The last time the Boston Bruins fell behind 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final, it was no great shock for head coach Claude Julien, a man that had already seen his team fall behind and prevail before.
“We’ve been through this, I don’t know how many times,” Julien said on June 15, 2011, after a 1-0 loss in Vancouver. “We’re not a team that’s done anything the easy way, so in a way, it’s not a surprise we’re here.”
The Bruins, of course, would go on to win Games 6 and 7 to win their first NHL championship since 1972.
Now, two years later, they’re right back where they were, down 3-2 in the Cup final and going back home for Game 6.
And, once again, Julien is happy to give reporters a history lesson.
“It’s do or die,” he said Saturday following a 3-1 loss at the United Center. “We’ve been there before, and we’ve done well in that situation.”
Granted, there are notable differences from 2011.
First, it’s the Blackhawks, with a core of stars that’s shown it can get the job done — not the Canucks, with a core that hasn’t — that the Bruins are trailing.
On top of that, Boston’s best center, Patrice Bergeron, is hurt and questionable for Game 6, and its best defenseman, Zdeno Chara, has been on the ice for eight goals against in the last two games.
But if there’s a team that knows how to pull together when its backs are against the wall, the chips are down, and other assorted clichés, it’s these Boston Bruins. The Canucks learned that in 2011, as did the Montreal Canadiens. Most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had the B’s beaten, only to regret not finishing the job.
“There’s no panic,” said Julien. “You’re not going to push us away that easily. We’re a committed group, and we plan on bouncing back.”