If the Chicago Blackhawks would like any advice on how to move on from a bad loss, they need only look to the team that gave them a particularly bad one Saturday at the United Center.
On Thursday, the day after Chicago’s thrilling triple-overtime victory over the Bruins to open the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, Boston head coach Claude Julien spoke about his group’s knack for fighting back from postseason deficits.
“We’ve been through a lot,” said Julien. “When you go back to the year we won, we were down 2-0 to Montreal losing our first two games at home. We bounced back from that. We’re down 2-0 against Vancouver in the Final and we came back. I don’t think much is going to rattle our team. We’re a pretty resilient group of guys. We live in the moment.”
In fact, after 20 minutes of Game 2, it appeared Julien would have to sing that same tune again. Instead, the Bruins turned things around mid-game, shaking off a first period that saw them outshot, 19-4, and outscored, 1-0, by the Blackhawks.
Chris Kelly potted his first of the postseason in the second; Dan Paille sniped home the winner in overtime. The Bruins ended up outshooting the ‘Hawks, 24-15, in the second, third, and overtime periods combined.
“If someone watched the first period, they would say ‘Give (Chicago) the Cup right now,”‘ said Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr, who was lambasted after the opening stanza by NBC analyst Mike Milbury.
“We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit,” said goalie Tuukka Rask, who continued his run of playoff brilliance tonight.
“It looked like they had more guys out there than we did. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances. We definitely played pretty bad.
“But it was good that we were only down by one and regrouped after that.”
Julien concurred: “We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there.”
For the Blackhawks, this is the kind of loss that can come back to haunt a team. Granted, this series is far from over. But Monday and Wednesday the action shifts to TD Garden, a rink where the Bruins have won six straight, a streak that just happened to start with an astonishing comeback versus the Maple Leafs.
Perhaps the Blackhawks can take solace in the fact they had the Bruins on the run in Game 2, if only for a period.
“We had the perfect start to the game, then we stopped doing what made us successful,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “We stood around. They countered.”
And it’s not like the ‘Hawks haven’t overcome adversity themselves. In the second round, they fought back from a 3-1 series deficit versus the Red Wings.
For now though, the momentum belongs to the B’s.