BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins begin the final stage of their quest for the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night against an unfamiliar foe.
Thanks to the lockout-shortened schedule this season, the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks haven’t seen each other since October of 2011, a 3-2 shootout victory by Boston in Chicago. Yo have to go much further back to find the last time these two Original Six teams met, a 4-0 series sweep by Boston in the 1978 quarterfinals.
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But despite the fact they haven’t played each other in nearly two years, the Bruins and Blackhawks have had plenty of time to get to know each other over the last few days.
“I don’t think there is much we don’t know about each other,” Boston head coach Claude Julien said on Wednesday. “Although we haven’t played against each other, our game plan isn’t going to change. What you’ve seen us do in the other rounds is what we’ll continue to do, because it works for us.”
“We haven’t played against them but have seen them enough to know what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “I don’t think there will be a feeling-through process. I think both teams will try to establish their game on the other, and that’s what’s going to be interesting. I know we don’t plan on being on our heels for the first ten minutes, and I don’t think they do as well. That’s what is going to be exciting.”
“I think the biggest thing is us going out there and establishing how we want to come out and our identity, not worrying about how the other team is going to come out or waiting to see who is going to do what,” said forward Tyler Seguin, looking for his first points since the Bruins clincher against the New York Rangers in the East Semis. “In games like this when you’re not used to the other team, there is only so much video you can watch. In the end, I think it’s about going out there and seeing what can happen.”
The Bruins put the final touches on their gameplan with a brief morning skate on Wednesday. Now, they’re all just ready to finally get the final series of the season underway.
“We’re excited. It was fun being out there today; the guys had a really good jump and we’re happy to be here,” said forward Brad Marchand, who had four points (two goals, two assists) in Boston’s Conference Finals sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “We can’t wait for tonight.”
The wait is almost over, and the Bruins will take the ice a confident bunch.
But just as their approach will be simple, so will the message Julien delivers prior to Wednesday night’s game.
“It’s not much different than anything else,” he said. “We’ve gotten here, which is great, but until you’ve accomplished the final stages of the playoffs you haven’t reached your final goal. Getting here is one thing, but finishing it is another. We know this is going to be a tough series. I think it’s pretty evenly matched, and I think it will be fun to be a part of from my end and fun for hockey fans to watch.”
Tune in to every game of the Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage beings one hour before the puck drops with full postgame analysis following each game!