By Joe Haggerty
WILMINGTON The Bruins have been here before, so it should be widely understood if they dont panic down 1-0 in a playoff series with the other teams goaltender seemingly standing tall with confidence.
It was exactly a year ago the Bs were down 1-0 to the Buffalo Sabres in their opening round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Sabres had just watched goaltender Ryan Miller make 38 saves en route to a 2-1 victory a win that saw the Bs outshoot Buffalo by a 24-8 margin in the second period without much in the way of goals or production.
We could be a little more physical than we were last night, said Bruins winger Michael Ryder. Weve got to get traffic in front of Carey Price and find ways to beat him. We lost to Buffalo in the first game, and Miller was a great goalie too.
Youve to find a way to beat those guys in a playoff series, and not just one game. You have to get better with each game, and learn and adjust to whats going on each time you play. Well make some adjustments and I think well be fine.
The good news: that series had a happy ending.
The bad news: that series didnt feature the Bruins attempting to win in a Habs den thats served as an arena full of kryptonite for more than a calendar year, and now Boston must win a game in Montreal after losing home ice advantage.
The Bruins are determined to make sure its only a 1-1 series instead of trailing 0-2 with the raucous Bell Centre on tap.
We lost the first game against Buffalo last year. It happens. Its just one game, said Krejci, who was held without a shot on net and got completely shut down by the shadow job of Tomas Plekanec. Its a tight series. Weve talked about it being a long series maybe seven games and were ready for it.
We want to win. We have to win. We will win. Obviously we dont want to go up to Montreal with them holding a 2-0 lead. That would be really tough.
Thats as close as Krejci will ever come to a Czech Republic version of Joe Namath predicting a postseason win before it happens, but it underscores how high the confidence is still running for the Bruins.
There was some frustration just as it was there in a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, but there was also a nagging feeling that the Bs hadnt really made the Vezina Trophy-winning Miller work all that hard. Just as they didnt do much besides shoot the puck directly into Carey Prices chest in the shutout loss that saw the Habs netminder make 31 saves in the Montreal win in Game One.
Its Stanley Cup dj vu, and it gives many of the veteran Bruins proof positive that things can be turned around after just about everything imaginable went against the Black and Gold in Game One. That includes 31 shots on net without much in the way of gritty interior work by the Bs forwards attempting to bust through Montreals inner defense around Price.
Big bodies like Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton werent able to bust through Montreals defensive pillars in order to make Prices life either A) uncomfortable or B) downright deplorable. Instead Price saw wide lanes open up each time a Bs player wound up and blasted a shot at the Montreal net, and wasnt bothered by many scoring chances after Brad Marchand fanned on a point blank shot in the first period.
Last season against the Sabres, Boston improved dynamically when it came to rattling Millers cage between the pipes, and that pressure allowed them to win four of the final five games en route to winning the playoff series.
That kind of recent past performance can give the Bs plenty to work with, and Boston hopes to respond as they did with a five goal barrage in Game 2 last season an offensive outburst that was keyed by Michael Ryder working around the net and Chara blasting away from the point with bodies flying all around the net.
Thats the recipe for success in Boston if the Bs players are willing to pay the price.
The Buffalo series was out of my mind. It doesnt matter who were playing, we have to find a way to score goals, said Shawn Thornton. If traffic is the answer then traffic is the answer. If its something else then so be it.
Were going to come out, play hard and get things going in the right way.
The right way starts with making Price feel like hes in the same inhospitable place that saw him yanked from the game in each of his last two regular season starts against the Bruins at TD Garden and it ends with the Bruins knotting up a series desperately waiting for the real Black and Gold unit to stand up and be counted.
Just like in Buffalo a year ago.