NEW YORK -- The Boston Bruins hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the New York Rangers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals and have a chance to close it out with a win in Game 4 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
This marks the 19th time the organization has held a 3-0 series lead; they are 13-5 in Game 4s in that situation. They’ve gone on to win 17 of the 18 series; the one outlier was the debacle against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 (we’ll spare you the details).
This season, the Bruins held a 3-1 series lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs and needed seven games to advance to the semifinals against the Rangers. Since winning the Cup in 2011, the Bruins are 1-3 in games in which they can eliminate an opponent, so it’s fair to question whether they have that killer instinct.
Coach Claude Julien, of course, doesn’t see it that way.
“We live in the moment. You learn from the past, but you live in the moment and not live in the past,” Julien said. “Right now we’re living in the moment and I like where our team is right now -- the attitude, the approach. We’re certainly not looking at it the way all the people are going to look at it and find reasons to give New York some hope and say ‘these guys have had trouble doing this.’ We’re certainly not going there. We’re looking at the present right now and the present is getting prepared to play a real good game [Thursday] kind of like the game we played [Tuesday].”
A series sweep would give a banged-up Bruins team time to rest before the Eastern Conference finals, but they’re not looking that far ahead.
“That would be nice, but we know and we’ve learned as a team that the last one is the hardest in past years, even the last series,” said Bruins forward David Krejci. “We’ve got to get ready for tomorrow and play it just like a Game 1.
“They lost three games, so they’re going to change something up and we expect that. All we can do is focus on ourselves and our game and not worry too much about what they’re going to bring [Thursday].”