MONTREAL — The frustrated Bruins may be down 2-1 against the Canadiens in the series, but they remain confident that they can get back on the winning track Thursday night in Game 4 at the Bell Centre if they can play the style of hockey that has made them successful.
Today at the Canadiens practice facility in Brossard, the B’s and Canadiens both held optional skates on the off day.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli knows his team has struggled against Montreal this year and he knows what the Habs are doing in this series, especially in the shot blocking area.
“They’ve got guys that want to block shots, they find the lanes to get into,” Chiarelli said. “For me, size has no bearing on whether you want to block a shot or not, you want to do it.”
Chiarelli spoke about the frustration his team experienced in Game 3 and what the B’s need to do on the offensive end to avoid seeing the same situation repeating itself Thursday.
“You’ve got to work to find lanes,” Chiarelli said. “Our last game was a game of frustration and that’s a credit to the Habs, I thought they did a good job in the neutral zone. I think Price has played well. For us it’s about moving our feet, and just working a little harder in all areas…
“It’s meat and potatoes for us. It’s like sustaining a forecheck, wearing teams down. When we’re at the top of our game, that’s what we do. We haven’t done it yet.”
Chiarelli would not add fire to the P.K. Subban controversy over whether he dislodged the net with less than a minute to go in Game 3.
“Calls get missed,” Chiarelli said. “And they could say the same thing about stuff our guys do. To me, it looked like he knocked it off but for every person who says he knocked it off, another person says he didn’t personally knock it off.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said you can count on his team playing better in Game 4.
“We’re a group that’s confident but we also have guys right now that are frustrated with themselves,” Julien said. “They have to be better. They are going to be better tomorrow. That’s the confidence we have in our group. We’ve got to rely on those guys to come in and play the way they can … it’s a 2-1 series. It’s not the end of the world here. We’ve just got to battle back. There is no reason to panic.”
Bruins center Gregory Campbell spoke about the recent defense lapses that have cost the Bruins dearly and stressed the “awareness” mantra that the team has been preaching.
“That’s happened a couple times in recent games, there’s been guys sneaking out of the penalty box for whatever reason,” Campbell said. “It’s just awareness on our part as a group.”
Left wing Shawn Thornton knows the Bruins cannot continue to play from behind, something else that has plagued them in this series.
“No team is going into a game saying ‘I’m hoping I’m down 1-0 to start,’” Thornton said. “We’d like to score the first one, but tip your hat, they made a really good play … it was uncharacteristic of us to give that up but they made a really good play there, too.”