Game 6: What do the Hurricanes know about pressure?


Tonight’s game 6 at Carolina marks the second straight elimination game for the Bruins and the second game in a row that the Hurricanes have a chance to send the Bruins on an extended summer vacation. It is amazing how the build up and anticipation for a game can change so much in just 2 days. Sunday morning before game 5 I felt like I was standing on the corner of a street watching a car crash about to happen. I didn’t want to see anything bad happen but you hear the screeching tires and you have to look… Fortunately the Bruins were able to avoid a head on collision with the Hurricanes and have put a little extra gas in the tank heading into game 6.

The anticipation for this game has grown exponentially after the Bruins handed the Hurricanes a convincing 4-0 defeat at the Garden that was highlighted by crushing hits from Milan Lucic, great saves by Tim Thomas, quality fighting by Mark Stuart,  a couple of jingles from Philip Kessel and a slightly controversial punch to the face of Old Man Ward.

With the Bruins down 3 games to 2 and looking to bring this series back to the Garden for a decisive game 7, here are the Loge19 key’s to the game for the Bruins:

1) Keep up the intensity– Game 5 was exactly what they needed to get back into this series.  Sunday’s convincing win had the Bruins playing their brand of hockey: high pressure, hitting, quality breakouts and patience until the right opportunity opened up. They also developed a nice little hatred for Carolina after Jokinen’s slash on Chara and Walker’s KO of Ward. When the bruins get fired up against a team they crank up their intensity to another level – take the Montreal series and Dallas game earlier in the year as examples.

2) Don’t let your emotions get the best of you – I am talking to you Lucic! As I just said, the Bruins are great when the are pissed off but there is a fine line between intensity and stupidity. Lucic was a little worked up at the end of regulation in game 5 and got a 10 misconduct at the 20:00 minute mark of the 3rd period. Lucic plays with reckless abandon but has taken it too far a few times this year – Bertuzzi-ing Komisarek and getting suspended for cross checking Lapierre . I think he has learned his lessons from these incidents, but the kid does have a little bit of a Serbian-temper so keeping emotions in check is going to be very important.

3) Get to Cam Ward early – Ward is a great goalie who will go on streaks if you serve him some easy saves early. I was debating this topic with the Kiiiid and a few others in the comment section of his recap of Game 5 but my thinking on this is that the Bruins don’t need to try and take shots at him from all angles. Instead they should look for the the quality shots inside the dots, shots from the point with traffic or shots off passes where Ward is moving across the net. Ward is just too good at making save from outside the circles and then directing the rebound to his defensemen or the corners. These saves just pad his stats and give him more confidence.  I am more than happy with guys like Kessel, Krejci and Ryder coming down the wing, circling the net and waiting for an opportunity to open up instead of just dumping the puck at Ward with off angle shots.

4) Take the crowd out of the game early – We have all heard about the RBC Center in Carolina being the loudest arena in the league lately. The easiest way to take the ridgerunners out of the equation is to pocket a few goals early in the first. I say a few because the Bruin’s scored first against Carolina in game 3 but didn’t bury chances after that and let Carolina (and their fans) back into the game late in the 2nd period – ultimately losing the game in OT 3-2.

5)Keep Eric Staal off the score sheet – Again, another stat that has come out like diarrhea from every play-by-play guy, color commentator, and sports anchor’s mouth since this series started: CAROLINA HAS NOT LOST A GAME IN THE PLAYOFFS WHEN ERIC STAAL HAS SCORED A GOAL. Bottom line for the Bruins, if they keep the beast from Thunder Bay off the score sheet, they have a very good chance of winning this game.

Right now all of the pressure is on Carolina. If they do not win this game at home, their chances of winning game 7 on the road at the Garden are slim-to-none. As Cameron Frye pointed out yesterday, the pressure on the Hurricanes is a lot like the pressure the Yankees felt in 2004 when the Sox won games 4 and 5. A little history for you from Kevin Millar (Via Cameron Frye):

Don’t let us win tonight. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win we’ve got Pedro coming back today and then Schilling will pitch Game 6 and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game. – Kevin Millar, October 17, 2004

Don’t let the Bruins win tonight Carolina because if that happens, this series is over….

Prediction – Bruins 5-2


9 Responses to “Game 6: What do the Hurricanes know about pressure?”

  1. 1 patverbeek
    May 12, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    Great breakdown comish, I especially like the car crash analogy.

  2. May 12, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    Agreed. Great game-day post.

    I’m with you – poise over urgency. They Bruins played a more controlled game on Sunday and ended up doubling the amount of shots they had been getting. Quality chances end up producing quality rebounds instead of the one-off shot from the outside.

  3. May 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    FYI – Chiarelli said he expects Ward to play tonight.

  4. 4 LPsnipa6
    May 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Who the hell is Kevin Millar anyways? I agree if the Bruins win tonight they will take the series. However, if Ward doesn’t play or is not at full strength the Bruins defensive unit as a whole is concern. Losing Ference and Hunwick and possibly a less than 100% Ward means more Montadour and we all know how error prone he is. That also means Chara and Wideman will log a lot of minutes and could wear down especially if one of these games goes into OT which I think one will.

  5. May 12, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    Like my H.S coach used to say “Its all about Skill, Will, Nuts and Guts!” Lets get fired up boys

  6. 7 commissionerdangle
    May 12, 2009 at 11:03 PM

    ‘Prediction – Bruins 5-2’

    just needed that empty net goal and the Commish would have been right on!

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