Claude Juliens Bruins are going to have to leave everything they have out on the ice for Game 6
Last night the Bruins fell to the Blackhawks and are now on the verge of elimination. As the Bruins head back to Boston for Game 6, there are many question marks surrounding the team. The biggest one may be the strange injury to Patrice Bergeron that he suffered at some point in the 2nd period. I did not notice what exactly happened to him, and even though he was discharged from the hospital this morning and flew back to Boston with the team, his Game 6 status is still unknown. Coming back from a 3-2 deficit is difficult enough, but without arguably their best player throughout these playoffs, it makes the task nearly impossible.
I am not doubting the ability and resiliency of the Bruins, and they have come back from this situation before. In 2011 Boston was down 3-2 going coming back home for a Game 6 against Vancouver, and we all know how that series ended. Boston put on a dominating performance and went on to win the Cup on the road in Game 7. It is not out of the question, but it will be difficult, and the Bruins need to step onto the ice with a sense of urgency from the opening drop of the puck. The TD Garden crowd will be electric and provide plenty of energy; the Bruins need to respond to that.
Chicago has been pounding Zdeno Chara throughout the series, and Boston needs to be able to land significant hits on the Chicago defensemen in order to sustain offensive zone time. It has been well said throughout this series that Corey Crawford struggles on his glove side, and if the Bruins can get keep possession of the puck and deliver an onslaught of shots to Crawford's left side, I like their chances. But in order to do that they must be physical and win puck battles along the boards. Claude Julien has shown his coaching brilliance before in these playoffs, and I'm sure he is going to pull all out all the tricks for Game 6. He knows the Bruins cannot afford to get into a track meet like Game 4. I think Game 6 is going to be grind-it-out type game, and Boston must match the physicality of Chicago early.
On the defensive side of the puck, Tuukka Rask is going to have to be stellar. Chicago is going to try to get as much traffic in front of Tuuk as they can, and they have been successful thus far in the series. Again, the Bruins will have to play physical in order to give Tuuk a clear line of sight to the puck at all times. If Jonathan Toews misses Game 6 it will help, but Boston is still going to have to come out with energy regardless of if the Selke trophy winner is on the ice for Chicago or not.
The Bruins face an uphill battle to bring home the Cup, and without Patrice Bergeron leading the charge, it will be an even more difficult mountain to climb. However, Boston has been in this situation before and has the resiliency to succeed. Just ask Toronto fans how their playoff journey ended. If we have come to know anything about this group on the Bruins, they should not be counted out until the final horn sounds.