CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug isn't about to let one mistake get the best of him. He realizes there are more games to be played in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final -- and more opportunities for a little redemption.
The rookie knew he'd be a target of the media Thursday, one day after an ill-advised pass ultimately led to a critical goal for the Chicago Blackhawks, who rallied to defeat the Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 1 at United Center.
But the 22-year-old was stoic, answered every question as best he could, and appeared already geared up for Game 2 of this best-of-7 series Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"The best players forget mistakes like that and you learn from them," Krug said. "I have a short-term memory, so for me, it was kind of get ready to get back out there when my name is called and in overtime, I was ready to go."
Krug learned a valuable lesson the hard way when Bruins coach Claude Julien benched him for the remaining 12 minutes of the third period after his giveaway. With control of the puck in his defensive left circle, Krug threw a pass up the middle that was intended for Kaspars Daugavins. But Chicago forward Andrew Shaw picked off the feed and started a return rush that and resulted in a goal by Dave Bolland, the first of three unanswered by the Blackhawks, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1.
"We were making a line change and I knew the past few games, we had a couple of too-many-men calls, so I was just trying to avoid going to the bench," Krug said. "I saw [Kaspars] stretched out and was just trying to get the puck to him and let him take it in and get our forecheck going. It's a play that I saw was there … I just need better execution next time."
After Bolland's goal, the Blackhawks evened the score 4:14 later on Johnny Oduya's shot from the right point that deflected off Boston defenseman Andrew Ference and past goaltender Tuukka Rask. Shaw ended the game 12:08 into the third overtime.
"I saw the guy there but just didn't put it in the right spot," Krug said. "I got it a little too close to [Shaw's] body and he was able to catch the puck, put it down and unfortunately it came back to hurt us in the end."
Julien wasn't about to put sole blame on his young defenseman.
"There are a lot of mistakes that are made and some end up in goals and some you're able to recover from, and certainly we shouldn't look and judge this player on one game where he might have been average instead of real good like he has been," Julien said of Krug. "Yes, he sat in the third, but we still had the confidence to put him up there in that game in OT because he's also that kind of guy who can produce that goal when you need it.
"Yes, it was a mistake to throw that puck up the middle. But if you look back on the play, I didn't think we had a great line change and he didn't have a ton of options, so I think there can be some blame shared on that goal."
Krug has been one of the feel-good stories of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, an undrafted free-agent signee who became the first rookie defenseman in League history to score a goal in four of his first five postseason matches.
"If the team needs you to jump out there and do something, then you've got to remain focused and ready to do that," Krug said. "[Assistant] coach [Doug] Houda definitely did a good job of letting me understand I was going to play again, and it was just a matter of when we got the right matchups. Entering OT, I made sure I was ready to go and I was."
Krug logged 19:36 of ice time, was credited with three blocked shots and two hits, and took two shots in his first Stanley Cup Final game.
"I had a lot of chances to redeem myself … in the OT I had scoring chances on a bouncing puck in the slot where [Chicago goaltender Corey] Crawford made a good save," Krug said. "You want to do your best to bounce back. You feel like you let some guys on the team down, and all you want to do is come back and help the team. I had the opportunity to do that and just couldn't capitalize."
Krug's teammates said they don't feel the young defenseman will have any after-effects.
"It's a game of mistakes and everybody makes them, even the best players," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. "It's how you respond that matters. This is a quick game where big decisions must be made quickly; I wish people can be on the ice to see how quick it is. You have a split second to make a decision and most times you make the proper decision, but sometimes you don't."
Center Patrice Bergeron said he is confident Krug will answer the bell for Game 2.
"He just needs to keep playing his game … he's been great for us all playoffs and I think he's a tremendous player and a smart player," Bergeron said. "A lot of things happen in games, and it's just one of those things. I'm sure he'll be good for Game 2."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
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