The Bruins have been in this position before. Two years ago, they returned to TD Garden for Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final, trailing the Vancouver Canucks, three games to two. The Black & Gold came out firing in that game and took down the Canucks, 5-2, forcing a seventh game back in Vancouver, in which they won, 4-0, to take home their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
Tonight, the Bruins will be trying to conjure up some of that magic once again and force a seventh game at United Center in Chicago on Wednesday night. “We could all take some experience from that and realize that, to win this game, we’ve got to make sure we leave everything on the ice, we play our best," said Brad Marchand, who scored en route to the Game Six win in 2011. "That’s what we did last time so hopefully we can do the same tomorrow."
“It’s a different team, different situation but we’ve been here before. I think we have a bit of confidence but, at the same time, they’re a very resilient team. They’ve played great so far. They played good last time they were in our building so we’ve got to make sure we realize that and we don’t take it for granted.”
Nathan Horton, who was knocked out of the 2011 Cup Final in Game Three after taking a vicious hit from Aaron Rome, did not have the chance to play in the do-or-die scenario two years ago. But he knows the Bruins must take things one game at a time.
“Not give them too much, but I think the big picture is just win two games,” said Horton on the team’s mindset heading into Game Six. “We concentrate on one at a time. Like everyone says, we are at home. It’s obviously a must-win and we all know that the fourth game is the hardest to get and we are going to make it as hard as we can.“We are not done yet. Like I said, only two more games. We’ve got to win two games. That’s what we are looking at.”
Over the years, the Bruins have seemingly played their best hockey when pushed to the brink. This postseason has been no different. In their lone elimination game, Game Seven of the first round against Toronto, the B’s pulled off the greatest third period comeback in history, by scoring three goals in the final 12 minutes to tie the game and eventually win, 5-4, in overtime.
Horton had no explanation for why the Bruins play so well in the most desperate of times.
“It just kind of happens that way,” said Horton. “Obviously, we would have wanted to win [Saturday] night. That’s the kind of character we have in our room. When our backs are against the wall, we show up. Like I said, we play for the guy next to you and we all know what we have to do now. We can’t lose and we’ve got to come to play.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: For the second time this postseason, and for the first time since Game 3 against the New York Rangers, the Bruins did not have a power play opportunity in Game Five. They are 11-for-59 on the power play this postseason (18.6%).
The Bruins killed off both of Chicago power plays in the game and they are now 61-for-69 on the penalty kill during the playoffs (88.4%).
The Blackhawks are 8-for-68 on the power play (11.8%).
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Both Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford rebounded from a Game 4 shootout and played well in Game 5. Rask made 29 saves and still leads the NHL this postseason with a 1.83 GAA and a .941 save percentage. Crawford recorded 24 saves in Game 5.
Puck drop: 8 p.m. Records: Blackhawks 3-2, Bruins 2-3
Projected Blackhawks lineup:
Bryan Bickell-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp-Michal Handzus-Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Viktor Stalberg
Marcus Kruger-Dave Bolland-Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy-Michal Rozsival
Healthy scratches: Daniel Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Brandon Bollig, Ben Smith, Ryan Stanton
Projected Bruins lineup:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson, Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Jordan Caron
Storylines: Jonathan Toews was limited in Game 5 after taking a wicked wallop from Johnny Boychuk. Joel Quenneville said Toews was feeling better Sunday. We’ll assume that Toews will be in tonight’s lineup … The Bruins might have to break up the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing again tonight. The two were split for Saturday’s third period. While they haven’t been totally at fault for the goals against, the results have been awful… Wes McCauley and Dan O’Halloran will be the referees. Pierre Racicot and Jay Sharrers will be the linesmen."