Shawn Thornton gets in the face of P.K. Subban in the third period of Game 2 of the Bruins and Canadiens Stanley Cup playoffs semifinal series. Credit: Getty Images
By virtue of losing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Montreal, Boston guaranteed it will have to win at least one game at the Bell Centre if it wants to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years. The Bruins get their first opportunity on Tuesday (7 p.m., NBCSN) in Game 3, with the series tied 1-1. There are a couple of key areas that Boston has to tighten up going forward as any team simply cannot rely on rallying from two-goal deficits in every contest; certainly against a quality opponent like the Canadiens.
“At the end of the day, we just have to go out there and play our game,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien when asked about playing in the always tough Bell Centre. “It’s important for us not to think that way. It’s important for us to think about what we need to do to win and not let those distractions get in our heads.”
The obvious stat that jumps off the page through two games is that Montreal is 4-for-9 on the power play while Boston is 0-for-5. The Bruins always seem to struggle on special teams vs. Montreal and the Canadiens conversely excel in that regard. If the B’s want to be positive, they can say that they’ve only allowed three even strength goals, which isn’t surprising since they were the best five-on-five team in the NHL during the regular season.
Montreal star defenseman P.K. Subban is the quarterback of their power play as proven by his two goals in Game 1 and two assists in Game 2, all on the man advantage.
“I think it’s not too much room, I think his shot is allowed to get through,” noted Julien about Subban’s deadly shot. “That’s where we have to get better, we have to take away that shooting lane. You have to give him credit too: there’s the one shot that went by three or four players and that’s a guy who’s putting pucks in the right place.”
Finally, it’s important for the B’s to get off to a good start in the first two periods in Game 3. In Game 1, they trailed 2-0 heading into the third before outscoring the Canadiens 3-1 and forcing overtime. In Game 2, Boston at least scored first but it was still down 2-1 going into the third and was down 3-1 midway through the final frame.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Rich Slate on Twitter@RichSlate