CHICAGO – Bruins coach Claude Julien need only recall the imminent danger his club faced last month against Toronto. Or the apparent pit of despair in an opening round series with Montreal two years earlier. Or the do-or-die Game 7 against Tampa shortly thereafter in the East final. Or the Stanley Cup Final for that matter against Vancouver later that spring.
"I don't think much is going to rattle our team," Julien said from the team hotel on Thursday afternoon, about 14-plus hours after his Bruins dropped a marathon Game 1 in triple overtime, Andrew Shaw scoring the winner at the 112-minute mark.
"This is a game," he continued of the series opener, "that it could've gone either way. Both teams had great chances. And we could be sitting here today up 1-0 as much as we are down 1-0."
The visitors' dressing room at the United Center was certainly oozing with disappointment after the Game 1 defeat – one that saw a 3-1 third period lead dissipate – but there was hardly any semblance of panic or downright dejectedness after a game that very well could've swung their way.
While the Blackhawks began to assert control midway through regulation with their dynamic blitz of speed and skill, they still required a puck off the skate of Andrew Ference in regulation to tie the proceedings and a ricochet off the knee of Shaw in the third overtime to win it. But these "hockey breaks" as Julien termed them are unquestionably earned and as Ference noted, Corey Crawford did stop a barrage of shots – 29 in extra time – to proceed the winner.
"That's what it took to go in," said Ference of the luck factor, "but it took some great saves to keep a lot of pucks out so it's not like only luck wins hockey games. There's a lot of great defensive plays and there was a lot of great saves and so you can say 'luck', but it's not luck when you make those saves and what not."
"Obviously, you'd like to win it," he continued. "At that point of the game, you've invested a lot into it and what not, but the other team's put just as much in ... And that's where you expect experience to come in and maturity to come in and say 'It's 1-0, get on with it and turn the page'."
Carey Price would stop 65 of 66 Bruin shots in the opening round of their eventual Stanley Cup conquest in 2011. Boston would win the next three tilts before emerging with the series in the seventh and final game. Nathan Horton, who is listed as day-to-day, would score the winner that day in overtime.
There was Game 7 with the Lightning two rounds later, Horton again notching the decisive marker in a 1-0 victory at TD Garden. And then there was the Final itself, the Canucks swiping the first games in Vancouver before Boston blasted the then-Western Conference champs by a combined 12-1 margin in Games 3 and 4, eventually winning the Cup in seven games.
All of this precluded the epic comeback against the Maple Leafs in early May, the Bruins rallying from a 4-1 third period deficit in Game 7 before knocking out their opponents in the extra frame.
So when questioned on the resiliency of his club, in lieu of the heartbreak of the Game 1 defeat and the club's first series deficit of the post-season, Julien couldn't help but to look back as he looked ahead to Game 2 on Saturday evening.
"It's because we've been through a lot," he concluded. "You can chalk that down to experience of having been through a lot, the ups and downs. We don't get rattled anymore. We know what we can do."