- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- That widespread confidence in the Bruins' chances of winning the Stanley Cup might be muted a bit after the team's Game 1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. But coach Claude Julien says there's no reason to panic. The Bruins knew the Red Wings would be a tough opponent and expect this series to go the distance.
“We’re fine,” Julien said. “It’s a seven-game series. You certainly don’t get down on yourself because of a 1-0 loss; it could have gone either way. It just shows you how close and tight it is. We just have to be better in certain areas that we talked about this morning and hopefully we’ll be able to bring it to the game tomorrow, and if we do that hopefully the outcome will change.”
Boston held a full practice Saturday afternoon at TD Garden in preparation for Game 2 on Sunday.
The last thing the Bruins want is to trail by two games when this series shifts to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday. Of course, the B's have dealt with a similar situation during the playoffs in the past and were able survive. They erased an 0-2 deficit and beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals en route to a Cup championship in 2011.
Still, that’s not an ideal situation for the Bruins this time around against the Red Wings.
“We’ve got to do a better job of playing our game, establishing more time in the offensive zone,” Milan Lucic said Saturday. “A lot of the times, what we talk about throughout the season that has made us successful is puck management and obviously that’s going to be an important part of this series for both teams, and that needs to get better heading into tomorrow.”
Prior to Saturday’s practice, the Bruins spent time going over video from Game 1 and discussed how to generate more quality scoring chances against a stingy Detroit defense. Too many times in Game 1 the Bruins lost the race to the puck, especially in the offensive zone, so it’s a safe bet they’ll try to be a bit more physical on Sunday.
“I think we were physical enough [Friday],” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We still had a lot of good hits, but they do a good job when it comes to our forecheck. They get there and like to have bodies in front of us on the forecheck to kind of slow us down, and we’ve got to find ways to get through that. There’s no question about that.
“That’s one of the reasons that we weren’t as effective on our forecheck [Friday] as we have in the past, so we’ve got to find ways to get through that," he added. "And if they’re going to slow us down, if we’re skating hopefully they’ll end up taking penalties. But we’ve got to work through those kinds of things and establish the forecheck that we feel is an important part of our game.”
Both teams expected this series to be a disciplined one. There were only three total power plays in Game 1.
In order to win those critical puck battles in the offensive zone, Boston needs to be more consistent with its physical play.
“We can be more physical than we were yesterday, but at the same time we did get some good hits in and we do feel that it does wear on other teams,” said Bruins forward Jarome Iginla. “As the third period went on I thought we had our best chances as a team in the third period.”
Boston’s top line excelled during the regular season. Lucic, David Krejci and Iginla were consistent for the majority of the season and combined for 189 total points. On Friday, that trio had only a combined four shots on net.
In past postseasons, it took a few games for Lucic and Krejci to start generating quality scoring chances, but this year with Iginla in the mix that production should come soon.
“Obviously, you want to figure it out sooner than later,” Lucic said. “That’s a part of a playoff series, is making adjustments and trying to figure out the other team’s system. We’re going to have to figure out, as a line, how to be better. We can’t get frustrated. We have to stick to the basics and what makes us successful as a line.”