BOSTON -- So what exactly can the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers do for an encore?
It really didn't matter that the clubs were meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since May 11, 1978 -- it was almost as if they'd been at it for years. In the end, Bruins forward Marc Savard would score the winner 13:52 into overtime for a 5-4 victory in Game 1.
When asked if he thought the teams should anticipate a long series, Flyers forward Danny Briere took the optimistic approach.
"It is going to depend on how we react the next game," Briere said. "That's the most important part, right now. It is not up to me to make those comments. I hope it goes at least five games, if we can win the next four. But one game at a time. We have to bounce back, and I know it's tough right now and it's a little frustrating, but it is just one game.
"We'll have lots of time to get back at them."
The Bruins own a 30-12 record after winning Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. The teams will face off in Game 2 on Monday at TD Garden at 7 p.m. ET. The Flyers, meanwhile, are 13-19 in those series in which they lose the opener.
"It's great hockey," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "The overtime was exciting, back and forth. Good hitting. It was two good teams playing hard and I expect the next game to be the same."
Boston coach Claude Julien may have to do some tweaking to his lineup after forward Marco Sturm (lower-body injury) was injured just 21 seconds into his first shift in the first period. The veteran coach wasn't about to divulge any secrets in his postgame press conference on Saturday however.
"I'm certainly not going to tell you what my adjustments are going to be, but you know, they did what we expected them to do," Julien said. "They came at us hard and played physical. They did all of the things that we thought they would do and we said right from the start that it's going to be a good series. Obviously, it's off to a good start."
Following Sturm's injury, Julien increased the ice time for David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron and both players handled the workload extremely well. Krejci, who scored a picturesque goal in the third period, earned 25:37 of ice time totaling 32 shifts. Bergeron, who had a goal and an assist, amassed 23:01 on 35 shifts.
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, who made 41 saves in defeat, felt the team played admirably despite a lackluster effort in the first period that led to the Bruins grabbing a 2-0 lead. The Flyers were coming off an eight-day layoff after eliminating the New Jersey Devils in five games.
"I think we should be pretty pleased with the way we played our second and third period," Boucher said. "Once we got skating and got our legs about us, we did a good job five-on-five. Our power-play did a good job for us tonight (2-for-5).
"We know that this is not going to be an easy place to play. We have to have a better start in Game 2."
The Bruins outshot the Flyers in the opening period in Game 1, 15-8.
One other interesting development was the ongoing battle between Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger and Bruins forward Mark Recchi.
"It's playoff hockey," Pronger said. "You are going to have battles in the trenches and in front of the net. He is a guy who competes hard. I'm sure there will be more."
Pronger, 35, was playing in his 153rd career playoff game in his 16th NHL season. Recchi, 42, was playing his 158th postseason game spanning 21 seasons.
The oldest player in the series didn't consider his tussles with Pronger any big deal.
"He just happened to be there, I played against him most of the night," Recchi said. "You have to play hard; that's what playoffs are about. He's an important part of their team and he plays a lot of minutes, so of course you have to play physical on him. You have to play physical on their defensemen and they play four (Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn) for the most part.
"When you have opportunities to be in their face and be physical, you really have to do it."
To be continued ...
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com