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Been-here-before Bruins not ready to panic, just adjust

by | CBSSports.com
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BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara had ample time to dissect why his Boston Bruins lost the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, not that the six-hour trip made the introspection any easier.

"I can't really answer why," the Bruins captain said Sunday. "It obviously could have been a different game if we scored on the chances we had. All of a sudden, they would be behind. It's hard to explain. You do get frustrated. It's close."

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But it may not be as close as the final scores indicate. Sure, the first two games were one-goal contests won by the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver, some would say, was just 30 seconds better than Boston, noting the time left on the clock for Raffi Torres' winner in Game 1 (19 seconds) and how much time elapsed in overtime before Alex Burrows scored in Game 2 (11 seconds).

"You could use that to look at it as a way to say that you've been right there in the games," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "But the reality was you lost two games."

And it wasn't just momentary lapses. The Bruins have been outshot in the third period 25-15 through the first two games and surrendered their first lead of the series as Daniel Sedin scored midway through the third period of Game 2.

"Basically, it's something that we have to improve on as far as our game is concerned," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of his team's play in the third period. "I thought we had good momentum when we did the right things. When they took the momentum away from us, it was because we gave them an opportunity to take the momentum away from us by turning pucks over."

Turnovers, especially in the neutral zone, have hindered the Bruins in this series. Take the one immediately after the Bruins won the faceoff in overtime, which set up Burrow's game-winner in OT.

"That's where we need to be better," Bruins forward Nathan Horton said. "We talked about it after the game where we still made mistakes and if that gets better, I think we'll get more offense."

Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara are looking at a hole they have dug out of before. (Getty Images)  
Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara are looking at a hole they have dug out of before. (Getty Images)  
That could very well be a simple fix. Another possibility for lackluster play late in games has no easy answer: fatigue.

Chara, who missed a game earlier in the playoffs due to dehydration, averages 28-plus minutes a game and some of that time has been as a forward on the power play. Fatigue or not, Chara hardly looked liked the Norris Finalist he is in that very short overtime period.

"He's been used to it all year," Julien said. "To me he's handled it all year. Where we are right now, we have to look at it this way: He's got all summer long to rest. Now is not the time to start giving him a rest."

Beyond getting outshot late in the first two games, the Bruins also haven't tested Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo as much as they'd like.

"I think he's played well with what he's been tested with," Thomas said. "But I don't think we've tested him enough. That's part of the reason we're down 2-0 in the series."

Luongo has faced 66 shots through the first two games, although few of those were the result of rebounds as the Canucks clamped down on loose pucks in front of the net.

"Lou has done a great job of controlling his rebounds," Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. "We have done a good job so far of limiting their second chances. We need to do more of that. ... They will make some adjustments and we'll make our adjustments. That's how these series play out."

The Bruins have been down 2-0 before in these playoffs. In fact, they dropped the first two games against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and then had to go on the road; Boston won that series in seven games.

"Yeah, you take experience from that situation," Bruins forward Rich Peverley said. "You don't get tense, you don't get impatient. You stay calm."

That could be easier said than done as the Bruins will play Game 3 at TD Garden in front of a home crowd looking for the city's first Cup since 1972.

"We feed off our home crowd and we have to use that," Chara said. "I don't think we need to do any motivational speeches at this point. We know what's at stake."

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