After losing another close game to the Ottawa Senators, the Bruins find themselves down 3 games to 1 and face a must win Friday night in Ottawa. In the 30 seasons since all playoff rounds were expanded to a best-of-seven series in 1987, 24 teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win their series. The Bruins have never done it.
For starters, it is going to be up to the leaders and veterans to calm down the less playoff experienced guys. This is where guys like Bergeron, Chara, and Backes will need to step up inside the locker room and make sure this team understands that this series is far from over. It is all about taking it one game at a time. They need to go into Ottawa Friday night, treat every shift like it’s do or die, and win a hockey game. The mental toughness of this team will be put to the test.
Secondly, this team has to play their best hockey of the year. A full 60 minutes of consistency is something I haven’t seen from the Bruins in quite some time. This means the Bruins have to do the little things, especially in the D-Zone. Throughout this season and this 1st round matchup with the Sens, the Bruins D-Zone coverage has been extremely inconsistent. Watch a replay of any Senators goal, and almost every time it was the result of players “puck watching” and leaving a guy open. Here are some prime examples of the Bruins “puck watching” and leaving an open man.
Another key factor for a Bruins comeback is getting shots on net and finishing on their chances. Marchand was the Bruins leading goal scorer this season, but he couldn’t finish on multiple chances Wednesday night, including two break aways. The Bruins have to find a way to convert on their opportunities. They also need to find a way to hit the net. It seems like every shot either misses the net or is blocked by someone on Ottawa. David Pastrnak so far this series has had 21 shot attempts. Only 2 of them were shots on goal, 8 of them have been blocked, and the other 11 missed net. Also, David Krejci has to be better with his puck management, although he clearly looks as if he is playing through injury, his turnovers can be costly.
Lastly, the Bruins need to be better on special teams, especially the power play. The absence of Torey Krug is playing a factor in the Bruins power play troubles but Charlie Mcavoy looked really comfortable Wednesday night. He made several great plays that led to a scoring chance. The Bruins need to stay out of the box and take advantage of their power play opportunities. As of right now the B’s are 2 for 11 on the powerplay and 10 for 13 on the penalty kill.
Lets not forget, this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, anything can happen. If the Bruins can steal game 5 in Ottawa Friday night, build some momentum, capture a game 6 victory at home and force a game 7 back in Ottawa, they will get the chance to pull off a stunning comeback over the Senators. The hardest game to win is the clinching one and Ottawa will now be facing that pressure. It’s not over until someone wins 4 games. So hold on Bruins fans, we haven’t seen the last of the Black & Gold this year just yet. BELIEVE IN BOSTON.
Sources for stats and facts: Hockey Reference NHL.com and Bruins Stats on twitter
Photo: (The Sports Daily) (Ottawa Senators Twitter)