BOSTON — The first two minutes of Game 1 of last spring’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between Boston and Montreal at Bell Centre were two minutes members of the Bruins would like forget. Unfortunately, stuff like that has a way of sticking in one’s mind.
I asked Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, who made his NHL playoff debut in that game, how he’s more prepared for Game 1 this time around. And his thoughts went round and round before landing on the pain that was that opening two minutes.
“I think last year I was — it’s tough to say right now — but I remember in the morning last year before the game I was a lot more nervous last year than I am this year. This year is more excitement and just being ready to go,” he said after the Bruins’ morning skate at TD Banknorth Garden. “I think last year I just didn’t know what to expect. It was the first game and it was in Montreal and how loud it was going to be, I don’t think I knew what to expect — as you could tell. I think they scored two goals in the first two minutes, something like that.”
For the sake of accuracy, Montreal jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first 2:02 of that game. Wideman was on the ice for the second goal, as was center David Krejci, who had just finished the longest stretch of sustained NHL action of his career.
“I guess last year Game 1, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was kind of waiting for what’s going to happen,” Krejci said. “But now I know it’s just another game, just more intense. I’ve just got to go out there and make things happen.”
Wideman wore a black and gold hat that read “Stay Hungry” on its side as he addressed the media today. However, when asked about his headgear, he claimed it had more to do with food than victories. Obviously, Wideman was in a more lighthearted frame of mind that a year ago. But tonight it’ll be all business and all about his continued development. This season he set career highs in assists (37) and points (50) and solidified his position as the Bruins’ No. 2 blueliner. To survive in the playoffs, Boston will need even more from the 26-year-old.
“I hope so,” said Wideman when asked about taking his game to another level. “That’s the whole point of playoffs. Everybody’s got to find another gear and find another level to take your game to. You have to raise your intensity by a lot. In the playoffs, just every little thing you do, every little mistake is magnified and can lose you games, can lose you series, so you’ve got to be that much more intense.”