CHICAGO, IL - Wednesday night's triple overtime in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final conjured up memories for Bruins President Cam Neely.
Albeit, not ones he'd like to remember.
The Bruins fell 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center with Andrew Shaw's winner 52:08 into overtime, 12:08 into the third frame of extra time.
For Neely, it drew awfully close to the 3-2 triple overtime loss he endured as a Bruin in Game One of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.
"[Assistant GM] Don Sweeney and I were talking a little bit during the overtime. We had some chances to finish it off, just like we did way back when," said Neely, of having deja vu during the OT. "But, you certainly have some flashbacks."
That game in 1990 was a home one for the spoked-B, played in the old Boston Garden. After a barn-burner like Wednesday night's in Chicago, the Oilers' Petr Kilma found a way past Bruins netminder Andy Moog 55:13 into overtime.
"It's always tough to lose in triple overtime like that, that's what I remember. But you're in the Stanley Cup Final, so it wasn't really, mentally it wasn't tough to recover from that," said Neely. "Physically, it was the same for both teams."
What was the trick to recovering back then?
"Water," smirked Neely. "Old-fashioned water."
The game ended at 1:22 in the morning, five hours and 32 minutes after the puck had dropped on the Final. Of course, making it even more memorable was the 25-minute delay due to a power outage at the Garden.
It still remains the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history, edging Brett Hull's game winner in 1999 and Igor Larionov's game winner in 2002 by less than 30 seconds.
The Bruins and Blackhawks' Game One came considerably close to re-setting the bar - but it clocked in at the fifth longest game in the Cup Final's existence.
How much different is it for Neely, watching from up top instead of at ice-level?
"It's not easy watching, believe me," the Bruins President smiled. "It's a little easier if you're sitting on the bench wearing equipment. You're living and breathing with every shot on net."
The Oilers ended up winning the series four games to one. Mark Messier won his first Stanley Cup. Ray Bourque also played on the team with Neely in 1990 and did not return to the Finals until the Colorado Avalanche won in 2001.
As a result, the former Bruin has never re-watched his game. "If it was a better outcome I might have watched it," he smiled.
For Neely then - and the current Bruins now - the importance of moving on from a triple overtime loss like in 1990 or 2013, can't be overstated.
"You can always look back and think about things that you may have been able to do differently," said Neely. "Again, one of my lines that I always talk about and [have] said in the past is 'my rearview mirror is broken,' so there's no point in rehashing that because you can't change the past."
The Bruins returned to the Cup Final in 2011 for the first time since that 1990 series. The past was changed that year for Neely.
"These guys have been here before, not in a triple overtime game, but we've got pretty much the same team from '11," Neely said, on expecting this team to show resiliency come Game Two.
"They've got the experience of we lost the first two games on the road [in Vancouver], we came back and battled and won. They can feed off that experience."
"We've got two different teams, two different times, playing against different teams. I just know that the experience of these guys going through what they did for the run in 2011 is experience we [in 1990] didn't have. There's a number of us that played in '88, but we didn't have the type of run that these guys had in 2011."
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