The Bruins’ 3-6 record in non-Game 7 elimination games under Claude Julien doesn’t do anything to deter the coach heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Friday night at TD Garden.
“I’m trying to make it 4-6 tonight. How’s that?” said Julien after his team’s morning skate.
The only distraction the Bruins might have in their pursuit of a second-round berth is an injury to Wade Redden. Julien declared the veteran defenseman out for Game 5. Matt Bartkowski, who was recalled from Providence Thursday, and Dougie Hamilton are the candidates to replace Redden.
“Well, we’ve got two [options],” Julien said. “One’s a right shot [Hamilton] and one’s a left shot and we have to decide what we want to do with our pairings here. Once we decide that we’ll know who to put in. They’ve both been kind of told that, ‘We’ll let you know.’ It’s one of those two guys.”
Redden is a left shot that usually skates next to Adam McQuaid.
The Maple Leafs will also have a change on defense. Mark Fraser is out after he took a puck to the head in Game 4. He had to have surgery and is now home resting. John-Michael Liles, a healthy scratch since Game 1, will be in for Fraser.
As usual, the two goaltenders will be front and center in this game. Tuukka Rask has compiled a .932 save percentage through four games for Boston, while James Reimer has lost three times and compiled a .914 save percentage.
“I think that when you’re sitting in a situation where you’re down 3-1 in games, I think he’s [Reimer] not any different than any other member of our hockey club. There’s more for him to give,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “And I think the message is consistent. We don’t like to single people out and say that this guy’s got to do this and this guy’s got to do that. You’re in a playoff series, you need your team to do it. And he’s a part of our team. He’s a big part of our team. And obviously goaltending gets the most praise and gets the most criticism – the last line of defense. And we could do things in front of him that could possibly help him from a stand point of not give that quality, Grade-A chance up as often. Those are things that we’ve talked about. That’s part of the team game. If we’re better in front of him, he doesn’t have to be lights out goaltender. We just want goaltending that’s good enough to win.”
On the other side of the coin, the Bruins know they never have to sweat Rask’s play because he’s almost always on top of his game.
“It’s great. I don’t know, we’ve been spoiled, you know? We’ve had some great goaltending over the last few years and it’s never really come up as an issue for our team, which is nice,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. “So I guess, in a way, we are spoiled and we’ve come to expect big things out of them and we’ve had guys that have been able to shoulder pressure pretty well and make us concentrate only on our own jobs.”