To preview Game 5 between the Bruins and Capitals (Saturday at 3 ET at TD Garden), we play a game of 2-on-2 with ESPN Boston's James Murphy and Joe McDonald:
1. What’s the key to the Bruins getting some more pucks past Braden Holtby and into the net?
Murphy: This may sound crazy to all the harsh critics of the Bruins' playoff performance thus far, but the Bruins need to do exactly what they did for the majority of Game 4. The Bruins played their best all-around game Thursday and if not for Holtby, they win that game 6-1 at least. The key is to just keep pounding Holtby with shots and don't get frustrated. Stay the course and keep the pressure on. The difference between Game 2 -- the Caps' other win in the series -- and Game 4 was that the shots were actually getting through, and if they keep finding their way to Holtby, eventually they will go in or bounce out in front. The Bruins just need to have that physical net-front presence to pounce on the rebounds of the ones that don't.
McDonald: It comes down to winning the battle for the rebounds. Maybe even a bump or two just to unnerve the 22-year-old rookie netminder. He’s become too comfortable between the pipes and the Bruins haven’t been nasty enough in front. You have to give the Capitals credit, though, because they’ve been able block shots and have kept the traffic out from in front. I’m not saying the Bruins should run Holtby, but a few bumps and grinds wouldn’t hurt. This situation is exactly what the Bruins had to be wary of, with a young goaltender that has nothing to lose, playing as well as he is. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has done his job at the other end, but he’s not getting any offensive support.
2. The Bruins didn’t have the same nasty edge in Game 4 that they had in Game 3. Do you think that was partially because of Dale Hunter’s comments, and can they get it back in Game 5?
Murphy: I don't necessarily think that Dale Hunter's comments affected the Bruins' approach and physical play; I think the Bruins just became consumed with beating Braden Holtby as the game went on. One thing this team has done well over the last year, dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, is tuning out the noise from the opponent, media and fans. They'll need to do so again as this series goes on. I expect the Bruins at home, to dictate the physical tone of Game 5 from the opening faceoff. I see Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand having big games intimidating and aggravating the Capitals.
McDonald: The Bruins are trying to forget about past accomplishments and focus on this postseason, which is all well and good. However, what Boston needs to do in Game 5 of this series is similar to what they accomplished in Game 5 of the quarterfinals in 2011 against the Montreal Canadiens. That series also was tied at two games apiece when it shifted back to Boston. The Bruins completely dominated the Habs from a physical standpoint and won 2-1 in overtime. Nathan Horton’s winning goal came off a rebound when he put himself in the right position to be successful. The Bruins need to forget all about Dale Hunter and focus on their style of play. Boston needs to be physical and mean.