BOSTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien just wrote the team’s tag line for next season, or possibly for the current playoff run if it continues beyond tonight.
“The biggest thing I know is, you go out there and you play to win,” he said after giving his team the morning off with Game 7 of its Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia at TD Garden a mere eight hours away.
“And sometimes they say the term ‘Safe is death.’ If you want to play safe, it’s not going to help your chances of winning.”
I doubt the Bruins are going to take the ice without their helmets, and I wouldn’t expect Julien to use that approach when he teaches his daughter how to ride a bike, but ‘safe is death’ just might work in the Bruins’ do-or-die game tonight.
Without a morning skate, we can only guess the lineup based on yesterday’s practice. We’ll probably see Blake Wheeler on the top line and the D pairs will stay the same. Julien is hoping that somewhere in the mix there’s a hero or two to prevent the Bruins from becoming the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead.
“Big players have to come up big in those big games, but at the same time I’ve also seen some unsung heroes come up big and do the same things. In those kind of games, you go in there and you hope that somebody is going to make a difference. And I don’t care if it’s your best players or if it’s your role players. I just care that somebody comes up and does something big and something good for us.”
As for giving the team the morning off, Julien said there’s really nothing more his club can do but just show up and play the biggest game of the year.
“First of all, you’ve got to remember we had a late game the other night (Wednesday’s Game 6). We didn’t get in until about 1:30 in the morning,” said the coach. “We practiced yesterday, we did all the stuff that we need to prepare for tonight, so we’re giving our guys an opportunity to get some rest and be ready to play tonight. It’s simple as that.”