EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 22, 2013

Time to get back to playoff hockey

Bill Burt
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — You know those questions on the SAT test where four or five items are stacked against each other and you’re supposed to pick which one doesn’t belong.

Well, the Stanley Cup Finals got one of those: Game 4.

While I can’t vouch for the Chicago Blackhawks, who got an A-plus for lulling the Boston Bruins into an up-and-down-the-ice thriller on Wednesday night, I can vouch for the Bruins and their coach, Claude Julien.

It won’t happen, at least the Bruins’ side of that exciting, 6-5 overtime game.

The Bruins have had a comfort zone for most of these playoffs and that means probably a 2-1 game. That probably means overtime, too. Not a problem.

Julien was remarkably pleasant after the overtime loss, basically admitting the Bruins lost control very early. In fact, he found a silver lining and noted the comeback after comeback in the second and third periods.

It was a fun game to watch. In fact, if the Bruins had won, it might have given them a false sense of security — “We can win 2-1 and we can win 6-5.” It probably would have set them up for the trap game of trap games tonight in Chicago.

Instead, it will be playoff hockey again. That means Bruins forwards skate back and do their best to halt 2-on-1 and 3-and-2 breaks. Are you listening Patrice Bergeron?

This team has proven it can muster some offense when needed, which has happened a few times the last six weeks, especially in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs. Wednesday night’s game was very similar, with the Bruins almost too easily climbing out of second and third period holes with some incredible offense.

But let’s be honest. What separates the Bruins from the second, third and fourth best teams in the NHL is the way they handcuff some of the best forwards in the world. It’s five guys, or sometimes four on the penalty kill, working together, which is the essence of what Bruins hockey.

Hope you enjoyed Game 4 because you probably won’t see that again until next winter when the Bruins are tired during a back-to-back stretch of games.

It’s time to get back to discipline, grit, a little chippiness and defensive hockey that has put this franchise back on the map.

E-mail Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

Stanley Cup Finals schedule Game 1: Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3 (3 OT) Game 2: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT) Game 3: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 0 Game 4: Blackhawks 6, Bruins 5 (OT) Game 5: Today, at Chicago, 8 p.m. Game 6: Monday, at Boston, 8 p.m. If necessary Game 7: Wednesday, at Chicago, 8 p.m