Bruins not panicking after 3-OT loss in Game 1

Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 6:48 PM
Dan Rosen  - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- With some help from Jaromir Jagr, Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly instantly recalled Keith Primeau's classic fifth-overtime winner in 2000 when he was asked on Thursday to remember watching a game that resembled the one Kelly played in Wednesday night at United Center.

"Jags actually played in it and he referred to it because he scored," Kelly said. "Jags said he played over 60 minutes that game. I remember watching that and seeing that goal, it was like a first-period goal, the shot that he took. It didn't seem like he was tired."

But Kelly seemed stunned to learn about what happened after Primeau's goal gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-1 victory in Game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins: After two days off, the Flyers beat the Penguins 6-3 in Game 5, then won 2-1 in Game 6 to capture the series after losing the first two games.

The Bruins now have to avoid falling into a trap similar to the one that snared the Penguins -- one that more often than not has affected teams that lose a marathon overtime game, as Boston did Wednesday when Andrew Shaw scored 12:08 into the third OT to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins profess that that losing the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history is no worse than any other defeat.

"A loss is a loss," Kelly said. "If you lose 6-0 or you lose in triple overtime, at the end of the day it's still a loss."

But history suggests that losing a marathon in the Stanley Cup Playoffs can have a lasting effect.

Since 1990, there have been 27 games that have gone past two overtime periods. Seven were series-deciding games; of the other 20, the team that won the marathon game went on to win the series 13 times -- and on seven occasions, that team did not lose again in the series.

Jagr, who was not made available to the media on Thursday, was also part of a series in 1996, when Petr Nedved scored in quadruple-OT to give the Penguins a win in Game 4 against the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh went on to win Games 5 and 6 to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Boston coach Claude Julien isn't worried.

"I don't think much will rattle our team," he said. "We're a pretty resilient group of guys."

Julien cited experience in dealing with adversity, mentioning 2011, when the Bruins lost Games 1 and 2 to the Montreal Canadiens in the conference quarterfinals and again to the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final only to win each round in seven games. Boston also can look back to Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs last month, when they came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period to win in overtime.

"We've learned, especially this year in the playoffs, that it's never over until you get that fourth win," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "That fourth game is always the toughest to get so now we're still far away and we're not even worried about it. It's still one game. It's about being ready for Game 2. It's a best-of-7 and that's it. You can't get too high or too low in the playoffs, and this is a perfect example."

It's easier for the Bruins to have that type of attitude because it was Game 1. The feeling might be different if, for example, Boston had lost Game 4 in triple overtime to fall behind 3-1 in the series.

"You expect experience to come in and maturity to come in and say, 'You know, it's 1-0,'" Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "You get on with it, turn the page. Whether it's a goal, whether it's a game or whether it's a play, tough luck. That's the game. What are you going to do?

"Everybody has played enough hockey on this team and for the guys that haven't, they're surrounded by guys that can let them know that as well."

To turn the page, the Bruins decided to use Thursday as a rehydrate and recover day.

"Cold tub is one of those things, massage is another, but hydration is probably the best -- and rest," Bergeron said. "We're trying to do that right now. The trainers are keeping an eye on us and making sure we're doing that."

Like the Blackhawks, the Bruins did not practice Thursday. They will save that for Friday, when Julien hopes to get his players on the ice to get their blood flowing again so they can fully embrace the idea of Game 2 and put the result of Game 1 behind them.

Many teams that have been in Boston's current predicament have tried and failed to do the same. The Bruins think they can be different.

"Wasting our time thinking about what could have, what should have [been] is a lot of wasted energy," Julien said. "Our team turns a corner and we start focusing on the next game. What's done is done. They could say the same thing on a few opportunities they had, but they got the win, so it may be a little easier for them to move on. I don't think it's going to be an issue with our hockey club. It never has been."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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