BOSTON – Deficits have been easy for the Boston Bruins to overcome so far in the playoffs.
So now that they trail the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, the Bruins are preparing for Game 2 on Tuesday night the same way they have every other time they’ve trailed since the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs started.
“We’re a confident group here. Nothing seems to rattle this group,” centre Chris Kelly said Sunday during off-day media availability at the TD Garden. “We go out and play each game hard and see what happens after 60 minutes or however long it takes for the game to finish, and look for the next one.”
The Bruins lost Game 1 at home to the Lightning on Saturday night, 5-2. Previously in this post-season they trailed two games to none in their first-round series with Montreal and were down by two goals in Game 4. They won that fourth game and went on to win the series in seven games.
Against Philadelphia in the second round, the Bruins were up 1-0 in the series but down two goals in Game 2. They won that one in overtime on their way to a four-game sweep.
A year after blowing a 3-0 lead against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins have managed to keep looking forward.
“In the playoffs, it’s very valuable for teams to turn the page quickly and to worry about the day that they’re in, not about what they have done whether it’s a mistake or whether it’s a good thing,” defenceman Andrew Ference said. “You just kind of move on and live for the day.”
Tampa Bay knows the Bruins’ history.
“This is a good team we’re playing. They’ve done it all year. They’ve got great players,” Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. “I think the last game in the first period, we kind of got a little lucky and got a lead. We got some good bounces. We know we have to be better.”
The Lightning have also proven they’re focused and confident. They trailed their first-round series 3-1 to Pittsburgh. Since rallying past the Penguins in seven games, the Lightning have run their winning streak to eight games heading into Game 2 with the Bruins.
Tampa Bay took advantage of a couple Boston miscues in Game 1 to build a 3-0 lead en route to the victory. But the Lightning also missed some chances to extend the lead earlier in the game than they did. That tells them they have some improvements to make before the second game.
“I think we definitely have to improve on some things,” forward Ryan Malone said. “We know we had a couple chances where a bounce here, a bounce there, it could’ve gone either way. So we know we have to be focused. We know we’re going to get a better game from them as well.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien knows there are plenty of things his club can do better when it next takes the ice against the Lightning.
“They were the better team (Saturday) night, don’t get me wrong. But I think if we can up our game the way we know we can, that will certainly make a difference, and there’s no reason why not to be optimistic,” Julien said. “We’re this far because we’re good enough to be this far. And we just got to make sure we bring our ‘A’ game next game.”