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No alarm, no big speeches in Beantown

Bruins also face prospect of no Bergeron in Game 6

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Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien says he doesn't have to say anything to motivate his team on the brink.

BILL SIKES / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien says he doesn't have to say anything to motivate his team on the brink.

BOSTON -- No panic. No need for Knute Rockne speeches. But maybe no Patrice Bergeron.

The small Boston Bruins contingent that met the media on Sunday exuded cool in the face of a do-or-die Game 6 tonight against the surging Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston coach Claude Julien apparently won't be listening to any Tony Robbins motivational tapes. When it comes to clawing their way back from a Stanley Cup final precipice, the Bruins have been there, done that.

"You don't have to say much to this group," Julien told reporters at TD Garden. "We're an experienced group that's been through a lot... I don't need to go in there and give this big speech and get these guys riled up. Because they know what's at stake and we've proven it in the past. Now we have an opportunity to do it again (Monday).

"I didn't see anybody hanging their heads today," the coach added. "If anything I think they're looking forward to the challenge tomorrow, and that's a great sign, I think, for a coaching staff to see their players like that... Talk right now is cheap, you've got to show it. And that's what I'm going to give our team the opportunity to do."

Down three games to two, the Bruins face a similar situation two years ago against the Canucks. They scored four goals in four minutes 14 seconds in the first period en route to a 5-2 win to force Game 7 in Vancouver, where they blanked the Canucks 4-0 to win the Cup.

Asked what that experience taught them, goalie Tuukka Rask said it was to stay in the moment.

"We have to focus on the game itself and focus on what we have to do on the ice," said the lanky Finn, who backed up Tim Thomas during the 2011 Cup run. "You can't be thinking about possible scenarios after the game. We have to be focused on our job and I think that's what we did in the past."

The Bruins know all about leaving it until the last moment in these playoffs, needing a three-goal third-period comeback to dispatch the Maple Leafs in the first round.

There was no word Sunday on the condition of Bergeron, a key forward who required a hospital visit during Game 5. There is a question mark over his head, as well as Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.

"Johnny is doing much better today... We're optimistic that he might be playing (Monday) night," said Chicago head coach Joel Quennville.

While there were no answers, given the magnitude of today's game it would likely take something heavy-duty for a star to sit out.

"Everybody has got an ice bag here or there or everywhere," Quenneville said when asked about the toll the playoff took on players. "But they'll do whatever it takes to get out on the ice."

At this time of year, teams are also less than sentimental. They make do with what they have left.

"He's a big part of our team obviously," Rask said of Bergeron. "He does everything for us. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves if he's missing. We just have to play with the guys that we have."

The Bruins have other problems, however. They need to deal with the speed of the Hawks and find a way to contain Patrick Kane, who has scored three goals in the last two games while ghosting around the Boston goal.

Boston also has to get off to a better start. A hard-charging Chicago has grabbed each of the last two games by the scruff of the neck and even Julien acknowledged his team looked nervous in the opening of Saturday's 3-1 loss.

The Hawks' speed and ability to break out has resulted in odd-man rushes. It hasn't helped that the Bruins have passed like Mr. Magoo at times.

Asked about Brad Marchand's play, Julien broadened his answer to encompass his whole team.

"I don't think he's played terrible but certainly he knows he can be better. But a lot of our guys do too. We all need to be better in order to get ourselves into this series here. And we feel confident that we can."

Asked about Zdeno Chara who is minus-five the last two games despite collecting a goal and two assists, Julien defended his captain, who has been targeted by the Hawks.

"It's pretty obvious that they're throwing the pucks in his corner and they want to try and get him to turn and tire him out. But he's a well-trained athlete that can handle that. You'll see that in the next game and hopefully the one after that."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2013 C2

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