ST. LOUIS -- The more you listen to the players and coaches following St. Louis' thrilling 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks in three overtimes in Game 1, this much is clear:
The Blues gained confidence.
And the Hawks haven't lost theirs.
After losing their final six regular-season games and then having to take on the defending Stanley Cup champions, a loss in the series opener Thursday wouldn't have been fatal for the Blues, but it sure might have left them wondering.
Thus the win was huge.
"We needed it for confidence," St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller admitted. "I think we needed it to show that that stretch we had to finish the season is behind us.
"The guys needed this."
"It's a good learning lesson to get that one under our belt," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo added. "I think it's good for the confidence.
"We feel pretty good right now; we believe in what we have in the room."
So do the defending champs, who to a man rued the outcome Thursday, but not the effort as they commence preparation for a quick turnaround Saturday (2 p.m.).
"That's the nice thing with the playoffs, you can't think about yesterday too much, you just have to move on, think about the next game," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "I thought we gave good effort, good enough to be able to win that game.
"I think we played pretty good hockey."
Add Kris Versteeg to that list as well.
"We played a really solid game and obviously sometimes you build momentum after scoring late and they kind of did that," he said of the Blues. "We seemed to weather the storm and come back with some really good chances in overtime to win it and obviously they didn't go in.
"Just focus ahead to Game 2 and bring the positives that we can build upon from Game 1."
Is it really that easy to have a mindset like that following such a tough loss?
For the Blackhawks it absolutely is. There is such a calmness about this team.
"They know exactly what's going on," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They don't get rattled by anything.
"They don't get too high, they don't get too low."
That's how Miller was Thursday. After allowing 3 goals on the first 7 shots he faced, the much ballyhooed goalie slammed the door the rest of way.
"He put on a performance after that first period where we hang him out to dry for a few and then he decides he's not going to let anything else by him ... he's going to take over," David Backes said.
"When you've got that behind you, it gives you confidence to make plays in front of him."
The loss on the road continues a pattern for the Blackhawks, who once again must make an uphill climb if they're to advance.
"We've gone through some stretches where we've lost opening games," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've lost last year all four first games in their buildings and seemed to recover. That's something we can build on."
His counterpart expects nothing less.
"Improving throughout the series is what Chicago's done and that's what's given them the Cups," Hitchcock said. "That's the information we've got to have.
"We've got to able to learn that because if we play at the same level that we did (Thursday), it won't be good enough to win the next game. We're going to have to be better."
Against a team still brimming with confidence.
"I think everyone feels really good right now," goalie Corey Crawford said. "We're in good shape and we're ready to go. We have that hunger.
"We're ready to go for Game 2."