BOSTON – The sun came out on Saturday, and the Boston Bruins were perfectly fine, despite dropping Game 1 of their first round playoff series to the Detroit Red Wings in a tightly-contested affair.
The Bruins held nearly an hour-long practice at TD Garden – their most crisp and well-attended practice this entire week – and made some adjustments they hope will aid in puck possession and setting up their own offense once they cross the blue line.
Both were issues against a Detroit team that slowed them in the neutral zone and kept the Bruins from dumping pucks to their preferred locations in the offensive zone.
“We’re fine. It’s a seven game series and you certainly don’t get down on yourself for a 1-0 loss that could have gone either way. It just shows you how close and tight it is,” said Claude Julien. “I think we just have to be better in certain areas that we talked about this morning. We hopefully will be able to bring [those improvements] to the game tomorrow. If we do that then hopefully the outcome will change.”
Most of the Bruins players are no strangers to their current situation. They were victorious in their Game 1s with the Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals in each of the past two years with mixed results, but lost Game 1 in three of the first four first-round series since Julien became coach back in 2007-08.
So, the veteran group of Bruins players will fight through the subtle interference and obstruction practiced by the Red Wings, attempt to exert their will, while forcing the puck closer to the Detroit net, and try to head to Detroit with the series evened out at one game after their opening defeat.
“It’s part of the playoffs. Nobody in here expected this to be easy, and most of you [reporters] in here didn’t either. Most of you guys were saying the same thing. It’s 1-0 in the series, and we’re looking to make it 1-1,” said Jarome Iginla. “It was a close game that could have gone either way, and we get back it.
“They made it really tight. Scoring chances were pretty low on both sides. Both sides played well defensively. We’ve got to find ways – and we think we can – to create more, and get more zone time.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock told the media on Saturday that he had the scoring chances dead even at 9-9 for the Bruins and Red Wings in Game 1, but it was pretty clear the Bruins weren’t happy with the quality of their possessions in the Detroit zone.
If nothing else improves for the Bruins in their Easter Sunday matinee (3 p.m.) against the Wings, expect the zone time numbers and quality of possessions to spike up for a team that’s now fully into playoff mode.