Commentary

Bruins happy to work overtime

They have thrived under pressure of extra sessions in postseason

Updated: May 17, 2013, 9:53 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- There have been plenty of intense overtime celebrations for the Boston Bruins in the last few seasons, and for the most part, the team has thrived in these do-or-die situations.

That's been the case so far in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bruins already are 3-0 in OT games. And it's not just the wins, but how Boston is pulling off these dramatic victories. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers on Thursday at TD Garden, Brad Marchand scored the decisive goal at 15:40 of the extra period to give Boston a 3-2 win.

The Bruins completely dominated the Rangers in overtime and outshot them,16-5. Boston was relentless and peppered New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist time and again until Marchand finished off a two-on-one break with linemate Patrice Bergeron for the winning tally.

[+] EnlargeBrad Marchand
Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty ImagesBrad Marchand's goal in Game 1 against the Rangers improved the Bruins' postseason record in overtime to 3-0.

Building off their historic come-from-behind victory in Game 7 of the quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston proved momentum can carry over. Against the Leafs last Monday, the Bruins erased a three-goal deficit with 10 minutes remaining in regulation before Bergeron netted the winning goal at 6:05 of OT.

Seconds before the puck dropped in Game 1 against New York, the Garden's game-day staff showed highlights of the Bruins' emotional comeback on the center-ice video board. It served its purpose and had both the fans at the Garden and the Bruins ready for the Rangers.

After regulation ended in a 2-2 tie, Boston came out hard and fast for overtime and never let up. The Bruins won the battles in the corners, along the walls and in front of the net. They made plays and didn't look nervous with the puck in any aspect of the game. The end result was a critical win on home ice.

With the Rangers 0-3 in overtime so far in the playoffs, it seems they need to beat the Bruins in regulation if they want to have success because Boston has its mojo working in the extra period.

"In overtime it's about coming out ready, prepared and really not sitting back," Bruins forward Gregory Campbell said. "Whether you lose or win the game, your chances of winning are a lot greater if you come out and throw everything at them.

"You're going to win some games, you're going to lose some games in overtime, and oftentimes you see overtime goals that are crazy goals. It's often the most simple plays that are effective. Our approach is always to get lots of pucks to the net, shoot from anywhere and just really go after them. Overtime is such a high intensity, pressure-filled period that if you sit back, you're going to make mistakes and those mistakes can lead to losing the game, so it's important to really go after them and let the chips fall where they may."

The Bruins have suffered their share of nasty losses in overtime too. Under coach Claude Julien, they are 12-7 in playoff overtime games since 2008.

After sweeping the Montreal Canadiens in the quarterfinals in 2008, Boston lost 3-2 in OT against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 at the Garden. In 2011, en route to the organization's first Stanley Cup in 39 years, the Bruins beat the Canadiens three times in OT in the first round, including a thrilling 4-3 win in Game 7 at the Garden.

In 2012, Boston wasn't as fortunate.

The Bruins and the Washington Capitals played four overtime games in the quarterfinals, but Boston dropped two, including a 2-1 loss in Game 7 at the Garden.

This postseason the Bruins have enjoyed their success in overtime, but they also know that their luck -- and luck plays a big role in OT -- could change at any moment.

"I'm not going to stand here and say I've got miracle words because I don't," Julien said of his team's success in OT this postseason. "I tell them the same thing that probably every coach tells them to do, 'Every shot is important, don't pass up on them, and play to win. You've got to go out there and you can't have that fear.'

"We've been through a lot and we've been through great wins, as you saw the other night, we've also been through some tough losses in Game 7's. Do we have experience in Game 7's? Yeah, we do. But I think the guys have learned how to play those."

The influx of youth has helped the Bruins. Rookies Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug have added a youthful spark during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it was on display in Game 1 against the Rangers. That trio played so well during regulation, Julien had no issues putting them out there in the extra period.

"Everyone's going so hard, it brings you energy and it's that extra willingness to win and try to end the game as quick as you can," Hamilton said. "We outplayed them pretty bad, similar to Toronto too, where most of the play was in that end. You just try to get pucks deep on them and keep working."

Based on the team's inconsistent play in the first round against the Maple Leafs, along with the Bruins' thrilling back-to-back wins in OT against Toronto and New York, Boston seems to be hitting its stride, similar to the way the team did during the spring of 2011.

"We've got the first round behind us and now we've got to turn the page," David Krejci said. "It's a new series, a new season, a new round. We got the first one, but we know how hard it is to get the next three wins. I like where the team is right now and hopefully we can do something good here this year."

Every spring, teams will say the hardest round is the first one. Players get a sense of excitement in the semifinals, Julien says, but there's still plenty of hockey to be played and the Bruins need to stay consistent and play the way they have the last two games.

"I don't think we played the best game, so we have to go out there and we know it's going to be even harder than it was [in Game 1]," Krejci said. "They want to get a win and they'll do anything for that. We have to be ready and do whatever it takes to get a win."

Even in overtime.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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