Recchi's success story inspires Bruins
Veteran forward hopes Boston can repeat Carolina's 2006 playoff journey
MONTREAL -- In 2006, while playing for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Boston Bruins veteran forward Mark Recchi found himself and his teammates down 2-0 with the series headed back to Montreal. The Habs had beaten the Hurricanes 6-1 in the series opener and then 6-5 in double overtime, and seemed to be in command of the second-seeded Canes.
But then the Hurricanes went into the Bell Centre, stole Game 3 and never looked back, winning the remaining three games to take the series 4-2. Carolina went on to win the Stanley Cup, and Recchi had his second Stanley Cup ring.
While he wasn't predicting a similar scenario for the Bruins or guaranteeing a Stanley Cup, Recchi said he definitely thought of the memorable experience of that series with Montreal when the Bruins went down 2-0 in this series, losing both games to the Canadiens on TD Garden ice. And between Games 2 and 3, Recchi decided to share the memory of that series between Carolina and Montreal with his Boston teammates, hoping it would spark them to victory and help them climb back into the series.
The Bruins were able to take Game 3, as the Canes did in 2006, and Recchi is hoping the feat Carolina accomplished can be pulled off by Boston in this series. The Bruins trail 2-1 heading into Thursday's Game 4 at the Bell Centre.
"It's been done; it can be done," Recchi told ESPNBoston.com on Wednesday night. "I felt like it was a good time to share this experience with them because we share a lot of stuff like that when it's needed, and I wanted the guys to know we can do this and it wasn't over. We're a tight group, and I wanted them to know from my experience we were OK here and we're in this."
Earlier Wednesday, following practice in Lake Placid, N.Y., Recchi alluded to teammates believing in each other on that 2006 Canes team and having the confidence that they were never out of the series. Recchi sees the same belief in the Bruins' dressing room, as well as the bond and chemistry needed for the Bruins to tie this series and possibly win it.
"It was just the guys believed in each other," Recchi said of how the Canes' comeback began. "I joined the team with 20 games left and saw how much the guys believed in what they were doing and they stayed with it. You see a lot of the same things here -- we believed in what we did all year and there's a reason why we were so successful, and if you get away from it, you're not going to get any success. We got away from it, but [got] back to it for the most part the other night.
"It's all about believing and all about believing in what we've done all year and believing in each other and trusting what we've done all year and trusting each other, and that's what it comes down to. If we didn't trust each other, we wouldn't have won Game 3."
That 2006 Carolina squad had a strong leadership core with the likes of Rod Brind'Amour, Cory Stillman, Aaron Ward and Recchi. Recchi likened that to the group led by him, Zdeno Chara and other Bruins veterans on this current Boston squad, and sees a young core that has responded to that leadership in a positive manner.
"They're responsive to what everybody says," Recchi said. "The guys have been great all year about that, whether it's me, it's Zdeno [Chara] or the coach or anybody, they're really responsive and we have a great group of guys."
Forward Patrice Bergeron is happy to have a guy such as Recchi around and realizes the value of speeches like the one Recchi gave the team between Games 2 and 3.
"He's been around for so long and he's been there," Bergeron said of Recchi. "The experience that he brings and he's so well-respected around the room and in the league, and for us to be able to hear from him and learn from him is something special."
Recchi has been on teams that have come back from two-game deficits and on ones that have blown them and have blown three-game series leads, as the Bruins did in last season's playoffs. So he has a good idea of what is going on in the Habs' dressing room and how they're feeling and approaching Game 4.
"I've been through both sides, but at this point, it is more talking about what we're going to have to do to get back into the series," Recchi said. "There is obviously some thought about what [the Canadiens are] thinking, and it's an important game for them tomorrow. They have to be thinking that way, and it's an important game for us."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.