BOSTON -- The first few minutes of Game 7 will be important.
For all the talk about being the better team once the puck drops is realistic at this point. The Bruins know it. The Flyers know it.
Boston has not scored the first goal since Game 4 and will need to accomplish that tonight. Lighting the lamp has been a concern for the Bruins, especially since they have scored only once in the last two games. Milan Lucic’s goal at the 19-minute mark of the third period in Game 6 came with goaltender Tuukka Rask on the bench for the extra attacker.
In fact, the Bruins went 134:32 without scoring a goal before Lucic’s tally. That can’t happen tonight if Boston is to have success. Bruins coach Claude Julien is trying to keep his players positive in the goal-scoring category.
“You’ve got to make sure you’re not bogging them down with the fact that we’re not scoring goals,” he said. “You’ve got to keep encouraging those guys to go to the net and encourage our guys to shoot pucks.”
The Flyers blocked 30 shots in Game 6, but the Bruins need to adjust and find a way to get pucks through to Philadelphia goaltender Michael Leighton.
“It’s been one of those challenges this year, we’ve had a lot of our key players and goal-scoring players out of our lineup,” explained Julien. “When everybody has been back, and at the start of the playoffs, we had better balance. You lose [Marco] Sturm, who was your leading goal scorer during the regular season and now you lose [David] Krejci, you’re up against a challenge again, but it’s not a challenge we can’t overcome.”
The goals the Bruins need to score are those dirty ones. They need tips, rebounds and redirects.
“It just means you have to dig in a little deeper,” added Julien. “Those highlight goals aren’t going to be there, so you have to grind it out a little bit more and be willing to get your nose dirty.”