PITTSBURGH – The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a study in resiliency. In seemingly every series, teams have followed frustrating games with a stellar effort in the following contest, bouncing back from disappointment.
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s possible for us to get much worse than that,” said center Nick Bonino, whose team blew a three-goal lead, and went the entire second period and 37 minutes in total without a shot on goal.
And yet, they won, 5-3, to take a 1-0 series lead.
“The good thing is, like you said, is that we won,” said defenseman Trevor Daley. “Is it ideal? No, it’s not ideal. But we found a way to win that game. It wasn’t the prettiest, but we found a way. Our team has always found a way.”
The Penguins enter Game 2 in a weird space. Many of the questions they answered over the last 24 hours were the kind you’d expect to hear posed to a losing team – questioning their effectiveness, praising the opponents’ play, wondering how they can “turn it around” on Wednesday night.
But the message to the players was that the effort might have looked worse than it was. The team’s video session after Game 1, for example, wasn’t nearly the marathon some players figured it would be.
“That’s become a big part of the game, that film room. It’s not always the funnest place to be, but it’s always good to see what other options you have out there,” said Daley.
Coach Mike Sullivan said he thinks the Penguins “have an ability to win games different ways,” and that Game 1 just proved that again.
“We got some high-quality looks, and we were able to convert. I know we’re capable of playing a more consistent 60-minute game. That’s something that we discussed with our team,” he said. “But our players are well aware of it. We always look to our leadership group that we trust so much just because of their body of work with us and their ability to respond the right way to any of the adversities that this team has faced.”
Like bouncing back from a victory. As odd as that sounds.
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