June 3, 2011

Bergeron: B's must be more dangerous five-on-five

by Jesse Connolly

Patrice Bergeron reaches for the puck in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. (Getty)

In the NHL playoffs, especially the Stanley Cup Finals, there are no moral victories.

Valiant efforts, comeback attempts and beyond are all commendable during the regular season, but they mean squat on the big stage when wins are truly all that matters.

The Bruins did a tremendous job to hang in with the Canucks in Game 1 Wednesday night. They kept their overwhelmingly-potent power play off the board. They held the big three of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler in check. But, a loss is a loss, and the Bruins must now focus on the future.

"Obviously we're not happy," Patrice Bergeron said of his team's setback in the series opener. "We're not satisfied with losing 1-0, even though it was a tight game. Yes, we played alright. We played okay. But we can be better. We need to be better. Saturday, Vancouver is going to obviously increase their tempo as well, so we've got to be even better."

One area the Bruins hope to improve upon -- just as they have for nearly the entirety of the season -- is the power play. Boston generated plenty of chances throughout the night, but squandered a lengthy 5-on-3 opportunity en route to finishing 0-for-6 on the man advantage.

"We have to find a way to score more goals," said Bergeron. "On the power-play is the area we need to fix and be better, especially having a five-on-three and a four-minute five-on-four, you have to find a way. Five-on-five, we need to make sure we get to the net more, find a way to get more chances."

The B's put plenty of pucks on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo throughout the tilt, finishing the night with a 36-34 edge in shots, but it was clear that Vancouver held a distinct advantage when it came to quality chances.

"I think we can improve that part of our game," said Bergeron. "I think, yes, we had some good shots, but not necessarily all from the dangerous area. Yeah, we've got to improve that and make sure we fight our way close to the front of the net. Obviously they're doing a good job of boxing us out, but we have to do a better job."

After doing a tremendous job to keep up the pace through the first two periods, the Canucks speed began to shine in the third period while the Bruins' skating seemed to shift down a gear. Vancouver took advantage, carrying play throughout the second half of the final frame while Boston hardly spent a sliver of time in the offensive zone.

"Yeah, they are a fast team," Bergeron said. "But at the same time, I think we've been fine matched up against them. The last (period) we did have a little letdown there. We have to fix that. We have to make sure we play the whole game. But we're fine with a fast game, with a fast pace like that. We're alright."

Having dropped Game 1 against the Canadiens and Lightning earlier in this postseason, Bergeron and the Bruins feel just fine about any aspect of this series, including their ability to knot things up on Saturday night. It's a mentality they've had all season and one they didn't plan on checking at the door when the Stanley Cup Finals began.

"Obviously you never want to be down in the series," said Bergeron. "We've been through it. We know we can bounce back. We came out on the winning side in both those series. We have to stay positive and confident that we can do it."