With an overtime victory over Montreal in their pockets and their best-of-seven second-round playoff series tied at two games apiece, the Bruins came home to prepare for Saturday’s Game 5, buoyed by Thursday’s overtime hero, rookie Matt Fraser.
Fraser was still grinning Friday, less than 24 hours after he scored his first NHL playoff goal in his first game after being recalled from Providence.
“You always envision scoring those goals but you never think it’s going to be you,’’ he said.
Fraser’s good fortune lifted the rest of the team, too.
“It definitely gives you some momentum to win a game in overtime like that, and tying the series,’’ said Patrice Bergeron. “That being said, it’s always about the next game, not getting too high or too low.
“We’ve talked about that so many times, and I think it’s the same thing again — it’s all about tomorrow’s game.”
The 1-0 victory returns home-ice advantage to the Bruins, with Game 6 in Montreal and Game 7, if needed, back in Boston.
Bergeron thought the Bruins, after coming up with a sloppy effort in the 4-2 loss in Game 3, regrouped well.
“I thought we got back to playing our system,’’ he said, “and playing tight and solid defense is definitely part of it. I thought we did that. Definitely there are some more adjustments to be made but it was a lot more the way we need to be playing.
“It’s playoff hockey, it’s tight hockey — chances are slim, and you need to make sure you take advantage when you do have them. They’re playing some solid defense as well, so it’s about making sure we fight with some more confidence but also create more chances by putting more guys around the net and fighting for that loose puck.’’
Coming home winners improved the team’s outlook.
“It’s a huge difference, the score of the series, just understanding the situation,’’ said Torey Krug. “I’ve said it before, there isn’t a situation that this room hasn’t been through.
“It’s a great challenge and now it turns into a best-of-three and we have home-ice advantage. Now we want to make sure we take advantage of it.’’
Coach Claude Julien, of course, was not completely satisfied.
“We’ve been better, there’s no doubt,’’ he said. “I don’t think our team is playing badly at all. I just know that our team is still capable of playing a little bit better than what we have, than what we’ve shown so far.
“I just think there’s still some potential in our team to play even better.”
One aspect of their game the Bruins can improve on is the power play: Montreal has stopped it cold, as the Bruins have gone 0 for 8 in the series. The Bruins haven’t scored a playoff power-play goal against the Canadiens in their last 36 tries, going back to April of 2009.
“They’re defending well, but we’ve got to do a better job of taking what’s there and shooting the puck and creating some havoc in front of [Carey] Price’s net,’’ said Bergeron. “Finding the shooting lanes and making sure they don’t block it.”
Krug, who has one power-play goal in the playoffs, said the Canadiens have been doing well at simply getting in the way.
“I just think they do a very good job of blocking shots,’’ said Krug. “For any penalty kill, they say the best penalty killer is your goalie, and Carey Price has done a great job this series.
“They do a good job, it’s a good penalty kill. Hopefully we can fine-tune some things and find the back of the net.”
Price has a .921 save percentage in the series, and the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, who earned the shutout in Game 4 with 33 saves, has a .941 save percentage.
If the loss in Game 3 made him look vulnerable, his coach allowed no doubts.
“I thought he was really good last night,’’ said Julien. “There’s no confidence issues. He’s hard on himself but he never gets rattled that way. If anything, he shows a lot of resiliency and determination to be better.
“And that’s what he did [Thursday].
“Was his game perfect? Well, I mean a shutout says a lot. There were some saves he had to work a little harder on than others, but he was good, and to me, that’s what he’s done for us all year.’’