(Photo Credit: Boston Herald)
By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael
For the Bruins’ best, is the best yet to come, as the old adage goes?
At the start of this series against the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Blues, many who follow this talented team — myself included — definitely thought YES. After all, the B’s were coming off a sweep of the high-flying Hurricanes, one in which their top line topped the entire score sheet in a clinching game four victory. But with game three of the Stanley Cup Final on the horizon (and on the road), now many of us are not so sure — again, myself included.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) May 31, 2019
You wonder if the #Bruins first 2 lines will shake off the rust from the 12 day layoff at any point in the series. The NHL gave an inferior team a chance to win a title with the ridiculous scheduling. #NHLplayoffs
— Eckstasche (@BostonSportsHb) May 30, 2019
Now, I wouldn’t call the Blues an “inferior” team by any means, but there may be a bit of truth to the Black N’ Gold’s perfection line showing perfectly obvious signs of rust after not only the week plus layoff, but also the layman-like play these first two games of the series. It’s fair to ask this (Paula Cole cowboyless) question: where have Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand & David Pastrnak gone? Regrettably, not to the net enough or to the bench enough celebrating those big, timely goals — you know, the kind your best players tend to score?!?
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) May 31, 2019
Brad Marchand seemed confident he and his linemates will be “a little cleaner on some details” in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final after they were out of sync in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Blues in Game 2, writes @AmalieBenjamin.https://t.co/rg89xegImo
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 30, 2019
So, how exactly do the Bruins’ best intend to “clean up” those aforementioned details in time for a pivotal game 3 in St. Louis? Will Head Coach Bruce Cassidy tweak his top line — as he’s done in every previous playoff series at one point — to spark his struggling stars? Even in his most somber of post game press postures following game two’s gut-wrenching OT loss, he still pointed out an important solution to the most noticeable problem No.’s 63-37-88 seem to be suffering from (…again):
Yet, for all the criticism he and his team have faced in the last few days (coming off a more than impressive 8-game playoff winning streak, mind you), I think the man affectionately known as Butch was butcheringly blunt: the B’s need to remind themselves of how they’ve been successful in every round, and against every opponent, during these extremely favorable Stanley Cup Playoffs:
“Rebounding pucks, getting second chances, forcing [the other team] to defend. Usually, ya know, [it] results in penalties as well so that’ll be a point of emphasis.” — Bruce Cassidy
And speaking of penalties earned and thus power plays given… here’s a given: the B’s will not be hoisting Lord Stanley’s coveted silver chalice in the next week or so unless they can consistently make the most of the PP minutes they’re drawing from the sometimes beleaguered and belligerent Blues. And that especially goes for the top unit which includes, at times, all of the illustrious players alluded to earlier and pictured below.
(Photo Credit: Zimbio)
Sure, the Bruins have scored a goal with the man advantage in a near record-setting six consecutive playoff games, but it’s no exaggeration to state they easily could’ve scored multiple PP goals in every game dating back to the Carolina series. You may get away with a missed “one up” opportunity here or there during the regular season and during the early rounds of the playoffs, but certainly not in the SCF where every shift, change, shot, point & goal matters. I mean, how many teams wish for a penalty to be called in a tie game in the third period with under ten minutes to go in the finals (and to take a stranglehold 2-0 lead in the series)!?!? EVERY ONE–if they’re lucky to get there. The B’s most certainly were in game two and yet…
Brayden Schenn slashes down on Noel Acciari’s stick and breaks it. He’s headed to the box for slashing and the Bruins will get a PP with 638 to go in the third period. Big moment for the B’s special teams
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) May 30, 2019
Schenn out of the box.
Two shots on goal for Bruins on the PP.
Big kill by Blues.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 30, 2019
I guess we were all singing the blues (sorry, Blues [capitalized]) after that. But, if there’s anything this wonderfully watchable run of hometown hockey has taught us this year, it’s that the B’s know how to respond to adversity. Especially on the road. And fittingly, their best players are all on the same page when it comes to the respective response.
🎥 Patrice Bergeron on the series shifting to St. Louis: “We know it’s gonna be electric…seems like there’s a buzz there right now, no different than it was here in Boston. We’ve been through it before.” pic.twitter.com/NhLwtV62oQ
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 30, 2019
🎥 Brad Marchand following the B’s OT loss in Game 2: “On to the next one…we’re 1-1, there’s five games left…we’ve got to stick with it and stay positive.” pic.twitter.com/UuzDMJy7cw
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 30, 2019
That certainly sounds like someone who “B”lieves the best really is yet to come in this now best-of-five game Stanley Cup series.