over a minute Thursday following the team’s morning skate. With a 3-0 lead, Boston gets its first crack at a series sweep, but know it’s not going to be easy.
“We’ve seen not only this year but other years and other series that the last one is the hardest one to get,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid. “Maybe we don’t need so much focus on it being the fourth win, but just going out and playing a full game.”
“Their back is against the wall, and that’s usually when teams play their best,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We just have to keep it simple.”
The Bruins have kept it simple over the first three games, playing their system and getting plenty of traffic in front of New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist. After scoring eight goals against him in the first two games in Boston, the Bruins only managed a pair of goals in their Game 3 victory.
That’s all they needed, but it wasn’t easy. Both of them came on pucks Lundqvist couldn’t see, so causing a New York-like traffic jam in front of the net will the focus again on Thursday.
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“We were successful the last few games with the goals we had with traffic in front. We can’t expect anything different against a goalie like him; that’s how most of them will go in,” said Paille, who scored the game-winner in Game 3 on a wild bounce behind Lundqvist. “We have to do everything we can to make sure he doesn’t see them.”
“We want to make sure we don’t change our game and stay composed,” added Paille. “We’ve been doing a good job at that lately so we want to work on that the whole game.”
The Bruins have experience closing out series, but they also have experience in not closing out series. Just last round they let the Toronto Maple Leafs fight back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 in Boston, and the 2010 collapse to the Philadelphia Flyers is always in the back of the minds of the Bruins and their fans.
But the Bruins avenged that collapse in 2011 with a sweep of the Flyers in the Eastern Semis. Fittingly, that’s what they’re looking to accomplish on Thursday night.
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