Bruins notebook: Blues refuse to let statistics bring them down

“The first one wasn’t what we wanted, but we’re going to respond and tie the series up."

Bruins Blues Stanley Cup
Ryan O'Reilly, chasing down a loose puck with Torey Krug, insists the Blues are confident they can win Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There was a statistic making its way around TD Garden Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after the Bruins overcame an early two-goal deficit to edge the St. Louis Blues, 4-2, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

According to the NHL, 77.2 percent of teams that win the opener in the best-of-seven series go on to win the Cup.

But the Blues, down 0-1, don’t seem fazed by the unpromising precedent. As they shouldn’t be. Just last year, the Washington Capitals lost Game 1 before rattling off four straight victories against the Vegas Golden Knights.

“There are stats that you see all the time, but we know what our best game looks like, and we’re confident we can win,’’ center Ryan O’Reilly said. “The first one wasn’t what we wanted, but we’re going to respond and tie the series up. That’s our plan.’’


“We don’t care about those things,’’ added right winger Vladimir Tarasenko. “It doesn’t really matter at this part of the year. You never know what’s going to happen.’’

Plagued by dwindling offensive firepower as well as a lack of discipline, St. Louis crumbled in the second period of Monday’s loss. The Blues managed just three shots on net and were whistled for two penalties, high-sticking and cross-checking, with the latter leading to Boston’s equalizing goal. Coach Craig Berube said the group already has discussed the importance of staying out of the box, especially against a team that boasts the league’s best power-play conversion rate (32.7 percent) this postseason.

Blues players acknowledged they need to maintain controlled body checks, but admitted it’s not always easy in Boston. O’Reilly called the Bruins “one of the best teams’’ at making things chippy.

“I think we got away from our normal game,’’ O’Reilly said. “We got undisciplined, and the game kind of turned from there. I don’t know specifically how they do it, but it’s kind of an identity that they have that we have to avoid. We have to be stubborn in our structure.’’


While NHL history may suggest a bleak fate, the Blues are hopeful they can continue their trend of improving as a series goes on. In the conference finals against the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis dropped Game 1, 6-3, before bouncing back to take Game 2.

“I expect the same thing,’’ Berube said. “I think we’re going to get a much better game [Wednesday]. We’ve got to be a lot more desperate in our game.’’

“I think a lot of people have counted us out at different times,’’ echoed center Tyler Bozak. “That’s usually when we kind of come back and play our best hockey.’’

2011 team on hand

A crew of familiar faces was enlisted as fan banner captains Monday.

Members of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship squad — Gregory Campbell, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder, Dennis Seidenberg, and Shawn Thornton — joined Special Olympics athlete Liam O’Brien in the pre-game ceremony.

[fragment number=0]

After the game, the group paid a visit to the locker room and hung out with some former teammates. Current Bruins Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask all were also a part of that title team.

“It’s not often you get that many guys from a team together after this long,’’ Marchand said. “The win kind of allowed us to do that. If we had lost, we may not have been able to have that moment. It was a lot of fun to see those guys.’’


“It’s special every time,’’ added Bergeron.

Marchand also expressed gratitude for the collective effort to maintain the veteran core.

“If you want to try and make every dollar you can, unfortunately, that’s not going to be with this group,’’ he said. “We want guys that want to be here and want to win, and you’ve got to sacrifice some things. At the end of the day, you lift the Stanley Cup and take a little bit less money, it’s worth it every single time. That’s the culture around here.’’

The Brady connection

The 42-year-old Chara is rather fond of 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.

“It’s not a secret that he’s one of those world athletes that everyone looks up to,’’ Chara said. “He’s a true professional. He’s obviously a great human being. Very smart and well-spoken. I only have great experiences talking to him.’’

The praise is unsurprising, given the pair’s comparable longevity, dedication to the sport, and dietary regimens.

Brady, who lent his voice to Chara’s Game 1 hype video, has been supportive of the Bruins on social media but has yet to attend a game this postseason. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and cornerback Stephon Gilmore were among those at Game 1.

Dunn could return

Berube said “there’s a chance’’ defenseman Vince Dunn could return for Game 2, after missing the past four games due to an upper-body injury . . . Bruins forward David Pastrnak said his mom, who lives in the Czech Republic, is in town — and has been cooking plenty of meals — during the playoff run. “She’s a really good chef,’’ Pastrnak noted with a smile . . . After his instantly iconic helmet-less hit, defenseman Torey Krug took a seat next to Jake DeBrusk on the bench. But Krug was in no mood to discuss what had just happened. Per DeBrusk, “I was like, ‘Oh my God, did you realize what you just did out there?’ And he wouldn’t give me much, so he was in the game. He was dialed in.’’