BOSTON (CBS) – After their dramatic overtime win Wednesday night in Toronto, the Boston Bruins have a chance to close out their series with the Maple Leafs on Friday night at the TD Garden.
It’s a chance the Bruins absolutely want to cash in on, giving them a few extra days off before their next series, and more importantly, it would mean no trip to Toronto for a Game 6.
“We know the job’s not done and we know the last one is the hardest,” said forward Nathan Horton, who is second on the team with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) this postseason. “We don’t want to go back to Toronto but we know it’s going to be a tough game. They’re a great team, they played us great last game and it’s going to be even tougher getting the next one.”
While the Bruins hold a 3-1 advantage in the series, it was a battle to get there. Boston’s first two wins came with relative ease in Games 1 and 3, but had to overcome a 2-0 deficit and eventually needed overtime to claim the Game 4 victory.
If Toronto was a desperate bunch Wednesday night, the Bruins know to expect an even more desperate team on Friday.
“When your back is up against the wall you tend to bring a little extra,” said forward Shawn Thornton. “We’ve been here before, we need to figure out how to close this out as soon as possible. That’s the goal anyways.”
“Because the other team’s back is against the wall and they come out so hard, you have to make sure to come out just as hard if not harder to try and close it out,” added defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We have to focus in on one game at a time. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson in the past; these guys have the ability to come back on us and we have to respect them. They’re a good hockey team.”
“The other team is going to throw everything at you because it’s do or die for them; you kind of have to take the same mentality,” said netminder Tuukka Rask, who made 45 saves for the second straight game on Wednesday. “If you slip even a little bit and give them life, they’re going to take advantage. That’s the challenge we face, we have to approach the game like it’s do or die for us too.”
The Bruins don’t want there to be a Game 6 on Sunday, and certainly don’t want a Game 7 back at the Garden on Monday. They’ve been to a Game 7 seven different times under Claude Julien, and the only time the B’s came out victorious was during their magical Stanley Cup run – when they won three Game 7’s en route to the title.
But the Bruins won’t be thinking about a Game 6 on Friday night, nor will they think back to the dramatic win from Wednesday night. The focus is solely on Game 5, and playing their brand of hockey.
“I think we just have to play our game the way we have the past few games and not be thinking of closing the series more than playing our game as good as we can,” said Rask. “Every game is different and momentum shifts throughout each game, you just try to keep it as long as you can.”
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