BOSTON -- By all accounts, there wasn't much panic in the Ottawa Senators locker room after the second period of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Boston Bruins on Monday.
They had allowed a 3-0 lead to vanish in stunning fashion, with Boston scoring three goals in 7:46, going from the team on the ropes to the team with the momentum, all in the Bruins' arena.
Still, the Senators were calm. There wasn't overreaction.
"We felt we were still in control," forward Alexandre Burrows said. "We would have took a tie game after two going into the third period in Boston, so we refocused pretty good. We felt we might have been unlucky on a couple of those goals. That's part of the game. That's part of our character. We keep moving on."
Perhaps that was easier because the Senators already knew that, in this series, no lead is safe and momentum often lasts as long as the next shift.
That was proven not long after, when the Senators bounced back from that erased lead to win 4-3 in overtime on a Bobby Ryan power-play goal, giving them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 4 is at TD Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, NESN).
"That's something we said on the bench during the game," Senators forward Derick Brassard said. "It was like they were the storm. We had to go through that 10 minutes."
And though they didn't exactly come through it well, as seen by the lost lead, they managed to get past it, to not let it spiral away from them, to allow themselves the room to come back. Which they did.
That has been the mark of each of the games in the series. In Game 1 the Bruins were down 1-0 entering the third period but won 2-1. In Game 2 the Senators trailed 3-1 entering the third period but won 4-3 in overtime.
That breeds confidence for teams, even when they go down by one or two or three goals.
As Bruins rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy put it after Game 3: "We went down 3-0 and we came back. Not a one-goal lead we took back, or a two-goal lead. We squashed a three-goal lead."
Which should have been safe, right?
"You'd like to think so," Burrows said.
But he's been in the playoffs too often and seen too much to think that his team, or his opponent, has built an insurmountable lead. There just isn't one. Not in the playoffs. And certainly not in this matchup.
"You never want to be down 3-0," Bruins defenseman John-Michael Liles said. "But I think everybody understood that we get back to our game and we get one, one turns into two, two turns into three, and we were able to get back into that game."
Of course, it was far harder for the Bruins to take those comeback positives out of Game 3. Sure, they were able to get back into the game. But they weren't able to take the lead. They weren't able to get the win. As forward Brad Marchand said: "We did a good job of coming back, but it's not good enough, and in playoffs it doesn't matter really. We're not battling for a point. We're trying to get the win."
Players on each team know that continually courting disaster by falling behind by multiple goals is not going to help them win the series. Even if both teams have shown that those deficits are not fatal.
There are comebacks to be had. They could happen again. And again. And again.
"That's playoff hockey," Burrows said. "You see it around the League. Especially [Monday], there were a few teams that were up a few goals too, two or three goals, and the other teams came back. I think it's part of it.
"I'm sure the coaches would like to draw it perfectly that you get the lead [in] the first minute and you hold onto it until the 60th, but it won't happen. Teams are going to have some pushbacks. There's going to be some momentum swings."
Especially in this series.
As Bruins forward David Pastrnak said after Game 3, "Anything can happen."
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