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Question of the Day
They blew a 3-0 lead in games and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers last year. So their loss to the Montreal Canadiens this year in the postseason opener is just a minor obstacle.
“We’re not frustrated,” forward Brad Marchand said Friday after an uptempo, 30-minute practice. “It’s one game, it’s behind us and we just have to move on to the next one.”
Besides, the Bruins lost the first game of last year’s opening series at home 2-1 to Buffalo then won the next three and eliminated the Sabres in six games. They have plenty of hope going into Saturday’s second game of the best-of-seven series against Montreal.
And they didn’t play that badly Thursday night in their 2-0 loss. They outshot the Canadiens 31-20 but got little traffic in front of the net, allowing goalie Carey Price to see the puck well and record his third playoff shutout.
“We all know that although we played a decent game, we can all be a little better,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And that’s to a man, not just necessarily putting all the emphasis on one guy. But no doubt this guy (Lucic) has a big impact on our hockey club and we certainly need him to be at his best.”
Brian Gionta scored for sixth-seeded Montreal just 2:44 into the game, but the third-seeded Bruins pressured Price for much of the last 10 minutes of the second period. It wasn’t until Gionta scored again with 3:18 left in the game that the Canadiens could feel secure.
“We need to be better (Saturday) night,” Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. “We know they’re a tremendous team. They’re an excellent hockey team. They’ve got some great players, so we know that we’re going to have to be better in our own end (Saturday) night and we’ll have to have a better execution.”
One of the Bruins best stretches in the opener came after they killed a penalty midway through the second period. They kept shooting the puck at Price, who easily stopped most of them while others were blocked by his teammates. At 11:45 of the period, Patrice Bergeron had a clear shot from 15 feet on the left but put it into Price’s midsection.
“I’m sure they’re going to try to throw more pucks to the net and go to the net and try to get more traffic in front of Carey,” Montreal defenseman James Wisniewski said. “They didn’t score goals so they’re going to try to change something.”
Boston needs a better performance from its top line of Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci. They combined for just four shots in the opener.
“We had chances and the (defense) came in and they had chances and we just couldn’t capitalize,” Horton said.
The Bruins also can use a better power play, a season-long problem. They finished 20th in the NHL by scoring on just 16.2 percent of their extra-man opportunities and were 0 for 3 on Thursday. But the Canadiens were one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league, finishing seventh.
The Bruins know the importance of avoiding another loss and going to Montreal for the next two games trailing 2-0 with no guarantee the series would return to Boston.
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