CHICAGO -- After dissecting their 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Boston Bruins are not blaming rookie defenseman Torey Krug for his turnover that led to Chicago's second goal of the game.
The Bruins had a 3-1 lead when Krug had control of the puck in the Boston zone along the half wall. With the Bruins in the midst of a change, he didn't want to chip the puck out toward the bench and risk a possible too-many-men penalty. So he attempted a centering pass to teammate Kaspars Daugavins, but Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw intercepted the pass at the blue line and gained control.
Shaw's pass to teammate Dave Bolland resulted in a goal at the eight-minute mark of the third period. Chicago then tied the game 3-3 only four minutes later to force overtime.
Since arriving on the scene, Krug has become a sports sensation in Boston. His four goals in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Rangers helped the Bruins reach this point of the season. He's also been reliable defensively, but he struggled in Game 1 against the high-flying Blackhawks.
Krug's ice time was limited and he finished with only 19:36 after six periods of hockey in Game 1.
Because of the 22-year-old defenseman's mistakes, the thought would be maybe Bruins coach Claude Julien makes a lineup change for Game 2 and inserts fellow rookie blueliner Matt Bartkowski. When listening to Julien's comments during Thursday's off day, it doesn't seem like a change will be made on Boston's back end.
"When you look at games, there are a lot of mistakes made," Julien said. "Some end up as goals, and some you're able to recover from. We certainly shouldn't look and judge this player on one game where he might have been average instead of real good, like he has been. Those are part of a player getting better, and it doesn't mean we lose confidence in him, because we still had the confidence to put him out there in overtime. He's also the kind of guy to produce the kind of goal we needed. It is what it is. It's easy to focus in on one thing, and yes, it was a mistake to throw that puck up the middle, but if you look back at the play, I didn't think we had a good line change, and he didn't have a ton of options. There could be some blame shared on that goal."
Krug wasn't dwelling on the play, because the team's focus is now on Game 2.
"I didn't beat myself up -- especially during the game, you've got to be ready to go back out on the ice," Krug said. "The best players, they forget mistakes like that. They learn from them, but then they have a short-term memory. For me, it was about getting ready to get back out there the next time my name was called. Come overtime, I was ready to go."
After Wednesday's game, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask described Krug's play as a "terrible turnover," but Julien made it a point Thursday to say Rask wasn't placing blame on one particular player.
"I don't think he was blaming Krug," Julien said. "He probably had the right to say the same thing. It wasn't a good turnover. He didn't have that many options either with a tough line change and everything else. Mistakes are part of the game. Whether he made that turnover, he still scored four goals for us in the [New York] series where we need him to score. If you balance it out, there's a lot more positives in Torey's game than there is in that one mistake."
Bruins veteran defenseman Andrew Ference, who inadvertently redirected the puck off his skate into the Boston net to account for Chicago's game-tying third goal, also wasn't blaming Krug for the turnover.
"We've all been there," Ference said. "Everybody has made passes that don't work out. So what? That's the game. Nobody expects perfection. You know the other team is going to get chances. You move on. What's done is done. We've always been successful at really not paying too much attention to what's happened, what's gone on, whether it's history from 50 years ago or what's done on the last shift. That's been a good approach for us. Whether it's experienced guys, young guys, the general atmosphere in the room is fairly consistent."