Coach's Call: Stanley Cup finals Game 1

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
12:43
AM ET

ESPN's Barry Melrose breaks down the top three coaching moves made in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

1. Boston's power play: Even though the Bruins were not able to convert on the man advantage (both teams went 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 1), they had their strongest special-teams game of the playoffs. That shows me that coach Claude Julien spent more time in practice on it, and he got his team to respond. He also made the choice to stick with the plan of keeping Zdeno Chara in front on the power play. Even the second unit without Chara had solid chances for the B's.

2. The third line: Even with players like the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler, when a coach sees another line clicking in a game, he should play them more. And that's exactly what coach Alain Vigneault did in Game 1 with his third line of Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen. Vigneault went to that line a lot in the Cup finals opener and it paid off -- part of that line was on the ice for Raffi Torres' Game 1 winner (both teams were on a line change in the waning seconds of regulation).

3. Selling the positive: To spin forward a bit, Julien will have to continue to spin the positive message in his locker room, while Vigneault will have to tell his players that they have to play better. Boston will come out stronger in Saturday's Game 2, especially after such a strong opener. His message: "Guys, if we do all of this again, we'll win."

Barry Melrose

NHL studio analyst
Former NHL player and coach Barry Melrose is an NHL studio analyst for ESPN.

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