With a victory Thursday night at the Bell Centre, the Bruins can pull back even at two games apiece and head back to Boston with their home-ice advantage restored. A loss gives the Canadiens a commanding 3-1 lead that would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The stakes involved in Thursday’s Game 4 certainly have not been lost on the participants, even they try to focus on the task at hand and not worry about the bigger picture.
“It is [a huge game], the implications are there, 2-2 and 3-1 sound like two very different stories,” Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri said after Thursday’s morning skate. “But I’ve said it all along and I’ll say it again, it does us no good to think about those implications. If we go out and play as well as we can, the results will figure themselves out.”
The Bruins are taking a similar approach.
“We can definitely put ourselves in a much better situation going home if we’re able to get a win [Thursday],” Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid said. “But I don’t think we can worry too, too much about what’s happened previously or what could happen moving forward.
“We’re happy to get the win [in Game 3], but that’s the past,” McQuaid added. “We can’t really worry about too much about what’s happened previously in the series or what’s going to happen. We just have to focus on [Thursday]. It’s a new game, another fresh start so we just have to come out be prepared like we were last time.”
The Bruins finally came out with a strong start in Game 3, scoring just 3:11 into the first period and building a 3-0 lead before holding on for the 4-2 win.
The Habs’ slow start in that game drew criticism from goalie Carey Price, who said after the game that “guys were horsing around during the morning skate and weren’t ready to play. I think we got what we deserved in the first period.”
On Thursday, the Canadiens shrugged off any talk of dissension within the room.
“I think that was made a much bigger deal outside of the room,” Cammalleri said. “I barely even heard it discussed in here.”
Montreal coach Jacques Martin saw the warning signs for his team in Monday’s morning skate as well, but sounded much more confident on Thursday.
“I feel that we’ll be ready [Thursday],” Martin said.
Bruins counterpart Claude Julien was more pleased with what he saw in Game 3, but still expects more from his club on Thursday.
“I think we still feel we can play better,” Julien said. “And you hope that continues to happen. We got a little better here last game, but still I don’t think we’re satisfied and we have to keep working in that direction.”
The Bruins worked the last two days in Lake Placid, N.Y., escaping the Montreal media spotlight between games. They practiced in the shadows of where Team USA shocked the hockey world 31 years ago in the 1980 Olympics, and Julien had a little fun with the media on Thursday to make it clear that the Bruins won’t require a miracle to win this series.
“Yeah I saw a miracle, in case you were looking for that word,” Julien joked. “No, I think we just went there and wanted to go and relax and have some quality practices. We weren’t looking for any miracles, we just thought that was a good place for our team to be and we went out on the ice and skated the same way we skated the last time we were here.”
Now the Bruins just want to get the same result as the last time they were here at the Bell Centre, and head home even in the series.