VANCOUVER – Surrendering the game-winning goal with 18.5 seconds left is no way to finish a Stanley Cup final game.
But the Boston Bruins could also use some better starts this post-season as they head into Saturday’s Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Boston has been reeling early in six of 19 playoff games, giving up three goals in the first minute and seven in the first three minutes.
“We’ve got to get the puck right off the start and get it in deep in the opposition’s zone just like they did to us last game,” Bruins winger Milan Lucic said after Friday’s practice.
“They didn’t waste any time, they got it in deep and they went to work.”
Their opening minutes of Wednesday’s first game of the Cup final saw the Canucks swarm goalie Tim Thomas.
Daniel Sedin had a good scoring chance from the side of the net. On the next shift, Ryan Kesler forced Thomas to make another solid save on a tipped puck.
Vancouver’s momentum continued until Daniel Sedin took a four-minute high-sticking penalty on Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara.
That helped the Bruins gather themselves and the game remained scoreless until Raffi Torres’ heart-breaking goal produced a 1-0 win.
However, Boston has put itself behind the eight-ball by giving up early goals this post-season.
They opened the playoffs with a 2-0 home loss to Montreal after Brian Gionta scored 2:44 after the puck dropped.
Michael Cammalleri scored 43 seconds into Game 2 and Mathieu Darche added another 1:37 later. The Habs won 3-1.
While the Bruins swept Philadelphia, they had to come from behind after James van Riemsdyk scored 29 seconds into a 3-2 Boston victory.
In the Eastern Conference final, Adam Hall scored after 13 seconds in Game 2, the fastest goal in Tampa Bay Lightning playoff history.
Simon Gagne counted for the Lightning at 1:09 of Game 5 and Tampa Bay forced a seventh game with the help of Teddy Purcell’s goal 36 seconds into a 5-4 Boston loss.
“Having a big start is always key in an opposing building,” said rookie Brad Marchand who had a winning goal against the Lightning. “We have to make sure we come out hard.
“They always seem to build off their fan base and have a big start and we must make sure we counter that.”
A good start is important but an early goal is even better said Bruins coach Claude Julien who needs two playoff victories to tie Don Cherry for the club record of 31.
“The teams that are here right now have been pretty good when they score the first goal,” Julien said. “(Vancouver has) been a hard team to beat and we’re no different than they are.”
Bruins centre Rich Peverley said starts determine how a team plays the rest of the game.
“If you get that (early) goal and are creating chances then you’re giving yourself a better chance,” said Peverley who has two goals and eight points in the playoffs.
“It’s being sharp mentally, being sharp physically, also. Face-offs are a big thing. If you’re starting with the puck you’re giving yourself a better chance.”
Trailing in a series is nothing new for Boston who lost their first two games at home to Montreal and suffered another home loss in Game 1 against Tampa Bay.
“It’s a familiar area for us,” said Marchand.
“There’s six (games) left possibly in the series. We just have to make sure we let that one go and make sure we’re ready for the next one.”
Lucic, who led Boston with 30 goals and 62 regular-season points but didn’t score until 12 games into the playoffs said the Bruins aren’t feeling pressure trailing by one game.
“We’re able to deal well under pressure and make plays under pressure and step up the play in big games and (Saturday) is a big game for us.”
NOTES: Canuck general manager Mike Gillis played 246 NHL games, 125 of them with the Bruins … Boston defenceman Johnny Boychuck has been on the ice for the last seven goals scored against his club … Canuck backup goalie Cory Schneider is a Boston College alumnus.