Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was a smidgen better than Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, but it was the difference between a win and a loss. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO – It would be impossible to find two teams better able to put an evening such as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final behind them than the ones that played in it. Both have been there, done that and picked up the championship ring.
So if you’re thinking the guys on the Chicago Blackhawks are planning their day with the Stanley Cup just because they won the first game of what promises to be a grueling series, think again. And if you’re of the impression the Boston Bruins are trying to get to the top of the Willis Tower (or onto Zdeno Chara’s shoulders) so they can jump off, rest easy.
These are two teams that have been through pretty much every possible playoff scenario the past couple of years, so you can bet they will both have an ability to park Game 1 and not allow the euphoria (in the case of the Blackhawks) or the disappointment (in the case of the Bruins) consume them.
Take Bruins defenseman Torey Krug for example. The 22-year-old rookie was largely responsible for Chicago’s second goal when he burped up the puck to Andrew Shaw in the defensive zone. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask went as far as to say it was a “terrible” giveaway. You might expect Krug to be devastated, but he didn’t make the NHL by crawling under a rock every time he made a mistake on the ice.
“It’s funny, I woke up this morning and dropped my phone and it’s broken, too,” Krug said. “Maybe my hands just haven’t been working the last 24 hours.”
In 2011, the Bruins lost Game 1 of the final against the Vancouver Canucks with 18 seconds left in the game and dropped Game 2 in overtime – devastating losses to be sure – and we all know how that ultimately turned out. There will be no carryover into Game 2 on either side. In fact, the status of Nathan Horton, who is listed as day-to-day after taking a puck in the forearm during the first overtime period, is a far more pressing issue for the Bruins at the moment.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are well aware they escaped with a victory in a game they could have just as easily lost. Rather than revel in their accomplishment, the Blackhawks were more grateful just to have a day off without having to go on the ice. Most were well rested, with the exception of Marian Hossa, who intends to have a word with his noisy neighbor.
“I fell asleep around three,” Hossa said. “Woke up early. I think my neighbor decided he was going to drill in the morning. That was unpleasant. You know, hopefully he is going to get his message for next time, he won’t drill.”
There was a time during Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference’s career when he would have allowed a loss like the one in Game 1 stick to him a little more. He recalled losing in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final in 2004 with the Calgary Flames and how he handled it then. Suffice to say his ability to roll with the adversity that comes in the playoffs is much better nine years later. Bruins coach Claude Julien referred to his team’s penchant for dealing with misfortune, saying the fact they have been through so much good and bad together as a group has galvanized them.
“I think you have to turn the page,” Julien said. “Our team is resilient. Wasting our time thinking what could have, should have is a lot of waste of energy.”
Added Ference: “It sucks having guys who are emotional train-wrecks in the room. It does, because it’s contagious. You tell those guys to shut up once in a while. You need to have an atmosphere that’s calm.”
• Julien would not speculate on what the Bruins would do if Horton is not ready for Game 2, saying he’s “not going there” when asked what Boston will do if Horton is unavailable because, “that decision hasn't been made.”
• Tyler Seguin had some terrific looks in Game 1 and did everything but put the puck in the net. He remains stuck on just one goal in 17 playoff games. Like his friend and lockout teammate Patrick Kane, Seguin plays much better when he has his confidence. “To me right now, the only thing he needs to do is to be able to finish,” Julien said. “If he can finish, it will certainly help his confidence, help our hockey club. But not criticizing his work ethic because he’s competing hard and he’s got some chances. Those things are certainly a positive thing. So there’s only one thing left to do, and you hope for his sake and our sake that it comes along.”
• Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook remarked that what you see of Game 1 hero Andrew Shaw on the ice is pretty much what they see in the dressing room. “He’s a handful in the dressing room, too,” Seabrook said. “Yeah, he’s a high-energy guy. He likes to have fun, get guys going, jumping around the room, bouncing around. Yeah, he’s pretty much the same he is on the ice, just without skates on.”