The Boston Bruins
have relied on their resiliency, an ability to bounce back when others think they can't, for much of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Bruins have fallen behind in two of the first three series of this postseason only to rally and advance. There have been defeats of all kinds, and wins followed after them.
The Bruins will need to find more in their reserves of resilient play if they are going to fight their way back into the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Twice now Boston has played a strong road game at Rogers Arena, and twice the Bruins have left the building after a gut-wrenching defeat.
"You just stick with it," Andrew Ference
said. "They are tight games and they will continue to be tight games. You just have to dig deep and get on the right side of it next time. It is nothing fancy. I would expect it to continue like that in the same style -- they are going to be tight. There is going to be good goaltending. You just have to fight to get the big goals like they've had at home."
Boston nearly played Vancouver to a draw in regulation in Game 1 before yielding a goal with 18.5 seconds left in the third period. Three nights later, the Bruins were able to reach overtime -- but 11 seconds in, Alex Burrows put them in a 2-0 series hole with a wraparound goal before some of the 18,000-plus fans were back in their seats.
It was another night where the Bruins stayed even with Canucks on special teams, countering a Burrows power-play goal with one of their own from Mark Recchi
. Boston had a strong second period and was 20 minutes from earning a split.
Instead, Burrows set up Daniel Sedin
for a goal during a Vancouver-controlled third period and the Canucks shocked the Bruins with a quick, counterattacking tally on the first shift of overtime.
"In reality, as I said after Game 1, a loss is a loss doesn't matter if it's 5-0 or the way that we lost," goaltender Tim Thomas
said. "Losing stinks no matter what. So it's not something that you want to do, but we've got to move forward."
For the second straight contest, Thomas had an outstanding effort before being undone by his aggressive nature. He came out of his crease to challenge Jannik Hansen
in Game 1, but the Danish forward sent a pass to Raffi Torres
cutting towards the left post for a redirection.
Burrows drew Thomas out of his crease with a shot fake and pushed the put the puck off the end boards to keep it away from an oncoming Zdeno Chara
. He collected it and had a wide-open net because Thomas had overcommitted and had no chance to get back.
"I'm not going to tell him to change his game," Ference said. "He's been awesome for us. He does what he has to do."
If the Bruins need to draw on experience to rally from this deficit, there is plenty for them to draw upon. Boston fell behind 2-0 to Montreal in the first round, and that was after dropping two games at TD Garden. The Bruins went to Montreal and collected two wins to even the series and eventually won in seven games.
Boston fell behind against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final as well, dropping Game 1 in convincing fashion. There were a couple of instances during that series with the Lightning where the Bruins were done in by a wild momentum swing in Tampa Bay's favor, and yet they were able to survive and advance after another grueling seven-game epic.
If the Bruins are going to avoid a 3-0 hole, they will need to summon another against the grain performance.
"I don't think there's any reason here to not be positive," Boston coach Claude Julien
said. "You don't get this far and all of a sudden hang your head. They had home-ice advantage, won their first two home games. We got to go back home and do the same. One game at a time, as you hear always. We win the first game, it builds up momentum, and you get yourself back in the series. It's not the end of the world here. We lost the game, but we're a better team than that, and we're a team that's bounced back all through the season."