Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for NHL.com periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, Garrison discusses a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
TAMPA -- It really felt like a pretty normal game day on Wednesday. I know that might sound strange, but it's true.
We had an optional skate, and a lot of guys took the option to save their energy. We had a good meeting too. Having these later games, after 8 o'clock for puck drop, means we have a lot of time in the afternoon, a lot of time to kill. I took a nap, watched a little TV, and that was about it. Really, I tried to go over in my mind some things from the game, things we saw in the morning and even Tuesday.
Coming into the arena felt pretty normal, except for all the cameras that were filming us coming in. You've got to keep that laser focus. Can't look at the camera. Don't do it.
It was also a normal routine before the game too. Nothing really changed. I did everything that I normally do, which I was happy with because you want to keep things as much the same as possible.
As for the game: Yeah, it's a tough one to swallow, losing 2-1 the way we did. We felt we played pretty well in the first and second periods. We really just let our guard down a little in the third and they were able to capitalize.
I don't think there is ever any regret, but what happened to us is what happens when you sit back.
There are ways to protect leads, and sitting back and hoping that the time runs out isn't one of them. You've got to still play the same way. It can be difficult at times to do that, but we have learned in the past that you can't sit back, you have to keep playing your game, keep taking it to them as best you can. Tonight we kind of let ourselves go with a couple of shifts where we weren't thinking the right way, and they capitalized on those opportunities.
So, yes, there are things to learn from that game and obviously it's a tough loss, but now we know we can at least play with these guys. We just have to play a full 60 minutes. It's tough when you don't.
Now we get a couple days off before our next game on Saturday to regroup, refocus, and make sure we come out with the same energy that we did tonight but follow through with it for 60 minutes. That's the lesson.
The other lesson from my first game day in the Stanley Cup Final is how to deal with all the stuff going on around the actual game. There are more cameras, more media, a lot more people around than we're used to. You have to try to tune everything out as best as you can and just play.