BOSTON -- During Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s pregame media briefing Friday morning, a reporter pointed out to him that under his coaching, the Bruins are 3-6 in non-Game 7 closing situations in playoff series.
“I’m trying to make it 4-6 tonight. How’s that?” Julien quipped with a smile.
But Julien and the Bruins know that sometimes, the team facing elimination can actually have an advantage.
“I can only speak for us right now and we’re ready for this game; there’s no excuses,” Julien said. “We know they’re going to come out and give their best, we have to do the same thing from our end of it. I think it’s pretty important that we come out ready to play hard and understand that desperation does a lot of things for teams. We’ve been on the other side as well, so that’s the way I look at it tonight.”
Bruins veteran forward Daniel Paille concurred and expects the Leafs to put the pressure on the Bruins and give a good effort.
“To a certain extent, yes,” Paille answered when asked the same question as Julien was. “At one point, there’s a sense of pride to how you want to finish the season and that you’ve given everything you’ve got. I think that’s what we should expect from them.”
Paille knows this has been a close series despite the chance it could end in five games and realizes the Bruins will get the Leafs’ best effort tonight.
“When you’re facing elimination, you play as much desperation hockey as you can,” Paille said. “You want to give all every shift and make sure it’s not your last. On the other side, when you’re able to eliminate a team, you expect that effort from them and you have to be better. We have to not be surprised by anything and know they will do anything to win and we have to as well.”
As forward Chris Kelly also pointed out Friday morning, the Bruins can't go into Game 5 thinking they have three chances to close the series out.
“We cannot think we have three swipes at this and have that approach,” Kelly said. “If we do, we’re in big trouble. This needs to be an elimination game for us too and we need to have that do-or-die attitude tonight.”