By Andrew Thompson Twitter: @godwentwhoops
Even without putting up a single shot on goal in the second period, the Boston Bruins found their identity late in the game. Their 2-1 win gave them an early advantage on a team that has had their number this year.
The Boston Bruins weren’t supposed to win on Wednesday. They were missing several important pieces to their puzzle. Defencemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo were out, with Krug likely out for the series. Forwards David Krejci and Noel Acciari weren’t able to play either. The Bruins even had eight players (including Charlie McAvoy) making their playoff debuts against a team that had beaten them every game of the regular season.
Still, the Bruins found a way to win. It started with Tuukka Rask being an outstanding goaltender. Rask stopped 26 of 27 shots, and kept the Boston Bruins alive and kicking, especially during the second period.
“Tuukka’s got excellent playoff numbers, and he’s coming into the playoffs, I think, with a decent amount of rest and confidence,” offered interim head coach Bruce Cassidy on Rask. “He’s played very well of late, so good for him. He looks composed as well and did a real good job for us.
“And we needed it, because it could have gotten away from us in the second period.”
While Rask was the Bruins best player on the ice on Wednesday, the win occurred because other players skated into the roles of the players missing from the lineup. John-Michael Liles and Adam McQuaid filled in most of the holes on defence and played some of their best hockey.
Then there is Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins welcomed him to the team by having his first ever NHL game be a playoff one. McAvoy looked like he was just playing another college hockey game. There was no tentativeness or hesitation in his play. He ended up playing over 24 minutes for Boston (second only behind Zdeno Chara on the team).
While David Krejci’s absence was missed, the B’s found a way to win. Once again, other people stepped up into the job. Frank Vatrano tied it up for the B’s early in the third period. That goal gave the Bruins life again, and the team responded.
Then Brad Marchand did Brad Marchand things (with the help of Patrice Bergeron) and got the Bruins their first playoff win in three years.
The Bruins know it’s going to be an uphill climb the whole postseason. They’re going to have to want to win every night and then go out there and do it. That’s the reason why the Bruins won game one. They wanted it more.
Now, they’re going to need to continue to dig deep and keep finding that will to win. For the B’s it is a matter of being one game down and fifteen left to go.