The 2013 season comes down to another must-win scenario for the Boston Bruins as they head into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday (8, NBC) at TD Garden against the Chicago Blackhawks trailing 3-2 in this instant classic series. All the B’s want to do is survive for another night and force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday at the United Center. The numbers are at least in their favor since Boston is 8-3 at home during this postseason and Chicago is only 4-5 on the road – though most recently the ’Hawks won Game 4 6-5 in overtime on Causeway Street.
“Well it’s pretty obvious: it’s do or die,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien after Saturday’s frustrating 3-1 loss in Game 5 in Chicago. “We’ve been there before and we’ve done well in that situation. So we’ve got to, again, win the next game. There is no panic, you’re not going to push us away that easily. We’re a committed group and we plan on bouncing back.”
In terms of games where they’ve faced elimination, Boston is 1-0 during this run. They rallied for the 5-4 overtime win over Toronto in Game 7 of the first round. Chicago has shown the ability to get rid of teams when the opportunity presents itself as it is 3-0 in closeout games this postseason: Game 5 vs. Minnesota, Game 7 vs. Detroit and Game 5 vs. Los Angeles. It is a limited sample size but the B’s are 0-1 in Game 6s (at Toronto) while Chicago is 1-0 (Game 6 at Detroit).
The Garden crowd will surely do everything in its power to push the Bruins to a victory in their last home game of the season and the B’s would really benefit from scoring the first goal. The team that has scored first has won the last three games. The Bruins will need one last two-game win streak to rally for the Cup. Oddly enough, the B’s could do themselves a favor by drawing some penalties: their power play is 4-for-14 in the series (28.5 percent) which is great for them and they had power-play goals in Games 1, 3 and 4. They never got the chance to go on the power play in Game 5, coming on the heels of two power play goals in Game 4.
It’s been said that the toughest playoff game to win is when you have the chance to end another team’s season and the Blackhawks appear well aware that the Bruins will throw everything they have left at them on Monday.
“They’ve been a tough team,” said Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford after Game 5. “They play hard, they hit but they’ve also shown that they can play that skill game. We expect another hard game from them. It’s going to be another tough game and we’ve got to prepare ourselves to play that tough game again.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate