It’s do-or-die again Sunday for the Boston Bruins. There are a few things in particular that likely need to be done in order to pull out the win.
Sean Kuraly was the hero for the Boston Bruins in game five on Friday night in Ottawa. I bet you never thought you’d say that, as Kuraly hasn’t played all that much this year. Regardless of how much action he has seen this season, he came through in the clutch when it was needed the most. Game six in Boston will be another game in which the Bruins will have their backs against the wall. Another game in which another unlikely hero may need to step up. A few things stick out that the Bruins will need to do in order to pull out the win in game six.
Score the first goal
Something the Bruins have only done once so far in the playoffs. That being they need to score first. The fans are going to be rabid in Boston so getting them going by setting the tone with the first goal could be a huge momentum shift in the Bruins’ favor. Throughout the series, we have seen the Bruins get a little demoralized after trailing first. This Bruins team with momentum from an early goal could be something too powerful for the Ottawa Senators. The fans were let down last time the Bruins came to town, but this time it’s do-or-die.
Shutting down Erik Karlsson to a degree
Erik Karlsson has been phenomenal for the Senators in this series, and all season. Tossing his hat into the ring for the Norris Trophy for the fourth time in the last six years and adding to his resume with a point per game pace in the playoffs so far. He has made the Bruins look silly on multiple occasions throughout the series and could certainly be deemed as their best player in the series so far. He is not an easy guy to shut down, so he will have to be limited in some fashion. Which isn’t impossible, but is going to lie heavily on the more physically-inclined Bruins players. Erik Karlsson is a guy who can make you pay, so limiting his success would be a huge step in the right direction.
Protecting Tuukka Rask
The defense didn’t do a horrible job in front of Tuukka Rask last night, besides the breakaways goals from Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. That’s the kind of stuff we can’t afford to see in game six. Two embarrassing showings from the defense led to some of the easiest goals Stone and Pageau will ever score. These goals forced the Bruins to play catch up and can’t happen in game six. Tuukka Rask showed yet again that he can steal a game, but he shouldn’t have to again. Ottawa is a team that isn’t shy about getting in Tuukka’s grill, so the defense is going to have to be extra sharp in order to make Tuukka’s day easier.
Game six in Boston is sure to be a barn burner. A barn burner in which momentum is on the Bruins’ side. Game seven and a trip to the second round is on the distant horizon, but a lot of work is still yet to be done.