The Bruins finally answered the bell and gave a complete 60-minute effort in a must-win situation beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 Thursday night at TD Garden. But thanks to their lackluster performance in a 2-1 shootout loss to Carolina Tuesday night, Boston still heads into Saturday’s regular season finale without complete control of their playoff fate. As a result, they, their fans and the media covering them are still left to figure out the numerous scenarios that can ensure the Bruins a playoff spot and avoid another early tee time like last season. Instead of letting the classic tune “Scenario” by the legendary hip-hop artists Tribe Called Quest (RIP Phife Dawg), play over and over in their brain and finding themselves scoreboard watching, the Bruins players need to practice what they’ve been preaching for the last week or so and just win again. A repeat of their performance Thursday will go a long way ensuring the Bruins do their part in solidifying a trip to the dance.
“You just have to deal with it, hope for the best and let the Hockey Gods do all the work,” forward Matt Beleskey said earlier this week. “It’s an exciting time of year, and it’s do-or-die. We’re going to take it one step at a time, and I think we are an excited group. We’ve talked about finish. We’ve had opportunities and I think guys are squeezing a little hard. You just need to play our game, and get the emotion going, get the crowd going and hopefully that will be what we need to get it done.”
At this time of the season, fighting for their playoff lives, it’s about paying the price. That means driving to the net, digging in the corner, blocking shots and whatever it takes to help that puck cross the line and put the opponents on their heels. The Bruins did exactly that on Thursday and they will need to do it again on Saturday. Obviously film is a huge part of preparation for teams and becomes even bigger this time of season. But maybe instead of constant Senators clips over the next 24 hours, Julien could show some clips of one of his former players, Mark Recchi? Recchi was affectionately known as the ‘Wrecking Ball’ for the way he would barrel through the defense and create havoc despite being just 5’10”.
Beleskey along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are the only current Bruins that play the style Recchi made a likely hall of fame career with. On Thursday though, the entire team played that way, and it led to goals like the Lee Stempniak tally to open the third period.
Heading into the Thursday, the Bruins had lost eight of their last ten games at the most important time of the season. The onus was on them to change the mindset and they did. Much like the playoffs are, moments and games like Thursday’s and Saturday’s are ones young and aspiring hockey players live for. As Julien said Wednesday, it was to find that excitement again and channel it onto the ice.
“It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s what it is. You need to accept it, and do what you can to control your end of it,” Julien pointed out. “The biggest thing right now is that when you’ve gone through the stretch that we’ve gone through, it’s not a positive thing. So somehow you need to create some enthusiasm, and create some positivity in the dressing room…some energy in order to go out there and take care of the business that you need to take care of.
“Nobody likes losing. It’s not unique to an individual, and you hope, to the group. It’s what we have to deal with that we’ve been through this, and we need to find ways to win hockey games.”
Bergeron echoed his coach’s sentiments and as he pointed out, it’s time to block out the scenarios and “seize it”.
“It’s still in our hands, so we need to go out there and do our jobs,” Bergeron told reporters Wednesday. “The biggest thing is you have to be confident, and you have to believe. But at the same time there are no more chances here. We have to seize it, and go out there and do it.”
Perhaps Bergeron had just watched ‘Dead Poet’s Society” and one of the best movie scenes with the late Robin Williams ‘Carpe Diem’? Either way, the always leading the way Bergeron nailed it. That’s what many of this current squad failed to do last year at this time. Yes like that 2014-15 squad, this current roster doesn’t control their own fate anymore. But they can still influence it if they apply their words on the ice. The time for talking has gone. Do Or Die!