How quickly can Bruins put Game 1 behind them?
In the 2013 postseason, Bruins don’t have to prove their resiliency to anybody. After rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Game 7 vs. Toronto, this group has earned immense respect and have proven to be emotionally strong and focused. Still, the challenges facing them heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night (8, NBC) are unique coming off an epic 4-3 triple-overtime loss in Game 1 to the Blackhawks Wednesday at United Center.
It was the first Game 1 the B’s have lost in 2013 and also the first time they’ve trailed in a series. The B’s will need to put that gut-wrenching result behind them but it should be noted that they’ve been in a similar circumstance before with largely the same core of guys. They rallied from a 2-0 series hole against Vancouver two years ago in the final.
The NHL scheduling gods did both teams a favor by putting an extra day between Games 1 and 2. That coupled with the fact that this occurred in Game 1 (vs. Game 3 against Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Finals, a 2OT win by the B’s) means that the Bruins have a better chance of overcoming this situation while trying to get a win in Chicago before they return to TD Garden on Monday for Game 3. It’s truly tough to say that the Bruins choked away Game 1 despite their pair of two-goal leads.
After Boston went up 2-0 early in the second period on Milan Lucic’s second goal of the game, the B’s seemed to take the pressure off a bit which allowed the Blackhawks to slowly work their way back in. Yes, Chicago got plenty of breaks in tying it up, including the third goal that went off Andrew Ference’s skate and the overtime winner by Andrew Shaw that deflected off teammate Dave Bolland – but that’s hockey. Chalking up the loss to fluky bounces such as that and Jaromir Jagr’s redirect that went off the post late in double overtime is a simple excuse.Only one Blackhawks player played over 40 minutes in the marathon contest as defenseman Duncan Keith had a game-high 48:40 on ice. The Bruins, meanwhile, had three defensemen in the 40-minute club: Dennis Seidenberg (48:36), Ference (45:19) and Zdeno Chara (45:05). Both teams canceled practice on Thursday which allows all the players, especially those guys to rest their weary bodies.
A big lineup change appears imminent for the B’s as Nathan Horton left with an upper body injury in the first overtime and never returned. In his absence, Tyler Seguin (1 assist) was bumped up to the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Boston certainly would prefer Horton over Seguin at this juncture but maybe having more talented players around him would rescue Seguin from the abyss before the playoffs end. It helped that Chicago got a career-night from its new third line as Brandon Saad, Dave Bolland and Shaw all scored goals, something which will likely never happen again in the same game this series.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate