June 4, 2011

B's look to prove naysayers wrong, knot series

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins winger Milan Lucic had three hits and two blocked shots in Game 1. (Getty)

Entering the Stanley Cup Finals as the underdog, the Bruins were slighted enough by the media. Now in an 0-1 hole to the Canucks, the general consensus is the Black and Gold have even less of a chances of knocking off the President's Trophy winners.

Don't expect the B's, however, to be even remotely deterred by any of the negativity.

"We have confidence in each other," Milan Lucic said. "We feel like we deserve to be here and there's a reason why we made it to the Stanley Cup finals. There were times where we were the better team last game, and there were times obviously they were the better team last game.

"You know, it's clear that you guys aren't giving us much of a chance. Just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong."

If they hope to sway the opinions of hockey scribes not giving them a chance, Boston absolutely has to come home with this series even at one game apiece. The Bruins tempted fate in the opening round against Montreal, spotting the Canadiens the first two tilts before erasing an 0-2 series deficit for the first time in team history.

Banking on winning four out of five against Vancouver would be nothing short of suicidal.

"For us it's definitely a big opportunity going into Game 2," said Lucic. "We know we have to play better, we need to play better. We need to play the way we did prior coming into this series to give ourselves a chance to win.

"They finished first in the league, in the standings, for a reason. They beat the three teams before us to get here for a reason. They're a really good team. They beat us in Game 1 because they played better than us. Like I said after the game, I felt like we worked hard, but also we need to work that much harder in order to get that win if we want it."

While Boston was able to thwart an initial surge by the Canucks in Game 1, as Vancouver was peppering Tim Thomas early and often in the opening minutes, the Black and Gold hope to turn the tables in Game 2.

"Well, I think the main thing is we got to get the puck right off the start and we have to get it in deep and play in the opposition's zone, just like they did to us last game," Lucic said. "They got the puck, went forward with it. They didn't waste any time. They got it in deep and they went to work.

"I think we have to do the same thing to have a good start. In order to do that, obviously winning that first faceoff is key. Like I said, we got to move forward and move up. Everyone's got to be on their toes trying to push the play and not wait to see what they have."

The Bruins have shown a wealth of resilience throughout this postseason run, be it on the next shift after allowing a goal or having their backs up against the wall in do-or-die situations, only to stave off elimination and move on to the next round.

As far as Lucic is concerned, there's no reason to believe that won't continue tonight at Rogers Arena.

"When we lose a game, we've always taken the next game as a challenge of getting ourselves back in it," he said. "I think that's the maturity in the team that we've been able to create this year from the years past, is that we were able to deal well with that pressure and make plays under pressure, and step up to play in big games."

Tonight's tilt will be as big as any for the Black and Gold. They can only hope the intense pressure of a must-win situation will bring out the best in them once again.