BOSTON — Any time you lose a game 1-0, it’s hard to avoid thinking about what could have been.
As the Bruins gathered for practice on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden in the aftermath of their 1-0 loss to Detroit in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, it was all about adjustments — particularly on the offensive end.
Both the Red Wings and the Bruins came into this series confident in their defensive game plan. Neither team allows many goals, and both boast highly capable Olympian goaltenders who can shut any opponent down on any given night.
Both goaltenders were almost perfect on Friday night. Almost. The deciding goal came with just about three minutes left in regulation, off the stick of Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk. His sniper went past Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara and through the legs of Milan Lucic, who had been inches away from giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead moments earlier on the other end.
The Bruins may have been the team that came out on the short end on Friday, but going forward, both teams will be focusing on generating more offense.
“I know we have to get more pucks to the net,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “I know we need net-front presence — that’s something that always needs to be done. But overall, I think there are certain things that we are going to adjust for [Sunday] that we hope will help us. But at the same time, scoring chances they were low on both sides.”
“So I think defensively, both sides did a good job. It’s about finding ways to create more offense, and that is what we looked at this morning. That is what we discussed and that’s what we tried to work on a little bit.”
“I thought we played a fairly good game,” said Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. “But let’s be honest — it was a pretty tight game. It could have gone either way. [Jimmy Howard] came up with some huge saves for us. They’re a really good team, so we need to keep focusing on what we need to do.”
Hitting the ice the morning after a tough opening-game playoff loss could be a challenge -- which is why the Bruins are solely focusing on making adjustments rather than dwelling on the outcome of Friday’s game.
“We’re definitely confident that we can be better and find ways to generate more,” said Bruins forward Jarome Iginla. “So there’s stuff that we went over today that we saw that we’re making some mistakes in and things that we can just improve upon, so definitely look forward to getting right back at it and getting our first win in the series.”
“It’s a very important game here tomorrow, but the first one was, too, and now it’s even more so. It’s fun to be a part of this series. Just got to get that first win.”
For the Red Wings, practice was understandably a bit easier on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
“I think at playoff time each and every year, it’s always enjoyable, and one of the reasons it’s enjoyable is because your players are all in,” said Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock. “Lots of times during the year, it's a grind for them and a grind for you, and that’s just the way the NHL is. The more depth and talent you have, the easier it is because you win every day.”
“With our group, we have lots of great kids, lots of good, young players. I believe our team’s going in the right direction and I see growth every day, so it’s a positive thing. It’s way easier to practice after you win than after you lose — that’s the way it’s been, always, and that’s why winning’s so much fun.”
Both teams can find solace in the fact that they were strong on the back end, and neither team is one that is willing to sacrifice defense for offense — particularly the Bruins, who pride themselves on their two-way game and their defensive-minded forwards.
And at the moment, the Bruins are keeping everything in perspective: They believe this will be a long series, and though losing Game 1 was not ideal, it’s just one game. Now, it’s about finding a way to go out there and take the next one.
“There’s some things that I’m sure we can clean up in our game, but it’s all part of the process,” said Bruins forward Gregory Campbell. “It’s a long series, and it’s Game 1, so it’s important to refocus now on Game 2 and be prepared for that.”
The Bruins and the Wings know that no matter how many adjustments are made, neither Tuukka Rask nor Jimmy Howard is going to allow many clean shots to get through, so going forward, creating and taking advantage of scoring opportunities will be crucial.
“It’s a playoff game, I guess, so I expect it to be a tight game,” said Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar. “And it was. It wasn’t much space there, and we just have to create it.”
“It’s a chess match,” Campbell said. “These playoff series -- they kind of got the first move there, and we have to counter. But I guess in our eyes, it’s more important to kind of clean up some areas and play a little harder and a little better.”
“Certainly, you never want to go down two games going into the opposing building, but that’s not really our focus. Our focus is on Game 2.”